24/08/1917 - WILL DENY THE STORY TOLD BY ASSELSTINE
William Hynes Says It Was After Midnight Before He and Dornan Visited Crescent Oil Company’s Offices – Did Not Go Upstairs
Last Night’s Session of the Inquest Added to the Mystery Surrounding Death of Dr. MacRobbie – Case Has May Peculiar Features
That the police still have much hard work ahead of them (unless they have a card or two up their sleeves that they have not yet played) in order to clear up the mystery surrounding the tragic death of Dr. MacRobbie was indicated by the evidence given at the preliminary session of the inquest last night. Neither the police nor coroner made any bones about the fact that they were far from satisfied with the evidence as Asselstine and Bell, two employees of the Crescent Oil company, who were among the first to know of the tragedy and the first on the scene. Both witnesses were warned that they would probably be recalled before the conclusion of the inquest, and they were advised to refresh their memories in the meantime. As matters now stand, so far as the public is concerned, last night’s session of the inquest tended to deepen rather than clear away the mystery
WILL NOT HELP MUCH
If they are depending on the evidence of Eddie Dornan and “Bill” Hynes, the two men who are said to have entered the building with Asselstine, to clear matters up, the authorities are likely to meet with grievous disappointment. When seen this morning Dorian would not say plainly what his evidence was likely to be, but hinted that is would not differ materially from that given by Asselstine and Bell last night. Hynes was also non-communicative to newspaper men, but has already told his story to several of his friends, and it is calculated to add greater confusion to the case, in that it will contradict the story of Asselstine in several important particulars
“If I am called as a witness I will have to contradict Asselstine regarding the time the tragedy was discovered,” said Hynes this morning. “He says it was about half-past eleven when he met Dornan and myself and that we went upstairs together. As a matter of fact, it was after 12 o’clock before we started up to the Crescent Oil building and must have been close to a quarter after twelve before we got there, so that is Asselstine know at 11.30 that somebody had been hurt he knew if before he met us. But I think he is rattled and doesn’t know what time it was.”
“But Bell says he was called at ten minutes to twelve,” it was suggested to Hynes.
“I know, but he is wrong. It was certainly after midnight before Dornan and myself came on the scene, and it was at Dornan’s suggestion that Asselstine called up Bell,” was the reply.
WHAT HYNES WAS DOING
Hynes says that he spent last Sunday evening at the beach and saw Donan there also, although they were not together. He came home on a late car and, having some business in the west end, called around to see Dornan. They sat chatting until midnight and were standing on the corner of Cannon and Bay streets when Dornan noticed and automobile near the Crescent Oil building. Believing it to be McAuliffe’s, Dornan said:
“Let us go up and see if McAuliffe is up there and send him home.”
Hynes says he accompanied Dornan and when they got to the building Asselstine was in the driveway. Dornan asked for Smith and Asselstine led the way to the side door.
“Asselstine is wrong when he says I followed them inside,” said Hynes today. “Dornan knew Smith and had no hesitation about going in to his office, but I did not know him and hesitated. Asselstine and Dornan went upstairs together and I remained in the driveway. I don’t know what they saw or what took place, but as they came down I heard Dornan advise Asselstine to call Bell on the telephone, and I believe he did so. Dornan told me Dr. MacRobbie had been hurt and was bleeding, but he evidently did not think it was serious, nor did I. I waited around with Dornan until Bell came, and then I went upstairs for the first time. Two of the other men were still asleep on the floor.
“I don’t remember taking any part in the conversation, but I heard them telephoning for a doctor and, not wishing to become involved in the matter, I went away with Dornan, but even then we had no idea that anything serious had happened. We stood around at the corner until after the doctor came and then walked past the building and saw Bell coming out. We asked him how the injured man was and he replied, “He’s dead”. We left before the police arrived, and I don’t know anything more about the matter.”
THINKS IT AN ACCIDENT
“It would not be fair to the other to answer that, so I will say nothing about it,” replied Edward Dornan, proprietor of the Royal Oak hotel at the corner of Bay and Cannon streets, within half a block of the Crescent Oil company building, when interviewed this morning and asked the question: “Was the scene upstairs and the talk that took place when you followed Asselstine into the building the same as described by Asselstine and Bell at the inquest last night?”
Dornan, who with William Hynes, a boarder at the Traders’ hotel, called at the oil company’s offices and asked to see Smith at 11.30 Sunday night, very emphatically declared: “I have made up my mind to say nothing about it until I get in the witness box. I am not blaming you for asking me, but I have decided that it would be better to save my story until I take the stand.”
“I think that it will all turn out to be just an accident,” declared Dornan in conclusion.
MAY TELL SAME STORY
Detective Sayer this morning gave out some interesting information regarding Dornan and Hynes’ call at the old company’s office on Sunday night.
“Dornan and Hynes were standing at the corner of Bay and Cannon streets in front of Dornan’s hotel when Asselstine and C. V. Scott were taking McAuliffe’s car off the street and putting it in the alley next the office. They thought it was Smith driving in, so they went down to see him.”
“What do Dornan and Hynes say about what happened upstairs when they went in with Asselstine and after Harry Bell arrived?” The detective was asked.
“They told the same story as Bell and Asselstine about what was found and what happened up there,” replied Detective Sayer.
