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WHOSE HAND HELPED SMITH TO GET AWAY?

♦ '.■.-. " ; Underworld Fi^ ernit| Iffis ; Desperate Croofe ;

eQNSTABLL KILLED Bf TRAIN ; • (From "Truth's" Special Auckland Representative.) -..':: : \'s:The chase which followed the escape of a notorious AustraligmJ . ; criminal from the Rotorua. express last week was a battle of wits^ . ■ m which the brains of the detective chiefs of Auckland were pit-^- ? ted against the desperate cunning of the underworld. . ■,— :,0£ V'

tm^ HOMAS SMITH, H&W 1 M alias Han-is, alias B^. /-t~> Hart, alias Phil-, I .'■ . lips, is a sick and .^^^B 1 . = sorrowful man to- %^£&^ m *ZM}^ '" The sufferings from bruises to his limbs sustain- ' IJ^^^^^^^l dow of "a moving " ' \ -v . express into & ,'■-'"":.".: tunnel' is as nothing to the mental anguish arising from the consciousness of having been the cause of another man's death. . - , .; - ■" ■ -.' ; When, m company with' Joseph Moyne.. he left Mt. Eden gaol to go to Rotorua m connection with a charge of stealing benzine valued at- £1 6s 6d, he. had his plans for escape well and truly laid. The pair were m the custody of Senior Detective Hammond, of Auckland, and Constable Johnson, of Rotorua. . , . As instancing the cordial relationship between the railway and police officials, the escort was accommodated m the rear portion of a. passenger coach which was reserved for them. Parnell tunnel is a few minutes' run from Auckland station, on a steep upgrade which.ori account of its proximity to the ' station, admits of a mere "crawl" through by heavy trains. ' : Smith sensed the situation as With a master-mind. ■ . At the psychological moment, as the train drew into the tunnel, he requested to be allowed to go to the lavatory.' At once he. was unshackled and went with the constable to the convenience m the carriage. The policeman placed his boot m the door so as to keep it from shutting. Like a flash, Smith grasped the position. „'" ,

Returning to gaol after his dramatic arrest. ' ■ Biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiuiiiiuiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiniiiiiiiiiiiii

• He let such a drive at the foot of.. the. constable as to teai-^the upper from the sole of his boot. Autcmatically he slammed and locked the door;. The next sound .that was heard was a crash of breaking glass. Smith had/ dived : to>freedorn;'. There is no cqmmunicaiion cord on the trains of iN e^ rZealan^Coh?equent\y iio alarm could . be given: of the daring escape till the train drew into Newmarket , station only a few minutes later. • Though . there was a convergence of many policemen and detectives m the immediate vicinity of the tunnel inside 30 minutes, ' Smith had made excellent use of his time. . "';/•'/ Dallied To Peath ' Amongst ?the first batch of searchers to arrive on' the scene of the escape was Gon.<3tcble Adam George Begg, a young Scotsman, who had, served with •lie r4!usgo f ,w ; . police for five years, .ioiningj.be AucMairid force last bctober. . . ,'.Th« t was -Begg's last assig;nme.n t; , He died at-his post from injuries sustained m being knocked down by a train m the tunnel. ; . Just as" the^search' party entered, the subterranean passage a train dashed .into the gloom, going towards Auckland. ' .'....•<>. ■.: .. ' : ' . Instantly another" entered the tunnel, going m the opposite direction. •' t . 1 The policemen searching and. groping their: way about the dark- ; ness had at once to prostrate themselves ort the ground to save their lives. ■■''=.* •-■ .]■■ Begg was. standing between the two sets of l-ails. „'.- . . . If is thought that; he was' 'struck by the 1 step of one of the trains, for Con-. stable Hook told how he was almost knocked over by some one being. thrown violently against him. ' .'..-' Begg Avas picked up afte^-wards and Was found to be badly injured. His comrades ■.', had him conveyed with all haste to the hospital. . After a short time, the young life flickered and faded— Adam/G eorge Begg had made'the supreme sacrifice m the cause of law and order. The tragic suddenness with whicr the dark mantle of bereayemerit fell about the Auckland police force— for Begg was one . of the most likeable, ••' ■• .' ■ ■ ■•••.■' •' ■ ■.■-.'■ •■' '''I*' ' ' -

