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Russian’s death was justifiable homicide

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Friday 19 October 1934, The Sydney Morning Herald

Coroner's Verdict.

WALCHA, Thursday.

The Coroner gave a verdict of justifiable homicide at the inquest into the death of Paul Alexander Harrast, alias Romnick, who was shot by Constable J. E. Gilroy at Nowendoc on October 5. He praised the work of the police, and Superintendent O’Brien, of Tamworth, said, in reply, that Constable Gilroy had upheld the best traditions of the police.

In evidence, Sergeant Schrader said that Harrast was a well-known and dangerous criminal.

Constable Gilroy, who is stationed at Nowendoc, said that, with other police, he had been searching for Harrast, who was wanted by the police for a series of robberies. About 8 a.m. on October 5, he saw Harrast about two miles and a half on the western side of Nowendoc. Harrast was behind a log. sitting on a chaff bag which contained a number of articles that had been stolen. He rode up to Harrast, who said, “You can’t take me.” Owing to the boggy nature of the ground and the heavy timber, he had to dismount to follow Harrast on foot.

“I came to within nine or 10 feet of him and told him that he had better surrender,” Constable Gilroy proceeded. “He then picked up a stick and struck at me over his head. He held the stick in his left hand and put his right hand towards his hip pocket. He said. ‘If you come another step towards me, I will shoot you stone dead. I have a better revolver than you have.’ At the time he was infuriated. I knew he had been armed, as he had never been seen without firearms. I dodged the attack with the stick, and could see that he intended to inflict harm on me. I drew my revolver, and said, ‘If you don’t surrender, I will be forced to shoot you.’ I fired one shot over his head, which made him more furious. He grabbed the stick with both hands and came towards me. I fired a second shot. The bullet struck him, and he dropped. I had been warned not to try to arrest him by myself, as he had said he would shoot the first policeman or civilian who interfered with him.”

Constable Gilroy added that he saw Sergeant Schrader take a revolver from Harrast’s right hip pocket.

Written by macalba

July 26, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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