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Frederick Bailey DEEMING

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


A.K.A.: "The Windsor Murderer"
 
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Long career of crime, largely thieving and obtaining money under false pretences
Number of victims: 6
Date of murders: 1891 - 1892
Date of arrest: March 11, 1892
Date of birth: July 30, 1853
Victims profile: His wife Marie and their four children / His second wife, Emily Mather
Method of murder: Beating with an axe
Location: United Kingdom/Australia
Status: Executed by hanging in the Melbourne Gaol on May 23, 1892
 
 

 
 

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Frederick Bailey Deeming (30 July 1853 – 23 May 1892) was an English-born Australian murderer.

Deeming was born in Kent, England of respectable parents. He ran away to sea at 16 years of age and afterwards began a long career of crime, largely thieving and obtaining money under false pretences.

Most of his time was spent in Australia and South Africa, but he was in England in February 1890, when he contracted a bigamous marriage with a Miss Matheson whom he afterwards deserted; he already had a wife and three children.

A fourth child was born and in July 1891 he murdered his wife and children at Rainhill, Merseyside, buried the bodies under the floor of the house he had rented, and covered them with cement. He explained their disappearance by saying that his wife was his sister who had been staying with him, and had now gone to join her husband at Port Said.

In September Deeming married a Miss Mather and took her to Melbourne where they arrived in December. He rented a house in the suburb of Windsor, murdered his wife on about 24 December 1891, buried her under the hearthstone of one of the bedrooms and again covered the body with cement. He paid a month's rent in advance, early in January spent some time in Melbourne and Sydney, where he became engaged to be married to another woman, and then went to Western Australia with the understanding that she would follow him.

On about 3 March 1892 a new tenant at the Windsor house complained of a bad smell, the hearthstone was raised and the body found. In the meantime by means of forged testimonials Deeming had obtained a position at Southern Cross, and as part of the preparation of his house for his new bride, had purchased a barrel of cement.

He was traced to Southern Cross, arrested and taken to Melbourne. Furious demonstrations against him were made on the journey to Perth, and again on the way to Albany. Tried at Melbourne on 21 April 1892, with Alfred Deakin as his counsel in spite of a plea of insanity he was found guilty and was hanged on 23 May 1892.

References

  • Serle, Percival (1949). "Deeming, Frederick Bailey". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson.


Frederick Bailey Deeming: The Windsor Murderer

By Paul B. Kidd


England and Australia 1891-1892

Of all of Australia’s serial killers, few have been more despised than Frederick Bailey Deeming. While investigating the murder of Deeming’s wife in Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, police inquiries led to England where it was discovered that he had committed other grisly murders.

Deeming was hanged in a Melbourne jail for his crimes. He was so loathed that a crowd of 12,000 gathered on his execution day and cheered uproariously when Demming was declared dead.

The horrifying story of Frederick Deeming’s crimes first came to light when police were called on March 3, 1892 to investigate a vile smell emanating from a house at number 57 Andrew Street in Windsor, a Melbourne suburb.

Beneath a hearthstone of the fireplace in the unoccupied dwelling, uniformed police unearthed the decomposing body of a young woman about 30 years old embedded in cement. A post-mortem revealed that her throat had been cut and that she had been dead for about three months. There was no sign of blood anywhere in the house.

The two detectives assigned to the case, Det. Sgts. William Considine and Henry Cawsey immediately set about checking out the cottage’s previous tenant. The letting agent told them that the premises had been leased to a man named Druin. A local iron-monger who had delivered some cement, a broom, trowel, closet pan and a spade to Druin a few weeks earlier described him as being in his mid-30s, fair haired with a fair reddish beard and a large distinctive moustache and was of medium height and slight build. The iron-monger also couldn’t help but notice that the flamboyant Mr. Druin dressed with a lot of jewelry and spoke loudly with a Lancashire, England, accent.

Tracing a torn luggage ticket they found in the house, Considine and Cawsey discovered that Mr. Druin had arrived in Melbourne from the United Kingdom on Dec. 9, 1891, on the passenger vessel Kaiser Wilhelm II accompanied by his young wife, Emily. He had traveled under the name Albert Williams.

