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Vic SHIRLEY COLLINS: Murdered in Mt. Martha, Vic - 1953

Discussion in 'Australia: Cold Cases' started by Lily, May 15, 2015.

  1. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Brutal murder at Mt Martha never solved

    HOMICIDE detectives who investigated the murder of 14-year-old Shirley May Collins (pictured), whose battered body was found in September 1953 at Mt Martha, described the murder as “one of the most vicious and sadistic in the history of Victoria”.

    The investigation was said to be one of the biggest and most intensive manhunts in the history of Australian crime.

    Police believed the three broken beer bottles found near her battered body were the cause of her death. She had been the victim of a brutal attack.

    A bottle, heavy with beer, had been smashed on her head and knocked her unconscious. Two other bottles, tops still firmly clamped, had been shattered against the back of her head.

    The pretty face of Shirley Collins had been completely destroyed by blocks of cement. Her nose, jaw, cheekbones and forehead were broken.

    Her clothes had been ripped from her body and thrown in trees and scrub. A stocking, still fastened to a suspender belt, was found on a tree stump.

    Police teams interviewed more than 4000 people without finding a vital clue to identify the murderer. At times they had strong suspects, but none of them proved to be the killer.

    Newspapers headlined the story for months and the murder is still unsolved to this day.


    THE last interview actor Sheila Florance gave before she died of cancer in 1991 at the age of 75 was to Footy Show legend Sam Newman.

    In typically Newman style, he didn't shy away from asking the hard questions of the dying former star of Prisoner, in which she played the role of lovable old lag Lizzie Birdsworth.

    He asked her about the deaths of two of her children, one of which was blown out of her arms in England during World War 11

    FLORANCE: "My eldest child, aged 18, took her life here. I've never discussed this before.''

    NEWMAN: So we won't discuss it now then?''

    FLORANCE: "Oh yes, she threw herself off a roof.

    NEWMAN: "Did you ever understand why?

    FLORANCE: "No. Never. That was the worst part about it.

    NEWMAN: Did you think you had failed her?

    FLORANCE: "Of course.''

    Sheila Florance and her daughter Susan Oyston at Mordialloc Beach in 1948.

    It now seems Ms Florance may have wrongly blamed herself for the death of her daughter Susan Oyston, 18, as a suspected serial killer claims he murdered her and that she was his third victim.

    The Herald Sun is revealing today that Victoria Police cold case squad chief Ron Iddles was this year handed the man's written confession, which he made to a friend shortly before he died in 2002.

    Det-Sen-Sgt Iddles is now investigating the three murders the man confessed to and wants the help of the public to try to corroborate the man's claims.

    He is appealing for anybody with information about any of the three victims, their deaths or their friends, enemies or associates to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

    The suspected serial killer claimed in his dying deposition that he threw Ms Oyston off a building in 1954 because he feared she was going to expose him over one of his previous murders.

    He also admitted to murdering Elizabeth Maureen Williams, 20, in 1949 and Shirley Collins, 14, in 1953.



    Sen-Sgt Iddles is today appealing to anybody with any knowledge of any of the victims, their deaths or their friends, enemies or associates to ring Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 so he can try to corroborate the alleged killer's deathbed confession to the three murders.

    He said he was not prepared to name the suspected serial killer, who died soon after his confession, unless he got corroboration of the killing claims.

    "That's where the public can help,'' Sen-Sgt Iddles said.

    "Somebody in the community will always have the answer to just about every homicide.''


    .........and very very little has been said about this case, ever since. :(
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  2. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member



    Melbourne: All the bones of the face and skull of Shirley May Collins were fractured, and this could have been caused by her being struck with, full bottles of beer and then with concrete guttering, Dr. Keith Bowden (Government Pathologist) said when the inquest was opened today.

    Shirley May Hughes, also known as Collins (14). shop assistant, was found murdered at Dromana on September 15. 1953.

    Alfred Collins, contractor of Reservoir, said that Shirley entered his family as an adopted daughter in 1951, after her mother known to him as (Mrs. Hill) went to Queensland. He and his wife had three children of their own.

    Shirley was quite a 'normal child, and had not had any experience at all of life.

