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An Unfortunate Life

$19.95

Early in 1896 a man named Joseph Marlo went missing and was last seen in the company of Joshua Beard. In 1897, Walter Richards disappeared after joining Beard on a hunting trip. In court, on a charge of stealing articles of clothing from Richards, Beard suddenly confident that he would be believed told the court he would tell them the ‘honest truth’. He claimed that Richards had accidently shot himself and after being questioned about Mario, Beard told police he had been killed by a kick from a horse. Beard’s explanations were not believed and after a hearing at Streaky Bay he was sent to Adelaide to stand trial for the murder of Waiter Richards.

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Early in 1896 a man named Joseph Marlo went missing and was last seen in the company of Joshua Beard. In 1897, Walter Richards disappeared after joining Beard on a hunting trip. In court, on a charge of stealing articles of clothing from Richards, Beard suddenly confident that he would be believed told the court he would tell them the ‘honest truth’. He claimed that Richards had accidently shot himself and after being questioned about Mario, Beard told police he had been killed by a kick from a horse. Beard’s explanations were not believed and after a hearing at Streaky Bay he was sent to Adelaide to stand trial for the murder of Waiter Richards.

The more I researched the more I was aware that Beard did not get a fair trial. His explanations of both accidents were plausible but reporters, committed to boosting their newspapers circulation and acting on the principle ‘never let the facts get in the way of a good story’, reported both deaths to be gruesome murders. Based solely on circumstantial evidence and a flimsy and unprofitable motive, Beard, in a classic case of trial by media, was demonised by reporters. His quiet demeanour was interpreted by some reporters to be a “surly callousness”. His powerful menacing build and the fact that he could neither read nor write led to him being described as “an incredibly ignorant lower form of life”. In the eyes of newspaper readers, Beard was already guilty well before his appearance in the Supreme Court Adelaide.

This book is as factual an account as it could be and, always ready to champion the underdog, I have put forward an argument for doubt. Where questions were not asked in Court or those that were asked were not sufficiently dealt with, I have employed educated speculation, but speculation always true to the known facts of a man’s life – an unfortunate life.

Author Roger K. Wagstaff

Roger’s other book we sell is Only a madman.

Additional information

Weight .175 kg
Dimensions 21.0 × 16.7 × .7 cm

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