Gatton Murders - The Wounds

Gatton Murders

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The WoundsGatton Murders Wounds

23/03/1899

GATTON TRAGEDY.
THE INQUIRY CONTINUED.
DR. WRAY'S EVIDENCE.
(By Telegraph from Our Special Reporter)
GATTON, March 22.

Dr. Wray, accompanied by Inspector Urquhart and Mr. Shand, P.M., visited Moran's paddock, the scene of the tragedy, this morning.
Dr. Wray's evidence was afterwards taken.
He deposed he was Government Medical Officer.
He was at Gatton Cemetery on 4th January last, where he was shown three bodies - two females and one male.
On Helen he found two wounds in the scalp on the left side, 2 in. (6.35 centimeters) and 3 in. (8.89 centimeters) long respectively.
The skull was fractured.
There were marks on the thighs.
He could not detect any on the wrists of the girl, who had been healthy.
Decomposition had well advanced.
The second body examined was that of Norah.
There was a scalp wound on the left side 3in. (7.62 centimeters) in length and a wound an inch long (2.54 centimeters) over the right eye.
He found a mark, three-quarters of an inch (1.905 centimeters) in width extending round the neck, with the exception of about 4in., (10.16 centimeters) or the width of a hand, on the right side.
Then there were well-defined marks or contusions on the thighs, particularly on the inside.
The skin of both knees was abraded.
The skull was fractured.
She also was healthy.
The wrists were contused.
Inspector Urquhart: Was it possible in the then state of the bodies to decide whether there had been sexual violation?
Dr. Wray: The bodies were too far gone.
Continuing, the doctor said he made an examination of Michael's body.
He found a bullet wound behind the right ear and a scalp wound fully 4 in. (11.43 centimeters)  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.
Inspector Urquhart: Would it be a bullet that there would be any difficulty in discovering before the hair was off the head?
Dr. Wray: I should think there would be no difficulty in the first instance.
It would have been possible to say whether the shot was fired at close quarters or otherwise. Continuing, he said that unless Helen's hands were tied very tightly the marks would not have been visible at the time he saw them.
In Norah's case they were.
Inspector Urquhart: And yet they were both tied with the same material?
Witness, continuing, said 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.
The wound over Norah's eye was due to a blunt instrument, as a blow from a stick or fist with a ring on.
He found no marks as of a grip with the fingers.
He had been shown a stick at the police station, but did not think it possible that the wounds could have been caused by it.
They were inflicted by a heavy blunt instrument by one person, and with about the same amount of force in the use of the same instrument.
Inspector Urquhart: Can you say in each case if there was a series of blows or only one? -In Helen's case there were more than one blow. That I am positive of, and also in Michael's case. In the case of Norah I cannot say if there were more than one.
The marks on both the girls were almost identical. One side of Norah's head was almost pulverised.
Inspector Urquhart: Would that blow be caused by a strong person, one with great strength? -Not necessarily great strength. It was brutal force, and a vicious blow.
Inspector Urquhart: The amount of strength was correlative with the weapon?-Yes. Continuing, witness said that 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.

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