The murder of Emily KEELING
Auckland 1886

Emily and her parents grave*


Fearful double tragedy at Arch Hill

A young lady shot by her lover

A thrill of horror ran through the town last evening when it became known that the horrible crimes of murder and suicide had been committed at Arch Hill. The sad news was first conveyed to the Newton Police Station by a youth named Arthur Shannon, who at that time simply knew of the suicide of the murderer. Constable Clark sent word to the central police station, and at once proceeded to the scene of the crime. It was not until some time afterwards that it was known that the perpetrator of the rash act had also committed the fearful crime of murder. It subsequently transpired that, as usual in these sad affairs, love might be considered as the cause of the crime.

The Particulars

It appears that a young girl named...

Emily Mary KEELING...

...who would have been 18 years of age next month, was proceeding up King Street, Arch Hill, on her way to the Bible Class at the Alexandra street Primitive Methodist Church, when she was met by a young man named ...

Edwin James FULLER...

...with whom she had been acquainted for some time. He was seen by a young woman who was passing to address her, and then seize her by the arm, she apparently wishing to escape from his importunities. Immediately afterwards two shots were fired, Mr J. E. Thomas, who keeps a grocery store at the opposite side of the road, hearing the reports, ran across the street and got between the murderer and his victim. Fuller then ran rapidly along Stanley Street until he reached the corner of Brisbane Street, where he completed his crime by taking his own life.

Death of the Victim

Meanwhile the girl had crossed the street and sat down on the doorstep of the grocery store. Mr Thomas at once came over to her, and finding her in a fainting condition, he, with the assistance of his son, Mr W. A. Thomas, conveyed the unfortunate girl inside his house and placed her on a sofa in the parlour, where she died about twenty minutes afterwards. The girl retained consciousness until the end. Dr Lawson was quickly in attendance, and found that two bullets had entered her right breast.

The Scene of the Crimes

Scene of the murder - view of Thomas's store **

King Street, where Emily Mary Keeling was murdered, is the second street past the Newton West School, leading from the Great North Road to the New North Road. Stanley Street is the first thoroughfare parallel with the Great North Road. It crosses both King and Brisbane Streets. At the corner of King and Stanley Streets is situated Mr Thomas's store, in which the poor girl expired, and it was at the opposite corner that the murder was committed. The perpetrator of the crime then ran along Stanley Street past the rear of the public school until he reached the corner of Brisbane Street, which also runs parallel with King Street, and it was at this corner that he completed his work by committing suicide, just at the side of the residence of Mr George Stanton.

In his case, death must have been instantaneous, as the bullet passed through the mouth and a portion of the brain, and ultimately lodged in the nape of the neck at the left side.

The Discoverer of the Suicide

A boy named Arthur Shannon, aged 11 years, who resides with his parents in Stanley Street, states that he saw Fuller running rapidly towards Brisbane-street. He watched him turn the corner, and immediately afterwards he heard a shot fired. Shannon ran to the place, which was about fifty yards away, and he was horrified to find Fuller lying on his face in a pool of blood. The lad at once called his mother.

Meanwhile a youth named John Murphy, about 16 years of age, arrived upon the scene. He resides in Kepple Street, and hearing the shot, he immediately ran up to see who was firing.

The next to arrive was Mr Deerness, who immediately sent the lad Murphy to the police station. The news was received by Constable Clark at about 5 minutes to 7 o'clock, and he, with commendable promptitude, despatched the lad for Dr. Challinor Purchas. He then hurried off to Arch Hill, and arrived upon the scene about 7.10 o'clock. Almost immediately afterwards Dr. Challinor Purchas arrived, but at once pronounced life to be extinct. Constable Clark found Fuller lying on his right side, face downwards. In his right hand doubled under his body he held a British bull-dog revolver, apparently quite new. His thumb was upon the trigger guard. Upon examining the revolver, it was found that three barrels were loaded, and also that three had been discharged

Fuller was dressed in a black sac coat and waistcoat and light tweed trousers. In the pockets were found several letters, £3 9s 10½ d in cash, an open-faced silver watch, one pipe, and six revolver cartridges. The constable at once obtained assistance and removed the body to the house of Mr J. Jenkins, in King Street, It was while doing this that the startling information was received that the man they were carrying had also Murdered a Girl.

Further inquiries were made, and soon elicited the facts as stated above. The news had also been conveyed to the Central Police Station, and Senior Sergeant Pratt was soon in attendance, accompanied by Dr. Tennent and Detective Walker. Naturally large crowds soon gathered and all along the street there were for hours small groups of people speaking with bated breath of the terrible tragedy that had occurred in their hitherto quiet district. Other groups seemed to find special fascination for the pools of blood that had oozed from the body of the murderer as he lay in Brisbane Street.

Description of the Murderer

Edward Fuller, the perpetrator of the terrible double crime of murder and suicide, is a young man who has hitherto borne an excellent character. It is stated that he was always quiet in his style, and never exhibited any peculiarities that would have marked him as the perpetrator of such a fearful deed. He was between 21 and 22 years of age, about 5 feet 8 inches in height, of fair complexion, and moderate build. Did not wear a beard, but had a light moustache. He was the brother-in-law of Mr Jenkins, builder, who resides in his own house in King Street. Fuller was a labourer, and had worked for some time in the brick-yards at Henderson. About a year and a half ago he went to the Northern Wairoa district, but returned to town for Christmas, remained with Mr Jenkins, and assisted him at the building trade.

