The Ballroom Murder is a true crime story that gripped Perth nearly 100 years ago, and demonstrates the power of the press and privilege in an extraordinary judicial outcome.
In August 1925, Audrey Jacob shot dead her former fiance, Cyril Gidley, in full view of hundreds of guests at a charity ball in Perth’s Government House. When she was arrested, she still held the gun in her hand. It was a open and shut case of wilful murder – that is until Jacob assigned prosecutor Arthur Haynes to her defence. His ability to play the press and the jury for sympathy would lead to a sensational result. Not only did Jacob escape the gallows, she was found not guilty of Gidley’s
murder. Straw, the author of a number of books about notable Australian female criminals, tells a story that is rich with first-hand newspaper accounts from the day.