James Calder’s history of the remarkable Matthew Brady reaches its conclusion as murder and treachery tears Brady’s gang apart, and the forces of law and order finally catch up with the notorious bushranger. Continue reading Spotlight: TASMANIAN HISTORY – A SKETCH OF OLD TIMES; EMBODYING THE BUSH CAREER OF MATTHEW BRADY by J. E. Calder (Pt. 8)
On Saturday last, the following criminals received sentence of death :- Matthew Brady, Patrick Bryant, James Goodwin, James M’Kenny John Gregory, William Tilly, William Brown, and Samuel Hodgetts, (the above eight composed the residue of the gang of bushrangers of which Dunne only remained at large.) Thomas Jeffries, John Perry, and James Hopkins, whose horrid crimes are fresh in the recollection of the Public and John Thompson, for the murder of Margaret Smith in the watch-house. His Honor Chief Justice PEDDER, addressed the unhappy men in the most feeling manner. He stated to them, that the Law had awarded the punishment of death to the crimes of the least magnitude amongst them. Those of the greatest were attended with circumstances of atrocity, that he should only shock the feelings of the auditory by repeating them.
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 of December last, and stealing his gun. The Jury returned a verdict of guilty against Brady, Bryant, Gregory, Tilley, and Brown, and acquitted McKenney and Hodgetts, their being no evidence to prove that they were present at the time.
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 may have referred to himself as “The Captain”, but he earned himself a more notorious nickname: The Monster. In his brief bushranging career, the former flagellator committed acts of robbery, murder, rape and cannibalism. Such was his reputation that after he was captured, Matthew Brady planned to break him out of Launceston Gaol just so he could have the satisfaction of lynching Jeffries himself.