On Thursday 2 February 1854 at Castlemaine, William Lally was shot by John Jopling after he forcibly entered Jopling’s tent. According to Jopling, Lally had appeared twice outside his tent that day, watching as Jopling packed his trunk. That evening Lally tore a hole in Jopling’s tent, and entered, carrying what appeared to be a revolver. Jopling fired a shot from his double barrelled gun, which he believed hit Lally. Upon asking if ‘he would have another’, Jopling fired a second shot, which he believed missed Lally. Lally then made his escape as Jopling made cries of ‘Stop Thief’ and ‘Police’.
The police followed a trail of blood and found the injured Lally sitting down about 150 yards down the road. The police took him to the hospital attached to the gaol at the Camp where he was attended daily by Dr Howlett. He died of his injuries one week later on 9 February. According to the Keeper of the Watch House, Lally was a suspected thief and upon his admittance to the gaol’s hospital was found to have several possessions on his person which did not appear to belong to him, including a cigar case marked ‘J. Joplin Newcastle’. A verdict of justifiable homicide was returned.
VPRS 24 Inquest Deposition Files
Created: 2 November 2006, Last modified: 23 January 2007