The Argus at KellyGang 29/7/1881
THE POLICE COMMISSION
THURSDAY, July 28
The commission met on Thursday at Parliament-house. There were present – Messrs Longmore (chairman), Hall, and Anderson, MLA's
The CHAIRMAN read the following extracts from evidence given by Mrs Barry Mrs Sherritt before the commission at Beechworth at a private sitting, stating that he did not see why the evidence he would read should not be published:-
Mrs Barry (mother of Mrs Sherritt) stated that Byrne sent her in to the bedroom to the constables three times to get them out, and sent her daughter in three or four times. The first time witness went into the room the men appeared to be bustling about looking for their firearms. On the second time Alexander and another man were sitting on the box in front of the door and their opossum rugs round them. Could not see the other men. The third time she went into the bedroom, when they had her daughter there, Alexander was at one side of the room and the other constables were under the bed. Constable Alexander was at one side of the room, where the bed was not. Constables Duross and Dowling were under the bed, and their heads and shoulders out at the sides of the bed. Went to the two men, and they caught her by the clothes, and pulled her to the ground. She had to lie on the floor. They did not put her underneath the bed. Duross just tried to shove her in slightly, but she remained where she was. In fact, she did not think she could get under the bed. Dowling said if she did not keep quiet, they would have to shoot her. He said, "You had better stop in, Mrs Barry, and the outlaws will not set fire to the place while there are women in it." That was about 9 o'clock .
Her daughter, Mrs Sherritt, had told her that Dan Kelly came inside the front door, and looked at Aaron's body and smiled, and nodded to her, saying, "Good evening, ma'am." Her daughter went into the bedroom, and when she came out Dan was gone. Mrs Sherritt (wife of the late Aaron Sherritt) stated she saw Dan Kelly on the night Aaron was shot standing inside the front door of her house by the table. He had his elbow leaning on the table. The police inside could have shot him if they had tried. If they had been looking out of the door, or keeping an eye to the division or partition between the two rooms, they could have had Dan Kelly very easily, but they were not prepared at the time. They ought to have got their arms before that. There were two of them under the bed. Was quite certain there were two under the bed and two lying on top, and it was impossible to have shot either of the outlaws in the position the constables were. They were in that position when Dan Kelly was in the room. They got witness under the bed. Constable Dowling pulled her down, but could not put her under, and then Constable Armstrong caught hold of her, and the two of them shoved her under, and put their feet against her. They remained in that position for two or three hours.
Constable Alexander had made a statutory declaration to the following effect
– "That about 10 minutes after the second shot was fired by the outlaws at Sherritt's hut, I saw Constables Armstrong and Dowling partly under the bed lying on their chests. Constable Duross was sitting at the end of the bedroom near the bed. I do not know who put the women under the bed. Dan Kelly did not come into the sittingroom. Had he done so, I must have seen him or heard his footsteps."
Detective Ward was recalled, and examined with reference to some reports sent in by the cave party, in which it was stated that their presence was known in the district. He stated that he had not communicated that information to his superior officer, but referred back the reports to the cave party, with instructions to send in others merely relating to their duties. He believed the statement that the presence of the cave party was known in the district was made because of some disputes amongst the men forming the party. The reports he consented to receive ultimately did not state that the presence of the party was known.
To Mr. Nicolson – Did not believe the existence of the cave party was known to the friends of the outlaws until after the removal of the party.
The commission adjourned until Tuesday.
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