Sergeant

John McNALLY

YEAR OF DEATH

1856

JURISDICTION

Victoria

DETAILS OF DEATH

About 7 p.m. Thursday 16 October 1856 Sergeant McNally and Constable John Moore having received information that a wanted man named William Turner (alias Gypsy Smith) was at a miner’s tent about two miles away rode in search of the suspect. Turner was well known to the police and was suspected of committing armed robberies in the area. They located Turner at the tent and he struggled desperately to escape. Just as they had subdued him he called on an associate named William Twigham (alias Cockney Bill) to come and help him. Twigham came out of the tent carrying a double barrelled shot gun and fired at the policeman killing McNally and wounding Moore. The two offenders then fled the scene. On 23 October 1856 they were arrested at the Adelaide lead diggings near Amherst. Charged with the Sergeant’s murder both men appeared before Castlemaine Circuit Court. Twigham was convicted and sentenced to death and hanged at Melbourne on 11 March 1857. Turner was more fortunate. Because of legal difficulties the charge of murder did not proceed against him. He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter and was sentenced to fifteen years hard labour.

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National Police Memorial Australia

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