SARAH MUIR FOGO
|Burial register ID:||11996|
|Cause of death:||Unknown|
|Date of death:||28-Apr-1911|
|Date of burial:||01-May-1911|
Sarah Fogo was charged with the murder of her husband Thomas on 29 September, 1900.
Georgina Fogo had been awoken from her sleep by her mother Sarah calling out to her. She ran to her parents’ room, where her brother was breaking down the door. When they both entered they found their father, bloody, lying on the floor with their mother standing near clasping a knife.
Sarah said ‘I have done it. I did it in self defence. Had I not done it, I would have been a corpse myself’. She had stabbed Thomas Fogo, her husband of thirty years. London-born Sarah had married Thomas about four years after she arrived in Dunedin in the 1870s.
Her son and daughter both gave evidence at the trial of their father’s violent behaviour. Thomas Fogo was a building contractor and a heavy drinker, and would often hit his wife and daughter in their Frederick Street home. Sarah Fogo pleaded self-defence, but the prosecution argued that she had no injuries on her, and that the furniture was not in any disarray. She had also used a knife from the kitchen to stab Thomas; proof of premeditation, the prosecution said, because she had to go downstairs to the kitchen to get it. Also, they argued, Thomas’s first injury was to the back of his head, indicating that he had been hit from behind.
In the end the jury returned a guilty verdict, but with a strong recommendation for mercy. However, the death penalty was the mandatory punishment for murder, and the judge sentenced Sarah to be hung by the neck until she was dead. Sarah spent the next month in Dunedin Gaol. Then, on 15 December, a telegram arrived at the prison advising that the death sentence would be commuted to one of life imprisonment.
Sarah was about sixty when she murdered her husband. She was released ten years later on ‘special remission’, probably because she was terminally ill, as she died five months later at her residence in Castle Street. She is buried in the same grave as her husband and their infant son, who had died thirty-five years earlier. This peaceful grave gives no hint of the violent story behind the occupants’ deaths.
— A report of Sarah’s case appeared in the Otago Witness on 10 October 1900.
|Surname||First names||Age||Date of death||Date of burial|
|FOGO||SARAH MUIR||75 Years||28-Apr-1911||01-May-1911|
|FOGO||THOMAS TELFOUR||65 Years||01-Oct-1900||01-Oct-1900|
|FOGO||THOMAS WILLIAM||11 Months||26-Feb-1875||27-Feb-1875|