    In January. 1953, she went to work in Coles' Bourke Street store. She was reserved, quiet type, and rarely went out: but when she did it was with a girl friend, himself, or his wife. She did not know anyone in the Mt. Martha district.

    Shirley had been warned many times about the possibilities of attacks by men, and he would not expect her to speak at any time to a stranger.


    Foster mother weeps at graveside ritual


    Once a week usually Tuesday a thin, attractive young woman bends in prayer beside the plain, well-kept grave of 14-year-old murder victim, Shirley Collins, at Preston Cemetery.

    She places a small posy at the gravehead as her tears begin to well.

    She then hurries three miles back to Bundoora Hospital, where she has taken work as a mess attendant to erase her sorrow.

    The woman is Shirley Collins' foster-mother, and since Shirley's brutal death at Mt. Martha on September 12, 1953-the night of her first date- the graveside visit has become a weekly ritual with Mrs. Collins.

    Mrs. Collins said this week: "That spot takes me back to one of the sweetest and most innocent kids that ever lived. I'll always go there.

    "I have taken work since Shirley's death because at home I see her picture and things at every turn, and I'm trying to forget. I NEVER stop wondering if her killer will ever be found, or if he could be living near us and whether my three other children are in danger."

    LUCK piled higharound this killer before and after he left his victim's badly battered and partly unclothed body in the lonely, secluded driveway of an empty holiday home in Marine drive, Mt. Martha.

    The crashing of the sea a few hundred yards away muffled the dead girl's pitiful cries for help, and the spot's desolation also became the killer's ally.

    Then, whether by design or accident - police think it was more likely accident - he left not a worthwhile clue in the vicinity.

    His luck continued when two days elapsed before the murder was discovered.


    AMONG the fantastic public information received have been promises by two cranks to "confess," and recently a statement by a Sunshine woman that her husband had "confessed" to her.

    A welter of other murders has necessarily taken the time of the Homicide Squad in recent months, but the Shirley Collins murder has not been forgotten.

    Most senior detectives believe that Shirley Collins' killer was someone she knew well and trusted.

    Det.-Inspector H. R. Donelly, Victorian Hom cide Chief, who believes that fate will eventually turn against Shirley Collins' murderer.

    They believe she was a shy, reserved child, who probably fell victim to a trick she could neither suspect nor detect.

    Quietly spoken Alfred Collins, Shirley's foster-father, who was one of the first enlistments in World War II, and spent three years in a German P.O.W. camp, is infuriated by reports that Shirley was seen in a Mornington hotel with a man on the night of her death.

    "Shirley was of unimpeachable character and would not have gone near a hotel with anyone. It is a vile lie," he says.



    JUST over a year ago, the battered body of 14-year-old Shirley Collins was found in the driveway of 'Atunga lluka' ('in the air above the sea'), a weekend home at Mt. Martha.

    And yesterday Mr. Burke, S.M., city coroner, said: "It is regrettable that police efforts to trace the fiend responsible for such a revolting crime have, so far, been unsuccessful."

    He found that Shirley was murdered on September 12 last year by a person or persons unknown.

    Mr. Burke was told that Shirley left home that night to attend her first grown-up party. But she didn't arrive, and her body was found two days later.

    Three of the 16 witnesses claimed to have seen Shirley in the hour after she left home.

    One, an attractive woman, whose name and address were withheld, said she saw Shirley talking to a man in a car. She said the man was between 40 and
    45, with long features, fresh complexion, and brushed-back hair. The car was a light colored, big sedan, "not very modern."

    Shirley's foster father, Alfred Edward Collins, contractor, of Coleman cres. Reservoir, said that her mother, then known as Mrs. Hill, had lived opposite his

    home. When she went to Queensland in 1951 he and his wife had adopted Shirley as their own daughter. There were three other children in his family, aged 3, 9, and 15. Shirley would have been 15 the month following her death.

    She was a normal girl, rather reserved, who preferred to stay at home instead of going out. In June, 1953. she started working in G. J. Coles and Co. Ltd.'s Bourke st. store as a salesgirl.

    Shortly before her death she started taking dancing lessons with a girl friend at Thornbury.

    From May to August. 1953. Collins said, he was a patient in Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital. After his discharge he went to stay with friends at Parrette, near Timboon, on September 11.

