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4 corrections, most recently by scottk - Show corrections


On Sunday evening last intelligence reached

Maitland of a most diabolical murder which had been perpetrated on the road from Maitland to Seaham, near the fence of A. Warren, Esq. The information was given to the chief constable between six and seven o'clock on that evening, by a person named John Campbell, who resides at Clarence Town, and who stated that his father, Robert Campbell, had been robbed and murdered on the previous Thursday, and that he had given a man named Frederick Ganett into custody on suspicion of being concerned in it. The chief constable recollected that he had on the previous evening seen a man in Maitland with a new suit of clothes on, and it struck him that he might know something of it; he accordingly went in search of him, and after a short time found him at the Waterloo Tap, West Maitland ; but upon searching him nothing whatever was found upon him. Mr. Wood asked him several questions however, and in the course of the conversation it was mentioned that a man named Benjamin Stanley, a ticket of leave holder, was seen talking to Ganett one day last week, and upon this the chief constable immediately com- menced an inquiry after Stanley. He called aside the tap keeper, Spalls, and found from him that Stanley had been at the Waterloo Tap several days last week; that the last time he was there, which was on Saturday morning, he had left some of his clothes, and that he had changed two sovereigns in payment of his score. The clothes and sovereigns were given over to the chief constable, and he at once proceeded to find out Stanley. After calling at several places he went to the house of a man named

James Anthony, who resides on Mr. Eckford's

farm, on the race course, and there he found Stanley, whom he took into custody. On being interrogated by Mr. Wood as to where he was on the Thursday previous he replied that Mr. Wood was neither judge nor jury, and he

would not tell him.

On Monday morning both men were brought before the police bench, when they gave their names as follows;-Benjamin Stanley, per Planter, 1832, life, out of employment; Frederick Ganett, per Moffat, 1836, 14 years, in the em- ployment of Mr. H. Gordon, court of requests bailiff. Both prisoners hold tickets for the

Maitland district.

Stanley was charged with the wilful murder of Robert Campbell, and Ganett with being an accessory to the fact.

After undergoing an examination they were both remanded until Tuesday.

From the evidence given on both days it appears that on Tuesday, the 28th May, the deceased Robert Campbell, who resided with his sons at Clarence Town, left home upon a chesnut mare with a long tail to come to Maitland, to receive some money from the court of requests office, intending to return home the next day. He did not, however, receive payment until Thursday morning, and in the mean time stopped at Mr. Mayo's. On Thursday morning, about nine o'clock, Mr. Gordon gave Campbell a cheque on the Bank of Australasia for £11 2s. 6d., which was cashed soon after by Mr. W. G. Bell, the accountant at the Bank, who paid Campbell five sovereigns, six one pound notes, and two and sixpence in silver. Soon afterwards Campbell left Mr. Mayo's for home on the same mare upon which he had arrived in Maitland. The prisoner Ganett knew that Campbell had been paid.

The old man did not reach home on Thursday evening, and nothing was heard of him by his sons until Friday morning, when a man named John Connor went to their house, and informed them that a man had been found murdered near Mr. Warren's fence, about a mile from the punt over the William River, and that he believed that it was their father. His two sons imme-

diately went to the place, and recognised the body as that of their father, which they found lying on the road with the throat cut so dread- fully that the head was nearly severed from the body; and on washing it they found a gunshot wound on the jaw. They traced the blood from where the body was found to about a quarter of a mile back on the road towards Maitland, where it appeared that the deceased had been shot. A large quantity of blood was upon the ground, and a sixpence covered with blood was found there. No money was found upon the deceased, and there was no appearance of any struggle at the place where the body was found.

