Police file – General – 1st May 1887

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The Police File

I have to state for the information of the Commissioner of Police I have perused the attached statements carefully.

1st. Responding. If R. McRae had been arrested it would have cleared up the Roebourne mystery. I could see nothing to arrest R. McRae for the only thing I could see that he was the last person I could find that saw Mr Anketell alive and if I had arrested him for this I would have had to arrest the Rev. Mr Parker. I had both these gentlemen at the inquests. R. McRae gave evidence that he accompanied Mr Anketell from the Roebourne Hotel to the Bank and they sat in the back verandah of Bank conversing until 12 midnight when he bid Mr Anketell good night and went home to bed. The Rev. Mr Parker gave evidence that Mr Burrup spent the evening with him and left to return home to the Bank about 1am. R. Mcrae also stated that Mr Burrup was not at home when he left the Bank.

2nd I don’t consider there was anything strange in Hornig and party – keeping watch at eastern Harding for all parties that left Roebourne and halted at the eastern Harding had to keep watch so that their horses did not make back to Roebourne after they were turned out to feed. Hornig gave me information respecting Gilroy and also gave me information about a boot track he [had] seen on [back wash?] that he considered resembled the tracks I had covered up with a bar at the back of bank. He also informed me he was going to [?] [?] he would point the boot tracks but which I believe he did. Re Laurence he never at any time accompanied me searching for tracks.

3rd Alfred Brown exp. 6503 wanted to throw suspicion on a man named Jones better known by the name of [?] [?] but upon enquiry I found Jones was in leper [?] at time of murders some hundred miles from Roebourne. I have always had strong suspicion that Brown had something to do with the Roebourne murders.

4th The first parties at the bank on the morning the murders were discovered was Hornig, Osborne, [Yi See?] Richard Wilson [?] and Roderick McRae.

5th The only person I noticed that appeared to me to have a fresh suit of clothes on at the bank that morning was William Pontt and upon enquiry I found he had not been at work for a couple of days in consequence of cutting his foot in a well he was sinking for Mr Thompson.

I collected the whole of the evidence in this case and had it heard before the Government Resident and depositions copied and forwarded to Chief office. When Insp. Rowe arrived after he was there a few days he got the case to be tried over again and took the evidence and examined the witnesses from them. I am satisfied if he had [let] the case stand as it was before he arrived it would have been brought to a more successful end and after I returned to Roebourne from being at the trial I collected evidence and from every one that was in and about Roebourne that knew anything whatever that had not been called as witnesses and forwarded it to Perth to Chief Office.

If the Commissioner thinks there is any chance of doing anything in this case at Roebourne or Cossack I am quite willing to go and give it a trial.

I have always done my [?]and will always try to do it with fear favour and affection and with as little annoyances [?] [?] to the [?] public.

Daniell O’Connell
Sup of Police
1.5.87