43["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.