His Victim

Miss Emily Mary Keeling, whose life was so ruthlessly cut short, was the daughter of Mr George Keeling, bricklayer, and his wife Emily. Miss Keeling bears an excellent character, and appears to have been somewhat of a favourite with the neighbours, who all speak of her in the highest terms. She was decidedly good-looking, about medium height, with blue eyes and brown hair.
She was not engaged in any business, but resided with her parents in King Street, next door but one to the house in which he who caused her untimely end resided.

As previously stated, she was at the time of her murder on her way to attend a meeting of the Bible-class of the Primitive Methodist Church, Alexandra Street, at which, it appears, she was a regular attendant. We learn that the unfortunate girl was to have delivered an essay on April 16th, the title being "Mount Ararat." Her companions in the class describe her as an intelligent and engaging young woman, and she was evidently a favourite with all who knew her. Although the hour was early, strange to say no person actually saw the shots fired, though naturally there were people close at hand when the terrible crime was committed. It will perhaps be better to give their own versions of the sad occurrence.

Miss Pattie Burgess, who resides in Home Street, about 200 yards from the scene of the tragedy, states :— "At 20 minutes to 7 o'clock I was coming down past Thomas's store at the corner of King and Stanley Streets, I saw the young man Fuller standing at the opposite corner of the
street, and looking as I thought somewhat peculiar or strange. I saw the young woman, Miss Keeling, attempt to pass him. He took her by the arm, and said something to her. I passed by. Immediately afterwards I heard a shot fired, and then a second one. When I turned round I saw her running towards the shop. The young man first ran towards her, and then ran along Stanley Street. I returned to the girl, and found her in the arms of Mr J. E. I Thomas and his son,Mr W. A. Thomas, who carried her inside the shop. I was not then aware that Fuller had shot himself. After Miss Keeling had been carried into Thomas's I went down and told her mother what had happened."

Statement of Mr Thomas

Mr Jabez Edward Thomas, store-keeper, corner of King and Stanley Streets, stated : -"At about 20 minutes to 7 o'clock I was in my shop, when I heard the report of firearms l at once ran to the door, and looking across the street, saw a girl standing at the opposite corner. I heard her scream. I also saw a man standing alongside of her, but did not recognise him. I ran across the road and the girl cried, 'Oh, save me.' I went between her and the man to save the girl. The man then ran up Stanley Street towards Brisbane Street. The girl also ran across the road to my shop and sat down on the doorstep for a few seconds, when she fell forward and again said 'save me.' I then, with the assistance of my son William A. Thomas, took her into the house and my wife came to assist. We laid her on a sofa in the parlour. My son immediately went in a trap for a doctor and returned with Dr. Lawson, who arrived shortly after 7 o'clock. The doctor found that two shot wounds had been inflicted on her, both entering her right breast, and apparently penetrating the lungs and the heart. She was still living, and quite conscious when he arrived. She retained consciousness until the end, and died about fifteen minutes past 7 o'clock.

Statement of Mr Thomas Jun.

Walter Arthur Thomas, son of the above, states :— " I was lying on the couch of the parlour at 20 minutes to 7 o'clock, when I heard two reports. I at first thought that the shop shutters were falling. I ran into the shop, and mother said, 'Oh there's a poor girl shot.' I went to the door, and saw Miss Keeling lying on her back on the steps of the shop in my father's arms. She said, " Oh, save me." I assisted my father to carry her inside, and we laid her on the couch in the parlour.
I then rushed out to find a doctor. On going round the corner, I saw a cart belonging to Mr Campion. I jumped in and told him to drive for a doctor, as a girl had been shot. We drove to Dr. Lawsons residence, Karangahape Road. I found him at home, and he sent me to telephone the news to the police station. Upon returning with the doctor, the girl was just dying.

The Scene of the Murder

Our reporter also visited the scene of the tragedy this morning. Save in the mournful, subdued look of the residents of the vicinity there is nothing in the surroundings consonant with the hideous occurrence of the previous evening. He examined the spot where the shooting took place. It is a patch of rough scoria on the junction of King and Stanley Streets, about a dozen yards from Thomas's (late Cuckson's) store. The locality was examined with great minuteness, but not a spot of blood could be seen, neither were there any stains between the place of shooting and the store, distant about twelve yards. Thomas's is a small grocery store of the same type as dozens that may be seen in our suburbs. It is approached by a flight of three steps, on the lowest one of which Miss Keeling sat after her agonised run across the road with the fatal bullet in her breast.

Fuller's Body

Fuller's body as it lay in Mr Jenkins house this morning presented a most gruesome spectacle. It was placed in a pleasant looking, neatly-furnished, little room in the point of the house, which even the drawn blinds and the awful presence of death did not deprive of an air of cheerfulness.

