WHEN VICTIMS KILL! Teen repeatedly STRUCK, KILLED father with axe to defend younger sister, ACQUITTED by jury & CONGRATULATED by detective who arrested him

EXCLUSIVE: In 1953, 19-year-old Peter John Beadman killed his father in the family’s Punchbowl home by striking him four times with an axe. The following year he would be acquitted by a jury who heard that the father was choking Beadman’s younger sister at the time of the slaying. Nour Ahmad reports.

It was the night before Punchbowl boy Peter John Beadman’s 19th birthday when everything went tragically wrong.

On December 9, 1953, his father, 46-year-old Walter Stanley Randwick Beadman arrived to the Craig Street, Punchbowl home in a drunken state at about 6:30 pm.

His teen daughter, Elaine Beryl Beadman, fixed him a cup of tea but Mr Beadman took no notice and made his own tea. Later, an argument began on the back veranda where Mr Beadman picked on his daughter and called her a “prostitute.”

The father reached for a tree vine to discipline her and the family’s youngest brother, Colin, hit his father on the head with a stick in an attempt to stop him. Mr Beadman then began choking his daughter, and it was at this point that Beadman struck his father on the head four times with an axe, killing him.

The teen suddenly found himself in a very adult situation and made the mature decision to turn himself into police. He hailed a motorist after 7pm and asked to be driven to Bankstown police station. At 7:25pm, he walked into the station and spoke to Detective Senior Constable Neville Lye.

“I have just hit my father with an axe. I think I may have killed him,” he told the detective, and was promptly arrested.

The next day, on his birthday, Peter John Beadman was charged with his father’s murder and appeared in Central Police Court.

The Police Prosecutor, Sergeant Conolly, watered down the events that transpired that night, alleging that Beadman made the decision to strike his father due to a mere “argument” between father and daughter. On the contrary, Beadman’s counsel, Mr G. Osborne, chose to highlight his client’s integrity to ask for bail.

“Beadman is a youth of good character and there are some exceptional circumstances,” Mr Osborne began, “His employer…has faith in the lad.”

The teenager, who is described as being “slightly built” in several newspapers, worked as a labourer, and his unnamed employer was fond enough of Beadman to appear in court and lodge £1,000 ball for him.

However, the odds were not in the youth’s favour, as coroner Mr Solling refused bail and remanded Beadman to appear at Burwood Court on December 23.

On the same day, Walter Beadman’s funeral would take place at Penrith General Cemetery. It was conducted in style by the RSSAILA (Returned Sailor’s Soldier’s Airmen’s Imperial League), as Beadman senior was a gunner who served in World War II. It is also known that he was a prisoner of war at one point during his service.

Walter Stanley Randwick Beadman was a Prisoner of War but, due to his abuse, his family members were like prisoners in their home (Image: Supplied/ Australian War Memorial)

WSR Beadman’s gravesite in Penrith (Image: Supplied / Ancestry.com)

WSR Beadman’s gravesite in Penrith (Image: Supplied / Ancestry.com)

For Beadman junior, December 23 would arrive and more evidence was brought to light when his mother, Gladys Florence Beadman, testified as a witness for her son.

In a “husky, almost-inaudible voice,” the widow and mother-of-eight told coroner Mr Smythe of her husband’s alcohol problem, which made it difficult for him to keep employment.

“He was addicted to drink and when he was drunk he was violent and abusive,” Ms Beadman said of her late husband, to whom she was married to for 27 years, “he assaulted me many times.”

Due to his alcoholism, Ms Beadman had to rely on her children to maintain the home. Peter Beadman had been out of school and working since he was 15, so, naturally, his mother depended on him often.

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The widow revealed that her husband had also gotten into an argument with his daughter the night before he died. Walter Beadman called his daughter a “slut and prostitute like [her] mother,” much to the dissatisfaction of Peter Beadman.

Ms Beadman said that her son had become “melancholy, morose and mentally unstable” three months before that fateful night.

The older man did not stop to think that the constant name-calling and abuse of the two women had been causing a deep anger to fester within his young son – an anger that would eventually lead to his untimely demise.

Detective Neville Lye would also take the stand, recounting the words Beadman had said to him the night he took his father’s life.

“Tonight he tried to choke my sister Elaine. He grabbed her by the throat and hit her with the axe,” Beadman told him, “He made a queer noise and tried to get up so I hit him again.”

