Thomas Hall, from a prominent Timaru family, was sentenced
to life in prison (1886 to 1907) (at that time in New Zealand, meant twenty years
in prison) for attempting to murder his wife but he got away with murder!
The Star, Saturday March 12 1887 page 3
Opinion in the South
Dunedin, March 12
There is a widespread feeling that there has been a miscarriage of justice in Hall's case. Intense indignation is felt here at the result. The Star says - "It is a matter for regret that a criminal escapes the consequences of his acts through a mere technical defect. The verdict of the jury was a just one, and few will be found to question it. Nor will public opinion be affected by the decision of the Appeal Court. A greater scoundrel never escaped the punishment due his misdeeds. Such feeling, we are sure, is the universal feeling throughout the community."
Supreme Court - attempted murder of
Preliminary Inquiry - willful murder of Henry Cain.
Trail at Dunedin The Cain Murder Case at the Supreme Court Dunedin, summarized. Timaru Herald Saturday February 5 1887 page 3.
Court of Appeal
1. Thomas Hall married Kate Emily Espie [BDM site] in Timaru on 26 May 1885, step-daughter of Captain Henry Cain.
Timaru Herald, 27 May 1885, Page 2 Marriage
Hall - Cain. On the 26th May, at St. Mary's, Timaru, by the Ven. Archdeacon Harper, Thomas Hall to Kate Emily Cain.
2. On 24 July 1885 Thomas gave instructions for the drawing up of Kate's will; it bequeathed to her husband all her real and personal property.
3. In August of the same year he took out two life insurance policies in her name.
4. Capt. Cain died at his home, Woodlands, on 29 January 1886.
5. The Halls' only child, Nigel, was born on 19 June 1886.
4. Kate became ill four days after the birth and the family doctor suspected poisoning.
6. 15 Aug. 1886 Thomas Hall arrested on a charge of attempted murder.
7. 27 Sept. 1886 Capt. Cain's body exhumed.
8. On 25 Nov. 1886 Hall was charged with the murder of his father-in-law.
9. Feb. 2 1887 After a trial at Dunedin, Hall was found guilty and sentenced to death by the judge.
10. Mar. 8 1887 Hall appealed, and the conviction was overturned on a technicality. The news caused outrage in some quarters: it was claimed that 'had Hall been an ordinary member of the community, related in no way to the "upper ten", it is in the last degree improbable that he would now be alive.' Hall was released from Mount Eden prison, Auckland, in 1907. Sir John Hall granted him an annuity of £200 on condition that he live the remainder of his life out of New Zealand. Kate Hall had secured a divorce in 1901.
Reference: O'Brien, Brian. 'Hall, Thomas 1847/1848? - ?'. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography URL: http://www.dnzb.govt.nz/
11. 1. '....... Kate Emily Hall late of 23 Woodstock Ave, Golders Green in the county of Middlesex single woman who died there on 29 March 1925 ......'
12. Will dated 27 April 1923
11. ' ...... an annual income of sixty pounds and pay the same to Thomas Hall (now known as Paul Newstead) to whom I was married on 26 May 1885 and from whom I was divorced in 1901.
13. Tom Hall died 10 August 1929
Reference: Graham Dixon obtain the wills for Kate.
The Star Monday February 1 1886 page 3
We regret to record the death of Captain Cain, one of the oldest Timaru settlers, which occurred on Friday, after a long period of failing health. The deceased gentleman was one of the most familiar figures of the place, and though a singularly unobtrusive person, he was, by the comparatively few who knew him, very much esteemed for his kindness and simplicity. Captain Cain, who leaves considerable property, had attained the age of 70. Captain Cain died 28 January 1886.
Evening Post, 7 December 1901, Page 7
MRS. HALL GRANTED A DIVORCE. AUCKLAND, 6th December.
At the Supreme Court to-day, before Mr. Justice Conolly, Kate Emily Hall was granted a dissolution of her marriage with Thomas Hall, on the grounds set forth in section 4 of the Divorce Act., 1898, which allows of application for divorce where respondent has been imprisoned for upwards of seven years for attempting the life of petitioner. This is the sequel to the celebrated Timaru case of 1886, when Thomas Hall, after a protracted trial, was sentenced to penal servitude for life for attempting to poison his wife with antimony.
Includes portraits of Thomas Hall and Margaret Graham Houston, the two accused, Mr Hall's residence 'Woodlands', witnesses and the judge. ATL
The Star Monday October 11 1886 page 3
Trail at the Supreme Court, Christchurch
Sir Robert Stout proceeded to review the case. The symptoms of Mrs Hall only compatible with the presence of irritant poison, the cessation of these symptoms after the prisoners had been removed, the discovery of antimony in the emanations, by the doctors, the iced water episode, directly implicating the prisoner Hall ("That water contained not less than eight grains of antimony to the ounce"), the discovery of antimony not in mere traces, but in large quantities, in certain of the emanations (large on certain dates). Further, there was the proof of purchase of the poison by Hall, and of Taylor's book, the writing of the dates, the comparison between the dates of the purchase of the poison and those dates of the return of Mrs Hall's symptoms, which were intermittent. Then there was the use of colchicum, a poison whose effects are similar to those of antimony.
Proof of administration of some oysters, after which Mrs Hall was seized with her violent symptoms.
Mr Ormsby testified that he had drawn up Mrs Hall's will, and had given up the will to Hall on Hall's application.
PLEA of NOT GUILTY
Thomas Hall and Margaret Graham Houston [a live-in companion who nursed Capt. CAIN and also Kitty] pleaded "Not Guilty" to an indictment charging them with, on August 15, 1886, feloniously and unlawfully administering to one Kate Emily Hall a certain deadly poison to kill and murder.
(Before His Honour Mr Justice Johnston and a special jury.)
The Attorney-General, Sir Robert Stout, with him Mr White, Crown Prosecutor for Timaru, and Mr J.C. Martin, Crown Prosecutor for Christchurch, appearing for the Crown; Mr Joynt, with him Mr Thomas Henry Perry (of Timaru) appeared for the prisoner Hall, and Mr Hay (of Timaru) appeared for prisoner Houston.
THE SPECIAL JURY
The following were sworn at the special jury:
Mr Frederick Henry Barns (foreman) and
Messrs Thomas Bassett
Edward Hatfield Brown
and Charles Edward Tribe.
