WICKED Stepmother” Martha Rendell was the last woman to be hanged in WA on October 6, 1909.
She was found guilty of murdering three of her stepchildren by swabbing their throats with hydrochloric acid.
Rendell protested her innocence right up to her execution, which still remains controversial today because of the lack of hard evidence.
Her story is just one of the macabre yarns that will be told at Freo Ghost Stories at Clancy’s Fish Pub on Halloween eve.
Fittingly, the MC for the night is Fremantle Prison guard Justin Walshe, who has umpteen grisly stories up his sleeve.
“Amongst the facts, there’s a lot of grey area and mystery, a lot of doubt and suspicion,” he says.
“I have no doubt that a lot of ghost stories will come of the night.”
There will be interactive stories about people from Fremantle’s gory past including John Gavin, the only person to be publicly executed in front of The Roundhouse in 1844 for an axe murder; William Conroy, the first publican of The National Hotel, hung in 1887 for committing a murder at Fremantle Town Hall; and the gruesome double murder of a mother and child at the Federal Hotel in 1927.
There will also be local musos playing dark folk songs and murder ballads inspired by Fremantle’s bloody past.
The line-up includes Shane Corry, Peter Bibby, Franks Fish Tank and Merle Fishwick.
Freo Ghost Stories is at Fremantle’s Clancy’s Fish Pub, Cantonment Street, on Wednesday October 30, 7.30pm-10.30pm, $5 entry.
by ALEX MURFETT