THE POLICE MURDERS
The Ministry propose to bring the Outlawry Bill into operation without an hour’s unnecessary delay. A meeting of the Executive Council will be held this morning, at which the bill will receive the Governor’s assent. The Chief Secretary had several interviews with the Chief Commissioner of Police yesterday with a view of satisfying himself that nothing is being left undone to apprehend the Mansfield murderers.
The Legislative Council had only a short sitting yesterday, but they disposed of all the business on the paper. The Outlawry Bill, to facilitate the apprehension of the police murderers, was received from the Legislative Assembly, and passed through all its stages with applause, the only remarks made being a few explanatory observations on the first reading. The various bills which had passed through committee during the week were advanced another stage, and the Council adjourned at a quarter-past 5 o’clock until Wednesday next.
The feelings of horror and indignation excited by the crimes of Kelly and his associates were intensified yesterday when it became known that the body of Sergeant Kennedy had been found, pierced by bullets. The particulars of this new phase of the tragedy are given elsewhere. According to a telegram received from the police at Chiltern, the murderers are endeavouring to escape into New South Wales. They have stuck up a man, it is reported, at a place on the Murray nearly opposite Howlong, and are supposed to be waiting an opportunity to cross the river.
Finding Of Sergeant Kennedy's Body
A general feeling of regret was expressed throughout the city yesterday afternoon when it became known that any hopes which had been entertained with regard to the safety of the missing Sergeant Kennedy had been dispelled by the discovery of the dead body of the unfortunate officer. The melancholy intelligence was brought into Mansfield between 1 and 2 o’clock yesterday, by a search party under the direction of Inspector Pewtress and Mr Tomkins, the president of the shire. Many conjectures had been made as to the probable fate of the missing sergeant, but while a general impression appeared to gain ground amongst the people in the locality that Edward Kelly and his band of Marauders had taken Kennedy with them to the King River, scarcely anybody ventured to do more than hope that the gallant officer, who appears to have been ruthlessly shot, had not been murdered. The worst fears, however, have at length been realised, and the desperadoes have added another diabolical deed to their atrocious crimes. From the particulars telegraphed by our correspondent it appears that the search party, consisting of 16 volunteers and five constables, arrived at Stringy-bark Creek at half-past 7 o’clock on Thursday morning, and renewed the search. Shortly afterwards their labours were rewarded by one of the volunteers named Henry Sparrow, an overseer at the Mount Battery Station, finding Sergeant Kennedy’s body within half a mile of the camp where Constables Scanlan and Lonergan received their death wounds. The body presented a frightful spectacle, and from the manner in which it had been mutilated was scarcely recognisable. The unfortunate sergeant had evidently attempted to escape from his murderers by the same track as that taken by Constable McIntyre when he jumped upon Kennedy’s horse and rode off, as bullet marks were visible on some of the trees in the line of the track. He had been shot through the side of the head, the bullet coming out in front, and carrying away part of the face, while several other bullet wounds were found on his body, one of which had penetrated the lungs. His jacket was singed as if a bullet had been fired into his body from very close quarters, probably after the unfortunate man had fallen. The remains were placed upon horseback, and conveyed into the township, where the excitement over the deeds of the outlaws appears to be increasing. Sergeant Kennedy was a vigilant officer and generally well liked, and much sympathy is expressed for his widow and five children, who, however, are believed to be in tolerably good circumstances.
If a telegram, which was received yesterday evening from Chiltern, is to be credited, it would appear that Kelly and his gang are endeavouring to make for New South Wales, and by this time have probably crossed the border. The following is the telegram referred to:—
“Chiltern, Oct. 31, 3.30 p.m.
“Kelly and three others stuck up a man named Neil Christian near Baumgarten’s place, at Bungowanah, before daylight yesterday morning, and obtained provisions from him. Kelly threatened to shoot Christian should he give information. Intelligence was not obtained till this afternoon. Assistance required to scour the country in the neighbourhood of Bungowanah.
“James Lynch, Sergeant.”
Bungowanah is a small township situated on the banks of the Murray, on the Victorian side, nearly opposite to Howlong, on the New South Wales side, and is believed to be a well-known haunt frequented by the Kellys. One night in August, 1877, eleven horses were stolen from four farmers residing at Moyhu, near Greta, at which latter place the Kellys then lived. Some time elapsed before information of the offence was given to the police, as it was thought at the time that the horses had only strayed away. Ultimately the police traced the missing horses to the possession of the Baumgartens, who are two farmers living at Bungowanah. The Baumgartens, who were brothers, were tried for receiving the horses, knowing them to be stolen, the result being that one brother was convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment in Pentridge, while the other was discharged. From inquiries made at the time, it was ilicited that the Kellys had sold the horses to the Baumgartens, and it was whilst endeavouring to arrest Daniel Kelly for horsestealing in April last that Constable Fitzpatrick was shot in the wrist by Edward Kelly, and so narrowly escaped with his life. The distance between Greta and Bungowanah is between 70 and 80 miles, and as the Kellys had travelled between the two places on several occasions, and were evidently well acquainted with the track, it would certainly be within the bounds of possibility that, after having murdered the three constables on Saturday last, they at once made for the residence of Baumgarten, with the intention, no doubt, of crossing over into New South Wales. The wisdom of such a step on their part may be questioned, as from the wild and almost inaccessible nature of the country near Mansfield, they might have held possession of their secret fastnesses for some time to come; while by passing into New South Wales they will get into comparatively open country. Whether this be the case or not, it now remains for the police to hunt down the maurauders with merciless severity, and to leave no stone unturned to effect their capture, dead or alive.
(BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)
The search party in quest of Sergeant Kennedy reached the halting-place about half-past 6 last evening, and camped there for the night. The party numbered in all, including police, 25 persons. An early start was made this morning at half-past 5, the party being provided with provisions for the day. They headed for the vicinity of the scene of the late encounter, when the party formed themselves into an extended line, and scoured the country until they reached the place where the murders had been committed. After consultation, it was decided to scout for a mile in the direction of McIntyre’s escape tracks. Half a mile had scarcely been searched, when a “cooey” from Mr. Sparrow brought the party together, and it was then found that the body of the unfortunate Sergeant Kennedy had been discovered. This was about 8 o’clock. The body was stretched out, and covered by a uniform cloak. Upon the removal of the cloak the body presented a partially decomposed appearance, particularly where the wounds were visible. The remains were then partially placed in a bag and raised to the back of a horse, by Mr. Tomkins and Constable Orr. A cart was then sent for to meet the procession, and the body was conveyed to the halting place, which it reached at 11 o’clock. The body was found on McIntyre’s return tracks. The party reached Mansfield about three o’clock, the news having previously been brought by Messrs. Tomkins and Hagenau. The body now lies in the morgue awaiting a post-mortem examination and inquiry, which will be held to-morrow morning. The unfortunate man is scarcely recognisable but by general appearance and the clothing. The face is quite blackened, the nose partially gone, and there is one large hole in the breast, as if a rifle had been put close to the body and fired after Kennedy had fallen. His clothes were burnt in the spot around the wound. The right ear appears to have been cut off as with a knife. There is also a bullet wound under the right arm.
The return party report that they met a party of police from Greta, which was originally organised to act in concert with Kennedy’s party. The Greta police reported having come upon the tracks of Kelly’s party last evening, by discovering a native bear recently shot by a rifle ball. They are now following up the tracks, but are badly equipped. Volunteers also report that wherever the police are met with they are found inadequately equipped. In one case there was only one rifle between five troopers, and that was borrowed on the road. They are disheartened, from the fact that they cannot cope with the outlaws of whom they are in pursuit, armed as the latter are with breech-loaders. The police generally complain of want of rifles and ammunition.
Messrs. P.W. Bromfield and W. Collopy rendered special assistance as guides to the party.
The following telegram is from an official source:— “Mansfield, Thursday. — Mr. Tomkins found the body of Sergeant Kennedy at 8 o’clock half a mile from the scene of the former murder, lying on his back, a cloak over his face, pierced with three balls, one through his lungs. His jacket was singed as if fired closely. There is the mark of a bullet ball on a tree within two yards of the body. Kennedy was evidently trying to escape and getting to shelter behind this tree and following in Constable McIntyre’s track. — Henry H. Kitchen, J.P. (In absence of Sub-inspector Pewtress).”
The following telegram from Sub-inspector Pewtress at Mansfield was received by the Chief Commissioner of Police yesterday:— “Oct. 31, 2.50 p.m. — To Chief Commissioner of Police. — Since my report to you on Monday night I organised a party of 11 volunteers, and with six constables started on Tuesday morning for the Stringy Bark Creek, and searched for Kennedy until dusk without success. We returned to Mansfield at mid-night. I got together another party of 16 volunteers yesterday afternoon, and with five constables proceeded to Monk’s hut. Stopped there all night, and started for Stringy Bark Creek this morning at daybreak. We arrived there at half-past 7 a.m., and immediately renewed the search at 8 a.m. The body of Kennedy was found about half a mile north-east of the camp by one of the volunteers named Henry Sparrow, an overseer at the Mount Battery Station. The body was face upwards, and Kennedy’s cloak thrown over it. It presented a frightful spectacle. He had been shot through the side of the head, the bullet coming out in front, carrying away part of the face. I believe there are several shots through the body. There was a bullet mark on a tree near where the body was lying. H appears to have been shot whilst running away in the direction taken by Constable McIntyre. The body is now on the way to Mansfield, and a coroner’s inquest will be held to-morrow. There is great excitement in the town. I think the inhabitants of Mansfield and surrounding districts deserve great credit for the willing manner in which they turned out when called upon, and rendering the police every assistance in finding the bodies. I have been in the saddle nearly since Sunday afternoon, and am completely knocked up and ill. — H. Pewtress, Sub-inspector.”