At the request of Mr Joynt all the witnesses except Professors Black and Ogston were ordered out of Court.
At the request of Mr Joynt, the female prisoner was allowed to be seated during the trail.
Otago Witness, 27 August 1886, Page 27
DISPLAY OF PUBLIC HOSTILITY. Timaru, August 23. Punctually at 11 o'clock this morning Mr J. S. Beswick, R.M., and Messrs Edward Elworthy and H. J. Le Cren, J.P.s, took their seats on the bench. Every seat in the courthouse set apart for the bar and the public was occupied. The prisoners were escorted in by the gaoler (Mr Cotter), Detective Kirby, and other police officers, and were placed in front of the prisoners dock. The clerk of the court read the information charging prisoners with attempting to murder Catherine Hall ; the text of the charge being as follows : � "The information and complaint of Patrick Macintyre, medical practitioner, of Timaru, taken upon oath this 15th day of August 1886, before me, John Jackson, Esq., one of her Majesty's justices of the peace in and for the said colony, who said that he bath just cause to suspect and doth suspect that Thomas Hall and Margaret Graham Houston, of Timaru, in the said colony, on or about the 15th day of August 1886, at Timaru aforesaid, did feloniously administer to one Catherine Hall a certain quantity of a poison called antimony, with intent in so doing then and thereby feloniously, wilfully, and of their malice aforethought to kill and murder the said Catherine Hall, contrary to the statute, being an indictable offence. � (Signed) P. Macintyre, M.D. Mr J. W. White (of White and Co.), Crown prosecutor at Timaru, appeared to prosecute with Inspector Broham. Mr Joynt (of Christchurch) and C. T. H. Perry (of Perry and Perry, Timaru) appeared for the male prisoner (Hall), and Mr Hay for the female prisoner (Houston).
The Star page 3 Monday October 11th 1886
1st day. The evidence given was generally to show Hall was in an embarrassed financial position, and that by the death of his wife he would derive pecuniary advantage.
Arthur Steadman, manager of the Bank of New South Wales, Timaru (examined by Mr White): The firm of Hall and Meason of which the prisoner Hall was a member, kept an account at the bank. Hall transacted the banking business. In January, 1885-
His Honour: 1885?
Mr White: Yes, your Honour, we want to show how the account stood before the marriage.
Witness: The account of the firm in January 1885, was overdrawn by �8000, exclusive of overdrafts. They carried on a loan and discount business, were also land brokers and surveyors.
Gilbert Laing Meason, partner of prisoner Hall for about five years as land brokers and surveyors, attended simply to the land surveying. Took no part in the finance or land broking. Since Hall's arrest, the business of the firm has not been carried on.
Charles Aloysius Wilson, clerk to Messrs Hall and Meason kept the books.
Michael Mitton (examined by Mr White) was station manager at Mount Peel. Gave money to Hall to invest. Had never signed a promissory note in favour of Hall or Hall and Meason. Knew no other Mitton in district.
John Fraser, shepherd in the Mackenzie Country (examined by Mr White) Had transactions with Hall and Meason. Gave them money to invest. It had not been returned.
William Montague Simms, accountant in Timaru (examined by Mr White) was appointed one of the liquidators at the meeting of the creditors of Hall and Meason. Took possession of the books. Found a deficiency of �5765.
Witness: I am agent for the Victoria Insurance Company. I know the house - Woodlands, occupied by Mrs Kate Emily Hall. It was insured several years in the Victoria, on the building �1000, and on the contents �500. It was insured in the name Captain Cain, who was the step-father-in-law to Hall, and lived there till his decease in January, 1886. The polices are now not in force. They lapsed by effuxion of time a few days after Captain Cain's death.
Arthur Steadman (recalled by Mr White) knew of the Southland properties of the firm Hall and Meason. The bank holds a mortgage over their share of 1600 acres, also over 3000 acres in Southland. This purported to be a second mortgage.
Arthur Ormsby, (examined by Mr White) was a solicitor, practising in Timaru. Received instructions, on July 24, 1885, from Mrs Kate Emily Hall, wife of the male prisoner, to make a will. It was drafted on the same day. It was engrossed on the 27th, and executed by Mrs Hall on the 29th. The will left everything to Hall, and was given to Mr Hall on August 4th.
William Davidson, agent in Timaru for the Australian Mutual Provident Society, in 1885 (examined by Mr White) remembered prisoner Hall coming in August, with a reference to an insurance. He asked for a prospectus form showing the rates charged by the Society. Gave him one. He subsequently saw the witness, a day or two later, saw witness and said he thought his wife would insure her life for �5000 for his benefit, as at her death a certain income would lapse. Hall thought he would take out two polices, one for �3000 for life, and one for �3000 for seven years. He said it would depend upon how long Captain Cain lived which policy would be kept in force. Witness gave him proposals forms. The polices produced (W and S) were issued on those proposal. Mr Hall paid the premium (�41 for the half-year) for the �3000 policy for life; the other was �38 2s 6d per annual premium was payable on August 28, with thirty days' grace. These polices were in force on August 17 last.
Edward Denham - Registrar of Deeds
Black of National Bank
Evidence regarding Hall's financial position.
Gualter Palariet, Deputy - Commissioner of Stamps.
Miles Jefferson Knubley, solicitor
Mr E.H. Cameron, station manager of Waimate, was the first witness, another one of those gentlemen who had given their life savings of years to Hall and Meason, and had lost a large proportion. He told the Court that his name, too, had been forged to a deed -
Dr. P. McIntyre, Mrs Hall's medical attendant and Dr H. V. Drew, of the Timaru Hospital. Their evidence described in minute detail symptoms of the patient, the manner in which suspicion was excited in their minds, and the steps subsequently taken.
Constables Hicks and Strickland, Daly, Egan and Casey
and Professor Black
The evidence detailed the arrest of the prisoners, the results of a general search, the manner in which the items were sent to Dunedin for analysis, &c. Constable Hicks, deposed that Hall, when speaking to Miss Houston in the watch-house, used the precise words, "You are quite safe, and will be able to get clear. It is I that is in for it. I cannot possibly get off." Professor Black stated the results of the analyses made by him, and the determining of tartar emetic, colchicum, and antimony.
