Gravesites Of Tasmania




If you could spare a few dollars to help with the running costs of hosting this website to keep it alive would be very much appreciated.

Thankyou from Gravesites of Tasmania in advance.




Wednesday 8th January 1862

The inquest on John Coghlan was resumed at 10.00 o’clock this morning, at Mr. Cousens’ the Bull’s Head, Goulburn Street , before A.B.Jones Esq Coroner and the jury previously.

The first witness examined was

Eliza Hooley, who deposed as follows

I am a married woman, but do not live with my husband, who lives in Brisbane street , he is a hawker and is living with another woman.  I saw the body of John Coghlan on Monday in the presence of Detective Vickers.  I last saw the deceased alive on Sunday night at a quarter to 11 o’clock.  I was standing at my door, and Coghlan passed by.  The constable on duty (Waller) told me what o’clock it was.  Coghlan was coming down the street, past this house, and he said to me that he could not get any drink up there as they were shut.  I told him I never knew Mr. Cousens to sell drink on Sunday.  He always shut up at 9.00 o’clock on Sunday night.  He asked me, in a law tone, if I could get him any drink, and took a small bottle out of his pocket, gave me a shilling, and asked me to get him half a pint of rum.  I fetched him the run, when he asked me for a wine glass, and I gave him one, he then put the bottle in his pocket and went away towards his own house, and I went into my own house.  Neither I nor the constable had any of the rum.  There was no one else present except the constable and myself.  I did not see the watchman in the street the whole evening.  I did not go out of my house again.  The deceased was not sober, nor was he to say drunk.  He went into my kitchen, and drunk some of the rum there;  the constable was then in the street.  I had a candle burning on the table in the kitchen.  The deceased was standing close to the door in the street when he asked me to go for the rum.  I am sure of that.  The light was in the kitchen at that time.  I heard no noise during the night.  There was a cutting in the street near Coghlan’s house, and there was a light burning on it.  I did not see Mrs. Coghlan that night, but I saw her early in the evening, about 7 o’clock passing up the street.  Mrs. Coghlan was now brought into the room (where she remained) and was identified by the witness.  Mrs. Coghlan was sober when I saw her.  I do not know whether she and her husband had been quarrelling that evening; they used to have some words now and again.  I have lived for nearly eighteen months near the Coghlans.  I did not know Lawrence Benson, the watchman, till I saw him when I saw the body with the jury on Monday;  he might have been in the street on Sunday night without my knowing it.  

By a Juror.  I am sure I did not ask the deceased for any money to get some rum.  I was standing at my own door, talking to the constable when the deceased came down the street.  I was not behind him.  A person standing in the street could see into my kitchen.  I am sure that I was not talking to “Blind Tom” that night.  I get my living by washing and sewing, and making cabbage-tree hats for one of the soldiers in the barracks.

Thomas Arnold, a blind man sworn said

I live in Goulburn Street , nearly opposite Coghlan’s and let two furnished rooms.  I remember the night of Sunday last.  A little before 9.00 o’clock I heard Mrs. Coghlan at her gate, asking the deceased to let her in, he had got the gate shut, and would not let her in, she was rattling the gate.  Then I heard two or three blows struck and Mrs. Coghlan said “Don’t strike me, John.”  The next thing I heard was stones being thrown, and I heard the deceased say “Throw another,” then I heard some one go into the house and close the door.  I have known Mr.and Mrs. Coghlan for four or five years, and know their voices well.  I have been blind ten years.  The next thing I heard was the co nstable interceding to get her in; I was told it was a constable.  It might have been ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour, before the constable interceded.  I do not know who the person was who told me it was a constable; it was some person who was standing by listening.  After some time Coghlan took his wife in, and I heard the constable say “Now do go in and behave yourselves” This was about a quarter past nine o’clock, as far as I could judge, and I heard no more until I was awoke by some one rattling my gate at a few minutes before 1 o’clock in the morning.  I heard Mrs. Coghlan asking some one for a light.  I went out to the gate to ascertain who was there, and found there a person named Catherine Low, who was staying at my place, but whom I would not let in, as she was very drunk.  The next thing I heard was Mrs Coghlan ask some man to light paper for her at the gas lamp, and the next moment she called to me, and asked me to give her some matches.  She said that Coghlan had gone out and locked her in.  I said, if she wanted any matches, she must fetch them.  She said “I can’t expect you to bring them over;  I’ll get a chair and get over the gate”  She came across and I gave her some matches.  She then asked me to go and fetch her a pint of rum; and offered me half a sovereign, and told me I might keep the change for my trouble.  I told her that I would not fetch it, I told her so several times.  She spoke as if she was not quite sober.  She begged me to go to Mr. Weare’s but I told her it was too soon in the morning.  About that time I heard the footsteps of a man coming across the street towards the Coghlan’s, and I pointed this out to Mrs. Coghlan, who said she could not see anyone, she looked a second time and said she saw him, but did not say who it was.  I then went indoors and went to bed and did not rise till Mr. Dorsett came to the door about 7 in the morning and called me.  I did not hear anything more of Coghlan after the constable told Mrs. Coghlan to go into the house.  After Mrs. Coghlan went in, I heard them talking quietly together in the house, having like a low growl; they were arguing together, but not very loudly, they were having words.  I did not hear Coghlan’s voice after that.  This might have been about half past nine o’clock.  Coghlan and his wife had been in the habit of quarrelling very much, nearly the whole time I have known them, but much worse during the last twelve months.  I have heard Mrs. Coghlan frequently say she would murder him, anyone in the street could have heard her

