Murder at Wagga Wagga

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Murder at Wagga Wagga


In-depth article in the Goulburn Herald and Chronicle, dated 26 January 1876, describing the shooting by Daniel Boon of the blacksmith Alexander McMullen.


The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle




Jenny Hodges

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At the Wagga Wagga police-court on Friday, before Messrs Thomas Forsyth and Mair, Daniel Boon was charged, on remand, with the wilful murder of Alexander McMullen. Mr Fitzhardinge defended the prisoner.- Michael Shannon deposed; Am a blacksmith residing at North Wagga, have been in the employ of the late Alexander McMullen, and was so on the 10th inst; know prisoner by the name of Daniel Boon, saw him on the 10th inst. at McMullen’s in the yard at the blacksmiths shop about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, prisoner had a double-barrelled shot gun with him, McMullen at this time was going out of the front door of the shop, and prisoner was coming up meeting him; McMullen said to the prisoner, “good-day,” prisoner then said, “will you pay me my rent?” McMullen said, “I have no money now, and there is no need bringing guns to settle our affairs,” prisoner said “it’s long enough due, and it is time it was paid;” McMullen said again, “I have no money just now, and there is no need to brings guns to settle our business;” prisoner said he would put the gun down, but did not do so, the hammers had previously been up at cock; prisoner and McMullen were then at a dray where McMullen had been working, and prisoner asked McMullen to give him a cheque; after this prisoner turned his back, and appeared as if going to Wagga, and went five or six paces; then went to the bench where I had been working; prisoner then said to McMullen, “will you pay me my rent or will you not?” witness walked back from the bench to the door, and heard McMullen say, “O, don’t do that Dan,” saw prisoner raise the gun, present it at McMullen and fire, and saw McMullen fall under the shafts of the dray; heard the prisoner say, “I put a trade into your hands and now I have taken it out, I know I’ll be hanged, but I am willing to suffer hanging for a dog like you;” prisoner then left and went in the direction of Wagga, taking the gun with him; prisoner was about seven or eight paces from McMullen when he fired the shot; witness was about fourteen paces from McMullen, and about twenty-one from the prisoner at the time; McMullen when prisoner had fired at him, was kneeling on his right knee with his left elbow on his left knee; he was in this position screwing bolts into a dray, not under the dray but under the shafts, McMullen left side was towards the prisoner, and his face turned to him; did not hear McMullen say anything after he fell, there was another man working in the shop, whose name I do not know, and he said “he has shot him, run for the doctor and for the police;” ran up to the public-house to get a horse, and when I returned deceased had been removed into the shop; saw that McMullen had been wounded in the left side of the neck, and in the shoulder; after McMullen had been wounded, was with him continually till he died, saw the shot fired, saw the smoke, and heard the report from the gun, and McMullen immediately fell. Alexander McMullen died on the 16th instant, and I saw him dead. Examined by Mr. Fitzhardinge for prisoner: Was about five yards from prisoner and deceased when they met; prisoner said, “I have given up possession, and have it let, did not hear anything about giving up possession of a hut till March, or in respect of a lease; heard nothing said by McMullen about prisoner having forged a lease, and was nearer I think to them then the other man was; do not know what property they were talking about when prisoner said he had given up possession; did not hear Mr. Wm. McEntyre’s name mentioned by prisoner; prisoner was pale when speaking to McMullen, but McMullen appeared as usual; when prisoner asked for his rent he did so in a loud tone of voice; McMullen only had a hand-hammer and two iron clamps when speaking to prisoner and McMullen were about five or six minutes together before the shot was fired; was in the shop when prisoner came there; he came in suddenly, and I did not see from which direction he came; did not notice that prisoner had the appearance of having been drinking; heard prisoner say “the place is now let, and I have given possession”. To the bench: Did not see anything in the conduct of McMullen to annoy prisoner. To Sub-Inspector Meares. The hammer I speak of being in the hand of McMullen he was using when putting on the iron clamps on the dray. – John Terrin deposed; I am a wheelright, an was in the employ of McMullen at the