asked the Lord Advocate, with regard to the two shepherds found dead in the Island of Rona, Whether the statement is true that they were placed in the island to prevent fishing crews from stealing sheep from thence, and that attempts at sheepstealing were made after they were stationed there; and, whether any steps were taken by the police or other authorities to verify, so far as practicable, the cause of death by examination of the bodies or otherwise?
THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. B. BALFOUR)
The two shepherds were stationed in the Island of Rona to watch the tacksmen's sheep. They went there in June, and were twice visited in August. In that month nine men landed on the Island and forcibly carried away five sheep and some tobacco belonging to the shepherds. The case was investigated at the time; but the men have not been identified. The Island, which is 40 miles from the Butt of Lewis, was inaccessible from the month of August till the 22nd of April. On that day the shepherds were found dead with their clothes on, one inside their house, and the other outside near the door. They had an ample supply of fuel and provisions. The bodies were buried 1632 without being stripped or examined. No marks of violence were observed. As soon as the case was reported a warrant to exhume the bodies was obtained by the Procurator Fiscal, and it will be executed as soon as possible.