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Murder of a Constable.

Auckland, July 31. Further particulars regarding the murder of Constable M'Leod show that when Funcke boarded the steamer at 1 Dargaville he was carrying a gun and had concealed a revolver and sheath knife. He was very noisy on the passage from Dargaville to Mangawhare, and the gun was taken from him by the captain. This seems to have irritated Funcke. Constable M'Leod with his wife and family had come on board the steamer at Dargaville on their way to Auckland, and Constable Scott and his wife also boarded the vessel at Mangawhare to proceed lower down the river to Aratapu. The steamer had just left Mangawhare wharf, when Funcke entered the cabin, calling for his gun, and threatening if he did not get it that he would shoot some of them. M'Leod and some other passengers Were then m the cabin. Funcke was holding what appeared to be a revolver, but none of those m the room who saw it imagined it to be loaded. Constable Scott, hearing the shouting, came m and pushed Funcke out of the cabin, and with Constable M'Leod's assistance took him on deck. The steamer was put back to Mangaware wharf, and Funcke was taken on shore by the constables. He showed no resistance, and went quietly. M'Leod and Scott returned, and the steamer .again put off, when Funcke immediately commenced to use abusive language to the captain, and again called for his gun. The vessel was only a short distance away when Funke fired, but the bullet took no effect. He fired a second time, the shot striking the vessel's side. The man then fired a third shot, and his bullet had a fatal effect, for it struck Constable M'Leod, who was standing at the rail of the steamer, and pierced his heart, the unfortunate man expiring instantly. Two other shots were fired, one of the bullets penetrating the timber of one of the cabins.

After an interval, when the vessel had moved further into the stream, Funcke began firing again. The steamer's head was turned, and she went to Dargaville, when M'Leod's body was put on shore. The settlers armed themselves with loaded rifles, and under charge of Constables Scott and Carr, set out m pursuit of the murderer, and walked to Mangawhare, which is a little more than a mile from Dargarille. Funcke was standing at the end of the wharf. When challenged he made no answer, and a blank cartridge was then fired at him, and m the bright moonlight Funcke was seen to lift up his hands as if to fire. Two rifles charged with shot were then fired at him, and one of the charges striking him m the breait and groin, he fell and was arrested.

At the inquest on M'Leod's body a verdict of wilful murder was returned against Funcke. Constable M'Leod was a well-known police officer. He joined the force m 1871 m Alexandra, Waikato, and subsequently had charge of different country stations. He held the rank of first-cJass constable. The murdered man, who was 44 years of age, was of a most genial and friendly disposition, and was widely esteemed. He was a prominent Freemason The remains of the deceased are to be brought to Auckland for burial.

. The other passengers by the steamer Minnie Casey stated that Funcke was evidently under the influence of liquor when he came on board the vessel at Dargaville. The name of the prisoner is Henry Funcke, and ho has been a gum digger. *

After his arrest Funcke made the following statement :—" I paid my passage and'they took my caps from me, so I shot him as my life depended on my caps. I know my life is forfeited. It is a pity they did not drop me, as now they will have the pleasure of hanging me. My life is of no value to anyone. I shot the man I .thought he was the captain. He took my gun and I cannot live without it. I shoot birds with it and get my food by it."

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Bibliographic details

Murder of a Constable., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2480, 1 August 1890

Word Count

Murder of a Constable. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2480, 1 August 1890

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