By MICK ROBERTS ©
NOW replaced by a large glass and steel high rise office building, the Cosmopolitan Hotel was the scene of one of Sydney’s early gay hate crimes in 1939.
The lock-up, at 85 Erskine Street, remains today. The verandah where Connaughton grappled with Connelly on the steps, taking her by the shoulders, turning her round, and firing three shots at her with a revolver also remains.
SYDNEY, Monday.— A cold blooded murder was carried out in the basement of the Cosmopolitan Hotel, opposite the Erskine-street police station late this afternoon. Called by a customer to open the door of a lavatory in his hotel, Mr. John Moody found the body of Robert Vincent Anderson of Rozelle, lying on the floor. He had been shot through the heart.Two shots were fired by the murderer, the first apparently missing the intended victim, for an empty cartridge, was found on the floor several feet away from the body.After committing the crime the murderer pulled the body of his victim into the lavatory and then slammed and locked the door.The police have not secured any clue to the identity of the gunman, nor have they succeeded in establishing any motive for the crime.The tragedy occurred only a few yards from the police station, and to escape the murderer was forced to walk up a few stairs, through a saloon bar and to a door leading into a lane.Two employes of the hotel stated that they heard what appeared to be shots below, where they were serving in the bar, but believed the sounds had come from the street. They did not notice anyone leaving the hotel under circumstances that would warrant their curiosity. A thorough search failed to locate a weapon.The empty cartridge found was of .32 calibre.
FREED OF IMPLICATION IN YOUNG MAN’S MURDER.
Strange Story Of Queer Practices at Hotel
ONLY the sound of a man’s stifled sobs broke the heavy silence of the court; a man who buried his face in his hands while, his shoulders shook and heaved convulsively; Suddenly, Charles Gordon Kendall Wright, former choirmaster, raised his head, dried his eyes, and hurried from the court, a gaol warder at his heel.
Wright, at present an Inmate of Long Bay Penitentiary, had just heard the Coroner state that there was no evidence to implicate him in the shooting of young Robert James Anderson, whose still-warm body was found in a hotel convenience, said to be a rendezvous for sex perverts, on March 20.
SENSATIONAL climax to two days of extraordinary evidence was the police application for an adjournment of the inquest, which was granted, when Mr. Wood, S.M., intimated that no prlma facie case had been established against Wright, who was present to court.
Robert Anderson, the dead man about whom remarkable things were told. When police set about solving the mystery of the shooting of Anderson, they were faced with clues which were described as negligible. By whose hand and for what motive did the 22-year-old ardent church-goer, amateur theatrical player, described as effeminate by several witnesses, meet his death? Robert Anderson, shipping clerk, of Rozelle, father of the dead boy, said that his son was 22 years old. “My son neither drank nor smoked, and was a regular church attendant,” said Anderson. Sergeant Magnay (assisting the coroner): Did he discuss his business with you? — No, he .was a reserved type of boy. Was he a masculine type?— No. He was inclined to be a bit effeminate. William Francis Schey, of Lane Cove, and an employee of John Sands Ltd., also said that deceased was rather an effeminate type of youth. Anderson had told him of a man, named “Gussie,” the choirmaster of the church at Rozelle, which Anderson attended. “He told me,” said Schey, “that Gussie had ideas on sex matters and that he was always after the boys.” Jack Moody, licensee of the Cosmopolitan Hotel, said that a customer complained that he could not open the door leading to the toilet. Moody opened it with a screwdriver to find “a young chap” lying on the floor. Questioned by Sergeant Magnay, Moody said that he had heard that the lavatory had been used as a rendezvous for sex-perverts, but he had seen nothing there himself. Robert Lewis Hunt, a lithographer, of Normanhurst, detailed several conversations he had had with Anderson, with whom he daily came into con-tact, when the latter was employed at John Sands Ltd. “He used to tell me that he would fall In love with men,” declared Hunt. “He told me that he had been introduced to Fisher and had fallen In love with him.”
Wright, a choirmaster, is an inmate of the State Penitentiary. Although warned by the coroner that he need not answer questions which might end to incriminate him, he said that he was quite willing to give evidence. Sergeant Magnay: Did you indulge in sexual practices at the Cosmopolitan Hotel? – On one occasion I did. You knew Anderson’s mannerism and practices? — Yes. You and he were practically on common ground to regard to those practices?— As far as he was concerned, I only know what he told me. Did anything ever take place between you? — Most emphatically nothing ever took place between us. Was he effeminate?— Yes. While Wright sobbed bitterly, the Coroner, on the police application, adjourned the inquest to September 28.