Colourful, what does that mean? Does it say they wore bright clothes? Or, does it mean they were ‘colourful characters’? Sorting through my family file for the colourful characters and after sorting through and considering this one and that one I have decided on a 1st cousin twice removed – Joseph Emanuel Antoney AKA ‘Manny the Murderer’.
Manny was born in Walkerston near Mackay, Queensland on the 2nd April 1900 to Manuel Silva (Emanuel) Antoney and his wife Annie Marie McLaughlin, he was the only child of that marriage. He married Kathleen Judith (Kitty) Coren in Sydney in 1940 and by the time of the murder he was divorced though I have been unable to find the divorce papers at this time.
Manny enlisted In the Australian Army on the 18th November 1939 shortly after the declaration of World War 2. He served in the 2/1 Field Regiment of the Royal Australian Engineers (RAE) as a Sapper Artificer. He was posted to Scotland and then England for more training and then served in Eygpt and the Middle East. While in the Middle East as part of the Rats of Tobruk he told his family he suffered shrapnel wounds in the leg and head, and a bayonet wound in the stomach. Actually Manny was hospitalised with ‘war neurosis’. He was discharged medically unfit for service on the 27th January 1944 from 13 Field Company RAE with a £1 a week military pension.
After his discharge from the Army, Manny gained employment as an Insurance Traveller, which I understand to be a travelling insurance salesman. He remained in the South-East corner of Queensland, living in inner Brisbane and travelling locally to build up his insurance clientele. While selling insurance, Manny became obsessed with a hairdresser, Margaret Imelda Wilkinson, who worked in Woodford, Queensland. His advances were rejected as Margaret had lost a fiance in the war and was not interested in Manny. He was undeterred, and even after Margaret moved from Woodford back to her mother’s home in Red Hill, Brisbane Manny continued his pursuit of Margaret. Indeed, he became utterly obsessed with her.
On the morning of Tuesday 2nd, December 1947 Manny went to the Wilkinson’s flat on Waterworks Road, Red Hill just before midday and:
“… Police and ambulance were rushed to the scene on being advised that there had been a double shooting. Miss Wilkinson was found lying in a pool of blood in the lounge and Antoney, who was dead, was lying on his back with a bullet wound in his head, which was resting in a pool of blood. A pistol, partly concealed by his body, was found.
The police were told that shortly after 11 o’clock this morning, Antoney came to the flat occupied by Miss Wilkinson and her mother and spoke to Miss Wilkinson. He went away but returned shortly after 11:30. It is believed he made his way unseen along a brick wall at the side of the house, crept along the verandah and came through a bedroom and confronted Miss Wilkinson at the doorway of the lounge
The police believe that as Antoney pulled the pistol from his pocket, the woman ran for her life through the lounge. She almost reached the door when Antoney fired. The woman staggered back toward Antoney, who fired a second shot at her. Mrs Wilkinson, hearing the shots, ran to the lounge, and saw Antoney place the pistol at his head and pull the trigger. He fell to the floor with a bullet wound in his head…” (Extracted via TROVE from The Courier-Mail, Thursday 4 December 1947, page 1)
Margaret Wilkinson died in the Brisbane General Hospital three days later of her injuries and was buried in the Toowong Cemetery on the 6th December 1947. Manny was buried in the Anzac Section of the Lutwyche Cemetery on the 4th of December 1947 and was henceforth known to the family as ‘Manny the Murderer’ and spoken about in a hushed voice. A colourful character indeed but a rather sad story of unrequited love and after-effects of war now known as PTSD.