Gatton Murders - The Rug

Gatton Murders

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The Rug

Rug: Brownish yellow black pattern one side other side black.

25/01/1899

M'NEILL. 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.

15/03/1899

EVIDENCE CHARLES GILBERT

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.

16/03/1899

Sergeant Arrell. 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.

29/04/1899

M'NEILL RE-CALLED
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.

6/10/1899

EVIDENCE OF THE CHEMIST.

The trap in which witness and others were seated was pulled up about 60ft. from the bodies, and they got out.

Arrell and M'Neill had gone up towards the bodies.

The ground near by could not have been disturbed by any of them.

The rug on which Norah was lying was nicely arranged.

The body was partly lying on the abdomen.

From the first look he concluded she had been murdered, because her head was battered in and because of the position of the body.

There was blood on the tree near which she was lying. There were no marks of a struggle. He looked.

He could see no marks of a man's foot. M'Neill was looking at the body perhaps a minute and a half but he did not say who it was.

After such an observation if he knew the girl well he would know who it was.

They then examined the other bodies.

Helen's body was stretched out carefully.

There were no signs of a struggle, which surprised him very much.

Michael's body was doubled up, and he had a purse in one hand.

There were no signs of a struggle near this body also.

His first conclusion was that they had come there for a picnic.

Though he looked for foot-tracks he could see no footprints anywhere.

A few days afterwards he went out to test whether his footsteps would show, selecting similar land in the vicinity; but he found his feet left no impression.

M'Neill remained for a while, and then said he would go and inform their mother.

He seemed somewhat distressed. Witness, however, did not pay much attention to M'Neill.

He did not ask him what he thought about it or hear M'Neill express any opinion about the murder.

M'Neill was at this time a stranger to him. In subsequent conversations M'Neill never expressed any opinion as to the murderer.

He once complained about the police shadowing him.

Michael Murphy's clothes were not disarranged.

All those present at first kept back to a certain extent so as not to disturb the ground. Witness left before other people arrived on the scene.

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