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Kent Online Parish Clerks

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Reports of Coroner's Inquests

Transcribed by Michael Coomber, graciously provided to the Kent OPC for display.
Contributors of additional abstracts are noted by their initials placed in square brackets at the end of the source citation.

Source:  London Gazette (London, England), Issue 8814 published on the 10 January 1748, p. 4.  [SDY]
Custom-House, London, Jan. 10, 1748.

And as a further Encouragement for bringing the Offenders to Justice, the Commissioners of the Customs do hereby promise a Reward of Fifty pounds for the discovering and apprehending each of the Persons concerned in the said Murder; to be paid by the Receiver General of the Customs upon the Conviction of each Offender, respectively.

     By Order of the Commissioners,
William Wood, Secr.

     N. B. Thomas Winter is apprehended, and is now in his Majesty's Goal of Newgate in London.

[See notice titled "Whitehall, December 24, 1748."]

Source:  London Gazette (London, England), Issue 8811 published on the 1 January 1748, p. 2.  [SDY]
Whitehall, December 24, 1748.

     Whereas it has been represented to the King, That RICHARD HAWKINS, late of Yapton, in the County of Sussex, Labourer, being, some Time in the Month of January last, at Work in a Barn near the said Parish, was forcibly taken from thence by Jeremiah Curtis, alias Butler, late of Hawkhurst in the County of Kent, and John Mills, alias Smoaker, of Trotton the County of Sussex, Labourer, and was by them carried into a Back Room in the Dog and Partridge Alehouse on Slinden Common; where Edward Savage, alias Savidge, alias Fat-back, late of Bexhill, but now of Billingshurst, Alehouse keeper; and Thomas Winter, alias Coachman, alias Kentish Coachman, of Posling [sic], near Hythe, in the County of Kent, Farmer,* were waiting for them: In which Room they detained the said Richard Hawkins till about Twelve o'Clock at Night; when the said Jeremiah Curtis, John Mills, Edward Savage, and Thomas Winter, went away, and took with them the said Richard Hawkins; who was not afterwards seen or heard of till his Body was found in a Pond in Parham Park, in the said County of Sussex: That the Coroner's Inquest having sat upon the said Body, found it to be the Body of the said Richard Hawkins, and brought in their Verdict, "Wilful Murder by Persons unknown".

     And whereas it hath been further represented to the King, That several Murders, Burglaries and Robberies have been lately committed in the County of Sussex;  and that there is the strongest Reason to believe, that the said Jeremiah Curtis, John Mills, Edward Savage, and Thomas Winter, were the Authors of the said Murder: His Majesty, for the better apprehending and bringing to Justice the abovesaid Persons, as well as for discouraging such horrid and barbarous Outrages, is pleased to promise his most gracious Pardon to any Person who shall apprehend, or, by giving Information, shall cause to be apprehended, so as he or they be convicted thereof, any one or more of the said Offenders; notwithstanding the Person making such Discovery shall now stand outlawed for not having surrendered himself to Justice, pursuant to Notice given in the London Gazette; provided that such Person shall not appear to have been concerned in the abovesaid Murder, or any other Murder; or to have been concern'd in the breaking open his Majesty's Warehouse at Pool.


[*in London Gazette 8819, 28 January 1748, p. 4, the following words were added: "and a person called Robb, alias Richard Rowland, of East Grinstead in the County of Sussex, and is Brother to a person living there, known by the name of the Cackler..."]

Source:  The Times (London, England), February 13, 1818, Number 10379.  [SDY]

     There have been such numerous and daring robberies committed in the counties of Kent and Surry [sic], that the officers of Union-hall, with assistants, have been sent down to watch in the woods (where it was supposed the thieves retreated), and in the roads where it was likely for the robbers to pass. In the course of a fort-night there were near 40 robberies committed in both counties in the night-time, and the officers at last secured a notorious bad character named Mitchell (now in Horsemonger Lane gaol), he was connected with a gang, consisting of the 2 Brays, George and James, a man named Hood, himself, and another man. Mitchell informed the officers where they might be found. He stated, that they lived like gipsies [sic] in a tent, in the neighbourhood of a wood, some distance from their mother, Mrs. Bray, of Widmore and that they pretended to live by charcoal burning, and were up at night to watch the process of the burning, but instead of minding the charcoal they were going about the country committing robberies.

     On the arrival of the officers, they learned that a sister of these desperate characters had lived servant with Mr. Bird and it was supposed that the persons who committed the murders must have had a knowledge of the habits of the family. On Wednesday night part of the police officers returned to town, with the young woman, Sarah Bray, who lived with Mr. Bird, in their custody; and yesterday morning, Mrs. Bray, her mother, was brought to town on a charge of robbery. She and her daughter were examined before W. Wells, Esq., Magistrate for Kent and Thomas Evance, Esq., at Union-hall police office, yesterday afternoon. They were examined separately. - The following is the substance of their evidence: -

     Sarah Bray, daughter of Mary Bray, of Widmore, near Bromley, in Kent, aged 15 years, servant to Mr. Levalt, said, that when she was of the age of 13 years she went to live servant to Mr. Bird, of London-street, Greenwich, who has been lately murdered, together with his housekeeper, Mary Simmons. She continued there nine months, during which time Mrs. Bird died, and Mary Simmons, who had been there about eight years, remained as housekeeper, during the remainder of the time she lived in Mr. Bird's house. A Mr. Downing used frequently to call and see Mr. Bird, and a man sometimes came to see Mrs. Simmons; she questioned Mrs. Simmons about him, and she said he was her brother; this was in the summer of 1815.

     Her mother came to see her at Mr. Bird's during the time she lived there, first by herself, and then with her sister, Ann Craker. Her brother, George Bray, came to see her, and no other relative or acquaintance. She had four other brothers, three of whom are older than George, and one younger; they never came to see her during the time she lived with Mr. Bird. About three months after Mrs. Bird died, Mr. Bird paid her wages, having no further occasion for her services, and she went home.

     Her eldest brother is named Edward [Bray], he is about 30 years of age; John [Bray], the next, is about 26, and James [Bray] is about 21 years of age; Samuel [Bray] the youngest, is about twelve years of age; they have all been brought up as farming labourers. On Monday night she first heard of the murder of Mr. Bird and Mrs. Simmons. She saw her brother James at her mother's about three weeks ago; she saw George there last Sunday afternoon; - she had not seen John for two years, and it is nearly five years since she saw Edward. She called on her mother on Saturday evening last about dusk and saw her brother George; he was dressed in a dark round frock. A man named William Hood was a companion of her brother, and frequently visited her mother.

     Mary Bray, widow, mother of the last witness, deposed on oath, that her daughter, Sarah, lived with Mr. Bird, at Greenwich (who has been murdered), for nine months; about 18 months ago, deponent's son George went to see Sarah during her residence with Mr. Bird, but neither of her other sons ever went to her knowledge. After Sarah Bray left Mr. Bird, she went to live with Mr. Abrahams, a silversmith, at Greenwich. Witness went to see her twice at Abraham's; the last time she was accompanied by a man named Wm. Hood, who was a sailor, and who afterwards went for a soldier. He afterwards worked with Mr. Mosier, a farmer, at St. Mary's Cray. Deponent's son George was at her house at Widmore on Saturday night and on Sunday morning; he did not go out of the house, except to draw water from a well close by till between 9 and 10 o'clock; did not see her daughter, Sarah Bray, on Saturday; saw her on Sunday afternoon; has not seen her three eldest sons, John, James, and Edward, for the last three months. She was certain that she had not seen her son James for more than three months.

     The prisoners were ordered to be kept in custody. The officers are still in pursuit of the Brays.

Source:  The Times (London, England), March 19, 1818, Number 10388.  [SDY]

     On Wednesday se'nnight the body of a young woman, apparently about 26 years of age, was discovered floating in the river Medway, at East Barming. It was taken out of the water a shocking spectacle, and deposited in an outhouse on the premises of Mr. Golding. On the following day an inquest was held at the Bull Inn, before James Ottaway, Esq., Coroner, when the body was inspected by the jury, and examined by Mr. Coleman, surgeon, who were all clearly of opinion that the deceased had been wilfully murdered. It was supposed that she had been in the water nearly a fortnight;  she was completely dressed, except that, from the effect of the water, part of her clothes had become rotten and wasted away.

     The deceased had no pockets on, nor any thing about her to denote who she was, or from whence she came. Under these circumstances the Coroner advised an adjournment of the proceedings until Saturday, and in the mean time to give public notice of what had occurred, that the friends or relatives of the deceased might come forward with further information. Handbills describing the person and dress of the deceased were promptly and extensively distributed in all the western parts of the county.

     On Saturday, at 1 o'clock, the Coroner's inquest again met, but although crowds of people had been to look at the body, no further material information transpired. The jury without hesitation returned a verdict of - "wilful murder against some person or persons unknown."  From the dress and appearance of the deceased, it is thought that she had been a servant in a respectable family. Upon the right temple was a most severe wound, apparently inflicted by a hammer, or some blunt instrument; and upon the head being opened, a great deal of extravasated blood surrounded the wound; there was also other bruises on various parts of the body. - Maidstone Gazette.

Source:  The Times (London, England), 2nd October 1818.
On Saturday last an inquest was held at the Grayhound Inn, Hadlow, before James OTTAWAY, one of the coroners of the County, on the body of the 13-month old son of Richard and Sarah CLARK, labouring people of Hadlow. It was reported that the mother had been feeling unwell and sent a 10-year old girl to the local grocer's shop for six pennyworth of "Godfrey's Cordial" to settle the baby boy. The girl asked for "sleeping stuff" and the grocer sold her three pennyworth of Laudanum, supposed to be from 80 to 100 drops. This was administered incautiously to the infant, who died the following morning. [The coroner's verdict was not given in this report.]

Source:  The Morning Chronicle (London, England), Thursday, December 19, 1822; Issue 16744.

