Police file – James Lithgow – 12th January 1887

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The Police File

On the night of the Roebourne murder between 12 midnight and 1am I was lying on the verandah at the south end of the Roebourne Hotel. I had been drinking and while I was lying there someone had pulled off my boots. I stood up by one of the verandah posts to make sure when I noticed three men coming from the direction of the River and go to the Union Bank. I was going to call out and ask if they had any grog but did not but did not they passed close to me. I recognised Bevan and heard the name Pontt mentioned. It was Bevan who spoke. I could not hear what was said. I watched the three men go to the bank. Bevan was nearest me and appeared to be carrying something like a tomahawk. The man in the centre had nothing that I could see but the man furtherest away from me was carrying something like a stick. I lost sight of them when they went under the verandah of the bank and slowly afterwards heard a crash it was like [?] being [?] broke not like the breaking of a window. I also heard a heavy fall and shortly afterwards saw a light it seemed a greater light than that from a candle it did not last long. The men were at the Bank about 15 minutes. I then saw a man come out from the back of the bank and go towards McRaes store. The other two came out from the front and went in the direction of Thompsons stockyards. I lay down on the verandah for a few minutes and thinking that they had robbed the bank I went and got my horse from Thompsons stable and started for the westward (Woolhouses). It was just breaking day when I got to the Nicol River. I had arrived at Roebourne from there westward on the night of the murder about 8pm. I had put my horse in Thompsons stable. The ostler had told me where to put it. A foreigner I think a Dutchman who was [?] [?] me in the bar that night with drinks at Thompsons Hotel.

I cannot say how Bevan was dressed. I think he was in his shirt sleeves. The furtherest man from me had a coat on.

The day that Maher arrived at the Robe River Woolhouses was the same day I got there only earlier than he. Maher told me about the murder. If I made different statements with you before I was suffering from drink and am surprised you asked me. I do not want anything from making these statements. I only want what I can earn by my work.

James Lithgow

Witness signature
Geo Maxwell
PPC
12/1/87