42a["The Broome Murder", The West Australian, Friday 15 December 1905, page 8]






The execution of Charles Hagen, a Norwegian, and Pablo Marquez and simeon Espada, Manilamen, for the murder of Mark Liebglid at Broome on the night of August 30 last, was carried out at the Fremantle Gaol yesterday morning...


When the three accused were tried before Mr. Justice Burnside at the November sessions of the Criminal Court, the jury found them guilty, but sentence was deferred pending an appeal to the Full Court on a point of law raised by their counsel that there was not sufficient evidence to warrant the jury in returning a verdict of guilty. After hearing argument, the Full Court reserved its decision, which was given November 20, which was to the effect that there was sufficient evidence to be left to the jury and the conviction should stand. Subsequently to that date Mr. R. S. Haynes, counsel for Hagen, wroted several letters to the Press, recounting the circumstances, and stating that had only admissible evidence been tendered no jury would have convicted Hagen of the charge preferred against him. The Executive Council, on two occasions at least, considered the cases, but saw no reason why the law should not take its course. In accordance with that decision, therefore, the three men yesterday suffered the full penalty of the law.

At a few minutes before 8 o'clock yesterday moring, the time fixed for Hagen's execution, Marquez and Espada were taken to his cell. Espada said nothing, but Marquez caught hold of Hagen's hand and kissed it, remarking, as he did so, "Me hope you go to Heaven." The two Manilamen were then returned to their cells, to await their execution an hour later, and then Hagen was removed from his cell to the scaffold. As Hagen left the condemned cell, accompanied by the. Rev. G. O'Halloran, who recited the Litany, "I am the Resurrection and the Life," on the way to the gallows, his lips twitched as he nodded to a newspaper reporter who had visited him during his incarceration. He walked with firm tread right on to the trapdoors, and stood unmoved as the hangman placed the rope round his neck, the while Mr. O'Halloran said the customary prayers. Not a twitch betrayed any trace of fear at his impending fate. Even when speaking--and his remarks occupied twelve minutes--there was not a tremor in his voice, and every word was uttered in a clear and distinct tone. This calm demeanour he maintained to the last, dying unflinchingly; When the cap was being adjusted, Hagen expressed a wish to speak, and it was removed. The condemned man gazed earnestly for a moment, at the group of pressmen in front of him, and glanced at the officials on his right and left. Then, addressing those present, he said: "Gentlemen, I want to say a few words before I go. I have not been believed. I have done almost everything I could to make people believe that I am innocent of this crime. I am ignorant of law and ignorant or court. I am a bushman, and for the last ten years have been in the bush. I am not a schemer of crimes, and my luck has always been to find hard work to do. I now wish you, gentlemen, to see the statement I made and gave to Mr. George, and which I then said should not be published. I wish, now that I have altered my mind at the last moment, that it should be published. I also wish that the people of Western Australia will do their utmost best to find out the murderer of this poor man Liebglid. I was got into this trap for giving information to the police. I was a friend of Pablo, and a friend of Liebglid. The reason why, in my opinion, I am in this position, is this: Early on the morning after the murder these two men (Marquez and Espada) saw me walking about the footpath, thinking of going to have a drink, and then probably seemed to suspect me of giving information to the police, as I was Liebglid's friend. My solemn opinion is that when they saw me knocking about that early, especially seeing me looking into Liebglid's room and asking questions, Pablo thought I knew something about it. Consequently, seeing me about so early, they got suspicious, and Pablo went and delivered the bag to the police. I have not many minutes to live. I am standing on the door. I will drop in a minute and be dead. It doesn't pay me to tell a lie, as I have not got long to live. I should never get anything by it. I have done my utmost best to try to find out about poor Liebglid. I assure you that the detective worked very hard to get up a case against me. Before he arrived at Broome the police had not got sufficient evidence to get them out of a row with the Government or the Police Department if they sent me down south on no charge. I wish to tell you this before I go, that if I knew the party who committed the crime or who was guilty of it, or I had any suspecion of the man, I would most decidedly tell you. When I say a suspicion, I have a suspicion on certain people, because they gave bad evidence and told lies. One man I have a strong suspicion on, who said in evidence that at a quarter-past 10 he saw me play, or start to play, pak-a-pu with Pablo. Now this man never saw me play Fabian, Tony, or Pablo. He saw me give a Jap. a fiver to play with. He stood there for two minutes, and the reason I took notice of him was that he used to carry yarns to my partner. He was a great friend of Pablo and another man I suspect."

At this stage Mr. O'Halloran spoke to the condemned man. "No," said Hagen, "I am not going to speak too much. 'I'm here to die, and I want to speak. My suspicion is on three men,' including Pablo, they being schemers. The reason I suspect one of them is because he is mad. I have, to a certain extent studied palmistry. You'll excuse me when I say I read my hand and knew that I was to be locked up and something dreadful going to come. Looking at one of the men I suspect, I find a man who would rob and kill for money. Look at his left hand and see. He will rob and kill for money, he loves money so much."

