Gatton Murders - McNeill Mentioned

Gatton Murders

!!! Finally After Years Of Research, Albeit Still Only A Theory.

I Am 99% Certain Who DUNNIT !!!

AT LAST YOU CAN FIND OUT BELOW

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

Click Here To Buy Your Copy

Home  The Players  Solve The Crime  Photos and Pics  Buy The Books  In Depth Info/Motives/Theories/Proof/Evidence

Listen To Radio 4BC Interview

Privacy Statement

Anyone with any information, assistance or ideas.

Please Contact: info@gattonmurders.com

Or Phone FreeCall Steve: 1800 068 303

McNeill Mentioned

29/12/1898

FURTHER PARTICULARS.
From an "Extraordinary" published yesterday afternoon by the "Queensland Times," we take the following; describing the positions in which the bodies were found by
M'Neill, the brother-in-law of the victims, this account says: - The eldest girl lay near a gumtree with her hands securely tied behind her back with her own handkerchief. Her face lay between two protruding roots of the tree.
Some ten yards away lay the bodies of Michael and Ellen.
The former was lying flat on his face, and the sister in a similar position only a few feet away.
She also had her hands tied behind her with her handkerchief.
Although Michael's hands were not tied when the bodies were discovered, there were signs on the wrists, such as abrasions of the skin and the position of his hands behind his back, which pointed to the fact that they also had probably been tied.
The skulls of the three victims had been cruelly battered.
M'Neill immediately rode into Gatton to Sergeant Arrell and explained what he had discovered.
Arrell immediately left for the place, and later the bodies were brought to Gatton and deposited at Gilbert's Hotel. Senior-sergeant Johnson, of Ipswich, was informed of the outrage, and he instructed Dr. Von Lossberg to proceed to Gatton to hold a post-mortem examination. The doctor left Ipswich shortly after noon on Tuesday.
The examination disclosed that the unfortunate girls had been outraged and then murdered.
There were marks on the bodies, which indicated that a terrible struggle had taken place before they were killed. The elder would appear to have had a desperate struggle.
Her underclothing was very much torn, whilst the body bore innumerable bruises.
There were also marks such as might be produced by a person's finger nails.
There was a deep cut penetrating to the bone over the right eye, and the skin was torn from her wrists, while the hands were much swollen, indicating circulation of the blood, and consequently life, at the time the wrists were bound. Around her neck was the hames strap, probably placed there to throttle her cries for help. The younger sister's brains were protruding.
Her clothes were not torn to the same extent as those of her sister, yet they were much torn and the underclothing stained with blood, and a number of scratches and bruises on her body.
The brother had the base of his skull fractured.
Indeed, the skull of each of the victims was battered in, the occipital and parietal bones being shattered in each case.
It was a remarkable coincidence that all the bodies lay with the feet pointing due west.

2/01/1899

Mr. M'Neill, a brother-in-law of the victims, out in search of traces, galloped into Gatton to-day, bringing a pillowslip stained with blood.
He states that he discovered it about five miles from Gatton and two miles from the scene of the murder.
It bears signs of having been used as a saddle-cloth. The police are going out to investigate.
The Government intends offering a substantial reward for the detection of the murderers.

2/01/1899

It is reported that Constable M'Neill has found a cloth, which was marked with blood stains, one and a-half mile from the scene of the murder on the Tent Hill main road. Nothing further of importance in connection with the case has transpired.
From inquiries made this morning, I learn that nothing new has transpired, and no clue whatever has been discovered. Experienced detectives aver that the crime was too cleverly planned for easy detection. Probably weeks may elapse before anything definite is known. With reference to the missing horse from Black Duck Creek, it appears that Sergeant King followed up the party, but no arrest was made. The matter is thus practically as far off solution as ever. I yesterday
interviewed Mr. M'Neill, who discovered the bodies, and his account agrees substantially with that already published. He states that on the way to Gatton he noticed the track of his own dog-cart, which the party were using, turning through the sliprails into Moran's paddock, at a place known as Moran's Hill. He followed in, and rode along an old timber track, expecting to find a house. In the first place he did not follow the wheel tracks. Finding no house or sign of habitation, however, he returned to the slip-panel, and followed the track of the dog-cart to the scene of the tragedy. He did not go within ten or twelve yards of the bodies, but rode straight into Gatton and informed the police. He suspected at the time that murder had been done, but did not examine the bodies closely. The scene of the tragedy was simply rushed by sightseers on the murders becoming known, so that all tracks of murderers were obliterated, and the trackers under the circumstances could not be expected to unravel the mystery. It seems a great mistake that the trackers were not promptly on the ground before the public were admitted. Trackers could then have decided by the tracks how many were concerned in the affair. At present nobody knows for certain whether one, two, three, or four persons were concerned as perpetrators. The excitement is somewhat subsiding, but still many are unable to devote their attention to business. It would be an enormous relief to us all if something definite were discovered. It may be stated that M'Neill is a butcher, living in Toowoomba. He is married to the eldest girl of the Murphy family, and only drove down in the dog-cart to spend a few days with the parents-in-law at Christmas. Mrs. M'Neill, his wife, is suffering from rheumatism and paralysis in an aggravated form, and is quite helpless at present, unable to walk unaided. None of the brothers or sisters are married.

3/01/1899

THE QUEENSLAND MURDERS NO FRESH DEVELOPMENTS.
BRISBANE, Monday.
Mr. Parry-Okeden, the police commissioner, arrived at Gatton this morning for the purpose of consulting the sub inspectors in charge of the case.
No fresh developments have arisen beyond the fact that Mr.
M'Neill, the brother in-law of the victims, has requested the assistance of a black-tracker to follow what he believes to be a clue discovered by him at Helidon, nine miles from the scene of the outrage

3/01/1899

The finder of the blood-stained cloth was M'Neill, the brother-in-law of the Murphy's, not Constable M'Neill, as was stated.
The residents of Ma Ma Creek state that a man called at a house there on Monday night or Tuesday morning, and asked if it was known that the Murphy's' were murdered.

This was before the discovery by M'Neill of the bodies. The police are investigating the statements. (From Our Special Reporter.)
GATTON, Monday, 5 p.m.
 It may be well here to put plainly before the public what the mistake at the outset was, and to note the effect of it.

When Mr. M'Neill-the brother-in-law of the murdered man and his sisters-discovered the tragedy, he rode straight in to Gatton to report it to the police. The news spread like wildfire.
Acting-sergeant Arrell, who was the only police officer in town, rode out at once to the scene to verify
M'Neill's report. He was followed out by dozens of the townspeople, and country folk coming into town heard of the dreadful affair, and rode or drove at once to the spot where the victims were lying.

The acting-sergeant put a guard of four persons in the place-people whom he could trust-not to prevent any persons going into the paddock, but to keep the crowd back from the spot where the corpses lay. He saw to the safe keeping of the dead and rode back to report the matter to the officer in charge of his district.

The four failed to keep the spot clear, and it was overrun.

The murderers themselves could have devised no better plan for covering up their tracks. It is said that the acting sergeant should at all hazards have kept the spot clear, but it must be remembered that he was brought face to face with a tragedy of an appalling nature, and it is doubtful whether there are many of his rank in the force would have acted under such stress of circumstances with better judgment. Yet the mistake was most serious in its results.

Acting sergeant Arrell has a good record in the police force, and his superiors speak well of him. Like the general community he was greatly moved by the horrible nature of the crime with which he was confronted, and doubtless he did not act with the coolness and judgment one would like to note.

3/01/1899

There have been no fresh developments at Gatton beyond the fact that Mr. M'Neill, a brother-in-law of the Murphy's, has requested the assistance of black trackers.

4/01/1899

Mr M'Neill, the brother in-law of the victims, is most active in seeking to discover a clue to the perpetrators of the outrage, but with this exception there is a great lack of local effort to assist the police, many of the residents who know the country thoroughly remaining perfectly passive.
It is now clearly established that several shots were heard on the night of the murder, but so far only one has been accounted for, viz, that was fired at the Murphys' horse.
The police to-day visited the home of the family, but the object of then journey thither has not been allowed to transpire.

4/01/1899

GATTON, Tuesday, 5 p.m.
Another twenty-four hours gone and the mystery still unsolved.
Mr.
M'Neill, brother-in-law of the victims, who went out with a tracker yesterday hoping to obtain a clue from certain suspicious circumstances, found the draw a blank.
M'Neill is working night and day endeavouring to secure some trace of the murderers, and in that respect is rather an exception to the general run of the community.
Later.
I learn that Mr.
M'Neill, in asking for a tracker from Helidon yesterday, wished to trace some persons who had lighted fires on the range in parts which are not usually frequented by travellers.
Knowing that the police were after members of a party, he thought they might have split up and gone away in different directions.

As I said before, the trip was without any satisfactory result.

5/01/1899

Mr. M'Neill, brother-in-law of the victims, is most active in seeking clues.
With this exception there is a great lack of local effort to assist the police, many residents who know the country thoroughly remaining perfectly passive.

Received January 4th, 10.15 a.m.
The exhumation-of the bodies revealed that Michael Murphy had been shot in the base of the skull. No bullet wounds were found on the girls' bodies. Mr
M'Neill, a brother-in-law, in a special interview, relates how he discovered the bodies.

He is only a recent arrival in the district.

When Michael and his sisters did not return home the mother became anxious, as did Mr McNeil. He went to look for them.

The wheel of the dogcart had a peculiar wobble, and it was by this means that he picked up the track and traced it to the paddock.

Brisbane, Wednesday.
Mr.
M'Neill, the brother in-law of the victims has been interviewed at Gatton by a representative of the "Brisbane Telegraph," and he gives some interesting details 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 during 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 and 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 Murphy 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 Mike 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.

6/01/1899

Mr. M'Neill returned to town this morning, and has been for the past two hours closeted with the police. It is reported, on what seems to be good authority, that pieces of a letter have been found directing that a search for trace of the murderers be made in a certain locality. This may be a hoax perpetrated by some foolish person, but it may be genuine, and lead to important developments.
Later.
Continued inquiry shows that
M'Neill found pieces of a letter, which, on being put together, stated, in reference to the crime, "But the police have not searched Campbell's paddock. "Campbell's paddock is about a mile from Gatton, between the scene of the tragedy and the railway line.
The police, accompanied by
M'Neill, go to the scene at once, and it is to be hoped that in Campbell's paddock some further clue may be found.
LAST EVENING'S LETTER. (From Our Special Reporter.)
GATTON, Thursday, 6 pm.
 During the forenoon William
M'Neill, brother-in-law of the murdered man, and who first found the dead bodies, came into Gatton, and had a long interview with the police. M'Neill and a companion had been riding in the neighbourhood of Tent Hill, when the latter saw what looked like a letter near the road. They picked the paper up, and found it was an unfinished letter, beginning "My dear brother," but without address and without signature. It went on to say that the writer had advised the police to look in Campbell's paddock, but they had not done so. Sub-inspector White was then sent out with M'Neill, with the idea of looking through Campbell's paddock.

I cannot ascertain whether a search was made there in the earlier days of the history of the tragedy, but it was a locality, which one would think would at least come in for a flying examination. I rode out to the paddock this afternoon. It is a big paddock, containing, I should say, at least 100 acres, and is used for grazing cattle. It lies nearly south of Gatton, about a mile and a -half away and is about midway between the railway line and the scene of the crimes, the nearer boundary fences being three-quarters of a mile or so from the places mentioned. Through the paddock there runs a chain of waterholes, some of which are fairly deep even now, say, 5ft. or 6ft. The banks are in places sandy, and in others muddy, and there is little chance, I should now say, of picking up any tracks there, owing to the cattle watering all along the watercourse where the banks are not too steep. In the south-east corner of the paddock there is a hut and large yards. It is considered possible that the murderers went to the waterholes in Campbell's paddock to wash themselves after the committal of the crimes. There are gates and sliprails into the paddock, and on the eastern side the main Laidley-Gatton road runs beside the boundary fence. Later on we shall probably hear something about the letter, and meanwhile it is quite easy to attach too much importance to it.
It was rumoured some days ago that the brooches worn by the Misses Norah and Ellen Murphy on the night of the crime were missing. The rumour has gained a certain amount of currency, and may lead to some misunderstanding if not checked. I can say definitely that the brooches, with other articles, which it was deemed necessary to detain, are in the hands of the police. Another point, too, requires a little clearing up. It relates to the circumstance of the necessity for a second post-mortem in the case of Michael Murphy.

A torn letter has been picked up near Gatton.

It is dated January 1st, and reads: -"Dear Brother, Just a few lines, hoping you are well. I have been over the ground of the murdered family, and can say that the police and black trackers have not been in Campbell's paddock yet."
This letter was discovered by
M'Neill, brother in-law of the murdered people. It was torn into small fragments. These were gathered, put together, and the contents deciphered by the police. The police are hopeful, and their systematic search is progressing well.

7/01/1899

The police at Gatton are conducting a systematic search in all the surrounding district for evidence relating to the crime.
A man was arrested at Bunya Mountains under suspicious circumstances yesterday, and brought into Dalby.
W.
M'Neill, the brother-in-law of the Gatton victims, who has actively assisted the police in their investigations, has now returned to Toowoomba.

LATEST BY WIRE.SCOURING THE COUNTRY.
Later.
Several parties of police returned to-night from the outlying districts, where close investigations have been made. A fresh batch of horses are coming up to-night, and there is every indication of a wider and more minute search for evidence.
M'Neill, who has shown great activity in assisting the police, returned to Toowoomba last night.

With the arrangements of the police, as I interpret them, It will be impossible for the tragedy, if it was carried out by local men, to remain much longer unsolved.
The Commissioner of Police and his officers and men are working night and day. A large contingent of special reporters, including several from Sydney papers, is now here.

9/01/1899

LATEST BY WIRE.
Mr.
M'Neill returned this afternoon from Toowoomba. He says the police are making inquiries about him. The people there would not speak to him, and the girls at the place he was stopping at would not serve him. He is anxious that the police should arrest him if they have anything against him.

The fragments of a letter found by M'Neill near Gatton have been satisfactorily explained, Some pieces of dress material, bearing bloody finger marks, were found hidden in the bushes four miles north of the scene of the tragedy.

10/01/1899

VISIT TO THE MURPHY FAMILY. Sunday, 5 p.m., 8th January, (Delayed In Transit).
There is no new development in connection with the Gatton tragedy.
The veil of mystery is still down; the time of its removal is beyond even conjecture.
Fresh lots of police have been out working over old ground, and others operating in new areas.
I saw the King brothers, also Bell, Tighe, Perkins, Adam Johnson, Colville, and other crack bushmen out to-day, and Sub inspector White was working new ground with black trackers.
If any fresh discovery has been made the police are keeping it very quiet.
To-day I had an opportunity of seeing Mr. and Mrs. Murphy and family at their picturesque little home on the western bank of Blackfellows' Creek.
The creek is a fine running stream with sandy banks, and shaded with the stream tea-tree, and in places with beautiful willows.
A large number of visitors had called to express sympathy with the family.
Mrs. Murphy tells me that she had a letter of sympathy from Lieutenant-Colonel Ricardo on behalf of the Mounted Infantry, in which arm of the Defence Force Michael Murphy was a worthy non-commissioned officer.
The letter is just such a communication as one would expect from the warm-hearted head of the Queensland Mounted Infantry, and it is a source of consolation to the bereaved family that Sergeant Murphy was so well liked, and well appreciated by the higher officers of the force.
It may be added that a beautiful wreath was sent by the Mounted Infantry staff officers to be laid on the coffin of their late comrade.
Poor Mrs. Murphy discussed the terrible tragedy with tear-filled eyes and choking sobs.
She is glad to meet any one who knew her poor boy and girls, and she spoke freely to me as to one who has been pretty intimately associated with three of her sons in other than a Press capacity.
I feel that the family resent the unfounded slurs, which have been cast upon William
M'Neill, her son-in-law.
Mrs. Murphy says that she did not go to sleep on the night of the tragedy until midnight, being kept up attending to her daughter's-Mrs.
M'Neill's child.
I know the force of the adage that he who excuses accuses, but it is worthy of remark that in a small building it would have been difficult for any member of the household to have left the place between 9 and 12 o'clock without the circumstance being known.
On the Tuesday morning following the tragedy Mrs. Murphy discovered that her family had not returned.
She noticed that the cart was not in the yard, and that the girls were not in their room.
After this discovery an hour was allowed to elapse before any one was asked to go into Gatton to see what had detained Michael and his sisters.
M'Neill knew that the cart was a "gimrack" affair, and scarcely up to the weight of three passengers, and he started in to see if an accident had occurred.
I unhesitatingly say that there is not one word of the subsequent story, which does not strictly accord with probabilities.
One must be here and on the ground to fully appreciate the whole story.

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. He at once drove out. M'Neill and Mrs. Murphy were near the bodies, while a crowd of people stood three or four chains away. Witness walked over to Mrs. Murphy, who was near the bodies of Ellen and Michael, and said, “This is a sad business.” She clasped her hands and said, “Oh, Mr. Ballantyne, who could have murdered my innocent children?” He replied, “I am here to try to find that out, and I hope to find out before night.” Mrs. Murphy said, “What good will that do me? It will not bring them back.” 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 him 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. Witness explained how he found the bodies. He said, “I left Murphy's to go to see what was detaining the Murphy's. In driving along the Tenthill-road I observed the dog-cart tracks leading into the paddock, one of the wheels being wobbly. I went into the paddock, looking for a house, thinking the Murphy's had stopped there all night. I could find no house. I returned to the rails and followed the tracks of the dog-cart, which I knew to be my own by the wheels, till I came to the bodies. I did not go close up to the bodies, but returned through the rails into Gatton to give information.” Witness asked M'Neill if he knew whether any of the girls had any sweethearts, and he said, “No.” That was all that transpired between them at that time. There were no members of the Police Force present then. He understood from Gilbert that Thomas Wilson and William Devitt were in charge of the bodies. These two were keeping the people back when he got there. Witness did not ask M'Neill to show the tracks where he went into the paddock. Witness then took a walk round to see if he could see anything, and noticed a piece of timber that he thought was used in the committal of the murder. It was lying among some rotten timber close to the heads of Michael and Ellen. It was picked up afterwards by Andrew Smith. In observing further he noticed the tracks of a horse leading from the place where the heads of Michael and Norah lay towards the rails. These tracks he followed for three or four chains. By this time Sergeant Arrell arrived, after sending away his telegrams. He ordered the people off the ground; but they refused to go. He repeated the order, but they would not move. They were very stubborn, especially one class of the community.
Inspector Urquhart: What was the stubborn class, Mr. Ballantyne? -The Germans.
They could understand? -Yes, they could. I pointed out to them they might be defeating the ends of justice, but they would not go. Continuing, witness said the tracks he followed were those of a small unshod pony hoof. He believed he pointed them out to Sergeant Arrell; but there were all sorts of tracks by that time-horses, buggies, and German waggons. There were many foot tracks there; but there was one leading from the western side of the dog-cart to Norah's body. It was a small footmark, more like the foot of a woman than a man. It was a peculiarly-shaped boot, being narrow-toed, but there was no heel mark. It looked as if some one was carrying a heavy weight, and had leaned forward. He was very careful, and made a good examination of the ground, especially on the western side, towards the fence. He saw no appearance of a struggle. He could find no stains on the dog-cart, which surprised him. He looked at the horse, and was under the impression that it was shot while it was standing still.  He was inclined to think the animal was tied up to a sapling.
He observed
M'Neill's movements closely, and saw nothing worthy of remark, nor did be hear him speak again till be came to Gatton. In walking along the tracks in the paddock witness saw tracks of a shod horse coming out. These he supposed had been made by the police officer's horse. Witness dealt in boots and shoes, but the track of that he saw gave him no indication of the make.
His remark to Mrs. Murphy with regard to the discovery of the murderers was for the purpose of comforting her, and not because he really thought he would find out before night-time.
Inspector Urquhart: You seem to have observed very closely there. Did you see anything at all, beyond the marks that would afford a clue? -No. If there had been an expert there, I would have been prepared to go out and point them out before they were, stamped out. Continuing, he said if he saw a track by the same pony he would detect a resemblance.

16/01/1899

M'Neill, the brother-in-law of the Murphy's, intends taking action against some of the southern papers for making free with his name.
The offending papers appear to have lost sight of the fact that it has been conclusively proved that he was at home in bed on the night of the murder.

16/01/1899

Mr. William M'Neill, the brother-in-law of the victims of the tragedy, was in Gatton to-day, and informed me that he intended taking action against some of the Southern papers, which had been making free with his name in connection with the affair. M'Neill is very sore on the subject, and his feeling extends in a measure towards the police.

When he gave the police the letter, which was picked up, near Tent Hill referring to Campbell's paddock, three specimens of his handwriting were taken, written with different pens. M'Neill said to me "They must think I am a blockhead not to know what their object was."
By the way, do the people who mention
M'Neill's name endeavour to account in any way for the man at the sliprails who accosted people near where the murder took place?

That man was at the sliprails when the Murphy's drove in, and there is little doubt was the murderer or one of the murderers.
M'Neill at this time was at home at Murphy's house with his wife and children, with his father in-law, mother-in-law, and three at least of the younger Murphy's.

When a man is regarded with suspicion, and knows the circumstance, it is only fair to show a point, which practically clears him. Of course there are other points to clear him, which have been referred to on several occasions.
During my
interview with M'Neill to-day he showed me how the hands of Norah Murphy had been tied. It was no novice who tied them. First the handkerchief was placed round one hand and crossed, but not knotted; the other hand was laid over it, crossing at the wrists and back to back; and then the handkerchief ends were brought over and tied. This knot M'Neill believes was a "granny," and not a "reef" knot, but he is not sure. It seems almost incredible that a person so ingenious in lashing the hands together so they could not be slipped would finish up with a "granny" unless, indeed, the weak knot was tied so as to avoid suspicion.
The position of Michael Murphy's hands were also described by Mr.
M'Neill. There has been some doubt as to whether Michael's hands had been tied. M'Neill says that it was clear that they had been tied. They were crossed on his back, and the breeching-strap from the harness was left lying on them, just as though it had been taken off and then thrown down again. In Michael's hand was his emptied purse.

18/01/1899

William M'Neill, the brother-in-law of the victims of the murder, has returned to Toowoomba having given up hope of being able to render any further service here.
M'Neill is credited with a contradiction of my statement that he proposed to take proceedings against a Southern paper. Certainly he made the statement to me. One has become so accustomed to "statements on authority," which are later on withdrawn. I prefer to allow M'Neill an opportunity of qualifying his position if he desires to do to rather than deal with a contradiction, which he probably never expressed.

23/01/1899

The magisterial inquiry will be held, so it is reported, on Tuesday next.

Notices to attend have been sent to various members of the Murphy family, to W. M'Neill the brother-in-law of the victims of the tragedy, and to others whose evidence is deemed necessary. M'Neill, it may be remarked, has been in Toowoomba for some days, but is now in the neighbourhood of Gatton again.

It has been decided that the usual magisterial inquiry will commence on Tuesday.
Mr.
M'Neill, brother-in-law of the victims, will be one of the principal witnesses.

25/01/1899

WM. M'NEIL'S EVIDENCE.
William
M'Neill, brother-in-law of the Murphy's, describing himself as a butcher, residing at Westbrook, but now staying at Murphy's farm, Gatton, was the first witness. He stated that on Monday, 26th December, witness was at Murphy's farm.
He saw Michael, Norah, and Ellen there. After tea they left to go into Gatton, at about 8 o'clock, driving one horse in a sulky, the latter being the property of witness. He identified the sulky in the yard as that in, which the Murphy's started. He saw no more of them that night. The next morning, at about half-past 7 o'clock, Mrs. Murphy became anxious to know why they had not returned. The sons Jerry, John, and William were at home. In consequence of the mother's anxiety the witness caught a horse to go and look for Michael, Norah, and Ellen.
He started along the Tent Hill road towards Gatton. He called at the creamery, two miles from Murphy's, and inquired if a trap had passed back along the road to Murphy's. The people there said they had not seen it. Witness then proceeded towards Gatton another two miles, until reaching Moran's sliprails. On the right hand side coming in on the Gatton side of the culvert, he noticed a wheel track turning in there like that of witness's cart.
One of the wheels of his trap wobbled. On seeing that he traced it towards Gatton a few yards to make sure, and he became satisfied that it appeared to be his. The sliprails were up, and witness dismounted and took them down. He went into the paddock and got on his horse again, and followed the direction of the tracks, but did not actually follow them. He left the tracks, as he expected to see a house. He had never been in the paddock before. There was no sign of a road to make him think of going up to a house. He went up the paddock about a quarter of a mile, up the ridge and down the other side. He bore then to the right, and struck the fence between Moran's and the next paddock, and returned to the rails, as he could not see any sign of a house. He examined the wheel marks again on the road outside the paddock, and felt confident that they were made by his trap.
He undertook to follow the wheel tracks on foot, having dismounted for that purpose, and leading his horse. He saw tracks of the wheels and the horse drawing the trap.
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 Murphy's horse's tracks as to the pace it was going. They were bearing to the right all the way after going fifteen yards from the sliprails. He could show the tracks on a plan. After following the tracks for three-quarters of a mile he saw three heaps of clothes on the ground and the cart and the horse; the latter was lying down. Witness was about fifty yards away when he first saw them. He went to the spot, right up to the heaps of clothes, or within two yards of them, and he then saw Norah was there, and that she was dead. Some ants were on her face. Her jacket was pulled up to her shoulders, and her stays were exposed. Her skirts were on her, but they were undone at the back and pulled slightly up at the back. He did not touch her, but knew she was dead by the ants on her face. She was lying on her right cheek. Witness came up on the left side of her. She was lying with her feet westerly. He did not walk round her body.
He did not then notice the position of Norah's limbs. He saw the other two bodies eight or ten yards farther on. He did not go up to them. He was within two yards of Norah, but did not notice anything but what he had mentioned.
By Inspector Urquhart: Did you notice anything else?
Witness: No, I don't think I did.
Resuming, witness said he saw the Murphy's start away. In the trap were a rug, a big red cape, and a black mackintosh belonging to a young fellow named Bob Smith, the latter being put in on the day before going to the races. Next time he saw those things was after returning from seeing Sergeant Arrell.
Inspector Urquhart: When did you see the rug?
Witness: Oh yes, Norah was lying on it, and it was spread out. Resuming, he said: After seeing the bodies he mounted his horse, pulled the two toprails down without dismounting, and galloped to Gilbert's Hotel in Gatton, reaching there about 10 o'clock. He went into the bar and saw Charles Gilbert, and asked where the sergeant was. The reason for that was to report the matter.
Inspector Urquhart: Why did not you go to the police barracks?
Witness: I did not know where they were. Under further examination, he said, that Gilbert told him where to find the sergeant, and he reported what he had seen to the sergeant. He got a horse and went out to the bodies. Witness showed the sergeant the tracks of the cart going out as they cantered along. Gilbert and several others followed them out. On getting to the spot with Sergeant Arrell he looked closely at the bodies, and recognised them without difficulty. He first went to Norah, then to Ellen, and then to Michael. He did not remain there with the bodies, but went on to Murphy's farm, arriving there about 11 o'clock. He knocked up a pair of horses, and drove Mrs. Murphy to the place, and saw the bodies removed at about half-past 1 o'clock, the two girls being put in Murphy's buggy and Michael in another. They were driven to Gilbert's Hotel. When he first went up he had a doubt about its being Norah's body, but he made sure when he went back with Mrs. Murphy. He did not make sure when he went out with Sergeant Arrell.
Inspector Urquhart: When you say that you first went up and saw Norah you mean you saw a body, which you have since found out, was that of Norah?
Witness: Yes, I thought at first it was Ellen. Resuming, he said he had been married to Mr. Murphy's daughter about three years. He had never been at the farm until last June. He came down then to see his children, and stayed from Saturday until Monday. He drove down from Westbrook, and did not think he was in Gatton on that occasion. He visited the children there every fortnight for about three months.
His wife was in the Toowoomba Hospital.
After three months he brought her to Murphy's, witness staying two or three days.
He came down every Saturday after that, staying until Monday. He came down on Christmas Eve last. Witness's shop was at Westbrook, opposite the Experimental Farm. Michael had been working there four or five weeks. Witness saw him sometimes of evenings, when he went to witness's place.
Inspector Urquhart: Did you ever talk of the family then?
Witness: Well, I don't think we did.
Resuming, he said when his wife left the hospital she was not cured, and was still in bad health.
Inspector Urquhart: You had got to see a good deal of these girls lately at Murphy's?
Witness: Yes.
Inspector, Urquhart: Did you ever hear any trouble with sweethearts? Witness: No.
Inspector Urquhart: Did you know if they had any young fellows paying them attention?
Witness: No.
Resuming, he said he did not know any one to have any grudge against them. His wife never mentioned anything of the kind.
He was not aware that Michael Murphy had any enemies or any complications with young women.
Inspector Urquhart: Have you had any difference with any of the Murphy's?
Witness: I had some trouble with Mrs. Murphy about the marriage, but it was all settled up.
Inspector Urquhart: About the boys and girls, how have you always been?
Witness: Very intimate friends.
Resuming, he said he had never been able to imagine any reason for the murdering of them. He had not an idea as to by whom it could possibly be done.
Inspector Urquhart: Why did you follow the wheel tracks when you were sure they were yours?
Witness: To see where they went to.
Inspector Urquhart: If there was a house there, was there any occasion to follow them?
Witness: I went to see what was keeping them. Continuing, he said he had noticed the tracks before reaching the sliprails. He saw them turning when some distance away. He did not at first know that they were his tracks. It did not appear as if the trap stopped before it turned in. It appeared as if driving home. There was no sudden turn, only the near wheel of the trap wobbled. It had been in that condition about two months. The cart had been upset. Three blacksmiths tried, but could not repair it. He had tested the wheel, and found it did not run true. The horse driven by the Murphy's was very slow, and deaf.
Inspector Urquhart: There is one thing I would like to clear up. Why did you not examine the bodies more closely when you first went up?
Witness: I cannot give any reason specially. I did not stop, but got on my horse and galloped in. I really cannot state any reason for not stopping.
M'Neill, continuing, said that when he returned with Sergeant Arrell the bodies were in the same position as when he first saw them.
By the Bench: Murphy's house is about four miles from where I found the bodies.
This concluded
M'Neill's evidence, which was given in a straight-forward manner, and without any hesitation.

