Sydney Morning Herald (45)

From KellyGang
Jump to: navigation, search
(full text transcription)
Frank Becroft giving evidence

Cross-examined by Mr Gaunson: I am 20 years of age, and my parents live at Longwood; I have been two years in Mr Gloster's employ, and am still in his service; Mr Gloster told me he had written an account of the affair, but it was never shown or read to me; constable M'Quirk interviewed me at Euroa, about a month ago; Mr Gloster was not present; I wrote a statement myself; Mr Gloster told me what he could say; I told what I could say; I never agreed with Mr Gloster about anything; I wrote out my statement at detective Ward's request and sent it to him; Mr Gloster has asked me to remember Kelly's statement about the death of sergeant Kennedy; I cannot say that on the occasion when Mr Gloster and I talked about the Kellys, we compared our recollections; when Kelly's name cropped up we generally spoke about what took place at the station; we never placed our statements on the matter side by side. I cannot remember Mr Gloster ever having asked me "Do you recollect what Kelly told us about shooting Kennedy on the ground ?" but I cannot cannot state positively that he has never asked me such question; Mr. Gloster was present when I was interviewed last week by sub-inspector Kennedy.

At a quarter to 5 o'clock the Court adjourned until 10 o'clock to-morrow.

It is now stated that the Kelly armour was made in the vicinity of Greta, and that it was tested by firing balls inside of it, from twenty paces. It appears there was at one time a fifth member of the gang, but that he was tried and it was found he would not do. He was then allowed to go, after great threats, and was kept under surveillance. Kelly says he has made good provision for his mother.

The following message has been received by Mr Gaunson, in reply to his second telegram to the Chief Secretary:- "Your second telegram is received; but, under all the circumstances of this case, I must decline to vary the order of my predecessor in office.-Signed, Graham Berry.'" The probability that some relative or sympathiser of the gang will attempt to hand Ned Kelly some means of evading the gallows is so great that the strictest precaution has to be exercised, and the only chance he has at present, of obtaining poison or some deadly weapon is when in the dock, but it is so constructed, being built up against the wall of the Court-house, that no one can approach it unseen.

Dick Hart appeared in Court again to-day, and when the prisoner observed him they smiled in a peculiar way to each other. The prisoner also behaved in a singular manner towards a young woman in the gallery, threw kisses to her in a half-reserved sort of way, and she responded at times when she seemed to think no one was noticing. The girl turns out to be an old sweetheart of the outlaw.

When Ned was being conveyed back to gaol this afternoon he was very dull, and scarcely spoke at all. One of the officers in charge remarked, that they observed the girls smiling at him in Court, and he replied, "If they were in my position they would not smile much." It must be said, however, that he eyed a number of ladies who were accommodated near the Bench in a most persistent manner, and that when he caused them to look away from him, he turned round his head and smiled himself. There are a good many witnesses to be examined yet. Eight or nine, including Mr Scott, manager of the bank at Euroa; the accountant of the bank at Jerilderie, sergeant Steele, senior-constable Kelly, and constable M'Quirk, When the case of Lonigan's murder is finished, it is the intention of the prosecution to proceed with that of the murder of Scanlan, and the evidence now given will have to be repeated.

With regard to the burning of Jones's Hotel, at Glenrowan, the following facts have transpired: Senior-constable Johnson having been authorised by superintendent Sadleir to fire the house, went and obtained a bundle of straw and a bottle of kerosene; he then pretended to the people about the railway station that he was going to feed the horses in the railway paddock; he accordingly went down in that direction, entered the bush, and made a detour round to the other side or end of the hotel. In his peregrination, and when passing round the other side of the rise beyond the hotel, he came across four men fully armed with guns and revolvers. He recognized none of them. Certainly they were not policemen, and the conclusion is that they were sympathisers wanting to assist the gang. Johnston saw at once that they were not friends, so he put the evasive question to them, "Did you see two horses, a gray and a brown, pass here recently?" They replied in a surly manner that they had not, and he passed on down to the hotel, and fired in the way already fully described. This incident confirms the suspicion or belief that, on the night of the fight at Glenrowan, sympathisers were ready to fight on the side of the gang.

The witness Stevens, who was examined to-day, did duty with constable Bracken at Glenrowan. They went out together two nights every week to watch Mrs Skillian's house, and on the other five nights other constables performed that duty. Shortly before the gang was destroyed, Detective Ward and three constables posted off from Beechworth one night for the arrest of a horse-stealer, whom they had reason to believe was at Mrs Byrne's house, near Sebastopol; when they arrived there they went into a paddock to examine horses there; a relative of the gang has stated to a friend, "I was there armed, and I kept the police covered with a gun the whole time. The Kelly gang were all about the house, but they reserved themselves, because they did not want to shoot Ward." Here, then, is a third sympathiser, of the gang who armed himself, and was prepared to assist them. Two days after the Jerilderie affair a well-known citizen of Beechworth was going home at half-past 11 o'clock at night when he met two persons dressed in women's clothes in Finch-street. They asked him the direction of certain streets, and passed on. He gave them the information they desired, but at the same time he recognized that one of them was Edward Kelly and the other Joe Byrne.


, .1. , .2. ,

 ! The text has been retyped from a microfiche copy of the original.

We have taken care to reproduce this document but areas of the original text may been damaged.

We also apologise for any typographical errors.