Newspaper articles – The West Australian – 11th -13th April 1885

The West Australian

SATURDAY, 11 APRIL 1885

NEWS AND NOTES

The Lubra arrived at Fremantle yesterday morning, and shortly before midday the two whites and the Chinaman committed for trial for the Roebourne bank murders were brought up to Perth by train and conveyed to the gaol under a strong escort of police.

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The s.s. Lubra arrived from Cossack early yesterday morning, having had an excellent passage down of a trifle over five days, and from Geraldton of less than 25 hours. She brings amongst her passengers Mr Farquhar Scott, who has been managing the  Roebourne Branch of the Union Bank since the murders of Messrs. Anketell and Burrup. The alleged murderers also were brought down in charge of Corporal Kennedy, formerly, of the Sounds Roal, [sic] who has the case in hand.

Many persons congregated on the wharf and at the Railway Station to get a glimpse of the accused who were handcuffed together, but who presented anything but a formidable appearance. We learn that they maintain a stoled [sic]  indifference to their position, and offer no explanation. The Chinaman, we believe, is disposed to turn Queen’s evidence, and has once or twice commenced to make a statement, but continues somewhat reserved.

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MONDAY, 13TH APRIL 1885

OUR ROEBOURNE LETTER.

The men Bevan, Warburton, and San Qui accused of the murder of Messrs. Anketell and Burrup were on the 19th ultimo, fully committed for trial at the next Criminal Sitting of the Supreme Court at Perth, and will be forwarded per Lubra, to sail today.

Some additional evidence was taken, the principal witness being one George Harrison. It was to the effect that in December last Warburton told witness that he particularly wished to speak to him. Upon which Harrison asked whether it was about well sinking or fencing ? Warburton said it was about something better than either for he (Warburton) was sick of both. “There was an affair coming off which if it succeeded would be as good as gold. “Be sure you come and see me before it does come off.”

The witness in reply to Inspector Rowe (who was conducting the case for the prosecution) said that he knew from this that a robbery was coming off and that Harrison wanted him to join, but as he did not wish to be in the affair he did not call at Warburton’s but went up the river to Lockyers.’ At another time when Harrison was taking some picks to the blacksmith for repair he passed a well in course of construction for Mr. McRae and in which Warburton and Bevan were working and heard the men talking. Bevan said “do you think it can be done ?” And “Do you think that party will come ?” Warburton said “Yes leave it to me.” Bevan asked “Can he be trusted ?” Warburton replied in the affirmative upon which Bevan observed “We must make it appear to be a Chinaman’s affair.”

Rowe’s evidence was that he found a hat in Warburton’s room with marks like blood upon it. Noonan identified that hat as Warburton’s. The prisoners declined to say anything.

The evidence does not appear  to be of much value ; but it is reported about town that Bevan has made a written statement ; whether this is true, or, if true, how it was obtained or what was its purport, I cannot say. The case will be an expensive one as some 28 or 29 witnesses have been bound over to appear. Inspector Rowe left on the 21st ulto. for the Ashburton to see one or two persons who might be able to give some information in connection with this matter. The general feeling here is that the right men have been committed, but that probably there are one or two others mixed up in the affair.

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