Murder on the Pass


John Walsh, was indicted for the wilful murder of Catherine Collitts, on the 3d January last at Mount Victoria, near Hartley.

It appeared that the deceased came to the house of Mr. Joseph Jaggers, Innkeeper of   Hartley, in company with the prisoner, and her husband, and Mr Gardner's stockman, on the 3rd of January. They were all sober except Walsh, who appeared to have taken liquor. The stockman called for a glass of brandy each, for Collitts and the prisoner, and a glass of syrup for the deceased. Walsh had two glasses of brandy, and the deceased two glasses of syrup, while in the house; the prisoner called for the second glasses. They all left the house together; it was not a moon light night; Gardener's man had gone before in another direction. Prisoner took deceased by the arm, and they went, all three up the hill about a mile ; the body was found a mile and half farther on; the prisoner would go lo Jaggers'; prisoner asked where his own wife was; Collitts said he believed she was at Blackheath; prisoner then gave him a blow which knocked him down ; prisoner was not sober; deceased caught hold of prisoner, and said " don't hit him ;" Collitts jumped up and ran away, off towards Blackheath: deceased sung out to him to run or prisoner would kill him; prisoner ran alter Collitts, but he left him and saw nothing of the prisoner until he came home about two hours after   witness had been in bed at Gardener's; there were other men there ; when prisoner came in Collitts asked him "where is my wife?" Prisoner answered, " Mr. Jaggers'   son and four more men rushed me ;" your wife flew into my arms for protection " "Jaggers'   son up with a pistol and struck me here" (pointing to his face). There was a scratch or a cut on his face; it was bleeding. Prisoner and his wife went off to bed. Prisoner said, " I was forced lo run for my life, and stopped at tbe box where the soldiers were, and borrowed a Government shirt." Prisoner only had on a shirt; nothing else; neither hat, jacket, towsers or shoes ; only his shirt; it was a blue stripped shirt, such as prisoners wear; at Jagger's, the prisoner had on a white shirt ; he said that young Jaggars had stripped him naked. The next morning, he said. " Are you coming to look for your wife ; prisoner paid Mr Gardener for the lodging, and Collitts and prisoner started together towards Mount Victoria; half a mile   on this, the Bathurst side of Mount Victoria, the mail came up, aud the mail man asked where he was going; he said to look after his wife; the mailman said, that man (pointing to the prisoner) has murdered her. The mail- man knew the deceased. Jaggars' man was also in the mail ; the mailman told witness to give the prisoner in charge ; the prisoner repeated the story about Jaggars' son, and the four men, and said he would swear to Jaggars' son; witness ran to the spot where the body of deceased was lying. The mailman showed witness the prisoners' clothes and his wife's shawl.

The body was discovered by Matthew Wall, driver of the Penrith and Hartley mail, about   six a m., midway between the top of Victoria and Soldiers' Pinch, about three miles from Jaggars'. He saw some clothes lying on the road, and afterwards a body ; the horses would not face the clothes and he got down and gathered up the clothes and tied them in the shawl which he found four or five yards from the rest ; the clothes produced were those he picked up on the road and took to Gardener's. He at first thought that men had been fighting. The shawl was lying at some yards distance from the others, all separate,-first the shawl, then the trowsers, next the waist- coat, next the shirt, next the neckerchief, then the boots ; the body was nearly opposite ; the body, which was off the road, was stripped to above the middle,-the legs were spread out; he pulled the clothes over her legs. He knew her before she was married ; he recognized her as Catherine Collitts; the brace saturated with blood was lying within a yard of the body, rather off the road. The clothes on the deceased did not appear to be torn ; the left side of the face which was uppermost was not much injured, and he did not disturb the body at all. The body was quite stiff. There was a Mr. Short, and a man named Wilson, in the mail ; Wilson got out, Short did not; on their way to Gardener's they met the prisoner and Collitts; he asked Collilts where he left his wife the previous evening, -he said at the top of the hill, because the prisoner struck him. The prisoner said he had been run away with himself, and had to take a shirt back. He called Walsh a murderer, and told Collitts, that his wife was on the road ; he told the prisoner he ought to be hung, and told Collitts to give him in charge.

The jury, after having deliberated for about half an hour, returned to the jury box and pronounced a sentence of guilty. The Solicitor General having prayed the sentence of court, his Honour immediately passed sentence of death upon the prisoner, expressing his entire concurrence with the verdict, and imploring the miserable man to make his peace with his Maker, as he could no longer be allowed to remain on this earth, but soon  appear before that dread tribunal where all his crimes would be found registered against him.