    "Three days later my wife phoned me that Shirley was i missing," he said, "and I returned to Melbourne by the first train. After I got home I learned her body had been found at Mt. Martha. To my knowledge Shirley knew nobody living in that district. "

    "She had been warned many times of the possibility of attack by men."

    Mrs. Mavis Collins, Shirley's foster mother, was so overcome that her voice could hardly be heard when she took the oath. Shirley looked no more than 14, she said.

    On Friday, September 11, Shirley came home and said she had been invited to a birthday party at the home of one of her workmates who lived in Punt rd. Richmond.

    "Apart from small children's parties she had never been to a party before," Mrs. Collins said.

    "I told her she could, go provided she was picked up at home by her escort, taken to the party, and brought home again.

    "She said Ron Holmes had asked her. I did not know Ron, but I had seen him when I went into the store to see Shirley.

    "Shirley said that Ron lived at Chelsea and it was too far away. She did not think it fair for him to have to go so far out of his way as Reservoir to meet her, so she had arranged to meet him at West Richmond or North Richmond station.

    She said it would be all, right to meet him there.

    "She left home to catch the quarter past seven bus at the corner of the street to go to Regent station. I went to the gate and watched her catch the bus. . . ."

    Mrs. Collins said she did not wait up for Shirley, but went to bed early. She woke about 12.30 a.m., but did not worry that Shirley was not home because she thought she might be a little late.

    But, when Shirley had not returned by 3.30 a.m., she reported her absence to the police.

    Inspector Donelly : Had you warned Shirley from time to time about the dan- ger of men molesting her and what could happen? -Yes.

    Did you ever know her to accept a lift from a stranger? -No. Shortly before, neighbors offered her a ride home and she refused.

    What would have been her reaction if she had got out of the train at a station and failed to find her escort? I think she would have come back home. I'm sure of it.


    Gavan Willoughby, 19, shop assistant, of Punt rd., Richmond, said the party Shirley was to have attended was to celebrate his birthday.

    On the night of the party Ron Holmes arrived about 9 or 9.30 p.m. He came alone, and was annoyed because Shirley did not come.

    Holmes told him he had waited at Richmond station for about an hour, but Shirley apparently had turned him down.

    "Holmes remained at the party until after midnight, and then, at my request, took some friends. Including my girl friend, home to Glenroy." Willoughby said.

    Ronald John Holmes, 23, salesman, formerly of Chel sea, and now of Clarinda st., Caulfield, said that he had worked with Shirley, and had known her about a month prior to her death.

    He asked Shirley to go to the birthday party, but she said she would have to ask her mother first.

    "I said I 'would pick her up at her place in a taxi, take her to the party, and take her home the same way," he said. "The next day she said she would come, but instead of my going out to Reservoir, she would meet me. We arranged to meet at Richmond station, under the bridge near the tramline.

    "The last words I said to her were, "I will see you at Richmond.'

    "That night my uncle lent me his car. I arrived at Richmond about 10 minutes to 8, waited for about an hour, walking up and down No. 5 platform some of the time. Shirley did not arrive. I believed at the time that she had 'stood me up,' or that she could not come for some reason or other."

    Holmes said he went to the party late, and drove several people home after midnight, including Gavan Willoughby's girl friend. He got home about 1 a.m. or later.

    Answering the Coroner, he said that the party was held at a house about three minutes' drive from Richmond station.

    William G. Viney, clerk, of Moore cres., Reservoir, said he was a passenger on a bus which a girl he believed to be Shirley Collins boarded. He did not see her alight.

    She was wearing a dark coat similar to the one produced in court, and similar shoes to those worn by the dead girl, he said.

    Next witness was an attractive young blonde married woman, wearing a white, close-fitting hat, black frock, and jumper.

    Inspector Donelly asked that her name and address not be published.

    "She is somewhat new to this country and its ways," he said, "and is alarmed at the possibility of her name and address. becoming known."

    The Coroner: Are you of that opinion yourself?

    Inspector Donelly: Early in life she came from a country where protection is not as it is in British countries. She seems to have the impression that if her name and address is published she may be subjected to some interference by someone. She wants to avoid that if she can, but she has come forward to assist us if possible.

