THE SOUTHPORT SHOOTING CASE.
At Port Esperance, on Wednesday, the 24th of March-before Mr. E. A. Walpole-George Hazle- wood, aged nine years and six months, was charged by Chief District Constable Lambert, with the murder of George Hooper, at Southport.
The following witnesses were examined by Mr. Lambert:-
James Elliott deposed : I reside at Southport, and work occasionally at a place known as the Left Hand Narrows, and am a splitter and purchaser of timber. I recollect the ninth of this month I saw a dead body that day at an inquest, which I recognised as that of a lad named Henry Hooper, who was, when alive, in my employ. When at work at the Left Hand Nar- rows I occupied a hut with Hooper, who was chiefly employed looking after and driving my horses. On the 3rd of this month I went to my home at South- port ; it was three or four o'clock in the afternoon when I left. I left Hooper there ; that was the last tims I saw him alive. I returned to the hut the next day about noon, I met a man named Doolan, who reported that Harry Hooper was missing. I then made enquiry and search, but without success. I re- turned to Southport the same evening and reported the circumstance to the police. On the next day, the 5th, in company with constable White and others, I resumed the search in the neighbourhood of the hut. The prisoner, who occupies a hut at the same place, was present and assisted in the search. Richard Rowe and myself discovered the body of the lad Hooper ; the prisoner was close by at the time. Before Rowe and I went to the spot, I said " we will go and search this way," being in the direction of the spot where the body lay. The prisoner said "it is no use going that way, for I have looked there already." When we found the body the prisoner Hazlewood asked " is he dead ?" When I first went in the neighbourhood of the huts to search on that day, I saw Hazlewood, and asked him if he had seen " Harry " (meaning Hooper.) Prisoner said that on the day I left the hut, Hooper had been to his hut and borrowed a curry-comb to clean his horse, and that he had seen nothing of him since. In conse- quence of a report I heard to the effect that a gun had been fired off in the direction of the hut occupied by prisoner, I asked him (prisoner) " who fired the gun ?" he said " Harry Hooper fired the gun at a diver, and then re-loaded it, and put it back." Hooper had been living with me nearly three years, he had never discharged a gun, and was so averse to firearms, that he would not touch a loaded one. He was over thirteen years old, and about four feet eight or nine inches in height. The body of Hooper, when found, was lying between a log and some cutting
grass, and covered over with boughs. I have looked, but could not find a currycomb either at the hut or
Richard Rowe, doposed: I reside at Southport, and am a splitter. On the 5th of this month I was assisting Elliott and others to search for Henry Hooper at the Left Hand Narrows. I was present when the body was found ; I was the first person who saw it. It was lying by a log and covered over with sticks ; the front part of the face was gone except the jaw. The prisoner was near at hand Before we found the body, I asked Hazlewood if he had seen Hooper. He said, " No, I have been in search of him, but could not find him." Constable White was about twenty yards off when the body was found. I called out to White, and told him I has found it. Before finding the body, in con- sequence of something I had heard, I looked in Hazlowood's hut, and found a gun. It was loaded with powder and cupped. The gun now produced is the same. It was standing against the wall close to
Thomas White doposed : I am a constable stationed at Southport. In consequence of a report from the witness Elliot, I accompanied him, Rowe, and others, ou Friday the 5th of this month to search for Hooper at the Left Hand Narrows, when first I arrived there I saw the prisoner Hazlewood in the neighbourhood of his and other huts at the spot. I said to him " did you see Hooper " he said " yes," I asked him when be said "on Wednesday afternoon." I asked him where did he see him. Prisoner replied " he came to my stable to borrow a currycomb which I gave him, and he (Hooper) said to me I shall soon be done my work and will come down and boil my kettle" I
then asked Hazlewood which way Hooper went when
ho loft his (Halzewood's) stables. Hazlewood replied
" he went towards his own stable." I then went in '
search of Hooper with other person, prisoner Hazle- wood amongst the rest. Four or five hours afterwards
I was about returning home, when I was called back by Elliot, Hooper's master. In consequence of some- thing he told me, I made further enquiries from the prisoner. I asked him why he did, not tell
me in the morning about Hooper firing off a gun ? He replied I was afraid of my brother beating me for allowing the gun to be fired." He also said that Hooper had fired the gun off at a shag, and pointed out to me a spot where he said Hooper stood. The spot he showed me was about five paces from the front of his (prisoner's) hut. I asked prisoner if Hooper was hurt when he fired off the gun. He said "no." Prisonor said that Hooper had loaded the gun again, so that his (prisoner's) brother should not know the gun had been fired off. I then resumed the soareh. A few minutes afterward Rowe called out, " White, here he is " The prisoner was near at the time. I went to the spot where the body lay ; the face was nearly all gone. I then saw a trail on the ground from where the body was lying, I followed it up to within a yard or two of Hazle- wood's hut. I then examined the hut, and saw shot marks on the paling lining of the hut on the left band side of the doorway, as one enters ; they were about four feet six inches from the ground. The palings upon which the shot marks where, were also marked with blood, hair, and other matter which I believed to be brains. I also saw blood outside the door-way on some bark forming part of the wall of the hut. Portions of bark had been pared off, and were lying outside the door. Those pieces were marked with blood ; those pieces and the paling I produce. There were also shot marks on the bark lining over the fire-place, which apparently had glanced off from the paling near the door, the paling produced was not the only one struck by shot marks
it was the lowest of three or four, The bark over the fireplace that had shot marks was about five feet from the marks on the paling. There were two marks made by a spade of the respective distance of five and ten paces from where the body was found. I asked the boy Hazlewood " who dragged the body there ? He replied " I did, and covered him over with dry sticks, and I would have buried him but the
gound was too hard." I then asked him why he did not tell me this before, he said, " I thought my brother Jack would beat me." He then said "I'll tell you all about it, Harry came to my hut and took the gun to shoot a black shag- on a log on the river. I was getting some tucker out of the box, and I heard the gun go off I looked round and saw Henry lying down at the door with his jaw blown off and the gun lying at his feet." He then repeated his former statement of having dragged the body to where it was found, and said he then loaded the gun again, so that his brother should not know that it had been fired off. The distance between the prisoners' hut and where the body of Hooper was found was about fifty four yards, and about the spot indicated on the plan. I took Hazelwood into custody.
