The Argus at KellyGang 22/5/1878

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(full text transcription)



At the Benalla Police Court, on the 17th inst, William Williamson, alias "Brickey", William Skillion, and Ellen Kelly on remand, were charged with aiding and abetting at murder.

Superintendent Chomley conducted the case on behalf of the Crown.

Alexander Fitzpatrick deposed, - I am a mounted constable, stationed at Benalla. On Monday, the 15th of April last, was proceeding to Greta on duty. Had to pass the residence of Mrs Kelly, the female prisoner, and called between 4 and 5 o'clock. I left after about an hour or more, but seeing two horsemen ride towards Kelly's house I followed them. I saw Dan Kelly come out of a hut, and after speaking to him about some stray horses, I told him I would have to arrest him under a warrant out against him for horse stealing. He said, "Very well, but let me get some thing to eat, as I have been out riding all day." I consented to this, and went after him into the house. It was then getting dusk. Mrs. Kelly was in the room, and while Dan was getting his supper she said to me, " You won t take Dan out of this to night." Dan replied, "Shut up, mother, its all right." Just afterwards Ned Kelly came in at the door, and without a word fired at me with a revolver. I was about a yard and a half inside, rather behind the door, with my back towards it. Mrs Kelly was standing with her back to the fire. The first shot did not strike me, and he immediately fired again, the bullet lodging in my left arm just above the wrist. Mrs Kelly at the same time rushed at me with a shovel, striking a heavy blow on my head, and making a large dent in the helmet I wore. (Helmet produced.) I had raised my arm to guard the shovel when he fired the second shot. I knocked the shovel down with my right hand, and then turned to draw my revolver, but it had been taken out of my belt Dan Kelly had it in his hand. I then seized the revolver held in Ned's hand, saying, "You cowardly wretch, do you want to murder me?" We struggled for the pistol when it went off a third time, the bullet passing through the sleeve of my jumper. Skillion was by the side of Ned Kelly all the time, with a revolver in his hand, but he did not use it. Williamson came out of the bedroom just as the second shot was fired, he was also armed with a revolver or pistol. The pistols were all pointed at me. When I said "Do you want to kill me?" Ned Kelly called out, "That will do, boys." He turned to Skillion and said, "You -, why didn't you tell me who was here?" and then turning to me, said, "If I had known it was you, Fitzpatrick, I would not have fired, but none of the other - would have left here alive." The wound in my arm was bleeding all the time, and I fainted. When coming round again I heard the men talking. Ned Kelly told Williamson that Bill (meaning Skillion) "would have given that ___ a pill the other day if he had not prevented him," and Skillion said he had a pill in for Sergeant Steel one of these days. Williamson and Skillion soon after left, and I got up from the floor, when Ned said he was sorry it had happened, as it was me; he should get into trouble over it. I saw my revolver on the table; it was taken asunder and the charges drawn. I took it up, and Ned Kelly took it from my hand; he also took all my ammunition, and asked had I more. Examined my wrist; it was swollen, and the bullet was seen under the skin. He said he must have it out of that, and took a rusty razor to cut it out. I wished to go home and get a medical man to remove it, but he refused. I then said I would operate myself, and taking a sharp penknife I cut it out. It was a small ball. Kelly's sister was present then. Ned Kelly took the bullet, and my arm was bandaged by Mrs. Kelly. It was then that I went outside, Ned Kelly following me. He said, "Now, look here, I spared you, and you must spare me. How will you manage to say how you were shot?" I replied I would not mention it. He then said, "You had better say this - that you went to arrest Dan, who was in company with Williamson, that you had your revolver out, and in putting the handcuffs on it went off and shot you, and that Dan took the ammunition." He after words asked me if I knew a man named Whitla, and I told him "No." He said "Look here, this will do better. Say that two men rushed from behind a tree when you arrested Dan; two big, men one like   myself - they'll think it was brother Jim, and the other was Whitla. Say that one cried out "Oh, Whitla, you've shot him." He gave as a reason for my saying this that both the men were miles away at the time. He also compelled me to make an entry in my note book. (Book produced and entry read to somewhat similar tale as above.) I wanted to get away then, but Ned would not return my revolver. He said, "If you go home and say I shot you, you'll get no credit for it. Government won't reward you, but I'll make it right with you; I'll give you, 500 after Baumgarten's ??? is over." Mrs. Kelly told Ned to say that if I told of it I'd not be alive long; they had plenty of friends about. I went and got my horse from behind the house, where Dan had tied him not to be seen. My hand was very painful. Dan brought my revolver and handcuffs, and I went away. Ned showed me out of the panel, and I started off for Benalla. After going about two miles and a half I saw Williamson and Skillion riding after me. I spurred on faster then, until coming to Winton, to Lindsays. When I dismounted I could not stand, and the two Lindsay's helped me in and gave me brandy, and David Lindsay accompanied me into Benalla.

Cross examined by MrZincke - Dan did not refuse to be arrested. Had not a warrant with me, but knew there was one out; saw it in the Police Gazette. Had no instructions to go to Kelly's. Was acting perhaps as amateur constable on the occasion.

The prisoners reserved their defence, and were committed for trial at the Beechworth Assize Court, on the 9th October next.

Mrs Kelly was admitted to bail in two sureties of £50 each, and herself in a like amount.  

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