The Execution of Elizabeth Scott 1863


Elizabeth Scott was the first woman hanged in the state of Victoria for her involvement in the Murder of her Husband. She was seen as a scheming woman who talked her younger lover to shoot her husband. The young bloke could not do it by himself and in turn enlisted the help of a third party who pulled the trigger. All three swung.

(Spelling as per the era  in which it was written)


Newcastle Chronicle




Julian Cross, David Gudge, and Elizabeth Scott were indicted, at the Beechworth Circuit Court, on the 23rd instant, before  his Honour the Chief Justice, for having, on the1 1 1 It April, 1863, feloniously and of malice forethought, killed and murdered William Scott. The prisoners pleaded not guilty.

Elims Ellis deposed that, on the 13thApril, he and his wife were coming from the Jamieson to Melbourne. Knew the deceased Robert Scott. He kept a refreshment house, between the Devil’s River and Mansfield  Camped about 27 yards off the shanty. Went there and saw deceased. He was lying down. Saw the prisoner also. After feeding the horses, asked the prisoner to go with him and have a shot at the kangaroo. Said  I am Sorry to see the man Scott so bad ?’ ‘ Yes, he is very bad ; he’ll soon die.’ When they came he had his tea, and his wife, went to keep the prisoner Scott company. She came back between nine and ten o’clock.

They went to bed. His wife went to sleep, but he lay awake, and about eleven or twelve o’clock he heard the report of a gun or pistol. It was a very loud one. Directly afterwards heard footsteps approaching the dray from the direction of the house.

It’ was instantly after the report It was the prisoner Gedge, who said, ‘ Ellis, are you asleep ?’ Witness said, ‘No, I am not.’ He replied,’ For God’s sake get up, Bob has shot himself.” Did not stop to dress, but taking his trousers iu his hand, ran to the house.

Went into me Kitchen. Before he entered the house, he saw the prisoner Scott standing at the kitchen door. Did not speak to her. Gedge was still with him. Went into the sleeping room ; there was a little smoke in it. Saw the deceased, Robert Scott, lying on the bed. Took the candle and examined him.

He was lying on his right side, with his face to the bark, and his right arm under him. His left hand was On his side. Saw a pistol in the bed; it lay outside the clothes, between his right hand and his knees. Believed the pistol produced is the one that was on the bed. He stayed about ten minutes in the room. The sketch produced he recognised as a representation of the premises. Saw a wound about an inch below the left ear; it was bleeding freely.

Saw some wadding: about the edge of the wound. When he went out again in the kitchen the prisoners Gedge and Cross were there. His wife was also there. Witness said, ‘ This is a bad job ; there’ll be a coroner’s inquest over this job, and something worse after that.’ Witness then put on his trousers. Witness said, ‘ It is impossible for the man to have shot himself, from the position in which he was lying.

‘The prisoner Scott said, ‘Ellis, were you ever on a coroner’s inquest? Replied Yes, on several ; with what did the man shoot himself ?” Both the prisoners, Scott and Gedge, replied together,  A pistol. ‘Asked ‘ What pistol?’ He said ‘The one that lays on the bed.’

 Asked ‘ Where was it kept?’ The prisoner Scott said on the shelf over his head. She did not know what it was loaded with; it had been there for some days. Witness replied, ‘ What stupid woman you are not to have removed the pistol, when you knew the state your husband was in.’ Then he asked ‘ Where were you when the pistol went off?’ Both of them said, ‘Outside, in the kitchen.

‘When witness said it was impossible for the deceased to have shot himself, Gedge went into the room and stayed a second or two and came out again. Before he went into the room he whispered to the prisoner Scott.

Asked where the prisoner Cross was , they said in his room. Replied they had better call him up. Told them they had better send for the police or to Mr. Chenery.

Gedge then went out to the middle room, and called ”Julian! Julian ! Julian !’ The prisoner Cross answered, ..the third call.

When he answered and came in, he said nothing until witness said they had better send for Mir. Chenery. They agreed to send Cross on horseback, and he said as he was going out, ‘ Missus, have you ‘any money ?’She said, ‘ What for ?” Ho replied, ‘ To get a nobbler ; when I get there I shall be cold. He was away to get the horse for nearly half-an-hour. When he came back, he said it was so dark he couldn’t see the horse.

