Gatton Murders - Exhumation

Gatton Murders

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Dr. Wray deposed he was Government Medical Officer.

He was at Gatton Cemetery on 4th January 1899, where he was shown three exhumed bodies two females and one male.

Decomposition had well advanced.

The bodies were too far-gone to decide whether there had been sexual violation.

Ellen Murphy Gatton MurdersOn Helen he found two wounds in the scalp on the left side, 2 in and 3 in long respectively.

In Helen's case I am positive there was more than one blow.

The skull was fractured.

There were marks on the thighs.

He could not detect any marks on the wrists of the Helen. If Helen's hands were tied very tightly the marks would have been visible at the time he saw them.

Both girls were tied with the same material.

She was healthy.

The second body examined was that of Norah.

There was a scalp wound on the left side 3in in length and a wound an inch long over the right eye.

Norah Murphy Gatton MurdersHe found a mark three-quarters of an inch in width extending round the neck, with the exception of about 4in, or the width of a hand, on the right side.

The state of the marks on Norah's neck was due to the insertion of something between the strap and the neck, which might have been a hand for the purpose of strangling or dragging her along the ground.

Then there were well-defined marks or contusions on the thighs, particularly on the inside.

The skin of both knees was abraded.

The wrists were contused. Both girls were tied with the same material.

The skull was fractured.

The wound over Norah's eye was due to a blunt instrument as a blow from a stick or a fist with a ring on.

He had been shown a stick, at the police station, but did not think it possible that the wound could have been caused by it.

In the case of Norah I cannot say if there were more than one blow. The marks on both the girls were almost identical. One side of Norah's head was almost pulverised.

She was healthy.

Michael Murphy Gatton MurdersOn Michael he found a bullet wound behind the right ear and a scalp- wound fully 4 in length on the right side.

The bullet wound and the lacerated wound on the scalp were joined.

The skull at this part was fractured.

He recovered the bullet in the brain substance (bullet produced, but the doctor retained it).

He found no marks of violence on the body.

Michael's body was not mutilated in the slightest degree.

The occipital and frontal bones were fractured, in each case the wounds being sufficient to cause death.

The bullet wound in Michael's head was inflicted before the wounds on the head. Had the bullet been discharged into his head after the skull was fractured there would have been no resistance to the bullet, and it would have passed right through.

The bullet wound would have caused death, but it was possible for a man suffering from a similar wound to live some considerable time.

There would not be much external haemorrhage from the bullet wound, but this would depend upon which side the victim fell.

I should think there would be no difficulty in the first post mortem to say whether the shot was fired at close quarters or otherwise.

In Michael's case there was more than one blow, inflicted by a heavy blunt instrument by one person, and with about the same amount of force in the use of the same instrument.

Michael was wounded on the right side, and the others on the left, as if the person could use both left and right hands.

Michael was either in a position to be struck on the right side, or the murderer tried to hide the bullet by blows on the head.