Royal Commission report day 15 page 12

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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

3747 Byrne asked Mrs. Barry who was it went into the bedroom?— Yes.

3748 She said it was Duross, looking for work?— Yes.

3749 That was some time before she said if she went back she would be shot?— Yes.

3750 So that they were under the impression you were the only man?— No, I think not. I believe, if they had thought there was only one man, they would have come inside.

3751 It is not the fact that the police got under the bed?— No, it is not.

3752 Did you move about from place to place between that time, from seven to eleven?— Yes, Constable Armstrong was in this corner, and he made a considerable noise in that corner, and Constable Alexander was here, and Constable Dowling was here too, close alongside of him. I was down at this end at this time—[pointing out the places on the plan].

3753 Was there at one time one of you went under the bed?— No, we were in different positions on the floor, but not under the bed.

3754 Where was the bed?— Just underneath the window.

3755 Did it fill the whole side of the room?— It came within about three feet of it.

3756 Is the room lined?— No.

3757 Only the slabs outside?— Yes.

Mr. O'Connor . —Before you go on I wish to ask—I have been offered an appointment in the North-Eastern district, and the Government are anxious I should go to work as soon as possible, and I wish to ask if you can dispense with my presence for the future till I come down to cross-examine a few witnesses. I wish too that the secretary could notify me of that.

The Chairman . —I do not think there is any objection to your leaving. If there comes any necessity there will be ample opportunity in the North-Eastern district of calling you; the secretary will give you due notice if you are wanted.

3758 By the Commission (to the witness). —You brought us up to the point at which Mr. Armstrong went to Beechworth. We have it from you that Sherritt was shot about seven o'clock in the evening?— Yes.

3759 And you could not see anybody outside, which was the reason for not making a rush out during the night, as there was a possibility of your being shot as you came before the open door?— Yes.

3760 How was it you did not go out when daylight came?— Constable Alexander did go round the house when daylight came.

3761 You seem to have done nothing for twelve hours after daylight—from five o'clock in the morning till five o'clock at night?— Yes; Constable Armstrong had a verbal message himself by one o'clock. He had arrived at Beechworth himself at one o'clock .

3762 What were you doing during the day?— We were not doing anything; we were just inside the house.

3763 What object had you in keeping Mrs. Sherritt and Mrs. Barry in the house after they came in?— Because they were running about and interfering with as. The room was very small, and the running backwards and forwards made less room for us, and Mrs. Sherritt was in danger of getting shot herself.

3764 She was willing to go out, but you detained her?— Yes.

3765 What was your object?— To prevent her running backwards and forwards; she had been in twice.

3766 And the same with Mrs. Barry?— She came in to take her daughter out, and we would not allow her.

3767 About what time was the last time Mrs. Barry came in?— I should say about nine o'clock .

3768 Then your object was to prevent the two women being shot?— Yes, and to give us more room, because of the running in at the door; we did not know but what the others would be on top of us any moment.

3769 Your object was not that, having the women in, the Kellys would not be so likely to shoot you?— That never entered my head.

3770 Mrs. Barry had been out several times before this, talking to Byrne?— Yes, she had been out all the night, and came in for her daughter, Mrs. Sherritt.....

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