Hugh Pickett  29
- Born: 3 Aug 1873, Brisbane Water, New South Wales, Australia 29
- Baptized: 1873, Kincumber, New South Wales, Australia 29
- Died: 26 Sep 1951, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, Australia at age 78
- Buried: 27 Sep 1951, Kalgoorlie Cemetery, Western Australia, Australia 29
Cause of his death was /Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Another name for Hugh was Hughy Pickett.
SAPPER HUGHY PICKETT
4446 - 3rd Tunnelling Company
Born at Kincumber, New South Wales, on 3 August 1873 to William Pickett and Emily Ann Monckton [Munton], Hugh Pickett left home aged about 18 years and travelled to Western Australia. Nothing is known of Hughy (as he referred to himself) until his enlistment in the A.I.F. in 1916.
Medically examined at Kalgoorlie 24th January 1916, Hughy was found to be 'fit for active service' and signed the 'Attestation Paper of Persons Enlisted for Service Abroad' and the Oath to 'well and truly serve' on 2 February 1916 at Blackboy Hill, Western Australia. At 44 years 10 months, Hughy was 5ft 6in tall, weighed 140lbs, had a dark complexion, brown eyes and hair, and recorded his trade as 'horsedriver'. He named his sister, R. Pickett of N.S.W., as his Next of Kin. Hughy was obviously estranged from his family, as his sister Rachel had married James Logan Parrott in 1909. No mention is made of his other 6 siblings.
Joining the 6th Tunnelling Company in March 1916, Hughy underwent training until he embarked from Fremantle on 1 June 1916 on board HMAT A69 Warilda as part of the 1st Reinforcements to the Mining Corps.
The 7713 ton transport had departed Sydney, NSW on May 22, 1916 and collected in Melbourne, Victoria the No.5 Company recruited from Victoria, South Aust. & Tasmania made up of Headquarters and 2 Sections (8 officers & 173 men) (3 M.D.). 1 Section from Tasmania (3 officers & 76 O.Rs); also 1st Reinforcements for No.5 Company (17 men from Vic. & 8 men Tas.). The ship departed on May 25, 1916 for Adelaide, S.A. to collect one Section of 3 officers & 76 O.Rs with 1st Reinforcements of 8 O.Rs.
Warilda docked at Fremantle, WA on June 1, 1916 and No.6 Company of 14 officers and 325 O.Rs along with 1st Reinforcements of 1 Officer & 32 ORs, all recruited from WA, boarded the ship before she departed the same day.
Durban, South Africa was reached on June 16, and Cape Town on June 21, while St Vincent completed the African ports of call on July 7. Discipline was fairly good except at intermediate ports where 'Absent without Leave' caused concern. The fifty-eight day voyage experienced remarkable pleasant weather terminating at Plymouth, England on July 18, 1916. Four, Five and Six Companies comprising of 1064 officers and other ranks were detrained to Amesbury and Tidworth to begin.
Hughy proceeded overseas to France on 28 August 1916 and marched in to the 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot. He marched in to the 3rd Aust. Tunnelling Coy on 25th September and was taken on strength of 3 Section on 30th September 1916.
With a background in horsedriving, it is possible that Hughy was employed in the transport section of the Company. In the end-of-war report submitted by the 3rd Australian Tunnelling Company, the section is singled out for special praise:
"A special note should be made of the good work carried out, over a long period, by the Horse Transport and Mechanical Transport personnel of the Company.
The work of every member of these Sections is beyond praise. Their devotion to duty night and day was always appreciated.
The work of the Horse Drivers in keeping the Front Line supplied with rations and supplies of all kind is beyond praise.
Night after night, these men proceeded to the Advanced Areas, very often under heavy Machine Gun fire and enemy shell fire.
Nothing seemed to stop these drivers from carrying out their duties, in supplying their comrades in the Front Line trenches and tunnel systems, with food and working supplies.
Their devotion to duty and consistent good work were recognised all through."
Hughys' documents record that he was with his unit on 1st June 1917. He attended a 'Wombat Boring' Course in the week ending 20 December 1917.
Hughy spent 875 continuous days with his unit on the Western Front, without Leave and apparently without injury, disease or illness.
Leaving the 3rd Tunnelling Coy on 6 February 1919, Hughy marched in to the Australian General Base Depot at Rouelles before leaving France on 21 February for repatriation to Australia. He embarked on board Sardinia at Devonport on 19 April, leaving London for the voyage home on 23 April.
Hughy disembarked at Fremantle on 28 May and was discharged in the 5th M.D. on 12 July 1919, entitled to wear the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. As he did not collect the medals, they were returned to Depot on 30 September 1924, where they remain to this day. The military documents of Sapper Hughy Pickett were sent to the Department of Repatriation, Perth, in March 1926.
Hugh Pickett died in the Government Hospital, Kalgoorlie, on 26 September 1951, aged 78 years. Research indicates that he never married, had no children, had no Will, and left insufficient assets to justify an intestate estate.
His Death Certificate records that he was a single pensioner residing at 72 Wilson Street, Kalgoorlie, and that he had lived 18 years in New South Wales and 60 years in Western Australia.
Although christened in the Roman Catholic faith in 1873 at Kincumber, Hughy recorded Church of England as his religion at enlistment. He was however buried in unmarked grave No. 11089 in the Methodist Section of the Kalgoorlie Cemetery on 27th September 1951.
© Donna Baldey 2007
In 2009, descendants of the Pickett family marked his grave.
The following research is included without comment:
The West Australian (Perth) Monday 23 June 1919, p 5
A SHOOTING FATALITY
RETURNED SOLDIERS CONCERNED
Kalgoorlie, June 22
On Saturday night Hugh Pickett (40), a single man, was arrested on a charge of having wounded John McDonald. It is alleged that Pickett and McDonald, both of whom are returned soldiers, had an altercation in the National Hotel in Hannan-street. Pickett left the hotel, but returned shortly afterwards, and it is asserted that he produced a revolver and fired at McDonald, the bullet striking the latter in the abdomen. McDonald was removed to the Government Hospital where he died to-night.
Western Argus (Kalgoorlie) Tuesday 24 June 1919, p 16
FATAL REVOLVER SHOT
DEATH IN HOSPITAL
RETURNED SOLDIER ARRESTED
Hugh Pickett (40), described as a single man, a native of New South Wales, and a prospector, was taken by Constable Mulcahy to the Kalgoorlie Police Station at 10.40 o'clock on Saturday night and locked up on a charge of unlawfully wounding one John McDonald, by discharging a loaded revolver at him.
