Guest author Patricia O'Sullivan describes this bloody murder, and the flawed police investigation that followed.
Often, waiting at the bus stop at Pacific Place, I’d see a No.1 bus roll past and wonder about the murder at Felix Villas.
I knew that Tim Murphy had been involved in this case, but, aside from noting the headlines, I’d not properly looked at it. Murphy was the ‘poster-boy’ for the Newmarket HK policemen, being one of the first constables to rise through the ranks to become a gazetted officer, and I had plenty of material about his police activities from the papers as it was, so I’d never quite got round to reading the case. But then I stumbled across the Antiquities and Monuments listing for the residential building and became curious.
Tim Murphy, poster-boy policeman
Tim Murphy, whose career spanned most of the first 40 years of the last century, had been born in Newmarket, Co. Cork, Ireland in 1882 and came to HK on the urging of his uncle, former Naval Dockyard Police Inspector-turned-property developer, William Lysaught.
A wiry, sharp-witted and hardworking young man, he soon gained a command of Cantonese and was quickly moved into the Detective Branch, as the CID was then called. He had the rare distinction of gaining two (of a possible four) merit medals in one year, and by the 1920s his name was rarely out of the papers in connections with some daring arrest or successful investigation. In 1923 he was awarded the highest honour, the King’s Police Medal, for his leadership in the Canton Road Affray. By 1930 he had assumed charge of the Criminal Investigation Bureau, becoming an Assistant Superintendent the following year, thus joining the executive team of just twelve men. But, as I found out, the investigation of the brutal murder at 9 Felix Villas in the early hours of 12th December 1930 would not be his, or the Bureau’s, finest hour. <Read more ...>