Richard Arnott's subsequent life ....

Richard had previously been married to a Sarah (surname unknown) in London, prior to his trial and transportation. 1

On 14 Feb 1848, Richard married Irish Protestant Mary Marty, "widow" of Patrick Burke, at St Matthews Church, Clarence Plains (Rokeby). 2 Mary having been transported as a convict on the ship Borneo in 1828. 3 The witnesses were Thomas Foster and Deborah Johnson. Mary left her husband Patrick and 4 sons aged 6, 8, 10 and 12 behind in Manchester, England.

On the 29th November, Mary, the wife of Richard Arnott, was ...

... convicted of stealing, on the 14th day of November instant, twenty handkerchiefs, of the value of £5 10s., the property of William Watchorn and another. To be imprisoned and kept to hard labour in the House of Correction for Females at Hobart Town for two years. 4

Mary died from a "Visitation of God" (natural causes), at the Cascades House of Corrections, also known as the Female Factory, on 6 October 1849. 5 6

Richard appeared briefly, on the other side of the law this time, as a witness in an alleged attempted murder and assault trial.

WEDNESDAY, 17th JULY, 1850. (Before His Honor, the Chief Justice.)

The criminal trials were resumed, this morning, at ten o'clock, when the following prisoner was placed at the bar.

Michael D'Arcey was next indicted with attempting to kill and murder William Abbott, on the 1st July instant; and the second count charged the prisoner with intent to inflict some grievous bodily harm.

Jury:—John Corbett—foreman, James McEvoy, John Walton, Thomas Smith, Robert Didler, Christopher Basstian, Robert Hutton, William Williams, Henry Mills, Peter Oldham, John Mucklesbury, and John Easton.

From the evidence it appeared, that the prosecutor, William Abbott, between nine and ten o'clock at night on the 1st July, heard cries of murder proceeding from the residence of one Thomas Forster his next door neighbour, and upon entering the house, witness found Mrs. Forster upon the floor with her face covered with blood, and the prisoner coming out of a room, and in the act of buttoning up his trowsers. When the prisoner saw witness he said to him,— "they've robbed me of my watch"—when witness replied, "if that is the case you have the remedy, but don't ill-use the woman." The prisoner immediately rejoined, " who the b----- h--- are YOU; you have no business here," and struck witness over the head with his fists, when witness knocked the prisoner down with a small poker about twenty inches long. After this witness went in the direction of Kangaroo Point, when lie met a person called, Sam the quarry man, who told him to return home, and upon attempting to reach his own place, witness saw the prison between his (witness') door, and his yard. The prisoner then knocked the witness down and jumped upon him six or seven times, saying to witness. "I'll murder you." A scuffle ensued, when the witness contrived to get up again, and the prisoner chased him for some time, with the side of a bedstead in his hand with which the prisoner broke witness's left arm, which was set five days afterwards by Dr. Macarthy.

Richard Arnott confirmed the principal features in the preceding testimony, adding that when he saw the last witness running, he (witness) escaped out of the back premises, and finding the piece of wood produced, carried it to the police office at Kangaroo Point.

Edward Evans on being sworn stated, that the prisoner was in his father's employ, and, on the night of the 1st July, he returned home, took a piece, which was loaded with hob nails and powder, from one corner of the room, a in pointing it towards witness requested he be provided with a pistol and powder. Shortly afterwards witness hearing the dog bark, went out, when he met constable Williams who took the prisoner to the watch-house.

Eugene M'Carthy, duly qualified medical practitioner described the nature of the wounds upon both arms of William Abbott, representing them as being incised wounds, inflicted with the edge of some hard instrument.

A technical conversation then ensued between his Honor and the Attorney- General, relative to the legality of examining Mrs. Forster, as also on the nature of the prosecution generally. The prisoner, in his defence, said that he called in at Mrs. Forster's house on the 1st July, and fell asleep, after partaking of a quantity of rum, and upon awaking, he found that his little bundle containing a watch, and articles of wearing apparel, was gone. When he mentioned the alleged robbery, Mrs.Forster's husband ordered him out of the place. As to Abbott, be denied all knowledge of him, and said that he never saw him on the occasion.