The corpse was stretched on a rude temporary table, the top of which was apparently constructed of the door of a cupboard. The body was fully dressed, but was covered with a clean white sheet. When the upper portion of this was removed, the blood-stained visage of the murderer was exposed to view. It was the face of a very personable-looking young man of twenty two years, though he looked much older His ruffled hair was light brown, and a crisp little moustache of the same colour shaded the upper lip. With this exception, the face was shaved, there being a short stubble on the chin. The nose was slightly aquiline, with an uncommonly shaped point, and the nostrils were rather broad. The forehead was slightly retreating and the contour of the chin and lower part of the face indicative of considerable determination. On the back of the neck a small protuberance could be felt, occasioned, no doubt, by the lodgement of the bullet under the skin or a displacement of a portion of the vertebrae of the neck. On the face and especially the left ear were ghastly smears of blood, and a few marks of earth showing that he had fallen on his face.

Fuller's Antecedents and Peculiarities

One of our reporters interviewed Mr John Jenkins this morning at his house in King Street and was very obligingly furnished with a clear and straightforward statement concerning the deceased young man.

Mr Jenkins said :— " Edward James ' Fuller was my wife's youngest brother. Until three years ago he lived with his brothers and sisters in his native village of Drayton, near Norwich, in the County of Norfolk. His parents were both dead, and hearing that he was desirous of leaving Home, I sent to him to come out to New Zealand in order that he might better his condition. He accepted the invitation, and came out here by the ship Rangitikei, accompanied by a younger sister, who is now Mrs Yearbury. Dr. Erson was a passenger by the same vessel, and next month it will be just three years since he arrived. He took up his residence at my house, and worked with me on my building contracts for the first three months. He then seemed to tire of carpentering and as he had been brought up on a farm he had a longing to go farming again. He accordingly went out to Avondale in search of a job and being offered employment in a brickyard there he took it. He remained at this place for six months boarding and lodging out at Avondale, but coming home to us on Saturday nights and returning again on the following Monday mornings. Towards the end of this period he obtained a job at the Arch Hill Brick Yard and left Avondale in order to take it. About the same time he seems to have made the acquaintance of Miss Keeling, whose parents house was only separated from his brother -in - law's by that of Mr Mclntosh. He was too reserved by disposition, however, to take anyone into his confidence or to talk freely of his affairs.

The girl was very nice, and as innocent as a child. My brother-in-law worked at the Auckland Brick Yard for over 12 months. When it was shut up, as usual, last winter, he left along with the other men. He bought a double-barrelled gun and some powder and shot and went up to Dargaville to do some shooting of game. While there is whare took fire in his absence and his gun and other belongings were destroyed. He was left merely with what he stood up in. Up till that time I do not think he had any intention of stopping in the Wairoa, but after that he got work as a carpenter on the Railway Wharf, which was being constructed at Kaihu. He wrote to us saying that he would come down to town about Christmas last, but he did not arrive until after the New Year. Since then he has remained with us and been without employment. He had a little money saved, and wanted to pay us for his board and lodging, but we declined any payment, telling him to keep his money. He had money deposited in the Auckland Savings Bank (some £12 13s), and gave his deposit book to my wife to keep for him. As I have already said, he was habitually reserved, but during the last few days we can now recall the fact that he was more reserved than usual, although the difference may not have impressed us much at the time. He kept more to his room, appeared to sleep longer, and shewed no inclination to see the STAR when it reached us the last two nights. This was the more remarkable, as always before he had been the first to ask for the STAR and was invariably more eager to look through and read it than to have his tea."

His Doings Yesterday

"Yesterday morning he went out after breakfast and was away for a short time, He was back for dinner. He stayed in the house for the rest of the day, and this reminds me that he had not been out of the house the previous day. Yesterday afternoon he spent mostly in his room. When tea was ready he was called and came and took a place without speaking a word. He did not ask for the STAR, but took his tea very quickly indeed — so quickly, indeed, that although I was half finished when he came he was done before me. After tea he sat down on the couch by the window and gazed out of it in the direction of King Street, of which it commands a view as far as Thomas's shop. It was Miss Keeling's custom to go up the street about this time with her little foster sister in her arms in order to meet her father arriving from work and Fuller was evidently on the look-out for her. He had a patent medicine pamphlet in his hand, but seemed to give no attention to it.

While I was out in the yard, and Fuller was at the window, I saw Miss Keeling go up the street with the baby in her arms. She returned some time afterwards, having evidently failed to meet him and I have since learnt that that evening he came home by way of the paddocks, lower down the street. She must then have gone home to change her dress in order to set out for the Bible class. I was still in the yard, my brother-in-law left the house, going out, I believe, by the back stairs, instead of by the front door, as usual. Outside I understand he met one of my little boys, and gave him a packet of lollies, telling him to give Annie (my little girl) some. Another of my boys — some years older than the one just referred to— saw the deceased a little later standing at the corner of Stanley Street and addressing him familiarly said, "Hallo, Ted," but received no answer. He was then apparently waiting for Miss Keeling, and a few moments afterwards they must have met. He would have completed his 22 years this month, So far as I could judge, he was not a man of nervous temperament, but he was very reserved in manner, and always has been so. He was addicted to light reading, and perused with much interest the stories which run through the Star and "Herald." He was also a heavy sleeper. In this respect he was strange. I have known him when leaving the house in the morning for work to run back if a shower of rain has been falling, and go to bed again. He would stop in his room for days together. I remember saying to him once, banteringly,
" Ted, There Must be Something Wrong with you. You must have some disease. You are always so ready to lie down." There is no doubt that he was very fond of Miss Keeling, but it is wrong to say that he had asked her in marriage. He may have intended to marry her, and doubtless wished to do so, but he had not asked her to marry. His desire seemed to be to be allowed to keep her company, Latterly he appeared to be very miserable, but kept the cause to himself Mrs Jenkins corroborated her husband's statement, and also added that after Mr Jenkins left the house her brother did not speak. He went out quietly while she was undressing the baby.

