Lynch steadfastly clung to the story that he was innocent, and only after every avenue of appeal was exhausted did John Lynch confess to his crimes.
In his confession Lynch said that he believed he had gone about his robbing and killing under the watchful, approving eye of God. Only when there was no hope left did he lose his faith in the Lord. On the eve of his execution John Lynch called a priest and police magistrates to his cell to witness his full confession.
It was a confession that rocked the fledging colony of New South Wales and ensured John Lynch's place in the annals of Australian crime forever.
A diminutive but solidly built man of just 5-foot-3 with a fair, rugged complexion and brown hair, John Lynch was just 19 when he arrived in Australia in 1832 on the convict ship Dunregon Castle after being sentenced to deportation for stealing offenses in County Cavan, Ireland, where he was born.
After working as a convict laborer at numerous farms in the area, he joined a renegade gang and became a bushranger (highway robber), robbing and stealing throughout the countryside and selling his ill-gotten gain around the district.
John Lynch had a close shave with the hangman in 1835 when he was charged with the murder of Tom Smith shortly after Smith had given evidence against Lynch's gang. Lynch and two other bushrangers were tried for Smith's murder and even though he had admitted to taking part in killing Smith, the jury chose not to believe him and he was set free while the other two bushrangers were found guilty and hanged.
The farmer Mulligan had purchased land that Lynch had stolen during his bushranging exploits. In his confession Lynch maintained that a dispute with Mulligan over the price of stolen items started him on his career as a multiple murderer.
Lynch had asked Mulligan for payment for some stolen goods, but Mulligan was only prepared to pay about a quarter of what Lynch was asking. A bitter argument ensued and Lynch stormed off swearing revenge. He went to a farm at nearby Oldbury where he had once worked for the owner, T. B. Humphrey, and stole an eight-bullock team and drove them off. "I'd broken them myself," Lynch said in his confession. "I took them because I wanted to start out again honest. I intended taking the bullocks to Sydney and selling them."