When questioned by detectives, other passengers had no trouble recollecting the loud, boasting, oafish behavior of Mr. Williams who bored anyone he could find to listen to his obviously fictitious adventures to every corner of the globe. He also repeatedly offended the ship’s crew by accusing them of stealing his valuables. The passengers and crew were very pleased indeed to see the back end of Mr. Williams.

Suspecting that the putrefying corpse in the cement beneath the fireplace in Windsor was that of Emily Williams, the two detectives issued a nationwide alert for Albert Williams. A description of him and his unusual characteristics was wired to every police station in Australia.

They figured that should Mr. Williams, alias Druin, maintain his described persona, he shouldn’t be all that hard to find. They figured correctly.

In the meantime, the circumstances surrounding Emily Williams’ death captured the public’s interest. A curious crowd of onlookers watched as her coffin was lowered into a pauper’s grave one week after the discovery of her body.

Meanwhile, an observant employee of a coastal shipping company told police of having seen a man answering to the missing Williams’ description boarding a vessel that sailed Jan. 23 from Melbourne to Perth in western Australia. The flamboyant character was now travelling under the name of Baron Swanston.

Police immediately issued a ‘WANTED” poster to every settlement in western Australia. Baron Swanston wasn’t hard to find. In the small mining settlement of Southern Cross, situated in the remote western Australian gold fields, the Baron had taken a job as the engineer in charge of machinery at the Fraser Gold Mine.

The outrageous Baron’s jewellery, city clothes, large distinctive moustache and English accent stood out like a forest fire. The day after Emily Williams’ remains were laid to rest, a trooper wired the Melbourne detectives to tell them that the man they were looking for was safely under lock and key in Southern Cross. He looked terribly out of place in jail amidst the usual collection of drunken miners.

Williams, a.k.a. Baron Swanston, had been arrested at about 1:00 p.m. on March 14, 1892, and said as he was handcuffed, “I shall say nothing. I am innocent. I have never been to Windsor to the best of my knowledge. I do not know where it is.” He then added, “My name is not Williams.” The arresting trooper, PC Williams replied, “I can’t help that,” as he loaded him into the wagon to take him to jail.

By the time of the arrest of Albert Williams, alias Mr. Druin, alias Baron Swanston, reached the people of Victoria via the blazing headlines: “Windsor Murderer Arrested”, Dets. Considine and Cawsey knew him by yet another name, only this time it was the correct one -- Frederick Bailey Deeming.

Deeming had arrived from England in 1881. Four years later, he was operating a gas fitting shop in Sydney. He lived with his English wife Marie and their two baby daughters in a house they had bought in the inner Sydney suburb of Petersham.

Those who knew Deeming said that when his gas fitting shop mysteriously burned to the ground and the insurance money fell short of covering his bills, he resorted to petty theft. This included raiding his client’s gutterings of lead and selling it as scrap. Irate customers besieged him every time it rained.

They also said that Deeming was an expert at drawing unwanted attention. He even did a short jail stint after mouthing off in a bar that he had given false evidence in bankruptcy court.

Those who remembered the Deemings recalled his wife as being nothing like the “Emily Williams” found dead at the house in Windsor. In fact she was different in every way, older, shorter and with a much darker complexion. It appeared that there had been two Mrs. Deemings. But where was the original one, the mother of the children?

With Deeming safely locked up in Southern Cross awaiting extradition to Melbourne to face a murder charge, the detectives set about trying to find the missing Mrs. Deeming and the children. The only lead was a crumpled up invitation found in the house to a dinner given by Albert Williams at the Commercial Hotel, Rainhill, a village 14 kilometers east of Liverpool, England.

Now believing that an Albert Williams may actually exist, Dets. Considine and Cawsey telegraphed the Lancashire police asking them to investigate the dinner. If possible, they wanted them to find Mr. Willliams and ask him if he could shed any light on Frederick Deeming’s missing wife and young family.

Local police inquiries led them to the Rainhill newsagency, which was owned and operated by a Mrs. Mather. She turned out to be the mother of the dead Emily Williams-Deeming found under the fireplace in the house in Windsor, Victoria. She collapsed when told of her daughter’s death.