Inspector Thomas Broham, from the Hall-Huston murder case, Timaru, [ca 1886] ATL
Professor Black and Dr Ogston, relative to the analyses, the cigarettes, the use of morphia, &c.'
Mrs Hamersley, who had been ill after taking a cup of tea at Hall's house;
William Gunn and C.B. Eichbaum, chemists, and an apprentice, re sales of poisons to Hall;
Peter William Hutton and Thomas Farley, booksellers, from whom Hall had purchased certain works;
Edmund and Marther Cotter, relative to the note to Hall written by Miss Houston when in custody.
Sixth Day - Oct. 18th 1886 Monday page 2 Saturday's Proceedings.
Dr. Hogg, surgeon of the Timaru gaol, relative to Hall's health while in custody, and the use of the term "poisoning by antimony;"
Dr Stackpoole, one of the consulting physicians in Mrs Hall's case;
Thomas Howley, clerk to the Timaru Resident Magistrate's Court, who had seen the "dear Tommy Dodd" letter;
E.G. Kerr, relative to telephonic communication between the prisoners;
B.E. Hibbard, Thomas Peters, and Andrew Avison, re supply of kerosene;
C.S. Wilson, clerk in Hall's office, re fire insurances;
James Forbes, Denis Wren, and John Wilson, with references to the garret in which combustibles were found;
Jeanie Turnbull and Mary Hassen, servants, as to the manners and customs of the household;
H.J. LeCren, in whose employ Mary Hassen had been previously;
Thomas Wells, a billiard marker, who deposed to Hall's playing at certain times, and to his putting a corked bottles into the fire - a bottle of which he said, "It is one of Mr Wakefield's sleeping draughts."
Seventh Day - Monday
For the Crown, Messrs Peter Schourup and Eden George, photographers, who deposed as experts that the use of antimony was not known to them; Mr Hay promptly picking up a point by getting the admission that his is matter of expert evidence entirely - no one but a photographer would be likely to know it.
Dr William Henry Symes. (examined by Sir Robert Stout); I am a surgeon at the hospital. Antimony is a poison, a destructive poison. ...
Witnesses called on behalf of Miss Margaret Graham Houston:
Dr Keyworth (Napier) has been at Napier the last 21 months. At one time a doctor of medicine of London and Professor of Physiology at Birmingham - I have known Miss Houston all her life. I was present at her birth in Birmingham. Her father is the representative of one of the largest Burton breweries. She came out to New Zealand at my advice and by my sanction to Wellington;
the Rev. William Henry West (Wellington);
Elizabeth Hermanson, matron at the Wellington Hospital;
Geoffrey Selwyn Matthias, accountant at the Union Bank, Timaru, and Dr. Guthrie.
Summing up for the Crown
The Star Wednesday 20th October 1886 page 3
Eighth Day - Tuesday
The Judge's Summing Up.
The jury at 3.10 p.m. retired, and at 3.17 p.m. returned with a verdict of "Guilty" in regard to Hall, and of "Not Guilty" in regard to Miss Houston.
Addressing the prisoner his Honor said: "prisoner at the bar,... The crime of which you have been convicted is one of the most infamous that one has ever read of in the history of criminal proceedings. A young man recently married to a young wife who just became the mother of his child. The women whose bedside you visited every morning with a deadly purpose, the women whom you saw dying, by inches. You have been guilty of worse than murder. You have achieved the distinction of being the vilest of your sex. I pass upon you the heaviest sentence possible - that you be kept in penal servitude for the rest of your natural life."
The Star November 1 Monday page 2
Probable Inquest. The authorities are still prosecuting enquires re Captain Cain's death.
"Canterbury Times" Special Edition, now published. Gives the fullest account and most complete account of this important Trail held at the Supreme Court, Christchurch, which concluded on Tuesday, Oct. 19. 1886. The Sensational Poisoning Case. Price Sixpence.
The Star Tuesday September 28 1886 page 3
Captain Cain's Body Taken Up
The Colonial Secretary gave the necessary order. The prosecution wanted an expert present at the ceremony. Professor Ogston of Dunedin consented to perform what was required, arrived by express train from Dunedin, and was net at the railway station by Drs Macintyre and Hogg, Mr White, the Crown Prosecutor, and Inspector Broham. At 5 'o'clock this evening the gravedigger commenced cleaning out the grave and was not completed until 7 o'clock. During this time it was raining heavily, and the grave was partly filled with water. Shortly after eight o'clock Inspector Broham, Detective Kirby, and constables arrived at the cemetery, and there was some little delay before the Doctors and Professor drove up. After the arrival of the latter gentlemen the tool-house that is attached to the cemetery was inspected, to see if it would be suitable for the work at hand; but, after examination, it was found that it would not be large enough, and the original plan of bringing the body to the morgue at the hospital was adhered to. The business of raising the coffin was commenced at a few minutes after 9 o'clock, and it took an hour of very hard work to complete the task, owning to the iron railings and stone round the grave. It took the undertaker and his five assistants, the grave digger, and four of the police force an hour's hard work to get the coffin out of the grave and into the cart, which was in attendence during the time. There were gathered around the grave, watching the proceedings, Inspector Broham, Messrs White, Perry, Kinnerney, Drs. Macintyre, Hogg, Lovegrove, and Stewart, and Professor Ogston, and two representatives of the Press. After the body was taken to the Hospital, a post mortem was made, and portions were removed and placed in a case to be taken to Dunedin, where they are to be analysed by Professors Black and Ogston.
Sketches: 4th Nov. 1886
Thomas Hall, The prisoner Hall, Miss Houston, Miss Houston
- did, on Jan. 28, 1886, feloniously and unlawfully and maliciously kill and murder one Henry Cain
The Star Saturday 27 November 1886
Timaru, Nov. 27
Thomas Hall arrived here today by the North express train, and the morbid curiosity of the public to see him drew an enormous crowd to the railway station. When he got out of the carriage he travelled in, and alighted on the platform of the station, the police kept the crowd back, and he was at once placed in a vehicle and taken to the gaol.
In regard of the charge of murder which is to be referred against him at the Resident's Magistrate's Court on Monday some evidence was discovered by Mr William Gunn, a chemist residing in this town. A person went into his shop to buy some kind of poison, and Mr Gunn told him that he would rather not sell it; its such a bother, selling poison, as there are certain forms to be signed, and a respectable witness had to be procured to show that all was correct. "Look here," taking up his sale of poison book, Mr Gunn opened the book, and saw entered in it was the sale of two drachms of tartar emetic to Thomas Hall, in the month of May, 1885. It had escaped his notice as the writing was so very small and indistinct.
