One of the saddest crimes committed in Darebin was the murder of a tiny infant by Charles Glanfield and Henry Harvey, both aged 21.
On 26 June 1903 Glanfield and Harvey were charged with having removed a two month old girl from her mother and leaving it die by the Merri Creek. The facts of the case were simple. Glanfield and Emily Adams, aged 18, had conceived a baby girl which was born on 27th April 1903.
On the 20th June Glanfield arranged to meet Emily at Northcote and to bring the baby with her, saying he wanted her to meet his mother. When she arrived, she found Glanfield there with his inseparable companion Harvey. Harvey carried the baby as they walked along St. Georges Road, opposite the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Glanfield then disappeared, reappearing moments later carrying a ferret box with holes drilled in it. Emily sensed something was wrong and cried
“Don’t hurt my baby.”
Glanfield told her to kiss the baby and then stated
“We will put it away quietly.”
The two men left her alone and quickly walked to the Merri Creek, returning later without the box. The three then continued to Glanfield’s mothers house were they had afternoon tea. Glanfield told his mother the child had become sick and died during an operation.
The two men went fishing the next day.
Mrs Adams had said she had seen her daughter later that day and she had been hysterical, crying and fainting frequently.
The following week the girl’s body was recovered from the creek and quickly identified. Both men were arrested the next day. Both seemed calm and Harvey was dismissive of the whole incident, claiming it should have been done earlier.
An autopsy showed the baby died from exposure after being thrown in the creek.
The arrest caused a sensation; a nation was horrified by the callous act of the two men.
Justice was seen to be quick. Both men were quickly committed to trial. At first they seemed blasé and somewhat indifferent but that changed very quickly when they realised that they faced the death penalty if convicted.
On 24th July 1903, only a month after committing their murderous act, a jury took just twenty minutes to find them guilty. The jury recommended mercy on account of their age but in his summing up, Justice A’Beckett stated the defendants were
"dead to all normal human feelings of compassion or regard and brutally indifferent.”
He also questioned the role of Emily Adams in this tragic event and to what degree she participated in the murder.
A’Beckett then stated that they two men were to
"be taken from the place where you now stand to the place whence you came, and that you be taken hence, at such time, to such a place as His Excellence, the Governor shall direct, and then and there you shall be hanged by the neck until you are dead, and that your body shall be buried within the precincts of the gaol in which you were last confined.”
On 12 August 1903 the sentence was commuted to life in prison.
ALLEGED INFANTICIDE. ACCUSED BEFORE THE COURT. REVOLTING EVIDENCE. (1903, July 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 15.
ALLEGED INFANTICIDE. ACCUSED IN COURT. REMANDED FOR A WEEK. (1903, June 27). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 16.
NORTHCOTE MURDER. DEATH SENTENCE COMMUTED. IMPRISONMENT FOR LIFE. (1903, August 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5.
NORTHCOTE MURDER. GLANFIELD AND HARVEY FOUND GUILTY. BOTH SENTENCED TO DEATH. (1903, July 24). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 6.