Frederick Henry Thompson,
the last man to be executed in Tasmania was convicted and sentenced to
death for the murder of Evelyn Maughan, a child of seven who had
disappeared after attending Sunday mass. Her body was later discovered
by a visitor from Sydney who was looking for his father’s grave in the
disused Queenborough Cemetery.
Two women had given a statement saying they had seen
a man pushing an old pram towards the cemetery. Enquiries led to
Thompson, a married man of 32 who was brought to trial before Mr.
Justice Clark, convicted and sentenced to death.
It was later revealed that Thompson had two previous
convictions for indecent exposure and had also been an inmate at the
Lachlan Park mental hospital
The Mercury 15th February 1940 stated
THOMPSON TO BE HANGED TODAY
Frederick Henry Thompson (32) who on Dec. 17 last was
found guilty of murdering Evelyn Mary Maughan (8) will be hanged at
Hobart Gaol this morning
The Executive Council yesterday gave lengthy
consideration to the case. All Cabinet members were present.
A statement issued after the meeting said “The
Council did not see fit to recommend to His Excellency the Governor to
exercise the Royal Prerogative of mercy. The sentence of death will,
therefore, be carried out, in accordance with the requirements of the
Criminal Code. No official statement on the time of the execution was
made, but it is believed the hanging will be carried out at 6.30 a.m.
The question of Thompson’s mentality was not raised
by the defence. An appeal against the conviction on the grounds that his
previous criminal record was wrongfully admitted failed.
Since his conviction Thompson has been in the
condemned cell under close guard.
He had shown no outward signs of strain before the
Executive Council’s decision not to interfere with the court’s penalty.
He has passed much of his time reading travel
literature, particularly the “National Geographic” magazine.
The next day it was reported that Thompson had gone
calmly to his death which was followed by an inquest held by the Coroner
(Mr H.R Dobbie) at the Hobart Police Court . Det-Inspector Fleming
appeared for the Police Department.
Dr. W.J Freeman, medical officer to the gaol said
that at 6.9 a.m. he examined the body of Frederick Henry Thompson. The
cause of death was dislocation of the cervical vertebrae inflicting
fatal injuries on the spinal cord through the hanging. In his opinion
death was instantaneous. The Coroner recorded a finding of death by
hanging in accordance with the warrant of sentence of death.
Thompson was later buried at Cornelian Bay.