Miss Keeling's Dying Moments

Our reporter subsequently interviewed Mrs Thomas in her shop and that lady, with much emotion, described the affecting death of the poor young girl. She said : I was in the shop, when I saw a flash of light on the opposite side of the street and heard a report. I felt no alarm at the report, for I thought the noise was made by some children playing, but the flash attracted my attention. It was followed by a loud and piercing shriek of agony, and I went towards the door. The night was dark, but I saw a girl running across the street towards me. She sank down on the lowest step from the door, and then slid gently towards the ground. As she sat down she exclaimed, "I am shot ; save me. Take me in." My husband had meanwhile heard the report also, and rushed across the street. He came back, and assisted by my son, carried the poor young thing into my parlour, which is just off the shop. We laid her on the sofa and I saw that she had been shot just below the right breast. There was a hole where the bullet had entered, and her clothing around it was singed. I undid her dress, and saw a wound. Blood was slowly trickling from it. She said, 'Take off my boots and gloves, and put my feet up. Oh, my mother.' In a little while, as her life seemed to be ebbing away, she put up her arms to me saying, ' Love me, l am dying." I answered, "Yes, darling, I will, God bless you." I asked her who had shot her, and she replied " Ted Fuller did it." Her parents came in, and she recognised her mother and when asked by her who did the deed she returned the same answer that she had given to me. I gave her some wine, and she remained concious until just before she died. She passed away so peacefully, that the change could hardly be noticed. About twenty minutes after she came to the shop she was dead. Meantime my son had gone for medical aid and he arrived with Dr. Lawson just two minutes before death. When the doctor came the poor girl was gasping for breath.

Sundry Particulars

It only remains to add to this moving narrative that Dr. Lawson afterwards probed the wound for the bullet and that Detective Walker and Mr Thomas carried the deceased to her parents' home. Our reporter visited them this morning, and found them quiet and composed, although stricken hard by their sore distress. The Rev. A. J. Smith was present offering consolation. Both father and mother were anxious to give all the information in their power touching the sad affair. The deceased was a modest-looking and handsome girl. She was of the average height of women, of a light and graceful figure, and regular and very pleasant features. Her brown hair slightly overhung her forehead in a short fringe and behind her neck it fell in short ringlets. There was nothing flashy or vain about her appearance. She was evidently a quiet, well-behaved girl and an affectionate and obedient daughter — a girl in short, who would have made a loving and loveable wife. From inquiries made this morning at the Newton branch of the Auckland Savings Bank, our reporter learned that Edward James Fuller opened his accounts there on March 14th, 1885, and that closed it on Wednesday last, March 31st, by drawing out all he had to his credit, viz. , £12 16s 8d. Mr J. W. Watts paid him the money.

The Mother of the Victim

Shortly after the occurrence, one of our staff visited the residence of the parents of the murdered girl in King Street, and naturally witnessed a most distressing scene. The mother appeared scarce able to realise the terrible bereavement which she had sustained and as the big tears rolled down her face she could only say, " Oh, sir, she was my companion ; my only girl," and as she held the light in order that the body of her child might be seen, she said, "to think that not an hour ago she went out to Bible Class all well." Meanwhile the father stood by bearing his sorrow with the stern, stoical silence of one who was stricken sore, but still determined to bear it like a man. The mother further stated :—"My daughter, Emily Mary Keeling, was 17 years of age, and would have been 18 next month. She had been acquainted with Fuller for about two years. He lived in the next house but one. She had not been keeping company with him. He was away at Dargaville for some time, but returned at Christmas, and since then had been constantly annoying her. Her daughter had told her mother that she had done everything to get rid of him. He had asked for her two years ago, but they had refused because she was so young, little more than fifteen years of age. Last night my daughter went out to go to Alexandra Street Church Bible class and I know nothing more except what Miss Burgess told me. We have one son, 19 years of age, who is now residing in Brisbane. She was our only girl. We have no other children except a little boy that we have adopted.

THE MURDER PREMEDITATED. Letter by the Murderer

It will be seen from the following letters, which were found upon the body of the assassin by Constable Clark and produced at the inquest this afternoon, that Fuller had fully laid out his plans, that he deliberately determined not only to commit suicide, but also to murder the unfortunate girl for whom he had conceived such a violent passion. The letter was written in red ink, and all the characters are evenly formed, there being no evidence of haste, as the note paper was closely ruled, and in no instance had the lines run into each other. This proves conclusively that the whole of the crime had been carefully premeditated. The following is the letter, which is headed Friday afternoon, but no date is appended : —