     An inquest was held yesterday at Guy's Hospital, Southwark, before Thomas SHELTON, Esq. on the body of William POCOCK, a Dartford carrier, killed in Tooley-street by a brewer's dray passing over him. Thomas WIX, of George-street, Kent-street, Borough, porter, deposed that on Monday evening last, between six and seven o'clock in the evening, he accompanied the deceased. They were passing down Tooley-street, from High-street, on the right hand side of the way, when witness, having a parcel to deliver at No. 30, stepped smartly on to deliver it, and was about forty yards before the deceased when he heard a piercing cry, and on turning back saw him taken from the kennel close to the kirb [sic] stone, by two men, who assisted in conveying him to the hospital. He was told a dray had passed over him. The dray had been stopped and was standing close to where the deceased was picked up. It was on the proper side of the way.

     The age of the deceased was fifty-four. Believed him to be not quite sober at the time. Never spoke after the accident, except to complain of agonising pain in the upper part of his thigh, and stating that the dray had passed over it. Mr. FRANKS, Assistant-Surgeon of the Hospital, saw the deceased when brought into the house, on Monday evening. The right thigh bone was fractured just above the knee, and there was another fracture on the haunch [hipbone] bone, which last, from the injury it inflicted on the abdomen, was the cause of death. He died at 7 o'clock, on Tuesday night.

     VERDICT - Accidental Death, and a nominal deodand 1 on the off wheel of the dray of 5s. (the owner being unknown). 1  (L. Lat. Deo dandum, a thing to be given to God.) In English law. Any personal chattel which was the immediate occasion of the death of any reasonable creature, and which was forfeited to the crown to be applied to pious uses, and distributed in alms by the high almoner. Source:  Black's Law Dictionary

Source:  Jackson's Oxford Journal, Saturday, September 20, 1828; Issue 3934.
Margate, Sept. 17. -

     A melancholy accident happened last night, at Broadstairs. Mr. ROGERS, of the firm of ROGERS, HORN, and Co., was with his wife in his own carriage, but for some reason not explained, he left his carriage, and put one of his horses into a buggy. The horse took fright and ran off with great rapidity. Mr. ROGERS was thrown out of the buggy on one side and his wife on the other. His head went against a wall and he was instantly killed; Mrs. ROGERS had one leg broken, and her knee was severely injured. The melancholy event was soon known at Margate, and excited much commiseration.

Source:  The Belfast News-Letter (Belfast, Ireland), Friday, May 3, 1833; Issue 10005.

     On Tuesday an inquest was held before the coroner for Kent, on view of the bodies of Mary, Elizabeth, and Eliza MUNNS, who came by their deaths under the following distressing circumstances:

     John MUNNS, bargeman, deposed - "On Wednesday week I left Erith in my barge, accompanied by my wife, two of my daughters, and eldest son; on the following afternoon, near Sheerness, a squall came on, and the boat capsized. My wife and two children were in the cabin, and it was impossible to render them assistance, although every effort was made to do so. I was, with my son, saved by climbing up the rigging, and was discovered in that situation by some men in a boat."

     Verdict, "Accidental Death." The barge was heavily laden with soil for Mr. ELLIS, the extensive hop-grower at Barming, near Maidstone.

Source:  The Examiner (London, England), Saturday, September 3, 1842; Issue 1805.

     An inquest has been held at Margate over the body of Mr. Robert PRINGLE, a gentleman in independent circumstances, aged 57, who was found suspended by the bell-rope in his bed-room on Saturday morning. The deceased had, for some time past, laboured under a deep-rooted delusion in reference to something going on at the Margate pier - that he was under confinement for something he had there committed, but was unable to state what; that he was sensible the verdict would be against him, and that he should be dragged to the place of execution. He appeared quite rational on every other subject, but as soon as any allusion was made to the pier, he would commence crying, and fancy himself in custody.

     His friends endeavoured by every means in their power to dissuade him from entertaining the strange fancy, but their endeavours seemed only to confirm his conviction of the truth of the delusion, and he believed that they were at the bottom of the plot for endeavouring to get him abroad.

     Verdict. "Insanity."

Source:  The Morning Post (London, England), Friday, August 22, 1845; pg.7; Issue 22377.

     Yesterday Mr. BAKER held an inquest at the Town of Ramsgate public-house, Wapping Stairs, on the body of Mr. Edward Dobell GELLARD, aged 33 years, who was found drowned, under the following circumstances:-

     Deceased was a Custom-house officer. On Tuesday, the 13th inst., the Batavier steamer arrived in the river from Rotterdam, and the deceased was one of the officers placed on board the vessel until she had discharged her cargo. About midnight the deceased was on deck, being left by his brother officer on watch. In about a quarter of an hour he was suddenly missed, and nothing more was heard of him until Tuesday last, when his body was found floating off Wapping Stairs, in a very shocking state of decomposition. In the absence of all evidence how the deceased came into the water, the Jury, at the suggestion of the Coroner, returned an open verdict of "Found Drowned".

Source:  The Era (London, England), Sunday, April 30, 1848; Issue 501.

     On Monday afternoon, about three o'clock, a serious accident occurred to a young woman named Catherine JOHNSON, aged twenty-two, residing in Cloth-fair, Smithfield. The unfortunate young woman and a party of friends had proceeded to Greenwich for the purpose of enjoying the holidays, and in running down the Park, which was very slippery, she fell with great force upon the back of her head. She was instantly seen by a medical man, who was called for assistance, and by his advice she was placed in a cab and conveyed with all speed to one of the Borough hospitals. The poor creature had received so severe a concussion of the brain, that very faint hopes are entertained for her recovery.

Source:  Daily News (London, England), Tuesday, October 10, 1848; Issue 740.

     Yesterday a coroner's inquest was held at the Royal Mortar Tavern, Woolwich, before Mr. C. J. CARTTAR, on the bodies of three prisoners, named RUTHERFORD, JONES, and BIDGOOD, the two former of whom expired on Saturday, the latter on Sunday, from the effects, it is alleged, of Asiatic cholera. -

     Mr. DABBS, the surgeon of the establishment, stated that the deceased died from the effects of epidemic cholera, but he would not pronounce any opinion as to whether it was Asiatic cholera. A verdict of "Died from natural causes" was returned.

     We are happy to state that no new cases have shown themselves on board Justitia or Unite, and the only case that has terminated fatally since Saturday was that of BIDGOOD, who died yesterday. The other men who were attacked by the disease are recovering.

Source:  The Times (London, England), Thursday, Feb. 01, 1849; pg. 6; Issue 20088; col C.

     On Thursday an inquest was held on the body of John MARSHALL, aged 26, a journeyman miller in the employ of Mr. H. SOMERFORD, of Borstall Mill, Whitstable. Mr. SOMERFORD stated that he saw the deceased at noon on Monday, and sent him a short distance on an errand; about a quarter of an hour afterwards he found him lying insensible on some sacks near the door of the mill, his cap being close to the sweeps. It was his impression that the deceased must have been struck on the head by the sails. Deceased was found to have an extensive fracture nearly seven inches long at the base of the skull, and also about four ounces of blood extravasated on the surface of the brain.

     Verdict, "Accidental death". It appears that a man named CARR nearly lost his life a few years ago, and a cow was seriously injured at the same mill, owing to the dangerous lowness of the sails. - Cambridge Journal.

Source:  Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper (London, England), Sunday, June 17, 1849; Issue 343.

Margate, FRIDAY.

     An occurrence of a peculiar, though fatal, character happened at St. Peter's, Isle of Thanet, on Wednesday, which has produced the greatest sensation in the neighbourhood. About daybreak, some labourers were returning to their homes, after carousing at the Crown and Thistle public-house, at St. Peter's; and on passing along the road to Broadstairs, their attention was drawn to a straw bonnet on a tree, overhanging a chalk pit. Curiosity induced them to walk over to the edge of the pit, where they were surprised on discovering a female and a man lying at the bottom, apparently dead. They immediately ran off for medical assistance, and on their return got into the pit, and turned the parties over on their backs. The female, who was identified as Sarah Ann BROTHERS, an unfortunate girl from Margate, was found to be quite dead and cold. The man exhibited signs of life, though insensible. His trowsers hung about his knees. The female was not more than twenty years of age. She was decently attired. Close to her body was found a man's shirt collar, a black silk neckerchief, and a breast pin, which evidently had been torn from the man in a struggle.

     Both were carried to the nearest public-house, when the man after some time recovered his senses, and stated his name to be James ROBINSON, a married man, of 2, Carroway's Place, Margate. Being unable to give a satisfactory account of himself, he was detained by the police to await the result of the coroner's inquest, which took place on the following day before Mr. THOMPSON, the coroner. ROBINSON, in his statement to the jury, said that he had been enjoying himself on the Tuesday evening, at the Ranelagh Gardens, where he met with the deceased female. At the close of the performance they walked down the road to a shrubbery, where she invited him to accompany her. He followed, and directly afterwards they both fell into the pit. Neither were sober.

     Mr. WALTER, surgeon, of Broadstairs, described the injuries of the female to be fracture of the right thigh bone, and several wounds on the head. He attributed her death to concussion of the brain, occasioned by the fall. The pit was nearly fifty feet deep.

     The jury, after a lengthened inquiry, returned a verdict of "Accidental death".

Source:  Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, (London, England), Sunday, 17 Nov 1850, p. 3.  [SDY]

     An inquest was held on Monday at the Merry Boys Inn, East Peckham, on the body of Sarah Bates, an old widow lady, who kept a small grocer's shop in the parish. It appeared that a nephew of the deceased resided with her, and upon going home from work on Thursday evening last he missed his aunt; he was about leaving the house to proceed to a night school, when upon going behind the counter to fasten the shutters of the shop he perceived the body of his aunt lying in a pool of blood. He immediately raised an alarm, and the neighbours entering, the deceased's throat was found to be cut, apparently with a large bacon knife, which was lying a short distance from her head, covered with blood.

