Newspaper articles – The West Australian – 30th March 1887

The West Australian


The execution of Franz Erdmann will take place on Monday morning. We are in a position to say that the statement of our contemporary, that the suggestion made in its columns – to the effect that Erdmann should be offered commutation of his sentence to penal servitude for life, on his making a confession as to the Roebourne murder – had been adopted by the Government has not the slightest foundation.

Mr. Horace Sholl, who knew Erdman as Hornig at Roebourne, had an interview with the prisoner on Monday in the hope that he might make some disclosure with regard to the Roebourne tragedy if he were concerned in it. Mr. Sholl had the interview in his private capacity and the Government do not know what transpired.

Hornig had been at Roebourne for two months when the murder took place, lived at the same hotel as one of the victims, Mr Burrup, went frequently to bathe with him, and visited him at the bank in the evenings. Moreover, Hornig was seen in front of the bank at 8.30 p.m. on the day proceeding the discovery of the murder.

After the finding of the bodies, Hornig displayed great concern on account of the fate of Mr. Burrup and assisted in the search for the culprits. A week later on his way over land from Roebourne to Derby he met Mr. Julius Brockman but did not inform him of the murder having taken place. These are the facts which have caused suspicion to rest upon the condemned man as a possible accomplice in the Roebourne tragedy.

The interview with Mr. Sholl was, we understand, of an unsatisfactory character as regards any elucidation of the mystery. If the condemned man had any hand in the murder of Messrs. Anketell and Burrup it is much to he hoped that he will make some confession before his lips are closed on the scaffolds.