Witness then said to his wife, ‘ The poor man’s dead, and we can do no more for him; lot us go to bed.’ Gedge pulled down a bag of chaff, and lay down upon it. Cross went into his room, and then witness left and went to his dray, but did not go to sleep. Between four and five in the morning, heard footsteps again approaching the dray, when Gedge said, ‘Ellis, are you asleep?’ ‘Replied, ‘ No.’ He said, ‘ Getup, I want to tell you a secret.’ Got up, and walked half way with him to the woodheap. Ho said, ‘I could not tell you last night, but will tell you now. witness said, Well, what is it?’ He replied, ‘It was the black fellow that shot Bob.” Witness said, ‘Is it possible?’ He answered, ‘Yes, and I am going to the police to have him taken in charge. Keep it dark from the women, and keep an eye on him until I come back.

Told him not to be away long he said he would not. Sometime after Gedge left, witness went to the shanty, and saw tho prisoners Scott and Cross. About seven o’clock in the morning, witness was going to his dray to got breakfast, when the prisoner Scott said, ‘ Don’t go away, Ellis, till you. get the children. Witness asked where they were, and she said in the room. 

Went in and got them out, and also clothes for thorn and the prisoner Scott. They all then went and had breakfast at his dray.

About half past ten the police came, and Cross was taken into custody. John Bruce, mounted constable, deposed to seeing the prisoner Gedge on the morning of the 12th April, at the station at Mansfield. He said Bob Scott was shot, and he wanted to give a man named Julian Cross in charge for shooting him.  

Proceeded with constable Duigun, and on the road Gedgo stated ”that he was sitting by the kitchen fire watching Scott, and about half past eleven o’clock, Julian Cross came in with a gun in his hand, and passed into the room where Scott was lying. He heard the report of a gun, and Julian Cross came out and covered him with a pistol, and said, if he did not swear by his God, not to split on him, he would shoot him. Gedge said he took the oath. On arriving at the shanty, saw Cross outside, and arrested him. Told him what for, and gave him the usual caution. He replied, ‘I’m innocent, but I know I’ll hang for it.’

Searched him, but found nothing on him. During this time, he lost sight of Gedge Went then to the shanty to see the body. Mrs. Scott was outside the door.. Went in with constable Duigan and Cross to the bedroom, where the body was lying. There was a wound behind, the left ear. He was lying on his back, partly inclined to his right side. His legs were drawn upwards. There was a chamber on the bed containing vomit. Searched for a pistol, but could not find one.

Ellis had told him there was a pistol on the bed. Came out and found the pistol produced, one table, in the kitchen. Gedge came in, and Julian Cross said, ‘I may thank you for this.’ Gedge said, ‘ Yes, it’s my turn now, I’m not frightened of you.’ I found the gun in the kitchen. Examined it; it bore the appearance of being recently discharged. Examined the pistol. The right barrel was rusted, and did not appear to have been discharged for some time. The left barrel had powder in the chamber, and a cap that appeared to have been recently exploded. Distinctly saw the powder. There was no ball or shot in it.


On Monday the inquest was held, and Cross, on the road, wanted to make a statement. Witness cautioned him, and he said, ‘ I was in bed when Gedge came to me with a pistol, and said, ‘ I’ve fired at Scott, and it would not go off. You come out and fire at him.’ ”I said no, ‘perhaps missus don’t want me to do so.’ He said, ‘ Oh, yes, get up and see her.’ He got up and went into the kitchen, and saw Mrs. Scott there. I said, ‘ Do you want me to shoot Scott.” . She replied, ‘ Yes,” and gave me a glass of brandy.

 I took up the gun, and went into the bedroom, and shot Scott. When I went back into the kitchen, Mrs. Scott was not there. Gedge went and told Ellis that Bob had shot himself, and I went to bed. ‘On arriving at the shanty, he further added, ‘ I tried to draw the charge, and could not. I then poured boiling water down it, and washed it out. Gedge then took the shot, put it in a frying-pan, melted it, bored a hole in the ground, and made bullets. I then dried the gun, loaded it, and shot Scott.

 James Edwards, detective officer, stationed at the Jamieson, deposed to arresting the prisoners Scott and Gedge, for being accessory to the murder of David Scott, on the road to the Jamieson. Gedge made a statement. Witness warned him, and he said, ‘ On the Saturday night after Mrs. Ellis went out, Scott began scolding the missus. Cross cried out, ” What’s the matter?’ I replied, ‘Scott is scolding the missus.” He then came out and took up the gun, and drew the two charges of shot from the gun, having had to pour water into one barrel to get it out. He then put tho shot in a frying-pan on the fire. He then told me to get some clay and wet it, and to make a mould and put it to the fire, and then, when the lead was melted, to pour it in. The bullet was too large for the pistol, and he told me to file it to make it fit, so that it would appear as if Scott had shot himself. I then gave Cross the bullet, and he loaded the pistol, and afterwards drew the ball, but I remember he left some powder in it. I then gave him another bullet, which he left. Went into the little room where  Mrs. Scott was, and told her to go out.

