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Help and advice for Inquests 1905-1914 - from the North Devon Journal

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Inquests Taken Into Suspicious Or Unexplained Deaths

For the County of Devon

1905-1914

Articles taken from North Devon Journal

Inquests

Coroner's Inquests were usually held within the space of 48 hours following a death that appeared to be of a suspicious or unexplained nature. They were usually held in a local public-house, ale house, municipal building, or parish workhouse, but sometimes in the building where the death occurred. The Coroner usually came from a legal or medical background and more often than not, appointed for life by the respective County. The Coroner and a Jury of between 12 and 24 persons, usually men of substantial standing, were empanelled to examine the body, hear witnesses, and the Jury then to come to a Verdict as to Cause of Death. The account of the Inquest appearing in local newspapers, included the name of the deceased, where they died, and how they died. Sometimes, age, occupation, parish or address, and other relatives' names can be found. In later years when Hospitals appear, people can be dying away from their parish after having been admitted to that institution, and the Inquest is therefore conducted where the death occurred, rather than where the person was living.

Provided by Lindsey Withers

[No's in brackets indicate the number of times that name occurs]

Names Included:  Abbott; Ackland; Acton; Aked; Alford(3); Allen; Allin; Andrews(2); Ash; Attwell; Avery; Ayre; Ayres; Babb; Baker(2); Bale(3); Balkwell; Ball(2); Balman; Balson; Bament; Barnes; Barrett; Barrow; Bassett; Beagen; Beattie; Beckley; Beer(5); Benoke; Bennett(2); Berry; Bethune; Bevan(2); Bibbings; Billett; Bindley; Binmire; Bird; Blackmore(5); Blake; Blight(4); Blythe; Bond(2); Boon; Boundy; Bourne; Bowden(4); Bowman; Bradley; Bragg; Brailey; Bray(2); Brayley; Breton; Brewer; Brimmicombe; Broad; Brokenbrow; Bromell; Brook(2); Brooks; Broome; Brown; Brownscombe(2); Buckingham(2); Budd(2); Bulled; Burgess(2); Burley; Burnett; Butler; Campion; Cann; Carlyle; Carlyon; Carpenter(2); Carter; Cawsey(2); Chamings; Chanter; Chapple; Charley(2); Charrot; Chastey; Chope; Churchill; Clark(5); Clarke(2); Clemence; Clements; Cleverdon; Cloak; Cloke; Cobbledick; Cocking; Cole; Collins; Comins; Copp; Coppers; Cornelius; Cornish; Cory(2); Cottle(2); Counter; Courtis; Courtney; Covell; Crang; Creese; Crick; Cridge; Crocker(3); Crook(2); Crossman; Cudmore; Curtice; Curtis(2); Dadds; Daily; Daniel; Dark(2); Dart(2); Davies(2); Davis; Delbridge(2); Dendle; Dennis; Densem; Dewdney; Dockett; Down; Draper; Drayton; Driscoll; Dunn(4); Dymond(2); Eastbrook; Eastman; Edger; Ediford; Edwards; Edworthy; Edyvean; Elliott(2); Ellis(2); Elworthy(2); Emberson; Evans(2); Eveley; Everleigh; Farthing; Featherstone; Fewings; Fisher; Fishwick(3); Fitchard; Flood; Folley; Foquett; Ford; Foxlow; Franklin; Frecker; Fredon; French; Frost; Fursdon; Furse; Galliford; Gammon(3); Garlick; Garman; Garnish; German(2); Gibbs(2); Gillard; Glass; Glover(2); Godden; Goodacre; Goodenough; Goss; Gottwaltz; Gould(2); Govier; Gratton; Green; Greenaway; Gregory; Guard(3); Guillaume; Hammet; Hammett; Hannaford; Harding(2); Hare; Harrington; Harris(6); Harrison(2); Hart; Hartnell; Harvey; Hassett; Heal; Heales; Heard(2); Hearl; Heathcoat; Hellings; Hendy; Heywood; Higginson; Hill(2); Hoare; Hobbs; Hobley; Hobling; Hockin; Hocking; Hodges; Holloway; Holman; Holt; Holway; Hooper(4); Hopkins(2); Horne; Howard(2); Humber; Husband; Huson; Hutchings(3); Huxtable; Irish; Jeffrey(2); Jenkins(4); Jenn; Jerman; Jervis; Jewell(3); Johns(3); Jonas; Jones(3); Jordan; Joy; Kellaway; Kelly; Kemp; Kershaw; Kidwell; Kiff(2); Kift; Klee; Knight; Knill(2); Lake; Lamey; Lamprey; Lancey(3); Lane(2); Langdon; Langridge; Langwasser; Lapthorne; Laramy; Lawrence; Lee(4); Lester; Lethaby; Letheren; Lewis(3); Leworthy(3); Ley(4); Lipscombe; Lloyd; Lock(4); Lord; Lovering; Luson; Luxton; Maddick; Madge; Main; Malkin; Manning(2); Mansfield; Martin(2); Mathews; Maunder; May; Maynard; Mayne; Midwood; Miller(2); Milton; Mitchell(3); Mock(3); Moore(3); Morgan; Morrison; Mortimer; Moss; Mountjoy(2); Mugford; Mules; Munro; Murphy; Musgrave; Muxworthy; Nation; Nethaway; New; Newcombe; Nicholls; Nicholson; Norman(4); Nott; Nunn; Oke(3); Oldreive(2); Oldridge; Paddon(3); Palk; Palmer(3); Parken; Parker; Parkhouse(3); Parkin; Parnell(3); Partridge; Patt; Pearse; Pedrick; Pennington(2); Perriman; Perrin; Petherick(2); Petter; Phare; Phillips(4); Pickard(4); Pickett; Pidgen; Pidgeon; Pike; Pile; Pillman; Pinkham; Piper; Powe; Prance; Prouse; Pugsley; Purchase; Pyke; Pyle; Quance; Quartley; Quick; Radford; Ralph; Raymond; Reddrop; Redmore; Reed; Rees; Rendell; Rendle(2); Rew; Richards(4); Ridd; Riddle; Ridge(2); Ridler(2); Robbins; Roberts; Robins(3); Rogers; Rook; Ross; Rottenbury; Runge; Russell(2); Rutherford; Sanders(10); Saunders; Searle(2); Seatherton; Sergeant; Setters; Sexon; Shaddick(2); Shapland; Sharp(3); Sheppard; Shopland; Short(2); Shortridge(2); Shute(2); Simmons; Sing; Skinner(2); Slader; Slater; Slee(2); Slocombe; Smale(4); Smith(6); Smyth(2); Snell; Snook; Spalding; Spear; Spencer(2); Sprague; Squire; Staddon(2); Stanbury; Stapledon; Stapleton(2); Steer; Stephens; Stevens(4); Stone; Stoneman; Street; Stuckey; Summerfield; Summerwell; Tallyn; Tanton; Tapper; Tarr(2); Taylor(6); Tedrake; Thatcher; Theobald; Thomas(3); Thompson; Thorne; Tidball; Tithecott; Todd; Tossell; Towell; Trebble; Tremeer; Trethewey; Treweeke; Trick; Trute; Tucker(8); Turner; Twigg; Tythacott; Underhill; Underwood; Urquhart; Vicary(3); Vickery; Vodden; Wall(2); Walters; Ward; Ware; Warren; Watkins; Watts(2); Webb; Webber(3); Weller; Wells; West; Westacott(2); Westaway; White(7); Wickett; Widden; Wiggins; Willcox; Williams(4); Wills; Winchurst; Winsor; Wivell; Wood; Woodrow; Woolway; Wormall; Worth; Wright(2); Yelland; Yeo(2); Young; Zeal