"Dear Sisters and Brothers,— This will be the last time that I shall be able to
write to you, for by the time you get this letter I shall be dead, as I am going
to shoot myself to-night, Life is a misery to me now. I love Emily Keeling as no
one ever loved before, and she cannot go with me because she is afraid her
father would make a row again. If he had consented when I asked him the first
time, this would never have happened. I don't think she likes me so well now, as
she did then It don't matter were I go. I cannot stop, and that is the reason I
could not stop at Henderson’s Mill, so I have made up my mind to shoot myself,
as I cannot live without her. I shall speak to her to-night, and ask her whether
she will have me without her father's consent. If she objects, we will both die
together. You can divide my money between you and Lizzie. So now I bid you all
good-bye forever. — I am, your loving brother, Edwin James Fuller

Love Letters Found on the Murderer

The following letters wore also found in the heart pocket of Fuller's coat-. They are signed by the name of his victim and no doubt were written by Her. Both letters were written in lead pencil and must have been carried for some time in the pocket of Fuller as they were almost undecipherable on the outer side. In fact the greatest trouble was experienced in reading them. It is apparent from these that the unfortunate girl had been clandestinely keeping company with Fuller. The first letter is addressed " Monday," but, unfortunately, there is no date. The letter is as follows : —

" Dear Edward, —l am writing this letter to you on the quiet. My mother told me
was not to write to you. We are going out to night to the tea-meeting down at
the church. If you are anywhere about I will speak to you. I don't know whether
we are going out on Wednesday night. I am very sorry that I cannot see you, but
you know that it is not my fault. My mother says that if father saw me with you,
he would not let me go with you at all and she says she will try to make him let
me go with you before I am eighteen. I would go with you if I could, you know
that. On Sunday morning I think my father saw you go out, because he said he
might be up on the New North Road and I did not want to be caught. I do not
think you love me as much as you say you do, or else you would not do things
that you are ashamed to let me see. I thought it made you look very low to be
smoking a pipe. If ever I hear of you drinking — even if you only taste it
—I shall give you up, although it would be hard for me. My mother was very much
surprised at you; she would not believe it was you till we got up to you. Bessie
gave me such a scolding on Sunday, but I only laughed at her and told her she
was an old maid. You must not be offended ; I don't mean anything by what I have
said. Please write to me as soon as you can. You must excuse the writing as you
know I am unwell and I am sitting up to write this to you and I am in my night
dress and it is cold. My very best love to you and a kiss — I remain your true
Emily M. Keeling.

" Dear Edward,— lf ever you wish to speak to me, or see me about
anything, go up to the paddock on Thursday morning, so as father may not see
you. I think that you seemed rather white or sick. Is anything the matter with
you ? I love you as much and better than I have done before, so cheer up, l am
having such a time of it. My father is so cross and angry, we' can't move or
speak for him. My best love to you and a kiss. —I remain, your affectionate
Emily Keeling.

Excitement in the Neighbourhood

When the full extent of the crimes committed by Fuller became known, the people in the neighbourhood were worked up into a great state of excitement, and stood around in groups discussing the distressing events. Owing to Constable Clark being quickly in attendance, most of those who knew anything of the affair were easily secured as witnesses. Strange to say, however, the most important of all the witnesses (Miss Burgess), who was close at hand, was allowed to go home without any of the bystanders obtaining her name and address. The consequence was that Constable Clark experienced considerable trouble in discovering her whereabouts. After wandering up and down break neck roads, and traversing several miles, the young lady was at length found not above 200 yard from the scene of the tragedy. Fortunately Miss Burgess proved a most intelligent woman, and gave the information in her power in a lucid manner As the party of searchers were wandering along the various by-streets, little groups of persons were constantly encountered discussing the matter. From one of these groups the information was vouchsafed that prior to her daughter leaving the house Mrs Keeling had called her back and said, " Won't you kiss me before you go." Poor mother, she little dreamt that it was the last kiss she should ever bestow alive This slight occurrence shows clearly that there were no strained feelings within the family circle.


The inquest on the bodies of the murderer and his victim was opened by Dr. Philson, District Coroner, in Mr Jenkins's residence, at 2 o'clock. The following jurors wore impannelled : - James Skeen, George Sinnet, William James McDermoot (Foreman), William Piper, Henry Chapman and John Morrow.

After viewing the body the following evidence was adduced :—
Dr. A. Challinor Purchas deposed that at 7 p.m. yesterday he was called to see Fuller and found him lying on his face on the ground at the corner of Brisbane and Stanley Streets at Arch Hill. He was dead and the body was quite warm. Blood was flowing from his mouth and nostrils. On putting his finger into deceased's mouth, he felt a breach in the hard pallet of a ragged character and at the nape of the neck under the skin, he felt a round lump. On cutting up this, he extracted the revolver bullet produced. One side of it was deeply grooved as if it had passed along a bone. It would have fitted the barrels of the revolver. Another bullet produced was evidently the same kind. The revolver produced had six chambers. It was found by deceased's side, close to the fence. Three barrels of the revolver had been discharged and three were still loaded. The revolver was of the kind named the British bull dog and appeared to be quite new and of modern design. He discovered no other marks of violence upon the body and his opinion was that death was caused by injuries to the base of the scull [sic] of the brain. Death must have been instantaneous. The witness believed the wound to be inflicted by the deceased's own hand, and that he must have put the barrel of the revolver into his mouth and pulled the trigger.

