Iwan GODLEWSKY: Historical Adelaide Tours Profiles

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The victim is Iwan GODLEWSKY.  He was 42 years.  He resided at Wattle Avenue, Wattle Park.  At the time of his death, he was a prisoner in custody at the Adelaide Gaol.  On 31 July 1960 at the Adelaide Gaol, he died in cell 8 in yard 1 by hanging himself.  He was married to Maria

The following five statements were submitted with the coronial file in relation to the death of Iwan GODLEWSKY

Maria GODLEWSKY, is the wife of Iwan GODLEWSKY and stated the following:

At 9.05 a.m. on 1 August 1960, I identified the body of my late husband, Iwan GODLEWSKY at the city mortuary.  My husband was born in Russia and came to Australia about 18 months ago.  He has not had any sickness, nor has he been treated for any mental illness, although he has been a very heavy drinker.

I had to call the police in when my husband threatened to kill me and then shoot himself.  As a result of this he was taken to the Adelaide Gaol.  This is the only occasion he has ever threatened to take his life.

Charles Albert STAVELEY, 23 years, prisoner residing at Bakewell Road, Evandale states:

At about 7.15 a.m. on Sunday 31 July 1960, I was on my usual duty of delivering prisoners meals to Number 1 and 5 yards and another prisoner was helping me.  The other prisoner was putting the plates on the outside traps of the cells whilst I was serving tea to the prisoners.  When I came to cell 8 on the second floor, I noticed that the prisoner in that cell had not taken his breakfast.

I then looked through the trap to tell the prisoner to take in his plate and I saw him hanging by the neck on the northern wall and facing the door.  I could see a belt coming from the back of his neck, and the belt was attached to a ventilator grill at the top of the northern wall.  I then immediately called out to the Warder who was on duty, and he took over.

I have seen this prisoner every morning for the past week, but I did not know his name.  He was strange in his appearance and often had a faraway look in his face.  I have spoken to him several times, but he never answered me.  I last saw him yesterday morning.

Joseph Leonard HOLLAND, 63 years, Chief Warder residing at 25 Jervois Avenue, West Hindmarsh states:

I commenced duty at the Adelaide Gaol on Sunday 31 July 1960 at 7.00 a.m.  I was on duty in the new building when I received a telephone call from Warder WILDY to the effect that Prisoner GODLEWSKY had been found hanging in cell 8 of yard no 1.  I went to no 1 yard immediately, and then to cell 8 and on entering the cell, I saw Prisoner GODLEWSKY hanging by a tray from the ventilator in his cell.  He was hanging with his back to the wall and facing the doorway and his feet were about 18 inches to two feet from the floor.

The wall in question is about nine feet high and the top edge of the ventilator from which he was hanging is touching the ceiling.  I immediately took the weight of his body whilst Warder WILDY cut him down.  WILDY and I applied artificial respiration but there were no response.  I then notified Mr. Stewart and the police were notified.

Alexander CZERWINSKI, senior warder at Adelaide Gaol and residing at 12 Hilltop Avenue, Felixstow states:

Since prisoner GODLEWSKY was brought to Adelaide Gaol, I have assisted Mr. BARBIER in conversation with him.  I am not an official interpreter, but I speak Russian.  GODLEWSKY stated he was born in Siberia, but he has spent 27 years of his life in China.  He is a married man with seven children.

He asked Mr. BARBIER if he could fast for three days as it was part of his religion and he also asked him if he could see a priest, but I have no knowledge of him seeing the Priest.  An examination was made of the prisoner visitors book, where a record is kept of all visitors, but there was no record there of any person having visited GODLEWSKY

The attached letter from GODLEWSKY to his wife was interpreted by me and it is not a word for word interpretation, but a summary of the contents

Letter from Iwan GODLEWSKY to his wife Maria GODLEWSKY

Greetings to Maria and the children

My, Maria, I wish you all the best on earth and I am sorry for what did to you, frightening you with the firearm, but you made me do it.  In sixteen years if marriage, I am sorry for the children.  I can’t live anymore, and I am sorry for the children living alone.  I only tried to frighten you with the rifle to come back to me, you said that you were coming back, so I gave the rifle to you and when you have the rifle, I left the house and you ran to police, and say I was going to murder you.

When this is all cleared up, I will be 1000 miles away and if you like to marry someone else, you can do that, but I would not like you to take the children.  I owe some white Russian 35 pounds; take the money from UFUNCEVIK (or UPUMCHEFF) and clear up all the money that I owe

Douglas McGrgeor WILLIAMSON, Assistant police medical officer residing at 3 Wellington Terrace, Fullarton states:

At 7.50 a.m. on Sunday 31 July 1960, I received a telephone call to go to the Adelaide Goal and on arrival there at 8.05 a.m., I was taken to a cell, where I saw a prisoner lying on his back on the floor.  When I examined him, I found life to be extinct.

The hands were cold, but the body was warm.  There were ligature marks on his neck, and rigor mortis had not set in.  There was a history of his having been found hanging by the neck in his cell and of an attempt having been made to revive him without success.  Appearances were consistent with the history of death from strangulation due to hanging

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