It appears that Pickett and McDonald, both being returned soldiers, had an altercation over matters which will be disclosed at a later stage. The upshot was that Pickett left the scene of the quarrel - the National Hotel, Hannan-street. Returning some little time afterwards, he went into the bar of the hotel. McDonald was then standing in the parlour at the back of the door facing the spot where Pickett was standing. McDonald's head and the upper part of his body were exposed to view from the bar. The lower part of his body and his legs were hidden by a "half-door", extending from the floor to a height of about four feet. About that point the space in the doorway was left open.
It is stated that when Pickett came into the bar he produced a revolver, and pointed it in the direction of the doorway. The weapon was discharged, and the bullet from it pierced a hole through the board of the "half-door" and entered McDonald's abdomen. The victim immediately fell to the floor. By-standers quickly realised that he was in a serious state, and the police authorities were apprised.
Plainclothes-Constable Weaver promptly conveyed McDonald in an ambulance to the Government Hospital, and Constable Mulcahy secured Pickett, who was locked up, as stated above.
McDonald lingered till about half-past 5 o'clock yesterday evening, and died at the Government Hospital.
The Coroner, Mr. W.A.G. Walter, was notified of the circumstances of the death, and ordered an inquest to be opened this morning.
The weapon, which was taken possession of by the police, was a Colt revolver of a large calibre.
McDonald was a man of about middle age. He was a labourer by occupation, and was well known in the Kalgoorlie district.
Western Argus (Kalgoorlie) Tuesday 1 July 1919, p 10
KALGOORLIE WILFUL MURDER CHARGE
PICKETT IN COURT
Hugh Pickett, a substantially built man whose face wore a subdued, worried expression, pleaded not guilty before Mr. W. A. G. Walter, R.M., at the Kalgoorlie Police Court yesterday to a charge that he had wilfully murdered one John McDonald.
Accused was remanded for eight days on the application of Detective-sergeant O'Brien.
Prior to the appearance of Pickett in the Police Court an inquest was formally opened by Mr. Walter, R.M., in his capacity of coroner. The jury consisted of Messrs. Beaumont, Saunders, and Underwood. The Coroner and jury paid a visit to the Government Hospital morgue and viewed the body of John McDonald.
The inquest was adjoined till 2 p.m. on Monday, the 30th inst.
The West Australian (Perth) Wednesday 2 July 1919, p 8
FATAL DRUNKEN BRAWL
Kalgoorlie, July 1
The inquest was concluded yesterday concerning the death of John McDonald, which occurred in the Kalgoorlie Government Hospital on June 22, as the result of a bullet wound received on the previous night in the National Hotel. The jury returned a verdict that the deceased died from the effects of a bullet wound inflicted by Hugh Pickett, during a drunken brawl, and that no motive for the act could be found. Pickett was committed for trial at the next criminal sessions.
Western Argus (Kalgoorlie) Tuesday 8 July 1919, p 10
DEATH OF JOHN McDONALD
VERDICT OF UNLAWFULLY KILLING
PICKETT COMMITED FOR TRIAL
The circumstances surrounding the death of John McDonald, which occurred in the Kalgoorlie Government Hospital on Sunday, June 22, as the result of a bullet wound received on the previous night in the National Hotel, were investigated by the coroner, Mr W.A.G. Walter, and a jury comprising Messrs E.K. Beaumont (foreman), J. Saunders and E. Underwood, in the Kalgoorlie Courthouse yesterday.
Detective-Sergt. O'Brien elicited the evidence for the police, and Mr Muir watched the proceedings on behalf of Mr Pickett, who stood charged with the wilful murder of John McDonald. Pickett was present in custody during the proceedings, and appeared to be feeling his position acutely. He bore a worried look, and seldom, unless spoken to by his counsel, raised his eyes from the ground.
Mary Collins, wife of the licensee of the National Hotel, stated that on the night of June 21 she was assisting at the bar. About 10.30 she proposed to "shout" a drink. There were present Rowley Peake and a lady friend, and Mrs Ray. At that time a man named "Dodger" Madigan came in and asked if he were "in" the drink, and witness said "No." Pickett was in the front bar, and he called Madigan in. Witness told Madigan to go and drink with Pickett. Madigan complained about not being in Mrs Collins' round of drinks, and Mrs Ray called out, "That will do, 'Dodger'." "Dodger", then said, "Oh I'm not a - ." Deceased was sitting at a parlour fire, and when he heard those words he went after Madigan, who went into the street. McDonald brought him back and said, "Now Dodger, say what you said before." Madigan said, "I didn't say you were one; I said I wasn't one." Pickett at this juncture came into the parlour. Witness said to McDonald, "Jack don't hurt him," referring to Madigan. Pickett said, "He'd better not or I will go out and get something." Pickett might have said "somebody"; witness was not sure. Witness, as Pickett was about to leave the room, said "Don't be silly Hughie; Jack won't hurt him." Pickett, however, went. There was a little argument between "Dodger" and McDonald, and they afterwards shook hands and became friends. "Dodger" then went round to the front bar. A few minutes later Pickett joined him. That was about eight or ten minutes after Pickett left the bar. McDonald was then standing at the half door in the parlour.
At this stage, witness who had been considerably agitated, broke down.
Continuing Mrs Collins said the half door led from the bar to the parlour. Several others were with McDonald, including Peake, Lynch and Goodfellow. Pickett said something to "Dodger", which witness did not hear, and then he lifted a revolver and fired across the bar in the direction of deceased. She saw McDonald turn ghastly pale put his hand over his stomach and crouch down. Peake went to his assistance, and witness summoned the doctor and ambulance. McDonald was placed on the floor, and she saw a wound in the lower part of his abdomen. Drs McMillan and Mathews arrived. Deceased and Pickett had no argument that witness knew of. She knew nothing that would have occasioned the shooting. The revolver used by Pickett was a very big one, but whether it was one purchased she could not say.
To Mr Muir: She would say that Pickett was sober at the time.
To the jury: Deceased had had one or two pints of beer.
To Mr Muir: The door covered deceased from about the waist down. The bullet went through the door.
Thos. John Madigan, a jockey, residing at the National Hotel, said he was in the bar of the hotel that night. At about quarter past 10 Mrs Ray said something to him which he did not hear. He was annoyed because she spoke to him, and he called back to her, "I'm not a -!" He was then in the front bar with Pickett. Witness walked out of the hotel, when McDonald, whom he knew, came out, caught him and carried him back to the parlour. Mrs Collins said, "Don't hurt "Dodger," and the deceased answered back, "I won't hurt him." Pickett said "You better not or I will get something (or somebody) to stop any of you." Witness and McDonald shook hands. Pickett had left. Witness went to the window at the bar. Pickett came then to the front bar, and asked witness to have a drink, and witness joined him. Pickett said "I will stop some of these -." Witness replied, "Don't be silly, Hughie talking like that." McDonald was at the half door, and called to witness, "How is it Dodger?" Before witness had time to answer, Pickett pulled a revolver from his pocket, and without aiming, fired in the direction of McDonald. Witness caught Pickett's wrist. Later, a policeman having arrived, witness, who had secured the revolver, gave it to him. He did not know of anything McDonald had done to provoke Pickett. The revolver (produced) was similar to the one he took from Pickett. He could not swear to it.