From the condition of his body he appeared to be in good health previously. Constable Clark, of Newton was with the body when witness arrived, and he was informed by the constable that deceased had shot himself, while the crowd stated that he had shot a girl. The bullet was opposite the cervical vertebrae. In answer to a question by Mr Chapman the coroner said it had not been thought necessary to go to the expense of a post mortem examination.

Another juror did not think the doctor was justified in saying that deceased had been in previous good health John Murphy, bootmaker, deposed that he had known deceased for the last six months. He last saw him alive one day last week. He was then sitting on a doorstep of Mr Rowe’s grocer's shop. It was about 5.30, and deceased bade witness good night. Observed nothing strange in his manner. Last night about 6.45 witness was on his way home from the Domain, when he saw someone lying on the ground beside Stanton's house, at the corner of the shed. He was at first thought to be a drunken man, went up had a look and said, "Get up " Received no answer. It was dark at the time, and witness waited two minutes, when a Mr Deames’s came past. Witness struck a match but could not make out who the man was as he lay on his face. Witness went for a constable and brought Constable Clark, of Newton. It was then ascertained who the man was. He remained till the body was removed. The body was distant about 250 yards from deceased's residence.

To the Coroner : The revolver produced was in deceased right hand when witness found him.

Arthur Shanaghan, 11 years of age, and son of John Shanaghan, City Council labourer, residing in Stanley Street, Arch Hill, deposed : At dusk the previous night, he was standing by his father's gate, when he heard two pistol reports quite close at hand. He saw a man run past up Stanley Street and immediately afterwards there was another pistol report. He ran after the man and saw him lying down on the ground Witness went back for a match and when he returned Murphy was standing by the body. Gave him the match, and he struck it. Deceased had a revolver like the one produced in his right hand. Did not know who the dead man was until some boys told him.

Jabez Edward Thomas, storekeeper, carrying on business at the corner of King and Stanley streets, deposed that about 6.40 on Friday night, while in his shop, he heard a pistol report, followed by a scream. He went to the door and saw a man and female on the opposite side of the street, about 40 feet distant. The man had on a dark coat and light pants He heard the female cry out, " Will no one save me ?" Witness said, " I will," and as he started there was another flash and pistol report. He ran across the road and saw a girl standing there. He rushed between her and the man and told her to go into his shop. She ran over and sat down on the step. Witness then turned round to look at the man and found that he had started to run up StanleyStreet. He heard no further report. Deceased's clothing answered to the description he had given of the apparel of the man who ran away.

Constable Henry Clarke, of Newton, deposed that a few minutes before 7 o'clock the previous night he was told that a man had shot himself at Arch Hill. He went to the place indicated, and found deceased lying face downward at the corner of Brisbane and Stanley streets. was quite dead. Witness removed the body to the house of John Jenkins, brother-in-law of deceased, having previously searched his pockets. He had on a dark coat and waistcoat and grey trousers. There was no blood upon his clothes. Witness found the revolver produced in deceaseds right hand. It appeared to have been recently discharged, as it smelt of powder. He also found an open faced silver watch, six revolver cartridges, suitable for the revolver produced, a purse containing £3 9s IOd, a pipe, tobacco, kerchief, and four letters, one of which, addressed to his sisters and brothers, stated his intention to kill himself. It was dated Friday afternoon.

John Jenkins, carpenter, residing in King-street, Arch Hill, deposed that deceased (Edward James Fuller) was his , (witness's) wife's brother. He would have been 22 on the 26th of this month. [The . witness then proceeded to repeat the statement which he had previously made to our reporter and which was published in our last] Witness did not know that deceased had a revolver in his possession, but he had that day found a box of revolver cartridges (produced) in deceased's clothes' box. He identified the letter read by Constable Clarke as being in deceased's handwriting. He had started for Henderson on Tuesday morning, and worked till dinner time, when he returned home. Witness asked him what was up, and he replied that he would have to start a fresh week on Monday next (to-day). From his manner and conversation witness now thought his mind to have been affected. Heard of his death at 7.30 on Friday evening. His Savings Bank book had not been found, nor any money, except that got by Constable Clarke. He had £12 odd in the bank. He was of sober habits. He believed the letters from Miss Keeling found in deceased's pockets were written two years ago. This being all the evidence, the jury, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of felo de se and that deceased had been under a great mental strain. The Coroner remarked that the letter showed that deceased was evidently fully aware of what he was doing.

