Chief Constable Joseph YATES
14 October, 1818
In early October, 1818 a settler named Christopher Ward, who lived on the Liverpool Road near Parramatta, had a bag of sugar stolen from his home by an employee named Peter Aldamos (alias Peter Adams). On 14 October Ward was searching for Aldamos when he came across Constable Yates who was walking to Parramatta. The two then walked together and no doubt Ward informed the constable of the theft of the sugar. A short time later they met Aldamos coming in the opposite direction carrying a bundle on a stick over his shoulder. Constable Yates, who apparently knew the offender well, inspected the bundle and found that it contained sugar, so he decided to take Aldamos to Parramatta. As the three men walked along the Liverpool Road Aldamos suddenly produced a knife and stabbed the constable in the chest and then the witness Ward in the arm. Both victims then attempted to run away from the offender, who followed the constable for a short distance to where he was lost from Ward’s sight. Aldamos then returned to where the attack had begun, picked up a stick that Ward had been carrying and a handkerchief dropped by Constable Yates and left. Ward walked to Parramatta and reported the incident to the police.
The following day the constable’s body was found in Bowman’s Paddock, about 200 metres from where he had been stabbed. That evening local constables arrested the offender Aldamos, who was still in possession of Constable Yates’ handkerchief and two knives. He was later charged by Chief Constable Oakes of Parramatta, was convicted and sentenced to death. The constable’s name is sometimes recorded as Yeates.
The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser of 5 December, 1818 described the aftermath of the murder as follows.
Peter Aldamos, a Spaniard, commonly known by the name of Peter Adams, a tailor by profession, who had been several years in this colony and spoke good English was afterwards placed at the bar and indicted for the willful murder of Joseph Yeates, a Constable of Liverpool, on the 13th of October, within three quarters of a mile of Parramatta, by stabbing him with a knife in the left breast.
Mr. Oakes, Chief Constable of Parramatta, was present at the finding of the body on the 14th of October, and received the prisoner into charge the same evening, he having been apprehended by the pursuing constables. The handkerchief of the deceased was bound round one of his arms, and the other arm was bound round also; he said he had been attacked by a mob, and was wounded in both arms, on examining which, Mr. Oakes found upon one several long incisions that were like scratches, and two slight stabs on the other. He denied having any knife about him, and was unwilling to be searched; but in the performance of this precautionary measure two clasp knives were found in the watch pocket of his pantaloons; the punctures and lacerations on his arms were scarcely more than skin wounds, though some of the latter were several inches long: neither his jacket or shirt was at all cut.
At the time of his death the constable was stationed at Liverpool, having been designated as constable at that location in the Government and General Orders of 21st March, 1818.