Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Wounded Bull: Rex Pilbeam 4

Rex explained to the police from his hospital bed that a young woman office assistant, Jean Jennings, had worked at the Show Society from before his arrival until 2 years later when she'd resigned to move to Brisbane. She returned in August of 1952 and wanted her old job back. That wasn't possible because a new girl had been employed and 'had given every satisfaction'.

Despite finding a job with a solicitor, a year later she was still agitating for her original position. On the night of the 8th June 1953 Rex had come out from work to find her sitting in his car upset. He had taken her driving hoping to calm her down and during the drive, she had shot him in the chest.

Shot and wounded, Rex grappled the gun from Jean and threw it out of the car. He then hailed a passing taxi, asking the driver to take the girl home. He checked out his wound in the light from his headlights, drove home, spoke to his wife and finally called a doctor. Rex was tough.

Jean told the taxi driver she would walk. She searched round, found the gun, walked home to her parents house, hid the gun under the mattress, and went to bed.

She woke at 2.30am when she heard the police coming up the front stairs. She put on a dressing gown and took them into the kitchen, gave them the revolver and calmly admitted to shooting the mayor. She had just finished explaining the events of the night when her mother came into the room. “What's up Jean? Are you in trouble?” At first she didn't answer. Detective Senior-Sergeant Cook told Jean her mother would have to be told and Jean relented. “I shot Rex tonight...” Soon after, in a burst of melodramatic faux Shakespearian contrition, she gushed:

  I suspect she'd read too many romance novels.

Jean alleged that her and Rex had been conducting an affair since he'd arrived in Rockhampton. When a preliminary court hearing was convened at his hospital bedside, Rex denied it.


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