HEADLINE: Woman Charged With Murder Of Two Husbands: Mrs. Yvonne Fletcher, 30, a domestic, of Ferndale Street, Newtown, was charged at Central Court of Petty Sessions yesterday with murdering two men to whom she had been married.
FULL TEXT: The police allege that she poisoned them. Unkempt and red-eyed from crying, Mrs. Fletcher was remanded in custody until next Monday.
She wept while the charges were read in court.
The charges said that –
• On March 23 last, Mrs. Fletcher murdered Bertram Henry Fletcher, 30.
• On July 29, 1948, she murdered Desmond George Butler, 29.
~ THE ALLEGATION: “Poisoning” ~
Asked for some details of the allegations, Sergeant Bush said: –
The allegation is that the first man died in 1948 as a result of poisoning. The defendant was his wife.
”We say the second man died in a similar manner in March this year when the defendant was his wife.”
The Magistrate, Mr. C. F. Denton, S. M., asked Mrs. Fletcher if she wanted to make an application for bail.
She did not seem to understand what he meant and a policeman explained to her.
Then she replied: “No, I don’t want bail.”
Sergeant Bush said the police were opposing bail.
He asked that if an application for bail was made later, the officer in charge of the inquiry. Detective Fergusson, should be communicated with.
The magistrate said he would have the police objection to bail and the request noted.
Mrs. Fletcher was arrested at her home early yesterday.
~ THE BACKGROUND Science Aids Police ~
The charges against Mrs. Fletcher mark the climax of two months’ intensive investigation by Detectives D. Fergusson and F. Krahe.
Superintendent J. Wiley ordered the investigation when doctors at Royal Prince Allred Hospital refused to sign a death certificate for Fletcher on March 23 this year. The next day the Government Medical Officer, Dr. Percy, and Dr. Stratford Sheldon held a post-mortem.
The detectives were pre- sent, but the examination did not reveal the cause of Fletcher’s death.
The contents of the stomach and certain organs were then analysed by Mr. T. A. McDonald, at the request of the Government Analyst, Dr. Taylor.
On April 21, the detectives applied for and were granted permission by the City Coroner, Mr. Forrest, to exhume the body of Butler.
This was done at Rookwood Cemetery in drizzling rain at dusk on the same day.
Later, at the City Morgue, Dr. Percy and Dr. Sheldon examined the remains.
Samples of flesh tissue were also forwarded to the Government Analyst, Dr. Taylor, Detectives Fergusson and Krahe now spread their investigations further afield, interviewing many people in Sydney, Melbourne and Broken Hill.
They also inquired into Butler’s death at Broughton Hall psychiatric clinic.
[“Woman Charged With Murder Of Two Husbands,” Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), May 20, 1952, p. 1]
For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.