Deposition – Edward Lillis


The Depositions

Deposition of Edward Lillis

The examination of Edward Lillis
Labourer of Roebourne
taken on oath this 18th
day of March in the year of Our Lord one thousand
eight hundred and 85 at Roebourne
in the Colony aforesaid, before the undersigned, one
of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said Colony in the presence and
hearing of Frederick Bevan, Charles Warburton, William Holmes Gilroy and San Qui who
are charged this day before me for that they the said F. Bevan. C. Warburton
W.H. Gilroy and San Qui at Roebourne on

This deponent Edward Lillis on his oath
saith as follows:- In January last I was lodging at Bevan’s. I remember Monday the 12 January. I saw Bevan that morning go out to go to work. I saw him next on Tuesday about 1/2 past 11 at his own place. I can’t say who was present. A remark was made about the murder. Gilroy was at the house for dinner. I heard Bevan say he knew nothing about the murder till the teamster came out. I believe Gilroy and Mrs Bevan were present when he said that.

I remember going to bed at 10 o’clock on Monday night the 12th January. I had a sleeping draught from Dr O’Meehan. Gilroy saw me take it. He knew it was a sleeping draught. Gilroy occupied the same room as I. He went to bed the same time as I did. We used to keep a light burning all night every night on account of my hand being bad. There was oil enough and wide enough in the lamp that night to burn all night. When I went to bed I laid my hand out on a chair with a pillow under my left side. I woke up about midnight. I guessed at the time. I had no clock or watch. There was no one in the room. I got up; the light was out; the pillow was removed and lying against the door about 2 yards from me. It could not have fallen to that place. The room is about 3 yards by 2 yards, or a little more. I could see all over it I slept on a bedstead and Gilroy on the floor. He had blankets. I got up to get the pillow and walked on his blankets. Gilroy was not there. I did not go outside. The door was 1/2 open. I went to bed again. I was awake about 10 minutes and left the door open.

I woke next just after daylight. The sun was not up. Gilroy was then close to the door in a stooping position as if picking something up. He was dressed and had a hat on. I don’t know if he undressed when he went to bed. I did not speak to him or he to me when I woke in the morning. He soon went out. I next saw him about sunrise going up the road past Eaton’s dwelling house. I did not see him again till breakfast time when he came back. He told me he had been to Frank Smith’s camp and saw some Chinese making a tent. Mrs Bevan asked him if he had heard the news: he said “no”. She told him Mr Anketell and Burrup had been murdered. This conversation was outside. I was inside but could hear. Gilroy said nothing that I remember but stayed outside a little. Gilroy is generally very talkative. He was very quiet that day. After breakfast I asked Gilroy if he was coming down. He said “yes” and we went down to the Bank. I said to him “It’s a dreadful affair” and he said “yes”. I remained with him opposite the Bank. I went to the shoemaker’s window to get a drink and Gilroy followed me and asked if I was going to stay there or going home. I said I was going home and he said he was not. He went in the direction of Burns.

I next saw Gilroy at dinner time at Bevan’s I saw him again at night at Bevan’s with Bevan and Warburton. They were talking about a murder that had happened at home some years ago. Warburton was the principal talker. Warburton and Bevan got to angry words and Warburton got up and walked away. It was a story about a butler and a servant girl killing their master and taking some of his papers and putting them into another gentleman’s bag and the latter was arrested and hanged. Some years after the girl was dying and confessed and 12 months later the butler confessed. Gilroy spoke several times.

On Tuesday night I slept in a different room, the dining room. I did not care to sleep again in the other room. On Wednesday I saw Bevan and Gilroy at Bevan’s about 1 o’clock. They entered the house about the same time. They seemed to me to have been drinking. I had had my dinner. I had some conversation with Gilroy. I believe Bevan lay down in his room. We were in the dining room. Mrs Bevan may have been there at times. Gilroy told me several had had dinner at Noonan’s billiard room and that he had been drinking with Bevan and had spent 11/-. Afterwards he introduced the subject of the murder by saying he had examined the wounds in Anketell’s and Burrup’s heads at the Bank and that the murder was done with a pick without a handle. This conversation was between 1 and 3. I said I thought it was impossible to kill a man with a pick without a handle. He said it was easy to kill Anketell by throwing a few stones along the verandah to be sure he was asleep and then to go and drive the pick through his skull with both hands. I had heard nothing about a pick before that.

I remember Sunday the 11 January. On that day Bevan had a white linen shirt and dark trousers. I think he was wearing a cotton shirt on Tuesday. I am not sure. I know he had other shirts, cotton. On the night of the 12th William King, Gilroy, San Qui, Mrs Bevan and a little girl were at Bevan’s. When I went to bed I saw Mrs Bevan and King talking outside. I used to have my hand bathed 3 or 4 times a day. I did it myself. No one else ever bathed it. There was water in the room when I went to bed in a pannican. My hand could not have been bathed without shifting it, but Gilroy told me next day he had poured some water on my hand during the night. I did not know it.

x ex by Bevan.

You went to work on Monday the 12th. I don’t remember Warburton coming with potatoes that morning. I don’t remember what time you went. I did not see you again that day. I was at the house nearly all day. I don’t remember whether there was beer at dinner on Tuesday. I believe there was some sugar beer midday. I remember there was some, but I am not sure of the day.

x ex by Gilroy.

I have seen you carry the sofa bed into the bedroom. You had a sheet only, until I gave you blankets. I had a blanket or two. I owned a pair of white blankets. The lamp was burning every night except one when we were short of oil. Others beside myself have poured water on [?] hand. You have. I believe you used to carry the sofa bed into the dining room when you got up.

E. Lillis

Before me
E.H. Lawrence J.P.

E Lillis recalled on 19th March and sworn saith Gilroy came to live at Bevan’s on Friday the 9th January.

E. Lillis

Before me
E.H. Lawrence J.P.