WHAT SMITH SAID
“He denied all knowledge of Dr. MacRobbie being hurt and kept repeating, ‘I know nothing about it,’ and evaded my questions,” said Detective Sayer this morning when asked what statement Smith had made to him when brought back to the office from his home early Monday morning. In answer to the question, “Was Smith drunk then?” the officer said that it was impossible to tell because Smith habitually stammered and talked in an unusual manner anyway.
THE DETECTIVE’S VIEW
Asked if he could explain how Smith, apparently, according to Asselstine’s evidence, sober at 10.30 o’clock, could apparently be drunk at 11.30, Detective Sayer remarked: “It appears that Smith and others showed signs of having been drinking when they were seen riding around in an auto on the mountain in the early evening, so this would be Smith’s second jag and it would not require so much to knock him out.”
According to station duty officers at police headquarters, Smith was the only comparatively sober one of the three men being held when they were locked up after the tragedy.
DID NOT CONCEAL WHERE ABOUT.
That Asselstine did not conceal the whereabouts of McAuliffe to the police after their arrival on the scene of the tragedy is evidenced by Detective Sayer’s statement that after he had learned upon reaching the scene that three men had been there and gone before his appearance, he said to Asselstine: “Where are they now?”
“I think one is outside.”
“Out in the yard,” replied Asselstine
“Well, then, come and show me where,” ordered the officer and then Asselstine led the way to where McAuliffe was lying asleep.
WHAT CAR WAS THIS?
That there was more excitement than the tragedy around that section of the city near the corner of Caroline and Cannon street last Sunday evening was discovered this morning when a lady living on North Caroline street just below Cannon street stated that she had been awakened some time between 10.30 and 11 o’clock by an auto driving down the hill from Cannon street at such a furious rate of speed that is sounded like a motor truck. She looked out and noticed that the car was full of men. The auto turned up Mill Street, taking the corner at a dangerous rate. This woman said she heard no shouts nor singing from the car, but she thought it an “unusual car” because of the speed at which it was traveling and the noise it was making.
None of the residents on the west side of Caroline Street immediately north of Cannon street could remember seeing Smith walking up in front of their homes on Sunday night although some of them know him by sight.
It would have been possible for Smith and the man, who Asselstine says he don’t know, to leave the Crescent Oil company building by the side entrance and walk back to Mill street through the alley and then up Caroline and Cannon back to the office, or for anyone to enter from the rear through that same alley.
TRIO TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED
According to the police, McAuliffe, Scott and Smith are to be brought from the jail to the police headquarters this afternoon in order that they may be photographed by the court photographer and their finger prints taken.
In local police circles this morning much importance was attached to different positions of the body as described by Asselstine and Bell. The former swore that the doctor’s head was resting on the iron bar when he went downstairs to ‘phone for Bell, and Bell declared that the doctor’s head was two inches away from the bar when he arrived on the scene.
MRS. SMITH WON’T TELL
“I’m sorry, but I have nothing to say. I think it best to say nothing until I am called on,” replied Mrs. Harry Smith this morning when asked: “Is it trust that you did not leave the Crescent Oil Company’s office on Sunday night until 10.15?”
WHAT THE “NOTE” WAS
At the inquest last night Crown Attorney Washington questioned Asselstine about taking a note to C. W. Bell’s office. Asselstine replied that is was not a note, but a telegram, which was a bluff. This now, addressed to Asselstine, it was learned today, was written on a telegram form and read: “Tell the people you know.” It was signedby Smith,” but the writing was not Smith’s
Among other work that he is doing in connection with the investigation, Detective Sayer this afternoon re-examined some of the witnesses who testified last night.
When the inquest is continued next Friday night the following witnesses will be called, among others, and cross-examined: Benjamin Fowler, salesman for the oil company: Edward Dornan, William Hynes and Mrs. Harry Smith. Asselstine and Bell are sure to be recalled, and again subjected to a rigid examination regarding the position of the body, why they did not awaken Smith and what they said to each other that night. Bell will again be asked what he and Smith said as they drove down from Smith’s house in McAuliffe’s car after the tragedy just before McAuliffe was arrested.
It was announced today by M. J. O’Reilly, K.C., and C. W. Bell that no further application for bail for McAuliffe, Smith and Scott will be made until after the inquest is concluded, that is, providing they are still held then.
UNDER GREAT STRAIN
One of the noteworthy features of the inquest last night that was commented on by the back-benchers was the clarity, distinctness and convincing manner in which the widow, Mrs. MacRobbie, gave her evidence. Her appearance on the witness stand was very dramatic, and she gave her testimony in a most dramatic manner. Only once while in the box did she appear on the verge of breaking down, then she whispered for a glass of water. All through the enquiry Mrs. MacRobbie remained in court and listened intently to the evidence. On one or two occasions, when Asselstine and Bell were talking about finding the body and seeing the blood, she gave little involuntary cries softly at times, but on the whole appeared remarkably composed for one who had been the chief sufferer from such a tragedy.
MANY DOCTORS PRESENT
Another outstanding feature of the enquiry was the presence of an unusually large number of local doctors. The medical profession paid tribute to the memory of their deceased fellow-member by evincing the liveliest interest in the enquiry, as was proven by the presence of over a score of physicians. No medical evidence was submitted. As had been expected, nor will it be until the other witnesses have been heard, although Dr. Langs will probably be called next Friday night to tell who were on the scene and what was said after his arrival.
Dr. Jaffrey, of the city hospital staff, the expert who is conducting the blood tests, was not called, and no blood spots were mentioned last night, except two pools of blood found near where the doctor’s hear was resting.