Gatton Murders - McNeill Lying

Gatton Murders

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

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McNeill LyingGatton Murders - William McNeill

The Police Station at Gatton was opened approximately 1865.

He had been a visitor to the Murphy's on a regular basis since June that 1898 (Six months).

Gatton was a small community in 1898 and to say he did not know where the police barracks were is hard to believe especially when you take into consideration he addresses the hotelier as "Charlie" (as if he knew him as a friend) when he arrives at Gilbert's Hotel and is shown the barracks. (Not just told where they are but shown as if they were visible from the hotel).

Charles Gilbert, licensee of the Brian Boru Hotel, Gatton, deposed that on Tuesday, 27th December, a man named William M'Neill, between 9 and 10 o'clock, came up to the hotel and said, "Charlie, where is the police station? The three Murphy's are lying dead in a paddock. There must have been an accident, as the horse is dead, too." He was excited. Witness asked him where it was, and he said the second hill from the town, on the left-hand side. This was hardly a correct idea, because it was the third hill. M'Neill was shown the police station, and he rode off. (This proves he drank there often and expect to find Arrell there having a heart starter? Or was it just to rouse the townspeople into action, and proceed to the scene.)

Below is a picture of the main street of Gatton in 1898.Gatton 1899

Robert Ballantyne, a justice of the peace, and a storekeeper in Gatton, deposed that he was informed of the murders on the 27th December, after Gilbert returned from the scene. Witness next asked M'Neill, "Are you the man that found the bodies?" He said, "Yes." Witness asked him if he objected to coming to one side for a minute, and he replied. "No." The two then drew back from Mrs. Murphy for about ten yards. Witness asked M'Neill if he knew him (Ballantyne), and he said, "Yes." Witness asked M'Neill if he knew he was a magistrate, and he said, "Yes, Mr. Ballantyne." At that time witness had never before seen M'Neill, and did not know him at all.

Why say they were lying dead in a paddock and not say murdered when it is most clear they were murdered. (The smashed skulls would have told him that?)

Why did he not check Michael and Ellen for life as they were lying on their wounds and it would not be so evident that they were bashed or for that matter dead?

When he went to look for the victims he said he cantered nearly all the way to the sliprails. (Almost as if he knew where he was going). He went along the Tenthill-road, towards Gatton, and called at a creamery about two miles from Murphy's place, and inquired if the trap had come along the back way to Murphy's, whose house can be reached by three roads from Gatton.

He did not remember meeting any one. (Yet he stopped at the creamery and passed Dan Murphy Sen. on his way to work at the Murphy's Swamp Paddock, which is not on Tenthill Rd?) This suggests he did not take the most obvious route. Why?

He went within about two yards of Norah's body, and was quite satisfied that Norah was dead before he left. Yet he later says wasn't he sure it was Norah on the rug (Among other things the girls' hair colour and styles are completely different. It was later stated that anyone who knew Norah would have recognised her instantly).

The others may have been alive at the time. He could not say why he did not make sure. (He already knew they were dead).

He thought the sooner the police knew the better.

His impression then was that it was a case of murder.

The presence of a rug under Norah led him to think so. (This is strange that a rug would be an indication of murder).

He did not know what other reasons there could have been, but that opinion was formed in his mind.

Why no tracks other than in and out of the slip rails a few yards? None of his footprints anywhere.

Why did he supposedly go looking for a house when there was no well worn track to lead to that assumption?

He states he only stayed a couple of minutes. Yet later describes the weakly tied knots in great detail and even states the knots were a Granny and not a Reef knot (Almost as if he tied them.) The difference between the two knots is very subtle, and observes the feet all facing west.

Why does he say the case will be like the fire at Westbrook that burnt his house down? This infers the fire was arson and nobody was apprehended.

The slip rails were up, and witness dismounted, took them down and went into the paddock. He got on to the horse again, and followed the direction of the tracks, but he did not actually follow them. He left the tracks, as he expected to see a house. He had never been in the paddock before. (He doesn't say he put the rails up again.)

There was no sign of a road going up to a house. He went up the paddock for about a quarter of a mile to a ridge, down the other side, and bore then to the right and struck the fence between Moran's and the next paddock.

He returned to the slip-rails, and he could not see any sign of a house.

He examined the wheel marks again on the road outside the paddock and felt confident they had been made by his trap. (This would mean he would need to take the rails down again, then put them back up when he re-enters the paddock as he later states he removes the top two rails without dismounting.)

(This tells me he left the rails down, which makes the last part of this account a lie)

He decided to follow the wheel tracks on foot, and dismounted for that purpose, leading his horse. He saw the tracks of the wheels and the horse drawing the trap. (When Arrell and others arrive to go to the scene no tracks are visible other than the horse and dog-cart.)

He did not see any human foot tracks.

He had been many years in the bush, and had frequently followed stock by tracks.

He could not form any opinion from the Murphy's horse's tracks to the place they were going.

The tracks were bearing to the right all the way after going 15 yards from the slip-rails he could show the tracks on a plan.

After seeing the bodies he mounted his horse, pulled the two top rails down without dismounting, and galloped to Gilbert's Hotel at Gatton, reaching there at 10 o'clock, he went into the bar, and saw Charles Gilbert. He asked where the Sergeant was? His reason for this was to report the matter.

Yet Here Is What He Stated In An Earlier Interview.

Brisbane, Wednesday. 5/01/1899

Mr. M'Neill, the brother in-law of the victims has been interviewed at Gatton by a reprenentative of the the "Brisbane Telegraph,", and he gives some interesting detiails of the circumstances which led the three Murphys to visit Gatton township on the night of the murders. Mr. M'Neill appears to have attended some races durnig the afternoon and to have returned home sufficiently early to suggest Miss Norah Murphy that she had better go to Gatton to the dance. She replied "Oh, no I'll stop and look after the child."

This was his child who was never content unless he or Miss Norah was with it. He, however urged her to join in the fun. While he was speaking to her Michael Murphy entered the room md said to his mother, "I'm going to take the girls to the dance, missus." Mrs. Murphy then said, smilingly, "Oh, they'd better stay at home." Michael Murphy, however, interjected, "Oh get ready and come," and the girls entering into the spirit of the thing went off and dressed, while he (Mr. M'Neill and Murphy harnessed up the horse in the trap.

While they were doing so Murhy put Mr. M'Neill's whip in the trap whereupon Mr. M'Neill gave him his father's whip.   

Mr. M'Neill then added "I never went out at all that night. There were also in the house the two old people, my wife and two children and Katie, Jack and Bill Murphy."

In the morning, when the girls had not returned I went out in search and looked for marks of the wheel which wobbled in such a manner as to enable it to be easily picked out. When I got to the slip rail at Tent Hill road I saw at once that the trap had turned there. The rails were in position, but bore marks which showed that the trap had been driven over them while they were on the ground. As I had only been a fortnight here, and so was a stranger to the locality I thought they had turned into a friends house.

Well I rode on to the top of the ridge. There I saw the cart and the bodies I did not think that they were murdered.

My idea was that they were sleeping in the sun. But when I got closer I saw that the girl's clothing was disarranged and that ants were crawling over their bodies. I did not go any further but hurried straight back to Gatton and told the police. I am sure Mick did not drive into the paddock for he would not have gone over the rails but would have put them on one side. I cannot give any idea who committed the murder. I don't know what to think about it.

M'Neill came up on the left side of her. She was lying with her feet westerly. He did not walk round her body. (He supposedly only stayed a couple of minutes yet he notices this minute point.)

The list of ambiguities goes on and on.