MAGISTERIAL INQUIRY.
GATTON, January 24.
The magisterial inquiry into the cause of the deaths of the Murphy's was opened this morning before Mr. Shand, the acting police magistrate of Ipswich. The public were not admitted.
William
M'Neill, brother-in-law of the deceased, stated that on Monday December 26th, after tea, deceased decided to go into Gatton. About 8 o'clock they started driving in a one-horse sulky, which was the property of witness. The next morning, at half-past seven. Mrs. Murphy became anxious because they had not returned. Witness caught a horse and proceeded towards Gatton. Reaching Moran's sliprails he noticed a wheel track turning in there, which he was convinced was the track of his sulky.

The sliprails were up.

Witness entered the paddock, and followed the tracks. After following the tracks for three-quarters of a mile he saw three heaps of clothes on the ground, a cart and a horse. He saw Norah Murphy. He saw that she was dead. There were some ants on her face. Her jacket was pulled up to her shoulders. Her stays were exposed. Her skirts were on but undone, the back of them being slightly pulled up. He did not touch her. He knew that she was dead by the ants on her face. She was lying on her right cheek. He saw the other two bodies eight or ten yards further away, but he did not go to them.
Norah was lying on a rug, which was spread out. After seeing the bodies he mounted his horse and galloped into Gatton. He reported the matter to the Sergeant of Police, who got a horse and went out to the bodies. Witness showed the Sergeant the tracks of the cart going out as they cantered along. They first went to Norah, then to Ellen, and then to Michael.
Louise Theauknef, of Deep Gully, said on Boxing Night after 10 o'clock she heard two shots at an interval of about two minutes between the shots. Witness also heard two distinct screams coming from the same direction about two minutes after the last shot. She took the screams to be those of a woman.
There was no wind at the time. Both screams she considered proceeded from the same person. Witness clearly distinguished the word "father." This she heard called out on both occasions. She stood at the door and listened about ten minutes. She heard nothing further, and was not again disturbed during the night. She did not tell anybody in the house at the time that she had heard the screams, as she did not think about it. Catherine Hayes, a young woman, living with her parents at Lower Tent Hill road, gave corroborative evidence.
Patrick Murphy, brother of the victims, stated that on the night of the murder he proceeded from his home to -Gatton. About 20 minutes past 9 he met Michael and his two sisters in a trap half a mile on the Gatton side of the slip rail. After speaking to them he rode to Gatton. They drove homewards. That was the last he saw of them alive.
Dr. Von Lossberg, Government medical officer at Ipswich, gave particulars, already published, of the post-mortem examined of the general condition of the bodies. Burgess was put into the witness-box, and examined by Inspector Urquhart. He said it was very likely that he had been known by other names than Burgess. He could not tell what they were, for he never cared to mention names. He had never been in the Ipswich hospital, but he had been at Kilkivan. He had quite forgotten the name he used there.
Inspector Urquhart. You were in trouble a little while ago?
Burgess, I'm always in trouble. I am never known to be out of it. Continuing, witness said he was released on November 30. He took any work offering After leaving gaol he went straight from Brisbane and took work with a farmer named O'Brien, who lived about ten miles from Ipswich. He then went to the Gap.

THE BROTHER IN-LAW GIVES EVIDENCE
William
M'Neill brother in-law of the deceased, describing himself as a butcher, residing at Westbrook, but now staying at Murphy's farm at Gatton, was the first witness he stated that on Monday, 26th December, he was at Murphy's farm, when he saw Michael, Norah and Ellen Murphy. After tea on that date they left about 8 o'clock to go into Gatton, driving one horse in a sulky. The latter was the property of the witness he identified the sulky in the yard as that in which the Murphy's had started. He saw no more of them that night.
Next morning about half past 7 o'clock Mrs. Murphy was anxious to know why they had not returned. Her sons Jerry, John, and William were at home. In consequence of the mother's anxiety, witness caught a horse to go and look for Michael, Norah and Ellen. He started along the Tent Hill road towards Gatton. He called at the creamery two miles from Murphy's place, and asked if a trap had passed along the road to Murphy's. The people said they had not seen it.
He then proceeded towards Gatton, another two mile, until reaching Moran's slip-rails. On the right hand side coming in on the Gatton side of the culvert he noticed a wheel track turning in there like a track of his own cart. One of the wheels of his trap "wobbled." Seeing that, he traced it towards Gatton a few yards to make sure. 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. 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. 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. 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.
FINDING THE BODIES
After following the tracks for three quarters of a mile, he saw what looked like heaps of clothes on the ground, and the cart and horse. The horse was lying down.
Witness was about fifty yards away when he first saw them. He went right up to the heaps of clothes, or within two yards of them, and then he saw that Norah Murphy was there, and that she was dead. Some ants were on her face. He did not touch her, but he knew that she was dead by the ants on her face. She was lying on her right cheek. Witness came up on the left side. She was lying with their feet pointing to the West. He did not walk round her body, and he did not then notice the position of the limbs. He saw the other two bodies eight or ten yards further off. He did not go up to them, but was within 2 yards of Norah's body. He did not notice anything but what he mentioned.

Inspector Urquhart-Did you not notice anything else? -No; I don't think I did.
Witness (resuming) said that when the Murphy's started away in the trap they had a rug, a big red cape, and a black Macintosh belonging to a young fellow named Robert Smith. The latter he put into the cart before going to the races. Next time he saw those things was after returning from seeing Sergeant Arrell.

Inspector Urquhart-When did you see the rug? -Oh, yes, Norah was lying on it. 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.

Inspector Urquhart - Why did you not go to the police barracks? -I did not know where they were. Gilbert told him where to find the Sergeant, and he reported what he had seen. The sergeant got a horse and went out to where the bodies lay. Witness showed the sergeant the tracks of the cart going out. As they cantered along Gilbert and several others followed them out. On getting to the spot with Sergeant Arrell, he looked closely at the bodies, and recognised them without difficulty. He first went to Norah, then to Ellen, and then to Michael. He did not remain there with the bodies, but went on to Murphy's farm, arriving there about 11 o'clock. He harnessed up a pair of horses and drove Mrs. Murphy to the place, and saw the bodies removed about half past 1 o'clock. The bodies of the two girls were put in Murphy's buggy, and that of Michael in another vehicle. They were driven to Gilbert's Hotel.
When he first went up to the corpses he had a doubt about one of them being Norah's body but he made sure when he went back with Mrs. Murphy he did not make sure when he went out with Sergeant Arrell.

Inspector Urquhart -When you say you first went up and saw Norah, you mean you saw a body, which you have since found out, was Norah? -Yes. He thought at first it was that of Ellen. He had been married to Mrs. Murphy's daughter three years, and had never been on the farm until last June. He came down then to see his children and stayed from Saturday until Monday. He drove down from Westbrook, and he did not think he was in Gatton on that occasion. He visited his children there every fortnight.
About three months ago his wife was in the Toowoomba hospital. After three months he brought her to Murphy's. Witness was staying for two or three days. He came down every Saturday after that, staying until Monday. He came down on Christmas Eve last.
Witness's shop was at Westbrook, opposite the experimental farm. Michael Murphy had been working there for four or five weeks. Witness saw him some times during the evening, when he went to witness's place.

THE MOTIVE A MYSTERY.
Inspector Urquhart - Did you ever talk of the family then? -I don't think we did. When my wife left the hospital she was not cured, and was still in bad health.

Inspector Urquhart-You had seen a good deal of these girls lately at Murphy's? -Yes.

Inspector Urquhart-Did you ever hear of any trouble with the sweetheart's? -No. He did not know anyone to have a grudge against them. His wife never mentioned anything of the kind. He was not aware that Michael Murphy had any enemies, or any complication with a young woman.

Inspector Urquhart-Have you had any difference with any of the Murphy's? -He had some trouble with Mrs. Murphy about his marriage, but it was all settled up.

Inspector Urquhart -As to the boys and girls, how have you always been? -Very intimate friends. He had never been able to imagine any reason for anyone murdering them. He had not an idea by whom it could possibly have been done.

Inspector Urquhart-Why did you follow the wheel tracks when you were sure they were yours? -To see where they went to.

Inspector Urquhart-If there was a house there was there any occasion to follow them? -I went to see what was keeping them. He noticed tracks before reaching the slip-rails. He saw them when some distance away. He did not at first know that they were his tracks. It did not appear as if the trap stopped before it was turned in. It appeared as if in driving home, there had been no sudden turn. Only the near wheel of the trap wobbled. It had been in that condition for about two months. The cart had been upset, and three blacksmiths tried but could not repair it. He had tested the wheel, and found that it did not run true. The horse driven by the Murphy's was very slow and deaf.

Inspector Urquhart-There is one thing I would like to clear up. Why did you not examine the bodies more closely when you first went up? - I cannot give any reason specially. I did not stop but got on my horse and galloped into Gatton. I really cannot state any reason for not stopping. When I returned with Sergeant Arrell the bodies were in the same position as when I first saw them. The Murphy's house is about four miles from where the bodies were found.
PATRICK MURPHY'S EVIDENCE
Patrick Murphy brother of the victims of the tragedy stated that Michael Murphy was 29 years of age, Norah 27, and Ellen 18. Witness was working at the Agricultural College, Gatton. On Boxing Day he was at his father's house, and in the evening about 8 o'clock he saw the three deceased there. They were getting ready to go into Gatton, and his brother Michael was putting a horse into
M'Neill's trap. Witness left home before the deceased. He went along the road to Gatton, and the deceased caught up to him on the road about a mile on the Gatton side of their home. He knew the horse well.
It was a very stupid animal, and he thought it was deaf, but it was fairly fast in harness. The deceased passed witness, and went on. Witness passed the schoolmaster's two daughters, the Misses Wilson, on the Tent Hill side of Cook's. That was about 20 minutes past 8 o'clock. About five minutes after the deceased had passed him Sergeant Arrell and Michael Connolly came along the Deep Gully, and rode about a chain behind him all the way. He met Miss Florence Lowe at Logan's Hill 200 yards on the Gatton side of the house. She was going towards Tent Hill, and riding. Witness then met his brother and sisters again in the trap. They were going towards home. That was about a quarter or twenty minutes past 9 o'clock.
They stopped, and spoke about three minutes. That was rather more that half a mile from Moran's slip rails. Witness saw the deceased start up again, and he came on to Gatton. Two or three minutes after leaving them he met a man named Albert Murray. Witness stayed a few minutes in town at Mrs. Marsh's and then went on to the college. He did not see his brother or sisters alive again.
THE MEDICAL TESTIMONY
Dr. Von Lossberg, Government medical officer, of Ipswich, stated that on Tuesday, 27th December, he came to Gatton, and saw Messrs. Wilson and Wiggins, two justices of the peace. In consequence of an order given him by the justices, he went to see the three dead bodies at Gilbert's Hotel. Two were women and one was a man. Sergeant Arrell was present, and mentioned that the names of the three persons were Ellen, Norah and Michael Murphy witness proceeded to make post mortem examinations of the bodies. He first examined the body of Ellen Murphy. He found that the skull had been driven from the left to the right side, and brain substance was protruding from the wound on the right parietal bone. All the main bones on the parietal and occipital frontal bones showed comminuted compound fractures. Shreds of membrane were hanging from the bones and the brain was in a state of pulp. On the neck were several marks of fingernails and ants. The hands were tied behind the back. Witness untied the hands, which showed marks of fingernails and abrasions through the eating of ants. Witness then described other matters of observation, showing that the girl had been outraged. After this examination he asked one of the justices of the peace if anything further were required, and he said "No."
Inspector Urquhart, -We do not want that, doctor. This is only an inquiry.
Witness, -No; but I mention it to justify myself. The fracture of the skull and the injury to the brain had been caused by violence, which was the cause of death. He came to the conclusion that the girl had been dead from 14 to 16 hours- at any rate, less than 24 hours. The injuries to the head must have been inflicted by a blunt instrument of considerable weight, probably while she was in an erect position. She may have been standing or sitting up. An instrument of considerable weight would be required to fracture the bones as they were fractured. He was of opinion that the outrage had not been committed more than 12 or 14 hours before. The appearance of Norah's head was much the same as her sister's, but with more blood about the skull. All the head bones were broken, and there was great congestion of blood vessels of the brain. The face was also in a congested state. On the right side of the eye there was a cut 2 in. long penetrating almost to the bone.
The throat on the left side showed the impression of a hand, and above it a strap was tightly buckled around the neck. The clothes from the neck to the waist were more or less torn down, and the skin showed marks of fingernails. The hands were tied behind with a handkerchief. They were very congested, and showed marks of fingernails. The lower limbs were covered with bruises and abrasions. He was of opinion that the cause of death was fracture of the skull and injury to the brain, caused by a blunt instrument used with great violence. He did not make any further examination, as he considered that the answer of the justices to him in Ellen Murphy's case was sufficient. He also examined the body of Michael Murphy. The skull was broken into 14 or 16 small pieces, some quite detached from the membranes.
There was a large patch of blood about 4 in. by 3 in. behind the right ear, extending to the neck. It was a thin layer, and quite dark. On cleaning this away he noticed a wound, which he thought had been caused by a bullet. On an internal examination he found a channel to the base of the skull, which in his opinion had been caused by a bullet. He looked for the bullet for a considerable time, but was hindered by the bone splinters. Witness felt the effects of blood poisoning, and desisted from examination. He stated positively the bullet was in the head, as there was no exit. This was said to everyone in the room-Sergeant Arrell, Messrs.
M'Neill, Wiggins and others. The arms of the man had been bent backwards, but not tied. A purse was loose in his hand, and, though there was a strap between the hands, there were no marks of tying on the hands. The cause of death in Michael Murphy's case was a bullet wound in the head. He had that opinion at the time of the first examination, but did not mention it, though he wrote it down in the police magistrate's room at Ipswich on 28th December. On January 4, after the second post mortem examination, he expressed the same opinion.

Inspector Urquhart.-You kept it to spring it on us as a surprise? -Oh, no: I regarded the matter as private, and kept my lips sealed. The fracture by a blunt instrument of Michael Murphy's skull had been done after death. That was his opinion from the first. It was the search for the bullet that witness injured his hand, and set up blood poisoning. He only used his finger to probe the wound, as he had no instrument to probe with. He did not know he would be required to make a post-mortem examination.

Inspector Urquhart.-Did you try to get a probe here? -I was not acquainted with the blacksmith or others here.

Inspector Urquhart.-No; but you were acquainted with the chemist? -He could not have got a probe. Had there been a medical man here I would have asked him for one.

Inspector Urquhart.-Did you ask the chemist for one? -No.

Inspector Urquhart.-Do I understand, doctor that this is the first time you have publicly expressed the opinion as to the cause of Michael Murphy's death? -I wrote it down on December 28, but never expressed it until January 4.

A correspondent of the Brisbane Daily Telegraph interviewed the relatives with the following results: -Mr. Murphy, the father of the victims, said: -"On the night the murder was committed I stayed at home the whole night with the family. We all went to bed early, and M'Neill went to bed at 9 o'clock. In the morning we all got very anxious, and as the result of the anxiety M'Neill went out to look for the girls, and you know the rest."
Mr. John Murphy, who is the youngest brother, said: -"I was at Upper Tent Hill on the night of the murder, but I returned home at 10 o'clock and went to bed. The house was then in darkness and everybody had retired.
M'Neill must have gone to bed early, though I did not actually see him getting into bed." Mr. William Murphy, eldest brother, said: -" M'Neill went to the races at Mount Sylvia on Monday, and stayed in at night. We all turned in early, M'Neill retiring at 9 o'clock. I saw him get into bed then. In the morning mother was anxious because the girls had not turned up, but I was not a bit disturbed, and went on with my ordinary work. M'Neill also was anxious, because he thought his trap was not safe, and that an accident might occur. He had had an accident with, it near Helidon, and the wheels were shaky. Mother asked M'Neill to go and look for the girls, and he consented to do so. He then went out, and after being some time absent brought back the dreadful tale."

Mr. Archibald Meston, the protector of aboriginals for Queensland, states that he is firmly convinced as to the identity of the criminals, but naturally he declines to mention names. He believes Michael Murphy could not have been shot until he was prostrate on the ground.
Some comment has been made regarding the alleged extraordinary suppleness of the limbs of the victims when their bodies were prepared for burial. It has been put forward as a theory that if that were so it might possibly be due to some anaesthetic having been administered shortly before death.
Mrs. Eames and Mrs. Selby, the women who laid the bodies out, and who have had considerable experience in the performance of similar tasks, agree that the corpses were more limp than any they ever attended to previously. The clothes were removed without the slightest difficulty, and the limbs straightened easily.
Mr. R. James, the Gatton chemist, who saw the bodies shortly after they were discovered, admits that the three corpses were particularly supple, considering that death must have taken place several hours before they were first seen. The limbs of the elder girl, Norah, were especially limp, which, he says, indicated that she must have been the last to die. He is disinclined to believe that any anaesthetic was administered, and says that possibly the fact that the corpses had been moved about so much accounted for the limpness.
Campbell's paddock, which was referred to in fragments of a letter brought in by William
M'Neill on Thursday, was further examined by Sub-Inspector White, with the trackers, on the same day. They returned late in the evening, and it is reported that they did not make any discovery. The paddock had previously been thoroughly searched. It is an enclosure of about 100 acres, and is used as a grazing area. It is located about a mile and a-half south of Gatton, and is about midway between the railway line and the scene of the crimes. The banks along the chain of waterholes, which run through the paddock, are sandy in some places and muddy in others, and it would be difficult to pick up tracks there now, from the fact that cattle water all along the holes where they can be approached with safety. In one corner of the paddock is a hut and stockyards. Possibly the murderer went to the waterholes in Campbell's paddock to cleanse themselves; but such a surmise does not meet with general acceptance. Had that been so the opinion is that some traces of the washing operations would have been discovered on the occasion of the first examination. Possibly the letter is only a hoax.

The townspeople do not attach great importance to it, although they generally agree that M'Neill is proving of great assistance to the police. A rumour was current that the brooches worn by Norah and Ellen Murphy were missing. It is now definitely known that the brooches, with other articles, which it was deemed advisable to retain, are in the possession of the police.
 Mr.
M'Neill, the brother-in-law of the victims, in the coarse of an interview, said that he was in business at Westbrook, but the shop was recently burned down. He is rendering every assistance to the police.

He expresses himself doubtful whether the perpetrators will ever be discovered. He says that the tragedy is as great a mystery as was the burning down of his shop. Although it is believed that the authorities are committed to the theory of a local murder, they are not concentrating all their energies locally, the unfrequented ranges to the south of Gatton being thoroughly searched, and the police all over the colony are on the alert."

PATRICK MURPHY'S TESTIMONY.
Patrick Murphy, a brother of the victims of the tragedy, stated that Michael Murphy was 29 years of age; Norah was 27, and Ellen about 18. Witness was working at the Agricultural College, Gatton. On Boxing Day last he was at his father's house in the evening at about 8 o'clock. Saw the three deceased there. They were getting ready to go into Gatton, and his brother Michael was putting the horse into William
M'Neill's trap. The horse was his father's property. Witness left home before the deceased, and went along the road to Gatton. The deceased caught up to him on the road about a mile on the Gatton side of their home. He knew the horse well; it was a very stupid animal, and he thought it was deaf, but fairly fast in harness, but not at all free. The deceased passed witness, and went on. Witness passed the schoolmaster's two daughters, the Misses Wilson, the Tent Hill side of Cook's. That was about twenty minutes past 8 o'clock, and about five minutes after the deceased had passed him. Sergeant Arrell and Michael Connolly came along at Deep Gully, and rode about a chain behind him all the way. He met Miss Florence Lowe at Logan's Hill, about 200 yards on the Gatton side of the house. She was going towards Tent Hill, and was riding. Witness then met his brother and sisters (the deceased) again in the trap, and they were going towards home. That was at about a-quarter or twenty minutes past 9 o'clock. They stopped, and spoke for about three minutes. That was rather more than half a-mile from Moran's sliprails. Witness saw deceased start on again, and he came on to Gatton. Two or three minutes after leaving them he met a man named Albert Murray, a brother-in-law of Mr. Logan, and who was working for the latter. Witness stayed for a few minutes in town at Mrs. Marsh's, and then went on to the College. He did not see his brother or sisters again.

7/03/1899

The inquiry into the deaths of Michael, Norah, and Helen Murphy on the night of 26th December last, which had been adjourned from 24th January, was continued this morning, before Mr. A. H. Warner-Shand, Acting Police Magistrate at Ipswich. The examination of witnesses was conducted by Inspector Urquhart, who had been in charge of the case all along. There was very little local interest in the inquiry, only a few persons being present at the court-house. Included in the number, however, was M'Neill, who, with others, occupied a position up to lunch time on a raised platform outside the court-house door. To this, however, the Police Magistrate objected on the court resuming after lunch, and M'Neill and the others then came inside the room.
The former sat on the floor, near the door.
The commencement of the inquiry was delayed through the failure of Mr. and Mrs. Murphy to attend. They were to have been the first witnesses; but as they had not appeared up to 11 o'clock it was decided to begin with Thomas Wilson, a blacksmith, who, in addition, is a justice of the peace.
Thomas Wilson, a blacksmith, of Gatton, deposed to
M'Neill's arrival at the Brian Boru Hotel at half-past 9 o'clock on the morning of the 27th December, and announcing that the three Murphy's were lying dead in a paddock. He accompanied the party to the scene. He saw wheel tracks turning into the paddock, the sliprails lying across the opening. He thought the wheels went over the rails, and that there was a break in the tracks in consequence; but he did not look closely. The witness was pressed on the point, Inspector Urquhart explaining that it was important, but he would not swear definitely. He explained that he found the girl Norah lying on a rug with her skull broken in, and her hands tied behind her back. There was no appearance of a struggle. He described also the position of the brother and the other sister. He said Norah's hands were tied, while Michael's were behind his back, and he saw no indication that they were tied; but a strap lay over the body. Either Gilbert, one of the party, or M'Neill took the purse, which was in Michael's hands. Witness described then the position of the horse and trap.

Inspector Urquhart: Did you go to the paddock as a magistrate? -Oh, no.

Inspector Urquhart: Out of curiosity, then? -No; not exactly.

Inspector Urquhart: Did you do anything? -No.

The Police Magistrate: Don't you think, as a magistrate, you ought to have taken the magisterial duties upon yourself? -I did not see any particular reason.