     Henry Bishop, the nephew, who was the first witness examined, deposed, that upon reaching home about twenty minutes past five he found the front door open as usual. On going upstairs into his room he found his box standing open, and upon looking into it he missed two pairs of trowsers, a coat, a waistcoat, and four shillings; he thought at the time his aunt had taken them. On going into the shop he found his aunt lying dead. He had left the house at half-past one, and his aunt was sober then; she drank a little sometimes. She and the witness agreed pretty well, though they now and then had words. It appeared from other witnesses that the body was found slightly warm. There was a quantity of blood on the floor, and blood smeared all along the counter. There was blood, also, on the lid of the flour bin and on the door leading from the shop into the kitchen. The scales were slightly disarranged, and a large prop used to support the bacon counter was found close to the body of the deceased, and about five feet from the place where it usually stood. A knife was lying about six inches from the back part of her head. She had been seen in he kitchen about three o'clock. The woman living next door had heard no noise.

     Mr. Biggenden, surgeon, deposed that he arrived about seven o'clock, and found the body quite dead and cold. There was a large wound commencing at the back of the neck right across the windpipe, which appeared to have been done in two gashes. Both eyes were blackened. There was a bruise over the left eye and another on the right temple, three cuts on the left check, one two inches in length, the other superficial; a cut on the left thumb right into the joint; a deep cut between the thumb and forefinger of the right hand extending into the palm. There were bruises likewise on the deceased's arms. He did not think by any possibility she could have inflicted the wounds herself, they were so complicated. The wounds in the hands, which must have been done before those in the neck, would have so enfeebled her that she would not have had sufficient strength to inflict these, and, from the position of the wound at the back part of the neck, he did not think it possible she could have committed the act. This evidence was corroborated by Mr. Starling, another medical gentleman, who likewise said her hands were in such a state from rheumatism that she could not have inflicted such wounds as they were.

     The jury, after a short consultation, brought in the following verdict: - "That the deceased was found dead with her throat cut, but whether by her own act or that of any other person there is no evidence before the jury to prove".

Source:  Glasgow Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), Monday, November 29, 1852; Issue 5200.

     On Thursday, Mr. W. S. NEVE and a highly respectable jury met at the Railway Hotel, Headcorn, to inquire into the circumstances touching the death of John BINGHAM, a plate-layer, who was accidentally killed on the morning of Wednesday last. It appeared from the evidence of Mr. Stephen CARD, the inspector of the permanent way, that the deceased had, owing to the late heavy floods, been employed near the Kelsham Bridge viaduct. On Wednesday morning, shortly after seven o'clock, John WIDDES, a plate-layer, found the deceased in the water close to the bridge quite dead. There were marks, he stated, about a foot from the outside of the rails, of his having tripped from there into the water. His skull was very much fractured.

     Henry FAGG, the driver of the Ramsgate goods' train, stated that he left Tunbridge shortly after one on the morning in question, and met the up goods' train just under the second bridge from Headcorn. He saw no one on the bridge, and no signal light, nor was he conscious that the engine had struck anything. He was going at the rate of from fourteen to fifteen miles an hour.

     Richard TICKLE stated that he was driving the up goods' train from Dover to London on Tuesday night last. He left the Headcorn station at a few minutes after two o'clock, and saw shortly after passing the Kelsham Bridge, that a man was standing on the outside of the down line showing a white signal lamp. Was of opinion that if he had stood in the same position in which he saw him he would not have been struck by the down train. The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death". - Morning Chronicle.

Source:  The Examiner (London, England), Saturday, October 29, 1853; Issue 2387.
     On Monday afternoon some fishermen of Hastings saw the body of a woman floating on the water about three miles off that town. William SPICE, a fisherman, was cruising upon the day in question, when his attention was attracted to an object in the water; it proved to be the body of a woman, which, as soon as possible, was taken on board. The body was attired in nothing but a chemise, a nightgown, two petticoats, stockings, and boots. The fisherman returned to Hastings, and forthwith handed the deceased over to the care of Inspector CAMPBELL.

     An inquest was held at the Town Hall, and the fisherman, SPICE, having mentioned the circumstances, Mr. J. PAIN, of 2, Park Terrace, Oldford Road, London, deposed that he had seen the body of the deceased, which he recognised as being that of his sister Eliza, who had married Captain BUTTERWORTH, the late commander of Dalhousie. Deceased was thirty-four years of age, and witness recognised the rings taken from her as those she had been accustomed to wear.

     A verdict of "Found drowned" was returned.

     The body of a woman has been washed up on the beach of Dymchurch, which is supposed to be one of Dalhousie's passengers. She is described as being about fifty years of age, and her linen marked "M. A. U.". They correspond with the initials of the late Mrs. UNDERWOOD, and it is thought very probable that the remains are those of that ill-fated lady. A gentleman who was well acquainted with the family has gone down to identify the body.

     As yet nothing has been heard of the spar to which Miss UNDERWOOD, Captain BUTTERWORTH, and several others were lashed. Quantities of wreckage are being cast up between Hastings and Dungeness. The master and crew of the schooner William, of Exeter, have made a statement, denying the charge that had been laid against them by Joseph REED, the survivor of the Dalhousie, to the effect that they bore away from the wreck without rendering the least assistance to the sufferers.

Source:  The Examiner (London, England), Saturday, September 15, 1855; Issue 2485.  [SDY]

     On Saturday an inquest was held on the body of Mr. Matthew Wood aged forty-two, who committed suicide by taking a large dose of poison. It appeared from the evidence that the deceased, who had held a lucrative post in the mail department of the General Post office, had applied to be elected to the head of that department, which had become vacant some months ago. The result of the application was, that he was place on probation for six months. During this period the unfortunate gentleman became very desponding, as he found out that he was not fitted to fulfil the onerous duties of the situation. As the time passed on he became gradually more and more depressed, and several times exclaimed, "It must be either success or prussic acid." There was nothing beyond depression of spirits, however, that could induce his friends to suppose he would actually commit suicide.

     At the expiration of the probationary six months, upon going to his office, he discovered that he was not confirmed in the appointment, not being considered sufficiently competent. He returned home to his house at St. John's wood, completely broken-hearted, and retired to his bedroom about half-past five o'clock. His non-appearance before eight o'clock induced his housekeeper to go up and call him, and upon receiving no answer she had the door opened. The deceased was then found lying on his bed, in a sleeping posture, but quite dead, life having been extinct for some time. A glass and a bottle, which had contained cyanide of potassium used by the deceased for photographic purposes, was found by his bedside, and from the medical testimony it would appear that he had taken five or six ounces, a quantity sufficient to kill fifty men. A small piece of paper was found near the body, on which was described the property of the deceased, and the money due to him by the Post office.

     Verdict, "Insanity."

     The report in a Sunday paper, stating the deceased gentleman was "son of the late Alderman Wood and brother to the present Vice-Chancellor Wood," is altogether wrong. The late Sir Matthew Wood left three sons only - viz. the present Baronet, the learned Judge above referred to, and Mr. W. Wood, of North Cray, Kent.

     [Editor's Note: This last statement clarifies that the Matthew Wood, the victim of this suicide, is in no manner related to Sir Matthew Wood. Consequently, this article has been included with our news reports to help lend clarification to future descendants of both unrelated WOOD families.]

Source:  Daily News (London, England), Tuesday, April 26, 1859; Issue 4040.  [SF]
The Suicide of a Young Lady at Margate

     An inquest was held on Saturday evening by Mr. G. T. Thompson, coroner for the district, upon the body of Miss BLAKEMORE, the young lady who committed suicide on Thursday evening by throwing herself from the Margate jetty.

     There have been rumours of domestic differences which it was supposed might have led the deceased to self destruction, but it now appears that the act must be attributed to a disordered brain. The unfortunate young lady, who was stated to be but 17 years of age, had at various times and especially about three months ago, exhibited such strangeness of manner as to excite serious apprehension among her friends.

     Evidence to this effect having been adduced, the jury after a brief consultation returned a verdict of "Temporary Insanity".

Source:  Daily News (London,England), Thursday, January 9, 1862; Issue 4888.

     Yesterday an inquiry was held in the Town Hall, Margate, before Mr. W. H. PAYNE, coroner, touching the death of a young man belonging to Broadstairs, named Archibald HILLIER, who came by his death by falling over the cliff on the sea shore, a short distance from this town, while in a state of intoxication. Evidence of identification of the body having been given, a youth named John ADAMS was sworn, and he deposed that on Sunday morning about half-past 5 o'clock he was walking along the sand at the foot of the cliff, when he came upon something which he thought to be a piece of wood, but upon taking hold of it he found it was the body of a man, quite dead, and lying on its face. Assistance was obtained, and the body was conveyed on a stretcher to Margate.

     John TULLY, a corporal in the Life Guards, said he was staying at Broadstairs. He knew the deceased, and was with him on Saturday afternoon. They left Broadstairs together and walked to Margate, where they visited some friends of the deceased, and had some beer at a public-house. When they left the latter house it was about 8 o'clock in the evening, and having met with a friend (also in the Life Guards) witness went with him to another public-house, expecting the deceased would follow, but he did not, and he saw no more of him. Witness believed deceased was sober when he last saw him, he had drunk only three glasses of beer and one of gin and peppermint.

     William BASS, a boatman in the Coastguard service, stationed at Newgate, near Margate, deposed that on Saturday evening about half-past nine he was on duty, and saw the deceased near the Clifton Baths, situate on the cliff. He spoke to him and found he was the worse for drink. Deceased asked witness the way to Broadstairs, and he told him there where two ways---one by the cliff, and the other by the road; but it would not be safe for him to go by the cliff, because he was not capable of taking care of himself, nor did he know the road. Witness then pointed out to deceased the road inland, and he proceeded in that direction.

     Mr. H. THORNTON, surgeon, proved that he had examined the body of the deceased, and the marks of violence thereon were several abrasions on the face, which was also much congested. There was a compound fracture of the left arm, and a dislocation of the elbow. He considered the cause of death was concussion of the brain, and the shock by the fall generally. The Coroner summed up the evidence, and the jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally killed by falling from the cliff".

Source:  The Times (London, England), Saturday, May 10, 1862, p. 7; Issue 24242, col. E.  [SDY]

Faversham, Friday Evening.