Mr. O'Halloran again drew Hagen's attention, and spoke to him in a whisper. "No. I must," he replied. "You have no objection, gentlemen? I must tell you all I can, and I hope the officers here will give me a chance to do so. This man, of course, went mad, and why did he go mad? My suspicion fell on him. In regard to the murder I will say no more, only that I am innocent and know nothing about it. I am hanged to-day for helping and doing my utmost best in finding out the murderer of this poor man Liebglid, and assisting the police. Now, gentlemen, I'm going to die. In about--in a very short time--I'll be dead and gone. In a short time I'll face my God, and it will not pay me to tell a lie. I am disappointed in my solicitor not calling my witness, and not doing his utmost best for me."

Addressing the hangman, after the white cap had been adjusted. he said, "Put this rope right up," and then, "Good-bye, gentlemen, this is the last thing I'll say." The executioner pulled the lever, and Hagen died instantly, firm to the end.

Shortly after 9 o'clock Espada and Marquez were led from the cells they occupied to the scaffold. They were accompanied by the Rev. Father Cox. O.M.I., who recited prayers, which were repeated in a tremulous voice by Marquez. Espada, however, did not utter a word, but looked straight ahead. When the scaffold was reacheld Father Cox said a prayer, which was repeated by Marquez, over whose head the white linen cap was drawn, and he stood waiting for the end, a convulsive twitching of the legs alone betraying his feelings. When an attempt was made to place the cap on Espada's head, he droned out, "Good bye, I tink I die; I tink I die." The cap was removed, and he spoke earnestly for a minute or two in pidgin English, but the only coherent words were, "Me kill white man and Pablo give me schooner 6,000." Whether this was confession of guilt, or whether the condemned man was merely relating a proposition that he should kill the white man, will never be known. During the course of his remarks Marquez once or twice muttered a word or two, as if remonstrating with his fellow-countryman. After the cap had been adjusted over Espada's head, the hangman crossed to the lever and was just about to release the bolt when it was observed that Espada had managed to work his pinioned arms in such a position as to enable him to seize the rope in his right hand. Only in time was the order given to stop. Espada's hold on the rope was released, and when the hangman was readjusting the noose, with tears running down his cheek, the condemned man several times asked for water, which, however, was refused.

Then the trap-dpors were released. and the bodies of the two Manilamen fell into the pit below.

A Sensational Incident. The execution of the two coloured men was marked by a sensational incident. After the rope had been taken from Espada's grasp it would appear that he made another attempt to reach it, and on observing this Chief Warder Webster, who was standing on the platform behind, stepped forward with the intention of preventing his effort from being successful. Just as he had placed his foot on the trap-door the executioner nulled the lever and Webster fell, simultaneously with the condemned men, to the bottom of the pit, which is about 12ft. deep. A scarce repressed ejaculation of horror arose from those present, and Mr. George, Superintendent of the gaol, Dr. Hope, and the Sheriff's officer immediately proceeded to the unfortunate warder's assistance. He was found lying at the bottom of the pit, with blood flowing profusely from a wound on the left side of the head above the forehead. Webster, who is about 60 years of age, was carried to the gaol hospital. Upon inquiry from the gaol authorities later in the day, it was ascertained that Chief Warder Webster had sustained painful injuries to his knee and a nasty scalp wound. He is being attended to by Dr. Hope. and is doing as well as can be expected. It should be added that the statement; to which Hagen referred while on the scaffold is a long detailed narrative giving his version of his movements on the night of the murder.

42b["The Broome Murder", The Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA), Tuesday 19 December 1905, page 34]


A Sensational Execution.





PERTH, Dec. 14.

At the Fremnantle Gaol this morning Charles Hagen, Simeon Espada, and Pablo Marquez met their doom in connection with the murder of Mark Leibglid at Broome about four months ago.

Story of the Crime.

It will be remembered that Leibglid, a Jewish commercial traveller, was decoyed on board a lugger lying just off the shore at night, on the pretence that the accused men had a valuable pearl to sell him, and was there brutally murdered. He had a large sum of money in his possession, but his cries when attacked were heard by people on the shore, and the murderers hurriedly threw the body into the water, where it was subsequently found.

Hagen on the Scaffold.

Hagen, the Norwegian, was the first to go on the scaffold. He left the cell with a firm step and walked to the gallows without hesitation, accompanied by the Rev. G. O'Halloran, who conversed with him on the way. Hagen nodded to a group of pressmen, and then stepped on to the trap doors. The Rev. G. O'Halloran repeated the customary prayers, and then the executioner took a linen cap and prepared to force it over Hagen's head. The condemned man was asked if he had anything fo say. "Yes," he answered quickly; "let me see." The rope was already around his neck, but not a tremor affected his muscles as he glanced around.

