THE CASTERTON MURDER.
In our previous number we alluded to a very re- markable trial which for several days occupied the attention of the Portland Circuit Court, and which resulted in the conviction of a man named George Warnes, for the wilful murder of Mr. and Mrs. Hunt, about eighteen months previously. The case was tried by His Honor Mr. Justice Pohlman, and the prisoner was defended by very able counsel, Mr. Ireland, at whose instigation a point of law was reserved on behalf of the prisoner, to the effect that there was no evidence the Hunts were dead, nor was there any identification of the bones which had been discovered. We venture to say there is nothing in either of these points, and as the learned Judge who tried the case told the prisoner, when passing sentence of death upon him, that in the event of the legal ob- jections which had been raised, and which would be argued before a higher Court, being untenable, he should certainly not recommend any remission of sentence, there can be little doubt the unhappy cul-
prit will suffer the extreme penalty of the law. Of his guilt, no one who reads the evidence adduced at the trial, which occupies many columns of the Melbourne papers, can, we think, entertain the shadow of a doubt. The motive ap- pears to have been to obtain possession of his victim's landed property without paying for it. He had purchased it from them and had given a bill for it, but just prior to the bill arriving at maturity the Hunt's disappeared and Waines took possession of the pro- perty, remaining upon it up to the time of his arrest for the murder. Although suspicion had for a long time rested upon Waines the police were completely baffled in their efforts to trace to him anything which would criminate him, and he would probably have eluded detection but for the exertions and tact of a detective officer named Brown, who engaged him- self as a generally useful man at an inn at Casterton, scraped an acquaintance with the prisoner, and caused
himself to be arrested as a ticket-of-leave holder out of his district on the same day that Waines was arrested on suspicion of the murder. There was nothing at all against Waines at the time of his arrest; but after he was in custody, being placed in the same cell with Brown, he confessed that he murdered the Hunts, and placed the bodies, or portions of them, where the remains were subsequently found. Waines' con- fession to Brown was, no doubt, induced by a belief that the authorities were about to have that portion of the Glenelg River, in which the remains had been placed, dragged, and Waines stated that he had on the very day he was arrested observed that a piece of one of the bodies, two hips and one thigh- bone, had escaped from the bag in which he had placed it and was observable at the bottom of the river, looking, as he described it, "white,like mutton." He promised Brown £300 if he would remove this and other evidences of his guilt. There can be no doubt that after the murder Waines cut his victims into pieces for the convenience of removing them, de- positing portions in different places. Brown describes Waines as having been fearfully excited at the time he had made the confession. When Waines was arrested he was merely told that he was wanted at the Police Station, and proceeded there on horseback, the constable who arrested him being on foot. On their way to the Police Station they had to pass the water- hole, where portions of the bodies were afterwards found, and on getting to the river Waines asked the constable to go a-head, as he wanted to water his horse. The constable did so, and some days after- wards Waines said to him, " Did you remark me coming down the river side on the day of the arrest ? The constable said " Yes, I thought you were longer than you ought to be," to which Waines replied,
"Yes, I went in to see the body and saw it floating along the river." Mrs. Chaffey, the landlady of the Glenelg Inn, where Waines was at one time employed, stated that upon the day on which the bones were found, she was passing the cell in which Waines was confined, when he called to her, and upon going to him he said, " Mrs. Chaffey, I am guilty of the crime I am accused of," and upon her expressing astonish- ment and asking him what on earth could induce him to commit such a crime, he said, " It was first jealousy. They had made up so many tales about my wife that I had made up my mind to do away with them." Mrs. Chaffey asked him if he killed them both on the same night, and he said that he had, and made away with them. He was very desirous at this interview that Mrs. Chaffey should visit him at his cell again that evening, stating that he wished to make a will and that he was anxious his wife should be present. He said he should wish Hunt's friends to have the property he took from them, and then that all debts should be paid and Mrs. Waines have the remainder and go to England, and that if she were inclined to marry again he had no objection. He said he would rather that she should go to England, as he thought if she married in the colony she would get hold of some scamp of a fellow who would take all
she had and then leave her. He also said that he hoped they would not wait till Court day to convict him, as he knew he would be hung, and the sooner the better. To a constable named
Comyns, Waines, upon the day the bones were found, remarked " This is a horrible case," and he then pro- ceeded to state that Mrs. Waines knew nothing about it. He appeared anxious to know whether Hunt's friends would get back the property, adding that if belonged to them ; and upon Comyns remarking to him " Then you must be guilty of this crime," Waines answered that he was. Mr. George Chaffey, publican, at Casterton, stated that on the 27th March he was passing near the lockup when Waines called to him,
and on Mr. Chaffey remarking "This is a dreadful crime for which you are committed," Waines replied, " It is." Mr. Chaffey remarked, " It is my opinion you cut those bodies into pieces, placed them in bags, and distributed them in various parts of the bush," Waines replied, "No ; I never cut them up, but the parts which have been found must have got out of the bags in which I placed them, and it is a part of the male and not of the female." We may here remark that Waines was indicted for the murder of Mary Hunt. There can be no doubt he added to his catalogue of crimes by denying that he cut up the bodies after the murder. A neighbour residing about three quarters of a mile from the property formerly occupied by the Hunts, having fancied that she heard some screams upon the night on which the murder is supposed to have been com- mitted, Mr. Chaffey asked Waines whether there were any screams ? to which he replied " No, they had no time to scream, for after treating them to some grog, which I took from the inn, and paying them for the land, Mrs. Hunt asked me could I allow them the use of the hut for a fortnight while Hunt went to look for something to do ?" to which, said Waines, "I replied that they could not, as Baxter was about to occupy it," and she then said "Oh, that's that b—— ——'s work at the Wannon," meaning my wife, and I immediately struck her with what I had in my hand, and I struck Hunt at the same moment, so that they had no time to scream. These confessions, corroborated as they are by other evidence, establish beyond the possibility of doubt the guilt of the
MB. T. S. STACEY, RUNDLE-STREET.—We are happy to learn that this gentleman, an old and respected colonist, who has been confined to a sick bed for the last four months, is now progressing favorably, although slowly.
SUPREME COURT.—The Court did not sit on Saturday, as previously arranged, for hearing the arguments on rules, but will take them to-day.