Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.




Edward Lionel TERRY





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: White supremacist
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: September 24, 1905
Date of arrest: Same day (surrenders)
Date of birth: January 6, 1873
Victim profile: Joe Kum Yung, 70
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Status: Sentenced to death, 1906. Commuted to life incarceration within New Zealand psychiatric institutions. Died at Seacliff Mental Hospital on 20 August 1952

Edward Lionel Terry (1873-1952) was a New Zealand white supremacist and murderer, incarcerated in psychiatric institutions after murdering a Chinese immigrant, Mr. Joe Kum Yung, in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1905.

Early Life

Edward Lionel Terry was born in Sandwich, Kent, in 1873. He was the son of Edward Terry and Frances Thompson. His father was a prosperous corn merchant in Kent, and later managed Pall Mall Real Estate.

Lionel Terry was educated at Merton College in Wimbledon, until he tired of that life, and joined the Royal Regiment Artillery in 1892. After his father secured his discharge in 1895, he became involved in successive itinerant occupations in South Africa, British Columbia, Canada, and the United States in 1895-6, before he finally emigrated to New Zealand in 1901.

During his period in Canada and the United States, Terry developed his virulent white supremacist attitudes, which were to have a tragic outcome in his immediate future

New Zealand: 1901-1905

In New Zealand, he first worked for the Department of Lands and Survey in Auckland, before he tried to establish a horticultural market garden north of Auckland, in 1901.

In 1903, he worked as a Taihape bush feller, north of Palmerston North and Fielding, before recommencing employment with the Department of Lands and Survey as a surveyor, based in Mangonui, Northland, in 1905.

White supremacism and the murder of Joe Kum Yung in 1905

Terry gave the first indication that he was a white supremacist when he wrote and privately published The Shadow, which dealt with his obsessions against Chinese and East Asian immigration to New Zealand to work the goldfields, or in horticulture or small business ventures.

He then undertook a 900 km trek from Mangonui to Wellington in 1905, distributing copies of The Shadow as he went. Once he reached the nation's capital, he attempted to convince New Zealand's Parliament to ban any further Chinese and East Asian immigration to New Zealand, but failed to do so.

On 24 September 1905, Terry shot Joe Kum Yung, a Chinese immigrant, in Haring Street, Wellington. Mr. Yung died later of injuries. According to John Dunmore, Mr Yung was an elderly Canton Chinese gold prospector, aged 70, who had a pronounced limp as a result of a past mining accident.

Terry selected Yung as his victim due to this infirmity. Ironically, Mr. Yung appears to have been destitute, given his lack of luck on the declining goldfields, and yearned to return to his native Canton.

Terry submitted himself to the authorities and the New Zealand Supreme Court convicted him of murder on 21 November 1905. Originally, he was sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to life incarceration within New Zealand psychiatric institutions.

Over the next 47 years Terry served time in Christchurch's Sunnyside, Dunedin's Seacliff and Lyttelton Prison. He was later diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. This did not prevent white supremacist New Zealanders from circulating a petition for mitigation of his sentence, although the local Chinese community circulated a counter-petition in response.

Psychiatric Incarceration: 1905-1952

Terry absconded from Sunnyside twice, in 1909 and 1914. Under Seacliff administrator Truby King, he seemed to recover slightly from his ongoing mental illness, and was allowed to produce more poetry, paint, and undertake horticulture. Over time, he developed messianic religious delusions and later assaulted a doctor who attempted to administer an anti-typhoid injection in 1940, whereupon he was returned to solitary confinement. Terry died in 1952, aged seventy-nine.

Posthumous Interest

There has been some posthumous interest in Terry's life and times, which has led to some poetry about his offending, and a biography in the late seventies. Terry has received a capsule biography in the online Dictionary of New Zealand biography, and a further section in the recently published Wild Cards: Eccentric Characters From New Zealand's Past (2006). Unfortunately, not all of this interest has been scholarly in tone, as the neofascist New Zealand Nationalist Workers Party republished copies of The Shadow for their own anti-immigrant racist purposes in the eighties.


No original editions of Terry's The Shadow appear to be extant. However, see:

  • Lionel Terry: The Shadow: Lionel Terry and The Yellow Peril: Lower Hutt: Nationalist Workers Party: 1984.

  • Lionel Terry: The Shadow: Lionel Terry and the Yellow Peril: Wellington: Realist Press: nd, 1984-1989?

Works About Terry:

  • John Dunmore: "The Defender of Racial Purity: Lionel Terry" (p.129-135) in Wild Cards: Eccentric Characters from New Zealand's Past: Auckland: New Holland: 2006: ISBN 186966132X

  • Robert Solway: Murder at Thirteen Haining Street: Wellington: Stewart Lawrence: 1948.

  • Frank Tod: The Making of A Madman: Dunedin: Otago Foundation: 1977.

  • C.A.Treadwell: Notable New Zealand Trials: New Plymouth: 1936.


Lionel Terry's Obsession, 1905

Keen public interest and a good deal of morbid sympathy were aroused by the appearance in the dock in 1905 of Edward Lionel Terry on a charge of murdering an aged and inoffensive Chinese in Haining Street, Wellington.

The prisoner used the occasion for a violent attack on British policy towards unnaturalised aliens, and described his crime as “a merciful delivery on a world-weary man, and a service to the community”. There was never any doubt of Terry's guilt.

He shot his victim down in the street and then went to the police station and described his crime, produced a revolver as evidence, and handed a copy of his pamphlet The Shadow, a harangue on aliens, to the watchhouse-keeper, with the bland remark, “If you read that you'll understand the position”.

At his trial he conducted his own defence, and reached remarkable heights of histrionics and rhetoric in his speech from the dock, which was mostly an appeal for the elimination of alien influences in the Empire.

