|Birth: ||Mar. 14, 1909|
|Death: ||Dec. 30, 1921|
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The Gun Alley Murder was the rape and murder of 12-year-old Alma Tirtschke in Melbourne, in 1921. She was a schoolgirl and had last been seen alive close to a drinking establishment, the Australian Wine Saloon; under these circumstances her murder caused a sensation. More recently, the case has become well known as a miscarriage of justice.
Alma's task that day had been to go from her grandmother's house in Jolimont to a Swanston Street butchers, collect a parcel of meat, drop it at an aunt's Collins Street home and return to Jolimont.
It was uncharacteristic for Alma to take so long on her errands. A witness said he saw a man following Alma. Reliable witnesses who had nothing to lose or gain by telling police what they knew said Alma was dawdling, apprehensive and obviously afraid.
Just a few metres away from the Australian Wine Saloon in the Eastern Arcade, between Bourke and Little Collins Streets, where Alfred Place runs off Little Collins Street, Alma Tirtschke was last seen about 3 pm on 30 December 1921.
Her naked body was found early the next morning in a lane running east off Gun Alley, not far from Alfred Place.
Following the discovery of the body, the owner of the Australian Wine Saloon, Colin Campbell Ross, was charged with her rape and murder. The case against him was based on the evidence of two witnesses, plus a red hair, apparently from Tirtschke's head, which provided a vital connection between Ross and the murder. Ross protested his innocence but was hanged.
The two witnesses were later considered by many to be unreliable, both having had a motive to lie. The only credible piece of evidence was the red hair that connected Ross to the case. More reliable forensic examinations in the 1990s disproved the connection and showed that Ross was probably innocent.
Ross could account for his movements at the time Alma disappeared, and later that night, when her body was dumped in Gun Alley. With nothing to hide, Ross had told detectives who interviewed him that a little girl matching Alma's description had passed his saloon, but that this was his only connection with the victim.
Brighton General Cemetery
Created by: graver
Record added: Feb 27, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 66219831