Deposition – John Albert O’Meehan


The Depositions

Deposition of John Albert O’Meehan

The examination of John Albert O’Meehan
Medical Officer 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 J.A. O’Meehan on his oath
saith as follows:- I am Medical Officer at Roebourne. I remember examining the bodies of Mr Anketell and Mr Burrup on the morning of the 13th January. I first saw them between 7 and 8 o’clock that morning. I examined Mr Anketell first. On the right side of the head a little below and outside the right eye there was a wound extending upwards to the junction of the hair and forehead about 3 3/4 inches long made with some sharp instrument and fracturing the skull. I found another wound about 2 inches behind the top of that wound also fracturing the skull, a sharp cut about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. There was another wound behind that a little lower down, also fracturing the skull. On the right cheek there was a wound which broke the lower jaw. There was a wound in the right ear made with a sharp instrument, going into the brain. Over the left eye, there was a wound made by a blunt instrument fracturing the skull. It was a little to the left of the middle of the forehead. On the back of the head to the left there was an L shaped wound. 1 1/2 inch each way, fracturing the skull. The whole skull seemed to be broken in. Any of the wounds except that on the jaw would have been fatal. I am under the impression none of the wounds would be made by the pick produced.

I examined the body of Mr Burrup. I found 2 skin marks on the fingers of his right hand. I found a cut over his right ear about 3 3/4 inches long, which cut went through the skull into the brain – brain matter was oozing through it. I found another cut over the right eye made with a blunt instrument fracturing the skull and penetrating the brain: there was a small wound about 2 inches behind the right ear.

I saw no marks on other parts of the bodies. The wound in Mr Anketell’s ear would be made by a knife or some similar instrument. I do not think from the position or condition of the bodies there could have been any struggle. The cut over Anketell’s right eye corresponded closely with that over Burrup’s right ear; and the wound over Anketell’s left eye corresponded with the wound over Burrup’s right eye. That over Burrup’s right ear must have been made with an axe or edge. The knife produced could make the wound I found in Anketell’s ear.

I saw a stain on the pick, which was shown me some time ago by the Sergeant. I found a hair on it. I also saw a sock on which there was blood. I saw a white shirt with a stain on it. I should say it was not blood. I saw some trousers. There were stains on them but I can’t say of what. I looked by request at the prisoner Warburton’s hands. I found a few scratches on his left hand. He said they were made with stones at his work. They might have been: I could form no opinion how they were made. The various things I examined were show me by the Sergeant.

I should say when I first saw the bodies that they had been dead about 4 or 5 hours. I think the wounds might have been made by the axe or tomahawk produced. I have seen the hat produced; it was shown me by Inspector Rowe. I cut out 2 pieces. I could not form a positive opinion as to the stains: they look like blood. I also saw the boots produced. I could form no opinion as the stains on them. The hat has been wet which makes it difficult to speak about the stains. The L shaped wound might possibly be made with the back of the tomahawk.

J. A. O’Meehan

Before me
E.H. Lawrence J.P.