The Chief Justice, Sir Robert Stout, told the jury that the material question was the mental state of the prisoner, a suggestion to which Terry reacted violently with an assertion that he was perfectly aware of the quality and nature of his act.

The inevitable verdict of guilty was accompanied by a strong recommendation to mercy, and the Chief Justice sent him to prison for life. Terry spent the rest of his days either in gaol or in the Sunnyside and Seacliff Mental Hospitals, but he was a perennial source of embarrassment to the authorities by reason of his escapes and attempted escapes and the violence of his conduct.

Though sentenced in 1905, he was still news in 1908, especially when he celebrated one anniversary of his trial by setting fire to his quarters in the Lyttelton Gaol, one wing of which had been specially gazetted as a lunatic asylum for his benefit. He died under restraint at Seacliff Hospital on 20 August 1952.


Terry, Edward Lionel

By Frank Tod -

In 1905 the New Zealand public was startled by the calculated murder of an elderly Chinese in Haining Street, Wellington. Joe Kum Yung was killed by Lionel Terry, a young Englishman who wanted to draw attention to his views on alien immigration. Terry's belief in racial segregation and his obsession with what was commonly called the yellow peril drove him to murder, and condemned him to nearly half a century in mental hospitals.

Edward Lionel Terry was born at Sandwich, Kent, England, on 6 January 1873. Known throughout life by his second name, he was the son of Edward Terry and his wife, Frances Lydia Thompson. His father claimed to be descended from Napoleon Bonaparte. He was a corn merchant in Kent but later established a real estate firm in Pall Mall, London. He was considered a successful businessman.

Lionel Terry was educated at Merton College, Wimbledon. He then joined his father's firm, but became unsettled and enlisted in the Royal Regiment of Artillery in 1892. A year later he transferred to the Royal Horse Guards. His father purchased his discharge in 1895 and Terry left almost immediately for South Africa. He joined the mounted police at Bulawayo and participated in the Jameson raid of 29 December 1895 to 2 January 1896. Returning to London he entered into partnership in the family firm, but stayed only a short time before leaving to travel extensively overseas. In the course of his travels he visited the United States and British Columbia. There, and earlier in South Africa, he worked alongside Chinese immigrants. The experience engendered a deep hatred of 'black and coloured races', especially the Chinese. Before long this hatred had become an obsession.

According to his own account Terry arrived in New Zealand in 1901. He spent some time as a temporary fieldworker with the Department of Lands and Survey in Auckland and then tried fruit-growing north of Auckland. He moved to Wellington in May 1903 and was re-employed by the department as a temporary draughtsman. After a few months he went to Taihape where he worked at bush felling. In 1904 he returned to the Lands and Survey Department and was sent to Mangonui in Northland as a surveyor. While there he wrote The shadow, a book of verse with a long introduction on the need for racial purity.

In July 1905 Terry attracted considerable interest by carrying out a marathon walk of nearly 900 miles from Mangonui to Wellington. A policeman who met up with him on the way described his appearance: 'He looked a perfect picture. As fine a man as ever I saw – bolt upright, and with as free an action as you'd see on an athlete.' People who came in contact with Terry invariably commented on his magnificent physique and were impressed by his striking personality, conversational powers and overall breadth of knowledge. Along the walk he distributed copies of The shadow and gave lectures on the yellow peril.

After arriving in Wellington on 14 September, Terry tried to convince members of the House of Representatives and immigration officials that all non-European immigration should be stopped. He had little success, and in an effort to gain further publicity for his views he shot Joe Kum Yung on the night of 24 September 1905. The victim was rushed to hospital but died soon after. Terry surrendered to the police the following morning, handing over his revolver and a copy of The shadow, which he said would explain his action. On 21 November he was tried in the Supreme Court at Wellington. He conducted his own defence but failed to justify the killing and was sentenced to death. The sentence was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment on the grounds of insanity; he was later diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. Terry was to spend the rest of his life in Lyttelton prison and in Sunnyside and Seacliff mental hospitals.

He escaped from Sunnyside twice in 1906 and from Seacliff in 1907 and 1908. These escapes attracted considerable publicity and Terry's allegations of mistreatment at both hospitals and at Lyttelton prison gained him a good deal of public sympathy. Also, while few people had condoned Joe Kum Yung's murder, many shared Terry's dislike of the Chinese. It is said that a petition for his release was circulated and that the Chinese community responded with a counter petition.

Terry spent most of the time between 1909 and 1914 in solitary confinement at Sunnyside. He asked to be returned to Seacliff in May 1914, where the medical superintendent, Frederic Truby King, granted him various privileges on condition that he would not escape again. Terry was removed from his dark, lonely cell and given a suite comprising a bedroom and library–dining room. He wrote poetry and painted, kept pet goats and sheep, and cultivated an extensive garden in the hospital grounds. From around 1914 he turned increasingly to religion, but it was idiosyncratic and in most of his verse he referred to himself as the 'Prophet', 'Messiah' and 'Superman'. He wore white clothes, grew a long beard and wore his hair below his shoulders. However, despite his messianic tendencies, he wanted a Christian burial.

In 1940 he assaulted a doctor who was trying to give him a typhoid inoculation. As a result most of his privileges were withdrawn and he spent the last 12 years of his life in solitary confinement. Lionel Terry died at Seacliff Mental Hospital on 20 August 1952, aged 79 years. It is not known if he had ever married.


Before his confinement in mental hospitals for the racial killing of an elderly Chinese man in 1905, Lionel Terry was a marathon walker; people who met him invariably commented on his magnificent physique.


A self portrait of Lionel Terry


home last updates contact