The Police Magistrate: Not when you saw three persons had been murdered? -The witness, continuing, said he saw no signs of a struggle or footprints. There was a blood-stained stick near Michael's head. A thorough examination was made, but there was no indication of a struggle or how many persons had been engaged in the tragedy, or how the murderers came or went. He saw signs of a horse, which had one shoe on. The tracks were freshly made and going in the direction of the sliprails.
The tracks may have been made by
M'Neill's horse when he was there before.
They had not noticed what horse he was riding when he came to the hotel.
EVIDENCE DANIEL MURPHY SEN.
Daniel Murphy, sen, a farmer, living at Tent Hill, and the father of the victims, deposed that on Boxing Night he saw
M'Neill's sulky, harnessed to which was witness's horse Tom, standing at the door. There were in the house at the time his wife, Willie, and Kate Murphy, M'Neill and his wife, and the latter's two children. Norah, Ellen, Michael, and Pat Murphy all had tea together. Before then the girls had said they were going to a dance at Gatton, and Michael was going to take them. He heard nothing of any one else taking them. Michael left with the girls in the sulky, and Pat departed soon afterwards on horseback. Witness went to bed between 10 and 11 o'clock, up to which time no one else arrived at or left the house. The only one he left sitting up was his wife. Three rooms of the house had windows looking out on to the front veranda-witness's, M'Neill's, and the sitting room-the last named being in between.
About an hour after retiring he heard
M'Neill's child cry, and the father speaking to it. He did not see M'Neill going to his bedroom that night.
Questioned closely the witness said that he heard footsteps when saying his prayers, which he maintained were those of
M'Neill.

Mr. Shand: You tell us the only person up when you went to bed was your wife, and you say you heard M'Neill going to his room when you were saying your prayers. -I don't go to bed till a long time after I say my prayers.

Inspector Urquhart: Was there any one else in the house? -Yes, my son Will.

Inspector Urquhart: How do you know it was not his footsteps? -I know it was M'Neill.

Inspector Urquhart: You heard footsteps, but you don't know whose they were? -I know they were M'Neill's. Continuing, he said that next morning he was the first to rise, and all the others followed. He could not say whether there were any horses in the house paddock.
There were no horses in the yard when he went to bed. He did not know who brought up the horse that was put in the sulky.
It was usual, when a horse was wanted from the out paddock, to ride after it.
After the vehicle left he went to his room, and said his prayers, and, as usual, smoked on the veranda. He saw no one but his wife, who was seated in the sitting-room.
He remained on the veranda about an hour, and when he came in his wife was still there. His prayers took him about an hour. While on the veranda he neither saw nor heard anything. The last time he remembered seeing
M'Neill that night was when the cart left; but he heard him walking about. He would swear this was M'Neill. The next up in the morning after Will was M'Neill; that was after 6 o'clock. He noticed that the trap was not in the yard, and informed his wife, who looked in the girls' room, and found they were not there. While he was having his breakfast M'Neill asked him if it was the usual thing for them to stop out like that. He said No. There was no talk of anything serious happening to them. Witness thought they might have remained at Chadwick's, or that the trap had broken down. It was at breakfast that it was first suggested that some one should look for them. M'Neill said he would go and get a horse to go and meet them, to see if the trap had broken down. He did not hear Mrs. Murphy urge M'Neill to go. After breakfast witness went to work, and M'Neill passed him on the way. About 10 o clock his son Will came, and informed him that the three children had been murdered. Witness asked if they were shot, and he said he did not know. His son further said M'Neill came out and told him. Witness and his son went home. Mrs. M'Neill was at the house. She was at the time ill, but she could be taken about. She was at Mount Sylvia Races on Boxing Day. Prior to that she had been staying at witness's place about four months, during about two months of which Michael was at the College. He was at home for a while, and then went to the experimental farm at Westbrook, where he remained about five weeks. He arrived home on Christmas Eve. M'Neill came the same day from his own place, near, Westbrook, and brought some presents-a bridle and a whip, he thought. M'Neill was very good friends with the girls, and also especially with Michael. They had always been on good terms.

Inspector Urquhart: Then is there any reason for people to say he was on bad terms with any of them-that you know of? -Once the mother was angry with the daughter because she and M'Neill went and got married in one church and not the other; but that was between her and the daughter.

Inspector Urquhart: Was there any person who had any ill-feeling against those three children of yours? -I don't know of anyone. I could not pick out one more than another.

Inspector Urquhart: Did you know a man named MacKenzie in this district? - No.

Inspector Urquhart: Look back over your past life, and see if you can remember any enemy that you had. - I know of none.

Inspector Urquhart: If you knew who did the deed, would you have any hesitation in giving him up? -Witness (emphatically): It doesn't matter if he was the highest man in the land, I would bring him up just the same as a poor man-it doesn't matter if it was the King of England. They broke my heart, they did.

Continuing, witness said he knew Mrs. Cook, postmistress at Lower Tent Hill. She had two girls named Georgina and May, both of whom died. They were friendly with his girls. About twelve months before Christmas, soon after the Cook girls died, he remembered some one reading to him something about the Cook girls. It was said by Katie that it was a newspaper clipping; it was placed upon the dresser; but he did not know what became of it. He presumed his (witness's) whip was taken in the sulky when Michael and the girls left in the sulky, for he had never seen it since. No one in the house had a revolver. The girls had never complained of having been threatened. His son Michael was out West as a special constable for about ten months during the strike. He never spoke of the men out there having a "down" on him. Had he met with any trouble he would have told him. Michael was a strong active man, but he had never learnt boxing or wrestling.

Inspector Urquhart: At the present time you have no suspicion of anyone, Mr. Murphy? -No.

Inspector Urquhart: You have told us everything you know? -Yes.

Inspector Urquhart: And you have concealed nothing? -I only wish to God I knew the parties that did it. Continuing, he said he believed that Michael's horse had shoes on when he came down; but the shoes were pulled off by his sons and M'Neill before the murder was committed.
He didn't know if
M'Neill's horse was shod.
None of his (witness's) horses were ever shod. Witness and some of his sons smoked; Michael and
M'Neill did not. Witness never used a piece of paper to stop his pipe up. Witness had a contract with the Agricultural College, and he had received letters from the college. When M'Neill went to look for the young people that morning he rode Norah's horse; but witness could not say if it was shod; he did not think so.

EVIDENCE MARY MURPHY.
Mary Murphy, wife of last witness, and mother of the victims, deposed that on Boxing Day she and her husband went to a farm some distance away. When she returned there were at the house Norah, Katie, and Mrs.
M'Neill's two children.
Subsequently the other members of the family, including Mr. and Mrs.
M'Neill, returned. She did not hear there was to be a dance in Gatton and that the girls were going, until after tea, when Michael informed her he was going to drive the girls in. She replied, "Bother take the dance; stay at home to-night." Michael replied, "Oh, we'll go for a few hours as Norah was not out all day." He did not say anyone had asked him to take the girls to the dance, and the girls did not, to her knowledge, get a letter about a dance. She did not know when they first heard of the dance.
Pat informed her that he knew they were going. She did not know who went out to the trap with them. The first person she saw come in was
M'Neill, this being only a few minutes after the victims left. To the best of her belief her husband was then in the bedroom. She did not notice any other members of the family; she noticed M'Neill because he took up one of the children. Witness nursed the other. Her husband was in the bedroom saying his prayers, and he afterwards came out and smoked for half-an-hour or more. He then went into his bedroom. Witness remained for a quarter of an hour or so afterwards.
M'Neill went into his own room between 9 and half-past 9. She believed her husband was then smoking on the veranda.
M'Neill had previously taken his boots off. She did not see Willie after tea. She went to her room about a quarter of an hour before she heard the clock strike 10. No one came out of any of the rooms. When her husband came out of the bedroom after saying his prayers, M'Neill was in his room.

The Police Magistrate: You just said your husband was on the veranda smoking when M'Neill went into his room. You should take care about contradicting yourself. -I am telling the truth.
The Police, Magistrate: There may be no doubt about that, but you are contradicting yourself. -Witness, continuing, said she did not go to sleep till after 12 o'clock. She heard Mrs
M'Neill ask the little girl to kiss her, but she said, "No; kiss dada," and Mr. M'Neill laughed. Her husband came in about half past 6 in the morning, and informed her that Michael and the girls were not then home.
When she came out to the kitchen she said the cart might have broken down.
M'Neill said, "It might not be too safe." After about an hour, M'Neill said, "If one of them had walked from Gatton they could be here by this time." Various surmises were made, and then M'Neill said it was time some one went to look for them. She agreed, and M'Neill got a horse and rode away. The reason he went was that he was the only one not at work.
Inspector Urquhart. Are you sure you did not ask
M'Neill to go? Did you ever say, "For God's sake, M'Neill, go and look for my children?"-No, I am sure I didn't say it.
Continuing, witness said
M'Neill left about 8 o'clock, and returned a little after 10 o'clock.
She met him at the door, and asked him if he had seen the children, and if they were coming. He said no. She asked him why, and he said, "They were dead and murdered in a paddock up at Gatton, with their hands tied behind their backs, and their heads bashed in." Mrs. Murphy's fortitude then gave way completely, and she cried bitterly.
M'Neill went up to her chair and attempted to console her. She was taken into the open. It was then (just before 5 o'clock) decided to adjourn till 10 o'clock the following morning, when Mrs. Murphy's evidence will be continued.
There are altogether about twenty witnesses to be examined, and the inquiry is, therefore, not expected to conclude before the end of the week. Included in the number is Mrs.
M'Neill, who did not attend to-day.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Parry-Okeden, attended at the inquiry towards the close. Up to the present 161 sheets of depositions have been taken, which include seventy-one of to-day's proceedings.
GATTON, Later.
The police camps on the ranges near Greenmount were broken up on Saturday. The last of the men came in to Gatton to-day, and departed by to-night's train. The men were engaged on the ranges in following up Burgess's movements.

The inquiry into the Gatton tragedy was resumed to-day at Gatton.
Thos. Wilson, blacksmith, gave evidence regarding
M'Neill coming into town with the news of the murder.
Daniel Murphy, father of the deceased, was examined as to the departure of the two girls and their brother to the dance on Boxing Night, as well as to the movements of the members of the Murphy family that night. He himself went to bed between 10 and 11 at night, up to which time no one else had arrived at or left the house. The only one left sitting up was his wife. About an hour after retiring he heard
M'Neill's child cry, and the father speaking to it. He did not see M'Neill going to his bedroom that night. Questioned closely witness said he heard footsteps when he was saying his prayers.

These he maintained, were those of M'Neill. He also said that if he knew who committed the murders he would have no hesitation in handing the perpetrators over to justice. Murphy's wife, who was also examined, broke down when describing the position in which the bodies were found, and the hearing consequently had to be adjourned.

8/03/1899

EVIDENCE KATIE MURPHY
Katie Murphy, the youngest sister of the deceased, gave evidence relating to the arrangements made by her sisters to go to the ball on Boxing night.
After the lunch adjournment Inspector Urquhart said he intended to examine
M'Neill's wife. She was served with a subpoena on March 4 in the presence of her father and mother, who said she would not be able to attend the inquiry. M'Neill arrived later, and said his wife was too ill to attend, nor would he allow her to go. That morning he (M'Neill) had driven her to the Grantham railway station, whence she had proceeded to Toowoomba. Consequently she was not present. The magistrate expressed the opinion that the members of the Murphy family ought to render all possible assistance and help to bring the perpetrator of the crime to justice. He directed Mrs. M'Neill to be in attendance on Thursday: Katie Murphy, further examined, said she was unaware that M'Neill left the house during the night of the tragedy. The inquiry was adjourned till the next day.

The Inquiry into the murder of Michael, Norah, and Helen Murphy on the night of 26th December was continued this morning, before Mr. A. H. Warner-Shand, acting Police Magistrate. Inspector Urquhart conducted the examination. Only two or three persons other than those officially engaged were present in the morning: but more came in the afternoon.

The progress was slow, and the evidence given was largely corroborative of that previously reported in regard to the home life of the Murphy family.
EVIDENCE MARY MURPHY
Mrs. Murphy, who looked very unwell, continued her evidence. Questioned as to the disposition of the family in the house on Boxing Night, she said Johnny and Willie slept in the room adjoining
M'Neill's.
Norah was unwell, and did not want to go out that night.
Witness did not know of Michael having had a sweet- heart.
She knew Kate, a daughter of ''stuttering Billy Ryan,"
She had been dead about two years, but she (witness) did not know what she died from. Both the boys and girls knew her.
Witness came to Gatton thirty years ago, and had lived at several places, including Spring Creek.
There she knew two girls named Julia and Minnie Gleeson, who had a brother then 15 years of age.
The girls were school teachers.
There was some unpleasantness between witness and Julia, in consequence of which she reported the girl to the Education Department.
The girl was then removed. There were also some letters about the matter written to the Ipswich police.
Subsequently Julia went out of her mind, and was removed to an asylum.
The girl's brother's name was John. Witness never heard that he had threatened to have revenge upon her, but she did hear that Minnie had said so. Julia once came to her house in witness's absence and wanted to get Norah to sign some document. She was very bitter over the matter, and the quarrel was never made up.
Inspector Urquhart: Your husband said yesterday that he did not know of anyone who had any ill-feeling against you. Did he know of this matter? Witness: I think he must have, though he was always away at work.
Inspector Urquhart: Well, I will ask you the same question. Do you know of any one? Witness: I know of no one. Continuing, the witness said she only saw the brother of the Gleeson girls once. She heard Julia had got better and married. She remembered her sons, Michael and William, taking a contract for fencing for John Moran, sen. There was some dispute about the payment, and it was never cleared up.
A man named O'Brien used to come to dances given at Murphy's. She did not think he was a sweetheart of Helen's.
He cleared out more than twelve months ago over some money matter, but was now back again.
Norah had gone out riding with men named Bill Connolly and Robert Rule, but she was not aware that she used to meet and go out riding with any one.
Inspector Urquhart: Up to the present you have only answered my questions. Can you now, on your own account, suggest anything? Witness: No.
Inspector Urquhart: Nothing whatever? Witness: If I had the least knowledge I would give it.
Inspector Urquhart: I didn't mean merely about the tragedy, but do you know any other circumstance that will help us? Witness: No.
Inspector Urquhart: Have you heard of any one being suspected by members of your own family? Witness: No one more than another. I believe they were killed because they were the first who came along.
Inspector Urquhart: Looking back over your past life, can you think of any enemy? Witness: None. The witness also said that the girls had got no written invitation to the dance in Gatton.
At the conclusion of Mrs. Murphy's examination the Police Magistrate said: "This has been a trying ordeal to you. I thank you for the manner in which you have given your evidence. I can assure you have my greatest sympathy."
Kate Murphy, 13 years of age, a daughter of the last witness, deposed that before the party went to Mount Sylvia races she heard Pat tell Norah to be ready to go to a dance at Gatton in the evening.
The court then adjourned till 2.30 o'clock. On the court resuming after lunch, Inspector Urquhart said: There was a witness in this case-Mrs.
M'Neill-whom I intended to call after Katie Murphy, at present under examination, had concluded her evidence.
She was served with a subpoena on the 4th instant, and the original of the summons is here, endorsed by the constable who served it.
On Monday she did not appear. I was informed that the father and mother-that is, Mr. and Mrs. Murphy-were at home when the summons was served, and said she was perfectly well able to attend the court, and would come in. But it appears
M'Neill came on the scene, and would not allow her to come, as she was not well enough. I saw M'Neill yesterday, and he said his wife was unable to come, as she was suffering very much from dysentery.
I advised
M'Neill to have her here. This morning, I learn, M'Neill drove his wife over to Grantham, and took her to Toowoomba. Here is the subpoena.
The Police Magistrate: It appears she was to have been here yesterday.
Inspector Urquhart: Yes; she was not exactly called.
The Police Magistrate. She was not here yesterday, and I understand the excuse was she was not well?
Inspector Urquhart: That was the excuse of her husband.
The Police Magistrate: If she was not well enough to come here yesterday, it is strange she was well enough to go to Toowoomba to-day. I am very much surprised that any member of the Murphy family should act in this manner. It is their duty to give the police every assistance in their power to find out the murderers of the children. I don't want to take any harsh measures. I suppose you know where she is?
Inspector Urquhart: She has probably arrived at Toowoomba by this time.
The Police Magistrate: You can let her know she must attend here by 2 o'clock on Thursday afternoon. The matter can hang over till then. If she does not appear then I can take action to make her come.
Katie Murphy then continued her evidence. She stated that Norah did not wish to go to the dance, as one of the children would cry after her.
M'Neill told her to go, and that he would look after the little girl. Towards 9 o'clock she saw M'Neill go to his room, and heard him moving about afterwards.
About twelve months before the murder, by request of Norah, she cut out of a paper a memorial notice of the girls Cook.
This remained on the dresser for about two months, and witness then put it into a box in her room, and never removed it afterwards. About six months ago she missed it. Witness described the memorial notice, and identified that shown her as similar to the one she cut from the paper. This piece of paper was found at the scene of the murder. She did not know of the girls having sweethearts, or of them going out riding alone. She didn't hear of any quarrel between the girls and
M'Neill. The latter was well liked by the whole family. She did not see M'Neill's face when he came back on the morning of 27th December to announce the discovery of the murders.
There were four dogs at the house, and they were in the habit of barking at the boys when they came home late until they spoke to them. She did not hear them make a noise on Boxing Night. She could not say if
M'Neill was in the house the whole of that night. She was not aware if any of the horses had shoes on; there was nothing at the farm to shoe them with. Neither of the girls, previous to leaving home, informed her who they were going to dance with. They did not get any letters about the dance. She never saw any letter that they had received other than those from their uncles. James Skinner, a carter, of Gatton, deposed to cutting up the carcass of the horse on 27th December, and removing it to Clark's butcher's shop to be boiled down. The next day, he said, he found on the scene of the tragedy an empty cartridge case, covered with blood, near where the horse had been lying.
The Inquiry was adjourned till 10 o'clock the following morning.
It is proposed to first continue the examination of the family. Sub-inspector Galbraith was in attendance during the day. Detectives Toomey, Carew, and others have also been present. The Commissioner of Police, returned to Brisbane this morning.
Up to the present five witnesses have been examined. It is said there are still about twenty to be examined, more having been subpoenaed since the inquiry began.

9/03/1899

The Commissioner, of Police (Mr. Parry-Okeden) arrived this morning, and, previous to opening the inquiry into the late murders, he and Inspector Urquhart, with Mr. Shand, had a conference, but the outcome of this has not been disclosed.
On the opening of the courtroom, Inspector Urquhart said, in reference to Mrs.
M'Neill, about whom he had made a statement on the previous day, that he had received a letter from Mr. Wonderley, solicitor, Toowoomba, enclosing a certificate, signed by Dr. M'Donnell, certifying that the lady was not in a fit condition to undergo any public examination.
The Police Magistrate said the matter could stand over for a day or two to see what arrangements could be made. John Murphy was called, but did not answer.
Inspector Urquhart: These people are giving too much trouble. They know they have to be here from day to day.
EVIDENCE WILLIAM MURPHY
William Murphy was then called.
The Police Magistrate remarked that it was not nice for the family to treat the inquiry in this way, as they should do all they could do to assist the police.
The witness deposed to Norah and Helen going to the races on Boxing Day. Men named Will Connolly, John Tracey, and Robert Smith spoke to them there, but no mention in his hearing was made by any of them of a dance at Gatton the same night. Michael informed him he was going home early to go to the dance, but witness could not say where
M'Neill was at that time.
Witness rode home with Helen, and asked her if she was going to the dance. She replied she did not know. They got home at half past 6 o'clock, and turned the horses in the yard.
M'Neill was in the house after the girls and Michael went to the dance at Gatton. A little before 9 o'clock witness went to the yard and turned all the horses out into a grass paddock containing about 100 acres. None of the horses were shod. Coming in afterwards he saw his father and mother and M'Neill in the sitting-room. M'Neill went to his bedroom at 9 o'clock, and witness went to the kitchen to assist Katie. From where he was he could see any one leaving the front door. He certainly heard no one. Witness went to bed about ten minutes to 10 o'clock.
His bed lay along a partition on the opposite side of which was a bed occupied by
M'Neill. During the night he heard nothing but M'Neill's snores before he (witness) went to sleep. He did not see who it was snoring, but he thought it was M'Neill. He could not swear positively. Witness rose about 5.30.
He came out by the back door, but did not notice any boots lying about. The saddles were kept in the harness-room. None were around the place.
After the witness had been questioned about what
M'Neill said when he returned from Gatton, Inspector Urquhart addressed him, saying, "Don't treat this in such a casual way. Be careful to tell exactly what was said."
The Police Magistrate: I cannot understand why you people don't recognise the gravity of the matter. You give answers in a haphazard way, and sometimes give the answers before the questions are put.
The court then adjourned for lunch.
Witness, continuing, said when
M'Neill came up after discovering the bodies he was much excited. Witness asked if all were dead, and he replied, "Yes: it is something terrible." Witness went in to his mother; but he could not remember what she said when she was told.
Inspector Urquhart: Have you ever been in court before? - This is the first time in my life.
Inspector Urquhart: I thought so. It is quite possible, your worship, that the witness does not clearly understand what is required of him. Although I do not exactly hit the mark in my questions, he is bound to keep nothing back, but to give all the information he possesses.
The Police Magistrate: Yes; tell all you can. Witness: I will tell you whatever comes into my mind. Continuing, after repeated questioning, he said be remembered his mother saying, "Oh, my God, my poor children!" Arrangements were made to proceed to the scene of the tragedy. He (witness) went in the meantime to fetch his father, who was at the farm, and who asked what was the matter. Witness replied that Norah, Helen, and Mike had been murdered. Murphy, senior, then asked if they had been shot, and when told the facts he said he was glad they had attended their church on the Sunday. He also asked if Bill (meaning
M'Neill) had brought the news.
Inspector Urquhart: Did your father know that
M'Neill had gone to look for the children? -Yes.
The Police Magistrate: You said before that you went over to cut chaff in the morning, and that your father had then gone.
Inspector Urquhart: You said
M'Neill arranged with your mother to go after your father had gone. I want you to get your mind clear, and not say things that contradict each other. As a matter of fact, you really don't know whether your father knew M'Neill had gone to look for them or not? -I could not be certain.
Inspector Urquhart: When you are on your oath you should say nothing unless you are certain.
Do you know whether he knew or not? -I would not be certain.
Inspector Urquhart: Then you don't know? Try to make us clear. -I could not be certain. Witness, continuing, said neither he nor his father on the way home spoke of the probable culprit. He (William) tried to pacify Mrs.
M'Neill. She was calling out the names of the three deceased, but no other. He and others proceeded to the scene of the tragedy. M'Neill was there, but witness could not remember anything he said.
The bodies were removed to Gilbert's Hotel about half-past 2. After visiting several places witness went home, and saw Mrs.
M'Neill sitting with several women. She appeared to be calm. Since then she had been living with the Murphy family until the previous day. Her health had been "middling." She always commenced to weep when the tragedy was mentioned to her.
Inspector Urquhart: I don't want you to say you don't remember. If you ever heard, anything of the kind you must remember. I don't want you to mention any names. I want a straightforward answer yes or no-if you ever, at any time, heard any member of your family say they suspected anyone of committing this crime?-No.
You never heard? -No.
Do you, yourself, suspect anyone? -No.
Have you ever suspected anybody? -No.
Has Pat, your brother, ever told you he suspected anybody? -No.
Have you ever had any conversation with Pat about the murder? -Yes, on several occasions.
Did he ever tell you he went anywhere to look at anything in reference to the crime? No.
Did you ever see him do so? -No.
Have you any opinion whatever as to who is the guilty party? -No.
Has Pat? -No.
Not that you have heard him say? -No.
Did Pat ever tell you that at one time he suspected somebody and that afterwards he didn't? -No.
Did your- mother ever suspect anyone?-No.
Or your father? -No.
Has your father ever said anything about who murdered his innocent children? -No.
Have you ever heard of it? -No. Witness, continuing, said he never heard of Norah, Helen, or Michael having any sweethearts. The girls never, to his knowledge, went to the paddock to catch their own horses.
The Police Magistrate: Have you always worked on your father's farm? -No; I was for two years at the Agricultural College. Witness, continuing, said he knew a man known as "Stuttering Billy Ryan," and also his daughter, Kate. Michael also knew her.
Inspector Urquhart: Do you remember when that girl was at Hyde's, at Dungar?-Yes.
Did Michael ever go to see her? - I could not say.
Did you ever go up there yourself? -No.
Were there any other girls there besides Kate Ryan? -I could not say.
Did you ever hear Michael was Kate Ryan's boy? - I don't think I did.
Did you ever see her and Michael together? -Yes, once; at our place.
Only on that- occasion? -Yes.
Did he see her home? -I am not sure. Witness, continuing, said, he heard from Jerry about
M'Neill's house being burnt down, but that he (Jerry) did not know whether it was insured or not.
Inspector Urquhart: Did Michael and
M'Neill ever have any disagreement, as far as you know? -No.
Was
M'Neill on good terms with all of you? -Yes.
Was your mother afraid of anyone in Gatton? -No.
Did she ever ask for protection against anyone? -I believe she did on one occasion. You need not answer names. You -believe she asked for protection against one man.
How long ago? -Four or five years.
Was that on account of one of the girls? -Yes.
Do you know of any quarrel or dispute that any member of your family ever had with anybody? -Yes; the eldest sister (Mrs.
M'Neill) had with her father before she married M'Neill. There was bitter feeling on the father's side.
Do you know whether that feeling on his part continues? -I don't know.
Was
M'Neill aware of it? -No; but he knows since, because he asked me when the ill-feeling occurred.
Have you Murphy's gone about the country and made any attempt by yourselves to find out who committed these murders? -No.
M'Neill did, didn't he? -Yes.
Did he ever ask any of you to join him? -No.
Did your father ever try to urge you to see what you could do? -No.
At the first, did you ever offer to lend the police any horses, or help them? -No.
Did you ever hear we were hiring horses? -I believe I did on one occasion.
How many horses had you on the place? -About twenty horses, of which seven are draught. Witness, continuing, deposed that a few weeks before Christmas Helen came in to a dance, being driven in the little trap by
M'Neill. Jerry came in to the same dance and drove her home. He could not say when M'Neill came back, and he did not know what time Helen got home. He did not know if any of the victims had ever been in Moran's paddock before. He did not know of any fencing being done for the Moran's. Once, six years ago, witness, his brother Michael, his father, and Bill Marsh had a road contract on the Tent Hill road, opposite the sliprails. Several of them went into a hut in Moran's paddock to seek shelter from a storm.
This concluded William Murphy's examination, and the court was adjourned till 10 o'clock the following morning, when the evidence of John Murphy, another son, will be taken. Up to the present 300 pages of foolscap have been used in taking depositions. Of these, seventy-three were written to-day.
There was an almost entire absence of local interest in the inquiry, as there were only a few stragglers at odd times who put in an appearance at the court-house. William Murphy, whose examination took the whole day, makes the sixth witness finished with.
Sergeant Arrell, who is to be called, is expected to take over a day, so that there is not the slightest doubt of the inquiry extending well into next week.
There will be no evidence taken on Saturday and Monday, as the courtroom is needed in connection with the election.
It is understood some interesting facts will come out before the end of the inquiry; but at what stage is not clear.
Detective Carew left for Helidon on Tuesday morning, and was afterwards ordered on to Toowoomba.
A party visited the scene of the tragedy this morning.
Notwithstanding the lapse of time the bloodstains at the spot where the bodies of Helen and Michael were found were plainly visible.
There is a well-defined track made by the number of vehicles that have been taken through the paddock to the scene.
At the present time, however, such traffic has almost, if not entirely, ceased.

