Royal Commission report day 15 page 8
The Royal Commission evidence for 4/5/1881
(see also introduction to day 15)
Constable Duross giving evidence
3636 Were you dressed in police uniform?——No, private clothes.
3637 Describe the dress?— A blue jacket on, like a butcher's smock.
3638 Something like bush dress?— Yes. And a knock came to the door, and I said, “You had better go to the door.” He motioned for me to go into the bedroom. There was a calico screen hanging down for a door. I went in.
3639 Was the whole partition calico or only the door?— Only the door.
3640 There are only two rooms in the house?— Only two.
3641 What material was the hut?— A log hut and a shingle roof.
3642 Does that mean slabs or logs?— Slabs.
3643 Slabs on end?— No, lengthways; slabs running lengthways.
3644 Split or sawn?— Sawn
3645 Will you draw a sketch of it?— [The witness did so, and explained it.]
3646 What thickness were the boards?— About three-quarters of an inch.
3647 Hardwood weatherboards?— Yes.
3648 There was a front door and back door?— Yes.
3649 Will you describe what occurred when the knock came to the door?— When I went into the bedroom Sherritt the door, and there was some person asked the road, said they lost their way, and Sherritt was stepping outside and saying, “Do you see that sapling over there, at the back of the door”; and Mrs. Sherritt (the wife) said, “Go out and show him the way.” Sherritt was stepping outside to do so when the first shot was fired; he staggered back, and the second was fired, and he fell then in the kitchen.
3650 Could you see him from where you were?— No.
3651 He fell back into the room?— Yes.
3652 You heard the shot?— Two shots.
3653 Were they both fired by the same person, do you think .?— I think so.
3654 You heard, and saw enough to know, a man was being shot near by where you were standing?— Yes.
3655 What was your impression—that it was the Kellys?— Yes, as soon as the shot was fired, not before.
3656 Did you feel disposed to fire at them?— I could not see anything to fire at.
3657 You believed it was the Kellys, and the four of you were then in the bedroom—will you continue?— When Sherritt fell we heard the women running outside the door, and I heard one voice saying, “Oh,Joe, Joe ! what have you done, what did you shoot poor Aaron for?” Byrne said, “The will never put me away again.”
3658 What did you understand by that?— Put him away to the authorities—the police authorities. He said, “Who is that man along in the room, the man that went in the room?” She said, “That is a man by the name of Duross.” He said, “What is he?” and she said, “He is looking for work about here.” He said, “Go and tell him to come out.” She came in and said, “Come out”; and I said, “I will not”; so at this time Constable Armstrong was standing on one side of the partition, and Alexander on the other— both could see any one at the door if they were inside in the kitchen—and Constable Dowling was watching the kitchen, I was watching the window, watching to see if we could have a chance of anything. She came and said, “Come out, he wants you.” I said, “I will not.” She went out, and he said, “Go and bring him out or I will shoot you too.” Constable Armstrong, when he saw the figure coming so often, said he (Armstrong) was near shooting her on account of her running back and forwards.
3659 Was Sherritt dead?— He was shot at this time, he never spoke after he was shot. When she came in the second time we got hold of her and would not let her go out—we kept her in there.
3660 Who is “we”?— I think I was one, and Constable Dowling I believe was the other, and did not let her go out; the others also spoke and said—“Do not let her go,” the other two men, Alexander and Armstrong. There was a shot then fired into the bedroom, just near where Constable Dowling was. He said, “Look out.” I heard somebody saying then to Mrs. Barry (the mother-in-law), “Go and see did that shot go in through the boards.”
3661 Who said this?— Joe Byrne; the same voice was speaking all the time, so she said, “If I go down they might shoot me,” meaning us. She put it plural; she said, “They might shoot me.” She said, “They might shoot me if I go down.” He said, “If you do not go I will shoot you”; so he called on me to come out again.....
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