Story: Violent crime

Murder among the elite

Drawings and names of men and women printed on a newspaper page

Timaru was rocked by the arrest of Thomas Hall (pictured, top centre) for the attempted murder of his wife Kate (top right) in 1886 after a suspicious doctor had a sample of the contents of her stomach analysed. Hall, who had poison in his pockets when arrested, was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was later successfully charged with the earlier fatal poisoning of Henry Cain, Kate's stepfather, and sentenced to death. However, the murder conviction was overturned on appeal due to an evidential technicality. Hall was released in 1907 after serving 21 years in prison.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: PUBL-0155-front

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How to cite this page:

Greg Newbold, 'Violent crime - Controversial murder trials, 1840–1939', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 20 June 2024)

Story by Greg Newbold, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 3 May 2024 with assistance from Greg Newbold