To Mr Muir: He did not take the revolver from Pickett before the policeman arrived. Pickett was drunk.
Samuel Mathews D.M.O., said that in consequence of a telephone message he visited the National Hotel on the night of June 21 between the hours of 10.30 and 11 p.m. There was a crowd in the hotel. He saw the deceased lying on the floor, and Dr McMillan and somebody else were putting a bandage on the wound. Dr McMillan showed him the wound, and together they finished the bandaging. The man was then taken to the Government Hospital. Witness saw him there. McDonald was very collapsed. He never rallied, and died about 5.30 p.m. on Sunday. The wound, which was in the abdomen, resembled a bullet wound. Witness made a post-mortem examination on Monday. The bullet appeared, from inner perforations, to have taken a downward inward and backward course. The intestines were perforated. Careful search failed to locate the bullet, which witness considered had passed from the deceased's body prior to death.
To the Coroner: Deceased had some drink but witness could not say what quality.
Rowley Peake: a returned soldier, tendered evidence similar to that of Mrs Collins.
To Mr Muir: He wouldn't say that Pickett was drunk. To the best of witness' knowledge he was sober. Mrs Ray and McDonald were in company.
To the jury: McDonald was with witness for two hours that night, and in that time he (deceased) had one drink.
Robert Cassidy, a tramway employee, said that he identified the body of McDonald at the morgue. He had known deceased for over two years. Deceased, to witness' knowledge, was a single man.
Constable Thomas Mulcahy stated that he was on duty in Hannan-street on the night of June 21. Near the National Hotel at about 10.20 p.m., he heard a shot. He went inside immediately and saw Pickett inside the bar holding a revolver in his right hand. Madigan took the revolver from witness and witness took it. He took Pickett away. Witness did not know at the time that anybody had been wounded. On the way to the police station with Pickett he cautioned him. Pickett said, "I will let no man call me a -. I have lots of other revolvers planted!" At the police station Sergeant Lean cautioned Pickett. Pickett said "I tried to get him on the head. If I had smaller one I would have got him. I gave him one because he called me a - ." The revolver was examined at the station. It contained five cartridges and one empty shell. The revolver produced was the instrument.
To Mr Muir: Pickett was not excited. He was not drunk.
To Detective-Sergeant O'Brien: He was very talkative.
Patrick Leen, police sergeant, stated that he was present when the revolver was examined. Witness unloaded it himself. Pickett wanted to know what he was charged with. Witness told him he was charged with having shot with intent to kill some person unknown. At the time they did not know McDonald's name. Witness was cautioned, and told he need not say anything. Accused said, "I am sorry I did not hit him in the head instead of the arm." He repeated that two or three times. Pickett was excited.
To Mr Muir: Pickett appeared to have had a few drinks, but he was quite rational in his conversation.
Sergeant Leen stated that at the station Pickett gave his address as Mrs Hooley's lodging house, a few minutes' walk from the hotel.
This concluded the evidence.
Pickett elected to make no statement.
Thomas Madigan, recalled, in reply to the jury, said he did not know why McDonald took exception to the objectionable word. Witness used the expression because it was the first thing that came into his mind.
To the Coroner: He had seen Mrs Ray "knocking round" with men.
The Coroner, addressing the jury, said they would not have any difficulty in finding that McDonald had died from the effect of a bullet wound. They had heard how Madigan, annoyed because he was spoken to by Mrs Ray, had said he was not a -. They had also heard that Mrs Ray came into the hotel with McDonald, and that evidently deceased took considerable exception to the use of the word. Subsequently Madigan and deceased became friends, but Pickett then seemed to have taken up the cudgels so far as to make threatening remarks. The jury would have to weigh in their minds the contradictory evidence tendered as to Pickett's state of mind at the time. The jury, if they found it was Pickett's intention to kill McDonald, would be in duty bound to return the verdict of murder. They might find that Pickett had been guilty of criminal negligence, and if so, they would return a verdict of manslaughter. Those were their alternatives.
The jury, after a retirement of twenty minutes, returned with a verdict to the effect that the deceased died on June 22 at the Government Hospital, Kalgoorlie, from the effect of a bullet wound inflicted by a shot fired by Hugh Pickett during a drunken brawl at the National Hotel. No motive for the act could be found.
The Coroner: I accept the verdict.
Mrs Collins here approached the bench and said that there had been no drunken brawl at the hotel. She reiterated her statement saying that no evidence of a drunken brawl tendered. There was no bad language at the hotel, and no blows had been struck, Mrs Collins became very agitated.
The Coroner: The jury consider that they are justified in bringing in the verdict. I cannot go into that now.
Addressing Pickett, the Coroner said: "On the verdict of the jury, you stand charged before me with unlawfully killing John McDonald. You will be committed to take your trial at the next criminal session of the Circuit Court held in Kalgoorlie."
The witnesses entered into the customary bonds.
The West Australian (Perth) Friday 26 September 1919, p 7
MURDER TRIAL AT KALGOORLIE
DEATH SENTENCE PASSED
At Kalgoorlie Circuit Court today before Mr. Justice Burnside and a jury, Hugh Pickett, a returned soldier, was charged with having on June 21 last wilfully murdered John McDonald. Mr. F.C. Cowle prosecuted, and Mr. R.S. Haynes with him. Mr. A.C. Muir appeared for the defence. Mr. Cowle, in outlining the evidence for the prosecution said that on the night of June 21 some words passed between deceased and accused who were in the National Hotel. The accused left the hotel and returning a few minutes produced a revolver and fired at the deceased. The bullet struck the deceased in the groin and death resulted the following day. Accused, giving evidence in his own behalf said he had taken the revolver out of his coat pocket to make room for a bottle of beer. While he was placing the beer in his pocket the revolver was accidentally discharged. The jury returned a verdict of guilty with a strong recommendation to mercy. His Honour said he would record sentence of death and remand the accused to await the pleasure of His Excellency the Governor.
Western Argus (Kalgoorlie) Tuesday September 30, 1919, pp 1 & 2
McDONALD MURDER CASE
TRIAL OF HUGH PICKETT
VERDICT OF GUILTY
DEATH SENTENCE RECORDED
Hugh Pickett was presented before Mr Justice Burnside and a jury at the Kalgoorlie Circuit Court yesterday upon a charge that on June 21, 1919, at Kalgoorlie, he wilfully murdered one John McDonald.
