“Shot between the eyes”
My sister had just downloaded the death certificate for Patrick Gleeson and saw that this individual, who she knew had four daughters also had a 14 year old son, named Patrick Francis Gleeson. She said that there wasn’t any birth index for the son in the Victorian BDM index.
I looked on Ancestry for her and found the son’s birth (his full name was Patrick Francis Xavier Gleeson) registered in Sydney, NSW and a death in 1951 in Euroa, Victoria. There was no record for a Patrick Francis Xavier Gleeson in the Australian Electoral Rolls. Therefore, I entered his full name into the Trove newspapers website search bar and read the results out to my sister, “fatally shot Patrick Francis Xavier Gleeson, 58, at Marraweeney, near Violet Town.”
The article in The Argus was very short, stating that Gordon Sims of no fixed address was acquitted of the manslaughter of Gleeson. A number of other articles were equally brief. The final article gave a brief outline of the circumstances of Gleeson’s death.
“Barrier Miner” Friday 9 November, 1951. “Detective Sinclair Emery Miller told the court that Gleeson was shot between the eyes. Sims said he took “the old chap” (Gleeson) to a hotel for a drink after seeing him picking up cigarette butts. Later they went to the farm. Sims had told Gleeson that Jim Ellis (his boss) probably would give Gleeson a job. They had a drink in Sims’ sleepout, where Gleeson saw a rifle standing in a corner. Gleeson loaded the rifle and was examining it. Sims said a loaded rifle was a bit dangerous and took it away. He was showing Gleeson how to cock the rifle when it went off.”
It would seem that P F X Gleeson, who was orphaned at fourteen, lived an itinerate lifestyle and had fallen on hard times by the time of his death and it seems that on the sole evidence of the accused Sims himself, Sims was acquitted of manslaughter.
It was certainly an unexpected find for my sister’s research.