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Mystery surrounds the murder of the VicPD constable killed over a century ago

Victoria Police Department honouring Const. Johnston Cochrane on the anniversary on his death
Const. Johnstone Cochrane’s memorial plaque with his badge number sits in the VicPD’s hall of honour. Six VicPD officers have lost their lives while on duty. (Photo Submitted/ VicPD)

A ‘whodunit’ over 150 years old plagues the Victoria Police Department as it marks the anniversary of the first police officer killed in the line of duty in B.C.

Const. Johnston Cochrane’s body was found near Craigflower Road after being shot twice, with his service pistol missing in June 2, 1859.

Cochrane had signed out a firearm, left the VicPD on foot and headed to the Craigflower Farm area to serve a warrant on a suspect for a pig theft. police at that time normally went out on patrol unarmed, but this was considered a dangerous duty.

It was the last time Cochrane would be seen alive.

A suspect was arrested two days later but was quickly let go due to a “water-tight” alibi. A second suspect was arrested on June 21, but the charges were dismissed for lack of evidence.

Cochrane was buried in Pioneer Square and his gravesite is unmarked. He was 36 years old and married with children.

Born in Ireland and having also resided in the United States, Cochrane was serving at the time as a police constable for the Colony of Vancouver Island, maintaining peace during the early years of Fort Victoria.

There have been six Victoria police officers who have died while on duty, with Const. Ian Jordan being the most recent. He died on April 11, 2018 due to a motor vehicle crash.

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About the Author: Thomas Eley

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