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The bushranging outrage at Springybark Creek was one of the chief topics of conversation in town yesterday. From the full and lucid account telegraphed from Mansfield by our special reporter, it will be seen that the murder of the troopers was deliberately planned by Kelly and his gang, who stole secretly upon the camp when two of the men where away. Of the two who were surprised, one was shot and the other made prisoner, so that it was an easy matter to dispose of the remaining two on their return. Of the four police who constituted the party, Constables Scanlon and Longeron are killed, Constable McIntyre has escaped, and Sergeant Kennedy is missing. What his fate has been can only be conjectured, but there is every reason to fear the worst. Active steps are being taken for the pursuit and capture of the criminals. Arrangements have been made for the despatch of a large number of police to the district, and Superintendent Nicolson has gone up to direct the operations.
ATROCIOUS MURDERS BY BUSHRANGERS
The particulars which we published yesterday in reference to the terrible encounter which had taken place near Mansfield , on Saturday morning last, although meagre, were the general theme of conversation throughout the city yesterday. Further intelligence has come to hand, from which it appears that a premeditated and atrocious crime has been perpetrated by a gang of ruffians. Shortly after noon yesterday three volunteers returned to Mansfield with info rmation confirmatory of the report that Constables Lonergon and Scanlan had been shot dead by the outlaws. Scanlan had been pierced by a ball through the neck, while Lonergon received a mortal wound in the forehead, which must have caused instantaneous death. No effort will be spared to secure the arrest of the band of desperadoes, and for that purpose the Government has offered a reward of £200 for such information as will lead to the apprehension and conviction of each of the offenders. Captain Standish, chief commissioner of police, yesterday afternoon ordered all the available troopers in Richmond police depot to proceed with their horses by special train to Benalla. The men are all picked troopers, and others are being collected from different parts of the colony to follow. During the afternoon Superintendent Nicolson, accompanied by three troopers who are well acquainted with the district, left town for Wangaratta by the train leaving Spencer-street at about 3 o’clock, and a further detachment of troopers will be sent up to Benalla this morning. Inspector Secretan has telegraphed to Detective Kennedy, who is on official duty at Shepparton, to remain in that district, and to render all assistance in his power to the general police. The following official despatches were received by the chief commissioner of police yesterday:―
“Benalla, Monday. To the Chief Commissioner of Police.―The Postmaster at Mansfield telegraphs that ‘Mr Hickson, of Broken River , has just arrived, bringing in Constable Meehan’s horse.’ Meehan is missing between Dinan’s and Daw’s and nothing has been seen or heard of him.―S. Maud, Senior-constable, for Superintendent.”
“ Mansfield , Monday. Captain Standish.―There is not a constable here. Cannot you send men up by special train? All the volunteers are in the Wombat Ranges . If I can get more volunteers, may I use police horses that are now in police paddock? I can get 50 volunteers if I can have a few police to go with them. Before Inspector Pewtress left last night he despatched Constable Meehan with despatches to Benalla. Meehan’s horse was found eight miles from here, and Meehan has not been heard of at Daw’s Police Station, which place he had to pass on his way to Benalla. Three volunteers have just returned from Stringybark Creek, and report that they found the dead bodies of Constables Scanlan and Lonergon. The camp had been burnt, and the pockets of the constables rifled. Scanlan was shot through the throat while Lonergon was shot in the forehead. Search was made for Sergeant Kennedy, but no traces were found. The horses were tracked towards the King River . The volunteers packed the dead bodies on horseback to Wombat, where I have sent conveyance to meet them.―Mr H Kitchen, JP, in absence of Sub-inspector Pewtress.”
“Benalla, Monday. To the Chief Commissioner of Police.―About half-past 4 p.m. yesterday (Sunday) Constable M’Intyre returned to the station and reported that on Saturday morning early, as they were preparing breakfast at the camp (on Stringybark Creek, about eight miles on the King River side of Wombat), they were surrounded by four men, who, presenting arms, called upon them to surrender. Lonergon immediately placed his hand behind for his revolver, when he was shot dead; another shot struck Scanlan. McIntyre says he saw him fall, the blood pouring out of his side. McIntyre, being unarmed at the time, jumped on his horse and rode off. Shots were fired after him, hitting his horse, which fell. He then made his way on foot, reaching Matthew Byrne’s farm yesterday afternoon, from whence he was driven in to Mansfield by Ned Byrne.
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