Police file – General – 18th February 1887


The Police File

I beg to forward the Commissioner of Police herewith several statements taken by me during my recent visit to Roebourne relating to the murder of Messrs Anketell and Burrup.

With reference to James Lithgow statement I am convinced from enquiries made and statements taken from different people who know him well, that he was not in Roebourne at the time of the murder and according to Mr H. Woodlouse’s book, Lithgow obtained rations at the station 120 miles from Roebourne on the 12th January 1885.

Referring to the statements against Hornig of implication in the murder I would respectfully call attention to the [?] of G.J. Brockman’s statement setting forth that Hornig told him he was not in Roebourne at the time of the murders. Hornig in his conversation to me dose (sic) not attempt in any way to deny his presence in Roebourne at the time. Hornig appears to have shown great anxiety in assisting [missing line] anything fresh was found. He was one of the first at the Bank after the murder was discovered and of the police were examining tracks he was always there or if people were conversing about the murder he would listen to all he could hear as though to keep himself furnished with all particulars possible. One of the first questions asked by him after arrested by Sub Inspect. Troy was if anything had been found out respecting the Roebourne murder. He was very friendly with Mr Burrup and appeared to have a great liking for him.

In getting the attached statement from Hornig I gave him to understand that if he was brought in guilty of new present charge against him – if he gave such information on the perpetrators of the Roebourne murder no doubt it would save him from suffering the extreme penalty of the law. In reply to this he said “I know nothing about the Roebourne murder”.

The general feeling in Roebourne is that Roderick McRae had something to do with the murder but they will not speak out openly on account of the family, but say that had McRae been arrested at the time the mystery of the murder would have been cleared up.

Sergeant Payne has on different occasions entered into conversation with McRae concerning the murder and McRae always gets agitated and distressed but whether because he is aware that the people look upon him with suspicion or whether he did assist in the murder it is hard to say.

In conclusion I would add that nothing fresh has come to light since the trial of “Bevan”, “Warburton” and “San Qui”. Further that the suspicion entertained against the persons already mentioned – the Roebourne people appear very willing to render whatever assistance they can and I have no doubt whatever that anything they hear will be imparted to the police without delay.

W.C. Laurence
Sub Inspector