IN the early hours of Saturday, 14 August 1937, Stanley Hussey was opening the door to his home at 28 Churchill Avenue, Subiaco. The stillness of the night was shattered by the sound of a revolver. Hussey staggered, shot twice.
In the flash of the explosions he recognised his assailant, then he stumbled to his next door neighbour.
With blood dripping from his wounds he frantically pressed the doorbell. “I am shot!” cried Stanley, as he was hurried into the house.
The police were called, but less than an hour later Dora Simons, Hussey’s sister-in-law, attempted to take her own life on the lawn of a nearby flat.
She was found with a gaping wound in the mouth. A .44 calibre revolver was nearby, and her false teeth had been smashed into tiny pieces by the force of the explosion.
Dora was, to put it mildly, a fruitcake. She had been stalking Stanley and his wife for so long the couple had resorted to seeing a lawyer to get her to keep away.
The trouble seems to be that Dora was obsessed with the idea that Stanley fancied her, and had made repeated advances. This didn’t seem very probable at the time, and still doesn’t seem likely now. These advances were just in her head.
Tried for attempted murder, Dora claimed she thought the gun was only loaded with blanks. After seeing she had shot Stanley, and afraid he was dead, she tried to take her own life. What she was doing in Stanley’s house was never quite explained to the jury.
Bizarrely, the jury decided she was not guilty of attempted murder, only of common assault, and she was immediately released from custody.
She didn’t learn from this, however, and continued to stalk and harass Stanley and his family, until she was finally jailed two years later.
The house where this all took place, 28 Churchill Avenue, is still very much there, looking little changed from 1937. We wonder if the current occupants know the story.