Gatton Murders - John Murphy Evidence

Gatton Murders

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The Gatton Tragedy Exposed At Last. An Examination Of The Secrets And Lies.

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John Murphy Evidence


John Murphy, age 15 years, he evinced the same curious lack of memory as the previous witness, deposed to the arrival of M'Neill and Michael Murphy on Christmas Eve. The former brought a bridle for Norah and a whip for Helen.

Witness (continuing) said that of all the men spoken to on the course that day none mentioned the dance.

Helen returned from the races with her brother William, and M'Neill with his wife.

There was some talk about tea time of the dance in Gatton, Michael asking the girls if they were coming.

Pat also mentioned the fact of there being a dance.

M'Neill helped Michael to harness the horse to the trap.

He went away to Tent Hill, and returned about 10.30.

He did not notice that the dogs barked.

He went to bed.

Inspector Urquhart: Where was MíNeill? Witness: In his room. I would not be sure he was there. He was supposed to be.

Who supposed him to be there? -I did.

Did you think about him on that occasion? -No.

Now, as a matter of fact, you don't know whether he was there? -No. Continuing, witness said he went to sleep almost immediately, and did not hear a snore, a laugh, or any one speaking. In coming home that night he passed within fifty yards of the house paddock.

There was an entire horse usually in the stable.

He was quiet, and could be ridden, but was never used except to run up another horse.

He never noticed if the stallion was in the stable that night.

He saw the animal the next morning, but did not notice anything different.

After returning from Tent Hill on Boxing Night he did not strike a light, and never saw boots then or the next morning.

Early in the examination the Inspector was impelled to say, "It is absurd the way in which we have to get things out of you," to which the witness made answer, "I cannot remember things so long ago."

[This was on 9th March, and the murders occurred on the night of Boxing Day. It might be fairly supposed, that the most trivial incidents of that eventful day would have been recalled by the family immediately after the tragedy by persistent and continuous effort of memory, and yet for value in tracking the murderers these people could remember nothing that was of the slightest aid to the police.]


John Murphy, a brother of the victims, deposed that on Boxing Day, he went to Mount Sylvia races, where he saw Ellen on horseback, and M'Neill and his wife in a trap.

Witness left the races for home at six o'clock.

Ellen came home with William Murphy. M'Neill came away with his wife.
Witness heard the dance mentioned at home by Michael, who asked the girls if they were going.

MíNeill and Michael harnessed the horse.

Witness did not know whether they took the whip with them.

After the departure of the deceased witness left his home for Tent Hill.

He returned at 10.30. He did not think the dogs went to Tent Hill with him, but he did not remember hearing them bark on reaching home.

He could not be sure whether MíNeill was in his room, but he was supposed to he there.