The Argus (27)

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The body of the deceased was left on the floor during the night. In the morning the men shifted him. The police sent a Chinaman with a message to the police at Beechworth. It was after daylight next morning. The Chinaman came back afterwards and said he had too much work to do and would not go. Mr O'Donohue, a state school teacher, volunteered to go, but came back and said his wife would not let him. A Mr Duckett he would go but from what he said the police did not think he meant to go. Constable Armstrong left at about 9 o'clock. He had no breakfast. During my conversation with Byrne he asked me how many men were in the room. I said I saw two in there. He said, 'Don't say we about, or I'll shoot you.' After he shot Aaron he heard the men cocking their guns inside, and he sang out to Dan, 'Hark! Look out, do you hear that? They are cocking their guns.'

To Mr Foster,- There is a bullet hole in the back door. I think it must have been done when Aaron was shot. The door was only half open. Mr Foster,- It does not present that appearance at all. It seems to have been fired when the door was shut.

Witness continued.- Byrne was standing I think, on the chimney side of the door. I could not say where he was standing, as I was inside the house. Byrne told me that he was not going to shoot me. He also said that Weekes had once tried to 'lag' him for a horse, but he was not going to shoot him.

Antoine Weekes deposes.- I am a market gardener residing at the Woolshed. I remember last Saturday night. I went out to go to Mr Weiner's, a neighbour. I went as far as the house, and saw there was no light, and turned back again. The house is about 15 yards from Sherritt's place. It was about 10 minutes past 6 when I left Weiner's. About 100 yards from Weiner's I met Dan Kelly and Joe Byrne. They were on horseback. Byrne was leading a horse besides the one he was riding. I think I said 'Good evening' as I passed. Byrne rode past me about five or six yards, and then came back again. He said to me, 'What is your name?' I said 'Weekes, from the woolshed.' He then came close to me on his horse , and stooped his head down, and looked in my face and said, 'Do you know me?' I said 'No, I don't.' He said 'Well, I am Joe Byrne.' I said, 'I don't believe it.' He put his hand back, and drew a revolver, which he pointed at my head, and said, 'Perhaps you will believe it now.' He then said to me, pointed to the man behind him, 'That is Mr Kelly.' He then said to Kelly, 'Put the handcuffs on him.' Dan Kelly dismounted, and put the handcuffs on me. Byrne said me, 'Don't be frightened. I wont hurt you. You summoned me once for a horse, but I forgave you that.' I did summon him once, and he was fined about £5 at this court. Byrne said, 'You have to go with us to Sherritt's place, and you must do what we want and we will do you no harm.' They took me along the road. Joe Byrne rode in front and Dan Kelly behind. I walked between them. We came to Sherritt's place, at least we turned up about 20 yards into the bush between Sherritt's and Weiner's place. Both Kelly and Byrne dismounted. One of them fastened his horse up by the bridle. Byrne said, 'You have nothing to do but what we tell you.' Kelly walked over on to the main road by way of the bush. Byrne said to me. 'Me and you go to the door (of Sherritt's) and knock at it.' He put me in front of the back door, about a yard from it. He said, 'Knock' He was standing behind me, by the side of the chimney. He was armed with a rifle. Both Kelly and Byrne took a rifle from the pack horse when they dismounted. I knocked. Byrne then said, 'Call Aaron,' I did so, Byrne said that if I did not do it he would shoot me. When I called out, Aaron said, 'Who is there?' I said, 'Weeks.' Byrne then told me to say I had lost myself. I did so Aaron had then opened the door. He came out. When Byrne heard the door opening, he went from behind me a little further to the right, about a yard. When Aaron said, 'Who is there outside?' Byrne fired at once, and shot him. I am not sure, but I think he fired a second. I saw Aaron fall. He fell sideways inti the house on the floor. Byrne then looked in at the door, and , see Mrs Barry and Mrs Sherritt, he said, 'That is the man I want.' He then asked Mrs Barry to send the men out. Byrne was then standing outside the house behind me. Mrs Barry came out. Byrne kept Mrs Barry outside about half an hour. About 10 or 12 minutes after he shot Aaron. Byrne put two bullets through the bedroom and two more later on. He said that if the men did not come out he would set fire to the house. I did not see the front door open. I heard two shots fired in the front. Byrne took Mrs Barry and me away from the house, about five yards from the door. He made me leave the door, and took the handcuffs off. After that he sent Mrs Barry into the house. I heard Dan Kelly talking during this time, but could not say what he was doing. That was after the shots were fired at the front of the house. After Mrs Barry was sent in, Byrne spoke to Kelly who was in the bush. I could not see Kelly. Byrne asked Kelly if he should send me into the house. Kelly said, 'No: don't send him in.' They waited there for some time to see if Mrs Barry would send the men out. They then went away. I remained for about half an hour or three quarters of an hour before I left. I did not hear the outlaws go away. I think they left before I did, but I did not hear them. I reached home at about half past 9 o'clock on Saturday night. To the Jury.- I had no chance of communicating with the police. When Kelly took the handcuffs off he asked me if my horse was at home. I said 'No; I turned him out.' Kelly said, 'Mind you give no information.'

To Mr Foster.- It was about 10 minutes past 6 when we got to Sherritt's house. The foreman of the jury at this stage asked the coroner if he considered it necessary to proceed with further evidence as they were quite satisfied as to the cause of Aaron Sherritt's death.

Mr Foster replied that in his opinion the circumstances of the case were such that it was highly essential that every fact of the case should be elicited.

Antoin Weeks, recalled, deposed,- I identified the body I saw at the Vine Hotel as that of Aaron Sherritt.


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