Old news from Armidale and New England

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Accused committed for trial (part 3 of 3)

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The Northern Daily Leader (Tamworth, NSW : 1921), Friday 1 April 1921

HILLGROVE ROBBERY.

Accused Committed for Trial.

HILLGROVE, Thursday

At the police court yesterday, Jack McCarthy Woodburn, aged 26, laborer, of West Australia, was charged with breaking and entering the Hillgrove Post Office on or about the 19th March, and stealing cash, stamps and cheques to the value of £181/14/11.

Mr. A. A. Russell, acting postmaster, stated that on the 18th inst. he was on duty at the Post Office until 10 p.m. He balanced everything before leaving the office. The safe in the office contained postal notes, cash, cheques, stamps, war saving certificates, etc , valued at £358/15/4. When leaving the office he securely locked all doors and windows, also tried all the drawers and the safe. Then he went to the hotel where he boarded. Next morning, about 7.30, Constable Kennedy came into his room and showed him a broken cash box, also a few postage stamps. They went to the Post Office, and found the front door locked, but the back door of the office open. The middle window had been forced open. The iron safe was laying on its side on the stand with the door blown open — apparently forced open by an explosion. Pieces of a fuse and gelatine were laying close by. All the drawers in the office with the exception of two had been forced open. Later, Mr. Postal Inspector Woolett and witness made an examination to ascertain what was missing and found a shortage of £181/11/11. A pair of rubber gloves shown were also the property of the department. Before locking up the cash witness took the number of all the notes with the exception of three, and the numbers of the notes produced agreed with his record with the exception of one. There was also a registered packet missing from the safe.

To the accused: There is only one note which I cannot identify.

Constable Kennedy, police officer, at Hillgrove, said that on the morning of the 19th inst. he found the empty cash box, also the few postage stamps, 3d and 1d on a vacant piece of land near Faint’s garage. He took them to the Sydney Hotel, where Mr. Russell was staying. They then went, to the Post Office and found the premises in the condition as explained by the previous witness. Lying of the floor was one crowbar, one 8lb hammer, one coal chisel, one file, one axe head, and three damaged mail bags. The whole office appeared to have been ransacked.

Chas. Rowe, miner, employed at the New Baker’s Creek Mine, remembered conversing with the accused at the mine on the 18th inst. about 2 p.m. Near by was a box containing explosives. He left the mine about 3 p.m. Next day he returned to the mine, and at about 9.30 a.m., after having heard something, he went to his box and found missing 4½ plugs of gelatine, one plug of gelatine dynamite, 10 or 12 feet of fuse, and about 50 detonators.

Victor Adamson, engine driver at the Baker’s Creek tram line, said he saw the accused and conversed with him in the engine shed on the 18th inst. He lowered him down the tram line to the mine. Witness recognised the hammer and other tools produced as the property of the company.

William Peters, residing at Hillgrove, and living within 20 yards of the Post Office, said he remembered the night of the 18th inst. He was in his house in bed and heard something which sounded like an explosion at about halt past eleven or twelve o’clock. The sound appeared to come from the direction of the Post Office. Following this sound he heard what sounded like hammering. About an hour later he heard another explosion. After this noise he got out of bed and went to the fence adjoining the Post Office, looked over the fence, but could hear no sound nor see any light. Just before 2 o’clock he heard a third explosion.

Cornelius Faint, car driver, Hillgrove, said that on the 18th inst. the accused came to him between 10 and 11 a.m. at his home and inquired if he was a car driver. Witness said, “Can I get a car to Armidale?” Witness asked, “What time?” He replied, “Between 9 and 10 tonight.” Witness replied that he could. He did not see him again until next morning, when he came to witness’s house and stated that he wanted to go to Armidale. Witness asked him if he knew what time it was. He replied “No.” Witness informed him that it was 2.30 a.m. ‘”Oh!” he said, “it’s worth £3 to you.” He paid witness then with the notes he produced. Witness knew one by the mark he put on it before giving it to the police. He then drove him to Armidale.

Daniel Aiting, a motor car proprietor, of Armidale, said at 4.30 on the 19th he received a telephone call. In reply to his question, “McCarthy” was the name given. He got in his car, went to the Post Office, and then saw accused. He said, “Did you call to take me to Glen Innes?” Witness replied “Yes.” They then drove to Bradbury’s hotel for his bag and then went on to Glen Innes to Tattersall’s Hotel. The accused left the rubber gloves shown to witness on the seat of the car. He paid witness £7 before getting to Glen Innes — £5 and two singles. When returning to Armidale the sergeant of police at Guyra told witness something and he handed him the notes he got from the accused. He did not take the numbers.

Accused was asked if he had any thing to say, and replied “No.” He was committed for trial at Armidale Circuit Court on April 20, 1921.

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Written by macalba

May 7, 2013 at 8:26 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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One Response

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  1. While I’m glad to hear the taxi driver was OK. It certainly makes the “Nothing since has been heard of the taxi driver” from part 1 sound like someone was being a little melodramatic.


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