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John William (Snowy) Prendergast (1907–1930)

Extraordinary circumstances appear to have led up to the death of John William Prendergast, who was found in a laneway at the rear of a shop conducted by Mrs. Kathleen Barry, also known as Kate Leigh, in Riley Street, Surry Hills, at 7 o'clock this morning.

A small section of the ground near by was stained with blood and the glass of the windows at the back of the shop had been shattered and the window frame splintered.

Near by was found a short length of iron with which the damage might have been done.

Two men who were seen leaving the neighbourhood in a car were overtaken and detained.

Prendergast was conveyed to the Sydney Hospital where he died an hour later.

The detectives later found a single shot small bore rifle and an empty cartridge shell.

Subsequently, the police arrested Kathleen Barry on a charge of murder.

The deceased, who was a native of Victoria, has been employed as a fire man and steward.

The theory is that Prendergast was shot when he was inside the building and that he climbed through the window and collapsed in the lane.

It appears that a resident of Riley Street telephoned the Darlinghurst Police Station to the effect that some men were raiding Mrs. Barry's shop and two constables immediately went to the scene.

They arrived within a few minutes and found Prendergast unconscious in the lane. Constable Blackman in a police car chased another car containing two men which was leaving the scene and after a short distance, overtook the fugitive car and detained two men.

Prendergast's death was found to be due to a bullet wound in the stomach.

After Mrs. Barry was charged with murder three men were charged with having broken and entered the home of Kathleen Barry with intent to steal.

It appears that the raiders wrecked the inside of the room, and there is a suggestion that the raiders were searching for Walter Tomlinson who gave evidence at the trial of Frank Green last week.

The police found that Prendergast had served various terms of imprisonment. It was stated that when arrested, he always gave a fictitious name. He is a native of Victoria but came to New South Wales at an early age.

At the Central Police Court this afternoon, Kathleen Barry, formerly Kate Leigh, 40, domestic duties, was charged with having murdered John William Prendergast. She was remanded until April 10. On the question of bail, Mr. Abigail said that the police would admit that the accused had got into touch with them on Sunday and informed them that four men had gone into her house and destroyed her furniture.

Mr. Abigail said that they were looking for a man who was a Crown witness and because they failed to find him, they tried to kill the accused.

Detective-Sergeant Lynch said that accused had told him that one man who broke into the house to-day threw a brick at her and threatened her life and also that of the wife of a man who was with her.

He said that accused told the police that she fired a shot from a rifle in self defence and Prendergast staggered out of the house.

Witness said that from police inquiries, accused's story seemed to be true. He said that after the attack on Sunday, four men were brought into the police station but defendant said that she would be satisfied if they promised not to interfere again and so they were allowed to go, and two of them, one of whom was the deceased, were among the offenders this morning.

The accused was allowed £300 bail on condition that she report daily to the police at Darlinghurst.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Prendergast, John William (Snowy) (1907–1930)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Victoria, Australia


27 March, 1930 (aged ~ 23)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death