An Unfortunate Life - Based on the True Story of Serial Killer Joshua Beard

Author(s): Roger K. Wagstaff

History | Sunshine Coast Authors

Early in 1896 a man named Joseph Marlo went missing and was last seen in the company of Joshua Beard. In 1897, Walter Richards disappeared after joining Beard on a hunting trip. In court, on a charge of stealing articles of clothing from Richards, Beard suddenly confident that he would be believed told the court he would tell them the 'honest truth'. He claimed that Richards had accidently shot himself and after being questioned about Marlo, Beard told police he had been killed by a kick from a horse. Beard's explanations were not believed and after a hearing at Streaky Bay he was sent to Adelaide to stand trial for the murder of Walter Richards.The more I researched the more I was aware that Beard did not get a fair trial. His explanations of both accidents were plausible but reporters, committed to boosting their newspapers circulation and acting on the principle 'never let the facts get in the way of a good story', reported both deaths to be gruesome murders. Based solely on circumstantial evidence and a flimsy and unprofitable motive, Beard, in a classic case of trial by media, was demonised by reporters. His quiet demeanour was interpreted by some reporters to be a "surly callousness". His powerful menacing build and the fact that he could neither read nor write led to him being described as "an incredibly ignorant lower form of life". In the eyes of newspaper readers, Beard was already guilty well before his appearance in the Supreme Court Adelaide.This book is as factual an account as it could be and, always ready to champion the underdog, I have put forward an argument for doubt.


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Product Information

General Fields

  • : 9780648375104
  • : Clark & Mackay
  • : September 2018
  • : .6 Centimeters X 14.8 Centimeters X 21 Centimeters
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Roger K. Wagstaff
  • : Paperback
  • : English
  • : 120