For today, Friday the 13th October, I thought I’d share with you something I came across whilst going through the old police files at Public Record Office of Victoria.
In 1904, West Melbourne Grocer, Richard Jefferson Edwards, received a death threat from an anonymous letter writer using the pseudonym ‘Guy Fawkes’. It was written in a cursive style not unlike some dark-metal fonts of today. Edwards disregarded the threat as a hoax until he was tipped off that it may well have been written with serious intent. Attached above are the photos I took of the threatening letter and Edwards’ note to police.
"Beware! Thy days are numbered!
Prepare for Hell!
PS One man, one business
signed Guy Fawkes.
Tremble thou cutter!
for ye shall likewise be cut down,
like unto a tree,
by Guy Fawkes’ terrible hand
Thou shalt either live and let live
or thieve and be blown up.
Was it from a disgruntled former employee? The mention of cheap labour in the drawing of the coffin could be a clue to this. Could it have been a business associate? Could the Guy Fawkes theme have been symbolic of religious differences?
The outcome of the investigation is not known but Edwards lived right through until 1957 and the ripe old age of 92.
His days may have been numbered but the sum was substantial.
by Michael Shelford, Friday 13th October 2017
Michael Shelford is a writer who specialises in Australian true crime. He is currently completing a book on Melbourne's crime scene c1890's to 1920's. He is also the creator and guide for the walking tour company Melbourne Historical Crime Tours.