August 27, 1934
The “Pyjama Girl” is killed and her body set on fire
The woman, in her early 20s, was given the nickname of Pyjama Girl due to her lavish yellow silk pajamas bearing Chinese dragons. In Depression-Era Australia, clothing of this quality was especially luxurious.
The woman had her head wrapped in a towel, had been shot and severely beaten, and her body badly burned. A passing man noticed the body and the strong odor of kerosine as he walked by the culvert where the woman’s body was left.
Officially, the identity of the Pyjama Girl was released as Linda Agostini and her killer her husband Antonio. Antonio was convicted of manslaughter, sentenced to hard labor, and deported to Italy after serving a 6-year term. However, in 2004 Melbourne historian Richard Evans noted “police corruption and a miscarriage of justice,” mentioning the discrepancies between the body and the “victim” including differing nose shapes and bust sizes as well as the body having brown eyes while Linda Agostini had blue. (During the inquest, these discrepancies were addressed, with expert witnesses claiming brown eyes could change blue and breasts could shrink due to burning, though they did not supply evidence of these phenomena happening previously.) Evans also pointed out 125 women were originally considered for the possible identity of the victim that were largely not investigated.
Officially, the case remains closed with Linda Agostini and the Pyjama Girl considered to be the same person.
Horrific history from today:
1905: Crime scene photo, Paris 1905 (2017)
1938: Convicts scalded to death (2017)
1938: Ex-con crucified (2017)
1938: Man kills girlfriend for rejecting marriage proposal (2017)
1887: The Illustrated Police News: an execution; man watches as sharks eat the bodies of his wife and children; man kills children, self after losing job; a bee attack leads to death of woman (2018)
1934: Several cases of misfortune, including a hornet-assisted suicide and two babies burned after brother plays with matches (2018)
2003: Woman kills son, sets body on fire to cover tracks (2018)
Today in Horror History: August 27