Thursday 19 January 1905

BARNSTAPLE - Elderly Woman's Death At Barnstaple. - MRS ELIZABETH ACKLAND, aged 72, wife of a mason of Newport, Barnstaple, who had got run down in health after devotedly nursing her sick husband, died suddenly early on Thursday morning.  The case was Inquired into on Friday by Mr A. R. Bencraft (Borough Coroner) and a Jury of which Mr J. Fry was Foreman.

Mr Bencraft having remarked that the circumstances were exceedingly sad, inasmuch as the deceased's husband was dying of cancer in the same house, and the deceased had been looking after him.  Mrs Emily Boyes, of Victoria-street, said she was with the deceased at her house from 9.30 p.m.  That evening deceased, who was very stout, and also nervous, was very depressed and excited, stating that she had seen a funeral that day and had lost some money.  She eventually went to sleep in the same bed with witness having given her some brandy between 11.30 and 12 o'clock.  Just after 3 o'clock on the following morning witness discovered that deceased was dead.  She sent for P.C. Fry and a doctor.  Mr Woodbridge, surgeon, arrived, and pronounced life to be extinct.  Deceased had been run down through attending on her husband.  P.C. Fry stated that he asked Mr Charles Cooke, surgeon, to attend the deceased, but Mr Cooke refused on witness saying he thought MRS ACKLAND was dead.  Witness then fetched Mr Woodbridge.  The latter now deposed to being called to the deceased's house early on the previous morning.  Deceased appeared to have died from heart failure.  Everything tended to show that the death was a natural one.  A verdict in accordance with the doctor's evidence was returned.  The Foreman asked if a parish doctor was justified in refusing to attend a patient.  The parish doctor had been attending deceased's husband.  The Coroner stated that Mr James Cooke (the parish doctor) had told him that his brother Mr Charles Cooke) had received the message, and when he heard that MRS ACKLAND was dead he did not think it necessary to go until later.  The Foreman said there was a feeling that poor people must be protected, and he asked whether a parish doctor was justified in refusing when he was asked to visit a patient.  The Coroner said he did not think he could officially express an opinion in this case, as the matter could not affect the question of how the deceased came by her death.  If the relatives thought that there was any dereliction of duty on the part of any medical man they should make their complaint to the Guardians.  P.C. Fry said he understood that Mr Charles Cooke did duty at night for Mr James Cooke.  The Coroner said the evidence showed that deceased was dead before the doctor could have arrived.  If, owing to a doctor's not attending, it was shown that a life was thrown away, he (the Coroner) would have something very strong to say.

Thursday 26 January 1905

PARKHAM - Dr Slade King (Deputy Coroner) held an Inquest at Courtices Cottages on Tuesday relative to the finding of MRS BETSY JOHNS dead in bed on Sunday.  Rev. J. B. White was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  Dr Toye said death was due to syncope.  Evidence was given by Mrs Lydia Brend and P.C. Coles as to finding deceased in bed, and the Jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes.

Thursday 2 February 1905

WESTWARD HO - Tragic Affair At Westward Ho.  Suicide's Farewell Letter. - The circumstances attending the death of MR CHARLES HAIG MIDWOOD, a retired calico printer, living at Edgehill, Buckleigh, Westward Ho, who was found shot early on Monday morning in the bath-room of his house, were investigated on Tuesday morning by the North Devon Deputy Coroner (Dr E. J. Slade-King) and a Jury, of which Col. Munro was Foreman.  MRS AGNES MIDWOOD (the widow) stated that the deceased was 46 years of age.  She last saw him alive at about twenty minutes past nine on the previous morning, when she took his breakfast to the bath-room. Witness went down stairs for her own breakfast, and returned to the bath-room at about half-past nine, when she saw the deceased lying on the floor.  He had been in very bad health for over eight years, suffering from paralysis and complications.  She identified the letter (produced) as one which the deceased had written to her.  The deceased was formerly of Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland, where he lived for four years.  She thought he must have been dead when she found him lying on the floor.  Mr C. K. Ackland, medical practitioner, of Bideford, said he had known the deceased for about two months, having acted as his medical attendant.  At about 10 o'clock the previous morning he was called by telephone to the deceased, whom he found lying on the bed, dead. Witness found a little blood about the mouth, the lips were blackened, and there was a wound in the throat caused by a bullet which penetrated the brain.  Deceased had had locomotor ataxy, and had suffered terrible pain, and was very helpless.  Witness last saw him alive on Thursday.  The immediate cause of death was a bullet wound through the brain. He saw a revolver (produced) lying on the bath-room floor.  He was of opinion that the wound was self-inflicted.    By a Juror:  The intense pain might certainly have affected his mind.  Wilfred John Harris, a servant in the deceased's employ, stated that at half-past nine on the previous morning, he went with MRS MIDWOOD to the bath-room, where he saw the deceased lying on the floor.  He thought the deceased was not quite dead, but was just giving a last struggle.  The revolver (produced) was his master's property, and was hanging to the finger of deceased's right hand.  He helped MRS MIDWOOD put the body on the bed, and then telephoned to Dr Ackland.  The Coroner stated that the letter referred to was addressed to MRS MIDWOOD.  It was merely an affectionate farewell from a husband to his wife.  It stated that he could not bear his pain any longer, and hoped his children would be taken care of.  A verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane" was returned by the Jury.

