20/08/1917 - WELL-KNOWN MEDICAL MAN FOUND WITH SKULL CRUSHED
Police Believe Dr. MacRobbie May Have Met With Foul Play
Three Well-Know Citizens Held—Blood-Spattered Room Tells of Struggle.
*PICTURE* DR. D. G. MACROBBIE Well-known physician who was found dead about midnight in the office of the Crescent Oil Company, Cannon and Caroline streets. In connection with the affair the police are holding tree other well-known citizens, pending the inquest, which opened at noon to-day.
Another mysterious death was reported to the police about one o’clock this morning, when the body of Dr. D. G. MacRobbie, 58 Hess street, was discovered by the night watchman of the Crescent Oil Co., lying in the office of the company, corner of Caroline and Cannon streets, in a pool of blood. Detective Harry Sayers, who was on night duty at the Central Police Station received the message from Herbert L. Asselstine, who, finding the side door to the office open, investigated and made the ghastly discovery of Dr. MacRobbie lying in a pool of his own blood beside one of the heavy office tables.
The first act of Mr. Asselstine after finding the body, was to call Manager Harry Bell of the Crescent Oil Co., who immediately called Dr. Langs and Dr. McNichol, who upon arrival, pronounced the man dead from one and one-half hours to two hours before they arrived. The police were notified, Detective Sayers arriving at the scene of the tragedy between one and two o’clock. The remains were removed in the ambulance to the City Hospital morgue, where it was viewed by the jury at 12 noon to-day.
That the death of Dr. MacRobbie its surrounded in deep mystery, and that there are suspicions of foul play in connection with the finding of the body at that hour in the office of the Crescent Oil Co., is borne out by three arrests made by Detective Sayers, who took into custody Harry Smith, the manager of the company, 187 Jackson street west; Joseph McAuliffe, a real estate agent, 9 1-2 John street north and Walter Scott, 419 Bay street north, all three being lodged in the cells.
It was stated that the skull of the victim had a deep wound in the back part, near the base, but that there were no indications in the office that there had been a struggle.
The office furnishings are of the massive type, there being in addition to the furnishings several heavy bars of iron, which were presumably used in connection with the shifting of heavy cases. Dr. McNichol, the coroner, who was one of the first to arrive on the scene, when he was there after midnight did not observe any sign of a struggle in the office, yet there could have been a struggle amidst such heavy furnishings without making any appreciable difference to the appearance of the office.
Dr. MacRobbie’s father, Rev. Dr. G. G. MacRobbie recently of Nelson and Knox Presbyterian churches Tansley, Ont., was immediately informed of the tragedy, arriving on an early morning train. The sad news has completely crushed that aged minister, who lost his wife eighteen months ago. Rev. MacRobbie is well known throughout the province. He was the first High Chief Ranger of the Canadian Order of Foresters.
Dr. D. G. MacRobbie was well known in Hamilton, where he has practiced for the past ten years. He moved here from Victoria Harbor, where he had practiced medicine for eight years. Deceased was a graduate of the University of Toronto, taking his Arts degree in 1896, graduating in medicine in 1899. Beside the widow, he leaves to small girls, aged 2 and 5.
JURY VIEWS BODY
That there has been a foul murder in connection with the death of Dr. MacRobbie at midnight last night in an upper room over the offices of the Crescent Oil Co., every circumstance in connection with the surroundings seem to bear out.
The coroner’s jury, with Sargt. Wm. Hawkins as foreman viewed the remains in the city hospital morgue at 12.15 today. Dr. McNichol, the coroner, pointed out to the jury that the victim’s head was badly crushed in at the back, but as to the extent of the injuries which had been inflicted, nothing definite could be ascertained until after the post-mortem, which will be performed this afternoon. One of the jurors also remarked on the bruised condition of the left hand of the victim, which had the appearance of having received a heavy blow from some hard instrument.
LOTS OF BLOOD AROUND
These facts were all the evidence that was taken at the hospital the jury being then taken to the premises of the Crescent Oil Co. Here it was found that the body was discovered in an upper room of the building, directly over the offices, and not in the office as at first stated. The room above is used for the storage of heavy pulleys, belting and a variety of goods handled by the oil company. The stairs lead from the back of the office on the ground floor to the room above. At the landing there is a large room, off of which there are several smaller rooms used for clerks. The doctor was found by the night watchman at about 12 o’clock, as he was making his rounds lying about 15 feet from the stairs, his feet pointing in a north easterly direction, and his head a few feet from the entrance of a small office in the southwestern corner of the building. Though the nature of the piles of goods which were around the dead man were not such to register signs of a fierce physical struggle, yet the paper coverings on the large wooden pulleys bore signs of having been broken and torn recently. Blood was spattered on the surrounding goods piled up in the room to about the height of a man, spatters of dark red being on the highest portions, and in some instances, even showing that spots of blood had been thrown over these piles beyond. It was pointed out by Dr. McNichol that it would have been impossible for the blood to have spurted to this height from the wound where the victim lay.
The coroner called an inquest for Thursday night at the central police station.
LOOKING FOR MOTIVE
The motive of crime is still a mystery to the police. Detective Harry Sayers is working in the evidence at the scene of the death, but is extremely reticent as to a probable motive. It was known that the doctor had left his home at six o’clock last night, and it has been stated since that he was seen in the company of two other men later in his automobile. As to his actions after that, and up to the time of the finding of the body, little is known.
The deceased is a man of 42 years of age, and was not known to have any especially vicious habits, though it has been admitted that he would take a drink now and again with friends. A story to the effect that the death of the doctor was the outcome of a game of cards, over which a quarrel might have arisen, is not credited. Some of the deceased’s friends say that he was fond of a game of poker for small amounts. Certainly there was no sign of a card game on the premises.
Dr. MacRobbie was universally liked by all who knew him, and was of an unvarying jovial disposition, his death casting a gloom over the neighborhood wherein he lived.
VAGRANCY CHARGE IN COURT
Harry Smith, James McAuliffe and Walter Scott, the three men held by the police in connection with the case, appeared in police court this morning and were remanded for one week. A charge of vagrancy was laid against them.
“These men may not have been responsible for Dr. MacRobbie’s death” said the Crown Attorney. “But they were in the same room. His death may have been the result of such an accident, and if such is the case they may be released. The post mortem may reveal the cause of death.”
“As the men are all respectable citizens, and may not be needed as anything more that material witnesses I would like to make application for bail,” said C. W. Bell, who appeared for the three prisoners.
His Worship answered that at the present time he was not disposed to grant bail, but gave Mr. Bell permission to renew the application.
On the police court roster Harry Smith is registered as living at 187 Jackson street, is forty-two years old, married, and his occupation as that of salesman.
Smith has been in the oil business for many years. It will be recalled that his contracts with the city were the subject of much discussion, and litigation at and following the civic investigation of 1914.
Walter Scott’s address is given as 419 Bay street north, single and 37 years old. His occupation is not stated on the roster, but he is known as an architect, with offices in the Sun Life building.
Joseph McAuliffe is designated as a real estate agent at 8 1-2 John street north. He also is married and is 52 years of age.
McAuliffe was found in the Crescent Oil Company’s yard, asleep. The other two men were found at their homes, asleep.