    Speaking with a foreign accent, the woman said that on the night of September 12 she was walking along Hoddle st. towards Elizabeth st. to catch a train at North Richmond station, when she saw a young girl standing at the corner of Hoddle and Elizabeth sts.

    Shown a photograph of Shirley Collins, she said: "I believe that is the girl I saw.

    "The head it is the same, and the features and the hair. She had a dark coat on, clothing like that. I thought she might be 16 or 17.

    "I noticed a car coming into Elizabeth st. The driver tooted the horn a few times. She girl seemed to pay at tention to it. She turned around - that is how I saw her face.

    "Next thing the car slowed down. The girl walked slowly down Elizabeth st. The driver noticed this. He drove backwards towards her. She walked very slowly. Next thing she turned towards the car and seemed to talk to the driver."

    When the car horn sounded the first time, was it a loud toot? - Yes. The driver was dawdling along. It looked like something I did not think was right.

    And you think it was this girl (holding the photo)? Yes, when I saw her picture in the paper I thought definitely it was she.

    The Coroner: How close were you to the car?-About 12 to 15 feet.

    Answering the coroner, the witness said the car was a sedan type.

    When she ran for a train she looked around and thought she saw the girl and the driver still talking.

    John Edward French, salesman, of the Laurel Hotel, North Melbourne, said that about 8.15 p.m. on September 12, he was at the intersection of Hoddle st. and Victoria st.. Richmond, when he saw a girl crossing on the amber light.

    That attracted his attention to her.

    Shown a photograph of Shirley Collins, he said: "I believe that is a photograph of the girl I saw."

    Mrs. Clarice E. Bedford, housewife, of Looker rd.. Montmorency, said she and her husband were driving along Marine Drive. Mt. Martha, between 2 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 13, when she' saw. what appeared to be a child lying in the driveway of a house.

    "I said to my husband. 'It looks like somebody dead; must be children playing,' and we drove on at about 30 m.p.h.," she said.

    "But I was so, impressed with what I had seen that I suggested to my husband we should turn back. We had gone on so far, however, that we continued on our way. Later, when we saw the publicity about the case, we went to the police and pointed out the drive where we had seen the body."

    George Hunter, storeman, of Patterson st., Bentleigh, said he was driving past the same day, and saw what he took to be a woman sun baking on the driveway.

    Lionel Evelyn Liardot, retired business man, of Mt. Martha, said he was walk ing past the driveway about 9 a.m. on Tuesday, September 15, when his dog started barking at an object on the ground. He investigated, found it was a body, and immediately notified Dromana police.

    Mervyn Stanton Greenwood, clothing manufacturer, of White Horse rd. Mitcham, said he had owned the property, Atunga Iluka, at Mt. Martha, for about five years. He and his family used to spend weekends and holidays there.

    The last time they used the place, prior to September 12, was over the school holidays, which ended on September 5.

    Constable George A, Bishop, of Dromana, described the position of the body when found.

    Dr. K. M. Bowden, pathologist to the coroner, said the girl had cuts, abrasions and bruises all over the head and face. All the bones in her face and skull were fractured.

    Dct.-Sgt. F. J. Adams said police had made exhaustive inquiries with the co-operation of police of every other State and of New Zealand.

    The Press had co-operated and thousands of people had been questioned, but nothing of any substantial value had been found.

    "Inquiries are still being made, and every effort will be made to bring to justice whoever was responsible for this crime."

    Recording a finding of murder against a person or persons unknown. Mr. Burke said there was some evidence indicating that a girl answering the description of Shirley Collins was seen near North Richmond some time after 8 o'clock on the 1 evening of September 12.

    "This evidence seems to be fairly reliable." he said, 'but I am not quite positive that the girl seen was the deceased.'
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  3. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Google Map showing Reservoir station, North Melbourne station (cr of Hoddle & Elizabeth is nearby) and Richmond station:


    One theory I have had, presuming the 2 witnesses were correct in thinking it was Shirley walking along near Nth melb station, is that she got off at the wrong stop -- one station before Richmond proper, and met up with an opportunistic predator.

    I remember making similar mistakes, when I first started travelling around the city on my own.

    All of these places are very familiar to me.. Poor Shirley.

