The Age (18)

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A juryman: I would like to know the earliest time the police showed their faces outside the door. Mr Foster: The witness is unable to say.

Antoine Weekes said: I am a market gardener. I remember last Saturday, the 26th inst. On that evening I went out to John Weiner's. I went as far as the house and as I saw no light there I went back again. Weiner's house is close to Sherritt's place, about ten or fifteen yards away. I returned to my own place about ten minutes past six o'clock, and about hundred yards away I met two bushrangers, Byrne and Dan Kelly. They were on horseback. Byrne was riding one horse and leading another. I think I said 'Good evening' as they passed me. They did not answer, but Byrne rode about five yards past me, then turned round and came back again. He asked me, 'What is your name?' I said 'Weekes, from the woolshed. He drew up and looked into my face and asked if I knew him. I said, 'No.' He said 'I am Joe Byrne,' I replied, 'I don't believe you' He put his hand back, and showed me a revolver, at the same time saying, 'Will you believe it now?' He pointed to his mate and said, 'That is Mr Kelly.' He next told Kelly to put hand cuffs on me. Kelly came off his horse, and put the handcuffs on me.

Byrne told me not to be frightened, for although I had summoned him once for using a horse he forgave me. I had in fact summoned him for such an offence in this court. He said, 'You must go with me to Sherritt's and if you do what we tell you we will do you no harm. They walked me between them to Sherritt's, and when we got about twenty yards from the place we turned off into the bush to the right. We went about half a dozen yards into the scrub and the bushrangers got off their horses. One of them tied his animal to a bush. Byrne said to me, 'Now you have nothing to do except what we tell you' Kelly went out from the bush upon the main road.

Byrne stopped with me and said , 'You go with me and knock at the door.' We went to Sherritt's house, and he placed me in front of the back door, about a yard away. He said, 'Knock' He was standing just behind me. When they left the bush both of them took a rifle from off the packhorse. When Byrne told me to knock I did so. He then said, 'Call Aaron,' I called Aaron. He said 'Call loud.' I did so, and I received an answer from inside, 'Who is there?' Byrne told me to say, 'Weekes' and I obeyed. He told me when I was asked what I wanted to say, 'I have lost myself' Aaron opened the door and came out, Byrne, when he heard the door opening, moved a yard or two away, and stood behind the chimney. When the door was fully opened he stepped from behind from behind the chimney and got under cover of me again. Aaron sang out, 'Who is there.'

Byrne shot at Aaron. He fired from the right side of me. I think he did, but I was so frightened I could not say. Aaron looked into the place and said, 'That's all: that is the man I want.' He next saw Mrs Barry and Mrs Sherritt, and asked them to send the men out. Byrne kept her outside for about half or three quarters of an hour. After he shot Aaron he put a shot through the bedroom. Fifteen minutes afterwards he put another shot through the bedroom, and said, 'I want those men but, or I'll burn the front, Byrne then took the handcuffs off me, and made me go away from the house. He did not let me go out of his sight. Some little time afterwards he sent Mrs Barry into the house.

I heard some person speaking near a bush a short distance away from me. This was after the shots were fired from the front. Byrne called out to Kelly said, 'No don't send him in.' They next went a little way out into the bush. I remained there about three quarters of an hour and then left. I did not hear the bushrangers leave. I think they left before me, but I cannot say, as I heard nothing. I reached home about half past nine the same night. I had been absent about three hours. To a juryman: I had no chance of sending information. When Byrne took the handcuffs off he asked me if my horse was at home? I said 'No.' He then said, 'Give no information about this.'

Ellen Sherritt stated: I am the wife of the deceased Aaron Sherritt, and resided with him at Sebastopol. On Saturday evening last my husband and myself were present at our house. The other persons in the house were four constables and my mother. A knock came to the back door, and a voice called out 'Aaron' I knew it was Mr Weekes's voice and I told my husband so. My husband went to the door and asked him what he wanted. Weekes said 'I am lost, come out and show me the road.' He opened the door and went outside. As he did so he heard a man move behind the chimney, and he sang out' Who is there?' Just then Joe Byrne said something and fired off his rifle.

My husband endeavoured to make his way back into the room. Byrne followed him to he door and fired a second shot at him. He (my husband) staggered and fell down near the table. He moaned once, but that was it. No ……………….. After the second shot I ran into the room … of the way. Byrne appeared at the door … and I asked why he had shot Aaron. He said 'If I had not shot him, he would have shot me if he could get the chances.' He heard one of the constables going into … room, and he asked who the man was. I said he was a person staying with us for the night and that he was looking for work. He told me to bring him out.


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