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THE ATTEMPT TO UPSET A TRAIN AT NORMANBY.

Before Mr Beetham, at Timaru, on Saturday morning, Edward Jeffrey was charged with unlawfully placing timber and stones on the railway. Detective Kirby : From information I received, I went out to the place of accused on the IGth at Normanby. Mr Cragie’s house is the nearest house to the station —about half a mile distant. I went to Cragie’s, and recollect seeing the accused there. He was driving some cows in the yard A conversation took place between us. I asked him where he had been at work. He replied he had been working in the swamp at the back of the house all the day. 1 then asked him if he had been on the railway on that day. He said he had been along the railway, and pointed to Normanby township, to fetch the cows home to milk. He said “ I hope I didn’t do any harm.” I asked him what he meant. He made no reply. I then asked him if he would come along the railway with me and show me the way he had gone the previous afternoon. We went along the railway, and during the journey along I told him I was a police ofliecr. Just before wo got to the Normanby platform ho said again ‘‘ I hope I did not do any harm.” I said “ What did you do !” He replied “ I throw a piece of board across the rails,” and pointed to a place near the goods platform He then went some few hundred yards from the platform, and showed me where he had fetched the cows from. We then returned to Mr Cragie’s homestead. Considering the serious, statement he had made to me, I asked him to come to Timaru and see Inspector Pender. He did so, and then went away home again On the following day I went out to Normanby in company with Inspector Pender, and saw two men there, a ganger and another employee. There are two platforms there, one a goods, and the other a passenger platform, about 150 yards apart. There was something noticed on the goods platform, which is south of the others on the goods platform. There was a mark similar to what the piece of wood produced woidd make close to the edge of the platform. There were footprints close to the mark coming from the south, and leading up to the place where this timber had been lying. Further up to the passengers’ platform the tracks came back again to the railway metals, and went back close to the goods platform, and were lost in the ballast of the line. There was clay leading up to where the piece of wood was lying and the marks were very plain. I then went to Cragie’s and asked accused for all his boots, and he handed me the boots produced. The nails in the boots are English, with square heads. Some nails are wanting in the centre and side. I compared the marks with the boots, in company with two men. The tracks made by these boots exactly correspond. Prisoner was present and saw them compared. The impression made yesterday was more distinct than the former ones. When the accused saw the first prints he said he had been that way three weeks before to go off by train. Afterwards he said to me that he had been up and down that way the previous evening with me. He did not go up that way ; ho wont on the other side with me. I produce some grass that was growing near where the timber was, which has marks on it as if they had been done by nailed boots. After that I arrested the prisoner, and charged him with wilfully and maliciously putting a piece of wood across the railway metals at Normanby on that evening. Previous to being charged he said that he had seen two men galloping under the terrace near the station, when he was returning with the cows—to the best of my belief he said returning—on the 15th inst. I got the stones and piece of wood produced from the railway authorities. The country about Normanby is very open, and the railway platforms are visible for some distance. Prisoner : Did you tell me that there were two men at the sandbank who w r ould come forward and swear on their oath they saw me do it i Witness : No. Prisoner : You did, sir. Did you not tell me when you came there on the night of the 15th that you were a railway official from Albury, had hurt your arm, and were sent to enquire as you could do nothing else I Witness : No. Prisoner : You did, sir. Did you not threaten to shoot me if I moved '? Witness : No. Prisoner : You did, sir. Did I tell you that I threw a piece of timber on the line I Witness : Yes. Prisoner : 1 did not, sir. The case was remanded till to-day.

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THE ATTEMPT TO UPSET A TRAIN AT NORMANBY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 11, 21 October 1879

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