    I also think she was sexually assaulted, the reports seem very coy (as they were, at the time) so I'm not sure on that. But it seems like a sexual attack, her clothes torn off, etc. I also wonder if she was sexually mutilated, for the same reasons. Hard to find info that might clear that up.
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  4. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Herpderp. Never take directions from me. I'm hopeless.

    To get to Richmond from Reservoir, Shirley would have had to change trains at Clifton Hill to get to Flinders St. in the city center, then get the Richmond line back out to Richmond Station. (if she didn't want to just take a tram, but being that she wasn't all that worldly, trains might have seemed safer).

    However, a different line entirely would have taken her from Clifton Hill, past Collingwood and on to North Richmond.

    Did she take the wrong train at Clifton Hill? And then was wandering about, trying to figure out how to get from there to Richmond proper.. perhaps by bus?

    Train Map: http://ptv.vic.gov.au/assets/Images/maps/Network-maps/PTV_Train-Network-Map_Oct-2014_1044x982px.gif
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  5. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Mrs Collins:
    compare to:

    Gavan Willoughby (party host), 19:
    Ron Holmes (date) 23,
    Ron Holmes was clearly waiting at Richmond Station, NOT "North or West Richmond". Platform 5 at Richmond Station is where the Pakenham & Cranbourne trains arrive from Flinders St. There's no direct link to there, on the line Shirley would have had to travel that night, from reservoir.

    Holmes makes it clear they'd arranged to meet at Richmond, under the bridge.

    Yet we have Mrs. Collins saying that Shirley was meant to meet him at "West or North Richmond", which would have made MUCH more sense as a plan -- because she wouldn't have to faff about for another potential half an hour with a couple more trains or buses, into Flinders in the city and then back out, when he could have simply driven straight up Punt Rd/Hoddle St and picked her up. It's not a long drive at all.

    Shirley getting off at Nth Richmond as I've shown above, would put her squarely in the vicinity of the sightings of her at Hoddle/Elizabeth/Victoria Sts, in the same time frame.

    The South Morang line (formerly Epping) stops at Regent station in Reservoir, and also stops at North, then West, Richmond. This is the train Shirley would have been on.

    John Edward French (witness):
    ^ This is a very short walk from North Richmond station. It would make perfect sense if Shirley has gotten off the train there, for her to been seen at that location, at that time.

    Mystery woman (witness):
    Why Shirley might have started walking down Elizabeth Street is much less clear. Here's an approximate route from Nth R station, to the corner of Hoddle & Elizabeth, about a 4 minute walk:


    If Shirley has kept walking down Hoddle Street, she might have ended up either at Richmond station (where the date was allegedly waiting) or at the party (in Punt Road) itself -- Hoddle street becomes Punt Road after about a 14 walk from the station, where it intersects with Bridge Rd.

    I can't see why she'd turn down Elizabeth St. Unless she was told to by the Mystery Kerb Crawler. I'm not sure how easy it would be to pull over on Hoddle St on a Saturday night, even back then. It's a very busy road. Maybe she thought it was her date, come to pick her up, or her date's father (seeing how he was apparently an older guy). If she knew him, she wouldn't be walking slowly is my thinking, there. Maybe she was unsure...

    But I'm finding it hard to fathom why Holmes would tell Shirley to meet him at Richmond.

    I don't know how Mrs Collins could get "Richmond" mixed up with "North or West Richmond".

    So was it a muck-up all round, each assuming the other had the directions right, and neither did?

    Or was Holmes (or one of his friends) not telling the truth?

    Or were both witnesses entirely mistaken, and Shirley never made it to either station? (which seems a bit unlikely tbh unless she was snatched from Reservoir)
    MULDER likes this.

    MULDER Bronze Member

    Great summary and theories Lily! Loved reading all the information you got in there.
    I hadn't heard of this case.

    @Lily - I don't know how Mrs Collins could get "Richmond" mixed up with "North or West Richmond".
    So was it a muck-up all round, each assuming the other had the directions right, and neither did?
    Or was Holmes (or one of his friends) not telling the truth?

    From the way the reports were structured, I think it may have been a case of mixed messages - the meeting place doesn't seem to be clear at all.