The detective revealed that he had been the one to seize the blood-stained axe from the family home. Yet, despite reliving the horrific events, the detective seemed to sympathise with Beadman’s circumstances, taking the young man’s side and referring to him as a “well conducted, responsible youth.”

Beadman was committed for trial on a charge of murder and was allowed £1,000 bail.

A newspaper report from 1954 about Peter John Beadman’s acquittal (Image: Supplied / Trove)

A 1953 Newspaper report where Mr Smythe, the coroner at Burwood Coroner’s Court, is pictured (Image: Supplied / Trove)

The following year, on the 19th of March, Peter John Beadman fronted Central Criminal Court, where he would wait to hear his fate.

Beadman pleaded “not guilty” and an emotional statement was read.

The youth revealed he had never laid a hand on his father until that night. He informed the court of how he told his father to stop but was ignored, and that he was frightened his father would kill his sister. When he struck him and saw the blood flowing from his father’s head, he decided to turn himself in.

“I did not mean to kill him. All I did was try to save my sister’s life,” Peter John Beadman said.

Detective Lye said Walter Beadman was known to police as a drinker and a violent man. It was also revealed that Beadman senior had been convicted of assaulting a police officer the previous year.

Beadman’s sister, 17-year-old Elaine, told the court that it was rare for a week to pass without her father assaulting a member of the family.

But it was when his mother, Ms Gladys Beadman, again gave evidence of her husband’s abusiveness that the jury stopped the case. It was game over and case closed. The compassionate jury did not wish to waste their time listening to addresses by counsel or the judge’s summary, instead, quickly reaching a “not guilty” verdict and acquitting Beadman of all charges.

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After Justice Maguire discharged Beadman, he walked from the court to join his mother, two brothers and sister, as well as a group of well-wishers. Among these well-wishers was Detective Lye, who was the first to congratulate him on the good news.

The young man told the media that he might finally get some shut-eye, which he had been lacking since the incident, but would never forget his father’s death and will no longer be able to dream.

“I have had violent nightmares since the tragedy,” he said.

Peter John Beadman would see better days, however, as he would go on to marry and become a cherished and beloved grandfather and great-grandfather. He would live to be 74 years old, with the Daily Telegraph listing his death date as the 22nd of October, 2009.

Formerly the boy with the troubled upbringing, Beadman would be buried the next day in Leppington’s Forest Lawn Crematorium by his loved ones. On his death notice, he is affectionately referred to by the nickname “Chooks.”

An older Peter John Beadman who went by the nickname “Chooks” (Image: Supplied / FamilySearch)

It is curious to see the mercy that was extended towards Peter John Beadman as the assumption is that, back then, no-one really understood how domestic violence worked.

However, this case has shown that even people in the 1950’s were aware that exposure to prolonged abuse could lead someone to commit horrible acts of violence somewhere down the line.

At that time, Peter John Beadman was shown forgiveness due to his exceptional circumstances, but there are many modern-day cases where no such leniency is granted.

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A recent case is that of 24-year-old pregnant mother and Adelaide woman Krystal Sue Graham. Graham was sentenced to four years in jail in June last year for killing her abusive partner back in 2018.

Graham persisted through five months of domestic violence, even suffering a broken jaw at the hands of her partner. She had been holding out the knife to protect herself when her partner charged at her but the judge argued the mother-of-two could have just “left the house.”

In an infamous 2006 American case, Cyntoia Brown was sentenced to life-imprisonment for killing a man who solicited her for sex when she was just 16 years old.

When celebrities like Kim Kardashian-West rallied for Brown, her case gained international recognition and the sex-trafficking victim would eventually be granted full clemency and be released in August, 2019. By this time, Brown was 30 years old and had already served fifteen years of her sentence.

In a statement released by her legal team upon her release, Brown stated melancholically, “My hope is to help other young girls avoid ending up where I have been.”

When comparing the outcome of the 1950’s Peter John Beadman case to the recent cases of Krystal Sue Graham and Cyntoia Brown, it could appear that there was more compassion for victims of abuse back then.

Almost 75 years later, the world could perhaps learn from the curious and tragic case of Peter John Beadman.

Additional reporting and research by Serkan Ozturk

About Nour Ahmad 14 Articles
Nour Ahmad is a journalist with True Crime News Weekly. She is a journalism graduate from Macleay College, and recently reported on the 2022 Budget for Dynamic Business. She is interested in politics, local issues, true crime and popular culture.

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