Mr F.C. Cowle acted as Crown prosecutor, Mr Haynes, K.C. with him Mr Muir, appeared for the defence.
Accused pleaded not guilty.
Mr Cowle, in opening the case for the Crown, said the charge was one of wilful murder, but it was open for the jury to bring in a verdict of wilful murder or one of murder or one of manslaughter. On Saturday night, June 21, between 10 and 11 o'clock, a number of people were in the National Hotel. Among them were Mrs Collins, wife of the licensee of the hotel, the accused, the deceased, and a man named Madigan. Three men were all returned soldiers. One Rowley Peake and a Mrs Ray were also present. Accused was in the front bar, whilst the others were in bar parlour immediately behind the bar. Mrs Collins said that she would "shout", and Madigan asked "Am I in this?" Mrs Collins replied in the negative. Accused thereupon called out from the front bar to Madigan, "Come and have a drink with me." Madigan went in to the bar. Mrs Ray called out to Madigan to be quiet. Madigan replied, "Anyway, I am no bludger." Deceased chased Madigan out of the hotel, and caught him and brought him back to the parlour. Madigan said he had not called deceased a bludger, but that he said, "I am no bludger." Accused interfered, saying "You had better not hurt him. I am going out to get something to stop him (deceased)." Deceased and Madigan made up. Accused went to his lodgings at Mrs Hooley's bedrooms in Wilson-street. He was away for several minutes and returned to the front bar, where he called out for Madigan to have a drink with him. At that time deceased and Peake were standing at the slide door at the back of the bar. The slide door was about halfway up. Deceased and Peake were standing near the slide door. Madigan was in the front bar with accused. Accused pulled out a revolver Madigan told him not to make use of it. Accused persisted, and leaning his arm on the front bar, discharged the revolver. The bullet went through the slide door and entered the deceased abdomen. Deceased was taken to the Government Hospital where he died the next day. Constable Mulchahy came on the scene at the hotel, caught accused, obtained possession of the revolver and took accused to the watchhouse. On the way thither accused said three or four times that if he would have had a small revolver he would have shot the deceased through the head. Accused, at the police station, also repeated the statement in the presence of Sergeant Leen.
Robert Leslie Cassidy, tramway employee, gave evidence of identification. McDonald was a returned soldier.
Dr S. Mathews, D.M.O. spoke of having attended the deceased at the hotel. Dr MacMillan was also there. Witness gave the results of the post mortem examination.
Mary Collins, wife of the licensee of the National Hotel, described the incidents of the night of June 21. Deceased and accused had no quarrel. She had never known them to quarrel. She did not think accused was drunk. He seemed to be excited, but walked perfectly straight. Accused was not a heavy drinker. She could not even think why the shot was fired.
Cross-examined by Mr Haynes: She would not call a man drunk until he staggered. There was no sign that accused was drunk. She had no conversation with him to judge his state of mind. He had been at the races that day. Men usually came back excited from the races. She saw accused was excited by the look in his eyes. She saw accused raise himself on the rail in front of the bar, lean halfway across the bar, rest his elbow on the counter, take aim with the revolver and fire. If she had not described that circumstance at the inquest it was because she was not asked.
Rowley Peake, a returned soldier, said that when deceased brought Madigan to the parlour from the front of the hotel, he heard accused say "If he hurts 'Dodger' (Madigan), I'll get him something to fix him." When he heard the shot he looked over the counter, and through the smoke he could see accused and Madigan, apparently struggling. He knew of no previous quarrels between accused and deceased. Accused was sober but he appeared to be very excited.
Cross-examined by Mr Haynes: He could see no reason why accused should wilfully shoot deceased. After the shooting accused and Madigan seemed to be wrestling.
Thomas John Madigan, returned soldier, formerly a jockey, stated that when Mrs Collins said to deceased, "Don't hurt 'Dodger,'" accused said, "I'll get somebody," or it might have been something." Accused went away and came back. Witness afterwards stood on the right hand of accused. They had a drink. Accused said, "There's one of the -." Immediately after deceased appeared at the side door. Accused had a revolver in his hand, which he had apparently drawn from his pocket. Witness saw accused "flop" his arm down on the counter and the revolver "went off." Witness ducked his head and then grabbed the revolver from the accused. He gave the revolver to the constable. Accused took no aim with the revolver.
Cross-examined by Mr Haines: He was in company of accused at the "trots" that day. They came home together in a motor car. Accused eyes were staring out of his head that night. Witness was sure that accused "never meant anything" when he drew the revolver out of his pocket and dropped his arm. The revolver went off, but he was sure accused did not mean it to go off. He was sure that accused did not lean his elbow on the counter and take aim. He would not say that accused's story was incorrect that witness caught his wrist before the shot went off. Either one of them might be mistaken, because they were both drunk.
Constable Thos. Mulcahy said that, attracted by a shot, he went into the National Hotel, where he grabbed the accused, who still had the revolver in his hand. Accused said, "I'll go with you, constable." Madigan took the revolver from the accused and gave it to the witness. On the way to the watchhouse accused kept saying that "he called me a 'bludger,' and I gave him one," or something like that. He also said "I've got a lot of other revolvers planted." In the presence of Sergt Leen at the station accused said, "I tried to get him on the head, and if I had a smaller one I would have not missed him. Accused seemed to have had a good deal to drink, but was sober and spoke rationally.
Sergt Leen said that when accused was at the station he was excited but seemed to have a few drinks in him. Accused was rational in his conversation.
The case for the Crown closed.
The jury were locked up during the luncheon adjournment.
Mr Haynes stated that the facts in connection with the unfortunate episode would never be known. He thought the verdict of the coroner's jury that the affair of the outcome of a drunken brawl was justified. Three accounts of the affair had been given, he proposed to give a fourth. Mr Haynes then outlined the nature of the evidence he intended to put forward. Accused had been three years in the trenches and wounded once in the head. Mr Haynes said the he was in a position to prove conclusively that accused did not go out of the hotel to get a revolver, but for the purpose of handing over some money for safe keeping to a man named Woodfield, whom he met at Rintoul's saleyards.
Constable Lacey, gaoler, examined by Mr Muir, said that two or three days after the arrest of the accused the latter asked him to go to the stables, see a man named "Harry" and get from him a £5 note, of which, he was taking care. However, Tom Leahy volunteered and got the note, which was sent down with the accused to Fremantle.
Robert Charles Williams, motor car driver, said he knew the accused, with whom he went to the races. They came home together. Accused was under the influence of liquor. They had two or three drinks at the National Hotel. Witnesses then described their movements, including a meeting with John Sinclair. At the Kalgoorlie Hotel accused, witness and Sinclair met a woman at about 9.30. They went to the York together.
