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The inquiry ordered by the Government into the alleged outrages by Kelly sympathisers near Mansfield, was commenced yesterday, before Mr Panton, PM Mr CA Smyth attends to assist on behalf of the Government, and Mr O'Leary is present with a view of advising Mr Monk, the authenticity of whose narrative has been challenged. Mr Monk was under examination the whole of yesterday and he gave evidence of much interest. The inquiry will be resumed to- day.
THE MONK INQUIRY
[BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH]
(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER)
The inquiry into the alleged attempt to murder Mr Edward Monk, saw-mill proprietor, Wombat, was commenced to day by Mr Panton, PM, in the Mansfield court Mr Panton said he had come at the instance of the Attorney General, to hold the inquiry, and he invited all persons desirous of giving evidence to come forward. The same course would be adopted as in land inquiries, where evidence was taken in the form of declarations.
Mr C A Smyth said he appeared for the Government with the object of assisting the inquiry. Mr O'Leary appeared for the same purpose, but partly to represent Mr Monk.
Edward Monk, examined by Mr O'Leary, stated that on Saturday, the 20th April, he was turning home from Mansfield on a brown more. He started at about a quarter past 6 pm alone. When cantering up the Wom bat-hill, and about five miles beyond the Broken River, a man sprang from near a tree about 20ft in front, and, raising his arms, sang out, "Bail up," or "Stop." He was not exactly in front, but rather on witness's left hand. Witness pulled up at once, having a revolver in his right hand, as had been his custom when travelling alone since the murders of police. He instantly fired at the man, who also fired at the same time, when witness's mare's head and neck were past him. He himself could not have been more than 3ft away, and his hand only a foot or two. Witness felt the sting of the powder on his hand. The man was standing on an elevation of about 3ft above the level of his mare's feet. The mare swerved back, and shied across the road to the offside. Another shot followed. The horse gave a "cow" kick, indicating that it had been hit and bolted through the scrub to the right up a bridle track, under a wattle sapling, which nearly tore witness off, and thence into another track about 40 yards further on. Witness had lost control of her, but when he got her in hand again he rode home as quickly as possible. He passed two houses-Mr Phelan's and Mr Bullock's. At the latter he sang out, "Bill, I have been shot at." He never, however, drew rein until he got home. On arriving he went straight to his men's quarters and told Duncan, his mill manager, what had happened, and requested him to get his firearms ready, as he had been followed. His wife, on his arrival, was greatly frightened, but nerved herself for the occasion. Witness remained outside with Duncan, Lobden, Jebb, and his brother, with their firearms in readiness. Duncan held the mare. Witness requested Jebb to take his saddle inside, and to examine it, as he thought it had been struck some where in front. Jebb did so. The saddle produced was the one witness rode on. It was in the same state as on the Saturday afternoon, except with regard to a bullet hole. Jebb also examined the mare at witness's, and on doing so said " Yes, she has been hit, I feel the bullet." The five of them sat up all that night armed, but there was no further attack. He sent Duncan with a report to the police early next morning. Sub inspectors Pewtress and Toohey arrived in the afternoon, and other policemen followed in the evening. Wit ness rode the mare into Mansfield, ac companied by Sub-inspector Pewtress and others. On arriving there he gave a state ment to Mr Kitchen, a justice of the peace and the police took charge of the mare and of the saddle. The bullet was cut out of the mare on the Sunday before leaving the Wombat. The reason the witness carried a revolver was that he had received several threatening letters since Lynch's conviction for sending the first threatening letter. Witness had received four others, the last one being received by him on the Friday before the attack. All these letters were handed to the police on the afternoon of the Saturday in question. Mr Phelan was also in Mansfield. Met him in the street, and asked him when he was going home, as he, witness would return with him. Phelan said, "About 4 o'clock." Witness then asked him to call at Kelson's Hotel, but he did not do so. When he was galloping away from the man who fired, witness observed that nails and a bottle of oil were falling from his valise. Could not tell exactly how the valise was strapped on that night. It contained two pound packets of nail, a bottle of hair oil, and a bottle of castor oil. Had been asked by Sub- inspector Toohey to strap on the valise as it was fixed on the Saturday. Did so as nearly as he could remember. There was no mortgage of any kind over his mill or land. It had been said it was Mr Kitchen's mill, but there was no truth in that.