time he was shot; do not know the prisoner, but saw a tall man resembling him in figure talking to McMullen, did not see his face; the man had a gun, I heard him say to McMullen; “pay me the rent,” at this time McMullen was at work at the dray; I was in the shop. I heard a report of a gun, and saw McMullen fall; went out to his assistance; lifted him up and saw blood flowing from his neck; after I heard the shot and saw McMullen fall, I saw the tall man walking away towards Wagga with the gun; helped to remove McMullen into the shop; and saw him frequently up to the time of his death; he died on Sunday last; To the bench:, Turned quickly when I heard the report of the gun; did not detect any smoke; there was no one else around with a gun; To Mr. Fitzshardings; did not see his face; the man had a gun, I heard him say to McMullen; pay me the rent;” did not hear what followed; at this time McMullen was at work at the dray; I was in the shop. I heard a report of a gun, and saw McMullen fall; went out to his assistance; lifted him up and saw blood flowing from his neck; after I heard the shot and saw McMullen fall, I saw the tall man walking away towards Wagga with the gun. Fitzhardinge: all I heard before the shot was fired was the man asking McMullen to pay his rent.- Arthur Graham, farmer, deposed that he saw prisoner whom he knew, coming past Shannon’s public-house from the direction of McMullen’s shop towards the bridge, he had a gun, and I said to him, “in the name of God Dan have you shot McMullen?” prisoner said, “I have;” I said, “nonsense, man, surely you have not done it wilfully;” prisoner said, “go and see;” asked prisoner to give me the gun, and he said he would serve me the same if I did not stand back; went to where McMullen was lying, and found him wounded and apparently in a dying state, he was not conscious; afterwards saw Constable Ryan and reported the matter to him. By Mr. Fitzhardinge; prisoner did not appear to be drunk, not like a man suffering from the effects of drink. To the bench: It is my opinion prisoner was suffering from the effects of drink.- George Wm. Commins deposed that he knew the prisoner on the 10th instant he met him coming towards the bridge; he was carrying a gun; I said “good day” and he passed on without answering; when he got about fifty yards away he turned around and called me and gave me the gun, and said, “ I have just shot McMullen, he would not pay me my rent and I shot him; I have ruined myself, my wife, my family and I am now going to give myself up;” prisoner gave me the gun, a box of caps, some shot, and a flask of powder, which I handed over to the police; the gun was loaded in the left-hand barrel. – John Cornelius Fonsworth deposed he was a practising surgeon residing in Wagga; on the afternoon of Monday, the 10th instant, he was called on to see McMullen at North Wagga, and found McMullen suffering from a gun-shot wound in the left side of his neck and his left shoulder, [witness here described the wound;] extracted some of the shot; the shot produced were some of which the witness extracted from the wound; attended McMullen from that day to the day of his death, which took place on Sunday, the 16th instant; saw him in consultation with Dr. O’Connor; at the beginning deceased seemed to improve; saw him on Sunday morning before he died, and then he seemed very low and evidently sinking; at two o’clock on Sunday witness again saw deceased; he was then dead; he had died a short time before witness came; next morning with the assistance of Dr. O’Connor witness made a post-mortem examination; have no doubt deceased died from the effects of the gunshot wound in the neck, should say the gun had been fired about ten yards off. – Dr. O’Connor’s evidence corroborated that of Dr. Fonsworth . – George W. Commins, recalled stated that prisoner was perfectly cool, and there was nothing in his manner to indicate suffering form drink. – Richard Curry deposed to having seem the prisoner in the bar of the Commerical Hotel on the day of McMullen being shot, in a very excited state; prisoner was speaking to a man in the bar, and said to him, “will you come and see me hanged;” Gadaliah Phillips deposed; I am a barman in prisoners employ; saw him on the 10th instant go out of his hotel in the direction of the bridge with a gun in his hand, asked prisoner where he was going, to which he made no reply; followed him over to Shannon’s public-house, because witness knew prisoner was drunk, and witness wanted to see what prisoner was going to do with the gun; could not say if gun belonged to prisoner; never saw such a thing about the place.- The depositions were read in full to the prisoner, whom made no statement and was commited for trial on the Circuit Court at Wagga on the 3rd April. – Express.