Royal Commission report day 15 page 11

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The Royal Commission evidence for 4/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 15)

Constable Duross giving evidence

3721 You state that only the women were under the bed?— That is all.

3722 Did I understand you to say that you kept first Sherritt's wife in, and next the mother-in-law, and would not allow her to return?— That is correct.

3723 Did they voluntarily after that keep under the bed?— They were forced under the bed because there was very little room in the bedroom, and there was not much room for them to be knocking round in the room.

3724 When you used the word “forced,” did you mean that you compelled them, or that they were obliged from the circumscribed space—did you tell them to go under?— We told them.

3725 During that evening, from the first shot to the last, what space intervened between those two?— Between an hour and a half and two hours.

3726 All those seven shots were fired into the bedroom?— No; two were fired at Sherritt, and five into the bedroom.

3727 What portion of the building did they strike?— The bedroom. —[ The witness showed on his plan.]

3728 How many penetrated the building?— There were two—[showing the spots].

3729 What direction was that fired from to get there?— [ The Witness indicated on the plan.]

3730 Were you satisfied that there were not more than two outside between the hours of seven and nine?— We believed there was.

3731 Did you ask Mrs. Barry how many people there were outside when she came back?— Yes; she said she saw two and Weekes, but they were whistling for others.

3732 Do you think now if you were placed in a similar position, that had the police made a charge after the first shot, that you might have captured those men?— No.

3733 Why?— Because there is the scrub outside, and before we would leave the kitchen at all they could have shot us. It is my opinion we would not have left it alive; and if we did, it was dark outside and we could not see anything, and they had timber to protect them.

3734 Had you arms on your person at the time?— Yes, a revolver.

3735 Did it not strike you that when Mrs. Sherritt said you were Duross, a man looking for work, you might have gone out under that assumed idea?— No; I believe he thought it was police all the time.

3736 Might you not have gone safely in your disguise?— No, I think not.

3737 What was the motive that induced you to believe you ought not to have gone out; was it self-preservation?— As much as anything else.

3738 Was it that more than anything else?— Of course it would be foolishness to have gone out by myself alongside of Byrne.

3739 This was not immediately after the shooting; it was a little time after you went into the bedroom the conversation had taken place, and you might have consulted the others as to a concerted attack?— If I went out with a revolver he would know who I was, and if I made a movement to take it out of my guernsey he would see it.

3740 Might you not conceal it under your shirt and trousers' belt, and assume the idea that you were looking for work. Did you consult with the others?— Yes.

3741 Was that course mentioned?— No.

3742 Could they have heard your voices?— Byrne said, “Look out, they are loading,” as soon as we went into the room; we were getting our rifles. It was darkish in the bedroom. They heard the noise, Byrne did; he said, “Look out, they are loading.”

3743 Then he must have known there was more than one person looking for work?— Yes, that is my opinion.

3744 Were you talking in a whisper?— We were not talking at all; we were getting our rifles.

3745 You said you were consulting?— When we were it was in a very low whisper.

3746 You said you were under the impression that they believed there was only one in the house till Mrs. Barry went and spoke about shooting her; now when you were described as a man looking for work, it must have been previous to that?— No, when I went into the room I heard the conversation— that was after Sherritt was shot.....

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