Inquest on Emily Mary Keeling

The same coroner and jury having viewed the body of Emily Mary Keeling, proceeded to inquire into the cause of her death. Emily Keeling, mother of deceased, and wife of Geo. Keeling, bricklayer, deposed that she resided in King Street and that deceased was her daughter. She was 17 years old last April and would have been 18 on the 18th of the present month. Last saw her alive the previous night at 6 35 o'clock. She was then leaving home for the Alexandra Street Primitive Methodist Bible Class and had bade witness " Goodbye." She was in perfect health and in good spirits. She went out alone. About 5 or 10 minutes afterwards a young man named Barrett came to witness's house and called out, "Mr and Mrs Keeling, your daughter is shot." He also said she was in Thomas's shop and Mr Keeling at once ran off thither, while witness picked up the baby and followed. When she got there, she saw her daughter lying on a couch in Mr Thomas's house and in a dying condition. She was quite sensible, and said, "Oh! mother, mother, I shall die." She also asked her father to raise her legs from the couch. Mrs Thomas cut her clothes off above the bullet mark, and blood was seen on her underclothing. Dr. Lawson arrived very soon afterwards, and examined the girl. Witness saw him probing a wound under her right breast, from which the blood was flowing. She seemed to die at this time. Witness only knew of Edward James Puller as a neighbour. Two years ago he wished to pay his addresses to deceased, but her father refused, thinking her too young. He then went away, and returned about Christmas time. Since then he seemed to manage to meet her whenever she went out, although she told him her father had forbidden her to go with him. Still she did not seem to have any fears of him. Fuller used to meet her going to or coming from church or Sunday school. Dr. George Langrigg Leathes Lawson, deposed that at 6.50 o'clock on the previous evening he was called to visit Emily Mary Keeling. He found her lying on a couch in a room of Mr Thomas's house in King Street. She was apparently suffering from difficulty of breathing and loss of blood. She never spoke to witness, nor made any movement with her limbs. He felt her pulse, and found it very weak. On stripping her he discovered a circular wound of a gunshot character, half an inch in diameter and situated on the right side over the 7th rib. The wound penetrated the chest and fractured the 7th rib. He did not notice any escape of wind from the wound, and there was not more than a tablespoonful of external bleeding. He asked the girl no questions, as he had been told she had been shot. The pulse stopped about two minutes after he saw her, and the breathing continued gaspingly a little longer. To the best of his belief, death resulted from a gunshot wound, causing internal hemorrhage. A bullet from the revolver produced would be sufficient to cause death. He probed the wound for an eighth of an inch, and concluded that the bullet had entered the chest. He had not extracted the bullet, but from the hemorrhage the previous night, and the escape of wind from the that day he had no doubt that the right lung had been wounded, thus accounting for the internal hemorrhage.

Jabez Edward Thomas deposed that when he heard the pistol report and saw the man run away from deceased, no one else was near. While she was sitting on his doorstep he asked her who shot her and she replied "Ted Fuller." She then fell on to the ground and his son and himself carried her into the house and put her on the sofa, after which witness gave her a glass of wine, which she swallowed without difficulty. His son had gone for the doctor, and witness sent to the girl's parents. The latter arrived first and Dr. Lawson soon afterwards. Deceased told her mother also that Ted Fuller had shot her. He only knew the girl by seeing her going up and down the street. She was a general favourite. Pattie Burgess, a young woman residing in Home Street, Arch Hill, deposed that she was not acquainted with deceased. When she (witness) was going home at 6.40 o'clock the previous night and passing along King Street, she saw a young man standing at the corner of King and Stanley Streets. She also saw Miss Keeling, whom she knew by sight, approaching along King Street. Deceased was going to pass the young man, but he took her by the arm and stopped her. Witness passed on, but had not gone more than a few steps when she heard a pistol report. It was followed by screams, and witness thereupon ran back. She saw the young man running after deceased across the street. Then there was a second pistol report, and the young man ran up Stanley Street. She did not recognise him. She went to the assistance of deceased, who was then sitting on Thomas's doorstep. Witness did not speak to deceased, but she heard her tell another person who had shot her. Witness ran to tell deceased's mother of the occurrence, and returned with the mother to Mr Thomas's. Detective John Mitchell Walker deposed that in consequence of a report reaching the Police Station he went to Mr Thomas's shop the previous night, accompanied by Sergeant Pratt and Dr. Tennent. Deceased was lying on a couch there and was dead. He assisted her father to carry her home. The witness then produced deceased's jacket, corset, chemise, and flannel, all bearing the bullet-hole, and the underclothing being stained with blood. The outer garment was also singed and scorched as if the muzzle of the revolver had been placed close against it when the weapon was discharged. This being all the evidence, the jury at once found a verdict of "willful murder" against Edward James Fuller.