The Star Monday November 29 1886 page 3
Timaru Nov. 29
At the Timaru R.M. Court this morning Thomas Hall was charged, on information of Thomas Broham, Inspector of Police, taken on Nov. 24., "who saith that he hath cause to suspect and doth suspect that Thomas Hall did, on Jan. 28, 1886, feloniously and unlawfully and maliciously, and of malice aforethought, kill and murder one Henry Cain, contrary to the statue made and provided."
Mr J.S. Beswick, R.M., presided. Mr White conducted the case for the crown, and Mr C.T.H. Perry appeared for the accused.
Mr Knubley proved Hall's marriage with Cain's step-daughter on May 26, 1885.
The Star Tuesday November 30 1886 page 3
Before Mr J.S. Beswick, R.M., and E.G. Stericker, Esq.
[E.G. Stericker, the three Hall brothers, Joseph Beswick, W.H. Ostler, all came from Yorkshire and were among the first to select land in the Mackenzie. E.G. Stericker was in working partnership with George Hall in a station in the Ashburton Forks, when news of the great new sheep country in the South Island was noticed. Edward Glave Stericker and George Hall, the uncle of Tom Hall, were partners in Sawdon in 1857. The Halls and the Stericker dissolved partnership in 1862, the year following the great snowstorm.
Tom's brother Richard Williamson Hall was b. at Rakaki in 1856 and was christened 16 Aug. 1857 Kaiapoi. Godparents - W. C. Beswick; John Hall; Emily Beswick. William Cockerill Beswick was a brother to John and Joseph Beswick. All three were early settlers of Timaru.
Joseph Beswick sold the Mackenzie run Glenmore to John Hall in 1867. Hall changed the name to The Castle later known as Castle Hall. Beswick became a grain merchant in Ashburton and was later appointed as magistrate at Lyttelton. In 1882 he was transferred to Timaru where he died June 3 1888. Reference: High Endeavour by Vance.] Why would a court case be presided over by two family friends of the Hall's? Looks like they all moved in the same social circle.
Mr White, in opening, said for many years two individuals had lived in this community, one of them the late Captain Cain, who died last January, at the age of 70. This gentlemen, who was very much respected and very well known as an older resident of this district; the other individual was Thomas Hall, who for some years previous had been a partner in a land and estate agency and money-lending business, and, so far as appearances went, this firm's business seemed to be a lucrative one, but it could now be seen that up to August 15 last the firm's credit was only kept up by misappropriation of money, and by forgeries for a very large amount, and all this misappropriation of funds and forgeries can be traced to Thomas Hall.
The annuity that Captain Cain was entitled to was �300 per annum, and at the Captain's death half of that sum would revert to Hall's wife, who was a step daughter of the Captain's. Besides that, Captain Cain had a life interest in a place called the Woodland's. This was valued at �75 per annum, and also half of which came to Mrs Cain at the Captain's death, and also half share in some furniture and land, which amount altogether to �250 per annum; and there was certain trust money, on which hall was doing his best to lay his hands. Mr F. Le Cren was a co-trustee with Captain Cain in the trust property that eventually fell after the Captain's death, to Mrs Hall and Mrs Newton, and when Hall applied to Mr Le Cren to have the trust money handed over to him, Le Cren said that so long as Captain Cain lived this money would not be handed over to Hall, as Cain had told him, that he strongly objected to Hall getting possession of the money.
Now, it will be shown by evidence that Hall had frequent opportunities of giving food and drink to Captain Cain, and he would prove that the Captain often vomited violently after taking whiskey, champagne, and various kinds of food, and Dr Patrick Macintyre, who was the Captain's medical attendant, would prove that there was nothing in the nature of the illness from which Captain Cain was suffering to make him vomit. (he was suffering from disease of the kidneys and dropsy, and general debility) Some months after Cain's death, certain suspicions were aroused about the manner in which he met his death, and the body was exhumed (both the little toes were missing - they had previously fallen off the previous year) and an analysis made of a portion of the body, and it found it contained a large quantity of antimony (a mineral).
It would also be shown that, on May 9, 1885, Hall purchased a book called "Headlands on Action of Medicine," and that he returned the book and bought a book (from Peter Hutton) called : "Taylor on Poisons." It would be shown also that Hall bought a quarter of an ounce of tarter emetic, and on Nov. 4., 1885, half an ounce of the solution of atorpia; on Nov. 13, 1885, two ounces of colchicum wine, and on Jan. 28, 1886, half ounce of solution of atropia.
When Hall was arrested on August 15 last for attempted murder of his wife, he said to Inspector Proham that he had used antimony for a long time, and that he had bought tartar emetic from Gunn's and Eichbaum's, and that he used antimony for making cigarettes for the purpose of smoking to benefit the asthmas from which he suffered.
The Star Nov. 30 1886 page 3
Denis Wren, is a pleasant-looking, sturdy, thick-set little Irishman. He was the gardener and general man about the place at Woodlands and seems to have employed his odd hours in courting the lady who afterwards became Mrs Denis Wren. His wife, Bridget Wren, previous to the death of Captain Cain was a domestic in the employ of his household, and had since married Mr Denis Wren. She informed the court Mr Patterson and Mr Newton left Cain's house three months before his death. At 11 o'clock on the very night of his death Captain Cain said "Aren't you gone to bed yet Denny?" Margaret Graham Houston and Dennis first took up duties looking after the Captain, and afterwards Dennis and George Kay attended him. Miss Houston arrived at Woodlands Dec. 1. About a week after her advent there, Captain Cain first complained of illness. He consulted Dr. Macintyre. George did not live in the house.
Mrs Emma Brignall Ostler, a friend of Captain Cain and Mrs Hall. She suspected foul play and was laughed down as preposterous. Mrs Ostler told Mrs Hall herself of the suspicions which would not be allayed. Mrs Ostler also told Mrs Newton of her fears that there was foul play going on in the house. Mrs Newton, it appears, told Hall. Hall wrote a letter ;
"Mrs Ostler, Timaru.
