Murder at The Gables

This is the last of 11 pages on the Gables murder. Not only did the murder feature in the national papers, but made the news as far afield as Australia. This page contains a transcription of a detailed article which appeared in the Adelaide Advertiser, South Australia.

How the tragedy was reported in the Adelaide Advertiser

May 1904

transcribed by Ann Handscombe

The following report appeared in The Advertiser in Adelaide, South Australia on 17th May 1904:


(From our Special Correspondent.)

London - April 15 1904

A tragedy of an astounding character is reported-from the little Cambridgeshire village of Meldreth, where a lad of 15 is alleged to have killed his mother with a revolver.  Meldreth is nine miles south of Cambridge, and here, at a comfortably country house known as "The Gables" Mrs Georgina Rogers, the wife of a London solicitor, has been residing for the past 18 months with her son Frank and two young daughters.

On Tuesday night the family had dinner very happily together about 8 o'clock, and when it was concluded, the two little girls retired to the drawing-room, leaving their mother with Frank, who wanted 'to talk things over' with her.  Half an hour later the elder of the two girls, alarmed at hearing the report of an explosion, ran out of the drawing-room, and was terrified to find her mother lying motionless on the door of the entrance hall.  Frank was standing by his mother's side, and the girl saw that he had a revolver in his hand.  "What is it, Frank?" she cried. "What has happened to mother?"  "I have shot her," the lad replied calmly.  "I thought it was best."

The girl sent a servant for Dr. Octavius Ennion, who lives close by, but he found that Mrs. Rogers was dead, having apparently been shot through the heart. 

The Lad's Cool Conduct

Before the doctor arrived the lad had taken his youngest sister, Queenie, over to a neighbour's house, with the request that she might be allowed to stay there for the night. He appeared to be perfectly collected and natural in his manner, and returned at a leisurely pace to The Gables.  When the constables arrived at The Gables they found Frank quietly reading a newspaper.  To their enquiries he replied  "Yes, I shot mother. I thought it best in the circumstances."  He refuted to make any further statement, and was taken into custody and lodged in the police cells at Melbourn, a mile and -a half away.

Mr. Coroner Lyon arrived at "The Gables" on Wednesday afternoon for the purpose of holding an inquest, but in consequence of some misunderstanding as to the date no arrangements for the enquiry had been made by the police.  At the request of Mr. Rogers, the husband of the dead lady, the inquest was adjourned until the following afternoon.

The lad Frank, who was brought before the magistrates at Melbourn on Thursday morning, is described as a bright, intelligent, and happy lad, and general incredulity was expressed in Meldreth at his alleged association with so terrible a crime.

An Affectionate Family

All the members of the family have been well known in. the village, and there is no suggestion that they have ever lived on other than the most affectionate terms.  Since his arrest Frank Rogers has maintained silence, but does not appear to be in any way affected by the tragedy. When the charge was read over to him he intimated' that any explanation he had to make would be given to the magistrates. The police are inclined to the opinion that the tragedy, if it occurred in the manner alleged, and was not an accident, is one of the class known as "imitative crime".  The lad was very fond of reading the newspapers, and among those found in the room in which he was arrested was one containing an account of the tragedy at Small Heath, Birmingham, in which a boy of fifteen was charged with fatally stabbing his mother with a file.

At the inquest on the dead woman on Thursday it transpired that Mrs. Rogers had given way to drink, and in consequence the home life of the children had been the reverse of happy.  The husband was absent at the time of the tragedy, as also was the eldest son, to whom the revolver belonged.  The coroner's jury returned a verdict of willful murder against Frank Rogers, who, so far as outward appearances went, was the calmest person in the room during the inquest.  He showed no more feeling during the proceedings than he might be expected to do if charged with shooting some protected bird.  To his elder sister he said, "I've done it for the best, and for Queenie's sake. She could not be brought up to the life we have led for the past few years."

This page was added by Kathryn Betts on 05/03/2011.

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