To Mr Smyth -I instructed my counsel to ask about this mortgage question.
To Mr O Leary -You first asked me about the mortgage.
To Mr Smyth -I bought the mill on terms, and gave a piece of land on which my house stands as a security, but there was never any mortgage on my land or mill. The security given represented 30 acres of land and my house. The land is not freehold, but would be were two other yearly installments paid. All the buildings except the mill are on the leasehold. The agreement was that I should receive back my lease when the mill was clear. I bought the mill on a five year's purchase three years ago. To the gentlemen who holds my lease I owe in all about £200. The original amount of the purchase money of the mill was £330 odd. I received some tools with the mill, but I have spent £200 or £300 on it since. The gentleman I refer to is Mr A Dundas, butcher, of Mansfield. He has Mr Tomkins as a partner. I bought my mare from Mr Tomkins. His name was at the foot of the notice calling the meeting to sympathise with me. I do not consider that my place is mortgaged. After buying the mill, I built a dam costing over £00 or £70, and introduced new saws and other improvements amounting in all to over £200. The dam has been all built up within the last three or four months, since the police murders, and subsequent to the receipt of the first threatening letter. I have also erected several new outhouses. The outhouses I have erected within the last six weeks have cost me £30 at least. My dam was broken down one night, and to the best of my belief it was cut away by sympathisers with Lynch. The embankment to the extent of 30ft was washed away, and there was no flood. On several occasions since the murders my slip panels have been thrown down, and my cattle let loose. On one occasion eight of my bullocks, which were grazing about my house, here not fenced in, were missed, and we found them nine miles away on the King River Ranges. I told Mr Kitchen and others about these occurrences, but supplied no information to the press. I attribute the ill feeling exhibited towards me to my as sisting the police to find the dead bodies, to allowing the police to stop at my house, and to the conviction of Lynch. No one else but myself could have piloted the police across the ranges to search for the bodies. I allowed the police and search parties to stop at my place, but gave them no other active assistance. For guiding the search party, packing the bodies, and for my trouble during the first week, I was paid £50 by the police on the Thursday following the murders. Mr Pewtress asked me to assist in finding Sergeant Kennedy s body. He said I would be paid handsomely, but I refused to assist. That refusal was made before I had received any threatening letter. After the receipt of the first letter, I asked that police should be stationed at my place, and protection was given to me as long as I desired. About the end of February I sent Constables Neville and Love to Mansfield, with a letter stating that I required them no longer. I thought things were getting quiet, and that to retain police about my place would raise more ill feeling. Police assist ance was offered to me by Mr Toohey, after the receipt of some of the recent threatening letters, but he declined. His wife was sickly, and unable to cook for the police, and he thought two of his own men, if armed, would be as good protection as any two constables. He never said he suspected one of the constables of having written any of the threatening letters. He said that Constable Love's entries in the forage book resembled the writing in the letters. He did not mean to convey the impression that any of the letters had been written by Constable Love or any policeman. On the Saturday he was shot at he rode into Mansfield, and arrived at 4 o clock, and started for home in the evening. He was looking in the interval for the payment of accounts and orders. His custom had always been, when he carne to Mansfield looking for business, to remain until evening. On the Saturday in question he showed the last threatening letter to several persons. One of them, named August Spehr, offered to accompany him home. He said, "No, thank you I am not frightened to go home by myself. If I want any protection on the way I could get the police." He pressed very hard to come with him, but he had his wife and dray to take home, and was somewhat the worse of liquor. He offered to borrow his brother in law's horse so as to ride with him, and get his brother in law to take charge of his wife and dray. Witness still, however, refused. He knew he could get a policeman if he asked for one. He could not keep them at 9d a meal. His objections to the police were that he could not afford to keep them at 9d per meal, and that some of them he thought would do him harm if they had an opportunity. They had already told false hoods about him, and he was full of them. At one time he could not get more than 9d per meal from the police, but on the 4th of February he was paid for 95 meals at 1s 6d per meal. The police brought their own bedding. On Saturday