The Argus (2)

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As soon as the information of the outrage was received by the police authorities efforts were immediately made to pursue the murderers. Parties of police were sent out from various country depots, and by special train last night black trackers and a further contingent of police were dispatched from Melbourne . The first intimation of the affair received by the police in Melbourne was the following telegram:-

‘Watch party stuck up by the Kelly gang at 6 o’clock Saturday night. Aaron Sherritt shot dead in the hut he occupied by Joe Byrne. Fired seven shots into the hut, the bullets passing beside the constables’ heads; but owing to the position taken by the outlaws the constables could not return a single shot. They handcuffed a German and took him to the door, and made him call out ‘Aaron.’ Joe Byrne shot him through the eye, next through the body. He never spoke. The gang then fired a volley through the house. They then attempted to burn down the house by breaking up a barrel and bushes and putting them up against the house. They called on the police to come outside until about half past 6 am, and it was at half past 11 one of the constables was able to get to Beechworth’ –ME Ward, Detective.

The following are the facts of the case as telegraphed by our correspondent:-



(From Our Correspondent)

The town was thrown into a state of great consternation about 1 pm today, upon the arrival of Constable Armstrong from Sebastopol , a place about half way between Beechworth and Eldorado, with the report that a man named Aaron Sherritt had been shot dead at Sebastopol on the previous night. This report proved true, and the perpetrators of the foul deed are without doubt the Kelly gang. Four constables occupied the small slab and bark hut on the night in question, for the purpose of observing the place where it was thought the gang might at any moment call, and as it now appears were acting very wisely with this object in view. About 6 o’clock last night a knock was heard at the door, when a German named Anthony Weekes, who had been made use of by the gang for the purpose, called for Sherritt, and asked to be guided on the road home. Upon Sherritt showing himself, he was shot in the face twice by Joseph Byrne, one of the outlaws. There were in the hut at the time four policemen, Mrs Barry and her daughter, the deceased, and his wife. The hut was small, and the front door faced the back. A third shot was fired at Sherritt from the front door, when he fell and shortly died. The night was very dark, and as a bright fire was burning inside, the police were placed at a very great disadvantage, Sherritt fell inside. The doors were closed, and several shots fired through the doors and through other parts of the building at the police, but without effect. An attempt was made to set fire to the building by the outlaws, who remained; it is reported, near the hut for some hours. Subsequently several messages were sent by the police to headquarters, but as there was a fear that they had been intercepted, and as no relief came, Constable Armstrong started and brought news to Beechworth. There seems no doubt that all the gang were present.

The body of Sherritt will be removed to Beechworth to-morrow (Monday) for the purposes of an inquest. The police are upon the scene in force. Mr WH Foster, police magistrate and coroner, visited the spot without delay. A large crowd surrounded the hut, but Mr Foster was the only person admitted. The body is lying in the hut, and presents a fearful appearance. There are no further tidings as the police movements.


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