His Honor then summed up, and the jury, after a patient and careful consultation, found a verdict of Guilty, on the whole of the information. His Honor said that the emphatical manner in which the jury returned their verdict, left him no discretion in passing a sentence of death without hope of mercy; remarking that he never heard of a case of parallel barbarity. 7

Richard was, once again, a witness in a local Supreme Court Trial.


The court opened this morning at ten o'clock, when John Castles, charged with the murder of William Hibbert, on the 24th March last, at Kangaroo Point, was placed in the dock. The evidence taken being purely of a circumstantial nature, the trial lasted throughout the day until 11 o'clock at night, when it was adjourned to 10 o'clock tomorrow.

The following jury were sworn in : Messrs Boot, (Foreman) Dove, Haywood, Rawlings, Powell, Knight, Noah. Mays, Logan, Wood, Featherston, and Campbell.

The Solicitor-General prosecuted for the Crown and Mr. Rochfort conducted the defence.

Richard Arnold being sworn deposed :- In the month of March last I resided a mile and a half from Kangaroo Point; on the road to Richmond ; the deceased, William Hibbert lived about four or five hundred yards from me, in a hut by himself ; I saw him last alive on the 24th of March, I did not see him the next day ; but I observed his hut padlocked outside ; I went to town to enquire after him ; he was accustomed to absent himself for days together. On the fifth day after deceased was missing I reported it to the police ; they took no notice of the matter ; I went to the police again the next day, but as they took no heed to it, I went to the hut and looked through the back window ; saw nothing but a kettle ; as the police did not interfere. I got a stool on the following day and looked in at the front window ; I saw deceased lying on the ground; I immediately reported it to the District Constable at Kangaroo Point and he entered the hut and discovered the body of deceased ; he was undressed ; had a night cap on and a blanket up to his middle ; there was a knife at his side with blood on ; the constable did not examine the body till the jury came ; there was a box in the room, open, and a gown which I know to have been in missing, and was afterwards found on the bed ; the knife alluded to was deceased's ; also the axe with blood on the back of it and some grey hair like deceased's , he was about 72 years of age.

District Constable M'Arthur spoke to having seen a soda water bottle in the room which smelt strongly of rum. He apprehended a man named John Mitchell on the 4th of April for the murder; when taken, Mitchell said, " Who saw me there ? Who can prove it ? ". Witness confined him in the watch-house, and on examination saw a spot of blood on his trowsers ; Mitchell accounted for the blood by saying be had cut his face on the previous Sunday.

Re-examined - The spot on Mitchell's trowsers was about the size of a shilling ; the mark was faded, and appeared to have been washed out ; the trowsers were clean ; at first Mitchell denied that it was blood.

George Brooks deposed - I am overseer to Mr. Edward Howe's smelting works, a mile from Kangaroo Point ; deceased resided about 200 yards from me ; I saw him last alive on the 24th March : I was at Mr. Dawson's public-house, at Kangaroo Point, in the evening of that day between six and seven ; deceased was in the tap-room ; I am sure Mitchell was present ; don't know Castles, I never saw him before, until I saw him at the police-office ; he was not in the tap-room to my knowledge ; Hibbert told me that evening he was unwell ; he did not appear to be intoxicated.

Sarah Davidson stated - I washed a pilot coat belonging to deceased the day before the murder ; that now produced is the one : on the morning of the murder I saw Hibbert, when he remarked " You have washed it beautiful " ; I also washed other articles for the deceased ; amongst the rest a blue striped shirt, a handkerchief, and a pillow-case ; those produced are the articles.

By the Jury - A bottle like a soda-water bottle was in deceased's room previous to the murder ; it had pepper in it.

