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Jurymen and Electricians Finds Dry Cell Queerly Arranged


Submission of Exhibits to Experts in Bombs Is Advised

"We, the coroner's jury empaneled to inquire in the deaths of John McKie, Peter Verigin. P.J. Campbell and Nehal Singh, find that the above-mentioned persons came to their deaths as a result of the discharge of a high explosive placed within passenger coach No. 1586 of the Canadian Pacific Railway company by some person or persons unknown.

"We strongly urge the Canadian Pacific Railway company to ask the provincial authorities to continue their efforts to definitely place the responsibility for the disaster, and to this end we recommend that exhibits A and B which we have before us be examined by experts and their ownership determined if possible."

—Verdict of Grand Forks coroner's jury.

Fragments of "Plant" Produced

GRAND FORKS. B.C.. Nov. 2.Production of remnants of the alleged infernal machine believed to have been planted to kill Peter Verigin, the Doukhobor leader, and which caused the Farron train disaster last Wednesday morning, was the only feature of the inquest over the bodies of four victims of the wreck. The inquest was resumed Saturday morning before Coroner Kingston and concluded in the evening.

The coroner's jury found that the wreck had been caused by a high explosive placed within the passenger coach by some person unknown, and also that the proper authorities continue efforts to definitely place responsibility.

Portions of a clock and dry cell battery, thought to be parts of a time bomb plant. were submitted by Edward J. House, Canadian Pacific Railway constable at Nelson. who said he had found them while searching the scene of the wreck in company with Staff-Sergt. E. Gammon of the provincial police force at Nelson.

Two pieces of suggested mechanism were produced. One was the main portion of an alarm clock of Italian manufacture, with works exposed. It had been picked up close to where the ill-fated car burned. The alarm spring was run down but the time spring was wound up, and the hands indicated 6 o'clock. A short piece of copper wire was found soldered to one of the cog wheels, and was suggested as being the connecting link with the battery to the cause of the explosion. The clock had apparently gone through the fire.

The other section of the plant was what appeared to be the upper half of a dry cell battery. An unusual feature was that fastened to the metal top of the battery was a tapelike piece of tin or rolled copper 4 inches in length, while at the opposite terminal was attached a copper cap about the size of an ordinary oilcan top.

This was thoroughly examined by jurymen and officials at the inquest as well as by local electricians, and opinion is unanimous that nothing like it had been seen before. It was declared that no battery of this kind was used in the equipment of the railway company.

This remnant of battery had been found 50 feet up the embankment from the location of the coach when the explosion took place but four car lengths from the car was found. The battery was torn but not burned in any way.

Having the circumstances in mind Constable House declared he thought the clock and battery were "parts of a time bomb or infernal machine."

An interesting incident occurred at this point when it was stated that Mrs. T.L. Russo, one of the injured persons of the train, had been carrying an alarm clock and lost it. For a time it looked as if the infernal machine theory might explode. However, examination of Mrs. Russo revealed the fact that her clock was of a different design. It also transpired that two other clocks were being carried by passengers in the same coach—both by Sikhs—but neither tallied with the one found.

As suggesting the terrible nature of the explosion in the railway coach, Constable House also told of wooden siding from the wrecked car having been driven into logs 250 feet away so deep that they could not be removed by hand. Some of the wreckage had been thrown 500 feet. Parts of suit cases and clothing hung in trees 200 feet distant.

A Pocket With a Wad

Perhaps the oddest bit of wreckage found was a complete pocket from a man's trousers, ripped off at the point where sewn to the garment. This had been found by itself 300 feet from the explosion, and contained a purse with $35 in American bills and silver.

Two other witnesses, injured patients at Grand Forks hospital. were examined. These were T.L. Russo, who, with his wife, also in hospital, was en route from Trail to the coast. He had heard much noise from heating pipes, but these were found to be intact.

Patrick O'Shaughnessy had been with two pals en route from East Kootenay to the coast. The explosion had sounded like a pistol shot. Then he became unconscious and was later dragged from the wreckage.

They gave little practical information as to the cause of the accident.

Source: Grand Forks Jury Urge Continue Hunt To Find Assassin, Nelson Daily News, November 3, 1924.

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