The Age 30/10/78 (2)

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The Age


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At ten o'clock this morning a post mortem examination was conducted by Dr Reynolds on the bodies of Michael Scanlan and Thomas Lanigan, the two constables, after which an inquiry was held, presided over by Mr H.M Kitchen, JP, the case for the Crown being watched by Mr Sadlier, solicitor. The following evidence was taken:- Thomas M'Intyre mounted constable stationed at Mansfield deposed that on Friday, 25th inst, Sergeant Kennedy, the two constables, Scanlan and Lanigan, and himself, went in search of the Kelly brothers, who were charged with an attempt to murder Constable Fitzpatrick. --They camped that night at Stringybark Creek, about twenty miles from Mansfield. The following morning, at six o'clock, Kennedy and Scanlan patrolled down the creek, and witness was ordered to do the cooking for the party in their absence. About five o'clock pm he was making tea and was unarmed, his revolver being in the tent. Constable Lanigan was standing by his side. Heard voices crying out, "Bail up; hold your hands up." Turned round and saw four men with guns pointed at him and Lanigan, two of whom he identified as Edward and Daniel Kelly from the description that had been given. Immediately held up his hand, but Lanigan endeavoured to get behind a tree three or four yards off, at the same time placing his hand upon his revolver. Before he could get his revolver out he was shot and fell. The four men then rushed towards witness, and he heard Lanigan exclaimed, "Oh Christ. I'm shot." The four men ordered witness to keep his hands up and asked if he had his firearms. Replied that he had not. They then asked where his revolver was and he said in the tent. Edward Kelly then searched him for firearms. He was then about fifteen passes from the tent. When Kelly found he had no arms he told witness he might put his hands down. They then searched Lanigan, and took the revolver from him, and next searched the tent, and took all the arms and ammunition. When Kelly looked towards the body of Lanigan he said, "Dear, what a pity that man tried to get away." Then he said to witness, "But you're all right." One of the other men wanted to have some tea and a smoke and witness gave them tobacco. The shot that killed Lanigan was fired by Edward Kelly; that was the only one he saw fire at Lanigan. Daniel Kelly produced a pair of police handcuffs that witness should be handcuffed but Kelly said, "No there is something better then handcuffshere." Tapping his rifle which he had re loaded. He also said, "Don't attempt to get away for if you do I will track you to Mansfield and shoot you at the police station." He asked when he expected his two mates to return, who he knew were out. Told him he did not know. They should have been home long ago, he expected they were bushed. He asked several other questions about their names and horses &c. He also asked where the rifle was that the party had. Told him the party on patrol had it. He also asked about their mates. Told him when he said he had never heard about Kennedy, but he believed Scanlan was a flash b__. Asked him what he intended to do and said, "Surely you don't intend to shoot them down in cold blood because I would rather he shot a thousand times than give information of them, one being the father of a large family." He said, "I'll not shoot the man if he will hold his hands up and surrender." Asked what he intended doing with the witness, and if he was going to shoot him. He replied , "No, what should I shoot you for? I could have shot you half an hour ago." He said, "At first I thought you were Constable Flood, and if you had been I would have roasted you on that fire." They then concealed themselves, awaiting the arrival of witness's mates. Kelly being near the fire he ordered witness to stand close to him. He said, "That b__ Fitzpatrick is the cause of all this. Those people lagged at Beechworth the other day were lagged innocently; they no more had revolvers in their hands that night than you have at present." He then asked witness what became of the Sydney man (referring to the murder of Sergeant Wallings). Replied that he was shot by the police. He said, "And I suppose you b__ have come out here to shoot me." Answered, "No, we have come to apprehend you." He asked, "What brought you, then?" and said, "It is a shame to see big strapping men like you in a lary looking billet like the police force." Replied that we were ordered to go out. He said if he let witness go he would have to leave the police and witness told him he would. Asked him if he got the other two men to surrender what he would do with them. He asked, "You had better get them to surrender, for if they escape I will shoot you, or if you let them know in any way that we are here you will be shot as now, but if you get them to surrender I will allow you to depart in the morning, but you'll have to go on foot as we want your horses. We will handcuff you all night as we intend sleeping here ourselves tonight." Asked him if he would promise faithfully to allow the police to depart, to which he consented. Asked if he would prevent the other man from shooting them, and he said they could please themselves, he would not shoot them. During the conversation one of the bushrangers was concealed in the tent, and the others in the scrub, awaiting the arrival of Kennedy and Scanlan. Told Edward Kelly that I would try to get the other two constables to surrender if he promised not to shoot. Upon that before the other bushrangers could be informed of the agreement, Sergeant Kennedy and Constable Scanlan came in sight. Kelly said, "Hush lads, here they come. You (to witness) sit down upon that log, or I'll put a hole through you." Said, "Oh, Kelly, for God's sake don't shoot the men and I will get them to surrender." Kennedy then came up in advance of Scanlan. Witness went near Kennedy, and as he did so Kelly and his mates cried, "Bail up; throw your hands up." Kennedy grasped the case of his revolver, and immediately shoots were fired. Advised Kennedy to dismount and surrender. Scanlan dismounted and endeavoured to get behind a tree, at the same time trying to get his repeating rifle, which he had on his shoulder, but before he could do so, or secret himself, he fell from a gunshot would under his arm. Saw blood spurt from his side as he fell. At that time there were a great many shots being fired by the Kelly party, neither of the police being allowed time to draw their firearms. Kennedy then surrendered, after endeavouring fruitlessly to draw his revolver, but as the thing concluded, and thinking that Edward Kelly did not intend to keep his word and spare their lives, and Kennedy's horse being near, witness mounted and rode off. As he did so he heard one of the bushrangers, Daniel Kelly, cry out, "Shoot that b__" A great many more shots were afterwards fired but none struck witness. Kennedy was close to him when he mounted, and he said to Kelly's party, "All right boys, don't shoot, don't shoot." Rode towards the poles through very thick scrub, and got a very severe fall from the horse. Remounted and rode about two miles further, and finding the horse giving in thoughts he was shot; and taking bridle and saddle off abandoned him. Ran a short distance and concealed himself in a wombat hole, when he made a short entry in his memo book of what had occurred, which he read. Lay concealed until it was dark. Left his hiding place, taking off his boots to avoid - - - - - - - the aid of a compass and lantern and made his way towards Mansfield. Travelled on foot all that night and till about three o'clock on Sunday afternoon, when he reached Mansfield, and reported the matter to Sub-inspector Pewtress. The same afternoon he returned with him and party to search for the bodies. Found Scanlan's body where he saw him fall and the body of Lanigan about six yards from where he fell. The pockets were rifled, and all the provisions (eight or ten day's supply), with ammunitions and horse gone, and the tent and clothing destroyed by fire. Could find no trace of Sergeant Kennedy. After a search of about half a mile around the spot, one of the party cooeyed, but there was no response. Arrived at the spot about two o'clock on Monday morning and remained about four hours. Sling the bodies on horses and brought them on to Wombat, and from thence by conveyance to the Mansfield morgue. Cross examined by Mr Kitchen: Believed the gang were informed of the police movements and knew they were there before they came upon them, and had heard them shooting, the same day. Kelly said he saw witness carrying a gun during the day. Samuel Reynolds, MD., described the nature of the wounds on the bodies and said that death must have rapidly followed them. The inquiry then closed. No additional police having arrived, great indignation is expressed by the residents. The search party have not yet returned. The stores are all closed and business is at a dead standstill. .


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