District Constable M'Arthur re-examined, and corroborated the statements of the previous witness, as to seeing a soda-water bottle with pepper in it.

Catherine M'Donald, wife of constable M' Donald, affirmed - Between nine and ten o'clock on the night of the 24th March, I saw the prisoner Castles, and wished him " good night " ; he told me he was waiting for a man who was at Dawson's, whose cart and bullocks were at Todd's, I and he was going with him.

Cross-examined - I had seen the prisoner four times ; he was dressed that night in a blue serge shirt, moleskin trowsers, and a blue cap ; I did not tell my husband I had seen him.

Mary Grace Todd, the wife of Mr Todd of the Devonshire Hotel, said - I keep the Devonshire Hotel, at Kangaroo Point ; saw the prisoner at our house on the 24th March, between twelve and one o'clock ; he called to take a glass of rum ; which he paid for ; he also had a pint of beer and half a pint of rum in a soda water bottle, which he did not pay for ; he said he was going on to Mr. Forster's, at Sorell, to receive his pay, and on his way back he would pay me ; he showed me a letter which, he said, he was going to take to Mr. F. ; I saw a person drunk, lying on the road three-quarters of a mile from Kangaroo Point ; saw him afterwards at ' Dawson's,' when he said he had lost £1 16s., and had been forced to sell a handkerchief to get a pint of beer ; he also said that he had two shirts and a velvet waistcoat, which he wanted to sell ; that man was the prisoner.

—— Arnott, being sworn, recognised the razor and axe as belonging to the deceased.

Constable Revis deposed to having searched the prisoner upon his apprehension, and in a bundle found a blue striped shirt, a colored handkerchief, a razor and a knife ; prisoner was dressed in a blue serge shirt, a velvet waistcoat, mole-skin trowsers; the clothes produced were the same ; he also took from him a sealed letter, addressed to Captain Forster ; the prisoner remained in his custody from the 26th March to the 2nd April, when he was removed to Hobart Town.

Cross-examined - Mrs. M'Donald had made a communication to him, respecting the prisoner, an hour after his apprehension ; on taking Mitchell, he saw blood on the back of the left leg of his trowsers ; a portion of the trowsers produced seemed to be the same ; he got the trowsers from Scrivener, of Kangaroo Point, who had torn them to patch with ; Mitchell told me he was not at ' Dawson's ' on the night of the murder ; the spot of blood on his trowsers was the size of the ball of the hand.

Re-examined - I removed the articles produced from deceased's hut ; could not say I left a soda-water bottle in the hut ; I recollect re- moving a bottle of that description (the one produced) ; there might have been one left amongst the rubbish.

By the Judge - I left constable Murphy, now dismissed, in charge of the hut, which was locked up until the burial of deceased and the articles were removed.

Major Abbott, sworn - I am District Magistrate of Kangaroo Point ; on the 26th March, constable Revis gave me a letter ; the one produced ; it was sealed ; I opened it, and found it perfectly blank ; I made the memorandum which appears on the letter, and forwarded it to Mr. Sorell, it was afterwards returned to me.

Major Schaw deposed to taking the inquisition in the case, and stated - The prisoner, at the inquest, told the jury, ' on Wednesday, at dark, I bought the property (produced) from John Mitchell, on the road towards Richmond, near a house, and gave him two half-crowns and a shilling for them, adding " it was not sufficiently light for me to see what the things were, so I took a box of matches out of my pocket, and drew one of them, by which I saw what the things were."

Cross-examined - The prisoner was constable at Richmond, under the name of John Smith ; he was brought to me as a free man, upon which I recommended his appointment.

