Ernie Abbott, the caretaker at Wellington’s Trades Hall, was killed instantly when he moved a booby-trapped suitcase. Despite lengthy police investigations, the crime remains unsolved.
The suitcase – designed to go off when moved – contained the equivalent of at least 1 kg of gelignite, although the actual explosive has never been identified. The lack of a clear motive for the bombing hampered investigations. An initial theory centred on a bus strike the previous day. Trades Hall was a union building, so it was suspected the bomb was aimed at a unionist. Police investigating the crime, however, concluded that it would have been difficult to assemble the bomb and put it in place in such a short time.
Image: Ernie Abbott (Timeframes)