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The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Tue 4 Jan 1870 1


    At the Windsor police court, on the 28th ultimo, before Mr Edward Powell, JP, Edward Alston, in custody, was charged with having, on the 18th instant, [sic] at Wilberforce, committed a rape upon the person of one Mary Ann Bragg, aged twelve years. From the evidence it appeared that on Saturday morning last the prosecutrix had been sent by her parents to Wilberforce to sell some butter, and on her return, between nine and ten o’clock am, she was overtaken on Dunstan’s Hill, about two miles from the town of Wilberforce, by the prisoner. The prisoner, who was on foot, asked the complainant the road to Pitt Town, which was shewn him. The prisoner then entered into conversation with the girl, who thought he was a Mr Brown. He said he had been to Mr Hinder’s, the schoolmaster at Wilberforce, and asked complainant if she had any sisters or brothers going to school, and if she went to school. Complainant answered no. the prisoner then requested her to go and stand under a tree, saying he knew her father—had been a schoolmaster for seventeen years—and wanted to talk with her. The complainant, thinking he might have a message for her father, went thirty or forty yards into the bush with the prisoner, when he asked her to sit down. This she refused to do, when prisoner caught hold of her, pulled her down, putting his arm across her mouth, and, as complainant positively swore, committed the alleged offence. Prisoner afterwards told her not to say anything about what had happened, and to meet at the same place on next Saturday. As soon as possible after the outrage had been committed, the complainant made her way home in a dreadful state of mind, crying bitterly, and told what had taken place, first to a neighbour of her father, Mr Ross, and then to her parents. The father lost no time in giving information to the police, and the prisoner who was fully identified, was arrested between twelve and one o’clock the same day at Pitt Town by constable McNelly, and lodged in the Wilberforce lock-up. When prisoner was arrested he denied ever having been at Wilberforce, or having seen the little girl, who was described to him, or having committed the offence. He afterwards admitted at the lock-up, in the presence of the complainant and her father, that he had seen her before, and taken indecent liberties with her, but denied the offence charged.. His worship committed the prisoner for trial at the next sitting of the Central Criminal Court, Darlinghurst. The prisoner, who is a stranger about here, is a respectable-looking man, and about fifty-eight years of age.—Herald’s Windsor Correspondent.

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Empire, Wed 16 Feb 1870 2

(Before his Honor Sir Alfred Stephen, Chief Justice.)


    Edward Alston, an elderly man, was charged with having, on the 18th December, at Wilberforce, indecently assaulted a little girl named Winifred Bragg, under the age of twelve years.

    Prisoner pleaded not guilty, and was defended.

    After the jury were called, sworn, and charged, the prisoner said he was under a misapprehension—he understood that the charge against him was rape.

    Prisoner was, however, informed that the charge was indecent assault simply.

    Prisoner then said he would withdraw his plea, and plead guilty.

    The jury being sworn and charged, his Honor directed the jury, on the prisoner’s own confession, to return a verdict of guilty was, therefore, returned, and the prisoner remanded for sentence.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 16 Feb 1870 3


BEFORE His Honor the Chief Justice.


    Daniel Selby (a lad aged 18 years) was indicted for that he did, at Sydney, on the 3rd December last, indecently assault, and carnally abuse a female child aged about eleven years.

    The prisoner – a person of very youthful and respectable appearance – by the advice of his counsel, Mr Windeyer, instructed by Mr Roberts, pleaded guilty.

     Mr Windeyer addressed the Court in mitigation of sentence. The young female was brought into Court, appeared to be much older than she was stated to be upon the record. Several witnesses gave the prisoner a very high character for industrious habits, and general good conduct.

    Remanded for sentence.


    Edward Alston, a man of respectable appearance, advanced in years, pleaded guilty to the charge of having, at Wilberforce, on the 18th of December last, indecently assaulted a female child.

    The unhappy man (who appeared crushed with remorse and shame) was remanded for sentence.

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Empire, Thu 17 Feb 1870 4

(Before his Honor Sir Alfred Stephen, Chief Justice.)


    Edward Alston, an elderly man, who yesterday pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a female child, under the age of twelve years, was brought up and sentenced to three years’ hard labour in Parramatta gaol.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 17 Feb 1870 5


BEFORE his Honor the Chief Justice.


    The following prisoners were brought up for sentence: Daniel Selby and Edward Alston.

    Daniel Selby, who, on the 15th instant, pleaded guilty to the charge of committing a rape on a child, was sentenced to be imprisonment in Darlinghurst gaol for two years; with the understanding, however, that he will be recommended for a remission of the remainder of his sentence at the end of one year, on his finding two sureties for his good conduct for two years, in £100 each.

    Edward Alston, who, on the 15th instant, pleaded guilty to an indecent assault on a female child, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment (with hard labour) in Parramatta gaol. 


1  The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Tue 4 Jan 1870, p. 4.

2  Empire, Wed 16 Feb 1870, p. 3.

3  The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 16 Feb 1870, p. 2. Emphasis added.

4  Empire, Thu 17 Feb 1870, p. 3.

5  The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 17 Feb 1870, p. 3. Emphasis added.