SOUTHMOLTON - Fatal Accident At Southmolton. - An Inquest was held at the Town Hall, Southmolton, by Dr Slade-King (Deputy Coroner) in reference to the death of MATTHEW JAMES BIRD, wool dealer, of Duke-street, Southmolton.  Mr R. S. Crosse (solicitor) represented the family, and Mr F. B. Wyatt being Foreman of the Jury.  The deceased was identified by MR H. J. BIRD (son), who said his father was 74 years of age.  He last saw him alive on January 21st.  Mr F. J. Hobbs, a farmer, of "Reeds," Kingsnympton, said he was on the platform at the Southmolton Station on the arrival of the 6.55 train from Barnstaple, on Friday, January 13th  He saw a man walking up the platform, and he also saw him fall between the couplings of two carriages.  The train was stationary.  He (witness) shouted to the porters, and showed them where MR BIRD was, and then left.  William Evans, porter at the Southmolton Station (G.W.R.), said his attention was called to MR BIRD'S having fallen over the couplings of the train.  He went at once, and found him sitting between the couplings.  He helped him up and got him out the other side of the train.  The train was standing still.  He left him in charge of Mr Searle in the six foot-way, as he could not walk.  He asked him if he was hurt; he looked dazed, but gave him no reply.  Having seen him cared for, he went on with his work.  The stationmaster came at once to render assistance, and got deceased on the platform.  There were three porters engaged in taking out the luggage.  It was no one's duty to look after the passengers as they alighted from the train unless called.  There were seven lights on the platform, all lit.  George Searle, blacksmith, of Southmolton, said he was at the Southmolton Station, and heard a lady say that someone had fallen under the train.  He jumped over the buffers, and found deceased lying on his left side, and helped the last witness to get him out.  They got him on his legs with the assistance of the stationmaster and a signalman.  They got him on the platform and into the ladies' waiting room.  He was only a few minutes on the six-foot-way.  He left him in charge of the stationmaster and Mr Cruwys.  He spoke to him, but could not understand his reply.  Mr H. J. Smyth, surgeon, of Southmolton, said he was called to the deceased on Monday, 16th January, and though there were signs of fractured ribs, inflammation to the left lung set in on the Wednesday and he died from the injury.  He also found signs of injury to the kidney.  The cause of death was inflammation to the lungs, following the accident.  Evidence was also given by Mr Edwin Cruwys, pork dealer, who said he helped deceased out to the 'bus.  He would have walked to the town if he had not asked him to ride.  There was not a very good light at the station.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and added the following rider:-  "That this Jury is of opinion that a bridge or other provision for the safe passage of passengers across the line should be provided by the Great Western Railway Company at the Southmolton Station; that that station is not adequately lit; also that sufficient attention is not given to passengers by the Railway company at the station."  A further rider was added:-  "That this Jury desires to record their dissatisfaction at the unseemly delay on the part of the police in informing the Coroner of the necessity for this Inquest.

SANDFORD - Fatal Fall At Sandford. - Mr H. W. Gould held an Inquest at Sandford, on Friday, relative to the death of MRS E. S. WRIGHT, a widow, aged 74.  On January 20th the deceased, who lived alone, fell down stairs at her cottage, and was found lying on the floor in an unconscious condition by Mrs Chudley  Dr Moison, of Crediton, said deceased told him she was going up stairs, and when she reached the top step she felt giddy, and fell backwards.  Death was due to the injuries caused by the fall.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

BIDEFORD - A Child's Death At Bideford.  The Danger Of Overlying. - Dr  E. J. Slade-King, the Deputy Coroner for North Devon, held an Inquest on Tuesday at Bideford on the body of FLORENCE LUCY SHORTRIDGE, the 11 weeks-old child of JAMES SHORTRIDGE, a mason's labourer, living at Meddon-street, Bideford.    The evidence of the mother (MRS EMMA SHORTRIDGE) went to show that the deceased slept in the same bed with the parents.  The mother last saw the child alive at 4.30 a.m. on Saturday, when she fed it.  When the mother awoke at about 7 a.m. on Saturday she found the child warm but dead.  She was the mother of three children, two of whom were alive.  Mr J. S. Grose, medical practitioner, deposed to examining the body about an hour after the death was stated to have occurred.  The cause of death was suffocation, probably produced by overlying.  He considered that the taking of infants into bed with parents was a very risky proceeding, at any rate if done before they were nearly 12 months old.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

ILFRACOMBE - An Inquest was held yesterday, before Dr E. J. Slade-King, on the body of the infant son of ERNEST GOSS, of 78 High-street.  The infant (six months old) was suffering from influenza and bronchitis, and yesterday morning it was found dead in bed by the side of its parents.  Dr C. T. Jones said the child had every appearance of having been suffocated by over-laying.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that the child, while suffering from influenza and bronchial pneumonia, was Accidentally Suffocated while in bed with its parents.

Thursday 16 February 1905

SWYMBRIDGE - Burning Fatality At Swymbridge. - Mr A. Bencraft held an Inquest at the North Devon Infirmary, Barnstaple, on Monday on the body of JOHN TAYLOR, aged two years and ten months, son of SUSAN TAYLOR, a farmer's servant employed at Hearson Farm, Swymbridge.  The evidence went to show that on Wednesday morning last the boy followed its mother out of the kitchen when she went to milk the cows.  A little later he returned to the kitchen alone, and caught his clothes afire at an open hearth.  The farmer's wife, Mrs Keall, hearing screams, ran downstairs, and found his clothes burning.  She extinguished the flames, getting burnt in the attempt, and as soon as possible the child was removed to the North Devon Infirmary.  At the time of the accident he was wearing two petticoats, one of flannel and the other of flannelette, and a cotton dress.  Mrs Keall could not say that the flannelette had proved to be more inflammable than the other material of which the boy's garments were made.  The fire was on the hearth.  She thought it would be impossible to do the work with a guard there.  Dr Mary Morris, house surgeon, attributed death to the burns and the shock and inflammation which followed.  Questioned by the Coroner as to what was best to do in such circumstances, providing the means were at hand, the doctor stated that it was sufficient to cover up the burns with clean linen and give the sufferer hot milk as a stimulant.  The wounds stood a worse chance of healing if oil or vaseline were applied, as there was the danger of introducing germs.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and expressed the opinion that everything that was possible was done for the child.  The Coroner emphasised that in some cases where there were unguarded fires special care should be taken to prevent children of tender years having access to them.