To prevent a possibility of misunderstanding, or the any chance of blame resting on the wrong shoulders, I beg to say it was entirely by my desire that Mrs Newton suggested to you that your visits to Woodlands should be less frequent than formerly. I was aware that you never were friendly disposed to me,..... but my wife tells me you also went out of your way, and, to a comparative stranger, accused my father of having cheated the late Mr Ostler out of his run...
Your obedient servant, "Thos. Hall."
Jowsey Jackson, blacksmith. George Kay gave him a drink of champagne out of a patent stoppered bottle, and this made him very sick.
William Arthur Mason friend of Capt. Cain. Told that Cain, after drinking his tot of grog for fifty years, expressed surprised at it disagreeing with him in his old age.
Friday 3rd Dec.
Roderick Fraser Stewart, as assistant to Mrs Watkins, he sold some colchicum wine, on Nov. 13, 1885 for 2s. and a bottle of Ghollah's rheumatic remedy to Hall. William Henry Willway as accountant to Mrs Watkins, chemist, Timaru.
The Star Friday 10th Dec page 3
Mrs Newton, who is Hall's sister-in-law, came over from Australia. (Mrs Hall's sister)
[Charles William "Billy" Newton m. Captain Cain's daughter. Newton was the first manager of Richmond Station in the Mackenzie and had shares in the station. On May 19 1862 at E.G. Stericker's (Sawdon Station) woolshed Newton was elected a member of the newly formed Mount Cook district in the Canterbury Provincial Council. In 1863 Newton left Richmond, resigned his seat to be succeeded by John Hall. Newton bought a farm at Hazelburn, near Pleasant Point] Reference: High Endeavour by Vance.
[Charles Newton resigned his seat in 1864 on the Mt. Cook district, a few electors met at W. Parikinson's woolshed near Burkes Pass to elect his successor. Thomas Teschemaker proposed John Hall and Henry Ford seconded the nomination and F.W. Tescehmaker declared him elected, after which a luncheon was served, Hall was the only candidate and did not even attended the meeting.] Reference: Gillespie, Oliver A. South Canterbury A Record of Settlement
Joseph John Hiskens, chemist's assistant, who lives in Dunedin, and was up to last April in Mr Eichbaum's employ, at Timaru, proved having sold Hall atropia eye-drops *half-ounce) on each occasion. He went to Eichbaum's employ in 1882.
Henry (?Hardy) "Harry" Gardner ?Gardiner, the licensee of the Sportsman's Arms, Saltwater Creek. [Hall came by with a horse - wanted Harry to treat it.]
William Henry Trilford, a groom, a lad about sixteen years of age, lived with Hall, for twelve months, and left him last January. He was accustomed to drive Hall home to Compstall from his office, sometimes called inn at Woodlands on the way.
John Wilson, a lad, a groom for Hall, who took John Trilford's place. Been in Hall's service from January to the following March. Working at present in town as a painter.
George William Gardiner, a gentlemen who wanted to let his house to Hall
Saturday 11 Dec. 1886 page 4
Captain O'Brien, warder in charge
The Star - Dec. 2nd 1886 page 3
John William Webb the undertaker conducted the funeral of the late Captain Cain. Edward Drake, the sexton to the Timaru Cemetery, is a good example of the typical sexton; quite as sedate in appearance and looks as if he had memories of the performance of the last rites towards many worthy citizens ever present on his mind.
The Star Monday January 24
The Cain Case
[per Press Association]
Hall's Trail at Dunedin
The trail of Thomas Hall for murder commenced in the Supreme Court this morning. Chief Justice Way, of South Australia, was accommodated with a seat on the bench. The approaches to the court were crowded with persons anxious to obtain a glimpse of the prisoner. Mr Haggitt, assisted by Mr White, of Timaru, prosecuted. Messrs Chapman and Denniston, instructed by Mr Perry, of Timaru, defended. Mr Haggitt, in opening, said it would be proved that Captain Cain was poisoned, that the evidence would point to Hall....
Mr Haggit's opening was marked by a calm judicial tone. He was evidently disconcerted by the Judge firmly ruling that no reference to the wife-poisoning case was permissible at that stage. He spoke for about fifty minutes.
The prisoner, who is accommodated with a seat in the dock, makes frequent suggestions to his counsel, and is busily employed taking notes. The prisoner made five challenges.
Day 2. Frances Gillon described the state of Captain Cain's health during her visit to Woodlands.
Jan. 27 John Wilson, apprentice to a painter in Timaru. In January, 1886, entered the employment of the prisoner after Trilford left. Remained with him about three months. There were horses, ferrets, and dogs about the place. Did not know that there were anything wrong with these animals. Two cats died.
Jan. 31. He called Edward Wakefield. M.H.R. to show that the prisoner had Taylor's book on poisons in 1884.
Miss Morris was called to show that Cain used to be frequently sick before Hall's marriage.
Buchanan, a settler who nursed Cain on alternate nights eight days before his death, was called to show that on the four nights he was present Cain was cheerful and was never sick with either whiskey or champagne.
Joseph Edwards, of Invercargill, stated that in 1885 he was employed with Mr Slater, draper, in Timaru. In June, July, or August, Captain Cain came into Slater's shop, became sick, and vomited very much.
Grey River Argus, 26 January 1887, Page 2
The Hall Trail
Dunedin, January 24. There was a large crowd, outside the Court, both in the morning and evening, to obtain a glimpse of the convict Hall, charged with the murder of Captain Cain, and whose trial commenced to-day. The prisoner is much finer and thinner than when tried at Christchurch for attempted wife murder, but he appeared very cheerful and took great interest in the proceedings, watching the cross-examination and its effects particularly close. After the prisoner was arraigned and pleaded not guilty in a distinct tone, a number of the special jury claimed exemption from serving, and after most of these had been granted, the trial commenced. Messrs Haggitt (Dunedin), and White (Timaru) ; Crown prosecutors, appeared for the Crown, and F. R. Chapman and J.E. Denniston, instructed by Perry, Timaru, appeared for the accused. Mr Haggitt was interrupted several times in his opening address when he wished to refer to Mrs Hall's case, and once the Judge plainly told him not to question his ruling but to go on with his address. There was nothing fresh in the evidence adduced today, in fact it was more brief than at the preliminary investigation. The cross examination was also brief. Mr Denniston, in examining LeCren, kept falling into the mistake of referring to Mrs Cain's death as Mrs LeCren's death, and then amply apologising, and this with Mr Chapman's proving to Gardner that he could not remember the exact words. In which Hall conveyed to him the intimation that he did not expect Cain to live very long, were principal points. The evidence of Mrs Newton and Mrs Wren as taken at preliminary hearing was read from depositions, Drs Martin and Hogg testifying that neither could appear in court. The other evidence given was that of Steadman and Black, bank managers, C. A. Wilson, clerk, E. H. Cameron, station manager, Michael Hitton, John Fraser, William Davidson, W. Woolcombe, Arthur Ormsby, solicitor dealing with the monetary transactions, M. J. Knubly and LeCren as to trust properties, &c., G. W. Gardner as to having a house to let and as to the conversation with Hall as to Cain's probable early death, and Jackson Jowsey as to having been made sick by partaking of some champagne given to him from a bottle taken from Cain's room.