The Inquiry concerning the Gatton murder was resumed to-day.
Inspector Urquhart stated in reference to Mrs.
M'Neill, who was summoned to give evidence, that he had received a letter from Mr. Wonderley, solicitor, Toowoomba, enclosing a medical certificate stating that she was not in a fit condition to undergo public examination.
The magistrate said that the matter could stand over for a day or two.
John Murphy was than called, but did not answer to his name.
Inspector Urquhart: These people are giving too much trouble. They know they have to be here to-day.
The Police Magistrate: It is not nice for the family to treat the inquiry in this way.
They should do all in their power to assist the police.
William Murphy gave evidence of the attendance of his brother and sisters at the Mount Sylvia races on Boxing Day, and also in regard to the movements of the members of the family on the same night. To the best of his knowledge no one left the house that night after his brother and sisters went to the dance.
After witness had been questioned about what
M'Neill said when he returned from Gatton, Inspector Urquhart, addressing him, said: "Don't treat this in such a cruel way. Be careful; tell exactly what was said."
The Police Magistrate: I cannot understand why you people do not recognise the gravity of the matter. You give answers in a haphazard way, and sometimes give answers before questions are put.

10/03/1899

At the resumption of the enquiry into the Gatton tragedy, to-day.
EVIDENCE JOHN MURPHY
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.
M'Neill 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 M'Neill was in his room, but he was supposed to he there.
Inspector Urquhart closely questioned witness as to his personal suspicions, but elicited nothing of importance.
Inspector Urquhart at one time said: "It is absurd the way in which we have to drag things out of you." Witness: I cannot remember things so long back.
Jeremiah Murphy, another brother, deposed that he went to the Mount Sylvia dance because he thought the Gatton dance would be a failure. He returned between 3 and 4 o'clock in the morning. When he was engaged milking cows next morning
M'Neill came to him and said: "It is strange that the girls have not returned. It is time somebody went to see if they had a break down."
Inspector Urquhart; Do you suspect anyone? Witness- Yes. Witness, continuing, said he was not aware if
M'Neill wore the same clothes on the 27th as on Boxing Day.
The inquiry was adjourned till the next day.

On the resumption of the inquiry to-day into the late murders.
EVIDENCE JOHN MURPHY
John Murphy, brother of the victims, was examined. He 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.
Inspector Urquhart: It is absurd the way in which we have to get things out of you. Witness: "I cannot remember things so long ago." Continuing, he deposed to the party going to the Mount Sylvia races on Boxing Day, and was asked several questions about the positions of the different parties there. To some of these the answers were, "I am not sure," and "I don't remember.”
Inspector Urquhart: I am not asking these questions just to get them down. I am asking them with an object. I want to know the true state of affairs that day. 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. Witness did not see the deceased depart in the sulky. 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
M'Neill? 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. He never knew any of the victims to have a row with any one. His mother had trouble with Mrs.
M'Neill a couple of years ago about her marriage. He thought it was over her getting married in the English Church.
Inspector Urquhart: Was it about the Church she was married in or the man she married? Witness: The Church she was married in. Continuing, he said his mother had trouble with Tom Ryan about Mrs.
M'Neill's marriage to M'Neill. The father had nothing to do with the row.
Inspector Urquhart: Do you know Tom Ryan? -Yes.
Are you friendly with him? -I speak to him when I see him.
Did your mother ever become friendly with Tom Ryan again? -I do not know.
Have you ever heard of your brothers suspecting any one? -No.
What is your opinion? -I think it was done by some one who did not know the victims. Continuing, witness said that neither his father, mother, nor brother Pat had expressed suspicions of anyone. Dan, who was formerly in the police, left because he wished to stay at home with his parents on account of the failure to discover the murderers. Dan tried hard to find the perpetrators, and had helped the police as much as possible under the circumstances, but stayed at home with his father mostly. Neither witness nor the other brothers did anything. He knew the brothers Foster, who used to come to dances. These dances ceased, not because of trouble over them, but because of the young men becoming apathetic.
Inspector Urquhart: You have no suspicions? -No.
Can you assign no reason for any one making an attack on your brother and sisters? -No.
Had you any firearms at your place? -We had an old gun, but it was no use.
Was one of the Foster boys sweet on your sister Helen, or Norah? -No.
Suppose he says he was? -He might be in his own mind.
Was it not on account of something of this sort that the dances were put a stop to? -No.
EVIDENCE JEREMIAH MURPHY
Jeremiah Murphy, a brother of the last witness, deposed that while in Gatton on Christmas Eve a man named Ted Chadwick asked him if he would bring his sisters into a dance at Gatton on Boxing Night. He (witness) promised to try and persuade them, but pointed out that there was a dance at Mount Sylvia the same night. No one else was present at this conversation. Chadwick said the Gatton girls wanted him to arrange a dance, but he did not say who was coming. On Christmas Day he mentioned about the dance to the family. Witness went to the Mount Sylvia dance on Boxing Night. After passing Logan's, and between there and Bannerman's, where the dance was held, he did not see a loose horse with the saddle on. He didn't see Con. O'Brien at the dance, and didn't hear anything of the other dance at Gatton. He left the dance about 3 o'clock, and reached home as day was breaking. He did not see anyone between Barlow's and his father's place. When he reached home he did not see the pony that was usually running about the premises. This beast was not easy to catch when it had been out for some time. The horse could have been there, without witness having seen it. There was one dog about the place. Witness took off his saddle, put it on the veranda, and let the horse go.
He did not go to the harness room.
He went to bed, and on awaking about 6 o'clock he found a man named Robert Smith had come into his room and gone to bed.
He proceeded with his milking, Jack passing the remark that the girls had not come home from the dance. Before they finished,
M'Neill came over and said it was a funny thing they (meaning Norah, Helen, and Michael) had not come home from the dance, and that they must have had a smash up. He also said some one ought to go in after them. Witness said, “they may have stopped in at Walker's place.” They had never stopped at Walker's before; but he thought the trap might have broken down, and they had remained there while it was being repaired. He and his brother then had breakfast. Afterwards he did not see M'Neill about; but after 9 o'clock, when they were chaff cutting, M'Neill rode up, looking bad. Bob Smith came and said they had been murdered in a paddock near Gatton. Witness knew M'Neill had gone into town, but could not say who told him. Smith also said Bill (meaning M'Neill) had found them. They then went towards the house, and met M'Neill coming out to them. M'Neill said to William, "My God, Bill, such a mess you never saw in all your life. He also said their hands were tied behind their backs, and their heads bashed in, in a paddock at Gatton." He could not remember what was also said.
Inspector Urquhart: Try and remember, Murphy, because this is of great consequence to everybody? -I don't remember who he said found them.
Did he tell you he heard the news in Gatton? - I don't remember him saying anything.
Did you ask him for any details? -I didn't ask him.
Did your brothers? -I didn't hear them, if they did.
The Police Magistrate: Did you get any information afterwards-when you cooled down-say, in two or three days? -I don't remember.
Inspector Urquhart: Did you ask him whether anybody was with the bodies? -No.
Did your brothers? -I didn't hear them. Didn't ask any question whatever? -No.
Did your mother say anything before she left to go to the scene of the murder? -She said, " Whoever did it didn't mean it for my children."
Did you see Mrs.
M'Neill that day? -Yes.
Do you remember anything she said? -No.
Have you always a blank memory like this? -It is not bad, but I cannot remember at a time like this. It is just the time you ought to remember.
Did you and your brothers remain at home all that day? -Yes.
You didn't get your horses and go about looking? -No.
You know the country well, and so do your brothers? -Yes.
Nothing wrong with you that morning, was there? -No.
Well, don't you know that the men who did that crime could not be very far away by that time? -No answer.
Didn't somebody suggest you should make a push in some direction? -No.
Did you think of it yourself? -No, I didn't.
Did you know how many policemen there were at Gatton at the time? -Yes.
How many? -Two.
You know there were no more? -Yes.
The Police Magistrate: Are you not in the Mounted Infantry? -Yes.
The Police Magistrate: Didn't it strike you to go to your comrades and ask them to help you? -No.
The Police Magistrate: That is what you should have done. They could think of it themselves. I had enough to think of.
The Police Magistrate: You heard of it first; they probably didn't hear of it till next day.
Inspector Urquhart: It is simply a fact that you stayed at home that day, and did nothing at all? -I stayed at home with my sister, Mrs.
M'Neill.
But there were others there? -They were strangers.
Surely some of you could have got away? -There was myself. Jack, and Pat there.
And Katie? -Yes.
When you heard of the thing, did it strike you that any particular person-might have done it? -No.
Had you any suspicion -No.
Have you since? -Yes.
The Police Magistrate: Don't give any names.
Inspector Urquhart: When your mother said it was not meant for her children, did she say who it was meant for? -No.
Have you told anyone your suspicions? -I have told a couple.
The Police Magistrate: Outside your own family? -Yes.
Inspector Urquhart: Did you tell the police? -No; but they have been told.
How do you know? -My brother Dan told them.
To which police? -I don't know.
You didn't tell me. Do you know he told somebody? -I know he told somebody.
The Police Magistrate: Did he tell you he had told somebody? -Yes.
Do your father and mother know Dan's suspicions? -Yes.
How long have they known? Three or four weeks.
Before they gave evidence here? -I don't know. I have known that length of time.
Do you know they knew he suspected somebody? -I don't know.
Do they know Dan suspects somebody? -I don't know.
What I want to know is whether your father and mother know of your suspicions? -I don't know.
How long have you had these suspicions? -About three weeks.
And have you taken any action in consequence of these suspicions? Have you tried to do anything? -Dan told the police, and I don't know.
You don't know whether he told the police? Have you done anything yourself? -No.
Do you know anyone who ever had quarrel with Michael? -No.
Or either of your sisters? -No.
Did you ever know of anybody who ever had a down on your mother? -No.
Or on any member of your family? -No.
Was there any jealousy or rivalry between Michael and anybody else about girls? -Not that I know of.
Do you know of any man being rejected by your sisters? -No.
And you can think of no reason for this murder? -No; I cannot. None at all.
When
M'Neill came to you at the hayshed was he wearing the same clothes as the day before when at the Mount Sylvia races? -I don't know; I didn't notice.
Was he wearing the same coat? -I don't know.
Did you notice his hat? Does he wear a straw hat? -He wears a straw hat now.
Did he then? -I think he did. Did he own any other kind of hat? -That was the only one he had at our place.
Did you boys have other kinds of hats? -Yes.
Were they about the place? -Yes.
Witness, continuing, said he did not see any tramps about the place for some weeks before Christmas. The family did not keep any firearms about the place, while he had never seen
M'Neill with any. He had never seen any writing like that shown him.
EVIDENCE JAMES PORTLEY
James Portley, supernumerary constable, now doing duty at Gatton, said he made a search of Moran's paddock (where the murder was committed) on the 31st December. He found a strap with a buckle at each end, and a piece of paper-a cutting from a newspaper, which he took to be the "Queensland Times." The cutting was a memorial notice about a girl named Mary Cook, who died at Gatton. He marked the paper and handed it over for safe keeping. He found the articles near an ironbark tree, on the right hand side of the track from the sliprails to the scene of the murder, and about 33½ chains from the scene. He subsequently went to the paddock with Inspector Urquhart and two trackers, but did not then find anything else.
EVIDENCE CHARLES DREW
Charles Drew was called, but he did not appear.
The inquiry was then adjourned till the following day, when the first witness will be Dan. Murphy, jun., who is expected to take some time.
Nine witnesses have now been examined since the inquiry was reopened. Two more subpoenas were issued this afternoon, so it is estimated that there are still at least fourteen witnesses to be examined, while some of the others are to be recalled.
The progress made to-day was more satisfactory than on previous days, owing to the witnesses being more ready in answering. There were only one or two persons present at odd times during the day. The writing shown to Jeremiah Murphy was not available for the Press; but the newspaper clipping was shown. It is a memorial notice of "Edith May Cook, who died at Tent Hill, Gatton, 27th December, 1896, aged l8 years." There is a second notice of the same young lady, a piece of poetry following each.

11/03/1899

On the resumption of the inquiry to-day, Daniel Murphy, a brother of the victims, was examined.
EVIDENCE DANIEL MURPHY
He deposed that at the time of the tragedy he was in the Police Force, but not in Gatton. On the 27th December when in Brisbane he received a telegram from Gatton, signed M. Connolly, reading, "Come at once. Helen, Norah, and Michael murdered last night. Brought Pat from College."
He thought it was not true when he received it, and proceeded to verify the contents. The wire was received at 12.30, and he was too late to catch the 1 o'clock train.
He ascertained that the Criminal Investigation Branch had no information, but afterwards had a wire, which confirmed his news.
He came on to Gatton, where Connolly met him, and told him that the victims had been taken into Moran's paddock, their hands tied behind their backs, and the girls ravished and killed. He asked him who did it, and he replied that he did not know, but explained that
M'Neill had found them.
Witness went to the house where his father and mother were. The latter said, "They have murdered my children.'' He asked her who she meant, but she said she did not know.
He stayed up in Gatton all night, and talked to many people, but did not hear of any person being suspected. The following day he made arrangements for the burial of the bodies. He saw
M'Neill for the first time the same day, but had no conversation with him relative to the murder until after the funeral. Witness asked him how he came to find the bodies, and be replied that he saw the cart track where it went into the sliprails. He said he followed the track on the road, and then thought they had gone into the paddock to some house. He knew the tracks, he said, by the wobbling wheel mark. M'Neill said further that he cantered across the paddock, but could not see any house. He then came back again to the rails to have another look at the track. He made sure it was his trap marks, and followed the track till he found the bodies. He went up close, and saw that the three were dead, then galloped in to the police. M'Neill told him he did not see any wheel tracks, other than those of the trap.
M'Neill did not say he saw tracks near the scene of the murder, but he did say he saw no signs of a struggle. He also said he did not take time to look when he first went out.
Inspector Urquhart: Did you ask him if he had any suspicion? - He said he did not know who did it. Continuing, witness said
M'Neill did not say what was being done in the way of search for the murderers. Witness had not visited the scene of the murder till yesterday (9th instant), but he was in the paddock two days after the murder. On that occasion M'Neill was with him. They only went in about 100 yards, for M'Neill to show which way the trap had gone. This was done at witness's request, but after they had proceeded a little distance witness refused to go further. He had had a conversation with M'Neill about the murder. M'Neill thought it was some stranger who did it, and witness thought so, too. Other members of the family agreed in that. He had not heard Pat say he suspected any local person. He (Pat) thought it was Burgess, and so did all the family at first. When his three days' leave was up he successfully applied for a month, and subsequently applied and got another month. At the end of that time, as the murderers had not been found, and his parents wished him to remain at home, he resigned from the Police Force.
Inspector Urquhart: While you were at home on leave did you do anything towards unravelling the mystery? -All the information I could get I gave to the police.
What information did you give? -About local people.
Although you did not think any local people did it? -They used to ask me, and I used to give it.
When you arrived here there were not many police, were there? -No.
M'Neill went about a good deal during the first week, did he not? -Yes.
What was he trying to do? -Trying to see what he could do in reference to the murder. My brother Jerry went with him sometimes, and I went once. Continuing, witness said he did not know of Michael having had a row about a girl, or of any one having animosity against any member of the family. His mother had a quarrel with a man a long time ago. Witness could imagine or assign no reason that would lead to the attack upon the victims.
M'Neill paid all the expenses of the burial, but witness and Pat squared up with him afterwards. This course was followed on M'Neill's initiative. M'Neill must have had the accounts, as he had cheques written out when the conversation on the matter took place.

11/03/1899

The Gatton murder inquiry was resumed to-day at Gatton.
EVIDENCE DANIEL MURPHY
Daniel Murphy, a brother of the deceased, and formerly a police constable, deposed that on December 27 he received at the Roma-street police station the following urgent telegram: "Come at once; Michael, Norah, and Ellen murdered last night. Brought Pat from college. (Signed) Michael Connolly.”
The witness disbelieved the telegram, but ascertained the truth from the Post and Telegraph Office at Brisbane. He got leave of absence, and on reaching Gatton the first person he spoke to was Connolly, who told him that the deceased had been taken into Moran's paddock. Connolly said the girls had their hands tied behind their back, and had been ravished and killed, and that Michael also had been killed. Witness asked, "Who did it? " and Connolly replied, "Do not know, but
M'Neill found the bodies." Witness found his mother at Goldman's. She said, "They have murdered my children in the bush." Witness asked "Who?" And she replied, "I do not know." Witness was sent to Gilbert's Hotel, where he saw the bodies. He did not hear who was suspected. He saw M'Neill next morning for the first time in Gatton in Gilbert's yard. M'Neill afterwards attended the funeral. He (witness) subsequently asked M'Neill how he found the bodies and he replied, "I picked up the cart track on the road where it went into the rails. I could see it was my own cart by the track. I thought they went in there to some house." Witness asked, "How did you know it was your cart?" M'Neill replied, "Because the wheel wobbled. I cantered across the paddock but saw no horse, so I came back to the rails again, examined the track and followed it to the spot where the bodies lay." He further said he went up close to them and could see that all three were dead. He then galloped straight into Gatton to the police. A sergeant came out with him. Witness asked M'Neill if he saw any other tracks than those of the trap, and he replied, "I did not look." The witness suspected no one.
EVIDENCE THOMAS T. G. RYAN
Thomas T. G. Ryan gave evidence as to his movements on Christmas Day. He said he went to Gatton and got drunk. He knew nothing till he found himself in bed the next morning. He went home and went to bed, and did not get up till the next day at 8 o'clock. If anyone said he saw him out that night it would be a lie. He gave the information that his horse had been taken and used by someone to ride to the races on Boxing Day. He quarrelled with Mrs. Murphy about five years since concerning one of her daughters, who was now
M'Neill's wife, but he had spoken to her since.

15/03/1899

EVIDENCE CHARLES GILBERT
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. Witness harnessed his horse and started away with men named James, Davitt, and Wilson. M'Neill and Sergeant Arrell, on horseback, passed them on the way. These were at the sliprails of Moran's paddock when they came up. The sliprails were on the ground, across the entrance. There were wheel tracks turning off the road into the paddock, the turn being gradual. He did not notice that the track "wobbled." They got out of the buggy and the other two dismounted. M'Neill was looking at the rails, and said when he got there first the sliprails were up, but when he came out he left them down. Witness noticed the rails, and saw that the cart had been driven over them. He could not see marks on the rails.
The rails were not lifted up while he was there. The first two rails were about 2in. apart; the third one was 4in.or 5in. away.
The latter was furthest from the road.
He looked at the ground between the rails and saw there was no wheel track between the rails, so that the track was broken from the first rail to the last. Sergeant Arrell and
M'Neill led their horses along the track.
They followed the track for about half-a mile and came upon three bodies, a dog-cart, and a dead horse. He recognised the bodies as those of Michael, Norah, and Helen Murphy. They examined first the body of Norah, and he noticed a wound on her head and that her hands were tied.
Her clothes were drawn up, and the legs up to the knees were exposed. The hat was fastened by a hat pin, and lay a little to one side. She was lying on her right side on a rug evenly spread out, the head being off the rug. Her body was about eight or nine yards from the others. There were no signs of a struggle near Norah's body, or footprints. The ground was of a sandy, soft nature, with no grass upon it. Tracks ought easily to be seen upon it.
Helen's hands were tied with a pocket handkerchief, but her clothes were not disarranged. Michael lay with his back towards her. The conditions gave him the impression that the bodies had been laid there after death. On examining the horse he saw a bullet wound in the forehead.
The reins had been pulled through the saddle rings and were lying loose under the animal's head. In the trap there was a waterproof mackintosh, buggy cushion, and a red cloak. In Michael's hand there was an empty purse. A strap was lying across his thigh. He could not swear that the purse shown him was the same as that in Michael's hand. He went all round to see if he could find any tracks, and saw nothing except two or three hoof prints about twenty yards in the direction of the sliprails from where Norah's body lay. Wilson drew attention to these. They appeared to have been made by a light shoe or racing plate.
The tracks could not be followed; they were made in a clear spot, where a log had been burnt. He did not notice anything round Norah's neck. He saw
M'Neill talking to the sergeant; but did not hear anything that he said. The tracks of the horse struck him as having been made by a horse grazing. He did not think the marks could have been made by hoofs recently trimmed and without shoes. He formed the impression that Norah's body had been placed after death where it was. As he drove in his buggy he could discern the wheel tracks quite plainly. The bodies were afterwards removed to the Brian Boru Hotel. Witness took some interest in racing. The only person in the district that he knew who used racing plates was a man named McEwan, and he believed he used them on race days. He did not think McEwan had any horses contesting at the Mount Sylvia or Burnside races on Boxing Day.
At this stage the inquiry was adjourned till 9 o'clock the following morning, when the evidence of Sergeant Arrell, which Inspector Urquhart said would be very lengthy, will be taken. There were no less than nine witnesses examined to-day, which brings the total to twenty-eight. There remain about half-a-dozen still to be examined. None of the public attended to-day.

16/03/1899

On the resumption of the inquiry this morning,
Sergeant Wm. Arrell, stationed at Gatton, deposed that on Boxing Night he came home from the Mount Sylvia races along the Tent Hill road, accompanied by Michael Connolly. He passed Moran's sliprails about 9 o'clock, but noticed no one there. A man was riding about a chain in front. When they reached O'Leary's this man had stopped, and was speaking to three persons in a trap. On passing, Connolly called out "Good night." Witness asked who they were. Connolly replied, "They are the Murphy's." They had previously passed Florrie Lowe on Clark's Hill. Witness noticed there were two females and one male in the trap. The spot where he saw the sulky would be about a mile from Moran's sliprails. Witness came on to Gatton, and in Railway-street Patrick Murphy passed them. Witness reached home at 9.30.
On the following morning a man came to the barracks and said, "My name is William
M'Neill. I have come to tell you that the three Murphy's are lying dead in a paddock out there." Witness said, "What paddock?" He said, "I don't know the name of the paddock. It is about two miles out on the Tent Hill road." Witness said, "What Murphy's?" He replied, "Michael, Norah, and Helen." He said further, "They left their home at Tent Hill last night about 8 o'clock to go to a dance at Gatton. They did not return last night, nor had they returned this morning. We got uneasy about them, and I started off on horseback for Gatton to make inquiries about them. I came on towards Gatton, and when about a mile and a-half or two miles along the Tent Hill road I noticed wheel tracks on the road, and these tracks I recognised as those of my trap that I had lent to the Murphy's. The tracks were turning off the road through the sliprails into the paddock. The sliprails were up, and I could see where the tracks had gone through. I went into the paddock a short distance over a ridge, expecting to see a house that they had gone to, but saw none. I then came back to the rails, followed the wheel tracks through the paddock some distance, and came upon the trap, with the horse lying dead, and the three Murphy's lying dead a short distance from the trap. I did not go close up to them, nor did I stop to look at them, but rode straight away to report the matter to you." M'Neill appeared excited, and was pale-looking. Witness then asked, "What do you think has happened? Do you think the horse bolted and smashed them up?" He replied, "I don't think so, because the horse was a quiet old horse." Witness then saddled his horse and rode away with him. When witness and M'Neill got to O'Leary's the latter said, "Do you see these wheel tracks here?"
Witness said, "Yes."
M'Neill then said, "These tracks were made by my trap. Do you see that one of those tracks does not run straight?" Witness saw that in every 10ft. or 12ft. the track of the left wheel made a slight turn, and a wobbly track was made. Witness and M'Neill got off their horses at the rails, and plainly noticed the wheel tracks on the ground, also the horse tracks in the centre of the wheel tracks. They also saw other horse tracks inside and outside the wheel tracks made by an unshod horse going in and out of the sliprails. The bottom rail was up, and the other two rails were lying across the entrance. Witness put the third down. The wheel tracks where the rails were lying were disconnected, as if the trap wheels had passed over the rails on the ground.
Inspector Urquhart: Are you quite sure you recollect the circumstances of this matter? -Yes.
Are you sure? -Yes.
Do you recollect them better than a month ago? -Yes.
Why?-Because I have been thinking over them.
Then if you said in your statement that you saw an unbroken continuation of wheel tracks through the rails that is wrong? -Yes. Continuing, witness said that he followed the wheel tracks back towards Gatton to see if he could find traces of a struggle or fight, but the trap appeared to have been driven without stoppage to the rails. He had no conversation with
M'Neill all this time, nor with any of those who had arrived in the buggy. They followed the tracks through the paddock, and noticed that the trap had grazed trees in several places.
He only saw the tracks of one horse. They followed the tracks to the scene of the murder. When they came up to the first body
M'Neill said, "This is Norah."
Inspector Urquhart: Was the face plainly visible at the time? -Yes.
How much of the face? -The left side and one eye.
Do you think anybody who knew her could recognise her at a glance? -Yes, I do. Continuing, witness said that
M'Neill pointed out the other two. Witness then described the positions and condition of the bodies. There were evidences of assault upon Norah. Helen's clothes were pulled up to her knees, and there were blood and other stains on her underclothing. He took no notes at the time, but he did afterwards.
He could not now find them.
The bench said he could not understand witness losing them. He should have religiously kept them.
Continuing, witness said that Helen also had finger-nail scratches. He did not compare those on the two bodies to see if they were done by different persons, as he did not think it necessary at the time.
M'Neill was present at the examination of Norah, but made no observation. M'Neill only stayed for a portion of the time. Witness went to Michael's body, round which others were walking.
Inspector Urquhart: Did you not take any precaution to keep people away from the body?
Witness: There were only four persons there, Wilson, Gilbert, Devitt, and James.
Inspector Urquhart: How did you know the murderer was not there?
The Bench: Did you not know that those persons would obliterate any tracks of the murderers?
Witness, continuing, stated that a strap was lying a short distance away from Michael's feet. He did not know that Gilbert said that a strap was lying across Michael's right thigh. He did not notice tracks, but the ground was slightly disturbed. The mark could have been made by something trailing on the ground. The mark might also be made by a kick from a heel on the ground. There was some loose earth on Norah's shoulder, and he formed the opinion that she was killed where she lay. He held the same opinion of the others. He believed that, because when the bodies were lifted up there was an indentation in the ground under each, and thus that the heads were on the ground when the blows were received.
Witness thought the bodies had been dead for about twelve hours. He next examined the trap, which was about six yards away. He found no blood on it. He searched for tracks or weapons, and between the bodies and the trap he found a blue cloak, on which there was no blood.
After looking for some time, witness said, "As far as I can see, there is no trace left here; but if there is a real good black tracker he may be able to pick up some trace or track that we have been unable to find. I will ride into Gatton, and wire to the Commissioner of the occurrence, and ask him to send a black tracker." He asked the others to remain and protect the bodies. Gilbert and James said they could not, as they had to return to town. Wilson and Devitt agreed to remain. Witness before leaving, instructed Wilson and Devitt to stay until he returned, and to allow no one near the bodies or the spot. Wilson was a magistrate.
Inspector Urquhart: Did you act before you left in the same manner that you told Wilson to act? There were only four there.
Did you tell them to keep away? –No.
Why not? -Because I did not think of it at the time.
What were they doing while you were examining the place? -Walking round.
That was to give the black trackers a chance? Witness, continuing, said
M'Neill only remained about five minutes after they first came to the scene. He did not ask him where he was when he first saw the bodies, or to point out which way he had come.
It did not at the time strike him as peculiar that there was no appearance of
M'Neill's tracks along between the wheel tracks. If the tracks were there between the wheel tracks he would have seen them; but there were none except those of the horse that drew the trap.
Inspector Urquhart: If you noticed that, it is peculiar you did not question
M'Neill. Did you see any footprints about the bodies as if a man had walked up and looked at them? -No.
Are you in a position to say there was no track? Was your examination sufficient to enable you to say so? -I believe it was.
Have you ever had any experience of tracking? -Yes; I was three or four months after a black bushranger with four black trackers.
Do you swear there were no tracks? -All I can say is I carefully examined, and I believe there were no tracks. I saw none.
Didn't it strike you as peculiar, knowing
M'Neill had been there before, according to his own statement? -Well, yes, it did.
Did you take any steps to test the accuracy of
M'Neill's statement? -No.
Did you question him to see if he was telling the truth? -No.
It is difficult to believe you rode from this station to the scene with
M'Neill without saying something to him. Didn't you ask him for any particulars?- No. Continuing, witness said he got back to the scene of the murder about a-quarter to 12.
He had no police constable in Gatton, and no assistance whatever.
Did the Murphy family offer any assistance? -No.
Did they at any time? -No.
Did anyone else?-No, except when the bodies were being removed.
Did any magistrate in Gatton come to offer any help? -No. Continuing, witness said there were about thirty or forty people close up to the bodies on his arrival. These he requested to go out of the paddock. They retired a little, but came back again repeatedly, though he remonstrated with them.
No one then offered to help him. Mrs. Murphy asked him to have the bodies removed. Witness replied that he would like to allow the bodies to remain where they were until a doctor, for whom he had wired, had arrived.
Father Walsh, who was standing near, said it would be as well to leave the bodies until the doctor arrived.
Later, Mrs. Murphy again asked for the removal of the bodies.
Mr. James (chemist), who was there then, said the bodies should be removed on account of the sun and the ants. Messrs. Ballantyne and Wiggins urged the same course. The latter said, "Have you not taken a description of the position of the bodies when you found them." He said he had. He could not find that description. He put it in his drawer, and could not imagine where it had gone. He then had the bodies removed.
Inspector Urquhart: Did you consider you were instructed by these two magistrates, Mr. Wiggins and Mr. Ballantyne, to remove the bodies? -No, I did not. Continuing, witness said a number of men, including
M'Neill, helped to remove the bodies. Just as Michael's body was to be taken up, Mrs. Murphy, who was at the head, lifted the mackintosh that had been placed over the face, and said, "Who does this belong to." M'Neill said, "It belongs to Bob Smith; it was thrown into the trap up at the races yesterday afternoon." Witness lifted up a portion of the rug under Norah, and noticed dark stains on the underneath part, with dirt about the spot. The bodies were taken to the Brian Boru Hotel, placed in a room, and the door locked.
Dr. Von Lossberg arrived and made an examination of the bodies. It was at this time that he found the hames-strap had been put round Norah's neck, drawn tightly, and fastened with a half hitch. The clothes were taken off the bodies and handed over to witness. At the scene of the murder in the afternoon a man named Andrew Smith handed him a piece of the dead limb of a tree, about 4ft. long and 4in. through. One end was smaller than the other; at the larger end it was knotty, and at that place there were stains of blood.
He fitted it into an indentation discovered in the ground near Norah's head, which it fitted exactly. He concluded it had previously been lying in that hole, and on account of blood and some hair upon it, that it was the weapon with which the wounds were inflicted. It was a solid, heavy stick of hardwood, but he could lift it with both hands and strike a blow with it.
The inquiry was adjourned till the following morning.
During the afternoon Messrs W.A. Cross and Walton Kent, JJ.P. occupied seats on the bench.
Sergeant Arrell's evidence took eighty-one pages of foolscap.
Altogether, there are now 618 pages of depositions.

