The Police File
Statement of Benjamin Longstaff Exp 8059
I know James Lithgow well. In October 1884 myself Lithgow and an immigrant whose name I do not know left Roebourne for Woolhouses Station. Lithgow and the immigrant had undertaken to saw some timber for Woolhouse and I was engaged by them as cook and knockabout hand. When we reached Mardie Lithgow and the immigrant quarreled and separated and Lithgow told me I should have to assist him with the sawing. We worked together for some time about 20 miles from Woolhouses. About the 14th January we went into Woolhouses for rations and to repair the saw tiller. the same evening Constable Maher arrived at Woolhouses on his way to Ashburton with the news of the Roebourne murder. Lithgow had never left our camp for some time before this. The longest period I can recollect him being absent was about a month before we met Maher – to which occasion he was absent from camp for four or five days. He had then been to Woolhouses to get the tiller repaired. We left the job early in April and started for Roebourne about the 19th of that month, but owing to Lithgow violently assaulting me with a bridle[?] I was unable to proceed and stayed at Symons Station until P.C. Best returned, who conveyed me to Roebourne in a trap.
Taken by Det. Gurney
Note – Maher left Roebourne at 11 o’clock the morning the murder was discovered and arrived at Woolhouses the next day. Woolhouses station is 100 miles from Roebourne and the spot where these men were sawing 20 miles farther away.