Spotlight: Jeffries and Brady and company on trial (as reported)

Hobart Town Gazette (Tas. : 1825 – 1827; 1830), Saturday 29 April 1826, page 2


On Saturday, Jeffries the murderer, Perry, and Hopkins, were found guilty of stealing a gun, meat, and other articles, from the dwelling-house of Joseph Railton, near Launceston. They had been brought up on the Thursday previous, but owing to the absence of a witness on the part of Hopkins, the trial was postponed.

Thomas Jeffries and John Perry

Jeffries and Perry were afterwards arraigned for the murder of Mr. Tibbs’s child, an infant only five months old. When Mrs. Tibbs came into Court, and her eye glanced on the insatiate murderers of her babe, she was so affected as to be unable to stand. Her situation powerfully excited the commiseration of every one present. The bare recital of the dreadful journey which the monster had compelled her to take with him in the woods, was a painful addition to her sufferings. When it was necessary for her to look at the prisoners, in order to prove their persons, the suddenness with which she withdrew her eyes, and the tears with which the effort was accompanied, was an instance of detestation more strongly depicted than any assembly of spectators perhaps ever witnessed. The child was proved to have been taken away from the arms of the mother and killed by Jeffries and Russel, and its remains were discovered about a week afterwards in a decayed state, and mangled by the carnivorous animals in the woods. When Mrs. Tibbs had asked Jeffries, who called himself Captain, and was dressed in a long black coat, red waistcoat, and kangaroo skin cap, to point out the place where she might find the body, he said “it was no odds it had not suffered a moment’s pain in leaving the world,” and both he and Russel, who was afterwards shot and partly eaten by the monster, expressed themselves as regarding the life of a child as nothing. Both the prisoners were found guilty ; the trial lasted till 11 at night.

John Gregory

On Tuesday morning the bushrangers Brady, Bryant, Tilley, McKenney, Brown, Gregory, and Hodgetts, were put upon their trial for making an assault on William Andrews, a private of the 40th, at Bagdad, on the 26th December last, and stealing his gun. The jury returned a verdict of guilty against Brady, Bryant, Gregory, Tilley, and Brown, and acquitted M’Kenney and Hodgetts, their being no evidence to prove that they were present at the time.

William Tilly and James Goodwin

Brady, Bryant, Tilley, and Goodwin were then tried for having committed the crimes of felony and arson at Mr. Lawrence’s, on the Lake River, on the 26th February, when Brady and Bryant pleaded guilty to the charge, the former declaring that he should plead guilty to every other information that might be filed against him.

Matthew Brady and Patrick Bryant

On Thursday, Brady and Bryant pleaded guilty to the murder of Thomas Kenton, with malice aforethought, and at the instigation of the devil, on the 5th ultimo.

The same two also pleaded guilty of stealing four horses from Mr. Lawrence, in which charge Tilley and Goodwin were included, and, upon trial, found guilty.

Jeffries and Perry were then tried for the murder of Magnus Bakie or Baker the constable from George Town, who was deliberately shot through the head by Jeffries, as they were travelling through the woods on the 11th of January last. The circumstances were exactly as stated in our Journal of that date.

It is with great pain we state, that most of the men convicted of robbery and murder, in gaol, whose days of probation must now of necessity be very short, continue with hardened and untouched consciences, apparently insensible of their approaching fate. Jefferies is said to have been brought at last to a sense of his unhappy state, but Brady, Bryant, McKenney, and Perry, excite both disgust and compassion at their insensibility. The whirl of their late lawless and dissipated life seems scarcely to have subsided.

We understand the various criminals, now convicted in Gaol, will be brought up to receive the sentence of the law from His Honor the Chief Justice this day.


Illustrations by Thomas Bock. [Source]

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