The mugshot of former Dunedin man Daniel Joseph Tohill has gone viral. Photo by New Zealand Police Museum.
A century-old mugshot of a Dunedin man has captured the
imagination of nearly 500,000 admirers around the world.
Daniel Joseph Tohill was arrested and photographed more than
a century ago, but it is his arresting photo which has
attracted hundreds of thousands of hits and generated
positive comments from internet users.
A site which included his photo under the heading
"Ridiculously photogenic 19th century NZ criminal", received
almost half a million hits since it was posted a month ago.
Comments include "They said he was a model inmate", "Looks
like he was ... one smooth criminal", and "if looking
handsome is a crime ... then guilty".
Tohill was born in Ravensbourne, Dunedin, in 1881.
Lemuel Lyes, a footage researcher with NHNZ in Dunedin and a
keen historian, researched the man's history after the
mugshot went viral, discovering Tohill was incorrectly named
"Lohill" on his mugshot.
"History should be shared. I love how in the 21st century
technology has changed that a minor petty criminal from a
century ago can all of a sudden have international interest
in his story."
According to newspaper clippings, a Daniel Tohill was charged
with stealing two ferrets in Christchurch on June 16, 1906,
and also for the theft from a Nelson railway station shed in
On March 2, 1908, the labourer and railway porter was charged
- and the now infamous mugshot taken - for allegedly stealing
a bicycle and a fur necklet in Napier.
He was later acquitted on the charge of stealing a bicycle,
but sentenced to four months at Napier Prison on the charge
of stealing the necklet.
Tohill's criminal record ended there, and he later moved with
his wife and young children to Auckland, where he died in
1950, aged 68.
His Dunedin-based grand-nephew, Dylan Tohill (43), said
Daniel was the third of the 18 Tohill children.
He knew little about the family other than they grew up very
poor, but was delighted to learn his distant relative had
achieved online fame more than six decades after his death.
Daniel Tohill's mugshot appears in the New Zealand Police
Museum's "Suspicious Looking" gallery, with some of those
mugshots published by the Otago Daily Times and later on the
Museum manager Rowan Carroll said the interest in Tohill had
"increased our workload somewhat", with an increased number
of visitors looking at the gallery, and inquiring about
"People are intrigued by the different crimes people have
Miss Carroll said Tohill "was not some hulk but rather a fine
fellow" weighing 67kg, and just over 173cm tall.
Aliana McDaniel, of Ali McD modelling agency, said Tohill was
"one fine looking rascal", but whose features made him look
less like a model and more like an actor.