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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

R. v. Crane [1822] NSWKR 14; [1822] NSWSupC 14

cattle, feloniously killing and stealing

Court of Criminal Jurisdiction

Wylde J.A., 25 September 1822

Source: Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, Case Papers, 31 July - 17 October 1822, State Records N.S.W., SZ798

[306] New South Wales

Cumberland to Wit

            The examination of Henry Crane government Servant to John Oxley Esq, John Brian John Gregg, Thomas Pugh and Peter Fitzpatrick servants in the employment of Charlie Hughes Esquire taken before me Robert Lowe Esquire this Twentieth day of July 1822.

            Elanor Welsh duly sworn states that on Thursday morning last the fifth instant my husband came to me after going to the milking yard and told me that the heifer had been killed in the calf pen which is about 40 yards from the house; he reported to me that the carcass had been taken away, and the hide and entrails lying in the calf pen, the beast was about 14 months old. I went with my husband to the spot and told him to trace the shoe mark on the ground, which way the parties went, the ground was very soft. The spot was traced the bootstraps of three men, one with three very large nails in the side of the heel, each have another barefoot; and [307] the other a common that marks. We trace the bootstraps into the road leading to Mr Hook's hand as far as Mr Hook's gate. Deponent suspected the same of Mr Hook's men. I suspected John Brian, Mr Hook's Shepherd because he said he is about the place, as well as three other men who were in the Hut with him Thomas Pugh, John Gregg, and Peter Fitzpatrick. I then went for a constable, and he went into the Bush to the Shepherd to examine his shoes but examined he had none on. We then went to the spot where John Gregg and his Partner Peter Fitzpatrick were purveying observing some blood on Greggs clothes and that it appeared to be smeared over with dirt, I charged him with killing the beast, and he was taken into custody. I afterwards observed to Brian that I suspected him of being concerned in killing of the heifer having mattered blood on his trousers, I desired a constable to look at them, which he did. Brian said if there is blood on my trousers, it is because I killed a Ewe last night. I then observed that Gregg's clothes were bloody when Brian replied Gregg had been helping him to skin the Ewe. Deponent further states [308] my husband has very fierce dogs about the place and one in particular which possibly belongs to Brian.


Elanor Welsh

            George Hoinbridge Constable duly sworn states that on Thursday last Elanor Welsh came and reported to me that a Heifer, her Property, had been killed and carried away. The deponent went with her to Mr Hook's farm where the Prisoners lived. I asked permission to go and search the Huts, we did so, but found no beef there; in the Hut where the Prisoners live we found part of a Ewe and some Mutton in a bag which was apparently served out for the rations. I went from there towards Patrick Clarke's Hut on Mr John Hassals farm and during my absence, Elanor Welsh with Kirton the constable had apprehended Gregg. I observed his clothes bloody, and that his hands were bloody between the fingers. Mrs Welsh then charged him with killing the beast and observed that he had got blood on his hands and trousers, he said you may make what you can of it, for I have been killing a sheep for the Shepherd. We reached the neighbourhood that evening and the following morning [309] but did not find any part of the carcass of the beast. Deponent then went to Mr Oxley's and told Mr Tate the Superintendent that I came to overhaul some of his men, and states the circumstance of the calf being killed, and the tracing of footsteps. I observed I could find the man over nails by the heels of his shoes, which were very large, full three quarters of an inch broad on the outside of the heel of each shoe. Deponent went to the men at work in the barn. I observed the Prisoner Henry Crane at work he was driving the horses in the threshing machine outside the barn, while at work, I observed the nails in the Prisoners shoes, answering the description of the footmarks as also on leaving the barn, when I particularly noticed three large nails in each shoe. Deponent states they were very remarkable nails, as I never had noticed any such nails in shoes, in my life before. I then said to Mr Tate I believe this is the man having occasion to go to see Seymore the Constable to get a pair of handcuffs. I desired Mark Grogshin (a man who was with me) to watch him. Mr Tate at this time observed that the Prisoner would throw his shoes away. When I desired Grogshin to watch him carefully on our return to the Grogshin reported to me, that upon our leaving [310] it the Prisoner Henry Crane had thrown his whips down to another man and ran to carpentry shop. I asked Grogshin then why he did not follow him, he replied he was no Constable and did not wish to follow him, at the same time Grogshin said the man had either changed his shoes or drawn the nails out, as he came back with shoes without any nails. Deponent then went up to Prisoner Crane, and took one of his shoes off and found that the shoes had been changed as there was no appearance of any nails having been removed from them. Deponent observed to him these are not the shoes you had on first now when the Prisoner replied they are the same. The prisoner insisted upon the shoes being the same, as there was no other shoes on the pair that would fit him. I then took him into custody and went to the carpentry shop to search for the shoes but could not find them. I then brought the prisoner away