     This morning, shortly before 9 o'clock, a fearful accident occurred at Ospringe, about a mile from this town, on the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway, by which two passengers were killed, and three others so much injured as to render it almost a matter of impossibility for two of them to recover, one of them being dying at the time this report was despatched.

     The train to which the accident happened was the mail express, which left the Victoria Station at 7:10 this morning, and was due at Dover at 9:20. It consisted of an engine and tender, four first- and second-class carriages, and a break-van. Fortunately, three were not more than six or seven passengers travelling, or the result must have been a fearful loss of life. Nothing particular appears to have occurred until the train approached Ospringe. The line here is slightly on the incline, and there is a slight curve. Otherwise there is no impediment to the free progress of the traffic. At this spot the two centre carriages were seen to bulge out, as it were, from the rest of the train, and a tremendous noise was heard. In a moment after these carriages were rolling down the embankment, which is about 25 feet high, dragging the guard's van and the tender after them. The engine, however, did not go off the line, the coupling irons giving way.

     The disconnected carriages were dashed into an allotment garden by the side of the line, forcing down a high wall in their progress, and presenting, when subsequently viewed, a complete wreck, every article of two of them being crumbled up as though it was so much paper, and the wonder is now any of their occupants escaped with their lives. The break van and one of the carriages were comparatively uninjured. The guards jumped off the train just as the carriages were going down the embankment, and thus escaped uninjured. The rails were torn up, for upwards of 300 yards, and several of them bent nearly double, while broken chains were lying about in all directions. Assistance was promptly obtained, and it was then found that two of the passengers were dead, and three others very seriously injured. The unfortunate sufferers were removed to the inns in the neighbourhood, and some half-dozen medical gentlemen were quickly in attendance upon them. The two killed are Mr. PLUMB, a commercial traveller, representing M'George and Co., of 30, Friday-street, London; and William HARRIS, a storekeeper in the employ of the company.

     Those injured are, - Mr. CROCKFORD, arm and leg completely smashed, and other injuries; - THOMSON, supposed to belong to Dublin or Belfast, left temple completely battered in; cannot possibly survive the day, it is thought. From letters in this gentleman's pocket he appears to have been on his road to France, one of the letters, evidently from his wife, urging him to come as quickly as possible as his son was dying of dysentry.

     There is a curious circumstance connected with the poor fellow HARRIS. He was ordered to Dover, on the company's service, and ought to have gone down by the 7:30 train, but in order that he might have a couple of hours to enjoy himself while at Dover, he travelled by mail train, and thus instead of his anticipated pleasure, has met with his death.

     David MAPLETON (Audit-office), compression of the stomach and internal injuries.

     Mr. Thomas Thorpe De LESAUX, the county coroner, opened an inquiry upon the bodies of the deceased, in the course of the afternoon, at the Anchor Inn, in the parish of Ospringe, under the foremanship of Mr. G. HOUGHAN. The jury having been sworn, Mr. S. G. JOHNSON said he appeared on behalf of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway, to express their deep regret at the fatal consequences of the accident that had occurred on their line that morning, and they had instructed him to court the fullest inquiry into all the circumstances connected with it. They had already communicated with the Board of Trade, and requested the attendance of an inspector, and were ready to produce any evidence that the jury might require to be brought before them.

     The jury then viewed the bodies, after which they proceeded to the railway, and took a view of the spot and the broken carriages. They were accompanied by several gentlemen connected with the company, including Mr. BISHOP, outdoor manager of the traffic department; Mr. James LAKE, of Newlands, Sittingbourne, one of the resident directors; Mr. S. G. JOHNSON, etc.

     On the return of the jury to the inquest-room, the following evidence was taken: -

     Edward PACKER, miller, of Faversham, deposed - "This morning, about 9 o'clock, I was in my meadow, when I heard the down train approaching. I heard a great noise proceeding from the carriages running off the line. I looked up and then saw four out of the five carriages running off the line and rolling down the embankment. They knocked the wall down, and two of the carriages were broken to pieces. The engine separated from the carriages, its coupling breaking. I saw one of the men on the engine turn round and look towards the carriages. He then blew his whistle very loud. I ran and procured assistance, and then went to where the carriages lay. I found the deceased man PLUMB lying on the embankment, with part of one of the carriages on his back. We got the part of the carriage from the top of the body, and removed it. The deceased died almost immediately afterwards, while Mr. Spong was attending him. The train was travelling apparently at its usual pace. What threw the carriages off the line I cannot say. The rails were very much torn up when I saw the deceased, William HARRIS, he was under the fragments of the broken carriages at the bottom of the embankment. He was removed to the Anchor Inn. My attention was not drawn to the train until I heard the noise. It was a most unusual noise - very terrific indeed".

     James MUIRHEAD, draper, of Strood, spoke to the identity of the body of PLUMB, a commercial traveller for the house of M'George and Co., of Friday-street, London; and James BILSON identified the other body as that of William HARRIS, a storekeeper in the employ of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway Company.

     The Coroner here remarked that it was impossible to conclude the inquiry that day, as the jury would require some scientific evidence showing the cause of the accident before they could arrive at any conclusion. He would therefore suggest an adjournment, and in fixing the time the jury would bear in mind that it was necessary to give the company sufficient time to produce such evidence as would be required fully to explain the occurrence, so that the jury might arrive at a just and honest verdict.

     Mr. JOHNSON said nothing would be done to the line in the interval but what was absolutely necessary for the continuance of the traffic, and all the broken iron would be produced for the inspection of the witnesses and jury.

     Several of the jury complained that the line had been touched before they viewed it. It was now almost impossible to ascertain the cause of the accident.

     Mr. JOHNSON said nothing had been done but what was required to be done in order to continue the traffic; but if it had been supposed that the coroner would have been able to open his inquiry so soon, the line would have been left precisely as it was found after the accident.

     The inquiry was then formally adjourned until Wednesday next.

Source:  The Caledonian Mercury (Edinburgh, Scotland), Friday, May 30, 1862; Issue 22674.  [SDY]

(From a correspondent of the Star.)

     On the 21st inst. this town was startled with the intelligence of a sudden suicide, the particulars of which are as follow: - A person named WAKEFIELD, a small shopkeeper of Ospringe, having missed several articles from his shop, concealed his wife on the premises for the purpose of watching for the thief, when she states that she observed an old man of the name of TWIMYARD, between whom and the WAKEFIELDS there had existed bad feeling, and who had long lived next door, enter, and abstract from the till a small sum of money which had been purposely placed there and some papers of tobacco. She caught him in the act, when the poor fellow, although he had seen better days, implored her not to expose him for the sake of his family; but without avail. The poor old man, dreading exposure, bereft of his senses, ran into his own house, and hanged himself to the bed post.

     It appears that the county coroner, Mr. T. T. DELASAUX (a name rendered notorious by the events to be related) within a few hours after the event - almost before the body was cold - no doctor being called, no clergyman present, although the deceased was well known in the neighbourhood - in the absence of the deceased's family and his friends - hastily empanelled a jury, who sat at the Lion public-house, in Ospringe, and found a verdict of felo de se 1. When it is alleged that, in accordance with the behest of this enlightened coroner, on the evening of the same day on which the suicide took place the old man was buried towards the dead of night, with a halter tied round his neck, and along with the knife with which he had been cut down a few hours before, the reader may form his opinion of such a transaction.

     No burial service was read over him, but he was buried like a dog - his clothes on his back, his shoes on his feet, with his tobacco-box and a few pence in his pocket. Judge of the horror of his relatives, who came on the following day to bury the old man decently, when they heard of these barbarous proceedings. A great feeling of indignation pervades the whole district at this outrage on the feelings of common humanity. The poor old man was sixty-four years of age, and on this insufficient evidence - with indecent and shocking haste - in one day he was alive, hastily condemned, and buried in this scandalous manner. Inquiry ought to be made into proceedings so unworthy of the nineteenth century. Surely there can be no unrepealed or obsolete law to justify conduct which, whether legal or not, demands public reprobation.

1 A felon of himself; a suicide or murderer of himself. One who deliberately and intentionally puts an end to his own life, or who commits some unlawful or malicious act which results in his own death. Source:  Black's Law Dictionary.

Source:  Kentish Chronicle, (Kent, England), Saturday, 02 August, 1862, p. 8.  [SDY]


     C. J. FOX, Esq., deputy coroner, held an inquest at the Brents Tavern, Preston, next Faversham, on Saturday last, touching the death of Lewis NORRIS, whose dead body was found the previous evening under the circumstances detailed in the following evidence: -

     Caroline PHILLIPS, of Nelson-street, Preston, said the deceased had lodged at her house for some months past. About half past five on the previous morning, her husband called the deceased, as usual, but he did not get up. He had appeared to be in a melancholy state for the last three weeks. Previously he was very steady, but latterly he had taken to drinking. On Friday morning he got up about twenty minutes past eight. He had been drinking the night before, and witness told him that if he went on in that way he would have to leave her house. He then went out with a fellow workman.

     Recently he had received mourning letters by post, and since receiving them he had become very melancholy and had thrown himself on his face, and lain in that way for hours together.

     Robert PARKER boilersmith, said he had known the deceased for the last 20 years. He was a married man, and his wife and family lived at Stratford, in Essex. He was about 46 years of age. In the last three weeks he had been very low spirited. He was not permanently resident in Preston. Jeremiah MILLGATE, of West-street, Faversham, stated that at about half-past five o'clock on Friday evening, while in the marshes, about half a mile from Faversham, he discovered the deceased lying on the mud, quite dead. The body was on the face. When the tide was up there would be about 3 ft. of water. The face appeared to have been bitten by the crabs. There were no bruises on the body.

     When the body was taken to the lodge, witness noticed that one side of the face was bruised near the ear, which was caused, in his opinion, by the body being removed with the face downwards. There was blood on the side of the face.

     A verdict of "Found drowned" was returned.

Source:  Lancaster Gazette, and General Advertiser for Lancashire, Westmorland, Yorkshire (Lancaster, England), Saturday, August 22, 1863.  [SF]
The Supposed Murder at Margate.

