THE REEFTON MURDER.
Greymouth, April 27. The adjourned inquest was resumed on Monday, and a number of other witnesses were examined. The following are the principal points of the evidence given which throw any additional light upon the mystery :—Albert Bennett said that when the warrant was taken out against Bell by M‘Gahey, the latter said he would knock Bell’s brains out with a piece of iron if he said anything to him. He said that to Bell several times, and witness stepped qetween them and pushed M‘Gahey back, telling M'Gahey he ought to know better. He was violent then. On the 15th, while on his way to Boatman’s Creek, M‘Gahey said to him—“lf anybody asks you have you seen me say you have not.” Witness told him to come no further if he did not wish to be seen. Shook hands and parted, and did not see M'Gahey since until meeting him in Court. On the morning of next day he heard the report of a gun, and afterwards saw the body of Bell with a wound on the back of his head, and another under the right ear, with his eyes closed, swollen up and discolored. Searched the place for shot marks but could find none. It was after M'Gahey spoke of the summons Mrs M'Gahey had taken out against him that he asked witness not to mention his whereabout. He thought his conduct strange.—William Campbell said that when M'Gahey was telling him his trouble he said, “ Campbell, as sure as God is my judge I will shoot the pair of them.” Told M'Gahey to clear out and have nothing to do with them. Told Bell that M'Gahey would shoot him. Mentioned what M'Gahey said to other people. Did not hear him make threats at any other time.—John M'Gaffin stated that, at M'Gahey’s request, he took possession of the latter’s place. M'Gahey said in-consequence of a quarrel with his wife he was going to leave the place. Attempted to make peace between them but failed. He apprehended violence between M'Gahey and Bell, and advised M'Gahey to leave the district, and on two or three occasions he promised to do so. Told him his wife would be a good riddance, and that he would assist him to get work in Christchurch or Dunedin if he went. He replied, “ When Ido interfere with Bell I shall not want you or anyone else to bail me.” Witness said, “I presume you are going to commit murder, and after this I shall have no more to say to you. Witness also said, “I think you are out of your mind, and ought to be arrested as unfit to be at large.” The police had to keep M'Gahey from assaulting Bell when the search warrant was being executed at Bell’s. In consequence of what M'Gahey said, witness warned Bell of M'Gahey’s violence, he apparently having lost control over himself. Had to go between M'Gahey and Bell several times. M'Gahey on one or two occasions said he would rouse Bell and his wife out of that; that he would not submit to his house being burnt down, and he being a wanderer over the face of the earth whilst they were living together, and that he would have' satisfaction. Was surprised when he heard of the murder, as he thought the desire for revenge had worn out.—John Stuart said he saw M'Gahey’s bush-made ramrod picked up near Bell’s cowshed out of the mud. Witness described the ramrod minutely, and had no doubt in swearing to it.—John Hart said the ramrod was found covered up with mud. It was discovered by one of the men treading on one end. — Charles Lyon deponed that in January last, when talking to M'Gahey, the latter said—“ If I could think that Bell and my wife are cohabiting 1 would blow the pair of them to if I should be hung for it.” Witness said—“ David; do you mean to say you have not seen the carrying on of these two this while back.” He said he declared to his God that he had not. He said—“l can see it all now.” He also said, when speaking of being hung, that he would smile at them if they were putting the rope round his neck. Witness, in reply to accused said —“ I said to John Bell and Mrs M'Gahey on the day of the inquiry into the fire at M'Gahey’s house, when they were both sitting on a log together, that if they thought they could stop in peace and comfort they were mistaken, and if M'Gahey came back, God help them. Said to you that you would travel on your hands and knees from the other side of the island to have revenge if you knew the way your wife and Bell were carrying on.” When M'Gahey was shoeing a horse for witness he wanted some more nails, and asked witness to gs into the house for them. Witness popped rather quickly into the kitchen, and as witness did so M'Gahey’s wife rose as it were off Bell’s knee at a seat at the fire. Told M'Gahey this on the day. Witness went to fetch the things for the police from Bell’s place.— Patrick Quin stated that after arresting M’Gahey, he told him to be cautious about making any remarks that might be used against him, and he replied that he should bo cautioned in the first instance. M’Gahey appeared a little frightened when arrested.—Alexander H. King said Mrs M’Gahey was excited on Saturday morning, when she came to Gallagher’s, and asked if he thought M’Gahey would waylay her on the road. Said she need not apprehend anything of the kind.— Alfred Silcock said that when the ramrod was picked up, Stuart took the ramrod out of his hand, and said :—“ That’s Yankee Dave’s ramrod.”—The jury, after retiring for upwards of two hours, found —“That John Bell met his death on April 16th, 1881, at Larry’s creek, having been killed by a blow on the back of the head.|and thatthe blowwas struck by David Charles M’Gahey. ” The verdict was the verdict of thirteen of the jury, G. W. Brown, R. J. Scottock, and Adam Ross not concurring in the verdict. M’Gahey was remanded till Monday next, when he will be charged with the murder of John Bell. M’Gahey leaves Greymouth for Hokitika to-morrow morning.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 330, 28 April 1881
THE REEFTON MURDER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 330, 28 April 1881
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