The Execution of Ah Pew 1870

(Spelling as per the era which it was written)


Riverine Herald




(From the M. A. Mail.)

The quiet neighborhood of Glenluce has been horrified by the murder of a little girl, the daughter of a farmer named Hunt, who for some time has resided at Glenluces. It appears that the murdered child attended a school situated at about two: miles from her home. On Friday she; went to school as usual and did not return, her parents were naturally anxious,, and a search was, instituted.

Glenluce and its surrounding localities is full of prospectors ravines, and deep valleys, besides being, pretty well timbered. Through this kind of country the girl, who was nine years of age, had to walk daily. It was, therefore, at the most surmised that she had either lost her way, and would be easily recovered, or that, if any fatality had over taken her, it was by falling over some rock. The search was continued as far as possible during Friday night, and on Saturday the unfortunate child was found in a small drive at the bottom of a broad hole about five feet deep, and quite dead.  When’ discovered she was lying with her face uppermost, and the drive was not long enough to, admit the whole of her body.

The face was, partially covered with sand, and-leaves, and in as much as some of the sand-had passed into the oesophagus there can be little doubt that she was alive when the sand was forced into her mouth.

On examination, it was evident that she had been beaten about the head though not with sufficient force to break any bones. There had evidently been great pressure towards the neck and behind both, eyes heavy blows with a blunt instrument, had been delivered. The deceased was h fine grown girl, and she has doubtless been the victim to some scoundrel who deprived her of life probably to prevent her identifying him. The child was. seen by one or two of her playmates a short time before her life was :taken,. and we understand that a Chinaman has been arrested on suspicion.




Sydney Morning Herald



(From the Melbourne Daily Telegraph.)  

AT the Castlemaine Circuit Court, on Tuesday, Ah Pew, a  Chinaman, was charged with the murder of Elizabeth Ann Hunt, at Glenluce. Mr. C. A. Smyth and Mr. A. Wyatt prosecuted for the Crown, Mr. G. C. Leech defended the prisoner. The first witness examined was Thomas L. Brown, surveyor, who produced a plan of the locality in connection with the murder. Senior-constable Bell de-posed to the finding of the body; examined the paddock;    found two small pieces of gimp, with fair hair attached; it appeared to have been torn from the head of the child; also some gum scattered over the bottom of the hole; also  found the pipe-stem produced; had not yet touched the  body; when he picked up the pipe the oil was oozing from it, showing it had been recently used; the pipe had been recently broken; the break had a little of the oozing oil on  it; the body was placed in the drive feet first; saw finger marks in some fine sand as if some had been lifted up; afterwards found the bowl of the pipe, from which oil was also oozing at two places, and had  evidently been recently used; then went to the hut of the prisoner because of information received; on the child’s  collar-bone and cheeks were the marks of a boot; placed his  own boot over without touching; it covered exactly; went  to the prisoner’s hut and saw him there with Ah How; had the pipe rolled up in a piece of paper; prisoner was sitting on the side of the bed; began to unroll the pipe; prisoner could not see the pipe, but might have seen the top of the stem, and said, “Me no savee, that not my pipe,” and  got another one from the bed; asked him if he saw the  little girl; prisoner said, “Me mend him cradle; she came on Friday, asked about a boiler; stopped five minutes, and then go away;” asked him where he last saw the child, and he pointed to the hill south-east; asked where he had been on Friday evening; prisoner replied that he never left his hut that evening; asked him if he had seen Sheng Yen; prisoner said, “He came here at 6 o’clock in the morning and went  away, and never saw him again”; found some thread and    twine (produced) in the prisoner’s tent; both corresponded with the thread and twine on the pipe; arrested the prisoner on the following Thursday; found the hat produced  in a box under the prisoner’s bed, found light hairs inside the hat; a jumper was also found; the child’s hat produced is the one found in the hole; a long black hair is inside it like the prisoner’s. Samuel Hunt and his wife gave evidence as to the loss of the child, and the search made for her. Other witnesses gave evidence as to conversations with the prisoner, who denied all knowledge of the  murder. Leonard Naylor had seen the prisoner smoke a pipe similar to the one produced. William Goodwin, a shoemaker, identified the boots produced as those which, in  January last, he repaired for Ah Pew, and the jumper as the one Ah Pew wore. 