The woman had a child with her. They had several drinks in the York Hotel. Sinclair left them at the York Hotel, where witness also left accused in the company of the woman. He afterwards went back and found accused had left the hotel.
Cross-examined: Witness was sober. He was drinking soft stuff. Witness at the time was not a motor car driver. Accused was sober enough to look after himself.
John Sinclair, blacksmith, examined by Mr Muir, said he had known accused to be a man of good character for 10 or 12 years.
Harry Woodfield, an employee of Rintoul's saleyards in June last, said he had known accused for a number of years. One night in June accused came to the stables and asked him to take care of £5 for fear he would be robbed of it. He could not recollect the hour at which accused came to him. He returned the £5 to Tom Healy, a returned soldier. Healy said accused has sent him for it.
Hugh Pickett said, on his own behalf, that he had been prospecting and wood-cutting for 20 or 25 years on the goldfields, at Kalgoorlie, Boulder, Menzies and Broad Arrow. He enlisted on March 3, 1916, and was discharged three years later. He returned to West Australia on May 28 last. After he had been to the races in Perth one night, he was "whacked out," and £25 or £30 was stolen from him. He came to Kalgoorlie on the Tuesday prior to Saturday June 21. He had known deceased as a boy in Kanowna and Kalgoorlie. He (accused) had always been in the habit of carrying a revolver. After the races he went to the National Hotel. He and Williams picked up Jack Sinclair at the Kalgoorlie Hotel. They went to his bedroom for a wash, after which they had tea at Maison Dore. They called in here and there. Outside the Kalgoorlie Hotel they met a woman and child. They went with her to the York Hotel. He left the York Hotel with the woman. He took the woman into the parlour at the National Hotel. He bought her a couple of drinks and a bottle of beer. She left him, with the intention of rejoining him in 20 minutes. He then had a drink with Madigan. He did not see the deceased there. There were a good few people there. He did not see "Dodger" Madigan being ill-treated nor did he say he would do something if they hurt "Dodger." He went out to Rintoul's stables, and left £5 in the care of "Harry," because he did not wish to be robbed. He then returned to the National Hotel. He had a drink with Madigan, and called to the barman to give him a couple of bottles of stout. His revolver was in his right-hand pocket. He took it out with the intention of putting it into his shirt, so that he could make room for the stout in his pocket. Madigan caught hold of his arm, and the weapon went off. He had no idea that anyone had been shot. Neither he nor the constable knew on the way to the station that anyone had been shot. He did not have revolvers "planted" nor did he recollect telling the police that if he had a small revolver he could have hit the deceased in the head. He did not know he had shot somebody until he went to the Government Hospital. When he saw deceased he said: "My God, Mac, I could have shot you?" He bore no ill-will towards the deceased, and certainly did not wish to shoot him or anybody else.
Counsel for the defence and for the Crown addressed the jury.
His honour commenced his summing up at 4.20 p.m., and concluded at 5.30.
The jury retired at 6.15 p.m. to consider the verdict. By permission of his Honour, they were furnished with their evening meal.
The jury returned to Court at 8.15 p.m., and in response to the customary query from the clerk of arraigns gave their verdict, as "Guilty of murder, with a strong recommendation to mercy."
Accused was asked if he had anything to say why sentence of death should not be recorded against him according to law.
Accused: I have nothing to say. I suppose I can take it all on.
After a pause, the accused was understood to say: "All the same, I am not guilty; but if I am guilty then hang me."
His Honour: Hugh Pickett, the jury finds you guilty of [not printed] recommends you strongly to Royal mercy. Under these circumstances it remains with me to deal with you in a manner fit and proper under the law. I shall record sentence of death against you, and remand you to wait his Excellency's pleasure. You will be confined in Fremantle prison for such a period that the Governor chooses to determine. Sentence of death will be recorded against you. The proper sentence is that the judgement be entered in the records.
Accused was remanded to the police gaol.
The court adjourned until the following morning.
The West Australian (Perth) Tuesday 25 May 1926, p 7
ESCAPE FROM ASYLUM
ARMED LUNATIC AT LARGE
A Shot Fired
Shortly before 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon, Hugh Pickett, a dangerous lunatic, escaped from the Claremont Hospital for the Insane, after firing at a warder with a revolver. Picket was transferred to the asylum in February last from the Fremantle Gaol, where he was serving a sentence for a murder committed at Kalgoorlie in 1919. He is now described as a homicidal maniac.
Aboyt 3.55 p.m., it was stated, Pickett was in the asylum sports ground under the supervision of an attendant. Suddenly he whipped a revolver from his clothing, and, threatening the attendant, commenced to move off. When some distance away, he fired and ran, making his escape through the back gate of the asylum grounds facing Karrakatta. He headed through the bush towards Perth. Attendants gave chase, and, picking up a set of tracks, followed them to a point in the bush near the sewerage and deep drainage works at West Subiaco. Then darkness and drizzling rain abscured the trail. Another set of tracks, it was reported, were also followed and found to lead from the asylum behind Karrakatta military reserve. The search was taken up by mounted constables, but darkness and rain hampered their work and they returned to the station for the night, intending to go out again at day-light. All out-stations were notified as soon as the alarm was received, and warned to keep a look-out for the escaped man.
It is a mystery how Pickett became possessed of the revolver. By reason of the constant coming and going at the institution the smuggling in of small articles is said to be possible. It will be recalled that recently several sticks of gelignite were found on the place, in circumstances suggesting that an attempt was being made on the life of the Inspector-general of the Insane (Dr. J.T. Anderson).
Pickett's description is as follows:- Age, 35: height, 5ft. 7in.: medium build, dark brown hair, turning grey, brown eyes, thin brown eyebrows turning grey, high, round forehead, small nose, small full mouth, round chin, oval face, clean shaven, pale complexion. He has scars on the middle finger of the right hand, outside the left eye, above the right eyebrow, on the jaw, and across the back of the head. When he escaped he was wearing a khaki hospital uniform.
In September, 1919, Pickett was convicted at the Kalgoorlie Criminal Court of the murder of John McDonald. It was stated at the trial that on the night of June 21, 1919, accused and McDonald had an argument in the bar of the National Hotel, Kalgoorlie. Accused left the hotel, but returned a few minutes later with a revolver, and fired at McDonald, the bullet striking him in the groin. McDonald died on the following day. Pickett's defence was one of accidental shooting. The jury retuned a verdict of guilty, with a recommendation to mercy. Sentence of death was recorded, but accused was remanded during the pleasure of his Excellency the Governor, and was placed in Fremantle Gaol.