After she recovered from the horrible news, Mrs. Mather explained that she also ran a Rainhill letting agency. Her daughter had met Mr. Williams, who answered to Deeming’s description, when he arrived in Rainhill in late Oct. 1891. He rented a house named Dineham Villa for his employer, a Col. Brooks, who was allegedly arriving from India shortly. The colonel never turned up.

While waiting for his employer to arrive, the free-spending Williams lived at the local Commercial Hotel. Each night he held court at the hotel’s bar, spinning tales of his global adventures.

Emily Mathers fell for him and they were married in Rainhill on Sept. 22, 1891. Williams threw a lavish reception before departing for London with his bride to board the {Kaiser Wilhelm II} on its voyage to Australia, where they intended to spend their honeymoon. Williams left in his wake a pile of unpaid bills in both Rainhill and London.

There was talk among the Rainhill locals of a woman and children living at Dineham Villa. A neighbor remembered talking to a boy and a girl one afternoon after they had asked if they could have some of his strawberries. Before he could learn anything more, the pair was called inside by a woman who then abruptly closed the door and curtains.

There were also other brief sightings of the woman and her children by other neighbors. Now they seemed to have vanished. Liverpool police who visited Dineham Villa and broke in were confronted with the most pungent smell, a smell that is identifiable immediately to anyone who has ever experienced it -- the unmistakable odor of death.

Policemen retched as they made their way to the source of the smell. After they pulled the fireplace apart with crowbars and shovels, they removed the hearthstones to find the bodies of a woman and two children, all in an advanced state of decomposition. The corpses were wrapped in oilcloth. The woman lay upon her back, while the two children were turned with their faces downward, lying one on each side of her.

The continual strong smell from the floor suggested further investigation. They found another two children embedded in cement. One body was an infant and the other a small girl lying at the woman’s feet. It was a sight none of them would ever forget. The woman and a nine-year-old girl had been strangled, and the others had had their throats cut. Police found a book with the bodies in which the name Deeming had been crossed out and Williams added. Police were left with little doubt that Deeming and Williams were in fact the same person.

At the Rainhill inquest into their deaths two days later, the coroner surmised that the nine-year-old girl had woken from her sleep as the murderer was silently going about his business and had been strangled to keep her quiet.

Two very distressed men from Liverpool came forward at the inquest and identified the woman, formerly Marie James, and the children as being the wife and family of their brother, Frederick Deeming. He had brought them back from Australia a few months earlier.

They explained to police that their brother Frederick Deeming was a cockney, born in London on July 30, 1853. As a young man he travelled as a ship’s purser and journeyed to many parts of the world. He had married Marie James of Birkenhead, England in 1881. The two girls, Bertha and Mary, were born in Sydney. In the mid-1880’s the Deeming family spent some time in South Africa and their third child, a boy named Sydney, was born at sea.

Deeming and his wife returned to England in 1890 and a baby girl named Leala was born at Birkenhead. After a brief stay with his brothers, Deeming and his family disappeared, obviously to nearby Rainhill, where it appeared that Deeming kept them under wraps at Dineham Villa while he played the eligible bachelor.

Then it seemed that he met Emily Mather, and having no further use for his wife and four young children, he cold-bloodedly murdered them and concealed their bodies under the fireplace. He then entered into a bigamous marriage with Emily Mather and took his bride to Australia, where it appeared that he had murdered her, too.

The discovery of the five bodies was on March 16, 1892, just two weeks after the body of Emily ‘Williams’ was found in identical circumstances in the house in Windsor, 10,000 miles away in Victoria, Australia. Frederick Bailey Deeming had a lot of explaining to do.

Deeming was taken under armed escort from Southern Cross to Perth, the capital of Western Australia, for an extradition hearing. The hearing would return him to Victoria to be tried for the Windsor murder. In light of the discovery of the bodies in England, a conviction looked like a foregone conclusion.

Deeming left Southern Cross in the charge of three armed constables for the five-day train trip to Perth. The train stopped overnight in different towns. He fainted twice on the journey and could not sleep or eat. A strict watch was kept over the prisoner day and night, and the handcuffs were never removed.

