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The Dunedin “ Herald ” thus describes ,■ Butler’s career, the man who has been arrested on suspicion of having murdered the Grant family ; —He was in Pentridge when a boy, and was known to the police of Victoria for 13 years. He came to New Zealand and turned respectable, and having a good address and his being unknown, he was employed as Catholic teacher in one of the country districts. He rewarded the confidence which they had placed in him by robbing the priest of LCO. He then came to Dunedin and broke into a number of houses, and his career was ultimately checked by his being arrested, and he was sentenced to, we believe, five years’ imprisonment. He was liberated a few weeks ago, and appears, from the fact of having a loaded revolver in his possession, to have prepared himself for anotaer career of crime. Butler was arrested about five miles on the Dunedin side of Mooraki. He was armed with a sixchamber revolver, and had in his possession thirty or forty cartridges. When he saw the police he ran behind a flax bush and presented his revolver at them, but beyond this he made no attempt at resistance. Butler is known to be a desperate criminal. ■At the Dunedin police court on Tuesday morning, in the presence of a great crowd, the man Robt. Butler, alias Donnelly, alias Medway, alias Lee, was charged with the murder of Mr. and Mrs Grant and child on Sunday morning last, and remanded until Monday next. He is also charged with attempting to shoot the arresting constable, and Inspector Mallard intimated that there would probably be a third charge of arson or burglary at the house of Mr. Stamper, lawer, on Saturday morning. It appears that the prisoner, who had been recently discharged from gaol, had been lodging at the Scotia Hotel, within a few minutes’ walk of the house of the murdered man. He did not occupy his lodging on Friday or Saturday nights, but returned on Sunday morning within half an hour of the discovery of the murder, and after paying his bill he walked to Blueskin, changing his clothes by the way, and clipping off his moustaches. When arrested he had a loaded revolver and a number of cartridges, but was secured before be could use it. He is a small sharp looking man under thirty years of age. Dunedin, March 17. The inquest touching the death of Jas. Murray Dewer (or Grant) Elizabeth Murray Jane Dewer, and Elizabeth Lindsay Dewer, was opened at the hospital this afternoon, before Mr. Thos. Hocken, coroner. After taking the evidence of a few witnesses, the inquest adjourned till next day.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 75, 18 March 1880

Word Count

THE DUNEDIN TRAGEDY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 75, 18 March 1880