ILFRACOMBE - Child Accidentally Suffocated At Ilfracombe. - On Monday afternoon Dr E. J. Slade King, Deputy Coroner, Ilfracombe, held an Inquest at 97 High-street, on FREDERICK, infant son of MR W. J. NORMAN, L and S.W.R. Inspector, living at hose premises, the Company's office.  Mr J. Irwin was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  MR WILLIAM JOHN NORMAN, the father, said the deceased was his son, and was eighteen days old.  Witness last saw deceased alive between four and five on Monday morning in the bedroom.  He seemed quite well at the time.  MRS NORMAN, the child's mother, was there at the time.  They had gone to bed about 10.45 on the previous night.  So far as they could tell the child was quite well when they went to bed.  The baby was fed by its mother on the natural food.  When the child was placed in bed it was on the outer side of the bed, near the mother.  The bed was quite clear of the wall.  About 7.30 in the morning, witness's wife drew his attention to the fact of the child being quite cold; it was just in the same place as he had seen it three hours before.  Witness examined the child and found the face cold, but the neck and body were warm.  He at once telephoned to the doctor, and when he arrived he told witness that he must inform the Coroner of the death.  Witness added that the child's face was not covered, and there was nothing that could have pressed on it.  Dr Ernest Gardner said he was called to see the child about 8 that morning.  He found it lying on the bed quite dead.  Its hands and feet were pale and cold, its face and head congested and blue, and in witness's opinion death was due to suffocation.  There were no marks of any injury. The Jury intimated that they did not desire a post mortem examination.  The medical witness said that in his opinion the death was accidental, and there was no evidence that the child had been overlaid.  Replying to MR NORMAN, Dr Gardner also added that the body of the child was warm.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death" through Suffocation, and passed a vote of sympathy with the parents.

Thursday 2 March 1905

TORRINGTON - Fatal Accident At Torrington.  Inquest And Verdict. - An Inquest touching the death of MR JOHN ALFORD, of West Farm, Torrington, was held on Friday at West Farm before the acting Coroner, Dr E. J. Slade-King (Ilfracombe).  JOHN B. ALFORD, the son identified the body as that of his late father.  Deceased went out and took a young horse from the stable and rode over to Mr Tanton's, Ley Farm.  He saw nothing of his father again until about 5.30, when he found him he was at the bottom of the lane leading from the public highway to the farm.  He was laying flat on his back inside the gate, and the horse was outside the gate.  He immediately gave information to police and doctor.  Thomas Nancekivell, of Kingscott, an assistant schoolmaster, at Torrington, said he was on his way home when, on dismounting at the bottom of Park Gate-hill, he saw deceased coming down the hill riding a young horse, which was then going at ordinary walking pace.  On reaching the foot of the hill the animal broke into a trot.  On passing witness and deceased wished each other good-night.  He (witness) saw nothing in deceased's manner to attract his attention, and deceased seemed to have full control over the horse.  - Dr E. Morse (Torrington) said he was called to Week Farm, where he saw the deceased.  On examination he found his neck was broken.  Death was instantaneous.  A verdict of "Killed Accidentally from being Thrown from his Horse" was returned, and the Jury expressed their sympathy with the relatives and friends in their bereavement.

DOLTON - Fatal Accident At Dolton. - An Inquest on the body of MR N. CHAMINGS, who was killed while threshing at Eastcott Farm, was held on Friday.  Evidence was given by John Piper, a labourer in deceased's employ, to the effect that MR CHAMINGS and witness were at work in the barn on Tuesday.  MR CHAMINGS was feeding the machine, and he (witness) was binding straw.  Finding the machine was working empty, he looked round and saw his master lying on the floor.  - MISS L. CHAMINGS (daughter) said her father had lately complained of feeling faint at times; he was 67 years of age.  Dr Drummond deposed that he was called to Eastcott Farm on Tuesday, and found MR CHAMINGS suffering from injuries to the head and breast bone; his ribs, which were broken, had penetrated the lungs.  Death took place four hours after the accident occurred. A verdict of "Accidental Death, resulting from injuries received from a fall," was returned.  The funeral was very largely attended, deceased being well-known and respected in the district.  Before the time appointed to leave the house, nearly two hundred people had assembled. The body was conveyed to the Churchyard in a glass panelled hearse, the Rev. A. Knight (Bible Christian) conducting the funeral service.  The bearers were Messrs. W. Bailey, J. Budd, J. W. Friend, (Dolton), E. CHAMINGS (Iddesleigh), T. CHAMINGS, and W. Snell (Beaford.)

Thursday 9 March 1905

LANDKEY - Suicide At Landkey. - A painful sensation was caused at Landkey on Tuesday by the news that MR THOMAS LEWIS, a much respected resident, had committed suicide by cutting his throat.  The deceased, who was a very steady man, had worked for over forty years at Westacott Nurseries (Messrs. S. Bale and Son's), being held in high esteem by his employers.  A month ago he was attached by influenza, which left him weak and depressed.  On Tuesday he was left at home by his wife, who paid a visit to a neighbour's house, and on her return she found the deceased lying in the staircase with a wound in his throat.  MRS LEWIS gave an alarm, and P.C. Watts, who happened to be passing, came to her assistance, P.S. King subsequently arriving.  LEWIS was conveyed to the North Devon Infirmary at Barnstaple, where he died at three o'clock.  The deceased, who was 66 years of age, leaves a widow and grown up family, for whom deep sympathy is felt in the parish.  At the Inquest conducted by the Borough Coroner (Mr A. R. Bencraft) last evening, MRS LEWIS, who wept bitterly, stated that six weeks ago her husband had an attack of influenza, and had not since been able to go to work.  On Tuesday she left him at home whilst she assisted a neighbour who was ill; and a little later found him in the stairs with his throat cut, having lost an enormous quantity of blood.  After being taken upstairs, her husband embraced her and asked her to kiss him.  His only trouble was that he wanted to go to work.  -  MISS ANNIE LEWIS, deceased's daughter, who was also much affected, supported her mother's statement.  P.S. King spoke to seeing the deceased in the stairs, with the pruning knife produced close by in a pool of blood.  After being taken upstairs and having his face bathed, LEWIS rallied considerably  The witness related an affecting scene between the husband and wife, and said deceased repeatedly said "All through trouble," and "It is all over now."  Had never known deceased in trouble.  Dr Jones, who attended LEWIS for influenza, said he had been depressed and worried with the fear that he would have to apply for parochial relief.  The wound in the throat cut through everything into the mouth cavity, just above the region of the windpipe, and as the case could not be adequately isolated at LEWIS'S house he ordered his removal to the Infirmary, as the only chance of saving his life. Everything possible was done for LEWIS at the Institution; death was due to haemorrhage.  Depression was very frequent after influenza, amounting at times to temporary insanity.  "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane" was the verdict of the Jury (of which Mr W. Hooper was Foreman), and the Coroner expressed heartfelt sympathy with the widow and other relatives.