Maryann Tapfield deposed I live at Southport Left Hand Norrows, in a hut near Hazlewoods and Elliots. I knew a lad named Henry Hooper, I also know the person Hazelwood. I was at home on Wednesday the 3rd of this month; I heard a gun go off in the afternoon of that day. It was in the direction of Hazelwoods hut. Hooper's hut was the nearest to mine. On that evening at about eight o'clock I saw Mr. Elliotts horse loose. I went to Hooper's hut to tell him, but could not find him. I then went to the hut occupied by the prisoner, and inquited from him if he had seen Hooper. He said he had not seen him since he lent him a currycomb
in the afternoon.
Joseph Doolan deposed : I reside at Southport Narrows I knew Henry Hooper; I also know George Hazlewood, now present. On Wednesday, the 3rd of this month, I was at home in my hut from about two or three in the afternoon. My hut is between Hazlewood's and Hooper's hut, and about twenty yards from each. I heard the report of fire- arms on that afternoon in the direction of Hazel- wood's hut. About ten minutes before I heard the report of the gun, I saw George Hooper going in the direction of Hazelwood's hut, and did not see him alive afterwards. That was about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The prisoner came to my hut about twenty minutes after I heard the gun fired. He came for my bucket. He told me that Harry Hooper had been to his place for a currycomb. He afterwards returned the bucket. There was no further conversation about the boy Hooper.
John Quinn deposed : I am a splitter residing at Southport Narrows. The prisoner is my step brother. His name is Geore Hazelwood ; he is nine years and
six months old. He lives with me. I left my hut on Wednesday, the third of this month, and went to Southport, leaving Hazelwood there. I left in the afternoon. The gun produced is my property. I left it loaded, standing in the hut near the bed and the tucker box ; it was loaded with shot. To my knowledge, George Hazelwood never fired the gun off at any time. I never forbid him firing it off, nor did I authorise him to do so. If he had asked me to let him have a shot out of it, I should have let him. I never threatened to beat him if he fired off the gun. I used to beat him when he misbehaved.
Michael John Hayes deposed : I am a district constable at Southport. Prior to an inquest upon the body of Henry Hooper the prisoner was in my custody. I produce a pair of trowsers which he had on at the time. There are marks of blood upon them. I also produce portion of charred bones which I took from the ashes in the fireplace of the hut where the prisoner resided, at the Southport Narrows. I also produce other portions of animal matter partially destroyed by fire. The gun now pro- duced is four feet eleven inches long. I arrested the prisoner on warrant charged with murder. I told him the charge. He made a statement to me. He said Hooper and I had a tussle for the gun; I had hold of the stock and Hooper the barrell, and the gun went off." He also said, " I wish I had told the truth before ; I must have been a fool to think they would not find me out. I produce a paling marked with shot, that I took off near the doorway at Hazle- wood's hut. The height was about five feet from the ground." From the course the shot had taken, it must have been fired off at an acute angle, and taken a slight upward tendency.
Wm. Smith deposed : I am a duly qualified medi- cal practitioner, residing at Franklin. On the 9th of this month I examined, at Southport, a body shown to me as that of Henry Hooper. It had been muti- lated by a gun-shot wound. The lower jaw and the greater portion of the bones forming the face were blown away ; the upper jaw and bony palate remained, but were only attached by a ligament. The frontal bone was shattered, and part missing ; the charge had struck the left side of the face, and passed onwards and slightly upwards. Judging by the length of the gun and the character of the wound, the deceased could not have inflicted the injury upon himself. The charred bones pro- duced are portions of a human scull ; the stains upon
the trousers are blood stains.
John Lambert, Chief District Constable, deposed : I produce two plans taken by myself. That marked A, shows the position of the hut of the prisoner, the hut occupied by Hooper, snd the other huts. Plan B, is a ground plan of Hazlewood's hut, and the
This closed the evidence.
The prisoner having been asked the usual question
us to whether he wished to make a statement. Made a statement to the effect that he (prisoner) took hold of the gun to shoot a bird ; that Hooper wanted it, and while struggling for it the gun accidentally went off and shot Hooper.
The prisoner was then fully committed for trial.