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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Murder of Police Constable

The murder by shooting of young Constable James Dorgan outside a drapery store in Stafford Street, Timaru, on 27 August 1921, was the cause of one of the most intensive manhunts in South Canterbury, but the killer was never found. The dead man had been left to watch the premises because it was believed that a burglar or burglars were at work inside, but when police reinforcements arrived they found Dorgan fatally shot. The young policeman had a family of three children, and his death and the circumstances of it resulted in a fine example of public cooperation with the police. The search for the murderer was prosecuted with the greatest diligence. There were at least a dozen suspects who were closely questioned, and 70 sets of fingerprints were compared with prints left by the intruder on the door of the shop. With great reluctance the police were compelled to give up the search.