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DURING SEARCH FOR ESCAPED : " PRISONER, "(By Telegraph.—Press Association.) f AUCKLAND, 23rd Februa '-. A shocking fatality occurred in the Parnell .railway tunnel shortly before half-pa^t 11 this morning, when Constable Adam George Begg, of the City Police Force, was struck by a passing train. He was killed while on duty, being one of a police party who were searching for Thomas Smith, a man awaiting trial on a criminal' charge, who escaped from the Rotorua express earlier in the morning. The circumstances of the case were unusually distressing. As far as the escape was concerned, Smith and another man, James Moyne, were being taken under police escort to Rotorua, where they ore to appear ©■'. a charge of having stolen a quantity of benzine from the Terraces Hotel at Taupo. As the express was nearing the Parnell tunnel, Smith used an opportunity to escape from a carriage window, and as the. train was then as» cending a grade, he was able to jump clear without apparent injury. The ala.rm was immediately given and a strong was at once organ-, ised from the Auckland station. Constable Begg, who had been on sight duty, was asleep at the barracks at this time, but with other night-duty constables received instructions to take part in the search. He was^one of a party consisting of a sergeant and several constables. The party entered the tunnel, thinking that Smith might be hiding there in the darkness. While the police -weTe busy making their search near the middle of the tunnel they saw a train'approaching from the city end. They jumped across on to the opposite set of rails, so as to be clear of the oncoming train, but' just at that moment a train from Newmarket rounded the bend at the entrance and entered the tunnel ,on the down grade at high speed.. The searchers in the tunnel were caught in a trap. One man threw himself on the ground at the side of the rails, and .the others tried to flatten themselves against the wall of the tunnel. " All were successful in their judden effort except Constable Begg, and he was apparently •truck by the step of a carriage or by some of the under gear. After the trar-s had passed it wits found that Constable Begg wasN seriously injured. He had sustained a broken leg, broken arm,' and injuries to the head. As soon as possible he was tak- - en in an ambulance to the hospital, but he died at 1 o'clock. ..-■■■'• The railway traffic through the tunael is heavy, and probably 150 trains pass in twenty-four hours. It is therefore quite a common'thing for trains to pass in the tunnel, and this occurs many times a day. •■. .- > Constable Begg was single, 26 years of age, and he lived at the police barracks. He joined the New Zealand Force in October of last year, and thus had only had five months' servift here. For five years, however, he tirid been a member of the Glasgow Police Force. He was regarded by Auckland/police officials as a very promising member of the Force, and he was - favourite with his fellow-constahles. He has no relatives in New Zealand, but it is understood that hia people are in Scotland.

The search for the escaped man Smith was continued, and large numbers of detectives arid constables were engaged in covering likely country without success. Smith was a member of a' party of three men who were originally arrested at Rotorua for the theft of benzine at Taupo. A remand was granted to Auckland, as it was stated that other serious charges were pending. Bail for'the men was first fixed at £50 by Justices at Rotorua, but on the application of rChief-Detec-tive Cuminings at Auckland the bail was increased to £500. One man, Reginald Phillips, found his bail, but has since absconded. The other two men, Smith and Moyne, failed to find their bond and consequently were remanded in custody. Last Week Smith made application for a reduction of his bail, but his request was not successful. Smith is stated by the police to have an Australian criminal record. He is described as a clothier, 31 years of age, and sft lOin in height.

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A POLICEMAN'S FATE, Evening Post, Volume CXI, Issue 47, 24 February 1926

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A POLICEMAN'S FATE Evening Post, Volume CXI, Issue 47, 24 February 1926

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