25/08/1917 - POLICE HAVE INSTRUMENT WHICH BEARS BLOOD STAIN

Could Have Been Used in Dealing Blow That May Have Killed MacRobbie

A New Feature Which Renews Interest in the Tragic Death

The belief that Dr. Douglas G. MacRobbie, the young Hamilton physician whose almost lifeless body was found to an upstairs storeroom of the Crescent Oil Company, on Cannon street west, late last Sunday night, came to his death by violent means is growing in the minds of the authorities and those delegated to investigate the tragedy. It is now definitely known that the police have in their possession a large piece of wood in the shape of a mould, which was picked up near the dying man by the police shortly after their arrival. The piece of wood is spattered at one end with a deep blood stain, but whether this patch got there as the result of an accident, or the mould was used to inflict the blow which caused the deep wounds at the base of the deep wounds at the base of the doctor’s skull, is still a matter of conjecture. The weapon is semicircular in shape and measures about three and three-quarters of an iron in diameter. It is about two feet in length and weighs in the neighborhood of three pounds.

According to one of the doctors who examined it, the stick could not be handled in an offensive way by anyone with one hand. Using both hands, an assailant could deal a very heavy blow, sufficiently severe, it is thought to cause the deep gashes in the back of the dead man’s head despite the fact the weapon is not very heavy. There is only one blood spot on the stick, and that is located close to one end, and covers an area about two inches square. As yet the blood spatter has not been analyzed by the expert engaged upon the case, and it is stated that this will not be done until the article in question is produced in evidence.

While the authorities have not had the clothing of Smith, McAuliffe or Scott examined by the analyst with a view of ascertaining if there are any blood stains, all the wearing apparel worn by the three men on the night of MacRobbie’s death is now in the hands of Detective Sayer. This officer has made no announcement of his findings in this regard.

Smith, Scott and McAuliffe, who are still being held at the Barton street jail, without bail, were photographed by Police Photographer McHaffle yesterday. It was apparent that the three men keenly felt their position, but they submitted graciously, having no alternative in the matter. The usual face and profile plates were taken, and they will be place in the police record in the regular way.

License Inspector Sturdy, with the co-operation of the local police, is working on the liquor end of the case. According to the evidence submitted at the inquest, the three had been drinking on the night of the tragedy. The fact has also been established that MacRobbie had consumed a quantity of liquor immediately prior to his death. As the supply of intoxicants, apparently, did not come through in the regular way, the authorities are endeavoring to discover where the liquor was secured. The case was so complicated, Inspector Sturdy said this morning, that their efforts had as yet, met with little success.

August 27th, 1917

CROWN REFUSED BAIL FOR THE THREE PRISONERS

Smith, McAuliffe and Scott Were in Police Court Dock Today

Authorities Think They Have Further Evidence of a Struggle

That the death of Dr. Douglas MacRobbie in the upstairs premises of the Crescent Oil Company was preceded by a struggle or scuffle of some kind became almost an established fact, following new and important evidence unearthed by the police. Although great importance was attached to the testimony of Mrs. Powis, the half Indian who stated that she heard cries for help emanating from the building late Sunday night, it was thought that she may have confused these noises with the cries of her babe. Her story, however, is substantiated by Mrs. William Baker, of 83 Barton street east, who was passing the scene of the tragedy a few minutes after 11 o’clock Sunday night.

Mrs. Baker was very reticent when seen by the Times reporter this morning, but she passed the Crescent Oil Company a few minutes after the hour, in company with her 15-year-old son George, returning to her home on Barton street by a short cut down Cannon street, after a visit to her sister, Mrs. Samuel Freeman, at 37 Inchbury street. She is quite positive of the time, as when she passed the Hess Street School the clock in the tower was striking the hour.

As she passed the building, she says, the upper part was brilliantly lighted. This did not strike her as being unusual, but just as she passed the door, she heard a gurgling sound, which attracted her attention. “My God, what is that?” she exclaimed to her son, as she stopped momentarily to recover from her sudden fright. The sound, however, had subsided, and she heard it no more. Standing out in deep silhouette on the window shade. However, she saw the upper part of a man’s figure. He appeared to be in his shirt sleeves, and from his appearance, she adjudged that he must have been asleep as he never moved. He was sitting in a half reclining position, with his body projecting above.

The silent witness of this extraordinary event never waited to inquire into the matter, but hurried on to her home. It was not until next day that she read in the papers of the death of Dr. MacRobbie and her mind went back to the scene of the night before. So shocked was she that for several nights after she could not sleep. The vision of the mysterious happenings which were being enacted behind the drawn shades and the unusual sounds she had heard, as she passed, constantly recurred to her. Mrs. Baker has told her story to the police, and it is considered that she and her son, who also heard the noises will be important witnesses at the adjourned inquest next Friday night.