When Deeming arrived in the small town of York on the final night of the journey, a crowd greeted the man that they had heard slaughtered his entire family and a second wife. The platform was packed with onlookers, and as Deeming stepped from the train under close guard, he was aware of the intensity with which the crowd was scrutinizing him.

Fearing an upheaval that the police could not control, Deeming raised his chained arms and brazenly said, “Ladies and gentlemen, you need not look at me. I am not guilty, but I have been victimized.”

When the train moved off, he smiled at the glaring crowd. The awaiting crowd at Perth was so large that instead of disembarking at Perth Central Railway station, Deeming was taken off at the nearby Lord St. Crossing, placed in a waiting van, and taken to the Waterside Lockup.

At the lockup, an inventory was taken of a trunk filled with Deeming’s possessions. Among its pitiful contents were a silver case with “Emily” engraved on the outside with one pair of gloves inside. There also was a double photo frame containing two photos, one of Deeming and a little girl about six years old, and the other of a family group of a father, mother and three children. Rounding out the detritus was a pocketbook containing a small timetable of trains to and from Rainhill and St. Helen’s Junction; one small battle-axe with a very sharp blade; one master mason’s apron with an F.B.D. monogram; and a book of Common Prayer with “December 26th 1889 Emily,” written on the leaf of the cover.

Deeming’s extradition hearing took place on March 24, 1892, in the Perth Police Court. He appeared haggard and thin, and held frequent conferences with his counsel, Richard Haynes, QC. Det. Sgt. Cawsey, who had sailed from Melbourne so he could personally escort Deeming back to trial, waited patiently as Deeming’s lawyer desperately fought extradition on the grounds that his client could not have a fair trial in Melbourne as the angry mob that had formed outside the Perth courthouse demonstrated.

The extradition order was finally granted and Deeming was placed in the custody of Det. Cawsey. At 11:00 a.m. on March 27, 1892, Deeming, Cawsey, three armed police officers, and two reporters boarded the train at Midland Junction on the outskirts of Perth for the arduous 250-mile overnight rail trip to Albany in southwest Australia to rendezvous with the S.S. Ballarat. The ship was travelling to Melbourne.

The train’s first stop for coal and water was at York, 60 miles outside of Perth, and there was a huge angry crowd. Word had spread all the way down the train line by telegraph that the despised child and wife killer was passing through. The curious and vindictive gathered to have a look and to voice their opinions. Many women were in the crowd and they shouted, “Lynch him”, “drag him out,” and “pull him to pieces with bullocks.” The shutters on Deeming’s compartment were put up to conceal him, but the crowd surged forward and pushed upon the carriage until it almost rocked. One person broke a window from the other side from the platform. Fearing mob lynching, the terrified Deeming jumped from one side of the compartment to the other and begged the police to shield him.

At the next stop, in the small country town of Beverley, Deeming was smuggled into a room in the railway station. But when the waiting angry mob found out they gathered near the door of the room. At one point, they threatened to bash the door down and drag Deeming away to an unknown fate.

After secreting the nervous Deeming back to the safety of the train and it got underway, Deeming took a fit and began to struggle and kick so violently that it took four men to hold him down for the full half-hour of the spasms. Still in handcuffs, Deeming’s wrists were badly battered and swollen when the fit subsided. But plead as he may, they stayed on, even when Deeming had two similar fits a short time later.

The next stop was Albany, and to avoid any further scuffle with irate citizens, the train stopped about 50 yards from Albany’s prison. The drawn and weary Deeming was then transferred to the care of the Prison Governor, a Mr. McGovern, without the slightest fuss.

Once inside the prison, Deeming immediately cheered up, and within no time his bravado returned. He again protested his innocence to anyone that would listen and joined in games of draughts with his keepers. He was given a medical check-up that showed that apart from a lot of anxiety and fear, he was in perfect health.

The plan was that Deeming and his escorts would stay at the jail overnight. At 5:00 a.m. a trio of law enforcement officers would escort Deeming to the SS Ballarat to Adelaide. From there, the group would take a train to Melbourne. Guarding Deeming would be Det. Cawsey, Constable Williams, who had arrested Deeming at Southern Cross, and a Det. Smyth from Albany. Deeming would be alternately handcuffed to the three for the entire journey.