The Star Wednesday February 2 1887 page 3
Hall Found Guilty - The Death Sentence
The trail of Thomas Hall for the murder of Captain Cain, step-father of his wife, after lasting eight days, came to a conclusion, when the jury, after a retirement of a little over an hour, returned to the court with a verdict of "Guilty," and the Judge, assuming the black cap, sentenced the prisoner to death. The execution is to be respited until the question of the admission of certain evidence was considered by the Court of Appeal. The Judge added he concurred in the verdict of the jury. The Judge's voice trembled in delivering the sentence, and so oppressive was the solemnity of the scene that there was scarcely a person in Court unmoved, except the prisoner.
The Star December 23 1886 page 3
Application for Change of Venue
In the Chambers this morning, Mr Joynt applied for a change of venue in the case of Thomas Hall, charged with murdering the late Captain Cain of Timaru. The application was for a change from Christchurch to Oamaru, Dunedin, or any other place.
Mr Stringer appeared for the Crown.
Mr Joynt read an affidavit from Mr Thomas Henry Perry to the effect that there was less chance of a fair trail in Christchurch than in any other part of the Colony. The affidavit referred to the "descriptive account" of the former trial, and quoted an extract from the account of the preliminary inquiry at Timaru in the present case to show that the public feeling had been biassed against the accused.... His Honour would order the substitution of Dunedin for Christchurch in the committal order.
In Hall's case the defence will apply for six weeks' postponement to enable them to prepare.
Otago Witness, 4 February 1887, Page 20
It is not known yet whether the prisoner Thomas Hall, who was found guilty of the murder of Henry Cain, will be removed from Dunedin gaol to that at Lyttelton pending the decision of the Appeal Court on the point reserved. The Appeal Court is not likely to met before the middle of June. As is usual with prisoners sentenced to death, Hall is never left by himself by day or night.
The Star March 2 1887 page 3
Meeting of Creditors/ The Hall-Meason Estate.
In the office of the Deputy-Assignee, Timaru, it was resolved by the creditors to guarantee the Official Assigne the cost of an action against Mr T.W. Hall, for the recovery of certain assets in the estate, Mr Hamersley to be allowed to conduct the case.
The Star March 8 1887 page 3
Court of Appeal
Regina v. Hall
(Before their Honors Chief Justice Prendergast, Mr Justice Johnston, Mr Justice Richmond, Mr Justice Joshua Strange Williams, and Mr Justice Ward.)
Regina v. Hall
This was the trail of the point reserved at Dunedin, on the trail of Thomas Hall, charged with murder of Captain Cain, late of Timaru.
Mr B.C. Haggitt, with him Mr J.W. White, appeared for the Crown. Mr Fred R. Chapman, with him Mr H.D. Bell and Mr J.E. Denniston, appeared for Hall. The main points on behalf of the prisoner were these;
Case reserved by Mr Justice Williams under section 20 of the Court of Appeal Act, 1882.
At the January criminal sessions of the Supreme Court at Dunedin, Thomas Hall was tried before me for the wilful murder of Henry Cain. The jury found a verdict of "Guilty" and sentence of death was passed, but execution was respited until the questions of law reserved by the present case should have been decided by this Court. The death of Henry Cain occurred on Jan. 29, 1886. From circumstances which arose subsequently to the death, Cain's body was exhumed on Sept. 27 following. The body was found to contain antimony, and Cain shortly before his death, had exhibited symptoms of antimony poisoning. The case attempted to be made against the prisoner was that the death of Cain had been caused or accelerated by antimony administered by Hall. It was proved that the prisoner during the last few weeks of Cain's life visited Cain almost daily, and generally twice a day, and was often alone with him on these occasions. Cain, during this period was an invalid, for most part confined to his room and during the last fortnight of his life to his bed. In the month of June the wife of the prisoner was confined; that the prisoner was in constant attendance upon her, and that four days after her confinement down to Sugust 15 she exhibited symptoms of poisoning by antimony; that on that date the prisoner was arrested on the charge of attempting to murder his wife, and that antimony was found upon him; that iced water given by the prisoner and the excreta of his wife upon analysis were found to contain antimony. This evidence was objected to as a whole....
The Star March 10 1887 page 3
The main points on behalf of the prisoner were these;
That evidence of the poisoning of Hall's wife was admitted in the Cain case.
That the jury were directed by the Judge to make what use they pleased of the admitted evidence.
That the legitimate use of such evidence could only throw a light on the questions of knowledge and intent.
That this contention was not inconsistent with the authorities......
The Star Saturday March 12 page 3
Judgement in the Hall Case
The Conviction Not Sustained
The Supreme Court adjourned. There was a somewhat large attendence of the public, the legal profession being well represented. Mr Stringer appeared for the Crown, and Mr Chapman for the accused. The judgment had been written [by the Chief Justice] and read by His Honour Mr Justice Johnson. Their Honours Judges Richmond, Ward and Williams also occupied seats on the Bench.
The substance of the Judgement was as follows:-
The prisoner was only implicated, and therefore the evidence was admitted to show the prisoner's connection with the administration of the poison. Design or accident was the next question. The prisoner administered and did so with intent, and to establish this the evidence was let in. As proof of intent the evidence was admissible for the purpose of proving guilty knowledge. The admission, no doubt constituted an exception to the general principle. Then came the question whether the poisoning of Mrs Hall and the death of Captain Cain could be linked together, for the purposes of the trail. It appeared to the Court that there was no evidence of a design requiring the death of the two. As to the third ground, it could not be proper to admit evidence on the pretext of showing what were the symptoms following the administration of a certain poison. No single Judge could have taken upon himself to refuse the admission of such evidence. For the reasons stated, the Court was of opinion that the prisoner ought not to have been convicted.
