Constable Alexander Duperouzel (1901 - 1964)

Alexander Duperouzel was a Policeman at the East Fremantle Station from June 1928.

Alexander was the son of George Charles Duperouzel and Sarah Jane Willey. He married a local girl Agnes “Mary” Hevron, who was working as a book-keeper at the Dingo Flour Mill. They had five children: Kenneth James (1929), John Francis (1931), Alan Joseph (1939), Loris Elaine (1942) and William Thomas (1946). (reference)

Duperouzel had a distinguished career in the Police Force serving in Perth, East Fremantle, Dowerin (1935-39), Wagin (39-44), Gin Gin, South Perth (1950s), Fremantle and Palmyra. He was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct medal in 1959. Duperouzel retired from the Police force on 16 September 1961, his 60th birthday. His wife Mary had passed away in July that same year. (reference)

Duperouzel’s most famous case, while working at East Fremantle station was a Domestic Violence shooting event on at 85 George Street, East Fremantle.

On 2 March 1928 at approx. 5 pm Harold William Hitchcock, a Lumper (dock worker) was charged with firing a weapon with intent to kill his (separated) wife Lucy Cleo Jean Hitchcock. He shot her with a single bullet in her face.

Mrs. Hitchcock’s had obtained a separation order against her husband the previous June. She had five children, whose ages ranged from twelve months to seven years. Her husband paid her regularly £3 per week until the previous November, when he returned home and remained for about six weeks. Then he packed his belongings and said he was going back to his previous lodgings.

‘’On the 2 March she met her husband by appointment, when he told her he was not going to give her any money in the future. She proceeded to the Courthouse, followed by her husband. After leaving the Courthouse her husband put his hand in his hip pocket and produced a revolver saying: "I have a good mind to do for you now, you —." She asked him for some money to get the children's tea, and he gave her £1. She returned to her home, and at 5 o'clock her husband came there and asked who was the man who had left the house on the previous Sunday morning. Witness replied "Jack Brown," at which her husband said, producing the revolver, "Oh, was it? I'll fix you," and fired immediately. She felt a stinging sensation in the mouth and ran into the street.’’ (reference)

Witness, William James Hughes, a bootmaker, in George-street, East Fremantle, said that on March 2, about 4.30 p.m., Hitchcock came into his shop and invited him for  a drink. After refusing several times he eventually went with the accused to the Royal George Hotel, where they had three drinks;

“Hitchcock asked him whether he knew a Jack Brown, and added: "I hear he is carrying on with my wife." Hitchcock further said he understood that Brown was to visit Mrs. Hitchcock that night, and he intended to answer the door himself. Thrusting his hand into his hip pocket, Hitchcock added: "I am going to give him this," producing a revolver. Hitchcock purchased a bottle of stout, which they drank together in witness' shop, after which Hitchcock left, saying he would be back in a few minutes. Soon afterwards witness heard the report of a revolver shot and a child's scream. Two minutes later Hitchcock came into the shop with a revolver in his hand and said: "I have shot my wife; I have shot her dead." Hitchcock then pointed the revolver at his own head, but witness grabbed at it. In the struggle for possession of the weapon the revolver was discharged, the bullet entering the floor close to witness' feet. Hitchcock was eventually pacified and he passed the revolver over to witness, after which he began to cry and said he was sorry for what he had done. Mrs. Hitchcock occupied the house next door to witness' home. (reference)

Frank M’Caughey, a Railway Employee said that as he emerged from a hairdresser's' shop in George-street, East Fremantle, at about 5.30 p.m., he saw a woman staggering across the street with blood pouring from her mouth. He assisted her to a nearby house, where he rendered first-aid. The woman said "The brute shot me." (reference)

Dr. F. H. U. Baker, Senior Resident Medical Officer, Fremantle Hospital gave evidence that Mrs. Hitchcock was brought to the hospital suffering from a gunshot wound in the face and throat. The bullet, which had pierced the cheek and lodged in the back of the throat, was extracted next morning. The woman's life was not in danger. (reference)

Constable Duperouzel, the arresting officer gave evidence: “A man named Hughes handed him a revolver, which contained two empty cartridge shells and three live cartridges. Accused said he was sorry for what he had done, but wished it had been a man named Brown.”' (reference)

On the 15 March 1928 in the Fremantle Police Court, Harold William Hitchcock went on trial on a charge of discharging a firearm at Lucy Hitchcock with intent to kill. Sergt. Gallagher prosecuted and Mr. F. G. Unmack appeared for the accused. (reference) Mr. Unmack applied for bail but it was refused.(reference)

Giving evidence on his own behalf, Hitchcock said “that when his wife told him about her association with Brown, she added that Brown was going to see her at 8 o'clock and would "clean him up." Brown was a big man, about six feet, and knowing he would have no chance against him in a fight, Hitchcock said he bought the revolver to protect himself. He then visited his wife's house, and showed her the weapon, saying, "This is what I've got to protect myself against Brown when he comes tonight." "Accidentally it went off," said Hitchcock, "and I was dumbfounded for five minutes." (reference)

After a brief retirement the jury returned a verdict of not guilty, and Hitchcock was discharged. The defense attorney was Mr Frank Unmack, who featured quite predominantly in many successful defence and state prosecution cases throughout this time period in Fremantle’s courts ... He would have greatly influenced the not guilty verdict.

This document was compiled in May/June 2019 and was written by Lee Merenda using Fremantle Police Court accounts found on Trove digitised newspaper articles;

The Daily News Wed 14 Mar 1928  Page 7 EAST FREMANTLE SHOOTING.

The West Australian Thu 15 Mar 1928  Page 14 FREMANTLE SHOOTING CASE.

The Daily News Wed 4 Apr 1928  Page 7 SORDID SHOOTING STORY.

Another case involving  Duperouzel was a “Stoush at East Fremantle - Constables Check Hooligans” (26 Jun 1930) In an attempt to avoid a fighting charge the accused, Charles Hillberg, claimed that Constable Duperouzel had “hit me (Hillberg) in the throat with his closed fist. I had to resist. He landed me cold on the ground and then put the boots into me.” The accused and his brother, had been charged with 5 separate offences in relation to a fight they were involved in on the weekend. All witnesses called support Duperouzel’s claim that any force used was required in order to detain a resisting offender. (reference)

We are very grateful for, and acknowledge the information provided about Alexander Duperouzel, on his son William Thomas Duperouzel’s website-http://duperouzel.org/dearth-of-trackers

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