modest, and efficient policemen on ;;ttie ! : beat— -whetted the determination 'p to ; cut short the liberty of the vman^ho .•;■ had brcmgtit: about' the untim&y^&eath . of their comrade. '; •.: '.^if^yS ?> ■■ '-."■ Seldom has there bee'n,a\inpre strik- . ing demonstration" of 'the Value of the Press than m the story of the escape- y of Thomas Smith. ' Since the departmental changes, re-, cently effected at "Auclfclarid- there v &tve; .'; been signs of a change of policy re- V garding publicity. „,. „„ '"^ \~\ ■ A photograph of- Smith "was^ \S , handed to the Press and was pwb- N . | ished broadcast on the evening of . • the escape. ■ .:'-'.;"■ : ■ '.'■'' Very shortly after the hour of^pub,- ;' licatipn the police received notification;^ from a motorist, who recogni^ed.Sniith -A\ : from the newspaper'; .that he-had; driven i f the escaped man across 'the Domain to Symonds Street m the forenoon. , , ' . Smitri suddenly appeared from the; scrub ont o a path m the Domain and * ' bailed up the motorist. „ iH,< Showing ; a bandaged and bleed- |l ing wri'st^ he.jas.kejfcf of^a lift-'as^far ' as the hospital," stating that he had met with a nasty accident. ' Arrived at .Symonds ■' .Sti'e'et,. Smith" was seen by his new-fduridirfirierid to , ' . take a taxi. , ' ;m He had informed the motorist' that ";^ he desired .to, go to Newton Place,^.,, >4Denizeils of Crookdom This was the begimiihg of the end-fot^ Smith.'. .. • . . ; ; ' '■■ /.■■ . '\ : *ts.\ Around Newton is the haunt of manyi| of Auckland's bestTknpjvii-q'rtoolis.- J'i Everyone of thehiris^ lAoWa by thsf| local C.LD.i.vK %-a^^H "• . 'p; Their movements, and where- '.£s' abouts are the sp,?c^al.. concern of |'l the trackers of c^me;' :> f : ?;.^ :^ ••. By va course 'oi reasoning. ; shro'ijde4;-v m mystel^^..tQ•lh^K^;pUblijiY«nd^;kiiipw^•; only to tho^'W£'<^/ar^^'l^e''^btislj]^le'^fo£^i'' ' public J s&f |f|j£;' a^^t^iiH^s y se^^foni #X particular |ipfcse/ r ~ ; '"~"~""^''"^^feU^ M '■'.".■ A , certain ' Newton' man is dtftnjg? a short sentence afr.Mt. QSden; at present, v ■ > \ ■ ITl^ere has: been,- I^ .possibility, of ills having been- -in touch with ' Smith Be-hind-prison walls?; ; , . >j,s- - V; How came it that Smith, a pri- $)% .. soner that morning outYof Mt. Eden %'•&.'■■. gaol, had quite a respectable sum of money m his possession? This fact was prpyedr.by.. the, f ugftiv^f " * offering to pay the\'inQtorist.-».tp":whom he was obliged for a lift. - :.. . Who, Was'the frjicnd . behind thS > ,*"' c j J scenes working stealthily but none ,>?/;" the less •effectively Stb effect^he/ s!'; escape of 'this "daring Australian* ;', criminal? Jo ' - o ."'. " .- i Smith has a Avlfe.; •Atlle^sC he calls fVr her such, and wiis Iqiown to have, li^ed kj with her m rjrV :^ Sv But she is hot'irilAucklahia aria lms ,:' not been near Mt. Eden, ,-f I: T" "' f: Hers was riot the hand^vhich passed '.^" Smith, the £10 note he. must have* yon- ' • cealed about his "perspn.-/ ■ ' '■': '; i-.)-Or was there hictderi. m. the thick' i'.^ scrub of tKe_pjomarn-cfose han3y to? ">■' -. the .^PaFnelf tunnel' an "accomplipe ; v. - ready to befriend .the escaDes. -as _ /.*,% he Jumped from the express? ./.Uv.^l ?:;. In t'ne underworld of crime there, is a womierful 7iet\vx>rk o"f/ } cdmmunioations and. the fraternity 'of !cropks :! .has bafflccl detection by its com.pieteness many times. . ' Hitting the Trail \ ■ ; ' Detective Nalder, after much m- ■• r ■quiry, came upon the taxi-driver who had taken Smith as a fare to the- "Star"' - Hotel.. ••■'-■ ■■'..