On Saturday, Mr. W. H. PAYNE, Coroner, held an inquest at the Town Hall Margate, on the body of a woman named Jane COCKS, who was drowned under circumstances that has led to the apprehension of a man named George STEAD, a waiter, on suspicion of being her murderer, as already reported. The jury returned a verdict that the deceased was found drowned, but there was no evidence to show how she came to be in the water. At the close of the inquest the prisoner STEAD, was brought up on remand before the magistrates on the charge of having caused the death of the deceased, when the verdict of the Coroner's Jury was communicated to the bench, who at once discharged him.

Source:  Kentish Gazette, (Kent, England), 21st November 1863.  [SF]

     On Friday week an inquest was held at the Town Hall, before W. H. Payn, Esq., on the body of a newly born male child. Henry PILCHER, a labourer in the employ Mr. MAXTED, said that about nine o'clock the previous morning, while carting sea weed on the beach near Royal Crescent, a fellow labourer who was assisting him in his work fancied that he felt something peculiar while loading the cart, but suspected nothing. On unloading the cart in a field attached to the farm, they discovered the body of the child among the sea weed. A rag was tied tightly around its neck in knots. Witness then gave it to a boy, by whom it was conveyed to the police station.

     Mr. H. Milson, Surgeon, said that on examining the body of the child, he noticed there was no ligature of the umbilical cord, which proved that no medical man could have attended at the birth of the infant. On removing the piece of cloth tied around the neck of the child, he found the throat cut, the incision completely dividing the windpipe. The body was naked and covered with small bits of sea weed. Death was the result of the cut in the throat. In reply to a juryman's question, the medical gentleman stated that the child, when he first saw it, had probably been dead twenty four hours. The inquest was then adjourned until Monday afternoon, in order that a post mortem examination might be made.

     On Monday afternoon the jury assembled at the Town Hall, to inquire into this mysterious affair. The medical witnesses examined were thoroughly satisfied that the child was born alive. On the lungs being immersed in water they floated freely, showing that the infant must have breathed. The jury therefore had no alternative but to find a verdict of Wilful Murder against some person or persons unknown.

     A reward for the discovery of the offender will in all probability be offered.

Source:  Kentish Chronicle, Saturday, 3 September 1864.  [SDY]

     On Friday afternoon Mr. Payne, the coroner for the City and Southwark, resumed an inquiry at St. George's Workhouse, Mint-street, in relation to the facts in connection with the death of Mr. Henry William Bodeker, aged forty-seven, a watchmaker and jeweller, who had carried on business in Court-street, Faversham.

     The evidence upon the previous occasion went to show that the deceased suddenly left his place of business and came to London, where he took lodgings at Mr. Allcroft's, a coffee-house keeper, of Newington-causeway. On Thursday morning last, not coming down as usual, several persons went to his room door; but, notwithstanding repeated knocking, no answer was returned, and ultimately it was forced open. The deceased was then discovered lying on the floor and quite dead. Mr. Turner, surgeon, was called in, and a bottle which had contained cyanide of potassium was found in the room.

     From a post-mortem examination it was shown that death had resulted from the poison named. On the deceased's person was found several pawnbrokers' duplicates relative to watches and brooches pledged in different names at Faversham and other places. In consequence of communications sent by Mr. Cooke, the coroner's officer, letters were received from pawnbrokers and from the police at Faversham and Canterbury showing that he had made away with gold and silver watches and other property entrusted with him to repair. He had on an advertisement being inserted in the local newspapers and becoming aware that the police were after him, absconded.

     The wife of the deceased, who was on Friday examined, stated that he had been in difficulties for some time, and had no doubt he had made away with the property described. She believed that he had been brought to the position he was in by drink.

     The Coroner having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict, "That the deceased committed suicide whilst labouring under temporary insanity."

     The inquiry then terminated.

Source:   The Illustrated Police News etc. (London, England), Saturday, June 22, 1867; Issue 175.  [SDY]

     On Saturday, Mr. J. N. DUDLOW, one of the coroners for West Kent, held an inquest at the village public-house, in the parish of Trosley, about a mile from the main road between Maidstone and Sevenoaks, on the body of a female unknown, which had been found in an advanced state of decomposition in a "shaw" at the side of the road. From the appearance of the body it seemed evident that a brutal murder had been committed, and that it had been preceded by outrage. It appeared that two labourers, on passing the place on Thursday se'nnight, had their attention attracted by a disagreeable smell, which, on examination, they found proceeded from the body of a woman. She was found lying upon her back with her clothes in disorder. He head and face were completely enveloped in a shawl, which was tied tightly over them and fastened in front of her throat by two knots. The police were communicated with, and on Friday a more minute inspection of the place was made. At the feet of the body were the marks of the toes of a man's boots deeply formed in the ground, and those with other appearances left little doubt as to the outrage which had preceded death. In some grass, at a few yards from the body, where a struggle had evidently taken place, a constable found a quantity of hair which was supposed to have been part of a man's whiskers, pulled out by the roots.

     The surgeon who was called in said that it would have been useless to have made a post-mortem examination as the body was so decomposed, and bruises or other marks of violence, if there had been any, could not be detected. He supposed that the body had been there for a fortnight at the least, and that death was caused by suffocation.

     A woman whose appearance corresponded with the deceased was seen in the neighbourhood about three weeks before hawking small wares and about that time a boy found a small box containing such articles in a ditch close by the "shaw" so that the date of the occurrence can be pretty accurately calculated. The jury returned an open verdict of "Found dead". The poor woman was about forty years of age.

[Also substantially identically reported in The Daily News (London, England), June 17, 1867; Issue 6589.  [SDY]

Source:  Reynolds's Newspaper (London, England), Sunday, July 18, 1869; Issue 988.

     Mr. PAYNE held an inquest at Guy's Hospital respecting the death of Edward James KNIGHT, an artilleryman, aged twenty years, who lost his life under the following circumstances:-

     He got into a train at Charing-cross to Woolwich. While on the journey he fell asleep, and upon reaching New-cross Station awoke, thought he was at Woolwich Station, and whilst the train was in motion jumped out of the carriage, and fell between the platform and the step of the carriage.

     The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."

Source:  The Times (London, England), Tuesday, Jun 28, 1870; pg.10; Issue 26788; col E.

     Yesterday afternoon an inquest was held at the Town-hall, Herne Bay, before Mr. T. T. DELASAUX, Coroner for East Kent, on the bodies of Susannah WANSTALL, aged 71, Ethel DAY, aged 6, and William BUSBY, aged 3, who were burnt to death in a cottage on Saturday night.

     It appears that Susannah WANSTALL, and her daughter, Susannah DAY, carried on a laundry at a cottage in King-street, and were engaged in ironing clothes till nearly 12 o'clock at night, shortly after which they retired to bed. At half-past 12 a man named SIDWELL heard screams proceeding from the house opposite, and upon seeking the cause he discovered the house in flames.

     One of the women, Susannah DAY, was at the window, and, in an excited state, without waiting for a ladder which was being fetched, jumped through the window and fell on the pavement below, the flames issuing from the ground floor burning her while lying in that helpless state. She was speedily, however, removed to a house opposite, where she remains without hope of recovery.

     Her mother, Mrs. WANSTALL, had evidently not been apprised of the fire, and she, with the two children, were consumed. The bodies presented a ghastly appearance, being literally burnt to a cinder. The cottage was completely gutted, and the adjoining property was saved only by a dint of great exertion. There is no conclusive evidence as to the origin of the fire, but one of the witnesses who was in the house as late as half-past 10 o'clock stated that there was an ironing stove in the front lower room, with a fire burning in it, and lining hanging on horses around it. It is supposed the linen horses were left in that position, and fell forward upon the stove.

     After hearing the evidence the jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death," and expressed their surprise that no means whatever exist in Herne Bay to extinguish a fire in the case of its occurring.

Source:  The York Herald (York, England), Friday, April 02, 1875; pg. 3; Issue 5661.

     On Wednesday morning a private of the 104th Regiment, named John FARRELL, was found lying dead at the foot of the cliff at Dover, on which the South Front Barracks stand. His head was dreadfully lacerated, he having fallen a hundred and fifty feet. The deceased was passed in by the grand shaft guard at half-past eleven. He was followed by an artilleryman named ATKIN, who was also on pass, and the next to go in was a private of the 104th named SCOLLY . The latter says he saw an artilleryman and the deceased on the top of the cliff going in a direction opposite to that in which the body was found.

     The coroner's jury returned an open verdict.

Source:  Reynolds Newspaper (London, England), Sunday, July 28, 1878; Issue 1459.  [SDY]

     Mr. CARTTAR, the coroner for West Kent, held an inquest on Monday, at the Bell Inn, Crayford, near Dartford, on the bodies of George Lewis SANDS, 36, beerseller, of Greenwich, and his three children, Agnes Elizabeth, George Lewis and Amy Frances SANDS. On Friday week, the body of the man, who had been missing with the children, since the previous Sunday, was found by some labourers in a pond near Crayford, with his throat cut in two places; while on the following day the corpses of the three children were found in a wood not far off.

     Considerable excitement was manifested by the inhabitants, and the inn was surrounded by a curious crowd eager to be present at the proceedings, or at any rate to catch a view of the bodies as they lay almost covered with flowers, placed by some kindly hand, in a shed close by the building. On the coroner taking his seat the court was at once filled.

     Herbert STYLES was at once called. He said: "I live in the City, and am a commercial clerk, newsvendor, and advertising agent. I am brother-in-law to the deceased. I have seen the body, and it is that of George Lewis SANDS. He was thirty-six years of age, and was a licensed beerseller, residing at The Nile, Church-street, Greenwich. Previous to taking that house he was general steward at the Burlington Fine Arts Club, 17, Savils-row, for about seven years. He was a married man with four children."