Thursday 16 March 1905

BARNSTAPLE - Little Boy Fatally Burnt At Barnstaple.  The Flannelette Danger. - There was a distressing occurrence at a cottage in the Derby Road, Barnstaple, on Saturday, FRED CAWSEY, the six-year old child of a slaughterman, receiving such severe burns from the upsetting of a paraffin lamp that it died at the North Devon Infirmary on the following day.  The sad circumstances were inquired into by Mr Coroner Bencraft and a Jury, of which Mr J. R. Ford was Foreman, at the Institution on Monday evening.  JOHN CAWSEY, father of deceased, gave evidence of identification.  He was away from home when the accident happened.  Saw his child at the Infirmary early on Sunday morning, and it passed away shortly afterwards.  Believed everything possible was done to save its life.  His wife was ill, and unable to attend.  The deceased was insured for "life or death" at 2d. per week, and witness would receive £5.  NELLIE CAWSEY, aged 11, stated that she put deceased to bed just before seven o'clock on Saturday evening, placing a 1d. glass lamp on the top of a clock on the mantelpiece, and not thinking there was any danger.  She remained in the room a few minutes, and shortly after she came downstairs her little sister, aged four, called down that deceased's shirt was on fire.  She found her brother in the middle of the room with his shirt afire, the lamp, which was unbroken, being in the grate and oil running over the floor ablaze.  Her grandmother wrapped a skirt over her brother, and eventually pulled off his shirt.  Her brother was in bed when she first left the room, and she thought the lamp must have fallen off the clock by some means.  Mary Ann Emery, deceased's grandmother, stated that her sick daughter first endeavoured to put out the flames with a shawl, and after other means had failed, witness tore the flannelette shirt, which was burning fiercely, off the deceased, who was standing close by the fender.  The little lad, who said he knew his mother was ill, readily consented to go to the Infirmary, and asked his mother to visit him there on the following Sunday.  After witness had placed some flour on the burns, deceased was removed to the Infirmary.  MR CAWSEY, re-called, informed the Jury that the deceased told his mother that the lamp fell off the little clock, that he got out of bed to pick it up, and his shirt then caught fire.  Witness added that deceased was a very careful child, and never went near fire ordinarily.  Dr Mary Morris, House Surgeon, at the North Devon Infirmary, stated that immediately on admission to the Institution, deceased was put to bed and given stimulants.  Deceased was suffering from shock, was dazed, and could tell them nothing about himself.  The shock was so great that a general examination was impossible, but antiseptic ointment was applied to some of the burns.  The poor child had a very bad night, being sick and delirious, and passed away from the shock about 9.15 on Sunday morning.  The whole front of the body was burnt, from the chin, hips, and armpits, about halfway down the arms.  The child was very badly scorched, nearly through the skin in parts, and on others scorched and blistered, sufficient to occasion very severe shock.  Flour applied to burns was a popular remedy, and undoubtedly it deadened pain for the moment, though it added to the risk of blood poisoning.  Personally she should prefer to have a case without the flour, although in this case no harm was done.  Deceased was a well nourished child.  The Coroner remarked on its being extraordinary that the lamp fell from its position after being on the clock twelve minutes, and that it was not broken in its fall.  He did not think, however, that the Jury need trouble about that, death being in his opinion the result of a pure accident.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BIDEFORD - An Inquest was held on Wednesday afternoon at Bideford Infirmary, on the body of JOHN OKE, ostler, 64 years of age, who died there the previous day.  Deceased had been admitted to the Infirmary before Christmas, suffering from a fractured knee, he having fallen from stores in King-street.  Under surgical treatment OKE was doing well, but contrary to expectation succumbed on Tuesday.  The evidence of Dr Gooding went to show that OKE got over the injury to his knee, after operation, but within this past few weeks had the influenza, and pneumonia supervening and spreading to both lungs, it subsequently was announced that there would have to be an adjournment until Monday afternoon, to secure the attendance of other witnesses.  The Jury were, however, in favour, of returning a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."  Dr E. J. Slade-King held an adjourned Inquiry on Monday to secure evidence as to the accident.  John Redcliffe said he found the deceased lying at the foot of a loft in King-street, and Nurse Arnold told the Jury that OKE had told her that he had fallen from the top loft, making a mistake about the ladder.  Mr John Lewis, ironmonger, said he had employed the deceased to do odd jobs, and he had no right to be in the loft shifting goods.  The Jury returned a verdict that deceased died from "Natural Causes," and passed a resolution asking the County Council to divide the Coroner's district, appointing a Coroner to reside in the Bideford district.

TAMERTON - At the Inquest at Tamerton on Saturday on ROBERT HENRY LAWRENCE, drowned at Chuck's Ford, River Tavy, on Thursday last, the evidence showed that deceased must have attempted to cross the ford with his horse and waggon, and been washed away by the tide and drowned.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Drowning," and added a recommendation to the local authorities to adopt means of preventing a similar occurrence in future.

Thursday 23 March 1905

BRADWORTHY - Mr G. W. F. Brown, the newly-appointed County Coroner for North Devon, conducted his first Inquest at Bradworthy on Tuesday, when he Inquired into the death of EDITH MARY BRADLEY, domestic servant, in the employ of Mr T. Bosanquet, J.P.  A post mortem by Dr White showed death to be due to an ulcerated stomach.  The doctor could not say whether, if a medical man had been called in deceased's life could have been saved, but he thought the pain might have been relieved very considerably.  A doctor was not called in by reason of its being thought deceased had merely contracted a chill.  The Jury and Coroner thought a medical man should have been summoned.  "Death from Natural Causes" was the verdict.

Thursday 6 April 1905

YARNSCOMBE - Sudden Death. - GRACE TUCKER, aged 86, wife of a retired shoemaker of this parish, died suddenly on Tuesday morning last.  At the Inquest held yesterday afternoon, before Mr G. W. T. Brown, County Coroner, it transpired that the deceased, who had had difficulty in breathing for some days, was found dead in bed by her husband.  Dr Macindoe, of Torrington, considered that death was due to failure of the heart's action, following a cold, and the Jury returned a verdict of death from Natural Causes.