    Digital Transcript:
    Lead In Shirley Collins Murder
    MELBOURNE. November13:
    At last Melbourne C.I.B.detectives have cot a lead Intracking down the murdererof 14-vcar-old Shirley Collins

    Reports from Police in the article:
    We are now sure that Shirley travelled by train from the reservoir to the North Richmond station.

    Trove Lead in Shirley Collins Murder 14 Nov 1953.JPG

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    MULDER Bronze Member

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    MULDER Bronze Member

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    MULDER Bronze Member

    1953 Argus News:

    Pic: reconstruction of what Shirley was wearing the night she disappeared.

    Here is a full description of Shirley and the clothes she was wearing at the time of her disappearance:
    Height: 5ft. 3ln.
    Weight: 8st. 41b. or 51b.
    Hair: Light brown.
    Eyes: Blue.
    Coat: Dark grey.
    Skirt: Grey and black
    diagonal check.
    Blouse: Pale lemon.
    Cardigan: Black.
    Shoes: Black.
    Stockings: Natural shade

    trove reconstruction Shirley Collins was wearing.JPG
    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/art...ollins murder&searchLimits=l-illustrated=true
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  10. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Awesome additions, Mulder! Thanks for those!
    I hadn't seen the detail concerning the car seen in both Nth Richmond -and- out near the body site. It certainly lends strength to the sightings in Nth Richmond.

    Couple things I find odd:

    1. Several apparently unopened beer bottles being used in her murder. And these being found, broken, at the dump site. Why drive her all the way out there, specifically, and kill her in someone's driveway? It's not like there's not more secluded places to attack somebody. I wonder of she was attacked in the car, and the bottles dumped out along with her body? Stuff to look up...

    2. The whole Richmond/Nth Richmond mix up. Just doesn't sit right with me. But could simply be crossed wires. What bothers me is, the mix up is a pretty big one, if you discount the "Richmond" name alone. Anyway, I'm calling it a feeling of general unease about this, nothing more for the moment.

    3. A 14 year old, unsophisticated girl being invited to party with 19 and 23-yo men... and being allowed to go? I wonder if Mr & Mrs Collins knew how much older these 'boys' were? Yes, it was a different era and people viewed age differences differently. But she just seems so mousy, not the type I'd expect older boys to want to party with, and with that era being so much more moralistic, I'm surprised she was allowed to go.
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  11. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Ps: Trove is such a treasure to researching these old cases, since google "messed up" (to put it nicely) its archive.. and many online companies now charge for archive viewing.

    Here's a pic of Shirley from the article linked above:

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  12. MULDER

    MULDER Bronze Member

    I find that odd too.
    I actually have trouble getting my head around some of the details.
    In one article it mentioned that she was to meet the boy at the tramlines - not the train, so with so many contradictions about the meeting place (and especially from her mother) its difficult to say where she was supposed to meet.
    Maybe she was confused as well - but I think it why the story turns into the nightmare it did.
    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/art...ollins murder&searchLimits=l-illustrated=true
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  13. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Mulder, Holmes did say he was supposed to meet her under the bridge, but also said he'd walked up and down platform 5 at Richmond station for a while, which suggests he might have expected she was coming by train. Maybe? I agree the mixups make it very hard to get a clear picture of the timeline.

    There was initially a lot confusion about Shirley's movements that weekend, thanks to a pile of 'sightings' in the Mornington area.


    While police didn't attend her murder scene til Tuesday, there were reports of someone lying in the driveway at the Marine Pde house as early as Sunday afternoon. Which --- IF they are accurate -- puts the kibosh on her being in a pub with a man on Sunday night.

    I'm hoping to find some info on the coroner's estimation of TOD.
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  14. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Map showing a possible route from Nth Richmond to Marine Drive, Mount Martha:


    Don't know why googlemaps won't let me post a route straight down Nepean Hwy (Hwy 3 on the map). But that's another possible route.

    The evidence of an attack further down the driveway from where her body was found... did Shirley try to jump out of the car and run as it slowed down in the driveway? Is that what perhaps prompted her murder, with the bottles? There appears to be a great deal of rage involved in the attack.

