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Perry, John (c. 1808–1826)

John Perry was found guilty on 30 December 1822 at Surrey of a felony. Sentenced to life imprisonment he arrived at Hobart, Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), aboard the Commodore Hayes in August 1823.

On 24 February 1823 Perry was sentenced to 50 lashes for drunkenness and breach of trust. On 22 June 1824 he was sentenced to two years at Macquarie Harbour for absconding. On 1 February 1825 for absconding from George Town he was sentenced 50 lashes and work in the gaol gang until an opportunity came to send him to George Town. On 28 July 1825 for assaulting Thomas Banks in the prisoner barracks he was ordered to work in the gaol gang for two months. On 28 November 1825 he was sentenced to 50 lashes and ordered to be removed to Macquarie Harbour.

Perry escaped from the Launceston Watch House in December 1825 and joined a gang headed by Thomas Jefferies. During their few months on the run Jefferies killed seven people, including an infant. At a time when they were short of food, they apparently cast lots to decide who would die and be eaten by the others. Russell lost. He didn't believe they would carry out their plan but, according to Jefferies' confession when he was caught, he shot Russell in the head that night, and they 'lived on his flesh for four days'.

John Perry's age was given as 18 when he was hanged on 4 May 1826 at Hobart for the murders of John Isaac Tibbs, an infant child, and Constable Magnus Blakie from Georgetown. He had been with Thomas Jefferies when the murders took place and was found guilty of aiding and abetting the murders.

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Citation details

'Perry, John (c. 1808–1826)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/perry-john-31479/text38934, accessed 20 October 2021.

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