The Funeral of the Murdered Girl

At 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon the funeral of the unfortunate girl took place. Never before has there been witnessed in this city such an affecting sight as was presented when the funeral cortege passed along the streets on its way to the cemetery. The younger children of the Alexandra Street Primitive Methodist Sunday school, led by Mr David Goldie, preceded the hearse, which was decorated with white plumes. Then followed a mourning coach, containing the bereaved parents and two lady friends. A long procession of the senior young women's classes of the Sunday School came next, each wearing a mourning badge upon their arms. After these followed the remainder of the scholars and an unusually large number of friends It was estimated that nearly two thousand persons took part in the procession. Besides those who joined the procession several thousands of people crowded along the sides of the road, and still larger numbers were waiting at the cemetery. When the funeral cortege reached Karangahape Road, the crowd was so great that it became troublesome to move along except as carried by the constantly increasing crowd. Amidst the throng there were many sad sympathetic faces as the carriage bearing Mr and Mrs Keeling passed by and in not a few instances wet eyes were visible, while even men could be seen striving hard to repress tears. "The procession was undoubtedly one of the longest that has ever passed along the streets of Auckland. Mr Jenkins, who has been brought into connection with this sad affair by means of his unfortunate brother-in-law, Fuller, was present at the funeral and appeared much moved. Judging from the immense crowds that lined the roads and collected at the cemetery, there must have been from nine to ten thousand in attendance . At the grave the scene was most affecting. The coffin was covered with flowers and when it had been lowered into its narrow resting place, the many young friends of the deceased literally covered the casket with flowers until the grave was more than one third tilled. The bereaved mother, who had been so rudely separated from her only daughter, stood at the edge of the grave. Her grief was terrible to witness and at length she was so overcome that Mr David Goldie, the superintendent of the Sunday School, was necessitated to support her. The people for many yards around the grave were compelled to give way to their emotion and to their honour be it said, that even strong, rough men broke down as the coffin was lowered out of sight. The Rev. A J. Smith, pastor of the Alexandra Street Primitive Methodist Church, read the burial service. At the conclusion of the ordinary service he made a few remarks to those assembled, in the course of which he said that it was a satisfaction to know that their departed friend had been an obedient child. It might, perhaps have seemed to them from what had been published in the evening papers that this was not the case and that she was carrying on a clandestine correspondence contrary to the wishes of her parents, but he might inform them that those letters which had been published had been written by her two years ago when she was a mere child. In fact, it was in consequence of her obedience to her dear parents that she had met her untimely end. It was a difficult matter to offer consolation to the friends in such bereavement, but he reminded them that He who stood by the grave of Lazarus, and wept with those sisters, was still the same, the Friend of the suffering and sorrowing. Their deceased sister was a devoted member of the Bibleclass, and it would be a comfort to her sorrowing relatives to know that when she met her untimely end she was going not to any place of amusement but to the Bibleclass, to the House of God, to study His holy word. The scholars sang the appropriate hymn— "When peace, like a river, attendeth my soul, "When Borrow like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul." Before the friends separated the old hymn, " Here we suffer grief and pain" was also sung by the scholar". The sorrowing friends then departed to their several homes.

Funeral of Fuller

When the verdict of felo de se was returned by the jury on Saturday afternoon the remains of the young man whose unbridled passions had led him to commit the awful crimes of murder and suicide were, by the consent of the Coroner, interred in the cemetery at five o'clock in the evening.

A hearse and mourning coach were provided, and Mr Jenkins and his sons were the mourners. About a dozen neighbours followed the carriage and hearse. The time of the funeral was not publicly known, and consequently there was not a crowd present to witness the lowering of the coffin into the grave.


* Small stone in front of tall stone:

Sacred to the memory of Emily Mary the beloved daughter of George & Emily KEELING of Arch Hill who was shot on her way to the Primitive Methodist Church Bible Class, Alexandra Street April 12th 1886 aged 17 years.

Larger stone behind:

In memory of Emily, the dearly beloved wife of George KEELING who died 4th December 1920 aged 73 years and 8 months; George KEELING, died 9 September 1931 aged 90 years

**Stanley Street no longer exists where murder took place. This would have been absorbed in the building of the motorway. Link to a map of the area now,174.593831&sspn=0.012618,0.014656&g=alexandra+street+auckland&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Arch+Hill,+Auckland&t=h&ll=-36.867081,174.749157&spn=0.004652,0.009602&z=17


Article and sketches taken from Paperspast website, National Library of New Zealand


  1. STANLEY ST was renamed DEAN ST in 1917. So it does still in fact exist for those wanting to retrace these events.

    Dave Kennett.

  2. Thanks for that David :-)


  3. This case appeared in the first series of "Epitaph", and was written up in the 1997 volume as "Love me, I am dying" (researched by Carolyn Avery), pp.31-43, 1997.

  4. Really?! I never realised that :-)

    Thanks Lisa!

  5. I thought it looked familiar when I read it -- but see, you didn't know about that research, and I'd say it had been forgotten or wasn't known by lots of folk. Good on you for putting this on the Net. :-)

  6. Well, if nothibng else, at least it documents the grave again a decade down the doubt worse for wear than over a decade ago!

    Thank Lisa!


  7. Does anyone know how to get a copy of this episode of Epitaph? I have tried everything!


  8. Hi Emma
    Not sure how you would unless it's on video or DVD somewhere.
    You could try contacting Paul Gittins' link from this page

    Also some libraries it seems have the video so maybe try your local branch?


  9. Thanks for publishing this story. I was fascinated by the gravestone this week when I visited Symonds Street Cemetery. I am visiting from England. I have just written a play based on a very similar story that happened in 1892 in Newbury, Berkshire. the murderer even used the same type of revolver!
    Ros Clow

  10. Hi Ros!
    How fascinating! So glad you found the blogpost interesting! Funnily enough this would be the most popular blogpost out of all I've done and I have no idea! It gets many many hits.

    My GGGG grandmother Jane WORT nee WHEELER [1803-1876] was born at Newbury and died in Christchurch, NZ. :O) A photo of here here

    Your play sounds fascinating! Will it get to stage?

    Cheers and thanks so much for leaving feedback! I appreciate it.


  11. Great story well told! But the witness was Pattle Burgess, not Pattie. At least, that's how it's printed in the newspaper report of the murder. I think she was the sister of an ancestor of mine.

  12. Hi Jabez
    Glad you enjoyed the story.

    All accounts I have come across state Miss Burgess's name as Pattie. OCR in digital papers makes things hard to read at times but here is another paperspast article on it. "Pattie" is quite clear.

    Have a great weekend!



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

1:12 scale Genealogists study - part 2

Making connections - the s.s. Tainui Disaster

The Kennedy ancestral hunt