It was like a gangster movie. There were three men in a payroll car containing £3,500, wages for the Runanga State miners. At Camp Hill they hit a horse box and a ladder left in the road. As they got out a masked gunman confronted them – all three were hit as he opened fire. William Hall, the armed guard, returned four shots but was hit in the spine, paralysing him; Isaac James, the mine manager, was slightly grazed; John Coulthard, the driver, was killed.

Police noticed an empty cottage nearby, which had been used as a look-out post. They began hunting for the man who rented it, Frederick Eggers, 31, an Australian who had a criminal record and had disappeared. When he was caught he had a wallet stuffed with banknotes – some of them identified as coming from the ambush. He was found guilty and hanged at Lyttleton Prison at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 5th, 1918.