The Argus (Melbourne) Tuesday 25 May 1926, p 13
MURDERER AT LARGE
Escapes Armed From Asylum
PERTH, Monday. - Hugh Pickett, aged 57 years, who was convicted of murder at Kalgoorlie in September, 1919, and sentenced to death, but was subsequently ordered to be detained during His Majesty's pleasure, escaped from the Claremont Asylum for the Insane this afternoon. He pointed a revolver at an attendant, and when he was some distance away fired a shot which went wide. He is still at large.
Pickett had an argument with John McDonald in an hotel at Kalgoorlie in June, 1919, and shot McDonald in the groin, death resulting on the following day.
The West Australian (Perth) Wednesday 26 May 1926, p 9
ESCAPE FROM ASYLUM.
PICKETT STILL AT LARGE.
Outside Aid Suspected.
A new phase of the escape of a dangerous lunatic from the Claremont Asylum on Monday afternoon was disclosed by investigations made yesterday. Inquiries suggest that Pickett was aided in his escape, and, possible, is being sheltered. Mystery surrounds a man who is supposed, to have visited Pickett at the asylum on Sunday afternoon.
The asylum records, it is stated, show that Pickett had two female visitors from Victoria Park on Sunday afternoon last. These women are reported to have told police officers that, when they visited Pickett, they found him in company with another man, who was a stranger to them, but whom. Pickett introduced as a friend whom he had known for thirty years. They could not remember what name he gave. In the visitors' book there is no record of this male visitor, nor have the attendants any clear recollection of having seen him.
In the course of inquiries the police found a letter, apparently written on Thursday last, by a man who described himself as a friend writing on behalf of Pickett. The letter was addressed to one of these women urging her to be at the asylum without fail on Sunday afternoon. This letter, however was delivered to a wrong address, and it is understood that the woman for whom it was intended never saw it. The letter was signed by a. full name, but the writer spelt it differently when writing it a second time at .the foot of a postscript. The two women mentioned are said to be old friends of Pickett, but it is understood that they had never visited him at the asylum before.
Police 'activities, directed by Detective Sergeant Muller, were concentrated yesterday on recapturing the escaped man. Before daylight Detective Sergeant Muller, Mounted Constables Chambers and Larsen, and a tracker went out. At dusk they returned. No actual trace of the missing man had been discovered. Excitement had been kindled for a time, following a discovery that a man had slept in a monumental work yards at Karrakatta on Monday night, but the trail was a false one. The searchers had a heavy day's work, following clues and making inquiries.
Fuller details of the escape were obtained during the day. It was stated that Pickett was working in the asylum garden on Monday afternoon with ten other inmates. He was given leave to visit the lavatory, but, instead of returning to the garden, started to wander away. An attendant hailed him, and was moving towards him, when Pickett wheeled round and shouted, "Stand, or I'll drop you." at the same time pointing at the attendant. The attendant stood, and Pickett ran, making his escape through the back gate. Shortly afterwards a shot was heard, but at no time, the detectives, state, was a revolver clearly seen in the lunatic's possession. Chase was given, but Pickett's tracks were lost on the Karrakatta side of the West Subiaco Railway Station. It was reported yesterday, however, that about 5 o'clock on the evening of the escape a man in hospital dress was seen sitting on a log about 200 yards from Daglish station, in the endowment lands. Another report stated that at about 8.30 p.m. a man answering to Pickett's description called at the Salvation Army Boys' Home, at West Subiaco, and asked to be directed to Perth. About 10.30 p.m. a tramway motorman, driving over the Causeway, passed a man of medium build, hatless, and clad in khaki, running hard in the direction of Victoria Park. Since then no definite trace of the man has been found, and at a late hour last night he was still at large.
Pickett is reported to have been quiet and inoffensive since his removal to the asylum. His mental powers were sufficient for him to follow any prearranged plan made by another person, and he was in good physical condition.
The West Australian (Perth) Thursday 27 May 1926, p 9
ESCAPE FROM ASYLUM
No Trace of Pickett
The search for Hugh Pickett who escaped from the Hospital for the Insane, Claremont, on Monday last, was continued yesterday without success. Searchers spent a strenuous day but no trace of Pickett was seen. This served to strengthen the suspicion that the man has been sheltered or else assisted to leave the city. A new theory advanced in some quarters was that the escape was the culminating point of a carefully arranged plan of gaol-breaking. Pickett's madness, the theorists argue, may have been a sham.
The search was carried out from day-light to dusk yesterday by Detective-Sergeant Muller and Mounted Constables Chambers and Larsen. In the morning Constable Chambers picked up set of tracks which he supposed were those of Pickett and followed them to the Salvation Army Boys' Home, at West Subiaco, and. thence into King's Park. The heavy rain of the last two days, however, made work difficult. From other inquiries it appeared certain that Picke was visited by a man at the asylum on Sunday afternoon last, but the identity of this man remained a mystery. The two women who also visited Picket on that day were questioned further but, it is understood, no clue was obtained. The women denied acquaintance with the man.
Various rumours and reports of Pickett having been seen were circulated, particularly in Victoria Park, but investigation proved them to false. Officials are now inclined to believe that Pickett has got clear of the suburban area. All out-stations have been supplied with his description and a sharp look-out is being kept.
The West Australian (Perth) Friday 28 May 1926, p 11
ESCAPE FROM ASYLUM
A NEW TRAIL
King's Park Searched
The search for the escaped lunatic, Hugh Pickett, took a sensational turn yesterday, when a new trail, supposed to be his, was picked up at Dalkeith and followed into King's Park. Seven mounted constables and two black trackers were called out to the search early in the morning, and worked until after dark, principally in the park, but without success.
About 8 o'clock yesterday morning Constable Bannear, of Nedlands, received a report that two cauliflowers had been stolen from a Chinaman's garden at Dalkeith during the night. Picking up the tracks of the intruder, he followed them along Burswood- parade into Hillway. Here they led into the yards of five houses in turn. The wanderer had apparently roved around the gardens and stopped to look inside the building in some instances, but had not entered. From this locality the trail led to the Crawley reserve. Here the black tracker on whom great reliance is placed by the police - he is said to be the cleverest tracker in the State - declared that the trail before him was made by the man he had tracked from the asylum gate on Monday afternoon. He was definite on this point. Policemen with long service in the north and experience of the capabilities of trackers accept his opinion without hesitation.
In the park the trail was erratic and sometimes difficult to follow. The tracks circled around the trees and at times took a zig-zag course. At noon the trackers estimated that they were about three hours behind their quarry, but progress was checked once or twice during the afternoon by breaks in the trail. Inspector Smith and Sergeant Hunter, who were on the spot, spread out troopers in fan shape to scour the bush. At dark, however, the search was relinquished without definite results. The trail will be taken up again early this morning.
