Bardoc Murder suspects.
The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) Thursday 20 September 1894
THE BARDOC MURDER.
The sensation of the hour is still the discovery of the murdered man five miles beyond Bardoc. In addition to the principal blow several fractures were caused by blows with a pick, all apparently struck from behind. The only property found on the body was an old watch and a small compass. There was also a small speck of gold, evidently overlooked by the murderer when stripping his victim. The police have returned from Bardoc, and confirm the news of the murder committed there. They state that on the body being exhumed it was found that a pick had been driven with terrific force clean through the skull of the deceased. The body had then been huddled into the workings, which were then roughly covered in with d?bris lying round the pit's mouth. The murderer, so far, has eluded the vigilance of the police, but as he is a foreignor, and a perfect Hercules appearance, his capture is considered certain. It is thought probable that he will try to make for the Mount Margaret district.
The body of the murdered man was buried without identification. It is generally regretted that the police did not publish a full description of the marks on the body as it is believed that these were sufficiently peculiar to make identification easy. A crowd inspected the body, but only one person had previously seen the deceased but did not know his name.
Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954)
Saturday 29 September 1894
William Sodding was arrested near Londonderry on Saturday, on suspicion of being the Bardoc murderer. He answers to the general description of the assassin, in regard to height, build, etc. and was known to have been out at the rush at or about the time the murder was committed, but beyond that there is nothing to connect him with the tradgedy as yet. Persons who saw the digger at the time he was burying the murdered man, have been telegraphed for to see whether they can identify Sodding. There are stains on the prisoner's trousers, but be states they were merely caused by carelessly eating jam. Sodding is a German tailor, formerly employed in the town.
The West Australian
Wednesday 2 January 1895
The Coolgardie Miner of December 22nd *writes:-
A member of the jury who sat on the Bardoc murder case has called at The Miner office to express his grave suspicion that one of the three 'discoverers' of the victim was actually the murderer.
He observed at the time of the inquest that one of them appeared to be almost paralysed with fear, and had himself to attempt to support him had he needed it. The same juryman was in the neighbourhood of Bardoc at the time of the crime, and thinks then if the three witnesses had done their duty they would have called a roll-up forthwith. Our informant says that he is moved to make this communication by a worrying fear that he has perhaps unwittingly contributed towards throwing justice off the track. He is prepared io identity the object of his suspicions, and to assist the police in every way.
For obvious reasons the juryman's name is not made public, but the police are welcome to it on application to us. It is not a little curious that this opinion coincides with the one so frequently expressed in these columns and echoed by Mr. A. G. Hales in an Adelaide journal. It is probable that intelligent investigation -even at this late hour would lead to a reopening of the case and the ultimate vindication of outraged humanity and law. We earnestly urge upon others who have scraps of evidence in their possesion either favourable or the opposite to our expressed opinion to forward them without delay. We promise the utmost secrecy in regard to such communications, except so far as informing the police ara concerned."
Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 - 1916)
Thursday 6 October 1898
A Lunatic at Large.
THE ALLEGED BARDOC MURDERER. The Bunbury Herald of Saturday has the following : For several months past the vagaries of a lunatic at large named Bret Holsten have been the case of considerable annoyance and no little alarm to the settlers in the Black wood district. The unfortunate man used to sleep in hollow trees, under logs and in such like resting places, and would wander about during the day, turning up at the various homsteads.
Information was conveyed to the police at Bridgetown and Bunbury,amid several attempts were made to capture the " wild" man, but without success. The force at Bridgetown became weakened through the illness of two con stables stationed there, so that when news of the whereabouts of the outcast was again sent to the officer-in-charge of police in Bunbury Constable Shields was sent out with a tracker, but the track was lost by the runaway swimming the river and escaping into the bush. Constable Vaughan, of Bunbury, was then despatched about 10 days ago to assist Shields to capture the man. After many days of fruitless search the tracks of the fugitive were picked up on Saturday last near Mr Wheatley's on the Warren River and going towards the south coast. The tracks led through a dense undergrowth,through which it was impossible to take the horses. The constables therefore dismounted and Shields took the horses round while Vaughan followed the tracks. Traces of the haunts of the man were found in several places, such as rush beds and camp fires, many of which seemed to have been several months old. On Monday the constables found the hollow tree in which the fugitive had slept on the previous night, and fresh tracks leading in the direction of Mr Wheatley's residence. Following the tracks the fugitive was sighted about 9 o'clock in the afternoon. He took refuge in the barn, and when driven to bay turned on his pursuers armed with a tomahawk and a butcher's lknife, remarking, "You will not take me alive, I will fight for my life. I know what I have done, and I know that I will swing for it." A desperate struggle lasting about 20 minutes then ensued, and when the constables disarmed him the lunatic kicked and bit like a dog and foamed at the mouth. He refused, when overpowered, to give his name, saying that the police knew his name, as they had been after him for four years. He refused to walk, and a cart had to be hired to bring him to Bridgetown. Before leaving he started to tell his captors that he had done away with his mate at the diggings." Vaughan warned him in the usual manner, and he started to pray to God to forgive him for what he had done. On the journey to Bridge town he made several attempts to escape, and one of the constables had to sit up at night to watch him. During the night the prisoner conversed with his captors quite rationally, and in the course of the conversation asked why it was that ?1000 had been offered for Ned Kelly's head and only ?100 for his. He was charged at the Bridgetown Police Court with being of unsound mind, and on the certificate of Dr Dickinson was committed to the Fremantle lunatic asylum. On his arrival in Bunbury in charge of Constable Vaughan; persistent rumors became current that the man was suspected by the authorities to be the man who was wanted in connection with the brutal Bardoc murder which took place on the goldfields nearly four years ago. To ascertain the correctness or otherwise of this rumor, our representative waited on Sergeant. Mitchell yesterday morning and was told by that official that he could not account for such a rumor, as he was not aware of the alleged identity of the prisoner. "If," continued Sergeant Mitchell, "people will circulate wild reports of this descriptin they should have some grounds for their statements." It is also said that at Picton Junction a former resident of the goldfields identified the prisoner as having been on the fields some four years ago.