Policing in Australia Since 1788 - In the Line of Duty
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Constable Joseph Luker of the Sydney Foot Police murdered

NSW 1803
The killing of Constable Joseph Luker 1803, 2003
ink on paper, 20 x 30cm
Danny Webster

The death of Constable Joseph Luker of the Sydney Foot Police in 1803 is the first recorded death of a member of the police in Australia. Luker was deported from Middlesex arriving in Jervis Bay on the 'Atlantis' in 1791. In 1796 he was declared a freeman and became a police constable. Luker married Ann Chapman in Sydney in 1797. Whilst patrolling on foot at night in Back Row East, Sydney Town (now Phillip Street) Constable Luker was attacked and killed. His body was found the following morning with the guard of his cutlass embedded in his skull. Four offenders later faced court: Joseph Samuels, Isaac Simmonds and Richard Jackson and James Hardwicke. Three were acquitted. Samuels was sentenced to death, a sentence eventually commuted when three attempts to hang him failed.