William Conroy (murderer)

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William Conroy (1857 – 18 November 1887) was the last person executed at the Perth Gaol. Conroy was convicted of murdering Fremantle Town Councillor John Snook.

Conroy had immigrated from Ireland about ten years earlier, and before going to Fremantle was the licensee of the Victoria Hotel, located at the corner of James Street and Melbourne Road in Perth.[1][2] On 6 September 1886 Conroy became the first publican of the new National Hotel on High Street in Fremantle.[3]

On 23 June 1887 Conroy went to the Fremantle Town Hall where there was a children's ball in progress. He demanded entrance, as he was a licensee of the National Hotel,[4] but was told by Snook that only ladies and children were to be admitted. He persisted in his demands and finally the door was slammed on him. Conroy later gained admittance to the Town Hall. When Snook left the supper room, Conroy followed him, drew a revolver from his pocket, shot Snook and put the gun back in his pocket.[5] Conroy was arrested immediately.[6] Snook died three months later.[7] The trial took place at Perth and he was sentenced to death on 7 October 1887. After he was sentenced a petition was raised and signed by approximately 1500 people, including all members of the jury who had at the time of passing the verdict asked the judge to be lenient. This was then given to Governor Broome. A further call to the governor for clemency occurred during a public meeting attend by 1,000 people at the Perth Town Hall. Governor Broome then reviewed the case with two judges and medical people who had previously been part of Conroy's trial, but the governor decided to let law take it course.[8] Conroy was hanged at Perth Gaol at 8 a.m. on 18 November 1887.[9] The execution however was not swift as when Conroy was hanged the initial fall failed to break his neck and it took approximately 15 minutes for him to die of strangulation. Conroy was buried at Fremantle Cemetery.[10]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Supreme Court - Criminal Side". The West Australian (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 8 October 1887. p. 3. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Advertising". The Inquirer & Commercial News (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 23 May 1883. p. 2. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Fremantle Licensing Meeting.". Daily News (Perth, Western Australia) (National Library of Australia). 6 September 1886. p. 3. Retrieved 5 May 2014. "William Conroy, publican's general license to sell liquors on the premises recently in the occupation of the National Bank. Mr. Lovegrove appeared for the applicant, and said it was proposed to take the premises the National Bank had vacated, provided the license was granted; if the Bench did not grant the license it would be considered a national grievance. The owners of the property proposed enlarging the building and making it a bona fide modern hotel. After some consideration the license was granted, on condition that dry-earth accommodation be provided and that the stabling be on the opposite side of the road." 
  4. ^ "Fremantle Annual Licensing Court". The Western Mail (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 11 December 1886. p. 34. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Fremantle's Town Hall Murder". The Mirror (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 29 May 1937. p. 17. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Another Shooting Tragedy at Fremantle". The West Australian (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 25 June 1887. p. 3. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Fremantle Shooting Case". The West Australian (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 27 September 1887. p. 3. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Conroy's Sentence Confirmed". The Daily News (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 11 November 1887. p. 3. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "Execution of William Conroy". The Inquirer & Commercial News (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 23 November 1887. p. 2. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "Execution of William Conroy". The Daily News (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 18 November 1887. p. 3. Retrieved 24 October 2013.