Newspaper article re Fawcett, 1975

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Item number: 207


Storage location: A.J.W. (Shelf 13, Box 1, Bag 5)

· William Murray Wilson · william-charles-fawcett ·


© Baden Pratt

Internet Archive: hmw207


Invalid old man in top security

By Baden Pratt

An 88-year-old man (below) is still in Fremantle Jail, the State's top maximum security prison, after already serving 22 years behind bars. [[File:William Fawcett 1975 newspaper.png|250px|right|frameless]]

He earns $2.70 a week and his wife is still living in Perth.

Found not guilty on the grounds of insanity on charges of shooting two men in 1953, he is believed to be the oldest prisoner in a maxiumum security prison in Australia.

Currently the man is hospitalised and moves around with the aid of a wheel chair.

A former bank manager, he was ordered to be detailed in strict custody at the time of his trial. But, he has spent almost six years at Geraldton prison, in the minimum security area.

He was been transferred back to Fremantle Jail at his own request because he could not climb a flight of stairs to get to his bed.

Fremantle Jail's recently appointed superintendent, Mr Jim Driscoll (51), a former private secretary to the current Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Mr Hutchinson, said this week that the prisoner was "a very sick old man."

"He should be in a nursing home," Mr Driscoll said.

"He spends his time in a rocking chair in his dressing gown. He was transferred to Geraldton on November 6, 1969, and came back to Fremantle on April 9 this year.

"He is on the minimum wage here of 45c a day because he is not working. He is allowed an extra $2 a week from outside."

Many other prisoners in Fremantle Jail are upset that the 88-year-old man is still kept in the maximum security jail.

Syd Sutton, himself 82, and the State's longest serving prisoner, said in Fremantle Jail this week that the 88-year-old man should be let out.

"He's as harmless as a kitten — in fact, he's a bloody bonzer fellow," said Sutton.

"When I get out I'm going to Parliament to get something done about it."

Labor MLC, Mr Des Dans, said last night that he would telephone the Chief Secretary's Department "first thing Monday morning."

"It appears the man has paid his dept to society and I will be seeking to find out whether or not the man wants to come out of jail," he said.

"Maybe after being there so long he might not want to but I intend to take the matter up vigorously.

"If he wants to go to a nursing home it would appear to be a better proposition than where he is now.

"If he gets out and is fully discharged he would get the age pension and a bit of dignity restored to his last years of life."

The Long Stretch: Pages 16–17.


Sunday Independent