The Argus at KellyGang 20/8/1879 (3)

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Lancefield robbery

The arrangements made for a thorough and complete search were so perfect that it was impossible for the suspected men to evade arrest if they were still in the city, for a certain beat was allotted to each man, and his instructions were to enter every public house embraced within it, and also to search thoroughly along the road. There was not a street or thoroughfare in the city which was not included in one or other of these beats, and unless the suspected men had been already beyond danger of arrest, escape would have been impossible. To Sergeant Webb, Detectives Hartney and Alexander, Senior constable Linehan, and Constables Fox and Kilfedder, and, indeed to the various others who were engaged in the duty, the highest praise is due for the intelligent manner in which the movements were carried out.

The prisoners were interviewed separately in the cells at the watchhouse this morning by representatives of the press. They freely, and without any hesitation whatever, gave a full account of the bank robbery, together with a statement of their subsequent proceedings, and Bray also narrated the circumstances under which he became acquainted with the prisoner Lowe. The accounts given by the two men who were interviewed apart, and in different cells, were remarkably similar, not differing in any material way in regard to a single point. They freely admitted their guilt, and appeared to have no desire to hide anything in connexion with the affair.

Christopher Bray, the taller of the two prisoners, who is only about 19 years of age states that he is a bricklayer by trade, and was recently engaged on the works in connexion with the Wagga Wagga and Albury Railway. He has relatives in Melbourne, however and states that he left his employ at the railway and went to town some little time back. Whilst in Melbourne he met Lowe, the other prisoner at a boarding house. Lowe represented that he was a farmer, but told Bray that the police were after him in consequence of his having committed a robbery at Goornong. The prisoners, it appears made their plans in Melbourne. Bray states that he was drawn into the affair by Lowe. The men originally determined to rob the bank at Heathcote. With this object they started from Melbourne on the evening of Monday, the 11th inst, and went to Essendon by omnibus.

They remained at Essendon that night and next day, and on the Tuesday evening proceeded by train to Wallan Wallan, on the North eastern line about nine miles from Kilmore. They got out of the train here, and then walked in the direction of Heathcote, with the settled intention of robbing the bank at that place. Fortunately -or unfortunately, according to the way in which the circumstance may be viewed by different persons-they lost their way, and after wandering through the bush for some time, eventually found themselves close upon Lancefield. They got into the township of Lancefield on Thursday evening, walked about the town for a time, and as the result of their observations, they determined that as they had gone away from the Heathcote road, and thus somewhat disturbed their first plans, Lancefield should be the field of their operations.


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