The Sydney Morning Herald (May 23, 1942)
Murder inquiry in Melbourne
Melbourne – (Friday)
Following investigations by detectives and military police into the murders of three women in Melbourne this month, an American soldier was taken into custody at the City Watch House and held there under an armed guard from the U.S. military forces.
Detective-Inspector H. J. Carey, who has been in charge of the investigations, accompanied by Detective-Sergeant S. H. McGuffie and other members of the homicide squad, handed over the prisoner to the military guard after arrival at the watch house, and thereafter declined to make any statement on the subject of their long and arduous manhunt, except to say that the matter was now in the hands of the military authorities.
No charge of any kind was entered against the prisoner in the police charge book.
Since Tuesday morning, the detectives had been concentrating on the investigation of the death of Miss Gladys Lillian Hosking, 40, of Park St., Parkville, who was found strangled shortly after daybreak on that day in Royal Park.
Before that discovery, they had been searching for the murderer of Mrs. Pauline Buchan Thompson, 31, of Spring St., whose dead body was found on the steps in front of her lodgings early in the morning of May 9, and for the person responsible for the death of Mrs. Ivy Violet McLeod, 40, who was found dead in similar circumstances in a doorway at Albert Park on May 3.
Detectives, who have been working in close cooperation with the military police, have been acting in the assumption that the murderer of Miss Hosking might have been responsible for at least one of the other crimes, if not for both. They were led to this conclusion by the similarity of the circumstances in which the victims’ bodies were found. It is understood that during their investigations they were informed that a number of attacks had been made on women near Royal Park at night recently.
U.S. Army’s request
United States Army authorities are asking federal and state governments to surrender American soldiers arrested for civil offences for trial and, if necessary, punishment by court-martial.
A U.S. legal officer said today that full cooperation was already being received to requests for the surrender of military men appearing occasionally before civil courts.
American soldiers are now subject to trial and punishment both by military courts-martial and by civil courts. The American Army’s request is necessary for important military reasons. Soldiers convicted of petty offences may continue military duties while undergoing punishment of extra labour or stoppage of pay imposed by a court-martial.
A civil court may commit him to prison and interrupt the training of the unit to which he belongs.
In more serious cases, hard labour may be performed under military guards in important forward areas where the culprit would undergo the normal hazards of war.
Sentences under court-martial were not lighter than those normally imposed by civil courts, the legal officer said, and, in many cases, were heavier.
The Pittsburgh Press (May 23, 1942)
U.S. trooper arrested in deaths of women
Melbourne, Australia (UP) –
An American soldier, held in connection with the slaying of three women within the last three weeks, will be tried by an American military court.
Melbourne Police Commissioner Alex Duncan announced that a soldier, whose name was withheld, had been arrested in connection with one of the slayings but that no formal charges had been made against him. He is being investigated in connection with the other two.
In each case, a woman was found dead, apparently strangled, with her clothing torn from her shoulders.
The American soldier, arrested by Melbourne detectives, was turned over to U.S. Army authorities and held in custody.
The purses of two of the women contained money and had apparently not been touched. The purse of the third victim was empty.
An Army spokesman said that the case against the soldier under arrest was now being prepared by a court of Army officers. He said the soldier would be charged formally as soon as the case has been prepared and then would be tried by a general court-martial of at least five officers. The military penalty for murder is death by hanging.
It is customary, he explained, for an army abroad to try its own criminal cases, with the approval of local authorities.