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1928, Ernest Edwin Florentine - Unfit For Publication
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 12 Jun 1928 1

Tuesday, June 12.


    Arthur William Thomas Newby Ireland, break, enter, and steal; Alfred King Stewart, carnally know a girl under the age of 16 years; William Arthur Hayes, false pretences; William Sydney Learman, Edward Charles Leamon, and David Douglas Mulligan, inflicting grievous bodily harm; Ernest Edwin Florentine, sodomy (to be mentioned).


    The death of Mr Jacob King, at his residence at Emu Plains, removes a well-known Parramatta and Penrith business man.

    Mr King was born at Kissing Point, Dundas, 78 years ago. He was in business with his father in a timber mill at Parramatta, later going to Penrith, where he was in business. Later he had an orchard at Emu Plains. For a long period deceased was associated with cricket in the Nepean and Parramatta districts, and he was a warden of St Paul’s Church of England at Emu Plains.

    He is survived by Mrs King, one son, and four daughters. The interment took place in the Church of England section of Emu Plains Cemetery, Rev MS Lumsdaine reading the last rites.


    Mr Lewis G Abrams, of Kirribilli, and for many years a resident of Glebe, died on Friday at the age of 66 years. He was formerly an alderman of Glebe, and secretary of the local district cricket club. Mr Abrams was one of those responsible for the introduction of electoral cricket, and he was recently elected a life member of the New South Wales Cricket Association.

    The funeral took place at Waverley Cemetery on Saturday.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 19 Jun 1928 2

Tuesday, June 19.


    No. 2 Court.—Ernest Edwin Florentine, sodomy; Herbert Farmer and Frederick Howard, assault occasioning actual bodily harm; Ernest Frederick Leggo, false pretences; Eric Cooper, conspiracy to defraud; Jack Delaney, wrongfully sign a telegram (for plea only); Wesley Richard Williams, stealing (to plead guilty).

Folly Point Crime.

    Frederick Lister Lawrence was yesterday committed for trial by the City Coroner (Mr May) on a charge of having maliciously and feloniously murdered Miriam Gertrude Merriman at her residence at Folly Point on May 23. The Coroner found that the woman died from the effects of a gunshot wound in the head maliciously and feloniously inflicted by Lawrence.

    Sergeant A Travers, of North Sydney, described the finding of the woman’s body, which was lying in a pool of blood against a dresser in the kitchen. Lawrence told witness that he was not married to the woman, but they had been living together for 20 years, and had two children. Lawrence added that he could not account for her death. A Winchester rifle and a box of cartridges were found in an upstairs bedroom, and Lawrence admitted that they belonged to him. He stated that he was jealous of the woman, and suspected that prowlers were coming about the place. Lawrence gave his age as 63 years, and said that the woman was 44 years of age. “I never shot her,” added Lawrence, according to Sergeant Travers, “I loved her too much. You can take me and do what you like with me.”

    Detective-Sergeant Coombes said that Lawrence said to him: “Something terrible has happened, the wife has shot herself.” He added that he did not shoot the woman, as “she was all the world to me.”

    Detective-Sergeant Sadler said that on June 13, at the Central Police Station, Lawrence said: “This is a terrible thing. I wish I could bring her back. I did it all right.”

    Mrs Catherine Broderick, who boarded at Lawrence’s residence at Folly Point, said that for a fortnight prior to the tragedy Lawrence did not appear to be in his normal senses. “He used to say funny things,” added Mrs Broderick. “He said he had set traps for any men who came to see Mrs Lawrence.” Mrs Broderick stated that Lawrence was of a very jealous disposition, and that on one or two occasions he suspected that strychnine had been placed on his lunch. “Mrs Lawrence,” added witness, “was the best little woman I ever met, and she was a model housekeeper.”

    Up to this stage Lawrence, when asked whether he had any questions to ask the previous witnesses, merely said “No sir.” When, however, Mrs Broderick had concluded her evidence he said, “Do you know that I was very fond of my wife, and that I would not hurt a hair on her head? She was the best friend I had in the world. I worshipped her and the two boys. That’s all I have to say.”

    Leslie Lawrence, 17 years of age, mechanic, said that his father had on several occasions stated that somebody was prowling about. His father had also said that he thought he found a man’s footprints. His father very seldom quarrelled with his mother, and then only on minor matters. Witness had once or twice heard his mother say that she would leave home, and his father had stated that he would shoot her if she left. Witness added that his mother never drank; she was a good mother, and looked after the house well.

    At the conclusion of his son’s evidence Lawrence said: “We very seldom quarrelled. We were always happy together, the four of us. When I came home at night you know I would put my arms around her. Lyall and you and mummy and I, as you know, were very happy. I loved her very dearly.”

    Lyall Lister Lawrence, 10 years of age, said that on the afternoon of May 23, after his return from school, he was going upstairs and saw his father carrying a rifle. He heard a report, and the sound came from the hall leading to the kitchen. His father gave him 2/ and told him to go for his aunt. His father and mother had had rows, and the latter had said that she would go out. He had heard his father on one occasion say to his mother, “I will shoot you.”

    The Coroner asked Lawrence whether he wished to give evidence, and the latter replied, “I have not any evidence to give, thank you.”

    Lawrence was then committed for trial to appear at the Central Criminal Court on June 27.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 20 Jun 1928 3

No. 1 COURT.
(Before Judge Armstrong.)

    Crown Prosecutor, Mr LJ McKean.

No. 2 COURT.
(Before Judge Curlewis.)

    Crown Prosecutor, VH Treatt.


    Ernest Edwin Florentine, 27, insurance agent, was charged with having committed an unnatural offence, at Sydney, on May 4. There was an alternative count of committing an indecent assault upon a boy, [John Tabell,]. Mr Sproule (of Messrs RD Meagher, Sproule and Co) appeared for the accused, who was convicted upon the first count, and sentenced to 12 months’ hard labour.

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Ernest Edward Florentine, Gaol photo sheet 4 

SRNSW: NRS2467, [3/6121], State Penitentiary photographic description book, 24 Feb 1928-23 Jun 1928, No. 23112, p. –.

Gaol Photo Sheet - 
Transcribed Details

No. 23112

Date when Portrait was taken: 20-6-1928

Name: Ernest Edward Florentine

Native place: England

Year of birth: 17-2-1901

Arrived       Ship: Jervis Bay
in Colony }   Year: 1922

Trade or occupation
previous to conviction  } Agent

Religion: C of E

Education, degree of: R & W

Height: 5' 8¾"

Weight     On committal: 141
in lbs     } On discharge:

Colour of hair: Brown

Colour of eyes: Blue

Marks or special features: Bridge of nose prominent.

(No. of previous Portrait ... ) 


Where and When Offence. Sentence






12 months HL.


1     The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 12 Jun 1928, p. 8. Emphasis added.

2     The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 19 Jun 1928, p. 6. Emphasis added.

3     The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 20 Jun 1928, p. 8.

4     SRNSW: NRS2467, [3/6121], State Penitentiary photographic description book, 24 Feb 1928-23 Jun 1928, No. 23112, p. –.