Royal Commission report day 28 page 15

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The Royal Commission evidence for 9/6/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 28)

[[../../people/peN_P/phillipsWPmc.html|Const Phillips]] giving evidence

11307 Did you remain all day on the Benalla side?— No. At four o'clock Neil McHugh came out of the hotel, carrying Mrs. Jones's boy on his back. Constable Gascoigne was alongside of me. We said to one another quietly, “If this man does not come our way, we will not speak to him.” We were right across and could see right across the verandah, and the man proceeded down and went over the bridge under the road, and I said, “Paddy, perhaps it is two of them getting away.” That was to Gascoigne.

11308 Which door of the hotel did he come from?— From the back.

11309 Did he come round by the wicket fence?— He walked straight down.

11310 When he came from the hotel what road did he take to reach the station—did he get over the fence?— He did not go to the station, he went through the railway gate.

11311 Then he must have passed in front of the hotel to get to the railway gate?— Yes, and I said, “Gascoigne, perhaps it is two of them clearing out, come on and stop them;” and we ran down to the gate and he would not stop, and one of us threatened to shoot him, and then he came back, and between us he told us they had armour and there were thirty or forty in the house, and I said, “Who is inside?” and he said, “Three, I think, there is one or two of them wounded;” and he said, “Look out in the morning, they will shoot you all out at daylight.”

11312 Did he tell you he put the armour on them?— No, he said some red whiskered man did, I forget his name.

11313 What weapon had you?— A Martini-Henry rifle.

11314 Did you shoot often?— I fired one shot straight at the figure that was in front of the house, and then got behind a tree just opposite the verandah. There was a bush fire the other side of the house, and I could see three figures plainly, and I fired about four shots at them during the encounter, and I was surprised that none fell at about forty yards distance, so I fired a couple of shots low, and they walked off at once inside, and the figure that came out the second time fired about six shots, and Gascoigne said, “That is Ned Kelly, I know his voice.”

11315 Do you know whether he went into the house then?— The way he went then, in my opinion, was round the Wangaratta end and round the back yard.

11316 Did you see him after?— I saw him at seven o'clock in the morning.

11317 Where were you then?— I was at the tree at the rear of the hotel. After I challenged McHugh I went round, and I thought Mr. Hare had not gone. I wanted to tell him about the armour, and I did not find him, and I went and told Kelly. He said, “My God ! they have all got away.” I said, “Never fear, they are in the house;” and I said, “I stopped a man who told me all about the armour that came out of the hotel,” and Senior-Constable Kelly stationed me at a tree here—[explaining the same]. He showed me the spot where he had found the rifle. I stopped there from about a quarter to four to six, and then I challenged the Wangaratta police.

11318 Did you see Mrs. Reardon come out of the house?— Yes, I had my back to the house, and was watching the spot where Senior-Constable Kelly picked up the rifle. (JJK)

11319 Did you see Mrs. Reardon coming from the hotel?— The first thing I heard was Steele challenging somebody and firing, and then I heard a woman screaming; and with that there were from the front of the house several shots came up.

11320 Did you hear Arthur say anything?— He said, “Do not shoot—that is an innocent woman,” or “that is a woman and children”—something to that effect.

11321 Was there any difficulty in yourself, Arthur, or Steele knowing that it was a female?— Not the slightest

11322 Before he fired you could see distinctly it was a woman and children?— Yes, it was bright moonlight

11323 Was there any one else?— Two or three children, and I thought three or four women.

11324 Did Steele shoot immediately he challenged them?— Immediately.

11325 Did you hear him say anything?— First, I asked him what he was shooting at, and he said, “By Christ! I have shot old Mother Jones in the —;” and I said, “It is a feather in your cap.”

11326 Did you see what happened after—what did the woman do?— She was singing out, and went away out of the place. Steele was at some of the trees there, and she walked down. The fence was between her and Steele, and that was what saved her no doubt. After he fired there was loud talking going on, and screaming, and I do not know who took her away.

11327 She was taken away at all events?— Yes, and did not go back to the house.

11328 Did you see any other figure besides her?— No, only the boy.

11329 Where was he?— He was following her, and all at once I saw him run back to the house.

11330 Did you see that he had hold of a child?— No, I could not swear that.

11331 Did you hear any one challenge the boy?— Sergeant Steele was the only one who challenged them

11332 Did you see the boy shot at?— I do not know of it. I asked him what he was shooting at.

11333 Did you see whether the boy was shot or not?— No, I did not know he was shot.

11334 Did you see whether the boy was crawling?— Walking.

11335 You could not say whether he had any one by the hand?— No.

11336 Or his hand up?— No.

11337 Did you see any man after the boy?— I saw a man at the back door, that is all. He walked out and walked in again. I did not see anything further.....

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