A Sensational Statement.

During the sensational statement which followed he frequently stopped to moisten his lips or look at the reporters, and, though he never for a moment lost his coherence or nerve, he frequently repeated his phrases, as if to emphasise the points which he wished to impress on his hearers. "Gentlemen," he said - and a slight Norwegian accent seemed to lend intensity to his speech - "I shall be done in a few minutes. I have no excuse for telling lies in my last few words. Gentlemen, I'm innocent. I have had to work hard all my life, and have been a bushman for two years. I was never a schemer, and it was always my luck to find hard work in front of me. I have told the authorities that I did not wish this statement to be published, but I have changed my mind at the last minute, and it is my wish that the people of West Australia should know what I can tell of the poor man Leibglid. I was got into a trap through giving information to the police. Pablo was frightened of me from the first, and, when I questioned him he thought I knew something, and he delivered Leibglid's bag to the police." Hagen at this stage faltered, and glanced appealingly around on the solemn little concourse, but no one moved.

Continuing, he said, "Gentlemen, I have not many minutes to live. I shall drop in a minute and be dead. It does not pay to tell lies now. I'm going to another world, where I shall meet my God. I say again I am innocent." There was another halt and a fresh moistening of the lips.

Then the solemn voice spoke again: "Should I not do my best to tell of the murder, especially against these colored men? I consider Detective Mann worked up the case against me. The police had not a case until he came to Broome. Detective Mann worked hard to get up this case and to incriminate me; and look at Lucas, he said he saw me playing "paikia." He did not, but he saw me give 5 to a Japanese carpenter to play. I am going to die, but Lucas and Carpia know more of the murder than I do. Carpia is a great friend of Pablo's.

At this stage the Rev. Mr. O'Halloran approached Hagen and whispered in his ear. "I am not going to say too much," answered the condemned man, "but I am going to die, and I want to speak. Gentlemen. I have studied palmistry, and I have always feared something dreadful would happen to me. Carpia would kill or rob anybody for money. Let anyone look at his left hand, and the line of murder is clear - anything for money. That is Carpia."

The chaplain again interrupted Hagen, and whispered to him. Hagen nodded, and said, "Very well, sir, I will not say much more, but I am innocent. I am being hanged for having helped the police to find the murderer. In a short time I will face God, and it would not pay me to say I was innocent if I were guilty. I was disappointed in my solicitor, as he did not call the witnesses I wanted. That is all. I am innocent." The cap was then pulled over Hagen's eyes. "Draw the rope tight; put it firmly round my neck. Steady! not too tight. Gentlemen, I am going; I am afar on."

The lever was pulled; there was a thud, and Charles Hagen had either expiated his crime or become a martyr to circumstantial evidence. Hagen spoke for fully a quarter of an hour. His oration was eloquent and coherent, and he spoke with a force and conviction which made a remarkable impression upon his hearers. The strain on the man's nerves must have been terrible.

Execution of the Manilamen.

The two Manilamen then issued from the condemned cell. Pablo walked in front, and the Rev. Father Cox brought up the rear. Simeon Espada walked firmly across the gravelled pathway to the gallows, and looked neither to the right nor left. Pablo, on the contrary, muttered to himself in his own language. When the pair had reached the gallows the priest whispered words of comfort to the two men, and after this Pablo seemed to be more composed. Espada waited calmly until the cap had been placed over his features. "Oh, let me see!" he then cried out in his own language, and in answer his cap was lifted, and he made an earnest statement, but the only words that could be distinguished were "Me kill white man. Pablo he give me schooner for 6000." Espada muttered much more in his own tongue, and Pablo seemed to resent something he said, for he answered back in a sharp, indignant tone. The two men conversed angrily for a few moments.

Espada Seizes the Rope.

The executioner at this stage appeared to lose his presence of mind, and made no efforts to check Espada when the latter made an effort to grab the rope in his manacled hands. The poor man strove desperately to get a grip of the rope above his head. Espada's hands were then forcibly unclasped, and the lever moved. Just before the trap-door fell Espada made a final, but unsuccessful attempt to catch the halter in his hand. There was some little confusion, and for a moment nobody seemed to know what to do.

The Chief Warder's Accident. Chief Warder Webster, who must have been standing with one foot on the trap-door, fell into the pit with the Manilamen when the door was released. Webster must have fallen on his head, as when the officials rushed down the stairway Webster was found prostrate with blood issuing from a scalp wound. The height of the well under the trap-door was about 12 feet. It was a repulsive incident, and the keenest sympathy is felt for Webster, who is between 50 and 60 years old, and has been a Government official for many years. Webster was also injured about the right knee.