From the Archives, 1932: Moorebank murder suspect arrested

First published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 22-04-1932.

William Cyril Moxley, the man who had been warranted in connection with the April 5 murders of Frank Wilkinson and Dorothy Denzel in Moorebank near Liverpool, was arrested after noon yesterday in French’s Forest, near Balgowlah. He made a desperate attempt to escape after knowing the police had seen him.

Arrested… William Cyril Moxley in a police photo.

Police surrounded the trench he was hiding in and, after a short chase, closed off with him, overpowered him and handcuffed him. He told police he had ridden around town on a bicycle obtained from Earlwood and crossed the Harbor Bridge after paying the toll.

The suspect was taken to Manly Police Station. Shortly thereafter, Detective Inspector Prior arrived and the arrested man was taken to detective headquarters for questioning.

In the afternoon and evening he was closely interrogated by the police. He was taken to a house in Ashfield, where he had lived, and later to the crime scene. After approximately 12 hours of questioning by the Superintendent of Police (Mr. Mackay), Mr. Prior and other senior detectives, Moxley was charged early this morning at the Central Police Station with a warrant that he had criminally and maliciously murdered Frank Barnaby Wilkinson and Dorothy . Ruth Denzel in Liverpool on or about April 5. He will appear before the Central Police Court this morning.

Matron Burton, of the Dalwood Babies’ Home, French’s Forest Road, Balgowlah, said yesterday that a young man knocked on the door about 10 minutes before noon and asked if he could use the phone to communicate with Manly police. He thought he saw the suspect. After some delay, Manly Police Station was spoken to, and the man told police that the suspect had a black beard that had grown for a few weeks. He was told that the suspect’s beard would be a light color, but he replied that he thought it would be good for the police to investigate, and he met the police car about 300 yards from the gates of Dalwood . He later ran off with the police to show them the suspect’s whereabouts.

The police found Moxley dozing behind this rock.

The police found Moxley dozing behind this rock.Credit:Staff photographer

The young man told Matron Burton that he had first noticed the man sitting, wearing only trousers, with his shirt drying on a rock, set back from the road, and later saw him driving slowly along the road on a bicycle to which a dirty-looking sugar bag was tied. He turned his face away when an attempt was made to examine him more closely, and looked back regularly to see if he was being followed. The young man hid behind a tree and watched as the cyclist drove into the undergrowth. He then ran to the Dalwood Home and arrived breathless with his story.

Police action quickly followed. Detectives Tassell and Newton and Constable Gill were dispatched to the scene in a fast police car. Accompanied by the informant, they rode along French’s Forest Road to where the man had seen a bicycle pushing a bicycle down a narrow path in the thick undergrowth overlooking Bantry Bay.

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