Royal Commission report day 37 page 22

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The Royal Commission evidence for 20/7/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 37)

[[../../people/peB/barryEllenMrs.html|Mrs. Ellen Barry]] 'giving evidence'

13412 Did any of the constables offer to him to go out while you were there?— No, I did not hear any, but of course I was the last that was kept inside. I do not think the men would have had any chance of doing anything by rushing out; I think; they would have been shot; the night was very dark.

13413 They would be long enough in the light for the others to take aim?— The only chance was in the commencement, when Byrne came and shot Aaron .

13414 Was the front of the house guarded at all while Kelly was gathering the bushes?— I only saw the two.

13415 Did you tell the constables about the fire?— They could hear it themselves, and could hear them talk; they did not ask me who was outside. I am sure they must have known it was the outlaws.

13416 Did they ask the number of people?— No, they did not, but I thought the four outlaws were there myself. During the night, some time after I had gone out, they were going to take the handcuffs off Wicks, and Byrne put his hand in his pocket and searched for the key, and said, “I have not got the key.” Dan searched his pockets, and he had not got it, and he went round to the front of the place, and after some time came back and handed the key to Byrne, and he took the handcuffs off Wicks. Byrne said to me at the time, “Do not be frightened, I will not shoot you, I only want the men in the house. Here is a man (Wicks) who tried to lag me for taking his horse, but I am not going to shoot him.”

13417 Did you ever hear any cause assigned why they wished to shoot Aaron Sherritt —any reason?— Well, no, unless they shot him for being with the police. They must have discovered it some way.

13418 You did not hear how they discovered it?— No.

13419 Did you ever hear of a quarrel between Mrs. Byrne Aaron Sherritt , about a horse?— Yes, I heard something about it.

13420 About their having him before the court?— I heard something about it.

13421 Do you think that would cause any ill-feeling towards him?— I do not know, I am sure.

13422 Did you ever hear anything outside that led you to believe that the police were in the hut?— No, I did not ever hear anything.

13423 You did not live with your daughter, you were only visiting that night?— Yes. I lived a mile further up the road, nearer to Beechworth.

13424 How far is it to where Aaron lived from here?— About seven miles.

13425 Have you heard any reports lately that the sympathizers, or any of them, are likely to break out again?— Well, no; unless what I see in the papers sometimes.

13426 Everything seems to be quiet in the district?— Yes.

13427 Is there anything that has occurred that you have seen misrepresented in the papers that you would like to speak of?— Yes. Constable Duross in his evidence said that Byrne was sending me inside to see if the bullet had gone through the room, and I said I was frightened they would shoot me. It was to the side of the room he was sending me, to see if the board was knocked off, and once after he fired two shots. I was frightened it might be off, and that the police might think it was one of the outlaws coming, and fire. At this time the outlaws knew there were men in the room.

13428 That was simply he did not exactly catch what the message was?— Yes. I came back and told him the board was not knocked off.

13429 What object did you think the police had in keeping you in?— I think it was done to prevent the outlaws setting fire to the place. After the police kept my daughter in, when I saw Dan gathering up the bushes, I said to Byrne for them not to burn the house. They wanted to, and I said, “My daughter will be burned,” and he said, “Well, call her out.” So I called out to her, and she answered me a couple of times, and after that she did not answer. She said she would not be let; and Byrne said they were cowardly dogs screening themselves with a woman, and Byrne loaded his gun and said he would riddle the -- house. I said, “Do not fire through the room, or you will shoot my daughter,” so he did not fire through the room after that. There might have been shots fired in the front of the place, but I did not know about it. He said when he came first, after I went out first, that I had not a good word for him, and that he was told my daughter used to go about blowing about what her husband would do when he would catch him. But that was all false, and I said, “I never said anything about you, Joe , except, when I heard you were with the Kellys , I said I was sorry you had not more sense.” That was when I heard it through the children at the school that he had joined the outlaws.

13430 Did you ever see Wallace , the teacher, about?— He came to my place a couple of times to see Aaron . I do not know what business he had, and he called Aaron out. Aaron was living with me for a few months after he was married before he went to live in this house. Aaron never told me what passed between them.....

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