Three troopers are undergoing counselling after a routine arrest turned to tragedy when the suspect threw himself into a waterhole and drowned.
“That escalated rather quickly,” a distraught trooper Andrew Patterson told The (un)Australian. “At most the poor guy was probably looking at a six month good behaviour bond for stealing one sheep.”
“We were riding by his camp and noticed the bloke grinning like an idiot and doing a bit of dance by himself so we were concerned that he might have been consuming some drugs,” fellow trooper Winton Banjo added. “I observed a suspicious jumbuck shaped lump in his tuckerbag and was preparing to ride back to the station to get a search warrant when he up and jumped into the billabong.
“Like I suspected. Drugs.”
Trooper divers recovered the body of drifter Andy Sang from the small dam on the property of local a squatter. All three troopers are to receive counselling and given fully paid compassionate leave.
“I’m going to have to take some time off to recover from the shock,” said visibly shaken trooper Billy Boyle. “People don’t realise how emotionally wrenching the life of a trooper can be. I suspect I’ll be haunted by the ghost of that poor soul every time I ride by that billabong.”
[This article first appeared in The (un)Australian on August 12, 1895. It is reproduced as part of a historical series looking back on early (un)Australian articles.]