Case of F. E. Jew
The case of Francis Edward Jew, a carefree 20-year-old youth-about-town in Auckland, who was battered to death with a fence paling in an empty section at Arch Hill, Grey Lynn, on 16 July 1921, created widespread public interest but it baffled the police completely. There appeared to be no motive or reason for the killing. Robbery was ruled out, and there were no signs of a struggle on the spot. A woman of unstable mentality complicated matters with a fantastic confession, but she withdrew her story when the police were able to demonstrate its complete impracticability. A young companion of the murdered youth, who had been in his company throughout a daylong drinking spree, and who later was sent to prison for another serious offence, was the last person to be seen in Jew's company. The most exhaustive inquiries produced nothing but mere suspicion against this man, and certainly nothing to support a charge. Sixty-six persons gave evidence at the eight-day inquest, and the police interviewed no fewer than 1,500 people. A large crop of rumours, anonymous letters, and family representations were sifted but to no avail. One interesting feature of the search was an offer to provide bloodhounds to track down the killer, but the official attitude then was that the proposition was not one from which any degree of success could be expected.