17/03/1899

On the resumption of the inquiry to-day, Sergeant Arrell further deposed that he did not notice, when passing the Murphys on Boxing Night, if the man driving had a whip.
On Wednesday, 28th December, witness was at the scene of the murder when James Skinner handed him an empty revolver cartridge case, saying he had found it in a pool of blood at the horse's head. The case was dirty and bent.
Witness took possession of it, and also of the hames strap found round Norah's neck, and a strap found near Michael's body.
Thomas George Bailey, aged 15, residing with his father at Deep Gully, deposed that he slept at his father's house on Boxing Night. He arose at 6 o'clock the following morning, and got a horse and rode into Gatton, passing Moran's sliprails at half past 7 o'clock. He noticed the sliprails all up, and also saw wheel tracks turning off into the paddock. He did not look to see if there were other tracks. He met no one on the way.
Edward Andrew Chadwick, a farmer, of Gatton, deposed that he was sergeant-major in the local Mounted Infantry corps. He was acquainted with the Murphy family. On Christmas Eve he met Patrick and Jeremiah Murphy, and informed them that they were going to hold a dance in the Divisional Board's hall on Boxing Night, and asked Pat would he come. He said he was going to the College, but he would have a look in.
Witness then asked Jerry if he would come and bring his sisters. The latter replied that he was going to the Mount Sylvia races, but that he would try and get back and bring his sisters in. Witness also told him to inform the other young people of the dance, and he promised he would. Three Jordan's were associated with witness in the organisation of the dance, and they knew the Murphys had been asked.
Altogether there were asked the Misses Jordan (2), Callaghan (2), Chadwick (2), Hennessy, Hay, Crane, Bourke, and Quinn.
Witness, with Thos. and Steve Jordan, at night opened the hall and lit the lamps.
He then went to see if the girls had come to town for the dance. Only about six appeared, and they waited till 9 o'clock, and, after conversation with Geo. Callaghan agreed to abandon the dance.
At 9.10 witness returned the keys to the caretaker, and while doing so saw a trap driving past with three persons, two girls and a man, in it. Joe Jordan, who was standing near the gate, said, “Here are the Murphys now.” They turned round and drove back. No one spoke to them. It was nothing unusual for ladies invited to dances not to come. No letter of invitation, so far as he knew, was sent to the Murphy's.
Andrew Smith, a storekeeper at Gatton, deposed to picking up a stick at the scene of the murder, and to the exhumation of the bodies.
Richard James, a chemist, of Gatton, deposed to going with Mr. Gilbert, the hotelkeeper, and others on the morning after the tragedy to Moran's paddock, having heard from Gilbert that the Murphys had been killed by accident. Gilbert said his informant was
M'Neill, and he (James) believed he also stated that M'Neill said it was an accident. M'Neill and Sergeant Arrell were at the sliprails when witness arrived. He noticed the wheel tracks, and went back over them to see what impression the trap made, and whether three persons were in the vehicle at the time.
The trap went up a rise to the rails, the supposition being that it was a runaway. He found that the trap had made nearly as much impression as a buggy. The witness explained how they proceeded to the scene, and described the positions of the bodies. He said, as far as he could see, death occurred in each case at about the same time. He could find no footprints round about.
M'Neill was present.
He did not hear him make any remarks.
William Devitt, bootmaker, residing in Gatton, deposed to proceeding to Moran's paddock on the morning of the discovery of the murder. The sliprails were down when he and others arrived, but he could not say whether the wheel tracks went over them or whether they were unbroken. Witness, who said his eyesight was not too good, described what he saw when he arrived at the spot where the bodies were. He said he could see no signs of a struggle, footprints, or indication that anyone had been there. The ground was fairly bare, and the soil somewhat sandy.
M'Neill was present part of the time; but witness did not hear him say anything.
At this stage Inspector Urquhart said there were still two witnesses whose attendance was necessary who had tot yet put in an appearance at the inquiry, and it was necessary to get instructions as to how their attendance was to be secured. He had some other witnesses to give evidence later on; but at the present time he was not prepared to offer any more evidence. A certain amount of evidence could be taken the following day; but it would be very short, and it might hardly be worth while for the court to sit.
He thought if his worship saw likewise-that it would be better to adjourn the court till some time next week, leaving the day open until he (Inspector Urquhart) was in a position to say at what time witnesses could be secured.
The Police Magistrate: You are going to Brisbane this afternoon? Inspector Urquhart: Yes.
The Police Magistrate: Well, you will be able to let me know when it will be convenient to hold the Inquiry. I hope you will be able to make it as early as possible, as the Inquiry has been, protracted to a considerable length, and we ought to try to bring it to a conclusion.
The court then adjourned. Up to the present 661 pages of depositions have been taken, and thirty-four witnesses examined. It is expected that the latter number will be increased to forty.

The Gatton inquiry was continued to-day.
Several witnesses were examined, one of whom detailed the circumstances connected with the postponement of the dance at Gatton on Boxing Night. Richard James, a chemist, of Gatton, gave evidence relating to his being one of the first party of persons to proceed to the scene of the murder after
M'Neill brought the news into the town.
He noticed wheel tracks, and went back over them in order to see what impression had been made.
He saw no footprints round where the Murphy's were lying.
William Davitt gave corroborative evidence.
Inspector Urquhart said that he had some witnesses to call later, but did not wish to produce them now.
The Magistrate hoped the inquiry would be resumed at an early date, as it ought to be brought to a conclusion.
The inquiry was then adjourned indefinitely.

21/03/1899

The Gatton enquiry was re-opened to-day.
Several witnesses gave evidence regarding the arrangements made for holding a dance on Boxing Night.
The witnesses had no suspicion as to who was likely to have committed the murder, and were unacquainted with any enemies the Murphy's might have had. Robert Ballantyne, a stockkeeper and justice of the peace of Gatton, said that when he reached the scene of the murders Mrs. Murphy and
M'Neill were standing near the bodies of Michael and Ellen Murphy.
Other persons were also present some distance back from the bodies. Witness spoke to
M'Neill, who explained how he found the bodies. Witness saw the tracks of a small, unshod pony leading from where Michael and Norah Murphy lay. He followed the tracks some distance. Sergt. Arrell arrived and ordered the people off the ground, but all refused to leave, though they were told they were defeating the ends of justice. The witness saw leading from the pony-cart to where Norah lay small footprints, more like those of a woman's than a man's boot. The mark indicated a shoe with a narrow toe, and without a heel, and they appeared to have been made as if someone was carrying a heavy weight, and leaned forward.
The inquiry was adjourned.

22/03/1899

The enquiry as to the Gatton murders was continued to-day.
Daniel Murphy the father of the victims, was recalled and gave evidence in reference to the horses kept at his homestead. He also related a conversation, which he had with
M'Neill on Boxing Night. He said the latter retired about 10 o'clock, and was certain that if anyone left the house afterwards he must have heard them, as he was up till midnight, when M'Neill and his wife were talking together, owing to M'Neill's child being restless. During his examination the witness was repeatedly cautioned to answer straight out and not say, "I don't know," "I don't think," "I don't believe."
Several other witnesses were examined regarding the postponement of the dance at Gatton on Boxing Night.
Inspector Urquhart said that there were still two witnesses to examine, namely Dr. Wray, the Government medical officer, who assisted in the second post-mortem and Mrs.
M'Neill, who was now at Toowoomba. Several telegrams were sent requesting her attendance to-day, but no answer had been received, and the magistrate said he would, if necessary, issue a warrant to compel her attendance.
The inquiry was adjourned till to-morrow.

In consequence of the evidence of Ballantyne yesterday the Murphy's pony was brought in last night, and early this morning Ballantyne made an inspection of the hoof-prints to compare them with those he saw at the scene of the murder, but it is understood that nothing satisfactorily definite was the outcome.
The Commissioner of Police arrived yesterday afternoon, but returned to Brisbane this morning.
On the resumption of the inquiry this morning Daniel Murphy, father of the victims, was recalled. He said he recollected saying, when previously giving evidence, that there were no horses in the house paddock on the night of the murder. There was a stable at the place, and in this Lucas, an old blood stallion, very infirm in the legs, was kept.
Inspector Urquhart: Was he in the stable on the night of the murder? -Yes.
Why did you not tell us that before? -He is always in the stable.
But why did you not tell us? You were sworn to tell the truth. -I did not think of it.
Can he be ridden? -Yes.
You did not tell us that before. Why did you conceal it? -I am not concealing anything. I did not think of it. Witness, continuing, said a small pony was kept in the paddock near the house for running up the cows in the morning. He did not know if it was in the paddock that night, but his son John had told him since he (Daniel, sen.) last gave evidence that the pony was there that night. He had not previously concealed these things, but had not thought of them when last examined.
His son had recalled to his mind a conversation he had with
M'Neill on Boxing Night.
That night at about 9.30 o'clock witness was in the kitchen, and when returning to the sitting-room he asked
M'Neill to have a glass of wine, but the latter refused, saying he had a headache. He did not see M'Neill again that night, but witness believed he went to bed. He did not believe he went out afterwards.
Inspector Urquhart: What reason have you for thinking he did not go out afterwards? -I never saw him go out afterwards.
How do you know he never went out? -He usually goes to bed before me.
Could
M'Neill not have left the house afterwards without your knowledge? -I don't believe he could.
Why? -I could hear him go out, I believe.
The Police Magistrate: Why cannot you answer these questions straight out instead of saying, "I don't believe this and I don't believe that”? Surely you can answer a straight question.
Inspector Urquhart: Don't you sleep at night? -Not until after 12 o'clock.
Questioned as to why this was so witness said he had previously been engaged in work, which afforded him only a limited time for sleep.
Inspector Urquhart: Is that not all the more reason why you should sleep when you get the chance?
Witness, closely questioned, said he heard
M'Neill and his wife talking about 12 o'clock, but he could not fix the time except through having been a good while in bed. He heard the child cry. It usually cried in the early part of the night. She would cry if disturbed by any one in the night. He did not hear any person moving in the house or any noise whatever. Pat had two ponies other than the one at the house, but on Boxing Day they were at Spring Creek, sixteen miles away. He did not know of any other pony being about the place that night. The pony mentioned was somewhat hard to catch.
George Callaghan, a farmer of Gatton, deposed to his part in the dance that was to have been held at Gatton on Boxing Night.
He said it fell through because they had counted upon all the young ladies in Gatton, and that night they could only make six.
He remembered a girl named May Cook. He saw an "in memoriam" notice of her in the "Queensland Times." He did not cut it out, or know any one who did. To the best of his belief she was friendly with the Murphy girls. He did not hear of any one expected at the dance not attending. Thomas Jordan, a farmer of Gatton, deposed, in connection with the dance, that only five persons knew it had been postponed.
They discussed the matter near Gilbert's hotel, and any one standing there might possibly have heard them. He was in Gatton on Christmas Day. The dance to be held the following night was not generally known about.
Constable Perkins, of Rosewood, deposed to the boiling down of the horse found dead near the victims of the tragedy. He recovered the bullet, which he handed to Sergeant Arrell.
At this stage Inspector Urquhart said: "I have two more witnesses to call, neither of whom is in attendance. One, Dr. Wray, will be here to-morrow morning, and as to the other, Mrs.
M'Neill, I have wired to Toowoomba to see if she is coming, but cannot say anything definite till I receive the reply. Every facility is afforded for her attendance. I have telegraphed this morning that a railway pass will be issued to her to enable her to come down, but I have received no reply, so I have telegraphed again asking for a definite reply. Information reached me this morning that her relatives, the Murphy's, do not expect her till next week, but I cannot say if it is reliable or not."
The Police Magistrate: If you don't receive a reply this afternoon I will issue a warrant to compel her to be here to-morrow or the next day. Dr. Wray will be here tomorrow.
Inspector Urquhart: Yes. The court then adjourned till to-morrow morning.
Later.
Inspector Urquhart applied by wire to the Commissioner of Police (who returned by a morning train to the city) for instructions how to proceed in the case of Mrs.
M'Neill, but up to the present no definite information of the course to be followed is available.
A good deal of interest as to the nature of her evidence has been aroused. It appears almost certain that her evidence will not be secured to-morrow, but it seems the police are determined that it shall be given.

24/03/1899

GATTON, March 23.
Inspector Urquhart, Detective Toomey, Mr. Shand, P.M., and the deposition clerk are on their way to Toowoomba to examine Mrs. McNeill this afternoon, if the doctors permit.
TOOWOOMBA, March 23.
Mr.
M'Neill arrived by mall train from Gatton this morning. Mrs. M'Neill has been subpoenaed to appear at the court at 2 o'clock this afternoon. It is understood that she is well enough to give evidence.
MRS.
M'NEILL'S EVIDENCE
FURTHER ADJOURNMENT.
TOOWOOMBA, March 23.
At 2 o'clock a few people began to file into the courtroom until about two dozen were present. At five minutes past 2. Inspector Urquhart entered and took his seat at the table, where there were no less than seven Press representatives seated. Dr. Garde. Government medical officer occupied a seat in court; also Messrs. E. Boland and P. Connor, JJ.P. and J. N. Herbert, the solicitor who recently appeared in defence of the man Burgess. At 2.15 Mr. Shand took his seat on the bench, accompanied by; Messrs. S. B. Kennard and S. H. Whichelle, JJ.P.
Inspector Urquhart said he had but one witness to call.
The Government medical officer had examined that witness, Mrs.
M'Neill, and he considered her strong enough to undergo an examination. It would probably be detrimental to her if this examination were public, however, and it would be advisable to have the public excluded.
A chair was placed for the witness on the left of the bench, opposite to the witness-box, in order that Inspector Urquhart need not raise his voice. At 2.25 the witness, Mrs.
M'Neill, was carried into court from a room at the rear of the bench, in the arms of her husband. Mr. M'Neill was ordered to leave the court by Mr. Shand who said it was possible that he might be recalled. M'Neill asked to be allowed to stay with his wife, but permission was refused.
Mrs.
M'Neill, it was observed, is a very frail woman. Her small, thin body was attired in a black dress, loose, and fastened at the waist, with a black straw hat, something like a sailor hat in shape, but of a softer straw, and trimmed with crape. The hat was tied under her chin with black strings.
Witness was evidently ill at ease by the manner in which she glanced round the court. She gave her answers in a low, weak voice, her eyes being rarely raised to the face of her questioner, and frequently turning to the door, through which her husband had disappeared. Witness was in no way hysterical, nor did she at any time give evidence of tears. At the conclusion of the examination, and during; the reading of the depositions, witness had several times to be asked to give her attention to the reading.
Having been sworn, witness said her name was Mary
M'Neill, wife of William M'Neill, and sister of the victims of the late tragedy. She resided with her husband at Westbrook, and occasionally visited her parents at Tent Hill. She remembered Boxing Day, when she went to her parent's residence with her husband in Mr. M'Neill's little two wheeled trap, and attended the Mount Sylvia races. While at the racecourse, her sister Ellen came and sat in the trap with them. They left for home about 6 p.m. They passed Barlow's Hotel, but drove straight past without stopping.
They reached home about a quarter-past 6.
They all had tea together. There were then in the house witness, her brothers William, Michael, and John, and her father and mother, the youngest sister Katie, and her own two children. Norah and Ellen also were there, and witness's husband. She was sure that Pat also was there. She heard no one speak of a dance at tea time. Ellen had said, when at the races, that she had declined an invitation to the Mount Sylvia dance, and she was going to Gatton. The invitation came from Jimmy Ryan, of Blackfellows' Creek, and was given in witness's hearing.
Ryan appeared to go on with the joke, and said, “Ah, do come.” Ellen replied, “I don't think I will, Jimmy,” and Ryan said, “Do come; Michael will be there, and if not I will bring him.” Ellen only laughed, and there seemed to be some joke which witness did not understand. Ryan then went away.
Witness did not hear anything further said about the dance.
She did not remember anything being said about it after tea.
Witness knew they were going to the Gatton dance, because she saw Helen and Norah getting ready.
She knew that Michael was going to drive them in, but not before she saw him preparing. Previously she thought Pat might be going to drive them.
Witness thought this because she saw him speaking to Norah before going to the races; but she did not hear what was said. Norah told witness she wanted to put her (witness's) child to sleep before going, but witness replied, “ The child will be all right, it will make it too late.”
Witness's husband said to Norah, “I will see to the child; you had better go.”
Witness did not know of her husband ever having any intention of going to the dance, and he never left the house with that intention.
It was nearly 8 o'clock when the party left the house for the dance. Witness's brother Pat left soon after. Witness remained up about half-an-hour after he left, and then was helped to bed by her mother. The room she occupied in Murphy's house was off the sitting-room, with a door opening into the sitting-room. There were two windows, one at the side opening on the front veranda, and one at the end of the house. They were both sash windows. The two children went to bed after her, but she could not say what time. Witness did not know how long her mother stopped in the room; she thought a quarter of an hour.
Witness did not go to sleep. She did not notice if the windows of the room were shut, she slept with them open generally. Her sister Ellen usually occupied the room with her. On the night in question her husband slept in the same bed with her. Her eldest child, 2 years and 5 months, slept in the bed also. The child could speak a little. The other child slept with witness's mother. The eldest child usually slept well, and was sleeping well at Christmas time.
Witness sometimes burned a light all night, but did not remember if she did so on that occasion.
There was no clock or watch in the room.
Witness could not say what time her husband brought the child in; but she remembered him doing so. The child was awake at the time, and undressed.
Witness slept on the outside, and her husband put the child on the wall side.
Inspector Urquhart: Had your husband his boots on?
Witness: No; he would not come to bed with his boots on.
Inspector Urquhart: No, of course; but when he entered the room?
Witness: No; he had not his boots on.
Continuing, witness said her husband entered the room from the sitting-room; but she could not remember if he shut the door. There was a light in the sitting room.
Witness knew, because her mother was reading. She could not see her mother or the light, but heard her turning the leaves of the book. She could have seen the light if she had looked, but she did not. She was wide awake at the time. She thought there was a light in the sitting-room.
Inspector Urquhart: You said just now there was, you know. Don't give the first answer that comes into your head.
The question was again put, and witness replied that she did not know. She had not been told to say she did not know.
She had not taken any medicine or anything to drink before going to bed, nor did she have any injection with a needle.
She could not remember if her husband shut the door.
She could not remember if the child had spoken.
She did not remember if she herself spoke. Her husband got into bed with his clothes on, after putting the child to bed.
She had no idea what time this was, or how long it was after Pat left. The bedroom door was sometimes left open, and sometimes shut when she was in bed.
She could not say which it was that night after he got into bed.
She did not snore, that she knew of; but her husband did sometimes, and pretty loud.
She did not know if he spoke to her when getting into bed, or if she spoke to him.
She went to sleep that night, she thought, about half-an-hour after her husband went to bed.
She did not know if he was awake also. The child was asleep.
She did not notice the door of the room during the half-hour.
She heard some one moving in the sitting-room, but could not see them, because she did not look.
She thought she could have seen them had she looked.
She did not hear anyone in the sitting-room ask some one to have a drink before her husband went to bed. Her husband usually put his boots in the bedroom when he took them off.
She did not see him take them off that night. After lying awake half-an hour that night, she went to sleep. The bed was a three-quarter bed, with an iron railing at the bottom. There were mosquito curtains on the bed, but they were pulled back, and were not in use that night.
Witness was in better health, and sleeping better at this time than she had been.
She slept all night that night, and until morning. Nothing disturbed her, she was sure.
She had a good night. Her husband did not have to get out that night on her account, and he did not get up at all that she knew of. It was long after daylight when witness woke. She heard others in the house moving about, but did not know the time. Her husband was not up when she awoke.
Inspector Urquhart: Was he awake? Who woke first?
Witness: I don't know.
Inspector Urquhart: Try and think of that morning.
Witness, after a pause, again said she could not remember.
Inspector Urquhart: Are you sure he was there?
Witness: Yes, because I saw him get up, and he came back, and told me the others had not come home. Continuing, witness said her husband still had his clothes on when he got up, the same as he had worn at the Mount Sylvia races. It was not usual for him to do so, but when he did it was on account of the little girl, because she was troublesome. The child was not troublesome that night. Witness was sure nothing of any kind disturbed her during the night. No one entered the room during the night that she knew of. Her mother might enter the room to look at her without her hearing; but she knew of no one entering or leaving. She did not remember who gave her her tea that night. Norah usually did it. She sat at the table that night for tea. She did not know if her husband put his boots on before going out in the morning. He was only away a few minutes, and when he returned she saw his boots on his feet. He said, “Michael and the girls didn't come home yet.” Witness replied, “Really, Are you joking?” He replied, “No; they didn't turn up yet.”
She did not think anything more was said. Witness got up, and had breakfast in the kitchen with her brother, Jack, Jerry and Bob Smith
Her husband did not say he was going to look for them before he went. It was about 8 o'clock when witness had breakfast. Her husband returned about 10 o'clock.
Witness saw him return, and he spoke to her and her mother.
Witness asked if he had seen them, and he said, “Yes.”
Witness said, “Are they coming?” and he replied, “No.”
She noticed nothing wrong, and he spoke in quite his ordinary way, with nothing strange in his speech.
Witness asked why they were not coming, and “Where are they?”
Her husband replied, “They're dead.”
Witness said, “What, the three?” and he replied, “Yes.”
Witness asked where, and he replied, “Away in some paddock near the cemetery and Clark's butcher's shop.”
He did not know whose paddock.
Witness did not remember what her mother said.
Witness asked her husband could it be true, and he said, “Yes.” Norah used to mind witness's little girl, and the child was very fond of her: so also was witness.
Inspector Urquhart: When you heard they were all dead out in the paddock, did you not care enough to make further inquiries as to how it happened?
Witness: I daresay I did; but I forget.
Inspector Urquhart: Well, Mrs.
M'Neill, when did you first hear they were murdered?
Witness:
M'Neill said so, during the course of the conversation. Neither she nor her mother asked who they were murdered by. She did not know why she did not ask. She did not know who murdered them. Witness was fond of the three deceased.
She had no favourite brother; they were all alike to her; but Michael had been working near her place. If she had any idea or suspicion of who was the murderer she would say so. She had no idea, and had never had since it happened.
She had never said she had, or that she knew whose work it was.
She was 32 years old.
Inspector Urquhart: But at the Inquest your brother William's age was given as 32.
Are you older or younger?
Witness said she was the younger; but she always understood she was 32.
She had been married about three years, but had been away from home some time before.
She had been away from home about eight years altogether; but had visited it during that time. Prior to meeting her present husband, there had been some sweethearting between witness and Tom Ryan. This had died out. They had often had rows, and witness had also had a beating from her mother for going with him. The sweet hearting continued after this. Ellen had carried letters between them, and Tom had lent her his horse, which she had kept at her place without her mother knowing. Tom did not seem annoyed when she married
M'Neill. Norah was against her going with Tom, and she had told him that her mother was against a match.
She did not remember telling him that Norah and Ellen were against it.
She might have told him that witness's mother had told her that Ryan had said he would have Polly (meaning witness), in spite of her. The reason they objected to Tom was because he was fond of drink.
Witness did not know if Michael was against the match with Ryan. Tom had not told her so. Ryan and
M'Neill had not had a row over witness. Her mother did not want her to marry M'Neill, because he was a Protestant, and she was a Roman Catholic. The other members of the family did not know anything about the proposed match with M'Neill.
She had never told anyone that her husband had been away all night on the night of the murder, and she did not think anyone had asked her.
She had seen Tom Ryan at a distance since the murder, but not to speak to.
Witness and Tom Ryan had been sweethearting nine or ten years.
She did not know when it was that she finally told him she would have no more to do with him.
She had never heard Ryan say, and had never heard that he had said, he would be revenged for not getting her.
She did not know of her brothers or sisters ever having quarrels with anyone.
Michael and
M'Neill were on good terms, and the latter was on good terms with the whole of the family since the 17th June, 1898, prior to which date he did not know them. M'Neill had never said he suspected anyone, and she did not think he did suspect anyone. The Murphy's had never said they suspected anyone.
Witness had never known Ellen or Norah to have any sweethearts or any preference for any young men. The party were expected home from the dance early in the morning. Witness remembered a rifle being burned in the fire at Westbrook.
She did not know of any revolver being burned at the same time.
She did not know of her husband or Michael having a revolver. The rifle had been used for shooting bullocks. Her husband was a butcher, but she did not think he was left handed.
She had seen him at work cutting up, and she believed he could use both hands.
She had never seen the bullocks shot at Westbrook; but had seen the heads.
She did not know what part they were shot in.
On the night in question, she did not think her husband could have gone out of the room without her knowledge She could swear he did not go out that night.
Witness was covered with the bedclothes, but her husband slept on the outside.
Inspector Urquhart: Can you really swear that your husband did not go out?
An oath, you know, is not taken for nothing.
You must be sure. Consider your position, and give me your answer.
Witness remained silent for several minutes, and looked around the court.
Inspector Urquhart: Did you hear my question, Mrs.
M'Neill?
Witness: Yes.
Inspector Urquhart: Have you no answer?
Witness: No.
Inspector Urquhart: What is your reason for not answering? Have you been told not to answer?
Witness said she had not been told not to answer the question. She felt that she could not answer it.
Inspector Urquhart: Anyone could answer Yes or No. If anyone asked you a couple of months hence if you have been in the court you could answer. If you are in a position to swear your husband did not leave the room, do so; and if you cannot swear that, then say so.
Witness remained silent, and the Inspector informed the Bench that he could press the Witness no further on the point.
Witness said she had told all she knew of the happenings of the night in question.
She and her husband had talked about her coming to give evidence. He had told her to answer what she was asked, and not to be frightened or excited.
Inspector Urquhart: Well, if he told you to answer what you were asked, why did you not answer that question I just asked you?
Witness remained silent, with averted head.
Mr. Shand: I would not press her any more.
Inspector Urquhart: Very well, your Worship.
This closed the examination. When the depositions were read over, witness stood up to sign them; but the papers were handed to her and she again sat down.
Inspector Urquhart said he had no more witnesses to call in Toowoomba.
Mr. Shand said he could not understand why the officers of the court had been brought to Toowoomba to examine this witness, who, after an examination lasting two and a half hours, appeared as well, if not better than when she came into court.
He then announced the adjournment of the court to Gatton at 10.30 next morning, at which time and place William
M'Neill had been subpoenaed to attend.
M'Neill, on entering the court to remove his wife, appealed to Inspector Urquhart for means to take his wife home and to attend the summons for the following day.
The inspector replied that he was not entitled to assistance; his duty was to obey the summons of the court.
Inspector Urquhart afterwards instructed a constable to assist
M'Neill all he could.