    I've wondered whether her killer knew the house was empty, and planned to keep Shirley there for a while.. for no good purpose, obviously.
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
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  15. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Some crime scene details:


    DETECTIVES investigating the brutal murder of pretty 14-year-old Shirley May Collins believe she was killed by a man who kidnapped her or a sex-maniac who turned on her when she repulsed him.

    Shirley was of good character, and did not mix freely with men.

    Detectives believe the girl eventually may have escaped from the car and fled towards the lonely weekend home, near Mt. Martha Beach, for protection.

    She would have had to run 50 yards along the road, because of a 10ft. bank beside it.

    Tyre marks, feet away from the normal roadway and within inches of the girl's footprints for about 10 yards, suggest the killer tried to run her down.

    Other marks at the side of the road suggest she tried desperately to get up after she was knocked down.

    Shirley's body was found by 74-year-old Lionel Liardet who was walking down Marine Drive, Dromana, to collect his mail.

    He said: "I was walking past the place - I think it is owned by a Mr. Greenwood, of Melbourne - when my little Foxie, "Bombo," ran up the drive and came back and pulled at my leg.

    Mr. Liardet found Shirley's body 20 yards back along the path from the house.

    Three smashed beer bottles, their tops still intact, lay beside her.

    Three 14lb. drainpipes, torn from the guttering beside the path, were scattered nearby.

    Two were bloodstained.

    The girl's skirt was over her head, and all her clothing except a slip and part of a brassiere had been ripped from her body and thrown on to trees and stumps.

    First-constable G. Bishop, first policeman at the scene, said clothing was hanging on the trees like drying washing.

    A girdle with one stocking still fastened to it hung on a stump.

    All the clothes were on the left-hand side of the path.

    Blood marks suggest the killer hit Shirley first with a beer bottle, then knocked her insensible with the others when she tried to fight.

    A postmortem examination was being held late last night to determine whether the girl had been criminally assaulted.

    MULDER likes this.
  16. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Some more details I haven't seen in other reports:

    The girl had been living with her foster parents for two years. Her mother, a Mrs Hughes was now living in North Queensland.

    Mr and Mrs Collins wired the girls mother about her disappearance yesterday morning.

    She was to meet her grandfather Mr Hughes, in South Melbourne on Sunday afternoon. He waited a short while and drove off.


    The Collinses seem to have taken in a few foster kids, they sound like nice people. However, I am really curious as to why Mr Collins had been hospital so long, and why he wasn't living at home after. Did he have something communicable? Or just wasn't well enough to deal with a pile of kids?

    I'm also curious about her birth mother, Mrs. Hill/Hughes/whatever.. who dumped her 12yo child on a kindly neighbour before moving to QLD with the new hubby. Why didn't Shirley go with her mother? Why wasn't Shirley living with her grandparents, who obviously had contact with her...and would have seen her (her g'pa anyway) that weekend, if she hadn't been murdered.

    There's no mention at all of Shirley's natural father. Her home circumstances are a bit odd, I have to wonder how inconvenient she might have been to some of the people in her life. Horrible line of thought, I know. But people have done worse things to family, as we all know.

    This reporter asks a lot of pertinent questions, though perhaps gets a few details skewiff.. lots of interesting theorising.


    It also confirms that Shirley was still a virgin when she was killed.
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  17. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Shirley Collins died on Sunday, police learn

    DR. K. BOWDEN, Government Pathologist, has decided that Shirley Collins was murdered late last Saturday night.

    This opinion, given to police last night, will mean virtual reorganisation of the line of investigation the murder has taken.

    Detectives had been working on an assumption that Shirley was murdered on Sunday or Monday night.


    So that clears that up.
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  18. MULDER

    MULDER Bronze Member

    I found this article regarding the criminal assault - (sexual assault)
    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/23432369?searchTerm=Shirley Collins&searchLimits=

    The article isn't translated so I have screenshot the relevant piece.

    Shirly Collins Argus Saturday 21 August 1954.JPG

    Regarding the 'meeting Shirley at the tram line' - I now cant find the article, but it was referencing the Police and what the boy had said to Police.
    Its either the press reports at the time - or the boy said tramline - and then said train station.
    I am going to have to look for that article - why didnt I record the link :doh:
    Lily likes this.
  19. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    I linked it in the post above your last =p
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