John Mitchell, a clownish ill-looking man, and very unclean in person was then sworn - On the 24th March, I was working at Mr. Franklin's at Kangaroo Point ; had been in his service about 3 months ; I was apprehended on the 5th April for the murder of William Hibbert ; I was then shown the pieces of cord trowsers (produced) ; did not observe any stains of blood on them ; constable Bevis told me of blood being upon them, but I took no notice of it ; I might have told him I cut my face, and wiped my finger on the back of my trowsers ; but don't recollect ; I gave the trowsers to Scrivener after the inquest, as they were worn out in front ; since then I have been employed ; application was made to me for the trowsers by a constable the next morning, and I directed him to Scrivener's.

Cross-examined - I swear positively I was not out on either Tuesday or Wednesday night ; Franklin and Dowling swore at the inquest that I was out late one of these nights, but I assure you it is false ; Franklin has a spite against me and would swear my life away ; I was not at Dawson's public house on Wednesday, 24th March : this I swear ; I don't remember what I said when I was apprehended ; I never saw the prisoner before I saw him at the inquest ; I swear positively that I never sold him any clothing ; (the prisoner watched for Mitchell's replies with earnest attention here shook his head) I was at Dawson's on the morning of the 24th, but was not there again till a week afterwards ; had been there of an evening before the 24th many a time.

Examined by prisoner's Counsel - I very seldom go out of a night ; I saw Hibbert for the last time on the 17th of March ; the next night I was at home ; on Saturday I might be out taking a pot of beer ; I was at home on Sunday night ; can't say where I was on Monday night ; I don't remember dates ; I am no scholar : the man Dowling came to lodge at Franklin's on Tuesday night ; I didn't go out on that night ; I knew nothing of the murder only by report ; I heard of it 2 or 3 days after ; it was between the 24th and Thursday week following that I was told of Hibbert's door being locked, and he had not been heard of such a time ; that is what I heard of the murder ; I did not make any enquiries after him of an evening amongst my neighbours ; Hibbert resided two miles and a half from me ; on Sunday after the 24th, I went to the Point, but did not see Arnold then ; I can't say on what day I saw Arnold ; he told me several times about Hibbert's being missing : I was not at the Point from the 24th, excepting the Sunday, until the Thursday following; I saw Arnold first at Bruce's, not many days after the 24th.

James Scrivener called and sworn - Mitchell gave me a pair of trowsers, to patch with, and a coat for rough weather and of course I took them; the trowsers were not much worn in front ; I afterwards tore them up, and gave the pieces to a constable ; I was at " Dawson's " on the night of the 24th March, I left between 7 and 8 o'clock ; William Heywood and Sarah Davidson were there ; I saw nobody else.

M'Kay, deposed - I am wardsman at the Colonial Hospital ; I saw the prisoner there before the 24th March last ; he made his escape ; I am not sure he escaped on the 23rd : I did not search him at the Hospital ; a person named Drew was searcher. (The Solicitor-General who was examining this witness asked why he was placed in that box if he knew nothing more of the prisoner, and expressed his astonishment at the blunder which had been made, in subpoening such an unqualified witness. He called on Drew, but he was not present, consequently the present witness was requested to retire).

Dr. Coverdale deposed - I am Surgeon, and reside at Kangaroo Point, I examined the body of the deceased ; found two mortal fractures on the head ; the throat was cut ; the wound was not immediately mortal but would have proved so had no other wounds been inflicted ; the cut on the throat accelerated the death of decease : the lower jaw was broken ; the eye-ball knocked in, there were other fractures and injuries.

District Constable Simpson swore to having apprehended the prisoner on the 8th April at Port Arthur ; prisoner asked who deceased was, where he lived and when he was murdered ; witness replied on the 24th March : " It could not be me '' said the prisoner, " for I slept at the constables that night. "

Thomas Foster said - I reside one mile from Kangaroo Point ; I recollect the night of the 24th ; I was at Dawson's public house about 8 o'clock and left a half an hour after ; I knew deceased well ; he was there, in the tap-room ; I know John Mitchell perfectly well ; I saw him there too in company with William Hibbert on that evening ; I left Mitchell with Hibbert.

