The Argus at KellyGang 7/5/1874

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An inquest was opened at the Shamrock Hotel Woolshed on Sunday last before Dr Dobbyn on the remains of a Chinaman who had been found dead and horribly mutilated in the bush. The only evidence called that day was that of the medical gentleman who had made a post mortem examination of the body.

Henry Tregellis Fox deposed - I have this day made a post mortem examination on the body of a Chinaman on the premises of the Shamrock Hotel, Woolshed. I found the body lying on the right side with the knees drawn up, face eyes cheeks and left aide of neck destroyed like to that in bodies eaten by wild cats. The parts on which the body was resting and other parts of the body where two surfaces were in contact presented a scalded appearance not blistered. I found an incised wound about two inches and a half long traversely on the upper part of the nape of the neck and within the limits of the hairy scalp. The left half of this wound was very superficial the other half was deeper, but did not reach to the bone. On the belly there was an excised transverse wound about 3in long and 2in above the umbilicus. This wound did not penetrate the peritoneum, but went down to it.

Across the right forearm there was an incised wound from about an inch below the styloid process on the radius to an inch and a half below the styloid process of the ulna. This wound was in a slanting direction dividing most of the tendons and the two arteries. On the left forearm there was a similar cut, with the same direction but half an inch farther from the wrist. The arteries were also divided in this wound. (Dr Fox having described several other incised wounds proceeded) On turning back the scalp I found a slight ecchymosis on the under surface on the left hand side of it. There was no fracture of the skull. The brain was too far gone in decomposition to allow of my giving any opinion about it.

There was no fracture or dislocation of the vertebrae of the neck. The heart, lungs, and liver were normal. The stomach was empty, except a minute quantity of mucus. The body presented the appearance of a stout well nourished man. I do not think that any of the wounds were inflicted by the deceased himself. Pending an analysis of the contents of the stomach I am of opinion that the constitutional disturbance from these wounds would be quite sufficient to cause death. Taking into account that the body was exposed to the air, I do not think he has been dead more than a week. The wounds were more probably produced by a knife than by a chopper. I do not know if deceased was beaten to death. There were no marks of such. There was no evidence of his having bled to death. The wounds were quite sufficient to cause death from bleeding.

The inquest was then adjourned until 3 pm yesterday when the jury having reassembled a Chinese named Ah Cheny identified the body of the deceased as that of Ah Fook, who had been a partner with witness and 15 other Chinamen in a claim at the Woolshed. Witness lived in a hut by himself, and deceased had lived with Ah On, another partner in the claim in a neighbouring hut.

Some days since he saw the two latter quarrelling and Ah On knocked Ah Fook down with a sapling. After that deceased was not able to do any more work and was generally lying down complaining, but occasionally crawled about. There was blood on Ah On too, and he started for the hospital. About the 22nd, Ah Fook was missing. Witness after searching and inquiring about the Woolshed without obtaining any news of deceased, went off to Chiltern and Indigo to look for him as he had friends there. He was still quite unsuccessful, and on his return went to Beechworth and telegraphed to Albury, but heard in reply that Ah Fook was not there.

Towards the end of last week another Chinaman told him that a European lad, named William Fitzgerald had seen some clothes lying in the bush. He and the other Chinaman then went to the boy and the three proceeded to the spot indicated by the latter which was not far from the site of the old Woolshed police camp. There they found some clothes, a jumper &c, which were stained with blood following down the range a few hundred yards they found the body of Ah Fook. The body was lying on the right side with the knees doubled up and partly stripped. It had nothing on but a jumper which was stained with fresh blood but under the head was a sort of rough bundle containing a shirt and other articles which were deeply stained with blood in places which corresponded with the position of the wounds on the body. There was blood on the back of the shirt in the front of the trousers and on the waistband. There was blood also on the body at and near the various wounds. Witness and his companion then covered the body with some matting and communicated with the police in Beechworth.

The inquest was at this stage further adjourned until 10 am on Sunday next  

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