Further investigations were carried out in other quarters by Detective-Sergeant Muller, but after a strenuous day he had nothing to report. If the trail that is being followed by the mounted constables should prove false, police officers admit that they will be at a loss to account for Pickett's whereabouts. His quietness since his escape may suggest that he is being sheltered or has left the suburban area, but if he be still near the city it is reassuring to the extent that his homicidal mania is not so dominant as was feared at first.
Western Argus (Kalgoorlie) Tuesday 1 June 1926, p 19
ESCAPE FROM ASYLUM
PICKETT STILL AT LARGE.
Perth. May 26. Hugh. Pickett, who escaped from the Home for the Insane, Claremont, on Monday has not yet been recaptured. The opinion is gaining ground that the whole affair was carefully planned and that Pickett was not quite so much out of his mind as he was thought to be. The authorities are sparing no effort to effect his capture.
Western Argus (Kalgoorlie) Tuesday 1 June 1926, p 29
ESCAPE FROM ASYLUM
PICKETT STILL AT LARGE.
Perth, May 25
Hugh Pickett, who escaped from the Claremont Home for the Insane yesterday under sensational circum stances has not yet been recaptured. Further particulars of the affair show that Pickett, who was 35 years of age, was working with ten other inmates in a garden attached to the asylum when he asked permission from the attendant to go to the lavatory. When he came out, instead of rejoining, his companions he started to walk away. The attendant called out to him to return, in answer to which Pickett produced a revolver and said, "Stand, or I'll drop you." Pickett then made off, and after a, momentary delay was pursued by several attendants, upon whom he turned and fired. He then rapidly gained the fence and disappeared. Mounted constables joined in the chase, but night falling with drizzling rain compelled them to cease operations for the time being. Various reports were received during the evening as to the escapee's whereabouts, the most reliable of which pointed to Pickett having called at the Salvation Army Boys' Home in West Subiaco about 8.30 and asked the way to Perth, while a tramway man saw a man answering to his description crossing the Causeway at 10.30 p.m. Parties of police and asylum attendants made a diligent search again to-day, but so far without success.
The authorities are much concerned as to how Pickett became possessed of a revolver and cartridges. A list of persons who have recently visited him has been supplied to the police. It is stated that two women and a man visited him last Sunday. A letter written from the asylum to one of the women is in the possession of the police. In it the writer urged the women to visit the asylum last Sunday, but it is understood the letter was not received by the woman, as it was delivered to the wrong address. The authorities regard Pickett as highly dangerous, and. it is understood the police who are searching for him are armed so that they can protect themselves if necessary.
The West Australian (Perth) Wednesday 2 June 1926, p 8
ESCAPE FROM ASYLUM.
Letter from Pickett. Why He Left Claremont.
No developments were reported yesterday in the search for Pickett who escaped from the Hospital for the Insane Claremont a week ago but the letter below reached the 'West Australian' office through the post.
The writing and signature when submitted to the Criminal Investigation Department were pronounced to be undoubtedly those of Pickett. We give the letter exactly as received as the spelling and use of words may be of interest: -
"to the editor these gents are giving me a very bad rep I have doon 6½ years in Fremantle Prison and I should not have don one day I, was given governor's Pleasure at Kalgoorlie I had a rows with the Heads they had me Declared insane Why I
Praps mr Badger and the Doctors could give a explanation there must be some reason your Paper dos not seam to think I am the Killer that I am made out to be they gave me a licence to kill wen they sent me to the asylum I am as sane peraps mor so than those that sent me there it an enquiry should be made
"they Put me in with all the consumptives I awoke one morning and one was Dead A week or so later 20 Past 9 when 1 was In bed a Patient sat on my bed he died a few hours later I have got a bad cold myself and I thought it was time to leave for I want to live a while yet yous want to cut that gun idea out I am on my one in this lot no one knows wot I do I only trust myself
The West Australian (Perth) Wednesday 16 June 1926, p 9
PICKETT AND DIXON
Fight in Hotel
Plucky Police Men
Last night, at Narrogin, Hugh Pickett, the convicted murderer who escaped from the Claremont Asylum on May 24, was recaptured, in company with Rueben Dixon, the suspected thief who held up two constables with a revolver at Armadale on Friday last. Both men were armed, but, despite the revolvers, Sergeant Johnston and constable Gannaway rushed in and over powered them.
The arrest was the result of the circulation of full details of the wanted men from the Criminal Investigation Department, Perth. Since the escape of Pickett, strangers entering country towns have been subjected to close surveillance. Picket and Dixon are believed to have arrived at Narrogin yesterday morning and yesterday evening, in consequence of certain information, Sergeant Johnston and Constable Gannaway went to the Royal Hotel. They saw Dixon coming out of the dining-room. He pulled out a revolver, but Sergeant Johnston rushed in and wrenched it from his hand. A rough-and-tumble fight followed in the hall. Pickett appeared in the doorway and attempted to draw a revolver, but Constable Gannaway closed with him. Meanwhile the sergeant had got his man down and covering Pickett with Dixon's revolver, ordered him to submit. Both men were handcuffed. It was proposed to place them on the Albany express early this morning to bring them to the Perth lock-up.
A search revealed that, besides having revolvers, the two men were well supplied with cartridges. They also had a considerable sum of money and in their luggage were found housebreaking implements, gelignite, detonators and a quantity of goods supposed to be the proceeds of a robbery.
Pickett, it will be remembered, escaped from the asylum on the afternoon of May 24. He was then described as a homicidal maniac, but recently a conviction has grown that he may have shammed madness in order to make his escape. Although no developments in the search for him have been reported for many days past, the officers of the Criminal Investigation Department, under the direction of the acting-chief (Detective-Sergeant McKeown), have been working quietly on the case. Thorough search has also been made since Saturday last for Dixon by Detective-Sergeant Muller and other officers.
General satisfaction was expressed last night at the arrest of these two men. Following so closely two other notable arrests, it was considered to reflect great credit on the force, particularly as a number of officers have been concentrated on other work at Kalgoorlie. It can be said that no serious matter brought under the notice of the Criminal Investigation Department during the past month is now in suspense. Admiration was expressed at the conduct of Sergeant Johnston and Constable Gannawy for both Pickett and Dixon were described as dangerous criminals who would not hesitate to shoot. Sergeant George Johnston is well-known in Perth, where he served for several years, and he has a reputation as a strong and courageous officer.
As far as is known, Dixon and Pickett have not been associated before, although they may have met in gaol.
The West Australian (Perth) Thursday 17 June 1926, p 9
PICKETT SENT TO GAOL
Boasts of His Liberty.