Thursday 13 April 1905

MARWOOD - Fatal Accident In A Marwood Quarry.  Inquest Adjourned. - At Plaistow Quarry, Milltown, Marwood, on Friday afternoon, there was a deplorable accident, which involved the death of one of the workmen.  Two brothers named KELLAWAY were engaged in quarrying the material, when a large piece of stone became dislodged from a point about 6ft. above their heads, and glancing off another stone embedded in the side of the quarry, struck JOHN KELLAWAY in the side, knocking him down violently, and inflicting serious injuries.  Assistance was at once procured, and the unfortunate man was conveyed to the North Devon Infirmary at Barnstaple. Everything possible was done for him at the Institution, but KELLAWAY passed away about 2 a.m. on Saturday, death being due to shock and haemorrhage.  Deceased, who belonged to Milltown, Marwood, was fifty-one years of age.  He leaves a widow and two grown-up children, for whom much sympathy are felt.    The Inquest was opened at the North Devon Infirmary on Tuesday, before Mr A. R. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, and a Jury, of which Mr J. R. Ford was Foreman.  At the outset the Coroner briefly detailed the sad circumstances.  Both the deceased and his brother were expert quarrymen, and took what precautions they could to prevent injury.  The sad affair seemed to be a pure accident.  MARY JANE KELLAWAY, deceased's widow, gave evidence of identification, and in answer to the Coroner, expressed the opinion that the quarry (which was situated about two miles from their house) was more than 20ft. deep.  The Coroner said that being so, it brought the Inquiry under Section 1 and 2, 37 and 38 Vic., chap. 42 of the Quarries Act, and they had to give the Inspector of Mines an opportunity to be present.  He proposed accordingly to adjourn the Inquiry until that day week at five o'clock.  The Jury agreed.

MARLOW - Barumite's Sad End Near London. - Much sympathy is felt for MR and MRS FELIX ABBOTT, of Bellaire, Pilton, Barnstaple, in the death near London of their eldest son, MR JOHN HENRY ABBOTT.  The deceased, who was manager for the firm of Messrs. Bartleet and Co., cabinet makers, of High Wycombe, proceeded to Marlow on Friday, and shortly after his arrival he was seen to jump into the river Thames.  Efforts to save the unfortunate man were fruitless, the lifeless body being recovered some hours later.  At the Inquest it transpired that deceased had been in ill-health for some little time and a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane" was returned by the Jury.  Deceased, who was thirty-eight years of age, leaves a widow and two children. Among the relatives present at the funeral at High Wycombe yesterday were deceased's father and three brothers (ALBERT, FRED and WILLIAM).

Thursday 20 April 1905

WESTDOWN - Suicide Of A Naval Pensioner At Westdown. - The North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) held an Inquest at the New Inn, Westdown, on Thursday, concerning the death of JAMES SETTERS, a naval pensioner, and native of Westdown, but whose wife and family live at Plymouth, from where deceased recently came to stay at Westdown.  James Coats, sen., stated that on Tuesday he saw the deceased sitting on a stone in the linhay of Easter Field.  Witness did not speak to him.  On Wednesday, at about 7 p.m., witness went into the linhay again, and saw the deceased hanging by a rope from a beam.  The rope was around his neck and fastened to the beam.  - By the Foreman:  Deceased was asleep when witness saw him on the Tuesday.  James Coats, jun., and W. P. Smith, of Church-street, Ilfracombe, who also saw deceased hanging by the rope on Wednesday evening, gave evidence.  Mr C. T. Jones, surgeon, of Ilfracombe, stated that death was caused by suffocation and dislocation of the neck.  P.C. Fishleigh said that when he was called to the linhay he saw deceased hanging by the rope (produced) about one foot from the beam.  He cut down the body, and found that deceased had been dead several hours.  He found some pension papers on the body, which showed that deceased was a naval pensioner, and drew his last pension on the 3rd inst.  He believed deceased to be about 69 years of age.  He had seen deceased during the past week going from public house to public-house in the village.  He had noticed nothing strange in his behaviour, but he was not surprised to hear that he had committed suicide.  A verdict of Suicide while Temporarily Insane" was returned.

SHERWILL - The Quarry Fatality At Sherwill.  Advice By The Inspector Of Mines. - The Inquest on JOHN KELLAWAY, aged 51, who died in the North Devon Infirmary as the result of injuries sustained while working in Plaistow Quarry, Sherwill, was resumed at Barnstaple on Monday before Mr A. Bencraft (the Borough Coroner) and a Jury of which Mr J. R. Ford was Foreman.  The Inquest had been adjourned the previous week in order to allow H.M. Inspector to attend and Mr H. Walker, the Inspector for the Southern District was now present.  WILLIAM KELLAWAY, quarryman, of Hardaway Head, Barnstaple, said he and his deceased brother had worked at Plaistow Quarry together for five years.  About half-past three in the afternoon of the 7thinst., they were digging stones on a benching some 30 or 40 feet up in the quarry, when a large stone, weighing about half a ton, rolled down the slope some seven or eight feet, and struck against a rock.  The stone broke in two, and the smaller portion, weighing about half a cwt., glanced off and struck deceased in the thigh, knocking him forward on his face and hands.  there were no stones immediately overhead, and they had regarded the position as perfectly safe.  He went for assistance, and his brother was eventually taken to the Infirmary in a cart covered with some bags.

Examined by the Inspector, witness said the quarry was occasionally visited by Mr George Chichester and Mr Vavasour.  They had told witness and his brother to look to their own safety as much as possible.  The usual custom was to work from the top of a joint, but they sometimes did it from the bottom.  Since the accident some 15 tons of stone had fallen from the same place where the large stone fell.  Witness explained that the large stone had loosened the rest when it fell.  He thought the quarry a safe one to work.  Had the piece of stone not glanced off a rock it would not have struck his brother.  Admitted that there was a particularly big joint in the rock immediately in front of where they were at work, and if the fifteen tons of stone had fallen whilst the quarry was being worked it would have been sufficient to kill seven or eight men.  During the evidence of KELLAWAY, a man who was present was ordered out for interrupting.  Dr Mary Morris, house surgeon at the Infirmary, said the deceased died at 2 o'clock on Saturday, the 8th inst.  There was a good deal of haemorrhage, she discovered, as the result of a post mortem examination, but not sufficient to account for death, which resulted from severe shock.  The thigh bone of deceased's right leg was also broken.  It would have been better had the deceased been conveyed to the Infirmary on an ambulance, instead of in a cart.  The Inspector informed the Jury that he had seen the quarry.  He did not think the men KELLAWAY had the slightest business to have worked the stone in the way they did, although the opinion of WM. KELLAWAY was quite to the contrary.  His (the Inspector's) contention was borne out by the fact that 15 tons of stone had since fallen.  WM. KELLAWAY had since promised him that he would not work at the bottom of a joint in the future, but would work downwards.  In regard to a remark by the house surgeon that it would have been better had the deceased been brought in on an ambulance and not in a cart, a Juror (Mr Welch) remarked that he thought all quarry proprietors should be compelled to keep an ambulance at the quarry for use in case of emergency.  The Inspector said the law required that an ambulance should be kept at all quarries where more than 25 persons were employed, but not unless there were 25.  There was, however, no reason why the law should not be altered.  The Coroner said he thought the deceased met his death from a pure accident, and that no one was to blame.  A Juror (Mr Hooper) asked if the case came under the Employers' Liability Act.  The Coroner said he would express no opinion, as it was entirely without the scope of the Inquiry.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 4 May 1905

