Last modified on 20 November 2015, at 16:42

The Argus

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All doubts as to the presence of the Kelly gang in the colony – a fact which has been to some extent a matter of dispute – were set at rest yesterday by the intelligence that they had re-appeared at Beechworth, and had added yet another murder to the crimes already resting upon their heads. Since the gang so successfully plundered the bank at Jerilderie and escaped across country, no trustworthy information as to their whereabouts has been obtained. At various intervals it has been intimated that they were in the country, but the information as to their being in a particular locality at any set time was always many days late, and generally even then of an uncertain character. The particulars to hand with regard to the last outrage perpetrated by the gang are simply these. On Saturday evening the band of outlaws called at the hut of a man named Aaron Sherritt, having with them a German whom they compelled to call on Sherritt to come out. The latter, recognising the voice, complied with the request, and on his coming out of the door he was instantly shot by Joe Byrne, who put one bullet through his head and another through his body. In the hut were a party of police, but they did not fire a shot at the bushrangers, and acted entirely on the defence. The reason given for his inactivity is that the hight was dark, while there was a bright fire burning in the hut, so that while the bush rangers were out of sight the police would have been instantly seen and shot if they had appeared at the door or window. The Kellys fired a volley through the house, and also attempted to burn it down. The gang remained outside the hut until half past 6 o’clock yesterday morning, when it is presumed they rode away. The object for taking Sherritt’s life is clearly shown. It appears that at one time Sherritt was a friend of the Kellys, but was most intimate with Joe Byrne. He had been several times in gaol, and on one occasion was convicted with Byrne of stealing a quantity of meat. His father, John Sherritt, an ex policeman, is a selector, now an elderly man, and resides at Sebastopol , which is about eight miles from Beechworth. The deceased man had a selection of 107 acres about a mile from his father’s place, and it is noteworthy that he was assisted in fencing it in by Joe Byrne and Ned Kelly. He was about 24 years of age, of robust health, and was noted as a runner and jumper. His holding was on the Woolshed Creek, in the county of Burgoyne , and about two months ago he sold it to Mr Crawford, of the Eastern Arcade who is also a large coach proprietor, and has property to a considerable extent in the district. After selling the land he built a hut at Sebastopol , about two miles away, and it is there that he was shot. A few months ago he was married to Miss Burke, the daughter of a well known farmer at the Woolshed. Prior to the Kelly outbreak, as already stated, he was on very friendly terms with the members of the gang and their companions, but recently it appears that he placed himself in communication with the police, and for some months has been employed by them. The information he afforded as to the movements of the outlaws proved highly valuable, and it is stated on good authority that not only did the gang ascertain who was keeping the police posted up, that they also caused it to be made known in Beechworth some weeks ago that they intended to take his life. The house occupied by Joseph Byrne’s mother, there is every reason to believed, was recently visited by the gang and the information that the deceased was watching in place. It is supposed to have been communicated to the murderers; in fact it is stated that the reason that Sherritt went to the house in which he met his death was that he might be the better able to watch Byrne’s place.

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