Beautiful Stewart Island/Rakiura is believed to have had only one murder
Andre or Andrew Josey or Jose had lived on the island for about 50 years, making his quiet living as a fisherman.
Jose was Javanese, from Indonesia, and had come to New Zealand on the England’s Glory (which was wrecked in 1881).
He worked as a fisherman and ship’s cook and sometimes lived on a The Flying Scud, a 20-tonne cutter beached at Papatiki Bay.
He could be seen most days near his modest home, casting his nets. It would have been a very serene spot. He kept chickens and ducks and a well-tended vegetable garden.
Shortly before his death, Jose had sold his little home, and invested the money.
In the early hours of December 14, 1927, Jose, who was 82, was heard crying out for help. He, and the man who was to kill him, had stayed in Catherine Walschleger’s boarding house for the night.
“Help, help, he is killing me for my money,” came the cry.
She ran for help from a neighbour and the police were called.
Jose’s little room - just big enough for his bed and little else - was in complete disarray and at first the police could not see him. It looked like there had been a desperate fight.
The bed had been overturned and Jose’s body was under the mattress. He had been beaten with a short thick piece of manuka.
An attempt had been made to set the bedclothes on fire.
It didn’t take the police long to go looking for Arthur Victor Valentine, 43, who had come to visit Jose the day before. He was found in his bedroom at the house still in pyjamas covered in blood.
Valentine had apparently been trustee for Jose’s estate. An accountant, he had been employed by the Southland Harbour Board for many years. He had helped sell Jose’s little home and been given £200 to invest and another £150 as a loan.
However Valentine might have been desperate for money himself. Earlier in December he was robbed in the office of harbour board of $240, the whole pay for the dredge employees. He had been hit over the head and found lying on the floor of the office.
Jose had heard about it and had become concerned he had lost his money and was heading to Bluff when Valentine came to the island. After Josey’s death, none of his money could be found.
What passed between them would remain a matter of speculation though. Not long after he was taken into custody, Valentine died of heart failure in the exercise yard of the Invercargill Borstal so never came to trial.
Josey was buried on the island, not far from the home he had spent most of his life in.
Photo from Te Papa's collection.
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