The tragedy at Elsternwick on Friday evening, when Hugh Kyle Dunn was killed by a gunshot wound during a quarrel with his brother-in-law, James Watson Rosier, a well-known Melbourne gunsmith, was further inquired into on Sunday, Detective Lonsdale having been detailed to work in conjunction with Sergeant Keane, by whom Rosier was charged with murder on Friday.
The room where the tragedy occurred is a sittingroom, in the front of the wooden villa
Elwood, in (19) Rusden street, Elsternwick, where Rosier and his family have lived for some years. The trouble which led up to the tragedy was not a new one. Mrs Eda Dunn, wife of the man who was killed, is Rosier᾿s sister, and for more than two months past she has sought refuge at the Rosier᾿s house when her husband᾿s drinking bouts resulted in his behaving cruelly to her. On Thursday last Mrs Dunn came to the Rosiers᾿ house during the morning, and said that she had quarrelled with her husband, who had told her to clear out.
So, she said,
I am not going back to him. It seems, however, from the statement made by Mrs Rosier, that Dunn subsequently considered that his wife had done him an injury by taking him at his word. Mrs Rosier received a telegram from him on Thursday,
Cleared with everything, come up to-morrow. The reference in the telegram was to the fact that Mrs Dunn had packed up and removed from her husband᾿s home, in Jessie-street, Coburg, her clothing and a number of other articles, as well as some fowls and a pair of canaries. These were subsequently taken to
Elwood by a carrier. Mrs Rosier, who had all along endeavoured to act as peacemaker between Dunn and his wife, telegraphed to him.
Be up at 6 to-night.
I intended, said Mrs Rosier,
to try and fix matters up between them. I had told her that she could not be happy while she was away from him. When I went up to his house on Thursday Dunn came back with mere to Elsternwick, and at my suggestion he decided to stay all night. He was in very quarrelsome mood, and when he saw his wife the high words that passed between them disturbed the rest of the house late into the night. Mrs Dunn would leave the room they were in, and he would follow her. We did not want a scene in the house, and we sent for for Constable Boxshall, who came down. During the night Mrs Dunn got out of the house, and her husband seeing her on the lawn, rushed at her and struck her. Mrs Dunn returned to her room and Dunn followed her. The quarrelling and noise commenced again, and my husband said it could not be allowed to go on. He told them to go away but Dunn refused to leave. However, they both left in a little while afterwards. Dunn came back later and asked if his wife was in the house. He asked to be let in, but my husband was unwilling to do so, lest there might be more trouble. My step-son, Horace, said ᾿Let him in, it is bitterly cold,᾿ and we did so. but he went away again at 4 o᾿clock in the morning. At about 7 o᾿clock Mrs Dunn came back, and my husband let her in. At first she told us that she had been walking about all night, but later in the day said that she had stayed with a neighbour. She left about mid-day without saying where she was going, so that we could not tell her husband where she was.
On Friday Dunn returned to his work at Pentridge Stockade, where he was engaged as a supernumery warder, having, been employed there in that capacity off and on for eighteen months. It was about 8 o᾿clock in the evening when he reached the Rosiers᾿ house. Arrived there his first interview appears to have been with Rosier, who was having his tea in the breakfast-room, which is situated at the end of the passage running through the house. Off this breakfast-room is a workroom, where there is a gun-rack holding several guns. On Thursday night Dunn had made for this room, declaring that he would get a rifle and shoot his wife. Dunn᾿s threat to shoot his wife was made in the presence of the Rosiers and of Constable Boxshlall, who had been called in by the Rosiers. On the occasion Rosier had blocked his entry into the gun-room.
When Dunn and Rosier were talking in the breakfast-room on Friday evening, Mrs Rosier heard their voices raised in angry tones. She was then sitting in the front room by the fire, and there was no light, Dunn and Rosier talked for a very few minutes, and then carme quickly down the passage together. What followed is rather inadequately described by Mrs Rosier, who was the only one in the sittingroom when Dunn atd her husband came in. There was no light in the room, except that given by the fire, and the whole thing occured so quickly that only a blurred impression of the tragedy could be gained.
I heard them rush down the passage, said Mrs Rosier.
I called out ᾿Come in here, Hugh, I want to speak to you. They both came in together, and the next minute they were struggling in the corner where the gun was placed, the corner furthest from the door. Then I heard a shot and Dunn fell into my arms. As they came in, Dunn called out,
Where the -- is Eda? As he was falling he said,
My God, I᾿ve done it, and he did not speak again. Then my husband went away at once for the doctor.
The gun is said to have been placed in the corner furthest from the door, and that seems to indicate that the two men in struggling together, recrossed the room, for the bloodstains on the floor are close to the doorway. When Sergeant Keane visited the house after Rosier had called, with Dr. Travers, to inform him of the tragedy, the shell had been removed from the gun, which had been loaded in only one barrel, and the weapon had been replaced in the gun-rack.
Dunn had only been in Victoria for about eighteen months, and was better known in Sydney, where, for nearly eight years, he was a clerk in the stores branch of the Penal department of New South Wales. It was while be was in that department that he made the acquaintance of the woman who subsequently became his wife. She was then the wife of Warder Langley, an officer of the same department, who is a son of the present Bishop of Bendigo. Prior to this, Langley and his wife resided in Morwell for some time, but subsequently Langley divorced his wife, and Dunn was cited as co-respondent. Dunn was a short, sturdily-built, and alert looking young man, who had not completed his twenty eighth year, and is described by men who knew him well as a smart young man with a decent education. About a year after he had I married the divorced Mrs Langley, who was some ten years his senior, he inherited a small fortune from his mother. The unhappy story of the married couple᾿s life is best told in Mrs Dunn᾿s own words.
I was married to Dunn at a registry office, she said
about three years ago, after I was divorced from Langley. I think it was a Roman Catholic priest who performed the ceremony. For seven and a half years Dunn had been a clerk in tile Penal department of New South Wales. Two years ago he got £4,000 upon the death of his mother, and that money he squandered in drink and gambling in less than a year. In October 1906, we came to Melbourne, where he obtained temporary employment. We went to live in Jessie street, Coburg, and for a long time we did not go near my brother and his people. He was always a good husband to me except when he was drunk, when he would beat me cruelly. It is about two months since the first time I went to my brother᾿s house in order to escape my husband᾿s cruelty. I thought it better to go away from him when drinking, and I would stay away till he was better. Last Thursday I left him to go to Rosiers᾿, and when he came there after me I was in the breakfast-room. He said I had no business to go away, and he hit me on the right jaw. Mrs Rosier said "You had better go away, I do not want any scene here." He said "I will do as I like. Where is the rifle? I will soon settle her." Mr Rosier prevented him from getting a rifle, and Dunn then left the house. I went out into the street and returned about mid-night. My husband was waiting for me. He hit me several times. He knocked me down till I was almost unconscious. I went into my brother᾿s bedroom, and he went out to prevent Dunn from coaming in. Dunn said, "I will smash her to atoms when I get her." I left and stayed away all night. I came back at daylight, and after breakfast I went to Mrs Irwin᾿s, at Leigh-place off Bridge-road, Richmond. I knew nothing about this terrible affair till Mrs Irwin told me about it on Saturday morning.
Rosier was taken before Mr Carre-Riddell, J P., on Saturday, and remanded to appear at the Caulfield Police Court on Friday.