Although under hourly surveillance in his cell, so that he could not do harm to himself, Deeming’s minders were astonished in the morning to find that their prisoner was missing his most distinctive feature, his large moustache.

Ever since he came before the public as a notorious criminal, Deeming’s moustache had been one of the chief attributes by which he had been tracked. It was startling to the police to find it gone. A quiet, sarcastic smile broke over Deeming’s face when he noticed their consternation.

The loss of his long moustache had exposed a wide ugly mouth and brought Deeming’s bold chin into prominence. His keepers agreed that Deeming had made an excellent job of removing the moustache considering the absolute lack of tools. In Deeming’s prison clothes they found a piece of a glass bottle a little larger than a shilling. Inside the cell, they found the neck of a medicine bottle. The smaller piece of glass had been broken off the bottle and used as a razor. They discovered to their astonishment that 75 percent of the moustache hairs had been plucked out by the roots.

Deeming must have suffered the agony of pulling out his moustache without uttering the slightest sound or moving his body. The glass had been used chiefly to cut the hair above the corners of his mouth.

Det. Cawsey was very concerned about the missing moustache as it made Deeming look completely different. He also knew that the moustache could clinch the prosecution’s case. It was concluded that no one had helped Deeming and that he had picked up the piece of glass in the exercise yard.

The nationwide hostility toward Deeming was such that when the SS Ballarat dropped anchor at Larges Bay in South Australia two days later, the team guarding the notorious criminal was told that a large and aggressive crowd was already forming at the Port Adelaide wharf. They quickly decided that it was far safer to continue the voyage to Melbourne rather than risk their passenger being abducted and lynched on the train journey from Adelaide to Melbourne.

When the sea journey resumed, Deeming became moody. At last he seemed to fully understand the nation’s hatred of him. “They might wait until I’m found guilty,” he complained. “Many innocent men have been hanged. I’m not afraid to die. If I have to die I’ll die like a man, but first I’ll make sure some revelations that will astonish the world.”

At 9:00 a.m. on April 2, 1892, the Ballarat anchored in Port Phillip Bay and Deeming was whisked away to Police Court. He was formally charged with the murder of Emily Williams. He was asked his name. He refused to answer and was charged as Albert Williams.

The trial of Frederick Bailey Deeming began in Melbourne on May 2, 1892, with the accused being charged in the name of Albert O. Williams. The defense was that he was not guilty on the grounds of insanity. Six doctors examined Deeming; some as many as six times, but not one could state unequivocally that he was insane.

The trial lasted four days and the evidence was damning. Doctors suggested that he suffered from epileptic fits. He was certainly infected with venereal disease and this may have impaired his mind, for he was moody and loquacious and fantasised about his past. Deeming claimed that his dead mother had told him to kill Emily Mather and that he sometimes had been overwhelmed by the irresistible impulse to slaughter the current lady in his life.

Dr. Shields, a prison physician, said of Deeming, “I have frequently conversed with him but cannot believe anything he says.” On the subject of whether the accused knew the difference between right and wrong, Shield said Deeming told him, “That stealing for example, was a matter of conscience. Murder was also permissible in certain circumstances.” He said that Deeming had told him that several times he had gone out with a revolver searching for women who had given him venereal disease, intending to kill them. Deeming believed in their extermination.

And then, as the trial reached its conclusion, came the moment for which the packed gallery had been waiting. Ignoring the strong advice of his own lawyer, Deeming took the stand.

At last the public would get to hear from the man who had cold-bloodedly murdered two of his wives and slaughtered three of his young children the same way a butcher at an abattoir would carve a sheep. Now they could judge for themselves whether the man capable of crimes that surely only a madman could commit, was indeed insane. They were not to be disappointed. Deeming made an imposing sight as he spoke, often closing his eyes and rocking from side to side. He used no notes and hung onto the rail in front of him.