All the officials connected with the inquiry into the Gatton murders went to Toowoomba this morning for the purpose of taking the evidence of M'Neill's wife, she having been previously served with a subpoena to attend the court at 2 o'clock this afternoon.
The public were excluded.
When the court opened
M'Neill carried his wife into the room, and asked to be allowed to remain, but the request was refused.
Mrs.
M'Neill stated that she retired to her bedroom sometime after 8 o'clock on Boxing night. Probably half an hour later her husband brought their child into the room, but did not speak to her. He was dressed, but had no boots on, and lay down without undressing. She fell asleep about half an hour afterwards, and was not disturbed the whole night by anyone leaving or entering the bedroom. She could swear that her husband did not leave the room on Boxing night, but was unable to explain how she knew this. She had not told anyone that she knew who murdered her brother and sisters, neither had she said that her husband was away from Murphy's house during the night of the murders, nor did any person ask her the question. She was unable to say whether her husband or her brother Michael had a revolver. She knew that her husband when killing bullocks always shot them, but was not able to say in what part of the head he shot the animals.
The Court then adjourned to Gatton.

25/03/1899

Brisbane, 24th March. At the Gatton murders enquiry to-day, Dan Murphy, a brother of the deceased persons, who was at Brisbane when the murder was committed, admitted that when he heard of the crime he said that some one at home must have gone out of his mind, and committed the deed.
CONCLUSION OF • A FRUITLESS ENQUIRY.
COMMENT ON THE ATTITUDE OF THE RELATIVES.
(Received March 25, 9.35 a.m.)
Brisbane, This Day. The enquiry into the Gatton murder case has closed.
The Inspector of Police said he had no more evidence to offer. Enquiries were still being made, but there was no use keeping the proceeding open.
The Magistrate adversely commented upon the apathy of the blood relations of the victims and their unwillingness to assist in furthering the investigations.
He said that
M'Neill, the brother-in-law, acted as if he wished the matter to be buried in oblivion.

The inquiry into the Gatton murder was continued to-day.
M'Neill was called again. He related the circumstances connected with finding the bodies of the three Murphy's.
With regard to his going to bed on Boxing Night with his clothes on, he said that he did that because he thought his child would be restless.
He slept next the wall, and it would be necessary for him to cross over his wife if he wished to get out of bed.
He slept well that night, and was wearing in court the clothes that he wore at the races on Boxing Day.
He wore them thinking that the police might like to look at them.
He took his wife away to Toowoomba to see his own doctor.
He was frightened that her appearance at the court would have a bad effect upon her health.
Mrs. Murphy was the next witness.
When entering the court she asked what she was wanted for, as she had already given evidence. She repeated what transpired at her house on Boxing Night, and had to be cautioned not to fence with questions. During the course of her examination she said that her husband put out the light on Boxing Night, whereupon Inspector Urquhart asked why she had not told the Court that when previously examined. She replied that she had answered every question that they had asked her.
The magistrate reproved her for not relating all the circumstances.
The witness was then seized with a fit of trembling, and becoming very pale, rested for a little while, but was too agitated to sign her depositions.
She asked her son Daniel to sign for her, but eventually made a mark for signature, and left the court trembling.
Joseph Murphy, an ex-policeman and brother of the victims, was examined regarding a conversation he had had with the police and other people. He said that none of the family, to the best of his knowledge, were ever troubled with insanity.
Daniel Murphy, another brother, gave similar evidence.
Joseph Murphy, a policeman, but not one of the Murphy family, deposed that he accompanied Constable Daniel Murphy to Gatton from Brisbane upon receipt of the news of the murders.
During the course of conversation, Dan Murphy, speaking to witness about who had done the murder, said it must have been one of the family. Witness stated that he served Mrs. Murphy yesterday, with a summons to appear and give evidence to-day. She immediately made use of more obscene language towards the police, calling them "d---- traitors" and saying that they only wanted to make her swear falsely against
M'Neill. She called the police names that were not of too choice a character.
Before the proceedings closed the magistrate, Mr. Shand, complained to Inspector Urquhart about the absurd manner in which he had conducted the case, and also made strong comments as to the reluctance of all the members of the Murphy family, particularly Mrs.
M'Neill, to assist the police.
The taking of evidence was then concluded.
The police will continue their investigations.

The inquiry was resumed at 10.30 o'clock this morning, before Mr. Shand, P.M.
W.
M'Neill was recalled and resworn. He was allowed a seat.
He said that he left Murphy's farm on the morning of the 27th December. The time was about 8 o'clock.
He cantered nearly all the way to the sliprails. He did not remember meeting any one. He went within about two yards of Norah's body, and was quite satisfied that Norah was dead before he left. The others may have been alive at the time. He could not say why he did not make sure. 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. He did not know what other reasons there could have been, but that opinion was formed in his mind.
Inspector Urquhart said it seemed strange to form this opinion.
The witness said he could not account for it, and he did not know of any enemies of the victims. He knew the scene was in sight of the road. He could not remember whether he walked outside of the wheel tracks or on them when walking his horse to the scene.
When he went back a second time he did not point out his tracks to any one. He was not aware that any one asked him to show the tracks. He remembered returning from the Mount Sylvia races with his wife.
They reached home at about dusk, and passed Barlow's at perhaps 6 o'clock. They did not stop, except at Clapham's store, where they bought lollies. Perhaps they bought biscuits, but no soft drinks. A man was going away as they drove up. He was getting on a horse. He (witness) did not notice if the horse was a chestnut. He asked him if any one was about, and the man replied, "Go round to the back." He had no idea, which way the man went. If the man had approached from the direction of Murphy's he might have met Ellen, who was ahead, but he did not know how far.
They did not notice anyone following at any part of the journey from the races. He believed a girl served him.
Witness had been driving with the Murphy's whip. He could not say if he unharnessed and let the horse go. Sometimes John Murphy did it.
It was not the same horse the Murphy's afterwards took to the dance.
He remembered going up just as the horse was being put in. He could not say if he buckled any of the straps. He did not know who brought the horses from the paddock. His whip was in the cart, but it was of no use, it being too short.
He thought old Mr. Murphy asked him to have a drink after they had left. The question being pressed, he said he was asked one night, but he was uncertain which night that was. He went to bed between 9 and 10. The door communicating with the sitting-room caught at the bottom. Sometimes it was shut and sometimes open. He believed it was half-open.
That night he slept in his clothes, because he thought the child would be restless. He had been up at night before with it. He did not wear pyjamas, and he did not like to walk the room naked. He only wore his pants. The child "grunted" a bit; he did not call it crying. The foot of the bed was towards the end of the house -about 2ft. from the window. Witness slept well. He did not get under the clothes, but his wife did.
He slept next to the wall, and would have to cross the form of his wife to get out.
She was easily awakened. He slept inside because his wife sometimes preferred sleeping on a different side because of paralysis.
It was likely that was the case then, because she had been out all day, and was tired. She was lying in front of the bed. When witness retired he would not disturb her.
He remembered going to Grantham from Toowoomba on Wednesday last. (22/3/1899).
He went to Murphy's from Grantham, and saw Mrs. and Mr. Murphy. He had no recollection of a conversation. He went there to see his child, to get clothes for the child at home, and because he wanted to get the clothes he wore at the Mount Sylvia races on the day, and which he now wore, thinking the inspector might want to look at them.
Inspector Urquhart: What made you think that? -On account of the way things have been going lately, connecting me with the Gatton murder.
In conversation with the Murphy's, he had said Polly was subpoenaed to attend. The police sent her a pass, but none for him to bring her. He thought it hard lines. He had not asked for a pass to take her away. He took her away to see the doctor. He knew there was a doctor in Gatton, but he heard from the Murphy's that a warrant was out for the arrest of his wife, and was frightened of the effect on her. He could not remember what the Murphy's said. On the Wednesday all were overjoyed to see him, and they were talking together. Mrs. Murphy advised witness to have his own doctor to see his wife. They could not understand what she was wanted for. He could not recall the exact words they said.
The Bench: It is strange they talked so much there and not here.
Witness: People talk amongst themselves on family affairs.
Inspector Urquhart; That is what we want to know.
Witness: If the words were repeated, he might remember.
He went to Murphy's unexpectedly on Henderson the storekeeper's horse. He lost a rifle in a fire, and had done no killing since. He was not carrying on business. He asked Michael for the chance of a pound at Westbrook Crossing. The latter then said he had not got it. He then borrowed 10s. from Michael. He did not then know if Michael had any notes. He had since learnt that he had been paid £5 that morning at Westbrook Farm. He distinctly remembered Michael taking 10s. from his purse. He was not sure if the purse was the same as was afterwards found in his hand. He did not take notice of it.
Reaching Toowoomba he paid Michael half-a sovereign, and witness bought a pair of leather slippers at Field's shop, which were now at Murphy's. Witness wore them on Boxing Day and until perhaps half-an hour before going to bed. He did not know where he left them that night, but he put them on again next morning, and wore them to the scene of the murder. They had not pointed toes. The police could see them.
He could not say what horse he rode that morning, but believed it was the old buggy horse. He did not think it was the pony. His wife had just begun to be ill after the birth of the youngest child on the 17th June last. He paid the Murphy's funeral expenses not because they had not the means, but because the whole family were too upset at the time. The money had since been refunded. He consulted Dan about paying, and witness said he would do it.

Mrs. Mary Murphy was recalled. She asked what she was wanted for, as she had already given her evidence.
The Bench: You have been subpoenaed to give further evidence. Witness was then sworn.
Inspector Urquhart: Did you kiss the book?
Witness: Yes, what else would I do?
Inspector Urquhart: Did you?
Witness: Yes. Witness said her elder daughter, who was murdered, had been to Brisbane eleven years ago for three weeks. She was employed by Mrs. Bannock. She left when Mrs. Bannock went to England. She went with Mrs. Bannock for a change of air to Brisbane. Norah had not been there since, neither had Ellen. Witness was reading in the sitting room on Boxing Night. The door of the room occupied by
M'Neill and his wife was half open the whole time. Witness put Mrs. M'Neill to bed.
Inspector Urquhart: What side did you put her? -She always slept on the front of the bed.
Don't fence with the question. What side did you put her on? -On the front and covered her over with a sheet only. She left the window open propped up with a bottle. She put Polly on that side so that she could rub her hand.
M'Neill had to sleep inside to keep the child from his wife's sore hand. Mrs. M'Neill said he had done so next morning in answer to a question as to how she had slept. The question was occasioned because that was the first night the child had slept with them, having always before slept with Norah.
She remembered Wednesday last, and
M'Neill's visit. She took him to the child to talk, and she made the usual inquiries as to the health of Polly, &c. M'Neill inquired for Dan. She believed the latter was about when M'Neill spoke of his wife going to give evidence the next morning.
M'Neill took away the clothes of his child and wife. She did not know if he took any of his own. She did not take notice if he wore the same clothes on leaving. She did not see if he left any clothes, but she heard him asking for some clothes. She could not say if he got them.
There was a back and front door to their house. They were both closed at night, but were never locked.
They were sometimes bolted. The doors and windows were kept open in hot weather.
Both were closed on the night in question. Witness's husband got up and shut them, and put out the light.
Inspector Urquhart: Why did you not tell that before?
The Witness. I have answered every question.
Inspector Urquhart: You swore to tell the whole truth, and not what was asked you alone.
The Witness: So I did.
Inspector Urquhart: You did not tell about your husband rising.
Mr. Shand: You do not endeavour to assist the inspector in any way. Witness: He tries to crush me, as if I was not crushed enough already.
Inspector Urquhart: Mrs. Murphy came in an unwilling humour this morning, your worship. Witness was here seized with a fit of trembling, as with blanched features she rose to sign the depositions.
Inspector Urquhart, however, requested her to sit down and rest a while. Witness cried for her son, Dan, and, upon his entering the court, said, "Sign for me, Dan." Detective Toomey informed her that her son could not sign for her, to which the witness replied, "I can't do it, sure." The difficulty was subsequently overcome by the witness making a cross. She was then assisted out trembling by her son.
Dan. Daniel Murphy, recalled and resworn, said he remembered travelling from Brisbane to Gatton on the 27th December. He had expressed the opinion at Roma-street that whoever had committed the murders must have been out of their minds. His actual words were, "Some one at home has gone out of their mind." He did not know then anything about it. He did not remember expressing an opinion after leaving. He might have said at the Roma-street station that it must be one of the family who did it. He did not say so anywhere else. He did not say, "we shall be the talk of Blackfellows' Creek, and looked down on by every one." None of the family had ever shown a tendency to insanity.
To the Bench: He said that to the best of his belief the life of none of the murdered ones was insured.
The court at this stage adjourned till 2.30 o'clock.
YESTERDAY AFTERNOON'S PROCEEDINGS.
GATTON, March 24.
After her examination, Mrs. Murphy was assisted to the Royal Hotel adjacent, where she was afterwards seen by Mr. Shand, acting Police Magistrate. Mrs. Murphy, who was weeping loudly and bitterly, charged the magistrate with having endeavoured to crush her and her afflicted family, to which Mr. Shand replied that they had only been asked to assist in securing the ends of justice.
On the inquiry being resumed after lunch, Constable Joseph Murphy was called.
He stated that he was a police constable stationed at Brisbane.
He was not related to the Murphy family.
He travelled up with Dan Murphy, of Tent Hill, on the 27th December last. Daniel was then aware of the murder having taken place. He had remarked to witness, "It must have been some one of the family; no one else would have done it. It will be the talk of Blackfellow's Creek, and everyone will look down on us." Witness asked Dan if any of the family ever went wrong in the head, or drank at any time, and he replied "No." That was all the conversation.
To the Bench, witness said he had served a subpoena on Mrs. Murphy on the previous night. She said, "What do they want me again for? I was in there often enough, they nearly killed me the last time. She added that the wretches wanted her to say something to bring it home to
M'Neill, who worked hard to help us all the time. They were a lot of traitors, and she prayed they might have the same trouble themselves before they died.” They thought she was keeping something back. She believed they wanted her to tell a lie. They were a lot of wretches all through. That finished the conversation.”
Inspector Urquhart here said that this was the whole of the evidence he had to offer at present. A most thorough search and inquiry had been made throughout the whole district, with the result that he saw no prospect of being able to offer any further evidence. The work was still going on, and would be continued, but there was no reason to continue the present inquiry any further.
Mr. Shand said he could not allow the proceedings to close without remarking on the extreme apathy shown throughout by the blood relations of the victims of the tragedy.
With the exception of Dan they appeared to have taken no steps in the matter at all, nor had they offered to assist in the search in any way, even by the loan of horses, of which they appeared to have plenty.
They had given their evidence, too, in a reluctant and contradictory manner, excepting Mrs.
M'Neill, whose evidence had been given with readiness, contrasting well with the other members of her family. The family appeared to accept it all as kismet, and had desired to bury the whole matter. Such conduct he considered beyond all comprehension and precedent.
He had himself been accused by one of them of pressing the family because he called them to give evidence, and assist in the work of unearthing the murderers.
In conclusion, he desired to congratulate the Police Department on having such an officer as Inspector Urquhart, who had conducted this protracted and anxious inquiry in such a patient and assiduous manner.
Inspector Urquhart thanked Mr. Shand for his kind remarks, and in reciprocation bore testimony to the patience displayed also by the magistrate.
This closed the inquiry, the court rising at 2.50 p.m.
The inquiry has occupied thirteen actual sitting days, during which the deposition, clerk, Mr. J. S. Falconer, has written 833 pages of depositions; totalling not less than 58,450 words.
Mr. W. Gillen, the special telegraph operator sent up from Brisbane to Gatton, has also had a particularly busy time sending Press messages, his record for one day alone totalling 18,000 words.
This large amount of work was in every case put through with despatch, and the Press representatives were accorded most courteous treatment throughout.
Mr. Shand proceeded to Ipswich by the afternoon train, and Inspector Urquhart, with his men, are for the present remaining at Gatton.

28/03/1899

That M'Neill was an object of suspicion to many persons in the district immediately after the commission of the crimes was made known to the general public by his complaint made to the police, and published by the special correspondent of the Brisbane Courier, that in a place of public entertainment he was treated with disfavour, and the women servants of the establishment would not speak to him.
M'Neill who at that time, unlike the Murphy family, was busy apparently in assisting the police to run down the murderers, concluded by declaring that if the police had anything against him he was there to be arrested.
The police, however, knew nothing then to justify any such proceeding, and it would seem they knew nothing now to bring M'Neill or Ryan or anyone- else within reach of the long arm of the law for one of the most atrocious crimes known to Australians of the present generation.
Now, without imputing any knowledge of these crimes to either or both of these men, other than is contained in their evidence, it is of interest to speculate upon the attitude of the police toward them.
There seems no reason to suppose that they would be likely to act in concert in anything.
Did, then, the police suspect they might have acted independently, or rather that one only was concerned, while the conduct of both at the time and on the occasion was fair subject for enquiry?
And at this point we are confronted with another extraordinary aspect of this remarkable tragedy.
Was it possible for one man to have successfully, and without discovery, decoyed from a well frequented bush road at an early hour of the night, and murdered three young adults, who, from the very nature of their upbringing and environment, were strong, alert, self-reliant persons, thoroughly familiar with their surroundings?
And apart from the murders, there were the preceding atrocities.
To the ordinary mind the "one man" theory seems incredible, and yet no less an authority than the Commissioner of Police is reported to have said that in his opinion it is quite possible that the crimes were the act of one man.
Upon this hypothesis it is reasonable to suppose that the murderer must have been actuated by an over mustering passion of revenge, the offspring of repulsed desire, personal indignity, or private wrong, or a criminal lunatic seized with an uncontrollable desire for outrage and murder.
Was there any person liable to such a passion of murderous hate among the immediate friends or acquaintances of these young Murphy's?
The evidence fails to disclose any such motive.
And yet there is strong presumption, it would seem, that if one man compassed these crimes, he not only knew the Murphy's, but had their confidence.
Only such a one could have induced them to drive off the road, while on their way home, into a bush paddock that led to nowhere.
Now on this point there is fairly conclusive evidence that Michael Murphy purposed driving into Moran's paddock before he got there.
There is no question of the party being "bailed up" at the sliprails and compelled to leave the road, for the evidence made it clear that the track of the vehicle was continuous from along the road through the "slip panel" into the paddock.
This seems to show that the slip-rails, that should have been up, had been taken down in expectancy of their coming.
Further, the attentive reader of the evidence we will later append will note that the buggy track as it passed in over the rails had not on the following day, according to one witness, been disturbed, which meant, if true, that the rails had never been replaced, and yet another and more material witness had said that when he entered the paddock at an earlier hour in the morning the rails were up.
But who induced the party to enter the paddock?
Various witnesses deposed to seeing a single man, whom in the dark or semi-darkness of the night they did not recognise, near to the slip panels of Moran's paddock.
The Sergeant of Police, returning later from a district race meeting to his station at Gatton, saw the Murphy's at some distance on the Gatton side of the entrance to Moran's paddock pulled up and talking to presumably this same man.
Presently they parted and it would seem that conversation resulted in Michael Murphy driving with his sisters to sudden and awful death at the hands, wholly or in part, of the man whom they met on the road, and who it is fair to suppose knew them well enough to be able to lure them to the spot where a little later they were done to death.
Who, then, was that man on the road?
That is what the best police officers of Queensland without regard to expense have for many weeks been vainly trying to determine, and now they have closed a protracted enquiry, the evidence in which will probably cover a thousand foolscap pages, and in all of it there is not apparently discovery enough to warrant a single arrest.
For our part we cannot find sufficient warrant for the supposition that these murders were the act of one man, even though we can conceive of such a man adopting means to induce a medical opinion that two men were concerned in the outrage.
It may be that the police, as sometimes happens, have built up an elaborate theory on the "one man" basis, and now are at a loss to find the "one man" to fit.
Later, when we come to publish certain of the evidence, the reader may be able to discern the impression of the official mind.
Meanwhile the exigencies of space will not permit of completion of our review of this appallingly tragic story in the present issue.

