She dropped a headless torso into the Yarra River and shot her ex-husband full of holes — and these were just two of the horrific crimes alleged against Nurse Hannah Mitchell in the 1920s. The full story of “Melbourne’s Most Notorious Woman” is told for the first time in a special three-part episode. Listen via iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Whooshkaa or via the links below. Episode Two is here. Episode Three is here.

Bertha Coughlan went missing in November 1922. She was found three months later, having been dumped in the Yarra River.

Nurse Hannah Mitchell, tried in 1923 for the
murder of Bertha Coughlan.
Mugshot of Hanna Mitchell’s husband when he was arrested for running an illegal casino.
Senior Detective Frederick Piggott, known as “Melbourne’s Sherlock Holmes”, led the investigation into the murder of Bertha Coughlan.
From left to right: Frank Bonfiglio, star witness for the prosecution; Margaret Milward, Mitchell’s sister, who testified against her; and Thomas Cook, Bertha’s “friend”.

Mitchell and her daughter “Queenie”, who was charged with being an accessory after the fact, leave the City Coroner’s Court in 1923.

Mitchell was represented by Percy Ridgeway, who was rumoured to be her lover and who defended numerous Melbourne underworld figures in the 1920s.
The case was reported all over Australia.

In 1891 Henry Lawson published a poem called “The Ghost at the Second Bridge”, which told of encountering a terrifying spectre on lonely Mount Victoria Pass in the Blue Mountains. While a fright of fancy, Lawson’s poem was based on a tragic true story. Gather round for the haunting tale of a handful of murders, a couple of hangings, chaotic court cases, drunken witnesses, shock acquittals, and, of course, sightings of the restless spirit known as “The Woman in Black”. Listen via iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Whooshkaa or via the links below.

Another missing woman, more illegal operations and alleged murders, along with scandalous affairs and amnesiac witnesses. In the final part of this episode, the full extent of Nurse Hannah Mitchell’s trials and tribulations is revealed. Listen via iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Whooshkaa or via the links below

In 1923 Nurse Hannah Mitchell faced trial, charged with the murder of Bertha Coughlan and the attempted murder of her ex-husband Frank Bonfiglio. The evidence was sensational, as were the verdicts. Episode Three is here. Listen via iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Whooshkaa or via the links below.

Nurse Mitchell was not required to testify under oath, nor was she able to be cross-examined.

Frank Bonfiglio delivered gripping testimony about Bertha’s death, the dumping of the body and why Mitchell had shot him. But his credibility was in serious doubt.