Murder victim Albert Whitford.
Murder victim Albert Whitford. George Seymour

Revisit the murder of a Hervey Bay politician 100 years ago

ALMOST a century ago, a Hervey Bay identity was murdered in a crime that shocked the public.

Albert Whitford held the seat of Burrum from 1918-1920.

Four years after the end of his political term, his life would take a deadly twist.

Historian George Seymour revisited the chilling case in a presentation at the Hervey Bay Library on Friday.

On the night of January 29, 1924, Mr Whitford was in Brisbane with his wife when he ran into James Laydon and his wife.

Mr Laydon began verbally assaulting Mr Whitford, by calling him words like 'mongrel'.

Mr Whitford decided to approach Mr Laydon later to ask what the abuse was about.

That is when Mr Laydon took out a gun and shot Mr Whitford multiple times.

"He yelled to Mr Whitford, 'you destroyed my home and my life'," Mr Seymour said.

Mr Laydon was a war veteran, and had a strong belief that his wife had an affair with Mr Whitford while he was off at war.

This was denied by all.

In court, Mr Laydon pleaded not guilty.

"The defence used was that Mr Whiford died of fright before the bullet hit," Mr Seymour said.

"The judge said that was the first time they had heard that idea."

Mr Laydon drew public sympathy for his post-war trauma, but was found guilty.

He was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Despite the very public case, details of Mr Laydon's life after release are unknown.
 

George Seymour entertained history lovers with the murder case of formed Hervey Bay MP Albert Whitford at the Hervey Bay Library yesterday.
George Seymour entertained history lovers with the murder case of formed Hervey Bay MP Albert Whitford at the Hervey Bay Library yesterday. Annie Perets

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