     Elizabeth SANDS said: "I live in a situation in London as book-keeper and manager. I am single and sister to the deceased, and have identified the body as that of my brother. I believe he was about thirty-five years of age. He resided at The Nile beerhouse, Greenwich. The name of the eldest girl was Agnes Elizabeth; she was seven years of age on her last birthday. The next eldest was George Lewis, who was six years old. The third child was Amy Frances, aged four. There is a fourth child, whose name is Frederick. He is now alive and is two years old. The first I heard of the catastrophe was by a letter from the wife of the deceased, who wrote shortly after the occurrence."

     Police-sergeant George JACKSON, 31 R, attached to the Bexley-heath Police-station, said: "On Saturday evening last, the 20th July, I received instructions from Inspector MEARING to meet him, with Police-constable ABRAMS, at the pond to search for the three children who had been reported missing. While waiting we commenced to search the wood near the pond. The latter is on the right-hand side coming from Bexley-heath to Crayford. The wood surrounds the pond, except where it faces the road. As soon as we entered the wood ABRAMS went to the left and I to the right. I came to where the underwood was very thick. About twenty yards to the left of me, I saw the bodies of the two female children. The youngest was lying on her left side, face to the ground. The eldest lay some yards farther on, on her right side. Her face was also on the ground. I shouted to ABRAMS that I had found the bodies of the two children, and he came towards me. Just before he reached where I was standing he cried out, "here lies the boy." The latter was about six yards from the eldest girl, but further into the wood on the left, out of sight from where the girls lay. We turned the bodies over. The boy was lying on his face. I saw their throats were cut, and the wounds were flyblown, and smelt. There was a good deal of blood about. The children were quite dead. We could see the wounds as they lay. The bodies were stiff, clammy, and quite cold. They must have been dead but a short time. I at once sent ABRAMS to Bexley-heath to get a truck, while I fetched Inspector MEARING, and we made a further search. Inspector MEARING found several articles, and I came upon two blades of a knife (produced) lying under the neck of the child Agnes. I found nothing more. The bodies were removed before the doctor saw them. Before that time I had never seen the man, and the children were strangers to me."

     Police-constable Michael ABRAMS, 254 R, of Bexley-heath, deposed: "I accompanied the last witness to meet Inspector MEARING, on the day mentioned by him. We arrived before the Inspector, and immediately commenced the search. I bore off to the left, and shortly afterwards JACKSON called out to me to go to him as he had found two children. Just before I got to him I found the boy lying on his face in the brushwood. I immediately went to Bexley to get a truck in which to convey the bodies. When I got back the body of the eldest girl was taken up and two knife-blades were found. I had also helped to take the body of the man out of the pond, after it had been found by some working men."

     Inspector Andrew MEEARING was then called and said: "I am inspector of the R division, attached to the Bexley Heath Police-station. On Saturday afternoon last, about five minutes past four o'clock, I reached the pond where I had appointed to meet Sergeant JACKSON. He said he had found the bodies of the children. At a place about fifty yards from the highway at the corner of the pond, I came upon a place where the brush had been beaten down as if persons had been lying about there. I found the hat produced, crushed as it is now, lying beyond the bodies of the children. I also produce a handkerchief, glass, etc., found by me near the same spot. I have since compared the two blades with the haft of the knife which was also discovered, and find that they belonged to it in its' perfect state. There is still one blade unbroken in the haft. The knife must have been a three-bladed one. The small blade was open, just as I produce it. It is free from blood. I found two large pools of blood, from which, at a distance of five yards, lay the body of George, and at seven yards the body of Agnes, while three yards further on was that of Amy. From this to where they lay were blood-spots which seemed to have been spurted from a wound. The blood was all over the leaves of the bushes. I saw the body of Amy first. She was dressed; her clothes were not disarranged, but her legs were a little bent. Agnes was also in the same state. George was lying on his face, with his legs bent under him. There was no appearance of a struggle, but it seemed as if they had run some distance and then fallen."

     By the coroner: "I thought they had been running because there was blood along the path they had come, and also where they had fallen."

     Dr. Thomas MAY was called, and after having been duly sworn, said: "I am a surgeon practising at Crayford. On Saturday morning last I was called to this house, where I found the girl Agnes lying on a table in a shed. She was dressed in ordinary clothing, the front of which was saturated in blood. Her throat was cut about six inches across, severing all the principal vessels on both sides, as well as the windpipe. I saw her again, later on, undressed. She had a graze on the inner side of the hip, as if she had fallen against something blunt; but this of course had nothing to do with her death. There was no bruise or other mark whatever on any other part of her body. After such wounds had been given a person could have lived but a very few seconds. A child of her age might be able even then to run seven yards. It is quite possible. She must have died within a minute after receiving such wounds. She would have been perfectly unable to cry out, as her windpipe was severed. She could not have inflicted the injuries upon herself, as such an operation would require considerable strength. The knife-blades produced would be quite capable of giving such wounds; for the blades are blunt, and the wounds have the appearance of having been jagged. I saw her on Saturday about six o'clock in the morning. She must have been dead about fourteen or twenty hours. It might have been longer, but the wound was so full of leaves and maggots that it effectually disguised all the appearances from which one might safely judge. The children might have been dead even thirty-six hours. The bodies were not rigid, but the late hot weather would account for that. The boy's wound was also full of leaves. His clothes were stained with blood in the front. The wound was rather more on the right side than in the case of the girls, and the windpipe was severed, as were also some of the smaller vessels, while the carotid artery was half cut through. The wounds were mortal and he could not have lived more than a minute after their infliction, but it is possible that he might have run a few yards before death. He could not have given the wounds to himself. The girl Amy's wounds were very similar to those of the boy, being about three inches long, while the windpipe had been completely cut through. This might have been done with the knife in question. All the wounds must have been inflicted by some other person than the children themselves."

     By a juror: "Great violence must have been used in the infliction of the cuts."

     Mrs. Eliza TUNSTALL said: "I am the wife of Benjamin TUNSTALL; and live in London-road, Crayford. On Thursday afternoon the deceased came to my house, the Lord Nelson, between three and four o'clock, in the company with three children, two girls and a boy. The children had a bottle of ginger beer, a glass of water, and three biscuits. The man had a pint and half of bitter ale. They did not stay more than a quarter of an hour. The man paid all the money, amounting to 9d. in coppers. He asked me the nearest way to the church, and I told him to go through my garden and turn to the left, as that would save the children going up the hill. He thanked me, and did so. He looked very pale and weary. I had never seen him before. The children also seemed tired. I am quite satisfied that the bodies I have seen are those of the man and the children I saw on Thursday."

     The next witness called was the wife of the deceased, who was led into the room looking very ill. After being sworn she was accommodated with a seat at the table. She said: "My name is Susan Frances SANDS, and I reside at the Nile beerhouse, Church-street, Greenwich. I am the widow of Richard Lewis SANDS, the deceased. I last saw him alive on Thursday last, at half-past eleven o'clock in the morning, when he left home with the three children, Agnes, George and Amy. It was not at all unusual to take the children for a walk, and when he asked me on that day if he should do so I at once helped to dress them. I have another child, a boy, two and a half years old, but he is too young to go. The deceased used to take them out in the park. We had only been at the Nile about ten days then. When my husband started he was very low-spirited, and I was told afterwards that he had been crying as he came down-stairs. In the evening as he did not return I began to feel uneasy. When he left home all he said was, "I shall take them for a walk in the park," but did not mention this neighbourhood at all. My mother lives down here. I did not know how much money he had in his pocket, but I should think about £14 or £15. As he did not return I telegraphed to some friends at Wandsworth. Next morning I went to the police-station; I got an answer to my telegram saying that my friends had not seen him. I sat up all night, thinking he had met with an accident, and would be brought home. When I went to the police-station next day, I gave a description of him and the children in the usual manner. The deceased was a good father, passionately fond of his children, and good in every respect. After he left the Burlington Fine Art business, he did nothing for eight weeks, while looking for exhibition work, such as he had been accustomed to. At length he took the Nile, beershop. It was perfectly different to what he had been led to expect; being very noisy and low, especially on the first Saturday, when three dreadful fights happened in the bar, and we had to call the police. This totally unnerved the deceased, and on Sunday morning he said he wished he could see his way clear to having a quieter Saturday than that. He said, "We must go away." He was very grieved that his children and I should be subject to such a riotous noise and disturbance. The house has been since closed. He did not pay a large amount for the business, but it was nearly all the money he had saved, and this preyed on his mind. Since the occurrence I have not seen the deceased or the children. The children were very strong and healthy, but they had never had any playmates, having always had only their parents as companions. They were very gentle and affectionate, had every confidence in their father, and would do whatever he told them."

     The coroner then said he would ask the jury to consider their verdict with regard to the fate of the children first, after which he would take a separate verdict as to that of the man. He pointed out that it had been satisfactorily proved to them that the children could not have inflicted the wounds upon themselves, but that they had been inflicted by another person. It was their simple duty to say who that person was, and the law would then declare what the offence amounted to. Any evidence which might be given as to the state of mind of the individual who committed the deed, or showing him to have then been of unsound mind, would not release him in that court of the responsibility of murder. The coroner then went carefully through the evidence, and pointed out its most salient parts to the jury, who unhesitatingly recorded a verdict of "Wilful murder of the deceased children" against the father.

     Evidence was then given as to the state of mind of the deceased man prior to his arrival at Crayford.

     Susan Frances SANDS, the widow, was again called, and said: "The deceased had for some time been low-spirited, though he was always kind at home, and attended to his business. We had never lost any children before. I had known him three years before I married him, nine years ago. A sister of the deceased is now in an asylum, and an uncle of his committed suicide somewhere abroad by shooting himself, and was declared at the inquest to have been out of his mind when he did so."

     Inspector MEARING handed in some extremely favourable testimonials of the deceased, given by three superintendents of police as lately as the middle of July last, when he applied for his beer license from the magistrates.

     Herbert STYLES corroborated the statements of the widow as to the appearance of insanity among some of the relations of the deceased.

     The coroner then summed up, and the jury returned a unanimous verdict that the deceased had committed suicide while of unsound mind.

