14[Coroner's Inquest (Thomas Darlington), Whim Creek, December 1911. State Records Office of Western Australia, Consignment 3631, Bundle 12: "Case 1 Rex v Seleno", Testimony of James Thomas Aylward]

Police Quarters Whim Creek 29/12/11

adjourned inquest on Thos Hy Darlington

James Thomas Aylward Sworn Saith:--

I am a miner residing at Whim Creek. I knew deceased Thomas Henry Darlington. Have know him about 8 or nine months. He was a miner. I know the two prisoners. One Joe Seleno & the other as Cattelini. Don't know his Christian name. Police here stated Cattelini's name is Cappelli.

I remember 23rd inst. Was at Federal Hotel about 10 oclock at night. I was in side bar first some time before ten oclock. I saw prisoners there. They were standing by door leading from front bar to side bar. I was standing with Alex Kay & said to him "There are two of them here" Was referring to the two prisoners. It said it very low. Do not think even Alex Kay heard it & dont think the others could have heard. Seleno then came up & asked if I had called him a scab. I glanced toward Seleno. Alex Kay then said "No, go away, we are not speaking to you & do not want to have anything to do with you." He turned away and went to his place near the door. Some time after I went through the front bar to Verandah. I saw Cappelli, either in front bar or in the front doorway, with his right hand near inside pocket of coat. He had grey colored coat on Similar to the one produced. I asked him to take his hand out of his Coat. He had his hand inside Coat earlier in night and I thought it suspicious. I don't know if Cappelli had knife in hand or not. Did not notice deceased in bar at time but had seen him in bar earlier in night. Deceased appeared to have had some drink but otherwise appeared to be alright. I did not then ascertain if Cappelli had weapon or not. I went out on verandah some time afterwards, unable to say how long. On my way out I said to deceased "There are two of these Italians in here making a noise." This was on verandah. He said "Right ho Jim We will have one each." I told him "If Seleno interferes keep him off. I will see if Cappelli has anything in his pocket. I will hit him. Darlington said "Right." I then went back to bar. Cappelli was standing near the front door & I hit him without speaking a word. I struck him twice in the face. I did not knock him down. Did not notice any marks. Cappelli then ran towards the Creek. He did not make any threats. I watched him run out of sight. I did not notice Seleno. Could not say if Seleno was in the bar when I struck Cappelli. Good few were in the bar as far as I can remember. I struck Cappelli with my closed fist. I dont know what deceased was doing at this time. I was a bit mixed. He was either on verandah or in bar. I went out on verandah & remained there some time. Saw Cappelli return. He came straight up to verandah. I saw he had a knife in his hand. Could only see blade which looked to me to be long sharp pointed blade about 3 or 4 inches long. I called out "The bastard has a knife." Can not identify the knife. Lad named Love was standing near me also another Man. Cappelli seemed to go toward the bar door. I was on the verandah & kept well out of way when I saw the knife. Cappelli came on to the verandah. I did not warn them in the bar only called on Verandah. Cannot tell what effect my warning had on Crowd. Could not say how Cappelli was dressed when he came back to verandah. Cappelli said something in a foreign language. Could not say to whom words were spoken. There were a number of men around the front door when I was standing in dark. Did not see anyone in holds. I saw two men running away. Could not say who they were. I then went back to front door. Saw Darlington on floor with good deal of blood about him principally near Chest. Had a look at him. I had no idea what had caused blood on Darlington. Went out to front verandah & heard some one say some one had gone for Doctor. I had a lot of drink in. I did not see either police or Doctor arrive. Saw Doctor there later. Did not see the deceased after Doctor arrived. Saw Doctor on front verandah. I could not say if sufficient time had elapsed from time I saw Cappelli return until I saw men running away for Cappelli to have handed Seleno a knife. It may have been ten minutes or less. I knew deceased very well. Was familiar with his Manner. Used to get out with him occasionally. He was very jovial. He was not antagonistic towards foreigners to my knowledge. The only attack I saw on prisoners was when I hit Cappelli. Did not hear any threats towards prisoners prior to 23rd or on that day. Do not know of any grievance between deceased and prisoners. Had not heard any remarks towards them by deceased. There was no reason for Cappelli to have returned to render assistance to Seleno. Thought he had returned with knife after me for striking him. Did not know Seleno needed assistance. Took good care Cappelli did not find me. I know no reason why either of the prisoners could not have left hotel at any time. I did not like prisoners' company the reason being that they went to work during recent trouble against the principles of unionism. I had been good friends with Seleno prior to that. Others went to work as well as the two prisoners. I have not seen these others maltreated & do not think they have been. Men were very excited after quarrel. Heard no threats of lynching. I did not attend the funeral of deceased on 24th Instant.

Coroner./ I do not know if Deceased kept his part of Contract when I was at Cappelli. I do not know if deceased interfered with Seleno when I was with Cappelli.

notes:

It looks very much like Aylward and Darlington were the main troublemakers.

Significantly, Aylward did not attend Darlington's funeral the next day.