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Captain Moonlight.

A history of tins desperado's career will ho of interest at the i>rescnt time. His veal name is Albert George Scott, and ho is now I>7 years of age. He was horn in the north of Ireland, was of respectable parentage, and was brought up as a civil engineer. When yet a youth ho emigrated to New Zealand, and joining (he volunteers there lie fought against the Maoris. In an engagement he received a charge of shot in both legs. The slugs were extracted, but they left their marks. Subsequently ho came to Victoria, and having entered the Church of England, was stationed as a lay reader at Bacchus Marsh. Whilst administering to the spiritual wants of the district he became acquainted with the manager of the Egertou Bank, and also with the schoolmaster of that township. Ho used to visit the hank manager very frequently, and was on tho most friendly and intimate terms with him. He also associated with the •schoolmaster. One night a man with a mask on his face, and armed, c alled at the hank, and hailed up the manager. The manager recognised (ho voice to he that of his friend Scott, hut this discovery did not have any deterrent etlect on the robber. Gagging; his friend, Scott marched him into the schoelliouse, which was close at hand, and made him write, and pin upon a desk the fol’mving lino Captain Moonlight lias stuck me up and robbed the hank." Ho then took him outside, tied him up in his gagged state to a tree, and having obtained possession of •the hank keys, he .ransacked the coffers, and stole upwards of J/2000 in notes, coin, anil cake gold. lie had a horse ready close by, ami immediately galloped to a neighboring township, seven miles distant. The journey was accompl shed in half an hour, and on his arrival lie asked several of his friends what o’clock it was. It was afterward* seen tl at this was on purpose, to prove an alibi, for ho

argued that as he was in this township half an hour alter the robbery, he could not have been the rubber. So successful was he in throwing suspicion off himself, that, the bank manager and schoolmaster were arrested at> the criuda&ls, and he ( fijott) was used by he Ijca’ <ol;,w ps a witness against 'them. Ac the trial the jury could not on the manager’s case, and he was discharged. The schoolmaster was admitted to bail, out was bound over to su ■ aider when called upon. In the meantime ijcott had „ gone to Sydney, and lived there for a brief period in very grand style. When his funds became about he purchased a yacht, and engaged a crew with the intention of trying his fortune in Fiji, or in the South Seas generally. It was, however 1 , discovered that ho had passed a valueless cheque for about Ll5O, and before he had got beyond Sydney Heads he was arrested. A charge of false pretences was established, and he was sentenced to 18 months’ imprison* ment. During is incarceration at Sydney it transpired t-iat Ire had sold the exact amount of a cake of gold that had been stolen from the Egerton bank to the Sydney mint. When his sentence expired he was therefore brought back in custody to Victoria, and a police court i vestigation having taken place, he was committed to stand his trial for the Egerton Hank robbery. Pending the trial he was lodged in the Ballarat gaol. <>n tlie night before the day fixed for his trial he cut through the wall of his cell occupied by aptisoner named Dermoodie. He made Dermoodie join him, and together they managed to take off the lock of the cell door. They got out into the corridor just as a warder was approaching. Springing upon the warder, they choked and gagged him, and tied him up. They then relieved him of his beys, anil liberated four other prisoners. All six of them reached through the outer yard without any alarm having been raised. The wall being very high they were,at a loss as to how they could scale it. Scott’s genius, however, was equal to the occasion. A blanket was brought from a cell, and torn into stripes, which were then tied together, so as to form a rope. Scott then placed himself at the wall, a second man climbed up and stood on his shoulders, a third did the same and stoo l on the shoulders of the second, and so on until Scott bore the weight of all, five. They succeeded in doing this by means of their blanket rope, to which they had previously attached a heavy stone, throwing then the weighted end over the wail. The last man easily managed to seat himself on the top, and be then pulled up the one next him. The others scrambled up iii turn by means of the rope. The descent on the other aide was conducted in the satno way, the order of the operation being simply reversed. The six men thus all escaped. Three hundred pounds, or LSO each, was offered for their recapture, and all but two were eventually arrested. Scott and Dermoodie stuck together, and the former obtained arms. As

they wore travelling together through the bush Scott intimated that it was his intention to stick up a bank. Dermoodie declined to take part, saying they might have to take life, and their case was bad enough already. Scott thereupon turned upon him in a passion, called him a mean coward, and gave him five minutes to live. So convinced was Dermoodie that his time was come that he fell on his knees and pleaded with tears in his eyes for mercy. Scott relented, but kicked him away contemptuously. Shortly afterwards the police authorities received ir formation that Scott was lurking abort some diggings in the- vicinity of Sandhurst. Detectives Brown and Alexandei and Sergeant (now Sub-inspector) Drought set out al once to effect his capture. They arrived at the place at about 2 o’clock ii the morning, and soon learned that the desperado was asleep iu a hut. The hi t was in charge of a boy who was working in the neighborhood. This lad was hunted up and questioned. He frankly told them that there was a man asleep in his hi t ami that he was fully armed. The hot was cautiously approached. Going rourd to the door Detective Brown could see through a chink a man lying on a stretcher, sleeping soundly. By his . hand stood a gun, and on a table lay a revolver and bowie knife. These things were easily recognised through a log being alight in the fireplace. How to enter without disturbing or alarming the sleeper was, however, a question difficult to be solved. The door was made of heavy timber, it covered the old end of the hut, and rested on heavy side posts, An iron chain was passed through two holes in the centre, and through the loop of this chain in the inside was passed a ponderous bar, which was turned round so that its end had a firm grasp of the door posts. Detective Brown endeavored to push the bar aside by inserting a knife through a chink, but failed to move it far enough. Ha then gave this attempt .up, and resolved on using the boy as a snare for the t uffiail. The lad after much persuasion—for he was in mortal fear of being shot—consented to act as desired, >n Brown saying that he would . imp y have to speak frt m behind his back. The two then . took up their positions at the door, and in accordance with his instructions, the boy called out—“Please, sir, will jou give me out my billy-can V’ A grunt from within was the only answer, and the request was repeated. Scott then demand id, “ What do you want it for?” The lad promptly answered, “for tea, it is now our tea time.” “ What o’clock is it!” inquired ■jCott, and the boy still speaking as he had been previously directed, said “Just 12 o’clock—our tea time.” There was a pause for a minute, and the detective feared that the scoundrel had discovered the truth, and was preparing to fight. He, however, exercised patience, and, by-aiul-by, the bar was removed. The'door was then slightly opened, and a hand held out with a hilly-can. Brown at once seized the man’s wrist with a firm grasp, whilst the other he thrust a revolver int Ins face; and said, “ If you move you ar a dead man.” .The other officers cam promptly forward, and the fellow wj secured. He denied at first that ha n: Scott, but Brown settled hia identity 1 pulling up hia trousers and showing tl shot-marks in his legs. For escaping fro legal custody, the desperado was sentence (o 12 months’imprisonment in irons. I was also convicted and sentenced to ti years for the Egertow.Bank robbery. L conduct in Penti'idge has been already, a verted to in previous reports. Ho v, discharged in, March last, and has now y hope, committed his final outrage * i humanity.

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Bibliographic details

Captain Moonlight., Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 38, 23 December 1879

Word Count

Captain Moonlight. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 38, 23 December 1879