Source:  Reynold's Newspaper (London, England), Sunday, January 5, 1879; Issue 1482.
At an inquest held at Maidstone, on the body of Mr. SMITHERMAN, who was killed on Boxing-day while attempting to cross the line at East Farleigh, at a level crossing, the coroner's jury attributed the accident to the culpable negligence of the railway authorities. The jury also censured the company for not proving proper means for crossing the line, and recommended that steps be taken to supply the deficiency in that respect.

Source:  Bristol Mercury and Daily Post (Bristol, England), Wednesday, July 14th, 1880; Issue 10035.
An Awkward Discovery,---

     At an Inquest held last week at Rochester, on a man who was drowned in the Medway, the deceased was positively identified as one William CLIFFORD, and in that name he was buried. Yesterday, however, the real William CLIFFORD turned up, having been for some time an inmate of a hospital, and unacquainted with his reported death. Who the drowned man is remains a mystery.

[From our contributor, Michael Coomber: Not connected to our research, but, a possible registration for his supposed death is Sept. Qtr. 1880, MEDWAY, 2a, 277. His age is shown as 54.]

Source:  The Ipswich Journal (Ipswich, England), Tuesday, August 22, 1882; Issue 8049.

     Mr. W. J. HARRIS, coroner, held an inquest at Sittingbourne last week night on the bodies of George SHRUBSALL, aged four, and Agnes SHRUBSALL, aged two, the children of Alfred SHRUBSALL, fisherman. The children died from suffocation by smoke through a fire breaking out at their home on Sunday evening. They were put to bed early in the evening, and shortly afterwards fire broke out and made rapid progress. The children were removed from the burning building; but they were both insensible, and died afterwards.

Source:  Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper (London, Middlesex), Sunday, December 24, 1882, p. 12.  [SDY]
Yesterday, Mr. CARTTAR, West Kent coroner, received information of the death of Mrs. Ann BARHAM, a widow, of 42, Fulwich-road, Dartford, Kent. On the previous evening, at six o'clock, the woman was at the Dartford railway station, and in attempting to enter a train in motion fell and was run over, receiving such severe injuries that she died an hour and a-half afterwards.

Source:  Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper (London, England), Sunday, October 19, 1884; Issue 2187.

     The committee of the SMITHERMAN DEFENCE FUND brought their labours to an end at Maidstone on Friday evening, when Mrs. Mary SMITHERMAN was publicly presented with the sum of 750 pounds, the protracted litigation between herself and the South Eastern Railway, - who, it will be remembered, was sued by her for damages consequent upon the death of her husband - having at length been brought to a close.

     On Dec. 26th 1878 Henry SMITHERMAN, a journeyman painter, was killed at a level crossing at East Farleigh, being knocked down by an engine and tender which ran through the station in advance of an ordinary train, for which Mr. SMITHERMAN was a passenger. The company was sued by Mrs. SMITHERMAN, and a jury at the Maidstone Assizes awarded her 900 pounds as damages. The Divisional court, on appeal, set aside this verdict, and a protracted litigation followed, the poor widow's case being taken up by the working classes of the country.

     Subsequently, the matter was referred to Mr. BIRON, Q.C., who awarded Mrs. SMITHERMAN 500 pounds damages, and a similar amount as costs, and the whole of the costs incurred by the widow having been paid, the balance of 750 pounds remained, which was on Friday evening handed over to her.

Source:  Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper (London, Middlesex), Sunday, May 02, 1886, p. 12.  [SDY]

     Yesterday, Mr. CARTTAR, the West Kent coroner, held an inquest at the Morden Arms, Circus-street, Greenwich, on the body of Henry William SHELDRAKE, aged three years, son of parents residing at 11, Brand-street, Greenwich. On Sunday the mother had placed some hot water in a small bath, and left the room for a minute. As she was returning the child stepped backwards and fell into the water. He was pulled out by his father severely scalded, and oil was at once applied to the scalds, and he was attended until his death on Wednesday evening by Dr. GORDON, who attributed fatal results to internal congestion, following severe scalds to the back and right arm. The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."

Source:  Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper (London, Middlesex), Sunday, May 02, 1886, p. 12.  [SDY]
     Yesterday morning the West Kent coroner received information of the death of a woman named Emily BRODHEGAN, of Westdale-road, Forest-hill. Last week a man named DUCKER, with whom deceased lived, was found decapitated on the railway at Catford. The jury were dissatisfied; an open verdict was returned. Since the funeral the deceased had been very much annoyed because it is said she received notice that DUCKER's life insurance money would not be paid to her, as she was not his wife. It is further stated that through grief the woman poisoned herself by drinking water with arsenic in it.

Source:  The Echo (London, Middlesex), Monday, August 23, 1886, p. 3.  [SDY]

     Mr. W. J. HARRIS, of Sittingbourne, one of the county coroners for Kent, opened an inquiry on Saturday evening into the suspicious circumstances connected with the death of Ada Johanna, the wife of Robert WATERS, a fruiterer, of Lynsted, a village near Sittingbourne, which occurred early on Thursday morning. It appeared that on Wednesday the deceased and her husband had been drinking during the day, and shortly before eleven o'clock at night Mrs. WATERS knocked at the door of a neighbour's house begging to be admitted, as she said her husband had knocked her about shamefully and had turned her out of doors. She was not admitted, however, and returned home, and at two o'clock on Thursday morning was found by her husband lying on the floor downstairs in the front room quite dead. On the case being reported to the coroner, he directed a post-mortem examination of the body to be made, and, as a result of this, the inquest was opened on Saturday evening.

     Dr. PRITCHARD, of Green-street, stated that upon an examination of the deceased woman he found a number of injuries, one of which he stated was beyond all question the cause of death. After other evidence had been taken, Robert WATERS, the deceased's husband, was about to be examined, but he presented himself in a disgraceful state of intoxication, refused to be sworn, and was quite indifferent to the serious position in which the Coroner told him he stood. The Coroner said it was quite clear the deceased died from other than natural causes, and directed WATERS to be detained by the police on the charge of causing her death. WATERS was then taken into custody, and the inquest was adjourned.

Source:  Lloyd's Weekly News (London, Middlesex), Sunday, January 16, 1887, p. 12.  [SDY]
     Yesterday, Mr. CARTTAR, the West Kent coroner, held an inquest at the George and Dragon, Blackheath-hill, on the body of Elizabeth BOYLES, aged 43, wife of James BOYLES, boot manufacturer, carrying on business at 105, Blackheath-road. On Wednesday the deceased left home for the purpose of proceeding to London, and on alighting from an omnibus opposite Greenwich Railway station, was seen to stagger and fall on the tramway metals. She was taken into a baker's shop, where she gave her name and address, and then became insensible, and died in a few minutes. Dr. Hartt, who had made a post-mortem examination of the body, said on the heart he found a clot of blood of old standing that had impeded circulation, perhaps with the slight excitement of going to catch a railway train. The cause of death was syncope from embolism. The jury returned a verdict accordingly.

Source:  Reynold's Newspaper (London, England), Sunday, September 4, 1887; Issue 1934.
     An inquest was held at Ramsgate on Tuesday on the body of Ambrose Charles MARTIN, belonging to a training ship of the navy stationed at Portsmouth. Accompanied by two young man-of-war's men, MARTIN went into Minster Court-lane, near Minster, and climbed up one of the large trees growing there. When about 30ft. high he slipped from a branch, and fell to the ground, sustaining a compound fracture of the thigh and internal injuries. He was conveyed to the Seamen's Infirmary at Ramsgate, where he soon after died.

     A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned.

Source:  Illustrated London News, (London, England), 19th October 1889.  [SF]
     An inquest was held at Margate on Tuesday, as to the death of Henry SELLERS, a portmanteau manufacturer of 59 Kellet Road, London, who died on Sunday from self inflicted injuries. He had been staying at Margate for several weeks. A few days ago he went out onto the water with a boatman named WYKES, when he was seized with a fit of religious Mania. He called out " I am the third son of the Lord" and at the same time attacked WYKES with a table knife.

     The boatman succeeded in snatching the knife out of his hand and threw it into the water, when Sellers, taking a dagger from his pocket, thrust it down into his throat and then jumped over board. The boatman succeeded in rescuing him. Sellers then pulled the dagger out of his throat and threw it into the sea.

     He was taken ashore and removed to his lodgings and Medical aid was called in, but he died on Sunday from the injury caused by pushing the dagger down into his throat. A verdict of suicide whilst in an unsound state of mind, was returned.

Source:  Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper (London, England), Sunday, August 23, 1891; Issue 2544.

     An inquest was held on Tuesday, at Dumpton, Kent, as to the death of a visitor named George PILLER, 19 years old, who fell from the cliffs on Monday. It was stated that he was walking to the North Foreland Lighthouse, and stepped from the path to the edge of the cliff to look back at Ramsgate pier. His cousin called to him to be careful, but he fell sideways, dislocating his spine.

     A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned. The deceased, it was stated, lived at Walworth, and was employed at a restaurant in Cornhill.

Source:  The Ipswich Journal (Ipswich, England), Saturday, August 22, 1891; Issue 9302.
     An inquest was held at Dumpton, Ramsgate, on Tuesday, on the body of George PILLER, who died from a fall on Monday afternoon over the cliffs at Dumpton Gap. The deceased was a married man, nineteen years of age, engaged in a city restaurant. He was at Ramsgate with some friends for a short holiday, and was walking to the North Foreland, when he slipped and fell over the cliffs. The Coroner remarked that strangers should be careful in passing along unprotected cliffs.

[Death: Registration District THANET 2a 476 Sept. Qtr 1891.]

Source:  The Hampshire Advertiser (Southampton, England), Wednesday, March 23, 1892; pg. 4; Issue 4777.


The inquest on the three men found in the cuddy of the Deal lugger, which foundered off Ventnor on Tuesday last week, was held at the Sea View Hotel, Shanklin, on Monday.

     Evidence was given as to the foundering of the vessel and the recovery of the bodies. One of the deceased had on a cork jacket, which it was presumed had been picked up from the Eider. The men's names were Henry David AXON, the skipper, 40; James ARNOLD, 32; and William CUSHNEY, 36. The bodies have been conveyed to Deal.   [From our contributor:  The reference for the deaths of these men, from Deal, Kent, on FreeBMD is:  I. Wight, Mar Qtr. 1892, vol. 2b, p. 618.]