The Star Monday 14th March 1887
The Hall-Cain Case
Decision of the Court of Appeal
The Moral Failure of Justice
Urgently needed Law Reform
[From the Lyttelton Times]
The tendency of the inferior Courts in England has been to admit such evidence as that in question in Hall's case. Unluckily, the English Court of Appeal has not stamped its approval on this enlightened view. Thus it was left open to the New Zealand Court to take a Conservative view of the law. If ever laymen were justified in complaining of hair-splitting technicalities, we think they are justified in this case. The public is told that Mr Justice Williams admitted evidence of the attempted wife-murder in order to negative the suggestion of accident in Cain's case, he would have kept within the law, but that as he did not make any such limitation, he exceeded it. To expect the non-legal mind to admit that - supposing the evidence to be admissible at all - it mattered why it was admissible is expecting to much. We will go further, and say that the evidence ought to have been admissible in order to fix Cain's murder on Hall, and that the Court of Appeal might properly have thought so. As the Court has not thought so we hope that the Legislature will step in without delay, and take care that this rule, at any rate, does not save a scoundrel's neck. If the failure of justice in the present case results in rousing public interest in the too long neglected question of law reform, then the partial escape of even so great a malefactor as Thomas Hall will be a cheap price to pay.
Press, 7 December 1901, Page 7SEQUEL TO A CELEBRATED CASE.
AUCKLAND, December 6. The celebrated Hall poisoning case of 1886 was revived to-day a the Supreme Court when Kate Emily Hall, whose husband was in that year sentenced to penal servitude for life for attempting to poison her made an application for the dissolution of marriage under Clause 4 of the Divorce Act of 1898. The clause in question gives permission for an application for divorce on the grounds that the respondent has been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment or penal servitude for seven years or upwards for attempting to take the life of the petitioner. Mrs Hall, who appeared in the witness box neatly attired in black, and wearing a rather heavy black veil, and who was visibly agitated when reference was made to her husband, said that she was married to the respondent in St. Mary's School Church, Timaru, on May 26th, 1885. They lived together at Timaru and there was one child�a boy, born in 1886� as an issue of the marriage. The child was still alive. On October 19th, 1886, the respondent was convicted and sentenced to penal servitude for life for attempting the petitioner's life. No further evidence was called, and his Honour granted a decree nisi with power to apply tor a decree absolute three months hence, the petitioner to have custody of the child.
Evening Post, 30 November 1911, Page 7
A Press Association telegram from Timaru states that news has been received of the death in Sydney, after an operation, of Mr. James Hay, M.A., LL.B. Mr. Hay, who practised as a solicitor in Timaru, had been expected home next Saturday from a trip to the Old Country. Be was 50 years of age, and was the son of Mr. John Hay, one of a well-known pioneer family, who finally settled on a farm near Temuka in 1866. Mr. James Hay was born in Christchurch and taken to his father station at Lake Tekapo as an infant. His mother was the first white lady to go beyond Burkes Pass.- The deceased had a brilliant school and university career, and was admitted to the bar in 1883. He was a member of the University Senate since 1888. Be became prominent at the bar in connection with the Thomas Hall trials. He married in 1897 a daughter of the late Mr. H. J. Le Cren. He leaves no children.
Images online. NZ National Library.
Newspaper items summarized
Timaru Herald Thursday 19 May 1887 pg3 The Hall Case from "Hansard"
South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project
Evening Post, 25 August 1906, Page 9 BURIAL OR CREMATION
The body of Captain Cain, of Timaru, when exhumed years ago was found to be saturated with, antimony and thus a victim' body furnished a reason for burial as against cremation.
Taranaki Herald, 20 August 1886, Page 2
WHO THE PARTIES ARE.
The affair has created a profound sensation at Timaru, Mr. and Mrs. Hall having occupied a leading position in the society of that town. Mr. Hall was formerly manager of the National Bank at Timaru, having preceded Mr. Stephens, now of the National Bank at Napier. Mrs. Hall is the daughter of the late Captain Cain, and is possessed of a considerable amount of money. She was married to Mr. Hall about two years ago, and her first child was born in June last. Margaret Houston is a hospital nurse who was engaged to attend on Mrs. Hall.
A correspondent of the Post wires : � The police, naturally, are very reticent as to the alleged poisoning case, and, although the excitement still continues rife in Timaru on account of the high social standing of the male prisoner, no intelligence of a trustworthy kind has leaked out. It is currently reported that the police have got together a quantity of evidence which they regard as highly important. Margaret Houston was formerly a nurse in the Timaru Hospital, and from there she went to take charge of Captain Cain, the father of Mrs. Hall, the supposed victim of the poisoning, during his fatal illness. Dr. McIntyre, who took upon himself the responsibility of laying the information, attended Mrs Hall in her confinement some couple of months ago, and it is said he was unable to account for the symptoms that were developed, and, although his suspicions were aroused, ho could not bring himself to believe that there were suspicious circumstances attached to the case but after careful deliberation he called in the assistance of the resident surgeon of the Timaru Hospital, Dr. Drew, and after careful examination it was resolved to take action in the matter. It is said the police declined to lay the information or take any responsibility, and Dr. McIntyre took it upon himself to do so. When arrested, it was found that Hull had a quantity of antimony in his possession, and also "Taylor on Poisons," the well-known standard book on medical jurisprudence. It is only fair to state that this volume is said to have been in his possession for some two years, but there were evidences that it had been carefully studied recently.
SENSATIONAL TIMARU MURDER CASE DETAILED IN BOOK
7 December 2007 New Zealand Press Association
By Rebecca Quilliam of NZPA
Wellington, Dec 7 NZPA - The details of a sensational trial of a prominent Canterbury man, found guilty of attempting to murder his wife for the insurance money more than 120 years ago, have resurfaced in a recently published book.
