How 17-year-old Elsie Walker died is a mystery to this day. And it was her cousin William Alfred Bayly who was suspected.
Depending on who you talked to, he was definitely her killer or there was absolutely no way he did it.
Even after nearly 100 years there is no answer but one thing is certain - Bayly was a murderer.
Elsie was found on October 5, 1928 at a disused quarry in Tamaki. There were few signs of what had happened, no outward signs of violence but she had a fractured skull.
No cause of death could be pinpointed. And despite a long running inquest, a police investigation, public meetings and a magisterial inquiry could not come to a definitive conclusion.
Else had been living with William (Bill) Alfred Bayly and his wife Phyllis - her cousins.
Bayly’s car was said to have been stolen at the same time and was found 200 miles away.
Bayly was born on July 15, 1906 to Frank and Constance Bayly.
The family farmed in the Waikato and Auckland then in 1925 moved to Pāpāmoa and Bayley married Phyllis Dorothy Palmer on 29 August 1928.
After Elsie’s death they moved to Rauwaro near Huntly where their neighbours were Samuel and Christobel Lakey who had bought the farm from Bayly’s father. The relationship between the two couples was initially friendly but deteriorated when Christobel accused Bayly of killing Elsie.
In 1933 after neighbours became concerned about the Lakey’s cows not being milked there was a search. Christobel’s body was found face down in a pond near the Lakey’s farmhouse. Initially it was thought Samuel had killed her but remnants of his body was found on a shovel from Bayly’s cowshed.
A search found more and more evidence - items of clothes and guns.
Police watched Bayly for a while then he disappeared leaving a suicide note. When he was spotted in Auckland he was arrested for murder.
A jury took barely an hour to find him guilty and he was hanged at Mt Eden prison on July 20, 1934. Oddly, his death certificate notes he died of asphyxiation, usually for hanging it is strangulation - apparently it took him an unusually time to die.
Elsie is buried in Purewa Cemetery while Christobel was buried in Huntly Cemetery. Samuel joined her in 2015. His remains had been used for forensic training.
Bayly was buried in Waikumete Cemetery.
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