Royal Commission report day 16 page 4

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The Royal Commission evidence for 5/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 16)

Constable Thomas Patrick Dowling giving evidence

4231 Did the women come in ultimately—that would be before daylight?— It was after the third or fourth shot that went they came in. Shortly after the time I mentioned about not shooting because they were outside, they came in, and were running in and out of the door several times. We could not keep them quiet, so we concluded not to let them out again, and we put them under the bed.

4232 Was that to give you more room or for their protection?— For their protection, and also to give us more room, as the bedroom was very small, and they were apt to be shot, running in and out the way they were doing.

4233 Shot by whom?— They might have been by us, supposing we did fire at any time.

4234 What size was the room?— About 11 feet by 10, I should think.

4235 What size was the bedstead—was it a double bed?— Yes, I think about six by five or four.

4236 What else was on the room on the floor?— Some boxes.

4237 How much space would they take up?— About one corner at the head of the bed.

4238 So there was very little standing space for you?— Very little standing space. I remember, when I was lying on the floor, I could not stretch my full length through the boxes being in the corner.

4239 The bed was under the front window?— Yes; we also heard a dog barking and making a rush every now and then, as if he was running at something.

4240 Did the dogs give any alarm before the arrival of the men?— Not that I heard of.

4241 How many dogs were there?— One. At daylight in the morning Constables Armstrong and Alexander went outside.

4242 Did either of the constables leave the room before daylight?— Armstrong, I believe, went outside and covered Sherritt up, and put the fire out. That would be about 12 o'clock .

4243 Was the door closed before that?— Yes; he closed them himself, I believe.

4244 Were they closed before that?— Yes.

4245 Who closed them?— Armstrong and Alexander, before they went out, closed them with their guns.

4246 You could have done the same when you looked over on the bag of flour?— No, not very well with the gun.

4247 Was this partition (pointing to the plan) across from wall-plate to wall-plate—about the same height as the wall-plate?— Yes, about that.

4248 And the doors opened back to that partition?— lest

4249 Could not you have closed them when looking over?— If I had had a gun.

4250 Could you not have got some one to assist you with a gun?— I do not see how I could. I had a revolver only when I got on the partition.

4251 Your three comrades were in the bedroom?— Yes, one at each side of the door then.

4252 You heard voices till daylight in the morning?— Yes.

4253 When Armstrong and Alexander went out the doors were open?— No; they closed then with their guns.

4254 In what position were they then?— They were at the bedroom door.

4255 And the doors were not closed until that time?— No.

4256 At that time you were under the impression that those people who fired were outside?— Yes.

4257 You said you kept the women inside for fear you would shoot them. Did you shoot after that?— No; they stopped talking outside, so we thought it would be useless. There was not a shot fired. We could hear them at the side of the hut.

4258 Was that fancy?— No, I am sure it was not fancy. I made the remark to my mates several times during the night.

4259 You each had a gun in the bedroom at the time you describe?— Yes.

4260 What was the character of those guns?— They were double-barrelled breech-loaders.

4261 And loaded with what?— Wire cartridges.

4262 Bullets or shot?— Shot.

4263 What was the character of the shot?— That I could not say.

Mr. Hare . —They are pellets, B shot, 14 or 16 to the ounce and a half of shot, and they use half a shot in a cartridge. They were not all wire cartridge......

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