Detective Constable 1st Class John Edward DUNN
New South Wales Police Force
Shot – Murdered
25 April, 1940
On 25 April, 1940 Sergeant Hall attended a dwelling in Ocean Street, Wollongong where an offender named Hinsby had beaten his wife to death. After he was confronted and threatened by the offender, who had now taken siege in the house, he called for reinforcements. Among those to attend were Detectives John Dunn and R.A. Debney. While negotiations were taking place with the offender, a piece of paper was thrown from a window, and, assuming that it was a note from the offender, Detective Debney crept up to the window to retrieve the paper. As he did so a shot was fired from inside the house, through the window. The shot struck Detective Dunn, who was waiting nearby and watching Detective Debney. The bullet hit Detective Dunn in the forehead and he was killed instantly. Tear gas was then used in an effort to flush the offender out, however it was soon found that Hinsby had committed suicide.
The Advocate newspaper of 22 May, 1940 reported briefly on the inquest into the matter.
RISKED LIFE ONLY TO SEE COMRADE SHOT
SYDNEY, Tuesday – “You two are married, I’m single. I’ll go and get it.” Saying this to two other detectives, Detective Debney went to a window of a house in which an armed murderer was holding the police at bay at Wollongong on April 25 to receive a paper which had fallen from the window. When he reached the window a shot was fired and Detective Dunn, one of the detectives who had remained behind, fell fatally wounded. This story was told at the inquest to-day into the death of Detective John Edward Dunn (35), George Hinsby (55), and his wife, Amelia Devine Hinsby (45). The Coroner found that Hinsby murdered his wife and Detective Dunn and committed suicide while temporarily insane. It was stated in evidence that since an accident 15 years ago Hinsby had been subject to ungovernable fits of rage.”
The detective constable was born in Victoria in 1904 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 27 March, 1929. At the time of his death he was stationed at Wollongong.