Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Bridgewater Beauty Killing Pt 2: The Trial of William Ephraim Peter Haines


Bridgewater Beauty Killing Pt 2: 
The Trial of William Ephraim Peter Haines

William Ephraim Peter Haines, a 25 year old labourer, followed his beloved Devina Schmidt to a Bridgewater park, in the Adelaide Hill, and murdered her in cold blood. He then shot himself in the head, before trying to save the life of his now, almost dead victim.
 Haines was brought before the South Australian justice system, where he pleaded to not guilty to the murder of the popular 18 year old Devina Nellie Schmidt
Court proceedings began with Mr. R. R. Chamberlain appearing for the crown, and Mr. L. M. S. Hogan for the accused.
The first incidence to be brought before the court was an encounter between Mr Haines and Miss Schmidt at James Place, Adelaide on October 3rd. Miss Schmidt was with Mr Clark when Mr Haines approached them. Haines asked Miss Schmidt to accompany him, she refused. Mr Haines then put his hand in his pocket, and remarked “Well, I will shoot, you know”.
 The second incident, also on the 3rd, Mr Haines stopped Miss Schmidt and Mr Clark and said “I will get you, you #$@#, I will come up for you this afternoon”.

Mr Clark was then questioned by Mr Hogan about his relationship with Miss Schmidt.

Mr. Hogan:  “As far as you were concerned, she was your girlfriend? “
Clark: “Yes. I have known Miss Schmidt for about three years”
Haines had visited Adelaide in April 1927, and on occasion had visited Miss Schmidt’s family home.
Mr. Hogan: “You were very friendly with the mother and father?”
Clark: “Yes.”
Mr. Hogan: “And they were anxious you should be friendly with their daughter?”
Clark: “Yes.”
Mr. Hogan: “And you never heard Haines's name mentioned in the home?”
Clark: “No.”
His Honour: “did you regard yourself as the young lady's sweetheart?”
Clark:  “Yes.”
Mr. Hogan: “From what you heard at the home, what was the parents' attitude towards Haines?”
Clark: “They did not want her to have anything to do with him.”
Mr. Hogan: “The mother was very bitter, I think?”
Clark:  “Yes.”

Mr. Hogan: “And the father something the same?”
Clark: “Yes.”
Mr Hogan: “You did not care whether Haines went to Bridgewater?”
Clark: “Yes.”
His Honour – “Why?
Clark:  “Because I knew he would not be there for any good.”

The next witness was Jack Rickard, who gave evidence of the shooting. While Rickard and Haines were carrying Miss Schmidt’s body to the car, Haines reportedly said “Her people drove me too it. She loved me, but they said I was too old for her, and she would not go against them”
Another witness cross examined by Mr Hogan, Albert Powell of Thebarton, described seeing Haines shoot the girl, then kneeling besides her body, placing the gun against her temple and firing again, only to hear the gun “click” as it was out of bullets.
Haines then stated to Powell as Mounted Constable Gumley arrived “I am the man you are looking for. I am the man who did it. I shot her with a revolver. I went mad. I was jealous of her. Her people drove me to it. I wish I had ended myself. The poor girl is happy now”.
 A packet of 38 bullets was found in Mr Haines pocket – six bullet wounds were found in Miss Schmidt’s head
(From “The Register” Newspaper Friday 18 Nov 1927 )
Mounted Constable Walter James Gumley, of Stirling West, deposed having heard the accused say, "I'm the man you are looking for.  I did it." The witness said, "Where is the revolver," and Powell produced it.  The witness then cautioned the accused and asked him if he had shot the girl.  He replied, "Yes, I went mad." Asked why he shot her, he replied, "I was jealous. Her people drove me to it." Subsequently he searched the accused and found the cartridges (produced) corresponding to the shells found in the revolver.
Next Week on The Haunts of Adelaide,”

  Bridgewater Beauty Killing Pt 3: Through The Eyes of a Murderer”:  Haines chilling recount of the murder of Devina Schmidt