Yesterday morning Hugh Pickett and Reuben Dixon, escaped criminals, who were recaptured at Narrogin on Tuesday night were brought to Perth, escorted by Sergeant Johnston and Constable Gannaway, of Narrogin, and Constable Clarke of Pingelly. They were met at the Central Railway Station by a strong body of police and detectives.
Pickett was taken to the Claremont Hospital for the Insane, from which he escaped on May 24 last, and was there examined by Dr. J. T. Anderson, Inspector-General of Insane. The examination lasted about an hour, and at its conclusion Pickett was discharged from the asylum, and removed to the Fremantle Gaol, from which, it will be remembered, he was original transferred in February. Questioned last night, Dr Anderson refused to commit himself by any definite statement regarding Pickett's sanity.
After his arrest, it is understood, Pickett admitted his identity readily and for a time spoke freely of his doings. He declared that he was unaided in his escape, and that he did not have a revolver, but pointed a stick at the asylum attendants. He denied that he was helped in any way, although admitting that he was visited at tho asylum by two men. If kept at the asylum, he said, he would try to escape again. He spent most of his liberty near the city, and later, he boasted, his had walked through the city streets and had sat in a restaurant dining while listening to two men reading newspaper reports of his escape. "It was that funny I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing," he said. He followed the reports of the search and later wrote a letter to the "West Australian." He stated that he first met Dixon at York three day ago. When re-arrested he was wearing civilian clothes and had a revolver, but it is understood he was silent when asked where he obtained them. It is doubtful if much reliance is being placed on his statements by the police.
Dixon was lodged in the Perth lock-up and later in the day was charged by Detective-Sergeant Muller with having stolen, at Claremont, on June 10, £7 9s. in money, jewellery, and an eiderdown quilt and clothing, of a total value of £18, the property of Francis Joseph Parker. A number of other articles that were found in his possession were handed over to officers of the Criminal Investigation Department and are forming the subject of investigations. It is expected that further charges will be laid against him.
Western Argus (Kalgoorlie) Tuesday 22 June 1926, p 24
ARRESTED AT NARROGIN
A STUBBORN RESISTANCE
Perth, June 15
A telephone message was received at police headquarters to-night to the effect that Hugh Pickett, who made a sensational escape from the Claremont Home for the Insane some weeks ago, had been recaptured at Narrogin. Pickett was transferred to the asylum some months ago from the Fremantle gaol, where he was undergoing sentence for a murder committed at Kalgoorlie some years ago.
The message also stated that, in addition to Pickett, the arrest had been effected of Reuben Dixon, who was wanted on a charge of stealing a motor cycle, and who is alleged to have escaped from custody a few days ago by threatening the police with a revolver.
Later in the evening the following message was received from Inspector Mitchell:-"Reuben Dixon and Hugh Pickett were arrested in the Royal Hotel, Narrogin, at 6.45 p.m. by Sergeant Johnson and Constable Gannaway. Dixon and Pickett were both armed and had plenty of cartridges and a good deal of money. They had also in their possession house-breaking implements."
Dixon and Pickett are being escorted to Perth by Sergeant Johnson and Constable Gannaway, and another constable will join the party at Pingelly.
Perth, June 15
Further details of the arrest show that when the police became aware that two strangers were at the hotel they went to investigate. As they entered they saw Dixon coming out of the diningroom. Dixon pulled out a revolver, but Sergt. Johnson, who is a very athletic man, rushed him and wrenched it away. A rough and tumble fight followed, in the midst of which Pickett appeared in the doorway, and Gannaway rushed him. Meanwhile Johnson had got Dixon down, and holding him there covered Pickett with Dixon's revolver. Pickett submitted. Tobacco, cigarettes and cigars were found in their belongings, and there was also some gelignite, detonators and housebreaking implements.
MESSAGE TO COMMISSIONER
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Connell, who is at present in Kalgoorlie, received the following message from the Police Department, Perth, Tuesday: "Pickett and Reuben Dixon arrested together to-night by Sergt Johnson and Constable Gannaway at Narrogin after stubborn resistance, both producing revolvers. Johnson was kicked on chest, but not seriously injured. Pickett and Dixon are being strongly escorted to Perth."
Hughys' death sentence was commuted to 20 years imprisonment and he was finally released on 10 October 1933 - source: State Records Office of Western Australia
While most of Hughys' family wanted nothing to do with him, his brother Walter thought someone should keep in touch and his daughter Emily took up the task.
The following letter, transcribed as written, was found amongst her gardening equipment, stained with oil. It has since been laminated to prevent deterioration.
"Reg. No. and Name: 10808 Pickett, Fremantle Prison.
"Mrs Oliver Bellamy
n s Wales
Dear Emily & olover
I now rite yous these few lines to let you no I received your last leter and Christmas Card. I would send youssumthing for a weden present. that was the best thing you could have get maried and you tell me he is the rite sort but give olover to understand I dont want the mob to no I am in here. it has been a hot weak or so over here they have had no rane for some time let me no how yous Dad is geting on and all the rest at home for I am in good nick myself so good luck
yours Hughy Pickett" 29
Military and other life History
Click here and scroll down the list to his name. There is also some more information on his brother, Mark. 109
One would have to say that in this day and age (2016) Hughy was suffering from Shell Shock, or now called post traumatic stress disorder. At least with the recognition by some of his descendants of his burial some of his story can be told. The description of life underground in the First World War doesn't really bear thinking about.
Noted events in his life were:
• Military Service: World War 1, 1914/1918.
• Imprisonment, 1919. Hugh served a 20 year term in Fremantle Gaol for murder. See this family's main page for the details under his name.
[My comment: these days I'm sure his offence would be considered a result of shell-shock.]
The following is from John Reading's notes - link above:
Hughy's death sentence was commuted to 20 years imprisonment and he was finally released on 10 October 1933 - source: State Records Office of Western Australia.
While most of Hughy's family wanted nothing to do with him, his brother Walter thought someone should keep in touch and his daughter Emily took up the task.
The following letter, transcribed as written, was found amongst her gardening equipment, stained with oil. It has since been laminated to prevent deterioration.
"Reg. No. and Name: 10808 Pickett, Fremantle Prison.
"Mrs Oliver Bellamy
n s Wales
Dear Emily & olover
I now rite yous these few lines to let you no I received your last leter and Christmas Card. I would send youssumthing for a weden present. that was the best thing you could have get maried and you tell me he is the rite sort but give olover to understand I dont want the mob to no I am in
here. it has been a hot weak or so over here they have had no rane for some time let me no how yous Dad is geting on and all the rest at home for I am in good nick myself so good luck
yours Hughy Pickett"
• Burial: Kalgoorlie Cemetery, Western Australia, Australia. The memorial stone was provided by descendants in 2009.