3/04/1899

At the conclusion of the enquiry into the Gatton Murders, the presiding Magistrate felt it his duty to say that he was greatly astonished at the extreme apathy of the blood relations of the victims during the enquiry.
Although there were four brothers of mature age, with the exception of Dan, who appears to have helped his brother-in-law, they did not assist the police. Their evidence was most unsatisfactory. It had to be dragged out of them, and had been very contradictory, especially in regard to the horses in the vicinity of the house at the time of the murders. The relations appeared to have treated the business as "kismet," and acted as if they wished it buried in oblivion. It was on this, the closing day of the enquiry, that Dan Murphy, on being recalled, admitted that while at Roma-street Police Station (Brisbane) he remarked that "some one at home must have gone out of their minds and done it. He did not remember ever saying that it must have been one of the family who had done it, though he might have said it."
This sensational evidence was confirmed by Joseph Murphy, a Brisbane constable, but not related to the Murphy family of Tent Hill, who deposed that he travelled, from Brisbane in company with Daniel Murphy, of Tent Hill, on the 27th December. Daniel Murphy said to witness: "It must have been some member of the family; no one else would have done it, and we shall be the talk of Blackfellow's Creek, and everybody will look down on us." Witness asked him if there was any member of the family who had gone wrong in the head at any time, or drank heavily. He said there was not. This witness had served Mrs. Murphy, the mother of the family, with a subpoena on the previous day to attend the Court then sitting, and in doing so had apparently got a taste of that old lady's quality. She said; "What do you want me there for? I have been there often enough before. They nearly killed me last time I was there. The damned wretches want me to say something to bring it home to
M'Neill, who worked hard to help them. They are a damned lot of traitors. May God grant they may have some trouble themselves before they die. (She had prayed for God's mercy on the murderers when she first heard of the death of her children, and their father at the same time expressed satisfaction that they had gone to church on the previous Sunday) They think I am keeping something back: I believe they want me to tell a lie, they are a lot of damned wretches all through." The above evidence transpired on the 23rd ult., and we will now go back to the beginning of the testimony of the Murphy family, and as briefly as possible with reasonable regard to continuity review it. First, however, it is important that the reader should bear in mind that Michael Murphy, and his sisters Norah and Ellen, left home apparently about 7.30 p.m., arrived at Gatton at ten minutes past 9, started back immediately on the homeward journey, and were last seen near Moran's sliprails, where they immediately after, no doubt, turned off into the paddock before 10 o'clock. These times are of the highest importance in relation to the possible movements of M'Neill, who, according to the testimony of the Murphy family, could not have been the man seen at the "rails," or the man whom Sergt. Arrell saw speaking to the Murphy party before their arrival at the fatal "turn off." If then, the Murphys are not all conspiring to mislead the police, M'Neill and the man at the rails are not identical, and, therefore, if it is to be contended that M'Neill was concerned in the tragedy it would seem that it was carefully planned, and that at least two men were engaged in it. But there is no evidence against M'Neill, and there would have been less suspicion had not the attitude of his wife's family been so remarkable throughout. According to the statement of Murphy, senr., he went to bed between 10 and 11 o'clock on the night of Boxing Day. Up to that time, and after the departure of the party for Gatton, no one else had arrived at or left the house. The only one he left sitting up was his wife. About an hour after retiring he heard M'Neill's child cry, and the father speak to it. He did not see M'Neill going to his bedroom that night.
Questioned closely, the witness said that he heard footsteps when saying his prayers, which he maintained were those of
M'Neill.
The Magistrate: "You tell us the only person up when you went to bed was your wife, and you say you heard
M'Neill going to his room when you were saying your prayers." Witness: "I don't go to bed until a long time after I have said my prayers."
Was there any one else in the house? Yes, my son Will.
How do you know they were not his footsteps? I know it was
M'Neill! — You heard footsteps, but you don't know whose they were? I know they were M'Neill's! — Continuing the witness said the last time he saw M'Neill that night was when the dog cart left (which took the party into Gatton), but he heard him walking about. He would swear this was M'Neill. Now, as the police were so obviously intent upon determining whether M'Neill was, or was not, during the night of the murders, absent from the house of his father-in-law, where, with his invalid wife, he was a guest, we will for the present continue along that line of evidence, taking other salient points later.
Mrs. Murphy deposed that after the party left home for the dance,
M'Neill returned to the house, and went to his own room between 9 and half-past 9. M'Neill had previously taken his boots off. She went to her room about a quarter of an hour before she heard the clock strike 10. No one came out of any of the rooms. She did not go to sleep until after 12 o'clock. She heard Mrs. M'Neill ask the little girl to kiss her, but she said, "No; kiss dada," and Mrs. M'Neill laughed.
Katie Murphy, the youngest of the family, stated that Norah did not wish to go to the dance, as one of the children of her sister (Mrs.
M'Neill) would cry after her (Mrs. Murphy had previously asked the girls to stay at home that night), but M'Neill told her to go, and that he would look after the little girl. Towards 9 o'clock witness saw M'Neill go to his room, and heard him moving about afterwards. She could not say if M'Neill was in the house the whole of that night.
William Murphy, the youngest brother of the family, and he was at home on the night of the murders, said that
M'Neill was in the house after the party went to Gatton. A little after 9 o'clock, witness went to the yard and turned all the horses into a grass paddock, containing about 100 acres. None of the horses were shod. Coming in after wards he saw his father and mother and M'Neill in the sitting room. M'Neill went to his bedroom at 9 o'clock, and the witness went to the kitchen to assist Katie., From where he was he could see anyone leaving the front door. He certainly heard no one. Witness went to bed about ten minutes to 10 o'clock. His bed lay along the partition on the opposite side of which was a bed occupied by M'Neill. During the night he heard nothing but M'Neill's snores before he (witness) went to sleep He did not see who it was snoring, but hi thought it was M'Neill. He could not swear positively.
John Murphy, another of the brothers who was at home at the time, did not see the party depart for the dance. He went away to Tent Hill, ant returned about 10.30. He did not notice that the dogs barked. He went to bed.
Inspector Urquhart — Where was
M'Neill? 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 I Continuing, witness said he went to sleep almost immediately, and did not hear a snore, a laugh, or any one speaking. The remaining evidence as to
M'Neill's whereabouts on the night of the murders is that of his wife, and it is the most important. Assuming it to be credible, it would seem that M'Neill was in his bed on the night of the murders, and if the testimony reproduced in this article is to be relied upon, it is clear that M'Neill could not have been in the vicinity of Moran's paddock at the time the mysterious man at the “slip-rails " was seen.
Moreover, it should be noted that, though it was a moonlight night, this man was not recognised by any of the local residents who passed him.
Mrs.
M'Neill's evidence is lengthy and important, and is to the effect that her husband shared her room during the night in question, and that he could not have absented himself without her being aware of it. After dealing with Mrs. M'Neill's examination, we propose to group the evidence that points to the possibility of some member of the Murphy household having been absent during the night with out the knowledge of the others at the time of such absence. It is of a very slender kind, and, as we have said, would appear less but for the curiously unknowing attitude of the whole of the Murphy family, as to which there is yet more of interest to be written. And even behind all this mystery there is no clue to motive worthy of the name, and this it is that most of all makes rational speculation of the causes of these dreadful crimes seemingly impossible.

6/04/1899

It will be remembered that in our last preceding article dealing with the evidence adduced at the enquiry into the Gatton murders, we gave all the points of evidence upon the side of M'Neill's presence in the house of the Murphy's during the night of the murders, except that of his wife, which we now propose to review. Before doing so it should be mentioned that when M'Neill found that his wife had been summoned to attend the Court at Gatton, he immediately removed her to Toowoomba, some distance inland, at the time stating that she was too ill to attend the Court. After a threat to issue a warrant to compel her attendance, the Court went to Toowoomba to procure her evidence, in order that the enquiry might be closed. We give a summary of what transpired: — "Inspector Urquhart said he had but one witness to call. The Government, medical officer had examined that witness, Mrs. M'Neill, and he considered her strong enough to undergo an examination. Mrs. M'Neill was then carried in by her husband, who was requested to leave the Court by the presiding Magistrate. M'Neill asked to be allowed to stay with his wife, but permission was refused. Mrs. M'Neill is described, as she then appeared, as a very frail looking woman.
Her small thin body was attired in a black dress, loose, and fastened at the waist. Witness was evidently ill at ease by the manner in which she glanced round the Court. She gave her answers in a low weak voice, her eyes being rarely raised to the face of her questioner, and frequently turning to the door through which her husband had disappeared. Witness was in no way hysterical, nor did she at any time give evidence of tears. After detailing the departure for the dance, and stating that it was nearly 8 o'clock when the party left, witness stated that she remained up about half-an hour later, and then was helped to bed by her mother. The room she occupied in her father's house was off the sitting room, with a door opening into the sitting room. There were two windows, one at the side opening on the front verandah, and one at the end of the house. They were both sash windows. She did not notice if the windows of the room were shut, she slept with them open generally. (We may here say that it would be a remarkable thing if on a still midsummer's night in that region the windows were not wide open.) Her sister Ellen usually occupied the room with her. On the night in question her husband slept in the same bed with her. Her eldest child, 2 years and 5 months, slept in the bed also. The other child slept with witness's mother. The eldest child usually slept well, and was sleeping well at Christmas time. Witness sometimes burned a light at night, but did not remember if she did so on that occasion. She could not say what time her husband brought the child in, but she remembered him doing so. The child was awake at the time and undressed. Witness slept on the outside, and her husband put the child on the wall side. At this point Mrs.
M'Neill was closely questioned as to whether her husband had his boots on when he entered the room, and admitted he had not. (The significance of the points as to the boots and the windows appears to be that M'Neill might, after leaving his boots, say, on the verandah, have left the house by his bedroom window without the knowledge of any of the household, except, perhaps, his wife.) Continuing, witness said her husband entered the room from the sitting-room; but she could not remember if he shut the door. There was, she said, a light in the sitting-room (Mrs. Murphy said in her evidence that she was sitting reading there at that time), but later was not certain, and finally did not know. "She had not been told to say she did not know. She had not taken any medicine or anything to drink before going to bed, nor did she have any injection with a needle. She could not remember if he or the child had spoken. She did not remember if she herself spoke." Her husband got into bed with his clothes on after putting the child to bed. (This was singular, because in that climate a man is only too glad to get out of his clothes and into a suit of cool pyjamas at bedtime.) Half an hour, she thought, after her husband lay down, she went to sleep and slept all night, the child was asleep at this time. During this half hour she did not notice if the dining-room door was open or shut. (If the reader will bear in mind what about this time was occurring near the scene of the murder miles away the bearing of this examination will be the more clearly understood.) "She slept all that night, and until morning nothing disturbed her she was sure. She had a good night. . . It was long after daylight when witness woke. She heard others in the house moving about, but did not know the time. Her husband was not up when she awoke."
Inspector Urquhart. Was he awake? Who woke first? Witness: I don't know.
Inspector: Try and think of that morning. Witness, after a pause, again said she could not remember.
Inspector Urquhart: Are you sure he was there? Witness: Yes, because I saw him get up, and he came back and told me the others had not come home." Continuing, witness said her husband still had his clothes on when he got up the same as he had worn at the Mount Sylvia races. It was, not usual for him to do so, but when he did it was because of the little girl, because she was troublesome. The child was not troublesome that night. Witness was sure that nothing of any kind disturbed her during the night. . . . She did not know if her husband put his boots on before going out in the morning. He was only away a few minutes, and when he returned she saw his boots on his feet. . . . She had never told anyone that her husband had been angry all night on the night of the murders, and she did not think any one had asked her. ... On the night in question she did not think her husband could have gone out of the room without her knowledge. She could swear he did not go out that night. Witness was covered with the bedclothes, but her husband slept on the outside.
Inspector Urquhart — Can you really swear that your husband did not go out? An oath you know is not taken for nothing. You must be sure. Consider your position, and give your answer. Witness remained silent for several minutes, and looked round the Court.
The Inspector — Did you hear my question, Mrs.
M'Neill? Yes.
Have you no answer? No.
What is your reason for not answering? Have you been told not to answer? Witness said that she had not been told not to answer the question. She felt that she could not answer it.
The Inspector— Anyone could answer Yes or No.
If anyone asked you a couple of months hence if you had been in this Court you could answer.
If you are in a position to swear that your husband did not leave the room, do so; and if you cannot swear that, then say so.
Witness remained silent, and the Inspector informed the Bench that he could press the witness no further on the point.
Witness said that she had told all she knew of the happenings of the night in question. She and her husband had talked about her coming to give evidence. He had told her to answer what she was asked, and not to be frightened or excited.
The Inspector— Well, if he told you to answer what you were asked, why did you not answer that question I just asked you? Witness remained silent with averted head.
The presiding Magistrate — I would not press, her any more.
The Inspector — Very well, your Worship.
This closed the examination. It will be thus seen that the evidence of the Murphy family goes to show that
M'Neill was in their house throughout the night of the murder, though none can swear that he was in fact there, while the reader will perceive that the line of examination by the Crown was meant to show that M'Neill might have absented himself from the house on the night of the murders the evidence of the Murphy's to the contrary notwithstanding. M'Neill's story of the finding of the bodies, the remarkable apathy of the family, according to their own showing, after learning of the tragedy, and some kindred points will be described in our next article.

Still more mystery.
Mrs
M'Neill, the wife of the brother-in-law, has been examined at Toowoomba. She declared she was too ill to go to Gatton, but the magistrate, after an examination of her, which lasted two hours and a half, was compelled to say that he could see no sign of the woman being unfit to travel.
Her evidence was decidedly unsatisfactory to her husband.
The report reads: — Mrs
M'Neill, who is a weak, delicate woman, gave her answers in a low voice, with averted face, which she seldom raised to answer the questions. The principal point of her evidence was that on Boxing Night (the night of the murder) her husband came to bed with his clothes on but his boots off. She went to sleep about half an hour after he came into the room, and slept soundly all night. She was not disturbed by anyone going from or coming into her room. She could swear that her husband did not leave the room, that night.
Inspector Urquhart: Can you really swear that your husband did not go out? An oath, you know, is not taken for nothing. You must be sure. Consider your position and give me your answer. Witness remained silent for several minutes, and looked around the court.
Inspector Urquhart: Did you hear my question, Mrs
M'Neill? Witness: Yes.
Inspector Urquhart: Have you no answer? Witness: No.
Inspector Urquhart: What is your reason for not answering? Have you been told not to answer? — Witness said she had not been told not to answer the question. She felt that she could not answer it.
Inspector Urquhart: Anyone could answer "Yes" or "No." If anyone asked you a couple of months hence it you had been in court, you could answer. If you are in a position to swear that your husband did not leave the room do so, and if you cannot swear that, then say so? Witness remained silent.
Inspector Urquhart informed the bench that he could press witness no further on the point. Witness said that she had told all she knew of the happenings of the night in question. The morning after Boxing Day
M'Neill said, "The girls have not returned yet." He soon after went in search of them, and returned a little after 10 a.m. She asked if they were coming, and he, speaking in his ordinary way, said, "No; they are dead in the paddock near the cemetery, on Tent Hill road." She thought she asked him how it happened, but she had forgotten whether she did or not. M'Neill first told her that they had been murdered. Neither witness nor her mother asked M'Neill who had done it, and she never had a suspicion of any person. She had never said she knew whose doings it was. She and her husband talked about her coming to give evidence. He told her to answer what she was asked, and not be frightened or excited.
Inspector Urquhart: Well, if he told you to answer what you were asked, why did you not answer that question I just asked you? Witness remained silent, with averted head.
Mr Shand, P.M.: I would not press her any more. Inspector Urquhart: Very well, your Worship.

13/04/1899

The murders of Norah, Ellen, and Michael Murphy took place on the night of the 26th December last (Boxing Day), and probably shortly after 10 p.m.
Judging from the time that the local sergeant of Police, on his way to Gatton from the Mount Sylvia races, saw the Murphy's speaking to a man on horseback a short distance, on the Gatton side from the "slip-rails," where they turned off into Moran's paddock to meet with sudden death. We have described, according to the evidence, what passed in the house of the Murphys on that night, which, as to
M'Neill, goes to show that he was in the house all night according to the belief of the witnesses, but does not conclusively prove that he could not have been absent without their knowledge after he had gone to his own room, and after his wife had gone to sleep. But supposing he did leave the house before the Murphys — a little after 9 o'clock — started on the homeward journey from Gatton, how could he (M'Neill) suppose that he could meet them at such an hour? He could not know that the dance had fallen through, but would know that the party might be expected home sometime about daylight.
However, we will now follow the proceedings of the Murphy family on the day following the murders.
The father of the family deposed that on the morning of the 27th he was the first up in the house. "The next up in the morning after Will (the youngest son) was
M'Neill; that was after 6 o'clock. He noticed that the trap was not in the yard, and informed his wife, who looked into the girls' room and found they were not there.
While he was having breakfast
M'Neill asked him if it was the usual thing for them to stop out like that. He said no.
There was no talk of anything serious happening to them." (It may be here recalled that the mother did not want them to go out that night, that Norah expressed a wish to remain at home, and that
M'Neill urged her to go to the dance. Still, all these things may have fallen out in a perfectly natural way.) Witness thought they might have remained at Chadwick's, or the trap might have broken down. It was at breakfast that it was first suggested that someone should look for them. M'Neill said he would go and get a horse to go and meet them and see if the trap had broken down. He did not hear Mrs. Murphy urge M'Neill to go. After breakfast witness went to work and M'Neill passed him on the way. About 10 o'clock his son Will came and informed him that the three children had been murdered. Witness asked if they were shot, and he said he did not know. His son further said M'Neill came out and told him. Witness and his son went home. Mrs. Murphy, in the course of her evidence, said "her husband came in about half-past 6 in the morning, and informed her that Michael and the girls were not then home. When she came out to the kitchen she said the cart might have broken down. M'Neill said: It might not be too safe. After about an hour M'Neill said: 'If one of them had walked from Gatton they could be here by this time. Various surmises were made, and then M'Neill said it was time some one went to look for them. She agreed, and M'Neill got a horse and rode away. The reason he went was that he was the only one not at work.
Inspector Urquhart — Are you sure you did not ask
M'Neill to go? Did you ever say, "For God's sake M'Neill, go and look for my children?" No, I am sure I didn't say it! Continuing, witness said— "M'Neill left about 8 o'clock, and returned a little after 10 o'clock. She met him at the door, and asked him if he had seen the children, and if they were coming. He said no. She asked him why, and he said, "They are dead and murdered in a paddock up at Gatton, with their hands tied behind their backs, and their beads bashed in."
William Murphy, one of the brothers, "did not remember," or was "not certain," or "could not be sure," all through his testimony, and whether it arose from apathy, stupidity, fear, or predetermined reticence, the whole family proved unsatisfactory witnesses. After this witness had been questioned about what
M'Neill said when he returned from Gatton, Inspector Urquhart addressed him, saying, "Don't treat this in such a casual way; be careful to tell exactly what was said."
The Police Magistrate — I cannot understand why you people don't recognise the gravity, of the matter. You give answers in a haphazard way, and sometimes give, the answers before the questions are put. Witness, continuing, said, when
M'Neill came up after discovering the bodies he was much excited. "Witness asked if all were dead, and he replied) 'Yes; it is something terrible.' Witness went in to his mother; but he could not remember what she said when she was told." Continuing, after repeated questioning, "he remembered his mother saying, 'Oh my God, my poor children!' Arrangements were made to proceed to the scene of the tragedy. He (witness) went in the meantime to fetch his father, who was at the farm, and who asked what was the matter. Witness replied that Norah, Helen, and Mike had been murdered. Murphy senior then asked if they had, been shot, and when told the facts he said he was glad they had attended their Church on the Sunday. He also asked if Bill (meaning M'Neill) had brought the news.
Did your father know that
M'Neill had gone to look for the children? — Yes.
You said
M'Neill arranged with your' mother to go after your father had gone. As a matter of fact, you really don't know whether your father knew M'Neill had gone to look for them or not? — I could not be certain.
Do you know whether he knew or not? — I could not be certain.
Then you don't know? Try to make us clear. — I could not be certain. Witness, continuing, said that "neither he nor his father on the way home spoke of the probable culprit. He (witness) tried to pacify Mrs.
M'Neill. She was calling out the names of the three deceased, but no other. He and others proceeded to the scene of the tragedy. M'Neill was there, but witness could not remember anything he said."
At this point we may digress to give examples from the evidence of this witness of the apathy or panic of the Murphy family in regard to these crimes: — Have you Murphys gone about the country and made any attempt by yourselves to find out who committed these murders? — No.
M'Neill did, didn't he?— Yes.
Did he ever ask any of you to join him? — No.
Did your father ever try to urge you to see what you, could do? — No.
At the first did you ever offer to lend the police any horses or help them?— No.
Did you ever hear we were hiring horses?— I believe I did on one occasion.
How many horses had you on the place? — About 20 horses, of which seven are draughts.
The next witness was John Murphy, brother of the deceased, and he evinced the same curious lack of memory as the previous witness. 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.]

15/04/1899

Jeremiah Murphy, another brother, was the- next witness.
He had gone to a dance at Mount Sylvia— in the opposite direction to Gatton — on Boxing Night, and reached home as day was breaking. "When he reached home he did not see the pony that was usually running about the premises. This beast was not easy to catch when it had been out for some time. The horse could have been there without witness having seen it."
On getting up shortly after six o'clock this witness and his brother William started their milking, and before they were finished
M'Neill came to them and said "it was strange the party had not returned; they might have had a smash, and someone should go and look for them."
After breakfast the brothers did not see
M'Neill about, but about 9 o'clock he rode in past where they were chaff-cutting "looking bad".
Bob Smith came and said the three had been murdered in a paddock near Gatton.
Witness knew
M'Neill had gone into town, but could not say who had told him.
Smith also said Bill (meaning
M'Neill) had found them.
M'Neill said to William, "My God, Bill, such a mess you never saw in all your life."
He also said their hands were tied behind their backs, and their heads bashed in in a paddock at Gatton.
He could not remember what was also said.
Inspector Urquhart — Try and remember, Murphy, because this is of great consequence to everybody? — I don't remember who he said found them.
Did he tell you he heard the news in Gatton? — I don't remember him saying anything.
Did you ask him for any details? — I didn't ask him.
Did your brothers?— l didn't hear them if they did.
The Police Magistrate — Did you get any information afterwards — when you came down, in two or three days? — I don't remember.
The Inspector— Did you ask him whether anybody was with the bodies? — No.
Did your brothers? — I didn't hear them.
Didn't ask any question whatever? — No.
Did your mother say anything before she left to go to the scene of the murder? — She said, "Whoever did it didn't mean it for my children."
Did you see Mrs.
M'Neill that day?— Yes.
Do you remember anything she said? — No.
Have you always a blank memory like this? — It is not bad, but I cannot remember at a time like this.
It is just the time you ought to remember. Did you and your brothers remain at home all that day? — Yes.
You didn't get your horses and go about looking? — No.
You know the country well, and so do your brothers? — Yes.
Nothing wrong with you that morning was there? — No.
Well, don't you know that the men who did that crime could not be very far away by that time? — No answer.
Didn't somebody suggest you should make a push in some direction? — No.
Did you think of it yourself? — No, I didn't.
Did you know how many policemen there were at Gatton at the time?— Yes.
How may? — Two. You know there were no more?— Yes.
The Police Magistrate — Are you not in the Mounted Infantry? — Yes.
Didn't it strike you to go to your comrades and ask them to help you? — No.
That is what you should have done — They could think of it themselves. I had enough to think of.
You heard of it first; they probably didn't hear of it till next day.
Inspector Urquhart — It is simply a fact that you stayed at home that day and did nothing at all? — I stayed at home with my sister, Mrs.
M'Neill.
But there were others there? — They are strangers.
Surely some of you could have got away? — There was myself, Jack, and Pat there.
And Katie?— Yes. When you heard of the thing did it strike you that any particular person might have done it? — No.
Had you any suspicion? — No.
Have you since? — Yes.
The Police Magistrate — Don't give any names.
The Inspector-- When your mother said it was not meant for her children, did she say who it was meant for? — No.
Have you told anyone your suspicions? I have told a couple.
The Police Magistrate — Outside your own family? — Yes.
The Inspector — Did you tell the police? — No ; but they have been told.
How did you know? — My brother, Dan, told them.
To which police? — I don't know. You didn't tell me.
Do you know he told somebody? — I know he told somebody.
The Police Magistrate — Did he tell you he told somebody?— Yes.
Do your father and mother know Dan's suspicions? — Yes.
How long have they known? — Three or four weeks.
Before they gave evidence here? — I don't know. I have known that length of time.
Do you know they knew he suspected somebody? — I don't know.
Do you know Dan suspects somebody? — I don't know.
What I want to know is whether your father and mother know of your suspicions? — I don't know.
How long have you had these suspicions — About three weeks.
And have you taken any action in consequence of these suspicions? Have you tried to do anything? — Dan told the police, and I don't know.
You don't know whether he told the police? Have you done anything yourself?— No.
From these examples of the evidence of the Murphy family some idea may be gathered of the extraordinary difficulties the police have had to fight in pursuing the enquiry. That the Murphys have kept careful guard upon their speech is manifest throughout, and that this reticence is dictated either by fear for their own safety or of some other person or persons who may have been associated with the crimes seems in the highest degree probable. As for Dan Murphy having told the police of his suspicions, the only evidence of this is his own admission that when he learned the news he said to a companion "Someone at home must have gone mad and done it." Who the "someone" was that Dan Murphy had in mind when he gave utterance to these ominous words is one of the many riddles of the tragedy.
Our next article will deal with the finding of the bodies and the further part played by
M'Neill therein.