He said in part; “I don’t think there has ever been a man brought into court that has ever been prejudged more than I have been. Before I arrived in the colony my photographs were distributed about the city of Melbourne, in paper shops, in jewelers’ shops, and it is from these photographs I have been identified. I will ask the jury themselves if it would be possible to go and pick out 200 people in Melbourne who would not execute me without the option of a trial.”

Deeming then denied that his wife Emily was actually dead. “And my only comfort is in knowing that I have not done it and that the woman is not dead. And that alone will comfort me, let the end be what it may.”

But any particles of sympathy he may have wrung out of the jury were quickly dissipated when Deeming’s insatiable ego rose to the fore. He began to boast of his conquests; “It is not giving up this life I fear - not the slightest. I have gone through the world and after the dangers I have faced I am not afraid to give up my life. I have been on the Zambezi among the black fellows and have been battered about the head and gone among bears and gone into lion’s caves and brought them out alive, as it has been stated in the papers, and now they are alive in the hands of a man in England.”

In the end, everyone inside the courtroom saw not a madman but a sane man who was lashed so tightly to his own importance that it overwhelmed him. They were watching a man who was indeed capable of the most ghastly crimes without so much as batting an eye.

Deeming condemned everyone and everything. After an hour of diatribe, he stopped speaking. He peered around the stunned courtroom and realized instantly he was doomed.

Crime Library.com


Timeline of events in Deeming's life 1881-1892

Prior to 1881 Deeming marries Marie James in England.

1881-1890 Deeming makes several voyages between England, Australia, South Africa and South America. His wife and four children, born in the 1880s, accompany him for part of this time.

Sep 1890 - Jul 1891 Deeming spends 9 months in Hull Gaol in England for forgery.

July 1891 Deeming arrives at Rainhill in Lancashire, where he rents a villa under the alias Albert Williams.

Sept 1891 Deeming murders his wife Marie and their four children and buries the bodies under the fireplace of his rented house.

22 Sep 1891 Deeming, alias Williams, marries Emily Mather at Rainhill.

15 Dec 1891 The new couple arrive in Melbourne aboard the Kaiser Wilhelm II.

17 Dec 1891 Using the alias Drewn, Deeming rents a house in Andrew Street, Windsor. He also purchases cement and tools from John Woods's ironmongery, High Street, St Kilda.

25 Dec 1891 Deeming murders Emily and buries her under the fireplace.

Jan - Mar 1892 Deeming operates under several aliases, posing as an engineer. He befriends a Melbourne jeweller, steals several items of jewellery, and travels to Sydney under the name of Baron Swanston. Along the way he meets and proposes marriage to Kate Rounsefell. They arrange to marry in Western Australia, and Deeming travels to the town of Southern Cross to find work.

3 Mar 1892 Discovery of a female body (Emily) in a house in Windsor.

6 March 1892 The suspect is established as the last occupant of the house, Albert Williams. The police identify several aliases used by the suspect.

7 March 1892 A warrant is issued for the arrest of 'Albert Williams'.

9 March 1892 Notices appear in the Victorian Government Gazette and the Victoria Police Gazette offering a reward of £100 for information which will lead to the arrest and conviction of Albert Williams. A detailed description of Deeming's dress and manner is included.

11 Mar 1892 'Williams', now known to be Frederick Bailey Deeming, is arrested in the mining town of Southern Cross, Western Australia, in the disguise of Baron Swanston.

1 Apr 1892 Deeming arrives back in Melbourne by ship. His arrival is greeted by angry crowds.

28 Apr 1892 Deeming's trial begins in Melbourne and lasts for four days.

2 May 1892 The trial concludes, and the jury delivers a verdict of 'Guilty' after taking only one hour and twenty minutes to deliberate. Deeming is sentenced to death by hanging.

23 May 1892 After a failed appeal to the Privy Council, Deeming is hanged in the Melbourne Gaol.

24 May 1892 Deeming's body is buried in an unmarked grave at the (Old) Melbourne Gaol. His body is later transferred with other bodies of hanged criminals to another unmarked grave site at Pentridge Gaol.


SEX: M RACE: W TYPE: N MOTIVE: CE

MO: "Bluebeard" slayer of wives and children for profit.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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