Police file – Thomas Sullivan – 4th February 1887


The Police File

Forwarded to the Commissioner of Police

John Connor
pro Sub Inspect Lawrence

I have to report for the information of Det. Connor that I left Fremantle at about 2pm on Wednesday the 2nd inst. per S.S. Maitland, arrived at Rockingham at about 4.00pm and proceeded almost immediately to Jarrahdale by the Company’s locomotive. Owing to delays I did not reach Jarrahdale until after 10 o’clock. I saw Mr J. J. Howe who gave me the following information –

The two men Thomas Sullivan and Adam McCullock arrived at Jarrahdale about 3 weeks ago, since which time they have been doing no work, but drinking freely and appear to be well provided with money. He (Mr Howe) has become well acquainted with them, especially with Sullivan with whom he is on terms of intimate friendship.

On three occasions since he arrived at Jarrahdale, and when under the influence of liquor, Sullivan has begun to make a confession to him about a matter which he said was preying on his mind concerning the Roebourne murder.

On each occasion Sullivan was interrupted by McCullock who generally keeps pretty sober and watches Sullivan very closely.

One night Sullivan got very drunk and fell down incapable near the hotel. Mr Howe to prevent him being robbed by loafer took him into the hotel premises and took charge of 15 sovereigns which he found in his pocket. When he returned this money to him the next morning he express himself very thankful but said that if he had lost the money it would not have been of much consequence as he could always get further supplies where that came from.

On Monday last (31st ult.) Mr Howe took Sullivan into his (Howe’s) bedroom when McCullock was away. Sullivan then said that he wished to get rid of this secret that was preying on his mind and proceeded to say that he knew the names of all those who were concerned in the Roebourne murder and that there were five men altogether concerned in it, four of whom were still in the colony, the fifth having gone away; that the murder was not done for the sake of money but to get possession of certain mortgage deeds; that he had been offered £600 to leave the colony but thought it would pay him better to remain; that on one occasion when coming overland from the Gascoyne district, he and his mate (McCullock) were followed by two of these men for 400 miles; that he believed these two men intended to shoot him and his mate but that they were too wary for them.

Sullivan was in the act of giving the names of the five men he had mentioned and had said “The name of one is Forrest”, when McCullock came up and placed his hand in a hurried manner over Sullivan’s mouth preventing him from saying anything further.

On the same night (2nd inst) I obtained lodgings at Cope’s boarding house in a room next to that occupied by Sullivan and McCullock. I recognised Sullivan as the man who is known to the detective department having been under enquiry on the same subject in Perth a few weeks ago. His mate McCullock speaks with a noticeable Scotch accent, is about 35 to 40 years of age, medium build, sharp features, dark hair and full dark beard, rather a good looking man of kindly aspect, appears to be fairly educated and well informed.

Both these men were somewhat under the influence of liquor when I first saw them (at about 11pm) in their room. Sullivan was considerably more drunk than his mate. After some general conversation I went to my room in company with Sullivan who was very talkative, but McCullock followed almost immediately and led him back to his own room.

After the lapse of about half an hour when the lights in both rooms had been turned down, I overheard the two men speaking together and there being only a wooden partition between the rooms, I was able to hear some of the conversation although a great part of it was inaudible as they spoke sometimes almost in a whisper.

As near as I could gather, the subject of their conversation was that Sullivan complained of something that weighed on his mind, that he was miserable, pining away, losing flesh, and so forth; in reply to which sort of tack McCullock endeavoured to cheer him up saying that if he could get a good sleep it would be all right and that he should not allow that matter to trouble him.

Sullivan still complaining that he could get no rest on account of this thing that was weighing down his spirits, McCullock said “Well perhaps we had better go down to Perth or Fremantle and make a clean sweep of it” (I believe that these were the exact words he used.) This was about the last of their conversation that was audible to me.

The next day (yesterday the 3rd inst.) they did not rise until near 11 o’clock and both appeared very seedy from the effect of drink. Sullivan especially so.

I was in their company during the greater part of the day but gained no information. They were both resolved not to exceed in drink again, and drank very little during the day and retired early.

They are very agreeable companions but seem very cautious, McCullock especially so. They seem to be almost inseparable neither going many yards unless with the other’s company.

I believe that it would be extremely difficult to get any information from McCullock and that Sullivan could only be approached by a very intimate friend.

Mr Howe is very [?] that he will be able to get Sullivan alone in a communicative mood and obtain full particulars from him as far as he is acquainted with the matter.

I believe that if Mr Howe fails in his attempt no one else could succeed as he and Sullivan appear to be on very intimate and cordial terms. Mr Howe has promised to wire anything he may know of importance respecting these men or their movements to the Commissioner of Police.

I left Jarrahdale this morning and arrived in Perth at 3pm per R.M. Couch from [?] hotel.

During the time I was in Jarrahdale I believe that no one recognised me as a member of the force.

I heard that there were 3 men on the station with whom I am well acquainted but did not come in contact with them

John G. Baker
Det. Constable