In perhaps the country's first celebrity trial Tom Hall, a well known Timaru businessman and nephew of former New Zealand premier Sir John Hall, was imprisoned in 1886 for trying to murder his wealthy wife Kitty by poisoning her. The grisly details surrounding the trial were picked up by the nation's and the world's press. Hall slowly poisoned his wife over a number of weeks, leaving her in pain, desperately ill and on the verge of death . Her murder was foiled by doctors who almost at the last minute realised what was happening. Mrs Hall survived and for years refused to believe her husband was almost her murderer. Central Canterbury lawyer Peter Graham picked up on the story after spotting an account of it in a rare book catalogue and then memoirs about the case. ``It was a huge scandal at the time -- it was something that just ripped everybody's imagination,'' Mr Graham told NZPA.
The country was fascinated and transfixed by the trial, mostly because of who Tom Hall was, he said. ``He was a well-known man in Timaru, was very charming and popular. People liked him, particularly women. ``He was a well-known businessman and came from a well-connected, prominent local family.'' Mr Graham worked on the book, Vile Crimes: The Timaru Poisonings, for two-and-a-half years. ``I wanted to write and I was always interested in history, and I thought this was a good subject to cut my teeth on. ``It was certainly very enjoyable to write.''
It was rare to find such an old case covered so fully in so many documents, and Mr Graham said because of that he was also able to include a social commentary on Canterbury life during the late 19th century. `` So it really looked like a window into the past in this really funny society in Timaru in the 1880s and all the petty snobberies and so on, it all seemed to me to be an interesting part of the story.'' After Hall was found guilty of attempting to murder his wife, police realised Mrs Hall's father, Captain Henry Cain, had died in suspiciously similar circumstances. He was exhumed, but there was not enough evidence to find Hall guilty. But Mr Graham said he believed Hall poisoned his father-in-law to death. `` It seems to me he was one of those people who was absolutely fascinated by poisons.'' Mr Graham said he was interested in history more than historic murder cases, so would not be writing a series of vile crimes.
Timaru Herald, 15 June 1888, Page 4
THE LATE CAPTAIN CAIN'S STEPDAUGHTERS.
This case was taken by His Honor Judge Ward in Chambers at Christchurch, on Wednesday.
By a certain deed settlement dated July 2Sth 1870, Henry Cain of Timaru, conveyed to Trustees certain real estate upon trust inter alia for his wife during her life, and after her decease for his stepdaughters Jane Ellis Espie and Kate Emily Espie and their heirs in equal shares free from the debts, control, or engagements of any husbands with whom they might inter-marry ; and in the event of the said Jane Ellis Espie and Kate Emily Espie dying unmarried or without leaving issue, then upon trust for his right heirs. Jane Cain predeceased her husband, and Henry Cain died on Jan. 29th, 1886.
The defendants are the trustees of the settlement ; the plaintiff, formerly Miss Jane Ellis Espie, had been twice married ; in the first instance to a Mr Newton, by whom she has issue still surviving, and who were made defendants in this suit ; and, secondly, to a Mr Pattison, by whom she has still surviving one child, Isabella Pattison, also made an infant defendant in this suit.
The other plaintiff, Mrs Kate Emily Hall formerly Kate Emily Espie, married one Thomas Hall, and has one child still surviving, made an infant defendant in this suit. The whole question for determination in the suit was as to what construction should be placed upon the deed of settlement : the trustees of the settlement refusing to convey the property to the Misses Espie without a decree of the Court.
Mr W. H. Wynn - Williams, for the plaintiffs, said the whole question is a question of interpretation. He admitted that some error has crept into the deed.
His Honor : I do not recollect ever to have seen a document so peculiarly drawn as this. The decree will be for a conditional estate in fee simple in the two Misses Espie, subject to defeasance in case of their dying unmarried or without leaving issue. Costs to come out of estate.
Star 4 April 1891, Page 3
CLEARED. April 4 �Coptic, R.M.S.S., 44,48 tons, Kempson, 8.N.E., for London via Rio de Janeiro. Dalgety and Co., agents. Passengers :
Saloon � Mr E.S. Cain
Mrs Jane Pattison, Miss Isabel Pattison, Miss Espie Pattison, Master Lewis Pattison
Steerage � Mr J. Pattison, Master Pattison
Sacred to the memory of Jane
The beloved wife of Capt. Henry Cain,
who died July 26th 1878.
Aged 59 Years.
and Capt. Henry Cain
Died Jan.y. 29th 1886
Age 70 years.
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
C. Munro, Dunedin [mason]
Vile Crimes: The Timaru Poisonings by Peter Graham Paperback, 2007. 164 pages. Canterbury University Press, 2007
An examination of one of New Zealand's most sensational court cases of its day: the 1886 trial of Tom Hall for attempting to murder his wife Kitty by poison, and the murder of his father-in-law, Captain Henry Cain. A portrait of scandal in a newly emerging colonial society.
Timaru Courier - South Canterbury Tales by John Button
Perpetrator with poisonous personality May 7 2010 pg7
Poverty Bay Herald, 2 October 1886, Page 2
I am informed that a difficulty has presented itself to granting an application to exhume the body of the late Mr Tate, Hall's business partner. The coroner's jury who sat on the inquest to inquire into the, circumstances of Tate's death found that it was caused by poison administered by himself while in a state of temporary insanity. Whatever the police may think of the efficiency of a coroner's jury, the fact is clear that they must have found their verdict upon the evidence before them. Before an application, to exhume Tate's body could be granted, evidence must be adduced to the satisfaction of the Colonial Secretary that Hall was connected with the administration of the poison which caused his partner's death, but in this dreadful case "horror on horror accumulates." A story has obtained currency which connects Halls' name with another social tragedy. Some two years ago a body of a young girl was found at the bottom of a well. It is alleged that Hall had certain undeniable relations with this young woman. It was natural that recent events should bring this affair again to recollection. It is alleged also that Hall had discharged a previous nurse and doctor who were in attendance on his wife because they suspected that their patient was being poisoned. It was this circumstance that awakened the suspicion of Dr McIntyre at an early stage of his attendance. Professor Ogston, from Dunedin, has been appointed to watch the analysis of the stomach of the late Captain Cain while it is being conducted by Professor Black. Since the suspicion was raised that Captain Cain died by poison two police have been told off to prevent the grave being tampered with. The morbid love of horror in the popular mind is well illustrated by the fact that groups of people gather about the cemetery every night in the hope of witnessing the exhumation. I gather these particulars from correspondence with people who know all that is passing in Timaru.