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Accident At Barnstaple. - MRS MARY BALE, aged 89, widow of a gardener, of Newport, Barnstaple, died on Sunday last as the result of an accident which occurred on April 23rd.  The circumstances were Inquired into by the Borough Coroner (Mr A. R. Bencraft) and a Jury, of which Mr T. Gay was Foreman, on Monday afternoon.

MR GEORGE BALE, house decorator, deceased's son, stated that at 2 a.m. on April 23rd, he was called to his mother and found her to be in great pain.  Witness sent for Dr Charles Cooke, who arrived within a quarter of an hour and attended his mother up to the time of her death.  A few days after the accident his mother told him she was under the impression that she was downstairs at the time of the accident, and she took her candle to go upstairs, she remembered getting to the top of the stairs, but nothing after.    Alice Morgan, deceased's granddaughter, who looked after MRS BALE, stated that she went to bed shortly after eleven on the night in question, and appeared to be hearty and well.  At 11.15 witness heard a fall, and found that deceased had fallen to the bottom of the second flight of stairs, a candle-stick in her hand was broken, and the candle was out.  The deceased suffered from hallucinations, and always thought she was in her right bedroom.  She often walked about, but was not in the habit of coming downstairs after going to bed.  Witness bandaged her arm and sent for deceased's son.  Dr Charles Cooke stated that MRS BALE fractured a bone of her forearm, whilst she had wounds over her eye and in one of her thumbs, and she was very much bruised.  He regarded it as a hopeless case from the outset.  It was very seldom that a person of deceased's age survived such a fall as she sustained.  Congestion of the lungs set in on Friday, death occurring on Sunday morning.  A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned.

CHULMLEIGH - Fatal Fall Downstairs.  Inquest At Chulmleigh. - On Monday Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner) held an Inquest at Chulmleigh touching the death of MR JAMES MANNING, a retired farmer, of East-street, Chulmleigh.  Mr Samuel Smale was chosen Foreman.  MR JOHN MANNING, of Highbridge Farm, Kingsnympton, identified the body as that of his father.  He last saw him alive on the 26th ult.  He then appeared to be in his usual health.  Mr W. Grimshaw, carter, living in the adjoining house to the deceased, stated that on Friday, about 1.30 a.m., he heard a "bump" in deceased's house, but had no suspicion that anything had happened.  Mr Edward Prettyjohns, butcher, stated that he called about mid-day on Friday to see the deceased on business.  He knocked at the door, but received no reply.  About 3 p.m. he returned again, knocked, but got no answer.  His suspicions being aroused he forced the back door, and found the deceased at the bottom of the stairs dead.  He appeared as if he had fallen down the stairs backwards.  Witness at once sent for the police.  Mr E. R. Hanson, surgeon, stated that the base of the skull was fractured.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death At Barnstaple. - At an Inquest conducted on Monday by Barnstaple Borough Coroner (Mr A. R. Bencraft) on WM. WALL, aged 79, a retired chairmaker who had lived in Queen-street, the widow stated that on Saturday night deceased retired to bed in his usual health.  At 1 a.m. she was aroused by her husband making a strange noise, and he died suddenly without speaking.  Her husband had believed he would die suddenly, and had, indeed, prayed for it.  MRS WALL added that her husband's mother and several uncles had also died suddenly.  MRS MARY ANN PINE, deceased's daughter, and Dr Lemarchand also gave evidence, the latter expressing the opinion that death was due to apoplexy.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

Thursday 18 May 1905

ILFRACOMBE - Ilfracombe Mason's Death.  The Inquest. - At the Ilfracombe Tyrrell Cottage Hospital on Monday morning the North Devon County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) and a Jury, of which Mr T. Knigh was Foreman, Inquired into the circumstance attending the death of JOHN ROBINS, 60 , a mason, of Holly House, Avenue-road, Ilfracombe, who died on Friday last.  Mr R. M. Rowe watched the proceedings on behalf of the widow and family of deceased.  Mr Edith Biddle, of Bristol, daughter of deceased, stated that her father worked for Mr Thomas Upton, builder.  She was notified by telegraph of an accident to her father, and saw him on Wednesday.  He told her that he had fallen off a ladder and hurt his shoulder and leg.  On Friday morning he rose at about 5 o'clock and proceeded to wind the clock.  He complained of pain in his leg and sat down on the couch.  Witness continued to talk to him, but found that her father was dead.  By the Foreman:  Her father did not tell her whether a rung of the ladder was broken before he stepped on it.  William Rudd, a mason, also in Mr Thomas Upton's employ, said that on Monday, 8th May, he and the deceased were working for Mr Upton at the gasworks at Hele.  Deceased, was pointing a wall.  the fourth rung of the ladder from the bottom was broken.  Deceased who had his tools in his hand, was coming down the ladder backwards, over-reached himself at the broken rung, and fell on his right shoulder.  He remained on the ground for a couple of minutes, and then walked over to a stable and sat down for an hour and half.  he had scraped his leg, and witness bandaged it with rag.  Deceased  smoked a pipe of tobacco, and after dinner he started work again.  He worked on until "leave-work time" at 5.30, and then walked home.  He did not return to work.  There were two ladders in use at the works, one being at the front and the other at the back.  The rung of the ladder was completely broken earlier in the morning before deceased went up the ladder, and he was aware that the rung was broken.  Deceased was perfectly sober.  By the Foreman:  The man who broke the rung told deceased it was broken.  Thomas Upton, builder, stated that deceased told him that he slipped when he came to the broken rung.  He added that he did not think of using the other ladder.  Mr A. E. Osborne, medical practitioner, deposed to seeing the deceased on Thursday morning.  He was suffering from severe cardine collapse. Witness ordered his removal to the Hospital, but as it was raining that evening he did not go.  He did not see him again alive.  Witness had made a post mortem examination.  On the left leg there was an abrasion of the skin. He could find no abrasions, contusions, or fractures on any other part of the body.  The heart was considerably embarrassed and the liver congested and fatty.  Death was due to heart disease, accelerated by the shock of the fall.  By the Foreman:  But for the fall he might have lived for several years.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" in accordance with the medical evidence, was returned.  The Jury gave their fees to the widow.