Source:  Keble's Gazette 29th July 1893 & 5th August 1893.  [MC, Suzannah Foad]
[Editor's comments: There are very long reports over 2 days, but the following summary was prepared by our contributor, Michael Coomber.]

The Coroner summed up at considerable length. He pointed out to the jury that they had to enquire how the deceased came by his death. That the death was a shocking and violent one the evidence had disclosed, and that it was the result of preparation and premeditation. The outrage was of a peculiarly atrocious character, not merely because it led to this man's death, but because of the means employed and the murderous possibilities employed. The person who sent the package originally seemingly cared little for the lives of one or several persons. They ran a terrible risk, the post office authorities, the clerks in Mr. Russ' office, Mr. Martin, and the wife and children of the deceased all had narrow escapes, and it was a circumstance to be devoutly thankful for that more life was not lost. He then proceeded to review the body of evidence, and said it would be the duty of the jury to find whether Richard RICHARDS had been wilfully murdered by some person unknown, or, if not, in what way he came by his death.

     At 10:35 the jury retired to the magistrates' room to consider their verdict, and after being absent fifteen minutes, returned, when the foreman announced their verdict to be, "That the deceased, Richard RICHARDS, was wilfully murdered by the explosion of a parcel received by him, such parcel being originally sent by some person or persons unknown."

[Contributed by both Michael Coomber and Suzannah Foad.]

Source:  Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), Thursday, March 22, 1894; Issue 7750.  [SF]
The Double Murder

Inquest on the bodies of the Children - The Mother Insane.

     An inquest was held at Garlinge near Margate on Wednesday, on the bodies of William TUCKER aged two years and George Cornwall TUCKER, aged three months, who died from injuries inflicted by their mother, Sarah TUCKER. Evidence was given as to the finding of the children dead on Tuesday, their heads being fearfully injured. The mother, who was tied to the bed with a cord, had several self-inflicted wounds to her head. She has also taken a quantity of paraffin. The injuries were inflicted with a small wood chopper.

     The woman has been very depressed lately and had frequently threatened that if anyone sought to take her away she would kill herself. A verdict of "Wilful Murder" was returned against the woman, who, it is believed, will recover from her injuries, but the recovery of her mental balance is doubtful.

Source:  Murder The Dundee Courier & Argus (Dundee, Scotland), Thursday, March 22, 1894.  [SF]
The Margate Murder Inquest and Verdict

At Garlinge, near Margate, yesterday, Coroner's jury returned a verdict of wilful murder and against Sarah TUCKER, who murdered her two children and injured herself, after securing herself to a bedstead with a cord. She also drunk a quantity of paraffin.

Source:  Whitstable and Herne Bay Herald, (Kent, England), 24th June 1899.  [SF]
Whilst curling her hair!

     Naomi LANE, maid to Mrs. BUTSON of Hackness, Westgate on Sea, while curling her hair with the aid of a lighted candle, set fire to her clothes. She was found by her mother, a cook at the same house, on the landing with everything turned off her body except her stockings and boots. She died shortly afterward in the Margate Cottage Hospital. At the inquest on Tuesday, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Source:  Keble's Gazette, 8th July 1903.  [SF]
Suicide at Margate - Shoe-black Cuts His Throat

     At the Margate Town Hall on Saturday, an inquiry was held into the circumstances attending the death of John PALMER, shoe-black aged 72, who was found on the previous day with his throat cut at his residence, 28 Clifton Cottages.

     Mrs. PALMER, wife of the deceased, stated that her husband retired to bed about twelve noon on the previous Thursday. Between seven and eight in the evening she took him up a cup of cocoa. She stood the cocoa on the chair then left him. She did not see him again till 8:30 on the following morning, when she visited his room, and noticed blood on the floor. She found her husband with his throat cut. She sent for Dr. Scatliff. The husband, when in drink, had threatened to cut his throat.

     A hairdresser, named WILSON, living at 27 Bath Road, stated that deceased came into his shop between eleven and twelve on Saturday and wanted to borrow a razor to cut a cat. Witness refused to let him have the razor.

     Albert JONES, of 30 Clifton Gardens, stated that PALMER also came into his shop about eleven on Thursday, and wanted to borrow a razor. Witness refused to let him have one.

     William WILMOTT, Barber, Prospect Cottage, Hanover Place, stated that about 11:45 on Thursday morning, deceased came into his place and wanted to borrow a razor. Witness offered to lend him a knife, but deceased said "I cannot see with that because of my glasses. I have always cut cats with razors. A gentleman has given me 2s. 6d. to do it". Witness then sharpened a razor and gave it to deceased.

     P.C. Smith stated that at 8:45 on the previous morning he received information that a man had attempted to commit suicide at 25 Clifton Cottages. He at once proceeded there and found Dr. Scatliff attending to deceased, who had cut his throat with a razor. The ambulance was sent for and the man afterwards removed to the Cottage Hospital, where he died at 12:45 on the same day.

     The Jury returned a verdict of suicide whilst temporarily insane.

[From our contributor: Deaths Sep Qtr. 1903, Palmer John Adley 72 Thanet, vol. 2a, p. 523.]

Source:  Daily Mail (London, England), Tuesday, May 5, 1908, p. 5.  [SDY]

     At an inquest at Gillingham, Kent, yesterday, on David SMITH, a dockyard shipwright, who committed suicide by cutting his throat, the evidence showed that he suffered from depression caused by chronic dyspepsia. Yet only the night before his death he ate a rumpsteak for tea and some bacon for supper.

     The jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while of Unsound Mind."

Source:  Daily Mail (London, England) Monday, August 24, 1908, p. 6.  [SDY]

Father's grief for a dead daughter.

     An inquest was held by the West Kent coroner on Saturday at Erith concerning the death of Charles William OUTRAM, proprietor of the Emperor beer and wine house, High-road, Chiswick.

     Witnesses gave evidence that Mr. OUTRAM formerly lived at Erith, where his favourite daughter died and was buried, and that he has frequently visited her grave in the Belvedere Cemetery. On Wednesday he left home to see his brother at Chatham, intending to return on Thursday night. But on that day about 7 p.m. he was seen by a cemetery employee beside the grave; suddenly he raised his hand, there was a report, and he fell - he had shot himself with a revolver through the head.

     His widow stated that he had lost the sight of his right eye and was upset on that account because his youngest daughter was about to be married, saying this would be the loss of "his right hand" in his business.

     The jury found a verdict of "Suicide during Temporary Insanity."

Source:  Thanet Gazette, 24th Feb 1917.  [SF]

Infants Body Found in a Drawer in Margate

     An inquest was held at the Town Hall, Margate on Friday afternoon, by Mr. C. C. Maughan, coroner for the borough, relative to the death of the infant child of Annie Lavinia COOPER, whose body was found in the drawer of a chest of drawers at No. 5 Trafalgar Place, Margate, the previous Tuesday. Mr. P. V. Blackburn was chosen foreman of the Jury and the following evidence was taken :-

     Mrs. Eliza Jane COX, living at 5 Trafalgar Place, said about a month ago Miss COOPER, a conductress on one of the motor charabancs, plying between Margate and Faversham, came to lodge with her, and gave her age as nineteen years.  On Sunday, February 11th, she went to her employment as usual and returned home about 9 p.m. having done a full days work. She went to bed complaining of toothache and on Monday morning, when witness took her up a cup of tea, Miss COOPER said she still felt unwell and would not go to work that day. When Tuesday morning came the young woman said she felt no better and would not go out that day. About 3:25 p.m. Miss COOPER came down into the kitchen and asked for some hot water and then sat by the fire. Witness went up to her bedroom and her suspicions were aroused by seeing a dark stain on the carpet and on opening the bottom drawer in the chest of drawers in the room, she saw a parcel wrapped in a nightdress, which she turned over and then saw the arm of a baby protruding. She called the young woman upstairs. She began to cry and asked witness not to say anything about it. Miss COOPER then made a statement, and witness put her to bed and sent for a doctor.

     Inspector Walter Clarke, borough of Margate Police said at 6:15 p.m. on February 13th, he went to 5 Trafalgar Place, when he saw Annie Lavinia COOPER, aged nineteen, motor bus conductress, in bed. Dr. Hemming was in attendance, he cautioned her and she admitted that the child, which had been found in the bedroom was hers, and that it had been born the previous night, or rather early that morning, and that she had placed the body in the drawer. She added that the child had not cried, she saw no movement in the limbs and she put it in the drawer just as it was born. In company with Dr. Hemming he made an examination of the body and could detect no marks of violence.

     Evidence was given by Dr. Hemming in corroboration of that given by Inspector Clarke, who added that when the girl was making the statement to the police in his presence he told her she need not be afraid to answer questions, but that she need not incriminate herself in any statement she made. Personally, he did not question the mother as to whether the child was born alive or dead, but he found not marks of violence or strangulation. The following day he made a post mortem examination of the body, which was that of a fully developed male child and from his examination he came to the conclusion that the child would have lived had there been proper attention at the birth. The chances were all against a child born under such circumstances. The girl would be confined to her bed for at least a week.

     The Coroner in summing up, pointed out that whether it was a case to come before another court, did not concern the Jury as it was simply their duty to ascertain the cause of death. They had evidence as to that, and they had heard that probably the mother was not aware of her condition, and that death was due to inattention at birth. The Jury returned a verdict to this effect.

Source:  The Times (London, England), Monday, Oct 29, 1917; pg. 5; Issue 41621; col E.

     An inquest was held in Kent on Saturday on the body of FLIGHT LIEUTENANT ARTHUR FRANK BRANDON, R.N., who was killed as the result of a collision in the air on the previous evening. Evidence was given that Lieutenant BRANDON had been acting as an instructor in a formation flight in the afternoon. After tea he went up alone to test engines. When 500ft. up, another machine descending to the aerodrome struck the right wing of his machine, which fell to earth. A verdict of "Death by misadventure" was returned.