She went through the kitchen where Julian Cross was. I went into the bedroom to see if Scott was asleep. He was not, but he then was stupid with drink. Cross came to the door, and shot him. I then went down and woke Eliis. As I went down I saw Mrs. Scott outside. Ellis then returned with me. That is the truth, and nil I have to say.’ On questioning Mrs. Scott, she said, ‘ I know nothing about it. I was outside. I had gone to see if Mrs. Ellis had gone to bed, as she had not bid me good night. His Honour, in summing up, clearly laid down what constituted the crime of murder. He asked the jury to separate the confessions of the prisoners. Whatever Cross said must not affect Gedge or Scott, so whatever Gedge said must not affect either Cross or Scott, and whatever Scott said affected herself alone, and not the others. His Honour then carefully went over the evidence, concluding his address at ten minutes to five o’clock, when the jury retired.

After a consultation of half an hour, the jury returned a verdict of guilty against the prisoners.

His Honour then very impressively addressed the prisoners. As a judge, he concurred in the verdict of the jury ; and, although their casa would go before the Governor and the Executive Council, he could hold out no hope whatever to any of them. Sentence of death was passed in the usual form.



South Bourke Standard


The three criminals—Elizabeth Scott,

David Gedge, and Julian Cross, convicted on the 23rd October, at Beechworth, of the  murder of the husband of the female prisoner some six months before—were executed  on Wednesday morning, at the Melbourne Gaol, according to the forms prescribed by the Private Executions Act. This was the  first instance of a female being hanged in this colony, and in consequence of some apprehension being felt that there would be a crowd of spectators in the Gaol, the sheriff altered the time appointed for the execution from ten o’clock to half-past nine. In consequence of this anticipation of the usual  hour, there were only some forty persons present, including the officials of the gaol. The three culprits having been severally brought from their cells and pinioned, they proceeded to the scaffold, Cross leading, and the woman following last, all three showing great firmness and self-possession. On the drop, Scott asked Gedge if he was not going to clear her, but the latter made no reply.The final arrangements were made with unusual despatch and precision, so that scarcely one minute elapsed from the time they reached the drop until the sentence of the law was carried out upon them, and they all died without a struggle. Scott was attended in her last days by the dean of Melbourne,who also visited her yesterday morning. The Rev. Studdert constantly visited Gedge and also Scott. Julian Cross, a native of Macao, China, born in 1830, and early educated as a Roman Catholic, was a cook, unable to read or write. He was in Melbourne Gaol attended by the Rev. Father Williams and the Rev. Dr. Bleasdale. The woman Scott described herself as having been born at Twickenham, Middlesex, in 1840; and her account of herself was that she left Eng-land for the Canturbury settlement, New Zealalnd, in 1852. She stated that she was married to her late husband when she was only fourteen years of age, and had had five children by him, of whom the eldest, aged nine years, and the youngest, two years,alone survive. She could read and write,and had two married sisters resident in this colony, living in respetable circumstances.The latter visited her several times in prison.

The prisoner Gedge described himself as a farm labourer, born at Deptford, in Kent, in 1814, and arrived in this colony by the ship Persian, in 1853. His mother went to see him every day after he came to Melbourne.Neither of the prisoners had been previously convicted of any offence against the laws,and their conduct while in gaol was marked  by propriety and submission. It is to be feared, however, that the hope of a reprieve was entertained by Scott and Gedge until the latest moment. One hour after the execution, the bodies were cut down, and the usual inquest was held as required by law,

Mr. W. G. Brett, deputy sheriff of the Beech-worth district, proved the identity of the prisoners executed with those sentenced to death at the Beechworth Circuit Court on the 23rd October. Mr. Farie, sheriff of Victoria, produced the warrant under which the execution took place pursuant to sentence. Mr. Wintle, governor of the Melbourne Gaol, proved having received the three persons executed from Beechworth on the 4th instant. The jury returned the usual formal verdict.


Filed under Women

11 responses to “The Execution of Elizabeth Scott 1863

  1. Hi loved the report but I think you should check source for alleged elizabeth’s mugshot. I do no think it is her.

  2. Colin Rimington J.P.

    Was Elizabeth Scott ever held in the Beechworth gaol from the time of the arrest until taken to Melbourne and executed

  3. Amber Gedge

    Thank you so much for this report, David Gedge was my great, great, great uncle, and I’m writing a book on his story.

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