- .■■ ; ..": "",.'■ ; , "i. ■■'- ■■'■ Here, the fugitive shouted fbr tiro motorman, changed a tenner, and afterwards.-', drove . to Newton Place, where he paid his driver 10/-, though only 5/- was asked. . ! Smith sidestepped his pursuers, uri- . dor the friendly cover of darkness on, Tuesday .'night. . „ ; '." .^ ".;.'■ But Fate took a /throw of. the ; dice the'fdllowing day. „-- -■ As v. chance look at a newspaper had* been th'e means of getting the es^ capee's first foot into the meshes of the net set for him, so was sudha workaday occurrence . responsible for the drawing close of the. entanglement •which cut short his liberty. *- ' Just as ; dusk was falling arnotorcar drew into the main street of Pokfeno. ••.. ' . = T No cne took any rip^ice^of such a frequent event. _/\'^'":~. ~' '".:* -..:.... i\ i The car ,f tided away _as sudde.iTJy.; as it had 'cornel ; "' ;: ,-^%<. ,«rSv^ A few minutes later a man Avearing a chirk suit^aii^' ' hbbn'ail'^'-boots, with featiiLCK which could notfbe very easily discerned behind a stubble of dark haii-, upproacheel a local. s: taxi-hiveiv •' , The stranger was of , the ordinary : artisanrloaking type and asked toj, be driven ; to Paeroa. '•:*. ■ ■' ' \ ■•' ■ ■ ' -' ' . i With commendable alacrity of intellect the motorman considered sucli: a request, m the circumstances, strange. He looked at his, rnai? again and; came to his decisioh^-c; :^fe .>- --' With 'the aft'abili^.rcKa^'a^,eristic'|^f '', his calling:, he negotiated-, regarding] a fee. then having thus^ga'iricd timevjto make his flr.st su.spiqtpns reasonrtpjly sure he asked for ■.a.few^minutes to get his car ready. '_...■:;■''. , >: .■'■'-•'" While doii^so Brown sent .word to the local ■ police of his suspicious visitor. „-•"' .' ..■ . . :-..:■ ..:.j-:.. -.-:.-■ r:.r::.;^y;' ••'•■■'' He arranged that if he could not ; ' hold Smith, who, of course, it was, '•■ he would set put ; on the 'main; road i - a n d ' f a ike"? erig i n e ?t i\6 Sii[&tii] £ l^Kej p . ; arrived. :- - With all haste this news was passed on to jVTercer, and Brown\ s'ueSee'ded m marking time with his engine repairs" till the police arrived froiii Mercer and;took over custody of their precious' quarry .:.''.. -,:/;": .':.":■' v t - . {'' -' Smith was .corhpletely taken aback ?. ■,-" and denied his identity at > first, but. \ . later tlirepr up the sppnge- „,,.■• ;;. i Hewas taken m charge and"motored;: ' to where he- was placed un-;V . der . lock and key' about ./midnight. V His liberty had,, extended to just on 38 hours. - , ' When he appeared m ! the Auckland' Police Court the follpwirig morning his appearance was a transterriiation. Instead of the neatly- dressed,- alert,;- . ready-spoken mail wlio had asked, for a reduction of ba,il,,. the, figure that an-; swered to the name-; of Thomas Smith rumbled slowly, ; to the clamp* clamp,' clamp of heavj* footwear, into the V dock. '."•.. The suit was an untidy: fity he 3 ; jwas , unshaven and his ,hair a jumhled mop, while his hands. were ■■ manacled m front of him. . . , -

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Bibliographic details

WHOSE HAND HELPED SMITH TO GET AWAY?, NZ Truth, Issue 1058, 4 March 1926

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1,625

WHOSE HAND HELPED SMITH TO GET AWAY? NZ Truth, Issue 1058, 4 March 1926

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