On the morning of Wednesday, the day before the murder, the prisoner Ganett was seen talking to Stanley for some time on the race course near Anthony's, and a little boy named Prior heard Ganett say there was a man in Maitland who lived at Clarence Town, and wanted a man to clear some land for him, and Stanley said he would go and see him. On the same night Stanley slept at the Waterloo Tap, and on Thursday morning, about seven o'clock, he went away, saying he was going to East Maitland ; he then said he had no money, and he could not pay for what he had had. He had been living at Anthony's about twelve days, and during that time he never had any money, and was in no employment. Ganett and Stanley had formerly lived together in the same service.

The puntman at Hinton remembered the old man passing over the punt twice last week, once to Maitland, and afterwards from Maitland ; but he could not recollect on what day it was, but he remembered that on the same day Campbell passed going from Maitland he was told of the murder having been committed. He also recollected that Stanley went over the punt about nine o'clock one morning last week, when he said he had no money, and between three and four o'clock in the same afternoon he returned and paid the puntage, but the man could not tell upon what day this was.

On Thursday Mr. C. Blandford was riding between Hinton and Mr. Warren's, about one or two o'clock, when he met an old man riding upon a chesnut mare with a long tail, and a man was walking alongside of him. The old man stopped, and asked Mr. Blandford which was the way to the Seaham punt, and he directed him to go through Mr. Bartie's yard and by Mr. Warren's fence. He observed the man who was walking, as he thought he had seen him before; he had very much the appearance of the prisoner Stanley, both in height, figure, and complexion, but he had more whiskers than the prisoner ; his whiskers being very large, black, and bushy, and meeting under the chin; the prisoner's whiskers were very small ; in every other respect he resembled the man ; he would almost swear he was the same man, but he thought the man had a darker eye than the prisoner, though he might be mistaken. He had some knowledge of the prisoner's face, and he thought at the time he met the man he had

seen him before. The more he looked at the man the more he felt convinced he was the same man, though he would not positively swear to him on account of the great difference in the


After this evidence had been given, it was proved by Mr. Randall, hairdresser, West Maitland, that one day last week, though he was unable to say what day, the prisoner came to his shop to be shaved; that he had very large black whiskers meeting under his chin, and that he desired Mr. Randall to shave them all off, and leave him only a very small whisker, and that he afterwards had his hair cut; and when this was done Mr. Randall remarked to

him, " Why, you don't look like the same man." It was also proved by Mr. Spalls, the keeper of the Waterloo Tap, that when Stanley left his house on Thursday morning he had the large whiskers on, but when he came there on Friday morning they had been shaved off, upon which Spalls said to him, "Why, you've been bar- berized ;" to which the prisoner made no reply, but merely put his hand to his chin.

About seven o'clock on Thursday evening Stanley returned to Anthony's, and appeared to be very weary from travelling ; he was quite sober. On Friday he was assisting a man named Jackson ploughing ; and on the same day he paid a sovereign to Spalls at the Waterloo Tap. On Saturday morning he was at Spalls's again, and changed another sovereign ; both of which Spalls put into a box where there was no other money, and they were given up to the chief constable ; upon one of these sovereigns a spot of blood was discovered. On the same morning he went to Mr. Rickards's shop, and purchased a hat and coat, which came to £1 8s., 5d. for which he paid with two £1 notes, and received the change in silver, and in about two hours afterwards he went again and purchased a print dress, and a mousseline de laine dress, and a pair of braces, which amounted to £1, and for which he paid a sovereign. He afterwards, on the same day, went to the shop of Mr. Joseph Clarke, shoemaker, and purchased a pair of half boots, for which he paid another sovereign, and received five shillings in change.

Some of the clothes he had previously worn were found at the Waterloo Tap, where he left them on Saturday, and the remainder at Anthony's. They were produced in court, and upon his straw hat there was a small dash of blood ; his trousers were also slightly stained with blood; there was a small spot of blood upon one of his braces, and also upon the black handkerchief which he wore round his neck.

Such is the substance of the evidence given against both the prisoners, and at the close of the examination they were remanded to the coroner's inquest, which was to be held on Wednesday, at Seaham, whither they were conducted under a strong escort, accompanied by the chief constable.