DARING HIGHWAY ROBBERY.
STICKING UP A BANK MANAGER.-
NEARLY £1000 STOLEN.
Dunstan, 24th. November. On. Saturday morning last, the 12th inst., about 8 o'clock, Mr GK S. Skinner, the manager of this branch of-the Bank of New Zealand, left this tow.nshipon his way to the Nevis, as hehad done on the preceding Saturday, for the puvpose o* purchasing gold on behalf of his Bank. Soon after reaching the top of the hill, and about a mile and a half from tbe river, where the roadway ,is very much jammed in by large projecting rocks, two men, one presenting a gun and the other a pistol, rushed out from behind a reck as Mr Skinner was passing. Hisjiorss, which was a spirited animal, suddenly shied and threw his rider to the ground. The men then seized Mr Skinner before he could recover himself, and, binding him hand and foot, dragged him behind another rock about 50 yards offtfie road. They then gagged him by forcing into his mouth, (keeping it in its place by a belt), one of those calico biiis which it is usual for bankers to leave at stores who purchase gold for them, several of which Mr Skinner hadin his possession, Leaving him lying on the ground, incapable of making his escape or calling for assistance, they fetched up the horse, and removing the saddle and bridle, searched it, but not finding anything in it, deposited that also behind a rock; they then drove the horse away and turned their attention to their victim. Taking from his person his leather courier's bag, they speedily cut it open and appropriated the contents, over LBOO in notes and L 5 in silver; they then took their departure. The robbers, one of whom was a tall man standing fully six feet high, the other much shorter, were disguised by tying black handkerchiefs round their faces just below their eyes, besides each had made himself a jumper out of a piece of blue blanket, by cutting a transverse slit and thrusting their heads through them, wore them something after the fashion oi a poncho, only that for convenience sake the ends were tied round their waists. Besides taking the money they also took Mr Skinner's revolver and watch, but the latter they returned, after some parleying, as he represented it was the gift of a very near relation.; With considerable difficulty he fortunately managed to wriggle his hands out of the bonds which held them, and speedily set bin elf free, returning at once to the Duastan,
where lie instantly gave information at tlio camp of what had occurred. From the time of his first crossing the river till that of his return scarcely more than an hour and a half had elapsed. The police were quickly in pursuit; not more than ten minutes bavins elapsel before constable" we c despatched in the direction of the scene of t!ie robbery, and to every crossing place both up and down the river. About an hour afoer the information of the robbery had been received, constable Kelly arrested two men answering the description given by Mr Skinner, who had just crossed the river at Mutton Town, by rowing themselves over in the boat belonging to Fraser's Station. No sooner had they made the boat fast by attaching the line to some flax growing on the bank than they were secured. Detective'Cassells and Sergeant "Turnbu'l, upon reaching the spot were the out-rase was perpetrated, soon foupd the saddle and bridle as veil as the horse which was quietly graziDg. They then discovered planted behind a rock, a doubled barrelled gun, Mr Skinner's revolver, (both were loaded) the leathern courier's bag, two pieces of blue blanket, which the robbers had evidently worn, besides the black handkerchiefs and some pieces of cord, but no trace of the money could be found. From the spot where the robbery took place, a commanding view of the entire town could be obtained, so that the villians must have watched th;ir victim from the. moment he first left the Main-street—that they had done so there is little doubt, as the remains of two cigars, about half smoked, were found alongside a rock were they had sat.
There is scarcely ths least doubt but that the two men arrested are the perpetrators of the robbery; one of them being a well known bad character. Of the other nothing i 3 known. From the direction in which they came, together with the time it would take to reach the place where they were arrested, as w^ell as other very suspicious circumstances,leaves scarcely a doubt, bat that they are the men. Upon being searched there was found upon them thirty (one-pound) notes of the Bank of New Zealand, and neatly the same sum in silver as lost by Mr Skinner. So»e of which, from marks upon it can be recognised, and the number of two shilling pieces and half-crowns exactly tallies wiih those lost in the amount. In the "course of the evening the persons were at'rayeil iv the blankets and handkerchiefs found by the police when ths robbery' occurred, when one of them was distinctly recognised by Mr Skinner, not only by'his dress and general appearance, but by his voice also. They will be examined this clay before the Resident Magistrate. The dead body of a man was brought into the Manuheiikia township on Saturday evening, from the summit of the " Old Man." It is that of a miner, who in company with five others left Potters Gully, Campbell's Diggings, on Sunday afternoon last, for the Gorge, was overtaken in a severe snow storm which came on suddenly, and three of the number, it is feared have perished, Ths five men were in company till they reached the rocks, nofc 200 yards from the Shanty which some enterprising individuals have lately erected on the mountain. Two of them' started to go on ahead of the others, and have not since been heard of; the other three remained behind and clearing away a place in the snow under a rock tried to make themselves as comfortable as possible for the night. The cold was so intense that its 'effects soon became visible on the deceased; one of his mates then got up and walked about the whole night to keep himself warm, while the other supported the unfortunate man, who died in his arms before morning. A search is now biirig made for the other bodies. That the ranges to the westward of the Dunstan should have been visited with such a storm, at so unseasonable a time 6f year, is mo3t surprising. The morning of Sunday, the 6th inst, was as fine as could be desired, but such is the fickleness of the climate in the neighborhood of the Carrick Ranges that you cannot scarcely calculate upon the weather for two hours together. These ranges are so situate that the south easterly winds, or what is known in this hemisphere as a " southerly buster," reaches them in all its fury, and with scarcely any notice. It is certainly to be hoped that the other two men have not met with an untimely end, but as no tidings of them whatever can be obtained, it is almost a certainty that they have met with the same fate as their companion.
There was a heavy flood in the Molyneux on Saturday morning, but during that night and Sunday the river has fallen considerably. A new rush took place on Saturday to a locality, about fifteen miles north west
from the Nevis, some where in. the direction of Gentle Annie, During that day and the noon of yesterday almost one-half of the pecple of the Nevis had taken their departure for the scene of the new discovery. There wps great excitement when the news reached the Dunstan at a late hour last night. Numbers are now leaving at the time of my writing, 6 a.m., Monday.
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DUNSTAN., Otago Daily Times, Issue 623, 16 December 1863
DUNSTAN. Otago Daily Times, Issue 623, 16 December 1863
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