Constable

Walter RENDELL

YEAR OF DEATH

1859

JURISDICTION

Victoria

DETAILS OF DEATH

Between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. 26 April 1859 Detective Rendell went to the lighter ‘Pauline’ which was moored in the Yarra River and searched it for stolen property. A quantity of stolen goods was located and the lighter’s master Morey Tucker was taken into custody. He and the Detective left the vessel together and as they crossed the gang plank to the wharf Rendell fell into the water and was drowned. Tucker used this opportunity to flee the scene and was arrested in Richmond the following day. The circumstances surrounding Rendell’s death were thought to be highly suspicious. The detective was a strong swimmer there was bruising on the body apparently inflicted just before death and no witnesses could be located. However at the inquest a man came forward and stated that he had seen Detective Rendall accidentally slip and fall into the water. Police claimed that this witness had previously told a detective that he had not seen what had occurred. However as no statement had previously been taken from the man the Coroner chose to accept his evidence and returned a verdict of ‘accidental death’.

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