the 20th, when in Mansfield, he spoke to Spehr and others about his intention of leaving the country. He said "If those letters continue to come to me, I, for the sake of my wife and children, will sell out at any sacrifice, and leave the Wombat." Spehr asked where he intended going, and witness said he was not certain, but that he had friends in New Zealand, and that he might go there. He spoke to Sub inspector Toohey about putting his property in the hands of Mr Kelson for sale. There were three gates on the road between Mansfield and the Wombat. The track in which he had the encounter was the only available one over the hill, the others being all blocked up with logs. One point he was bound to pass was the ford at the Broken River. Did not see any suspicious characters hanging about him on the Saturday. If the offender was not a stranger to the district, he must have known that there were four places witness had necessarily to pass, namely, the three gates and the ford. The man sprang from near the foot of the tree, and did not go round a log which was lying there. He threw out both his arms. Did not recognise his voice, and saw no horse in the vicinity. The man was at first facing witness, but before the mare stopped he was a little on his left side. Witness had to fire over his bridle arm, or across the mare's neck. He never in any previous statement said that the man was only 3ft distant when they fired at each other. Would say as a positive fact that at the tree there was a place where a man could stand on a bank a least 2ft above where the mare stood, but had never measured it. Gave a description of the affair to Mr Pewtress, but then only spoke from what he observed in the darkness. Also pointed out the positions to Pewtress and Toohey but never told them that the man fired on him from a height. Saw the bullet-hole in the saddle since making his first statement, that was when he mounted the mare on the previous day. At the tree he did not then see that. Who ever fired the revolver must have fired from a height. Had read the newspapers that the shot must have been fired from above the saddle. The saddle was discolored about the bullet-bole. The discoloration measured in witness' opinion about three quarters of an inch all round the hole. Did not notice this discoloration before he was fired at. He did not atop or dismount on the road. All the way he carried the revolver in his belt, until he came to the Broken River, when he then carried it in his right hand at full cock. Did not recollect how the valise was stropped upon the saddle. Witness here placed two packets of nails and two bottles of oil in the valise, and then strapped the valise upon the saddle. As the valise was now placed, the bullet which injured the saddle must, if fired by a man in front have passed through the valise. The valise was not injured
Mr Smyth -Had you been in the saddle at the time, must not the ball have passed through your thigh?
Witness -How do you know what position I was in on the saddle? The bullet went right through the saddle.
Mr Smyth -If the saddle was then on the mere, would not the bullet have entered the mare's back ?
Witness -No , it would have passed over her wither.
Mr Smyth-Would it not have grazed her?
Witness -It has not done so. I think it could have gone through without injuring the mare.
At this stage the witness, by desire, mounted his horse in the court-yard, and placed himself in the positions he occupied when fired at, Whilst a ?, representing the would be assassin, stood on an office washstand 2ft 6in high, and pointed with a revolver towards the shot marks.
Examination continued - The man might have changed his position before firing his second shot. Witness did not say to Bullock that one of the shots struck his saddle, and the other his horse's leg. Never said the man wore a mask, but that he might have done so. After he arrived home Lobdell, one of his men suggested that the bullet should be cut out of the horse's leg, but witness would not allow that to be done until the police came. The bullet which hit the saddle went clean through on the near side through the flannel, and was found by Jebb lodged underneath on the off side. The revolver carried by witness was supplied by the police. He fired one shot on Friday and reloaded the chamber on the same day. He bought the cartridges in Melbourne. He also fired a shot on Saturday morning and reloaded the chamber. He also reloaded the chamber he fired at the man on his arrival at home. All the cartridges he reloaded with were taken from his pocket, where he always carried some spare ammunition. A few days after the affair, Sub inspector Toohey took possession of his revolver, and remarked that three of them were newly loaded. He received another revolver in exchange.
The inquiry was adjourned until next day.
This document gives you the text of the report about the KellyGang for this day. The text has been retyped from a microfiche copy of the original. We have taken care to reproduce this document but areas of the original text may been damaged. We also apologise for any typographical errors.