Ah How recollected seeing the prisoner speaking to deceased on the afternoon of the murder; went out, and when he returned  Ah Pew had left the hut; prisoner had on the hat produced and check shirt; the boots produced he identified as Ah Pew’s; the pipe also belonged to the prisoner; Ah Pew had it; recollected Dr. Malcolm and a constable coming and showing a pipe; after they went the prisoner said, “Do not say the pipe is mine; yesterday the girl called  me outside, and she perhaps took the pipe away;” Ah Pew also took the boots produced and hid them in an old fireplace, and told him not to say anything about it; did not know until the Monday that the child was dead; he  was arrested with Ah Pew, and at the lock-up, as they were being put in separate cells, Ah Pew told him not to say that the pipe was his(prisoner’s); he saw Ah Pew repair the pipe, and saw Ah Pew smoking it on the Monday and Tuesday of the week of the murder; Ah Pew always  smoked European tobacco, and a good deal of it; only him and Ah Pew had supper together on the evening the girl called there. Several other witnesses were examined, and their evidence went strongly to criminate the prisoner. Mr.Leech made an able defence in his behalf.

His Honour proceeded to sum up to the jury, and ex-pressed his regret that they had had to suffer through the public business not notifying an adjournment. The case was one of circumstantial evidence—more valuable than  direct testimony, because facts cannot lie. During his remarks his Honour said that there could be no doubt but that the pipe was found in the hole, and that the object of the murder was to cover the crime of violation. If he had previously taken liberties with the child, she would have never called for him. The instincts of children  are strong in this respect. There could be no doubt that the child was at Ah Pew’s hut on the evening in question. The prisoner had denied seeing  Sheng Yen that afternoon, and stated that he was not away from his hut after the child left. The pipe had been identified by De Forest, Jun., and Ah How. Others thought it was like the pipe. If they thought the evidence was conclusive, the jury would have little difficulty in believing that the prisoner committed the crime.

 The prisoner had thrown the blame on Mackay, saying that Mackay was loitering about the hut when the girl was there, and that he came to the hut and threatened him not to tell, on the next morning. All this had been proved to be false. If the prisoner’s statement had been ably and properly taken, it had been proved untrue, and therefore told against him. Nothing could be more satisfactory than  the manner in which it was done. It had been interpreted by Mr. Hodges for Mr. Superintendent Winch, read over  and signed. There were a series of circumstances outside  the evidence of Ah How. There was distinct evidence of  the prisoner being away from the hut, although the prisoner said he was not. This was another lie. The evidence of Ah How was most important. His Honour then read it over, and said, if believed, the case against the prisoner was very much strengthened. His statement in reference to the boots was proved by the fact that the boots were found where he said they were hidden. All the circumstances contradicted Ah Pew’s testimony; if they rejected that testimony they would, perhaps, reject the other circumstances as not sufficient to justify a verdict of guilty. The    jury then retired, and after the absence of an hour, re-turned a verdict of guilty.

The Judge, through the interpreter, told the prisoner  

that he had been found guilty on the most cogent evidence, and that no one in Court who had heard the evidence, but must believe that the verdict was a just one. No hope of mercy could be held out on the sentence about to be passed. His Honour then passed sentence of death in the usual manner, the prisoner the whole time saying, “I did not do it.”




Sydney Morning Herald

28/5 1870 


(From the Castlemaine Representative, May 23.)

All during the week the Chinese murderer, Ah Pew, has been lying heavily ironed in his cell—visited only by the officials, his friends, and the clergymen—waiting for his doom. That he has passed through the ordeal with unshaken firmness it is impossible to deny, and to the last he has asserted his innocence. There was no sign of flinching or of terror throughout, and from all we can hear his last night was passed either in sleep or indifferent stupor. The Rev. Mr.Hollis, who was with him several times during the week, was unable to extract any admission of guilt, but the rev. gentleman is of opinion that his discourse produced great effect, and that Ah Pew at the last died “believing in the truth.” The Venerable the Archdeacon also saw the prisoner; but to all, clergymen, friends, and officials, the man now dead has steadily refused to admit his guilt. Bamford, the hangman, arrived here on Saturday afternoon, and all the other preparations having been duly made, the prisoner was informed that at 10 o’clock this morning the sentence would be carried out. At 10 o’clock, the sheriff, Mr. Collee, mounted the steps of the gallery, and, going to the door of the condemned cell, demanded the body of Ah Pew, sentenced to death under vice regal warrant for the murder of Elizabeth Annie Hunt.

The formal surrender was then made by Mr Hyland, the governor, and the prisoner came out from his cell, walking steadily, and looking far calmer than some of the spectators. The Rev. Mr. Hollis, who had been praying with the doomed man previously, came out with him, and the Ven. the Archdeacon was also in the gallery. They had both done all they could for the man’s spiritual comfort, and now the hangman’s work began.

The knot being fixed at the back of the head, the white cap was drawn over the prisoner’s face, the hangman shook his passive hand, a few prayers were muttered by the clergyman, there was a distinctly heard exclamation of “No, no,” and then the crank was touched, the platform fell with a dull thud, and Ah Pew swung lifeless in the center of the corridor.

After hanging the usual time, the body was cut down, and at noon the inquest was held, and the customary verdict re-turned. The post-mortem examination showed that the neck was dislocated, and consequently death must have been instantaneous.

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