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James Gloster gave evidence at Ned Kelly's committal hearing
James Gloster, examined by Mr Smyth, deposed,―I am a draper, living at Seymour. Occasionally I hawk my goods through the country. In December, 1878, I was out hawking, and a man named Frank Beecroft was with me. We were going to camp at Faithful Creek station on the evening of the 9th. We had got our two horses out of our cart. I then went to the kitchen for a billy of boiling water. I was told that the Kellys were there, but I did not believe it. When I was returning to my cart a man called me back, and I would not obey. I got up into the wagon for the purpose of getting my pistol, when two men followed me. The prisoner was one of the two. One went on one side of the wagon, and the other stood on the opposite side. Each held a pistol to my head, and the prisoner told me to come down. I came down, but continued to prepare my supper.
The prisoner had a revolver in one hand, and a pair of handcuffs in the other. He said, “I had a good mind to put a bullet through you for not obeying.” He also said, “It will be an easy matter for me to pull the trigger if you do not keep a civil tongue in your head.” I had been showing that I was annoyed at their interference with me. I asked the prisoner, “Who and what are you? What business have you in interfering with me?” He replied, “I am Ned Kelly, son of Red Kelly, and a better man never stepped in two shoes.” I then said, “If you are, I suppose there is no use resisting.” He said, “If you keep a civil tongue in your head you will receive no harm, but you were nearer being shot than any other man there.” He then said, “Have you any firearms in your wagon?” I answered, “I don’t carry firearms for sale.” He said, “I know you have a pistol, and if you don’t give to me at once I will burn the wagon down.” I then gave it up. The other member of the gang with Ned was Byrne, I think. Whilst Beecroft and I were having our supper prisoner guarded us. He then took us to the kitchen, where we saw two other armed men.
Afterwards we were removed to a hut called the store. A number of other men were locked up there, and the prisoner kept guard over us, having a pistol in one hand and a rifle or gun in the other. He told us to arrange ourselves comfortable for the night. During the night the prisoner was talking to me. We had been asking him questions, and with reference to the murder of the police he said, “I did all the shooting in the ranges, and none of the others shot the police. The people and the papers call me a murderer, but I never murdered anybody in my life.” I said, “How about Sergeant Kennedy?” He replied, “I killed him in a fair stand up fight,” and went on to argue that that was not murder―”a man killing his enemy,” he said, “was no murder.” He further said, “The police are my natural enemies.” He described the manner of the death of Kennedy, saying, “After the fight with Lonigan and Scanlan, Kennedy and I were firing at each other. Kennedy retreated from tree to tree. One of his shots went through my whiskers, and another through the sleeve of my coat, so he must have been a very good shot. I followed him, and he turned, as I thought, to fire again. He raised his arms as if to fire, and I fired at him again, hitting him under the armpit. He then fell.”
In a subsequent conversation that night, the prisoner told me that he had a long talk with Kennedy whilst he lay wounded; that they (the gang) wanted to leave the ground, and did not like to leave Kennedy in a dying state, so to end his misery he shot him. Prisoner also said that as he respected Sergeant Kennedy he covered his body over with a cloak. In another conversation addressed to someone else that I heard, the prisoner described the death of Lonigan. He said, “McIntyre surrendered, but Lonigan ran to a log and was attempting to fire when I fired and hit him on the head, killing him. It was a pity that he did not surrender, as I did not wish to kill any of them, but only to take their arms.” I don’t recollect the prisoner saying anything about Scanlan. In another conversation, he said that he had stolen 280 horses since he commenced business, and that had the police taken him for anything of that kind he would not have grumbled. He also said that if a man once did anything wrong the police would never leave him alone. Prisoner did not pay me for the things he stole from me. What he stole was a revolver worth £3 10s., and clothing to the value of £14 or £15.
The court adjourned for lunch, and opened again at 2 o’clock .
Mr Gaunson then proceeded to cross-examine Gloster. The witness stated―this was not the first occasion I had been stuck up. I was stuck up by a man whose name was unknown, and once by a man named Daly. The former has never been bought to justice, but Daly has. Daly shot me through the shoulder and through the face. He did not rob me.
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