John Lynch: The Berrima Axe Murderer

Return to a Life of Crime

But it didn't take long for Lynch to forget about his "honest new start" and lapse back into crime. "At Razorback Mountain," Lynch said, "I met a cove named Ireland and fell in with him."

Ireland was traveling with a black (aboriginal) boy, and together they were driving a full bullock team and its load of wheat, bacon and other produce to Sydney to deliver it for its owner, Thomas Cowper, who was a stranger to Lynch.

"It seemed to me," said Lynch in his confession, "that it would pay me better to kill Ireland and take possession of the dray and its load of saleable produce than to drive Mr. Humphrey's bullocks to Sydney."

Ireland took quite a liking to the diminutive Irishman Lynch, and when they pulled up for the night he prepared him dinner and finished the evening off with one of Ireland's cigars. All the while Lynch was plotting to murder Ireland and his young helper and make off with their wares.

According to Lynch's confession, he lay awake that night asking God what to do.

Lynch didn't say whether God gave his blessing to the forthcoming massacre, but Lynch said that, having consulted God was as good as getting the go-ahead.

Berrima, herd on a hillside
Berrima, herd on a hillside

The following morning Lynch asked the boy to help him round up his bullocks. The lad was happy to oblige. As the boy walked ahead in the scrub and well away from the camp, Lynch crept up behind him and smashed the back of the lad's head in with a tomahawk. "All it needed to kill him," Lynch said, "was just one tap with the tomahawk. He dropped like a log of wood."

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