Trooper Peter WHITE
27 December, 1844
On 27 December, 1844 Trooper White shot himself in the Muswellbrook Mounted Police Barracks. Apparently he was considerably upset following the earlier escape of a prisoner (then a criminal offence for police). Two days earlier, on Christmas Day, the officer-in-charge of the Mounted Police at Jerry’s Plains, Lieutenant Gale, had sent White to execute a warrant on a man named Jones who lived near Muswellbrook. White had executed the warrant by arresting Jones in his tent, and was escorting him to the lock up at Muswellbrook. Jones’ wife and baby accompanied the trooper and his prisoner.
When within about a mile of town Mrs Jones asked the trooper to hold the child for a minute, which he did, and immediately Jones leapt the fence beside the road and escaped. White handed the child back to its mother and fired at the escaping man without success. He apparently searched for him all night with no luck. He reported the escape to the Chief Constable who in turn reported it to Lieutenant Gale on 26 December. Gale told the trooper that the matter had to be reported. Trooper White took the matter to heart to such a degree that the next morning “in a fit of despondency he took advantage of the men being at the stables and fired a pistol into his breast”.
At the time of his death the trooper was attached to the Jerry’s Plains Mounted Police.