By a juror – Mrs. Coghlan did not give me anything, I would not take it.  She did say “Take this, Tom,. It is the first thing I have give you”  She did not seem put out more than usual when she had been drinking;  she spoke reasonable enough, she did not appear to be excited, she was often drunk but we took no notice of it.  I was rather surprised at her offering me eight shillings change out of the half sovereign.

By the Coroner-I was standing at the door when I heard the low growling.  I heard blows between four and five o’clock in the morning which sounded very heavy.  They seemed to me at Coghlan’s house, and at three o’clock I heard Mrs Coghlan’s voice in the street, as it seemed in the middle of the road; she said “Poor Maggie Galvin” once or twice, with other broken sentences which I could not catch.  After the third or fourth blow was struck I heard Mrs. Coghlan crying out very loud.  As far as I can judge there were from twelve to twenty blows, they were not all struck consecutively, but two or three at a time with slight intervals between them.  After the last blow was struck I heard Mrs. Coghlan say something about cutting his throat – either that Coghlan was going to cut his throat, or had cut his throat, or something to that effect, but as their quarrels were so frequent, I took no particular notice.  I heard no other voice except Mrs. Coghlan’s, she was crying out for help while the blows were being struck.  I heard her say once “Oh, will no one come to my help”.  After I had heard the blows some man came up, who I judged was a constable, and who said to Mrs. Coghlan “What is the matter with you now?” or something to that effect.  I did not hear her make any reply.  The next thing I heard was a whistle blown; this was immediately after the man came uop, and it sounded close by.  I now heard several footsteps about the place, and some man said “Go for the Doctor”.  That was all I heard.

The witness gave his evidence in a straightforward manner, and although totally blind, signed his name to the depositions.

Catherine Lowe, sworn, stated – I am a native of the colony, and a married woman, but my husband is in Sydney .  I have no fixed place of residence, and I get my living the best way I can.  I saw the body of deceased on Monday, and had seen him before.  The last time I saw him alive was on Sunday morning at his own door.  I did not see him on Sunday night.  I slept at his house on Sunday night but I did not see him.  I do not know what time I went to his house, as I was far advanced in liquor, but to the best of my belief it was between one and two in the morning.  I was lodging at “Blind Tom’s” but I could not get in there.  Mrs. Coghlan told me, I could not get in, I might stop in her place till the morning.  I went over with her, and she showed me into a back room behind the kitchen.  I had never been in the house before.  I went to bed immediately, fell asleep, and did not wake until the constable came in the morning.  Detective Vickers was one of then constables, and Waller was another.  When I went into the house with Mrs. Coghlan I did not see any other person there.  I cannot say whether the doors of the other rooms were closed or not.  I did not hear anyone in the house.  Mrs. Coghlan did not say anything to me, further than I have stated.  I had nothing to drink in the house, neither can I say whether Mrs. Coghlan was drunk or sober, as I was very drunk myself.

Back to executions





Please note that there might be information from other websites or brochures "reprinted" here- under the laws of "fair use". In every instance -we hope- we have provided a direct link to the owners web site. We do not claim rights or ownership to any of their information. We do thank them sincerely for their efforts. We have in every instance made a good faith effort to contact and request 'reprint' permission. Nonetheless, we do want to be certain that nothing gets lost due to web site disappearance and the like, so it appears duplicated here.

Gravesites Of Tasmania, Honouring the past, building understanding.

Copyright © 2011 Graves of TasmaniaGravesites Of Tasmania