Piecing Together the Truth

Deeming had arrived from England in 1881. Four years later, he was operating a gas fitting shop in Sydney. He lived with his English wife Marie and their two baby daughters in a house they had bought in the inner Sydney suburb of Petersham.

Those who knew Deeming said that when his gas fitting shop mysteriously burned to the ground and the insurance money fell short of covering his bills, he resorted to petty theft. This included raiding his client's gutterings of lead and selling it as scrap. Irate customers besieged him every time it rained.

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They also said that Deeming was an expert at drawing unwanted attention. He even did a short jail stint after mouthing off in a bar that he had given false evidence in bankruptcy court.

Those who remembered the Deemings recalled his wife as being nothing like the "Emily Williams" found dead at the house in Windsor. In fact she was different in every way, older, shorter and with a much darker complexion. It appeared that there had been two Mrs. Deemings. But where was the original one, the mother of the children?

With Deeming safely locked up in Southern Cross awaiting extradition to Melbourne to face a murder charge, the detectives set about trying to find the missing Mrs. Deeming and the children. The only lead was a crumpled up invitation found in the house to a dinner given by Albert Williams at the Commercial Hotel, Rainhill, a village 14 kilometers east of Liverpool, England.

Now believing that an Albert Williams may actually exist, Dets. Considine and Cawsey telegraphed the Lancashire police asking them to investigate the dinner. If possible, they wanted them to find Mr. Willliams and ask him if he could shed any light on Frederick Deeming's missing wife and young family.

Local police inquiries led them to the Rainhill newsagency, which was owned and operated by a Mrs. Mather. She turned out to be the mother of the dead Emily Williams-Deeming found under the fireplace in the house in Windsor, Victoria. She collapsed when told of her daughter's death.

After she recovered from the horrible news, Mrs. Mather explained that she also ran a Rainhill letting agency. Her daughter had met Mr. Williams, who answered to Deeming's description, when he arrived in Rainhill in late Oct. 1891. He rented a house named Dineham Villa for his employer, a Col. Brooks, who was allegedly arriving from India shortly. The colonel never turned up.

While waiting for his employer to arrive, the free-spending Williams lived at the local Commercial Hotel. Each night he held court at the hotel's bar, spinning tales of his global adventures.

Emily Mathers Williams
Emily Mathers Williams

Emily Mathers fell for him and they were married in Rainhill on Sept. 22, 1891. Williams threw a lavish reception before departing for London with his bride to board the {Kaiser Wilhelm II} on its voyage to Australia, where they intended to spend their honeymoon. Williams left in his wake a pile of unpaid bills in both Rainhill and London.      

There was talk among the Rainhill locals of a woman and children living at Dineham Villa. A neighbor remembered talking to a boy and a girl one afternoon after they had asked if they could have some of his strawberries. Before he could learn anything more, the pair was called inside by a woman who then abruptly closed the door and curtains.

There were also other brief sightings of the woman and her children by other neighbors. Now they seemed to have vanished. Liverpool police who visited Dineham Villa and broke in were confronted with the most pungent smell, a smell that is identifiable immediately to anyone who has ever experienced it — the unmistakable odor of death.

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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