By Paul B. Kidd   

England and Australia 1891-1892

Frederick Deeming
Frederick Deeming

Of all of Australia's serial killers, few have been more despised than Frederick Bailey Deeming. While investigating the murder of Deeming's wife in Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, police inquiries led to England where it was discovered that he had committed other grisly murders.

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Deeming was hanged in a Melbourne jail for his crimes. He was so loathed that a crowd of 12,000 gathered on his execution day and cheered uproariously when Demming was declared dead.

The horrifying story of Frederick Deeming's crimes first came to light when police were called on March 3, 1892 to investigate a vile smell emanating from a house at number 57 Andrew Street in Windsor, a Melbourne suburb.

Beneath a hearthstone of the fireplace in the unoccupied dwelling, uniformed police unearthed the decomposing body of a young woman about 30 years old embedded in cement. A post-mortem revealed that her throat had been cut and that she had been dead for about three months. There was no sign of blood anywhere in the house.

Detective Cawsey
Detective Cawsey

The two detectives assigned to the case, Det. Sgts. William Considine and Henry Cawsey immediately set about checking out the cottage's previous tenant. The letting agent told them that the premises had been leased to a man named Druin. A local iron-monger who had delivered some cement, a broom, trowel, closet pan and a spade to Druin a few weeks earlier described him as being in his mid-30s, fair haired with a fair reddish beard and a large distinctive moustache and was of medium height and slight build. The iron-monger also couldn't help but notice that the flamboyant Mr. Druin dressed with a lot of jewelry and spoke loudly with a Lancashire, England, accent.

Tracing a torn luggage ticket they found in the house, Considine and Cawsey discovered that Mr. Druin had arrived in Melbourne from the United Kingdom on Dec. 9, 1891, on the passenger vessel Kaiser Wilhelm II accompanied by his young wife, Emily. He had traveled under the name Albert Williams.

When questioned by detectives, other passengers had no trouble recollecting the loud, boasting, oafish behavior of Mr. Williams who bored anyone he could find to listen to his obviously fictitious adventures to every corner of the globe. He also repeatedly offended the ship's crew by accusing them of stealing his valuables. The passengers and crew were very pleased indeed to see the back end of Mr. Williams.

Suspecting that the putrefying corpse in the cement beneath the fireplace in Windsor was that of Emily Williams, the two detectives issued a nationwide alert for Albert Williams. A description of him and his unusual characteristics was wired to every police station in Australia.

They figured that should Mr. Williams, alias Druin, maintain his described persona, he shouldn't be all that hard to find. They figured correctly.


1. England and Australia 1891-1892

2. The Long Arm of the Law

3. Piecing Together the Truth

4. A Grisly Discovery

5. Extradited

6. Moustache

7. Trial

8. The Author

- Book Titles

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