Cookson, 12 09 1911 1
12 September 1911
THE LAST OF THE IRONCLADS
TRIAL AND DEATH OF NED KELLY
SCENE AT THE SCAFFOLD Continuing his evidence at the preliminary proceedings at Beechworth, the hawker, Gloster, said that whilst he was imprisoned by the Kellys at Younghusband's station, Ned Kelly told him the history of his life. He said it had been wrecked by the police, and stated that if once a man did wrong it was all up with him, because the police would never let him alone afterwards. He complained bitterly of the conduct of Constable Fitzpatrick, towards his mother, and charged that officer with perjury. Kelly also described how his mother had been left to bring up a large family of young children and had not been given a chance by the police, and expressed himself in terms of the greatest bitterness regarding his mother's conviction, on the unsupported testimony of Fitzpatrick, on a charge of which she said she was innocent. He also stated that though he was convicted on the same man's testimony, he was not within 200 miles of the police at the time.
Evidence as to the shooting and capture of Ned Kelly was given by Senior-constable Kelly, who said he had fired ten shots from a Martini Henry rifle into the Glenrowan Inn whilst the fight was in progress. This witness denied having pulled out a large quantity of the wounded man's beard. He declared, however, that he did see Constable Dwyer kick the wounded prisoner whilst he was on the ground and unarmed. And he said that Constable Bracken thereupon caught up his gun and declared that he would shoot any man who interfered with the prisoner.
Bracken had behaved with conspicuous bravery all through the fight. When Ned Kelly was captured he appealed to Bracken to save him, saying, "I once saved you, you know."
The outlaw was committed for trial at the Criminal Court at Melbourne. The trial began on October 28, 1880, and lasted all that day and the next. Mr Justice Barry presided. Kate Kelly and Mrs Skillion were present, and the court was crowded. The evidence given for the prosecution was repeated. None was given for the defence. The verdict was a certainty from the beginning; "Guilty."
Ned Kelly appeared surprised when he heard the foreman of the jury deliver the verdict that brought his life to an end. He said that if he himself had cross-examined the four witnesses called by the Crown, the result would have been different. He said; "For my own part, I do not fear death. But on account of my poor mother, who is in prison now on an unjust charge, I am sorry that I have to die."
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