George Hoinbridge

            [311] Mr Tate Superintendent to Mr Oxley Esquire duly sworn states that on Friday last, George Hoinbridge the Constable came to me and said he wished to examine the men, as a robbery had been committed in the neighbourhood, the constable told me the circumstances of the footsteps having been traced with very large nails apparently on the heels of the shoes. The prisoner Crane was the there at work in the barn with the Thrashing Machine, when on stepping out of the barn the Constable observed to me, this is the man for I can swear to the nails in his shoes. I noticed also at the same time, three large nails on the outside of the left shoe his right foot was then in the gangway where the horses go. The constable asked me for a pair of handcuffs saying he was sure Crane was the man. I replied I had none but probably Seymore the constable had some. I also said that if the man was guilty he would make away with his shoes and desired him to watch him carefully. The Constable then left barn and while absent desired to Mark Grogshin who was with him to look to the prisoner [312] the Constable was absent an hour having gone to get some handcuffs. On his return, I went to the barn with him. The prisoner on leaving the barn being mounted on one of the horses I observed that he had changed his shoes or drawn the nails out of those which he had on. The prisoner had been in Mr Oxley's service nearly 2 years and there and bears a very fair character.


George Tate.

            Mark Grogshin Government servant to Mr Slade duly sworn states that I went with George Hoinbridge the Constable to Mr Oxley's to obtain information respecting a Heifer which had been killed at Welsh's farm. The Constable went to Mr Tate to inform him of the circumstances, when he observed to Mr Tate that the print of a man's shoe with very large nails in the heels, had been traced about Welsh's place where the Beast had been killed. Mr Tate having suspicion on one of the men desired the Constable to notice him when he observed some very large nails in the heels of his shoes, he was at this time, employed at the thrashing machine. The Constable reported this to Mr [313] Tate and stated his suspicion of the man, Mr Tate told Deponent to keep an eye on the man, while the constable went for some handcuffs, the constable had soon left that place, when the man left the thrashing Machine, giving his whip to another man to drive the horses and went down to the carpentry shop, he was absent about five minutes, I went towards the carpentry shop and met him returning from thence, I then observed there was no nails in his shoes. Deponent suspected he must either have changed shoes or drawn the nails out. Deponent put then stating that the man in the custody of the constable is the same man I was desired to look after.


Mark Grogshin

            The Prisoners deny the charge. The Prisoner Brian states that on [the] evening last, one of Mr Hook's shepherd's called to me stating there was a Ewe sick in his place, I went to the spot and found the Ewe very bad and lumbering upon drawing the lamb from her, the Ewe died, I observed to the shepherd , this Ewe [314] must be brought home tonight, as my Master would expect the skin. I carried the Ewe home on my shoulders after reporting the Ewe to my Mistress I skinned it and gave the carcass to my dogs. John Gregg assisted me to skin and cut up the sheep, not being able to do it myself, having but one arm, I have charge of the whole of my Master's sheep.

            The Prisoner Henry Crane in his defence, denies having any shoes with large nails in them, he admits that he went to the Carpentry shop, but that it was to light his pipes.

            Henry Crane fully committed to trial on violent suspicion of feloniously killing and carrying away a Heifer, the Property of Eleanor Welsh and Gregg, Brian, Fitzpatrick and Pugh discharged.

            A true copy from the record at business.

[315] New South Wales

To wit

Be it Remembered that John Wylde said Judge Advocate of our Sovereign Lord the King for the Territory of New South Wales and its dependencies who for our said Lord the King exhibits the charges in this behalf comes into the Court of Criminal Jurisdiction convened at Sydney in the said territory by precept under the Hand and Seal of His Excellency Sir Thomas Brisbane's K.C.B. dated the thirteenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty two and having poised to enquire of and to hear and determined to punish all Treasons felonies trespassers and other crimes whatsoever committed within the said Territory or its dependencies and for and said Lord the King charges and given the said Court to be informed that Henry Crane late of Bringelly in the Territory of New South Wales Labourer on the fifth day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty two with force and arms at Bringelly aforesaid in the Territory aforesaid [316] and cows of the price of five pounds one and heifer of the price of five pounds and the goods and cattle of William Welsh then and there being found then and there wilfully and feloniously did kill with a felonious intent to steal the carcass or part or parts of the Carcass of the same against the form of the Statute in that case made and provided and against the peace of our said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity.


The King


Henry Crane



Elanor Welsh

George Hoinbridge

George Tate

Mark Grogshin

25 Sept 1822 Prisoner charged plea not Guilty was charged and acquitted.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University