Cross-examined - We were the only three persons in the tap-room.

John Franklin, the employer of Mitchell before the murder, deposed - I was at " Dawson's " on the evening of the 24th March ; left about half past seven and retired to bed about eight o'clock. John Mitchell left my employment that day but he did not leave my house till the following day ; on the Wednesday night of the murder, Mitchell disturbed me from sleep by knocking at the door and saying, " get up and let me in " ; I got up and let him in ; could not tell what time it was at I had not my first sleep over, and I hadn't my watch ; Mitchell went quietly to bed ; Dowling was in bed at that time.

Daniel Dowling - I know Mitchell ; I retired to rest on the night of the 24th March at half past seven ; he was not at Franklin's when I went went to bed ; it might be 11 or 12 or 1 o'clock when Mitchell came home ; I had been asleep and couldn't tell ; I was awoke by a knocking at the door. Mr. Franklin opened it and Mitchell came in and slept with me.

Cross-examined - Mitchell came in about dusk that evening, took his supper and went out again.

At the close of the evidence, the judge and jury retired for a short time ; the prisoner's counsel made an able defence, the judge summed up and the jury afterwards brought in a verdict of Guilty. Sentence was deferred until Friday. 8

The witness, Thomas Foster, had also been a witness previously at Richard and Mary's 1848 marriage.

Richard, aged 50 and a gardener, subsequently remarried to Margaret Farrell, nee Tollins, aged 60, a "widow"; she having been transported as an illiterate convict and domestic servant on the ship Elizabeth & Henry in 1848; having left behind her first husband William and five children in Glasgow; also a Protestant, at St Marks Chapel, Clarence, on 18 August 1854. 9 The witnesses were Thomas Foster (probably the same Thomas Foster who was a witness at Richard's earlier marriage and in the above mentioned trial) and Bridget Burrows.

Richard's wife Margaret died accidentally at Clarence, aged 72, on the night of 18 August 1864. 10

A woman named Harnett, (wife of the man Richard Harnett who was on Monday last tried and acquitted at Bellerive on the charge of cutting and wounding a cow) was found dead on Thursday morning last, on the road leading from Kangaroo Point to Cambridge. It appears the unfortunate creature had been at Kangaroo Point, drinking, the night before, and left the public-house at half-past 10 o'clock, with the intention of pursuing her road towards home ; but she had scarcely got 500 yards on her journey when, it is supposed, she fell down overcome by drink, and, being unable to get up, was compelled to remain lying in the snow all Wednesday night, and subsequently, was frozen almost to death. When she was found in the morning life was scarcely extinct, the body being warm, but she died almost immediately afterwards. An inquest was held on the body at Bellerive yesterday (Thursday) afternoon. 11

The inquest found that she had died from "exposure to wet and cold" (hypothermia). 12

It would seem that Richard had an accident and received a serious injury, possibly the result of drinking ...

About seven o'clock yesterday evening, information was conveyed to Constable Beard, of the Clarence Municipal police force, that a man named Richard Harnott, who lives at Cambridge, was lying on the middle of the Cambridge Road, about a quarter of a mile from the Point, with his leg fractured. Constable Beard at once proceeded to render assistance, and on arriving at the place indicated, found Mr. McArdell with the sufferer, whom he had removed to the side of the road. A cart was obtained from Mr. Martin, into which Harnott, who was unable to give an account of how the accident occurred, was placed, and taken to the Point. Here he was transferred to Mr. O'May's boat, and brought over to town, and with the aid of two of our local constabulary, carried to the hospital, where the fractured limb was placed in splints. 13

Richard died at the respectful (reported) age of 75, of Senilis at the paupers establishment in New Town on the 8th 14 and was buried at the Cornelian Bay cemetery on the 11th May 1881. 15

With both Richard and Margaret marrying late in life, it would appear that they did not have any children, and none are known of or have been found to date.