A daring outrage – the criminal caught

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LAST Tuesday afternoon, Frankston was thrown into a frenzy of excitement, when it became known that a most diabolical attempt at outrage had been made upon a little girl of ten years.

The State school boys were playing a cricket match in the Park, and when the school was dismissed for the day, the other children ran down to the park to see the game.

The Head Teacher (Mr Jennings) was umpiring at the time, and a little girl dashed impetuously to him and said, “A strange man has dragged one of the girls into the scrub and she is crying out!’’

Mr Jennings called both teams to him, dispatched two boys on bicycles to the police, and in less than half a minute, the cricketers, followed by over a hundred other children, scattered and were dashing through the scrub in feverish haste.

The search was fruitless until Jack Matson, noticing that a very dense portion had been missed, called to Eric Johnson and Leslie Ryan to help him search it.

Immediately afterwards Matson heard a cry and dashing forward found the girl just raising from the ground and pulling at a handkerchief that gagged and blindfolded her.

Aided by his two plucky followers, he assisted her out to the road, and very soon over fifty friends were around her.

The thankfulness and relief was great when it was finally ascertained that the half-frantic child was otherwise absolutely unharmed.

Matson, as a mate said, had “used his nut” but he did not know that he had averted a tragedy by a few seconds, and that the diabolical fiend had glided away, on his timely approach, and emerged about two chains away on the road just as Mr Jennings arrived at the same place.

The culprit dashed off up Baxter St and a long chase up the sandy road and past the Roman Catholic Chapel ensued.

Mr Jennings gained to within ten yards of him, and the capture seemed certain, when the follow hurled himself through the railway fence and down the big cutting.

His pursuer somewhat puzzled at first, followed him but, on reaching the top of the far side found he had disappeared into the ti-tree nearby.

Mr Jennings then searched the scrub towards the railway station, but seeing nothing of the fugitive, he phoned from the station to the Station Master at Seaford giving particulars and a description of the culprit.

The station master replied, “The scoundrel shall pass Seaford neither by road or rail” and Mr Page meant what he said.

Meanwhile Constable Dybald discovered that the fellow had gone from the scrub near the railway bridge, and from that moment the constable was so ubiquitous that, as one man said afterwards “you’d think there were seven Dybalds on the job.”

Senior-Constable Bray organised a party, and scoured the country in another strategic locality.

Mr Parker did splendid work with his motor car and was preparing to drive off home after dropping, the two officers at the police station, when the senior called out “Stop Parker! Seaford! 50 miles an hour!”

Seaford’s S.M. had kept his word, and the “suspect” who gave the name of Leach, was soon under lock and key, and Frankston mothers heaved a sigh of relief.

Leach appeared before Mr Lasslett, J.P. and was remanded till next Monday.

***

THE monthly meeting of the Frankston Mechanics’ Institute Committee was held on Monday. Present: Cr. Mason (president), Cr. Oates, Messrs. Wheeler, Lasslett, W. W. Young, Wilcox, W. C. Young, and the secretary, Mr. C. Dalman.

The president extended a welcome to Mr. Wilcox as a new member of the committee.

Reference was made to complaints received in connection with unruly conduct of young people at picture shows held in the hall, and it was resolved to take action to ensure the comfort of adults who went to the “movies” for an hour’s enjoyment.

The action of the president in loaning forms to the Frankston State school was endorsed.

Authority was given to have about two dozen chairs repaired.

***

BOWLERS will be interested in the Dunlop rubber bowls now on view at Messrs. G. E. Rogers and Sons Frankston.

These bowls, said to be equal to wood or excible, are £5/5/- per set of four, or £2/12/6 per pair.

We note that Mr. L. G. Rogers was elected in the Mordlialloc team on Wednesday last to play in a competition against Camberwell.

***

THIS week’s “Table Talk” announces the engagement of Miss Edith Mason, youngest daughter of Mr W. Mason (ex-sergeant of Police) and the late Mrs S Mason, of “Masonbrook”, Blythe St., Brunswick, to Mr Leslie Rogers, (late A.I.F.), eldest son of Mr and Mrs. G. E. Rogers, “Sophiaville”, Honor Avenue, Frankston.

***

WE are pleased to state that Cr H. E. Unthank is making a great recovery.

***

THE death occurred Wednesday last, at the Melbourne Hospital, of Mr. W. Martin, of Somerville, after a short illness.

Deceased was highly respected.

The annual meeting of the Somerville Mechanics’ Institute adjourned last night till the 11th inst, as a mark of respect.

***

THE members of the Frankston branch of the R.S.S.I.L.A. entertained representatives of the Mornington Racing Club Committee at a “smoke night’’ in the Frankston Mechanics’ Hall on Saturday night last.

Other guests present included the gentlemen who had provided a guarantee fund of £260 to ensure the recent race meeting against loss.

Crs. Oates and Wells represented the shire council, and in addition to prominent officials and committeemen of the Mornington Racing Club a large number of returned soldiers attended from the adjoining town.

It was a gay company, numbering upwards of 100 that sat down to the “festive board.”

The 2 tables were most artistically arrayed by Mrs. Wilcox, Mrs. Dalman, and Miss Gregory, and fairly groaned under the excellence of good things provided.

Mr. A. G. .Wilcox; president of the Frankston branch of the R.S.S.I.L.A., presided.

Apologies were received from Messrs H. Masterton and H. J. McCulloch.

Before proceeding with the lengthy programme the company rose and maintained an impressive silence for some moments out of respect to the fallen.

The toast of “The King” having been duly honoured, the president proposed “The Mornington Racing Club.”

He referred to the sportsman-like manner in which the Club had helped the Frankston Soldiers’ Memorial movement.

From the very first the committee had received the proposal to hold a benefit race meeting on their course with the warmest enthusiasm, and the magnificent success attained bore testimony to their sincerity of purpose.

The Frankston returned soldiers were under a deep debt of gratitude to the Mornington Racing Club for the helping hand thus extended to this soldiers’ movement.

Mr Wilcox specially thanked the Club’s secretary for the untiring energy displayed in bringing the race meeting to a successful issue.

***

FROM the pages of the Mornington Standard, 5 March 1920

First published in the Mornington News – 10 March 2020

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