The statements of Mrs. Baker support those of Mrs. Powis, although the description of the sounds coming from the building, differ to some extent. Mrs. Powis maintains that she heard four cries for help, while Mrs. Baker explains that the noise she heard sounded muffled, as if someone was holding their hand over the other’s mouth. 

WERE ALL DRUNK

“Sandy” Lemond, residing on Troley street on the mountain, a former employee at the old Schwendiman farm, substantiates the story, that the Smith, McAuliffe and Scott, visited the former’s farm on the mountain, on the day of the tragedy. Lemond states that he met the three men in an automobile and they invited him to join them and go out to the farm. He accepted, but deeply regretted his course after he had gotten into the car and proceeded a short distance. The men, he says, were all drunk and drove so recklessly, that he (Lemond), had visions of an upset into the ditch. When the party arrived at the farm, they got no liquor, Lemond stated, but they were so intoxicated that he was frightened to return back with them, and he contemplated making the five miles back home on foot. Smith, who appeared the most sober of the three persuaded him however, to get in the car again, stating that he would drive. Smith’s farm, the driver swerved the car from the road and they passed right across the creek, through about two feet of water at a reckless pace. Fortunately, the automobile did not crash lemond is not sure who drove the car on the way on the way out to the old farm.

RE-EXAMINED WOUNDS

Drs. Langs and Parry, who performed the autopsy, absolutely refused, when questioned by the Times, to discuss the report that Dr. MacRobbie’s body had been disinterred for the purpose of clearing up several facts, which had cropped up since the postmortem had been made. It was stated, however, by Coroner McNichol, that this had been done and that in keeping the affair dark, the authorities had done so purely for sentimental reasons.

“I had no object in keeping it a secret,” said the coroner, “beyond the fact that I wanted to spare the feelings of Dr. MacRobbie’s aged father, who seemed terribly worked up when he heard rumors that the re-examination had taken place. When asked by the newspapers on Saturday if I had written an order for the exhumation. I said ‘no’. That was perfectly true. I only gave a verbal order and up to the present time I have given no signed order.

While it is believed that the purpose of the move was to permit of a further examination of the wounds on the head of the dead man, the physicians working on the case refused to confirm this. Coroner McNichol stated that while this was his belief, he could not state positively, as he had not received any report from the medical men. In the opinion of those in close touch with the case, there may be some connection between the exhumation and the blood-stained piece of wooden moulding, which was found near MacRobbie’s body and which is now in possession of the police. While the doctors have not made any statement following their investigations, it is said that the appearance of the wounds point to the fact that they were caused by a blow. Consequently, this probable weapon is considered to be one of the most important pieces of evidence, to be submitted, when the enquiry is resumed next Friday night.

According to the police, the three men now in custody in connection with the case – Smith, McAuliffe and Scott – have been given every opportunity to clear themselves. When arrested and questioned they were allowed to make a statement, and all absolutely denied any connection with MacRobbie’s death, and maintained they were ignorant and innocent of the crime. In statements made to Coroner McNichol, Smith repeatedly said, “I don’t know a thing about it,” according to Dr. McNichol yesterday.

That the authorities are “up against it” and really have not made a great deal of progress towards the solution of the mystery is generally admitted. Detective Sayer has been working diligently on the case, but any new facts brought it only seem to add to the complexity of the case.

“It is the most complicated case I have ever had anything to do with,” said Coroner McNichol to the Times reporter yesterday. “The Kinrade affair was easy beside it. There we knew how the girl died, and all we had to do was find the person who shot her. In this case there are so many possibilities that we have to eliminate that it becomes more and more difficult as we proceed.”

NO BAIL

The benchers at the Police Court this morning were on the clock when. Smith, McAuliffe and Scott, the three men who loom so largely in the MacRobbie case, tiled into the prisoners pen. George W. Ballard, of the law firm of Ballard & Morrison, and M. J. O’Relly, K.C., asking that as they on charged with the nominal offence of being vagrants that they be given their liberty on bail.

“I will be guided by the advice of the Crown Attorney in this matter,” said the Magistrate.

“The matter is too serious to take any chances,” remarked Mr. Washington shaking his head in the negative.

“My advice is that bail be not granted.”

The prisoners did not seem very disappointed at the conclusion of the Crown, and were immediately returned to the cells.

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