22/04/1899

Inspector Urquhart — Are you quite sure you recollect the circumstances of this matter? — Yes.
Are you sure? — Yes.
Do you recollect them better than a month ago? — Yes.
Why? — Because I have been thinking over them.
Then if you said in your statement that you saw an unbroken continuation of wheel tracks through the rails that is wrong? — Yes.
Continuing, witness said that he followed the wheel tracks back towards Gatton to see if he could find traces of a struggle or fight, but the trap appeared to have been driven without stoppage to the rails. He had no conversation with
M'Neill all this time, nor with any of those who had arrived in the buggy. They followed the tracks through the paddock, and noticed that the trap had grazed trees in several places.
He only saw the tracks of one horse.
They followed the tracks to the scene of the murder.
When they came up to the first body
M'Neill said, "This is Norah."
Inspector Urquhart — Was the face plainly visible at the time? — Yes.
How much of the face? — The left side and one eye.
Do you think anyone who knew her could recognise her at a glance? — Yes, I do.
Continuing, witness said that
M'Neill pointed out the other two.
Witness then described the positions and condition of the bodies.
There were evidences of assault upon Norah.
Helen's clothes were pulled up to her knees, and there were blood and other stains on her underclothing.
He took no notes at the time, but he did afterwards. He could not now find them.
The Bench said he could not understand witness losing them. He should have religiously kept them.
Continuing, witness said that Helen also had finger-nail scratches.
He did not compare those on the two bodies to see if, they were done by different persons, as he did not think it necessary at the time.
M'Neill was present at the examination of Norah, but made no observation.
M'Neill only stayed for a portion of the time.
Witness went to Michael's body, round which others were walking.
Inspector Urquhart — Did you not take any precaution to keep people away from the body? Witness — There were only four persons there, Wilson, Gilbert, Devitt, and James.
Inspector Urquhart — How did you know the murderer was not there?
The Bench — Did you not know that those persons would obliterate any tracks of the murderers? Witness, continuing, stated that a strap was lying a short distance away from Michael's feet.
He did not know that Gilbert said that a strap was lying across Michael's right thigh.
He did not notice tracks, but the ground was slightly disturbed.
The mark could have been made by something trailing on the ground.
The mark might also be made by a kick from a heel on the ground.
There was some loose earth on Norah's shoulder, and he formed the opinion that she was killed where she lay.
He held the same opinion of the, others.
He believed that, because when the bodies were lifted up there was an indentation in the ground under each, and thus that the heads were on the ground when the blows were received.
Witness thought the bodies had been dead for about; twelve hours.
He next examined the trap, which was about six yards away. He found no blood on it.
He searched for tracks or weapons, and between the bodies and the trap he found a blue cloak, on which there was no blood.
After looking for some time witness said, "As far as I can see, there is no trace left here; but if there is a real good black tracker he may be able to pick up some trace or track that we have been unable to find.
I will ride into Gatton and wire to the Commissioner of the occurrence, and ask him to send a black tracker."
He asked the others to remain and protect the bodies. Gilbert and James said they could not, as they had to return to town. Wilson and Devitt agreed to remain.
Witness, before leaving, instructed Wilson and Devitt to stay until he returned, and to allow no one near the bodies or the spot.
Wilson was a magistrate.
Inspector Urquhart— Did you act before you left in the same manner that you told Wilson to act? — There were only four there.
Did you tell them to keep away? — No.
Why not? — Because I did not think of it at the time.
What were they doing while you were examining the place? — Walking round.
That was to give the black trackers a chance? Witness, continuing, said
M'Neill only remained about five minutes after they first came to the scene. He did not ask him where he was when he first saw the bodies, or to point out which way he had come. It did not at the time strike him as peculiar that there was no appearance of M'Neill's tracks along between the wheel tracks. If the tracks were there between the wheel tracks he would have seen them; but there were none except those of the horse that drew the trap. Inspector Urquhart— lf you noticed that it is peculiar you did not question M'Neill. Did you see any footprints about the bodies as if a man had walked up and looked at them? — No.
Are you in a position to say there was no track? Was your examination sufficient to enable you to say so? — I believe it was.
Have you ever had any experience of tracking? — Yes; I was three or four months after a black bushranger with four black trackers.
Do you swear there were no tracks? — All I can say is I carefully examined, and. I believe there were no tracks. I saw none.
Didn't it strike you as peculiar, knowing
M'Neill had been there before, according to his own statement? — Well; yes, it did.
Did you take any steps to test the accuracy of
M'Neill's statements? — No.
Did you question him to see if he was telling the truth? — No.
It is difficult to believe you rode from this station to the scene with
M'Neill without saying something to him.
Didn't you ask him for any particulars? — No. Continuing, witness said he got back to the scene of the murder about a quarter to 12. He had no police constable in Gatton, and no assistance whatever.
Did the Murphy family offer any assistance? — No.
Did they at any time? — No.
Did any one else? — No; except when the bodies were being removed.
Did any -magistrate in Gatton come to offer any help? — No. Continuing, witness said there were about 30 or 40 people close up to the bodies on his arrival. These he requested to go out of the paddock. They retired a little, but came back again repeatedly, though he remonstrated with them. No one then offered, to help him.
Mrs. Murphy asked him to have the bodies' removed. Witness replied that he would like to allow the bodies to remain where they were until a doctor, for whom, he had wired, had arrived. Father Walsh, who was standing near, said it would be as well to leave the bodies until the doctor arrived.
Later, Mrs. Murphy again asked for the removal of the bodies. Mr. James (chemist), who was there then, said the bodies should be removed on account of the sun and the ants. Messrs. Ballantine and Wiggins urged the same course. - The latter said — "Have you not taken a description of the position of the bodies when you found them?" He said he had. He could not find that description. He put it in his drawer, and could not imagine where it had gone. He then had the bodies removed.
Inspector, Urquhart — Did you consider you were instructed by these two magistrates, Mr. Wiggins and Mr. Ballantine, to remove the bodies? — No; I did not. Continuing, witness said a number of men, including
M'Neill, helped to remove the bodies. Just as Michael's body was to be taken up, Mrs. Murphy, who was at the head, lifted the mackintosh that had been placed over the face, and said, "Who does this belong to?" M'Neill said, "It belongs to Bob Smith; it was thrown into the trap up at the races yesterday afternoon." Witness lifted up portion of the rug under Norah, and noticed dark stains on the underneath part, with dirt about the spot. The bodies were taken to the Brian Boru Hotel, placed in a room, and the door locked.
Dr. Von Lossberg arrived, and made an examination of the bodies. It was at this time that he found the hames-strap had been put round Norah's neck, drawn tightly, and fastened with a half-hitch. The clothes were taken off the bodies and handed over to witness. At the scene of the murder in the afternoon, a man named Andrew Smith handed him a piece of the dead limb of a tree, about 4ft long and 4in through. One end was smaller than the other. At the larger end it was knotty, and at that place there were stains of blood. He fitted it into an indentation discovered in the ground, near Norah's head, which it fitted exactly. He concluded it had previously been lying in that hole, and on account of blood and some hair upon it, that it was the weapon- with which the wounds were inflicted.
[A further instalment of evidence and review will appear in our issue of Saturday next.]

22/04/1899

In order to disentangle the voluminous evidence taken at the official enquiry into the possible causes and perpetrators of these terrifying crimes, we have adopted the course of following his movements and evidence of the principal figures associated with the tragedy, in order to present a connected story, with one individual for the time being as the central personage. The police have throughout been so persistent in their efforts to make certain the whereabouts of M'Neill on the night of the murder; and have made it so clear that the Murphy family were unwilling witnesses, that in the mist of dreadful mystery enveloping the crimes the figure of this man has naturally loomed largely into view. We shall now give the material points of his evidence, which we may here say was given with plain directness throughout, and such testimony as was advanced by other witnesses calculated to weaken it. The reader has been made familiar with the events leading up to the departure of M'Neill from the Murphy's house in quest of the persons who had gone to the Gatton dance on the previous evening. We will follow M'Neill's statement of what followed. Four miles from the Murphys' home he reached the "slip-rail," at Moran's paddock. There he noticed wheel-tracks turning into the paddock like those of his cart. One of the wheels of his trap wobbled. Examination of the track satisfied him that it was that of the trap driven by -Michael Murphy. The slip-rails- were up, and witness dismounted and "took them down." (Here it may be mentioned that M'Neill, as an experienced bushman, could hardly fail to notice on an unmetaled bush road the, deviation of these wheel tracks into an unfrequented paddock. Also, it is to be noticed that while he said the rails were up another witness who a little later examined them lying on the ground declared that the wheels of the trap must have passed over them, as the ground spaces -between the rails where they lay in the track of the vehicle that had passed into the paddock on the previous night did not show any marks or imprint of the wheel. (A remarkable contradiction here.) Continuing his evidence, M'Neill said he went into the paddock and got on his horse again and followed the direction of the tracks, but did not actually follow them. He left the tracks, as he expected to see a house, he had never been in the paddock before. There was no sign of a road to make him think of going up to a house. He went up the paddock about a quarter of a mile, up the ridge and down the other side. He bore then to the right, and struck the fence between Moran's and the next paddock, and returned to the rails, as he could not see any signs of a house. He examined the wheel marks again on the road outside the paddock, and felt confident that they were made by his trap. He undertook to follow the wheel tracks on foot, having dismounted for that purpose, and leading his horse. He saw tracks of the wheels and the horse drawing the trap, 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 horse's tracks as to the pace it was going. They were bearing to the right all the way after going fifteen yards from the sliprails. He could show the tracks on a plan. After following the track for three-quarters of a mile he saw three heaps of clothes on the ground and the cart and the horse; the latter was lying down. Witness was about 50 yards away when he first saw them. He went to the spot, right up to the heaps of clothes or within two yards of them, and he then saw Norah was there, and that she was dead. Some ants were on her face. Her jacket was pulled up to her shoulders, and her stays were exposed. Her skirts were on her, but they were undone at the back and pulled slightly up at the back. He did not touch her, but knew she was dead by the ants on her face. She was lying on her right cheek. Witness came up on the left side of her. She was lying with her feet westerly. He did not walk round her body. He did not then notice the position of Norah's limbs. He saw the other two bodies eight or ten yards further on. He did not go up to them. He was within two yards of Norah, but did not notice anything but what he had mentioned.
In further evidence,
M'Neill stated that he had always been on excellent terms with the Murphy family, excepting as to a difference with the mother as to his marriage, which had been amicably settled. He did not know of any young fellows paying particular attention to the girls, nor was he aware that Michael Murphy had any enemies or any complications with young women. Asked why he did not examine the tracks more closely when he first saw them, the witness replied, "I cannot give you any reason specially, and did not stop, but got on my horse and galloped in. I really cannot state my reason for not stopping.” In the township of Gatton on the morning following Boxing Day there was but one policeman, Sergeant Arrell, a man with a good record of bush, service and with experience of working black trackers. Yet this officer from first to last, apparently by lack of judgment, decision, and insight, made detection of the murderers— as latter events proved— an almost hopeless task; but we are anticipating. We will now take note of the Sergeant's evidence, which largely relates to M'Neill's conduct after he arrived at Gatton to give information to the police. Wm. Arrell, stationed at Gatton, deposed that on Boxing Night he came home from the Mount Sylvia races along the Tent Hill-road, accompanied by Michael Connolly. He passed Moran's slip-rails about 9 o'clock, but noticed no one there. A man was riding about a chain in front. When they reached O'Leary's this man had stopped, and was speaking to three persons in a trap. On passing, Connolly said "Good night." Witness asked who they were. Connolly replied, "They are the Murphys." They had previously passed Florrie Lowe on Clark's Hill. Witnessed noticed there were two females and one male in the trap. The spot where he saw the sulky would be about a mile from Moran's sliprails. Witness came on to Gatton, and in Railway-street Patrick Murphy passed them. Witness reached home at 9.30. On the following morning a man came to the barracks and said, "My name is William M'Neill. I have come to tell you that the three Murphys are lying dead in a paddock out there." Witness said, "What paddock?" He said, "I don't know the name of the paddock. It is about two miles out on Tent Hill-rd." Witness said, "What Murphys?" He replied "Michael, Norah, and Helen." He said further "They left their home at Tent Hill last night about 8 o'clock to go to a dance at Gatton. They did not return last night, nor had they returned this morning. We got uneasy about them, and I started off on horseback for Gatton to make enquiries about them. I came on towards Gatton, and when about a mile and a-half or two miles along the Tent Hill-road I noticed wheel tracks on the road, and these tracks I recognised as those of my trap that I had lent to the Murphys. The tracks were turning off the road through the sliprails into the paddock. The sliprails were up, and I could see where the tracks had gone through. I went into the paddock a short distance over a ridge, expecting to see a house that they had gone to, but saw none. I then came back to the rails, followed the wheel tracks through the paddock some distance, and came upon the trap, with the horse lying dead, and the three Murphys lying dead a short distance from the trap. I did not go close up to them, nor did I stop to look at them, but rode straight away to report the matter to you." M'Neill appeared excited and was pale-looking. Witness I asked, 'What do you, think has happened? Do you think the horse bolted and smashed them up?" He replied,” I don't think so, because the horse was a quiet old horse.'' Witness then saddled his horse and rode away with him. When witness and M'Neill got to O'Leary's the latter said, "Do you see these wheel tracks here?" Witness said, "Yes." M'Neill then said, "These tracks were made by my trap. Do you see that one of those tracks does not run straight?" Witness saw that in every 10ft or 12ft the track of the left wheel made a slight turn, and a wobbly track was made. Witness and M'Neill got off their horses at the rails, and plainly noticed the wheel tracks on the ground, also the horse track in the centre of the wheel tracks. They also saw other horse tracks inside and outside the wheel tracks made by an unshod horse going in and out of the sliprails. The bottom rail was up, and the other two rails were lying across the entrance. Witness put the third down. The wheel tracks where the rails were lying were disconnected, as if, the trap wheels had passed over the rails on the ground.

25/04/1899

(By a Melbourne Visitor.)
“Yes,” said Mr. Parry Okeden, the Chief Commissioner of Police in Queensland, as he met me with a smile more serious than cynical, I really believe that when I die 'Gatton' will be found written on my heart. Not that the crime should have been difficult to solve, but mistakes were made at the outset, and the stars in their courses seem to have fought against us ever since.
In most crimes of this description the early discovery of the body or bodies is regarded as of the first importance in aiding the police to hunt down the perpetrators, but if the murderer had arranged matters himself he could not have more effectually destroyed his tracks than the lack of decision and intelligence of Sergeant Arrell, the officer in charge of the district, did for him.
M'Neill, after discovering the bodies, rode at once into Gatton and reported the matter to Sergeant Arrell, and the news soon spread through the township. The Sergeant accompanied M'Neill to the scene of the murders, and when they arrived they found four of the residents, including an honorary magistrate, already there. The importance of leaving the bodies undisturbed until they had been seen by an expert and the necessity of preventing any obliteration of the tracks which the murderer must have left behind him would have struck 999 policeman out of every thousand, but Sergeant Arrell happened to be the thousandth. He allowed the visitors to tramp all over the place, and then when he had satisfied himself that a fearful crime had been committed he left the strangers to look after the bodies and rode into Gatton and telegraphed to the Chief Commissioner of Police-a telegram, by the way, which never reached its destination.
On his return to the scene the paddock was overran with scores of curious sightseers, and every track had gone. Having committed this blunder he was weak enough to be rushed into another. His own intelligence told him that it would be advisable not to disturb the bodies until a medical man had had an opportunity of seeing them and their surroundings; but Mrs. Murphy asked that she might be allowed to have the bodies removed into the township. The local chemist urged the same step, because of the ants and the sun, and the honorary magistrate added his opinion that if the sergeant had carefully noticed the disposition of the bodies there could be no harm in removing them. So the sergeant allowed his own judgment to be overruled, and the bodies were taken into Gatton. An examination of them was made by Dr. von Lossberg, of Ipswich, who apparently took a great deal for granted, for he did not discover that Michael Murphy had been shot, and he assumed that both the girls had been outraged. He certified that death was due in each instance to fracture of the skull, from a blow by a heavy blunt instrument, and the bodies were handed over to two irresponsible women, who undressed them without paying much attention to the position and condition of the clothing, and laid the bodies out for the wake, which was duly celebrated at the hotel. At this stage the Chief Commissioner of Police and his right-hand man, Inspector Urquhart, appeared on the scene, and commenced their inquiries.
On January 4, nine days after the murder, in consequence of persistent rumours that Michael Murphy had been shot, the police obtained an order to exhume the bodies, and a second post-mortem examination was made by Dr. von Lossberg and Dr. Wray, the Government Medical Officer. As a result it was discovered that Michael Murphy had been shot, and the bullet was found in his head. Doubts were also cast on the statement that both the girls had been outraged, but, incredible as it may seem, no attempt was made even then to ascertain whether either of the girls had been shot.
Early in their inquiries the suspicions of the police fell upon a man named Richard Burgess, who has a most unenviable criminal record, including no fewer than 13 convictions for assaults on women. The police, however, for reasons known only to themselves, had doubts about Burgess's complicity in the crime, and though they have been severely censured for what has been described as their “French” method of treating him, they really took the steps they did to enable him, if possible, to prove his innocence. He was culled as a witness at the inquest, and still hesitated a little about his doings during Christmas week; but at last they obtained from him a statement of his movements, which showed that he was not within miles of Gatton when the murders were committed. They tested his story in every way, even taking him out under escort, and making him show the exact route he followed, and after he had done so the police were satisfied that he could have had no hand in the crime, and they had to look elsewhere for the murderer. When the news of the crime was first received there was a general impression that it must have been the work of some desperate gang. It seemed beyond all the bounds of belief that one man could have induced three strong, healthy, young persons to have accompanied him into a secluded part of the bush, and there have murdered them without their making any struggle for their lives, but a closer acquaintance with the facts shows that this is not only possible, but is the only probable theory of the crime. The theory most generally accepted now is that the murderer, whose motive was undoubtedly lust, stopped the dogcart as the old horse was toiling up a stony rise a few hundred yards from the slip panel; that he stood on the axle, and with the revolver pointed at Michael's head ordered him to drive through the sliprails in the direction he indicated. On arrival at the spot selected, it is surmised that the murderer ordered the three to dismount, and instructed Murphy to unharness the horse and tie it to the tree, and after that to tie his sister's hands behind their backs. All these commands were, of course, enforced at the point of the revolver. Then the spreading of the rug shows with what deliberation the murderer pursued his plans. In the struggle with Norah, whose body was found on the rug, it is supposed that the murderer's disguise was disarranged, and that when he knew his identity had been discovered, and that his neck was in jeopardy, he resorted to the desperate remedy of murdering the three persons, robbing Michael, and bruising and scratching the body of the younger girl to divert suspicion from the one man theory and make the crime appear the work of a gang. In still further support of this theory is the evidence given by Dr. Wray, the Government Medical Officer. His statement is that each of the three skulls were fractured by a similar blow administered by the same person, who must have been able to use his right and left hand equally well. All the blows were inflicted while the victims were lying down, and there were no traces of struggle. Had there been a gang, it is unlikely that only one of their number would be selected to commit the murders, and though the actual culprit seems to have disappeared in almost a miraculous way, two or three men could scarcely have vanished so successfully.

Why don't the police arrest me? bitterly exclaimed M'Neill, when, the waitresses at Toowoomba refused to serve him with food, and the customers in his business left him one by one till he was forced to close his butcher's shop. But the police have no reason to arrest him, and he has no one to blame for the unfortunate position in which he finds himself but the Murphy family. From the first the family, instead of assisting the police as they might have been expected to do, have taken only a listless interest in the proceedings, and their indifference has culminated in almost open hostility. The son Daniel Murphy, who was a member of the police force, obtained leave of absence as soon as the bodies were discovered, and that leave was extended to two months without his making a single effort to assist in the discovery of the miscreants. When further leave was refused he sent in his kit. A brother constable made a statement that when Murphy heard of the murders in Brisbane he exclaimed, somebody must have gone mad at home, but this Murphy denied on oath at the inquiry. M'Neill, on the other hand, has shown remarkable activity. So remarkable, indeed, that to be perfectly frank, it has led to his unpopularity. When he noticed the wheel-marks on the Tent Hill-road, and followed them to the scene of the murders, many claimed that he had been too smart, and argued that when a man went out to look for a vehicle which he had good reason to believe had met with an accident, he did not keep his eyes on the ground in the hope of picking up wheel-tracks, but looked well ahead. Such people argued in ignorance. M'Neill is an old bushman, and tracks mean more to a bushman than finger-posts to the townsman. Besides the tracks made by M'Neill's dogcart were of such a remarkable nature, that no one having once seen them could mistake them.
The wobbly wheel was not like those seen on suburban hawkers' carts. It was a unique wobbler, and had defied the efforts of all the local wheelwrights to remedy it. For five, six, seven, eight, nine or ten revolutions variously, it would run as straight as its fellow, then for no apparent reason whatever it would wobble badly for one or two revolutions before it rammed its straight career. That made a track no bushman could miss. In numerous other points where
M'Neill's actions have looked suspicious, there is an easy and satisfactory explanation; but in the feverish anxiety which he displayed to keep his wife out of the witness box he showed an indiscretion for which he is now paying the penalty of unpopularity.
When Mrs.
M'Neill was first subpoenaed, the excuse was forwarded that she was suffering too severely from dysentery to attend. Yet she was able to drive from her father's house to Helidon not to Gatton, mark you, which was much the nearer station-and take the train to Toowoomba, under conditions that must have been terribly trying to any one suffering from her complaint. Other excuses were forthcoming, and when at last the patience of the presiding magistrate, Mr. Shand, was exhausted, and he threatened to have her arrested for disobedience of the summonses, a medical certificate was received that she was suffering from embolism, and that any excitement might prove fatal. There then remained nothing to be done but to adjourn the Court to Toowoomba to take her evidence. For two hours and a half she stood the trying ordeal, and, though she had to be carried into court, she was, at the conclusion of her evidence, able to stand without assistance and sign her depositions. A little more frankness on her part would have done much to clear her husband from the unpleasant position in which he has been placed by the public. In her evidence she admitted that though it was the middle of summer, and so hot that she was obliged to keep the windows open, M'Neill, on Boxing night, slept in his clothes, in case he might have to get up to get something for the child, which was sleeping with them.
As for
M'Neill himself, he gave his evidence in the most straightforward and unhesitating manner; and after his severe cross-examination by Inspector Urquhart, through which he came triumphantly, he might well have exclaimed, with the old philosopher, The man who speaks the truth is generally under a cloud, for truth is the last thing the world will accept. There are really only two very suspicious points of evidence against M'Neill, and both are supplied by his wife.

The first is that he slept in his clothes on the night of the murder, and that she would not absolutely swear that he might not have gone out; and the second is that in the pursuit of his calling she had seen him using his right and left hand when cutting up sheep. In consequence of the strong public feeling against him he has been forced to close his shop, and is now on a selection of land near Toowoomba. Apart altogether from the question whether their efforts have been skilfully directed or not, the police have done an enormous amount of work, which has resulted in nothing. It would be uninteresting and useless to follow them through all the false tracks into which they have been led by evidence, which seemed in the first instance of the most valuable character, but one instance may be given. A shirt was discovered hidden in the neighbourhood. It was so marked and stained that if its ownership had bean established, as the police were led to believe it might be, it would have provided them with a splendid foundation upon which to build their evidence of guilt. Long and exhaustive enquiries showed that the owner was a person who could not possibly have had any connection with the crime, and the stains were accounted for in an equally satisfactory manner. For the present the police appear baffled, and the only thing that can be suggested is that the Government should increase the amount of the reward from £1,000 to five times that amount. It may be that only one person in the world knows who the perpetrator of this crime is. If it be so no harm can be done by offering the reward. On the other hand, if others are aware of it, their capacity may be tempted with £5,000; and, if they turn informers and the murders are avenged, no one will surely cavil at the expense. There is another hopeful side to the case, and that is that the Chief Commissioner of Police is not the man to admit himself beaten. During the shearing troubles, when he was principally Under-Secretary, he was specially empowered to inquire into the outrages perpetrated by the men on strike, and amongst other cases submitted to his care was the burning of the Ayrshire Downs woolshed. It seemed a hopeless task to clear up that crime, but Mr. Okeden was undaunted, and after years of patient work he had the satisfaction of bringing the criminals to justice, and seeing them sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. Now that he is in charge of the police, and the reputation of his department is at stake, he may be trusted never to relax his efforts till the perpetrator of this most horrible piece of villainy has paid the extreme penalty of the law. The Argus

29/04/1899

Daniel Murphy, father of the victims, being recalled, said he recollected saying, when previously giving evidence, that there were no horses in the house paddock on the night of the murder. There was a stable at the place, and in this Lucas, an old blood stallion, very infirm in the legs, was kept.
Inspector Urquhart — Was he in the stable on the night of the murder? - Yes.
Why did you not tell us that before? — He is always in the stable.
But why did you not tell us? You were sworn to tell the truth. — I did not think of it.
Can he be ridden? — Yes.
You did not tell us that before. Why did you conceal it? — I am not concealing anything. I did not think of it. Witness, continuing, said a small pony was kept in the paddock near the house for running up the cows in the morning. He did not know if it was in the paddock that night, but his son John had told him since he (Daniel, senr.) last gave evidence that the pony was there that night. He had not previously concealed these things, but had not thought of them when last examined. His son had recalled to his mind a conversation he had with
M'Neill on Boxing Night. That night at about 9.30 o'clock witness was in the kitchen, and when returning to the sitting-room he asked M'Neill to have a glass of wine, but the latter refused, saying he had a headache. He did not see M'Neill again that night, but witness believed he went to bed. He did not believe he went out afterwards.
Inspector Urquhart — What reason have you for thinking that he did not go out afterwards? — I never saw him go out afterwards.
How do you know he never went out? — He usually goes to bed before me.
Could
M'Neill not have left the house afterwards without your knowledge? — I don't believe he could.
Why? — I could hear him go out, I believe.
The Police Magistrate— Why cannot you answer these questions straight out instead of saying, "I don't believe this and I don't believe that"?
Surely you can answer a straight question. Inspector Urquhart— Don't you sleep at night? — Not until after 12 o'clock.
Questioned as to why this was so witness said he had previously been engaged in work, which afforded him only a limited time for sleep.
Inspector Urquhart — Is that not al he more reason why you should sleep when you get the chance? Witness, closely questioned, said he heard
M'Neill and his wife talking about 12 o'clock, but he could not fix the time, except through having been a good while in bed.
He heard the child cry. It usually cried in the early part of the night she would cry if disturbed by anyone in the night. He did not hear any person moving in the house or any noise whatever. Pat had two ponies other than the one at the house, but on Boxing Day they were at Spring Creek, 16 miles away. He did not know of any other pony being about the place that night. The pony mentioned was somewhat hard to catch.
M'NEILL RE-CALLED.
William
M'Neill, re-called, said that it was about 8 o'clock when he left Murphy's: farm to search for the three Murphys. He cantered past Moran's sliprails, when he went into the paddock. He went within two yards of Norah's body. He was satisfied that Norah was dead before he left. He had an idea that the others were also dead, though they might have been alive. He could not say why he did not go up to them. He thought that the sooner the police got to know the better. He was then under the impression that they had been murdered because of the rug underneath Norah.
Inspector Urquhart— It is strange that you should think that they had been murdered. Witness could not say why he came to that conclusion. When, following the wheel tracks he sometimes walked between the tracks, sometimes on them. He had not shown the tracks made by him when entering or leaving the paddock to any one, nor had anyone asked him to do so.
When returning from Mount Sylvia races on Boxing Day he stopped at a store near the Murphys'. A strange man was leaving the store when he arrived. He (witness) could not say which way the man went after leaving the store Michael and Pat Murphy passed the store on the way home from the races while witness was at the store. He did not notice if anyone followed him from Mount Sylvia.
He could not say whether he assisted Michael to harness the horse for the purpose of taking his sisters to the dance or not.
He did not know who brought the horse from the paddock.
His whip was in the trap at the time, but was taken out because it was too short.
He remembered Murphy asking him to have a drink, but could not say if it was on Boxing Night. He went to bed that night between 9 and 10 o'clock. He could not say if he shut the door of the bedroom when he went in. The reason he slept in his clothes that night was that he feared the child would be troublesome, and he might have to get out with it, because Norah was up the previous night; but the child slept well, and did not move or cry out the whole night. He did not know if his wife woke up that night. He slept next the wall that night, and to leave the bed must have stepped over his wife. He could not have done so without waking her, he came to Gatton on Wednesday for the purpose of getting the clothes that he wore on Boxing Day. Because of the way things had been going on lately he thought that they would be more satisfied by seeing them. The reason he took his wife away from Gatton to see the doctor was because one of the Murphys told him that a warrant had been issued for the arrest of his wife. Witness had a conversation with Mrs. Murphy on Wednesday, but could not remember what had passed. He had a rifle burnt in the fire at Westbrook.
Inspector Urquhart — What did you kill with after the rifle was burnt? Witness, in reply, said that he had not carried on business since the fire.
While at Westbrook Crossing he asked Michael Murphy for change of a pound. Michael could not manage it. Witness asked him for a loan of ten shillings, which Michael lent him. He did not know if Murphy had any notes. He had since learnt that Michael was paid £5 just before he left Westbrook. When Michael lent him the money he took it from a purse. He did not know if that was the purse afterwards found in Michael's hand. Witness repaid Murphy 10s at Field's store, Toowoomba. Witness there bought a pair of patent leather slippers. He wore them to the races on Boxing Day, also on Boxing Night, and took them off before going to bed. He usually went about barefooted shortly before retiring. He did so for an hour on the night of the 26th. He did not know where he left his slippers. He put them on again next morning. He could not remember where he found them. He wore them when riding to Gatton. They had round toes, not pointed ones. He did not think that he rode Ellen's pony to round up the horse to go in search for Michael, Norah, and Ellen. His wife's illness began on 17th June 1898, after the birth of the youngest child. Witness paid the funeral expenses of the three Murphys with his own cheques. The reason he did so was because he thought that the members of the Murphy family were too upset to attend to such matters. The money had since been refunded to him. He and Dan Murphy consulted on the matter, and he (witness) said that he would do it all.

Online