38a["The Broome Murder", The West Australian, Wednesday 13 December 1905, page 7]




When seen yesterday evening by a representative of the "West Australian," Mr. W. M. Purkis?, who defended Pablo Marquez on the occasion of his trial, said that Espada still adhered to his last statement in the course of which he exonerated the former from participation in the crime, for the commission of which the two of them and Charles Hagen are under sentence of death. This statement, he added. was made in circumstances of the most solemn nature, in full knowledge of the seriousness of its import, and in view of the fact that death to him was imminent. It was on all-fours with Marquez's own statement. If Espada's statement were accepted as true it showed a willingness on his part to save a man from the punishment for a crime of which he was innocent. Marquez had all along adhered to his assertion that he was merely an unwilling spectator of the crime, having accompanied Liebglid on an illicit pearl-buying enterprise at his request. The statement of Marquez to Mr. Purkiss occupied about four hours in the telling, and in the course of it he related, said Mr. Purkiss, the whole of his movements and actions from the two days preceding the murder, as well as up to the time the crime was perpetrated on board the Mist. "Every incident he mentioned was corroborated by witnesses called by the Crown. There was nothing unusual in his transactions with Hagen and Espada; they were what had occurred for days and weeks previously. There was an entire absence of evidence which might tend to show concerted action on the part of the three condemned men; indeed, the police-sergeant, with his faculties acute, did not arrest Marquez up to the time of the inquest. As a matter of fact, the reason of his apprehension was a suspicion in the mind of the sergeant that Marquez knew something about the murder, which he might be induced to tell by judicious 'squeezing.'" Mr. Purkiss said that he had put from his mind any feeling of partisanship that may have been engendered by his position as Marquez's advocate, yet he felt very uneasy about him, and that feeling would continue to exist were he executed.

REPORTED CONFLICT OF OPINION. His Excellency the Governor has the prerogative of reprieving a condemned man, even against the advice of his Ministers, yet it is one that is very rarely exercised by the representative of the Crown. Still there are instances on record of such action having been taken. It is reported that there is a conflict of opinion between the Executive Council and His Excellency the Governor in regard to at least one of the three condemned men, and the result of the deliberations of the Executive Council to-day is awaited with unusual interest.

38b["The Broome Murder", The West Australian, Thursday 14 December 1905, page 5]




The sentence of death which was imposed upon Charles Hagen, Simeon Espada, and Pablo Marquez, for the murder of Mark Liebglid, at Broome, will be carried out in the Fremantle Prison this morning. It is understood that Hagen, who is a Norwegian, will be hanged at 8 o'clock, and that the two Manilamen Marquez and Espada will be executed together immediately afterwards. Last night the three men were much depressed, and they appeared to feel their position very keenly. Hagen, who is described as a man of strong nerve, had completely broken down. He still maintains his innocence, and stated last night that he believed the other condemned men would, at the last moment, make a confession which would exonerate him from all complicity in the murder. Last night, at his urgent request, Hagen was visited by a man whom he had known in Broome. He also spent several hours with the Anglican chaplain of the gaol (the Rev. G. O'Halloran), who wrote several letters at his dictation. He stated at a late hour last might that he had no desire to make any statement beyond that which was published in yesterday's newspapers. He has eaten very little during the past week, and has given the officials practically no trouble. The coloured men still adhere to the statements which they made at the trial. Marquez, whose health has failed considerably under confinement, was last night in a state bordering on nervous collapse, but Espada seemed to be more resigned to his fate. Both men were visited yesterday by Monsignor Bourke, the Roman Catholic Vicar-General, and the Rev. Father Cox. O.M.I. Monsignor Bourke, who speaks the Spanish language, has been very attentive to the condemned men, for whom the superintendent of the prison wrote a number of letters last night. Yesterday afternoon Mr. W. M. Purkiss, who defended Pablo Marques at the trial, visited the condemned man in the Fremantle Gaol. Mr. Purkiss informed a "West Australian" representative last night that Marquez still protested he was merely an innocent spectator of the tragedy; that he accompanied Liebglid to the lugger Mist, at Liebglid's request, and that he took no part in the commission of the crime. The Premier (Mr. Rason) stated yesterday that there was no conflict of opinion between members of the Executive Council and His Excellency the Governor in respect to the case of any of the condemned men.


William Purkiss

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Personal details

Born 1844

Hobart, Tasmania

Died 8 August 1906

Perth, Western Australia

Nationality Australian

Spouse(s) Julia Hawkins

Profession Solicitor

William Morton Purkiss (1844 - 8 August 1906) was a Member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly from 1901 to 1904.

Born in Hobart, Tasmania in 1844, Purkiss was the son of draper William Morton Purkiss and Ann Jean nee Walker. He was educated at Horton College in the town of Ross, then emigrated to New Zealand in 1867. On 1 January 1873 he married Julia Emma Hawkins at Hokitika, New Zealand; they would have three sons and a daughter. After qualifying as a solicitor, Purkiss became Crown Prosecutor and later Crown Solicitor of Westland Province. He also contested the seat of Westland in a New Zealand election, but was unsuccessful.

In 1894, Purkiss emigrated to Perth, Western Australia, where he worked as a solicitor. He was admitted to the bar in 1895, then went into partnership with Richard Haynes. On 6 December 1901 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly seat of Perth, defeating Frank Wilson in a ministerial by-election. He held the seat until the election of 28 June 1904, which he did not contest.

Purkiss retired from practice in 1905, and the following January was appointed Judicial Commissioner for the North West. He died in Perth Hospital on 8 August 1906, and was buried in Karrakatta Cemetery.