SOUTHMOLTON - Suicide Near Southmolton. - JOHN LANCEY, aged 55, labourer in the employ of Mr R. H. Dockings, of Holdridge Farm, Clappery Mill, Southmolton, committed suicide on Monday morning by hanging himself from a beam in a barn.  At the Inquest (conducted on Tuesday by Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner) the widow said deceased was 55 years of age.  On Monday morning when he left for his work she did not notice anything unusual in his manner.  Richard Hoyle said in Holdridge Barn, about 7 o'clock on Monday morning, he found LANCEY with a rope around his neck and hanging from a beam.  He ran for his employer, who sent to inform the police and for assistance.  Enis Ware, a wagoner, said he cut LANCEY down.  He was quite dead and had been so for some time.  His feet were about two feet above the ground.  He must have fallen eight feet.  P.C. Hunt said LANCEY'S neck was broken.  A verdict of "Suicide whilst of Unsound Mind" was returned.  The Jury gave half their fees to the widow.

FILLEIGH - Little Girl Killed At Filleigh. - KATHLEEN DORIS HOLT, aged 4 ½ years, lost her life at Filleigh Station on Thursday morning under most distressing circumstances, being knocked out of her mother's arms by a runaway horse, and receiving such injuries that she died in about half-an-hour.  The deceased was the daughter of MR JOHN HOLT (who has been occupying the Glebe Farm at Charles), with whom and his family must sympathy is felt.  The sad affair was investigated on Friday by the County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) and a Jury of which Rev. E. G. Beckwith was Foreman.  MRS KATE HOLT, deceased's mother, deposed that she was at Filleigh Station on Thursday morning preparing to go by the 11.9 a.m. train.  Her father was in his cart with the luggage.  Witness, with the deceased in her arms, went out to wish him good-bye.  Mr Snell got out of the cart, having the reins in his hands.  The horse, frightened by the incoming train, suddenly started forward, knocking deceased out of witness's arms.  One wheel went over the child.  Dr Smyth, who happened to be near the spot, was hailed, but the little one died within forty-five minutes of the accident.  Mr John Snell, grandfather of deceased, stated that as he got out of the trap to say good-bye to his daughter and the child, the horse, a fresh animal, bolted, knocking down the mother and child.  Witness at once seized the horse's head.  He did not see the wheel touch deceased.  Dr H. J. Smyth, of Southmolton, spoke to examining deceased and described the injuries.  It was quite a hopeless case from the first.  The cause of death was rupture of the right lung.  Richard Powell, labourer, spoke to seeing the horse start, and to himself immediately pulling MRS HOLT out of the way of the wheel of the cart.  He picked up the little girl, and carried her into the station premises.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.  They added a rider, expressing their appreciation of the presence of mind of Richard Powell in promptly rescuing MRS HOLT from danger.  They also expressed deepest sympathy with the bereaved parents, and gave their fees to the North Devon Infirmary.

EAST WORLINGTON - Burnt to Death.  Shocking Occurrence Near Witheridge. - The Inquiry into the death of MRS MARY ANN ELWORTHY, of Halford Farm, East Worlington, was conducted by Mr F. Thomas, Deputy Coroner, at the farm-house, on Thursday afternoon.  THOMAS ELWORTHY, the husband, said deceased was 27 years of age.  On Tuesday he was called from his work by his son, HERBERT, at 5 p.m., and hurried home as quickly as possible, and found his wife lying in the garden dead.  Her clothes were all burned off the body except the waistbands.  She was lying just outside the front door.  There was a small paraffin lamp on the floor of the kitchen not far from the open hearth.  It was not then alight, but he believed it had been.  There was also a little burnt paper on the floor, and some paper not burnt.  The oil-can was on the floor near, with oil in it, and the cork in the can.  He did not think much oil had been used.  Two little ones, aged three years and seven months respectively, were at home with their mother.  His wife had been occasionally depressed for some time.  In fact, she had not been well since August, 1903, when she had a serious accident, being pitched out of the trap on her head.  She had never threatened to destroy herself.  HERBERT ELWORTHY, 12 years old, son of deceased, stated that when he came home from school at Witheridge, about 3 o'clock, he was told by his little brother GEORGE, three years old, that his mother was in the garden.  He found her lying on the ground burnt, and he ran for his father.  The lamp on the floor of the kitchen was burning, and he blew it out.  The fire was not burning.  Dr Meade, of Witheridge, stated that he attended deceased in December last, when she was suffering from depression.  He had not seen her since that time.  He had examined the body and found it much charred.  Death was due to burning.  The Jury found a verdict of Death From Burning, but from the evidence it was impossible to say whether it was accidentally caused or otherwise.

CHERITON BISHOP - A Cheriton Bishop Farmer's Death.  Thrown From His Horse. - On Monday Mr H. W. Gould (Coroner) conducted an Inquest at Lewdown Farm, Cheriton Bishop, on the body of THOMAS HEALES, farmer.  James Labbett, retired farmer, of Northcote, Crediton, identified the body of deceased as that of his son-in-law, late of Lewdown Farm, aged 44 years.

William Boundy, farmer, said he saw deceased about 6.15 p.m. on Friday.  He was riding out of his yard gate.  He proceeded along the road towards Cheriton Bishop at a gallop.  He appeared to have control of the horse, and the animal did not seem restive.  George Pitts, farmer, said he found the deceased on the Yeoford-road about a quarter of a mile from his house.  He was lying on his left side, and partly on his face.  Deceased said "Get some water and wash my nose."  He made other remarks which were not sensible or that could not be understood.  The horse was lying in the hedge trough close to the deceased.  He (witness) went for assistance, and deceased was subsequently removed to his house.    Mr Fenwick, surgeon, of Dunsford, saw deceased in bed at his house in a semi-conscious state.  His face was considerably swollen.  Over the left eye there was a small wound about half an inch long, which was bleeding.  His nose was bleeding, and also his mouth from two wounds inside his lips.  Deceased was also bleeding from the right ear, which he considered was due to a fracture of the base of the skull.  Frank Morrish, labourer, of Lewdown Farm, said he had heard deceased say the horse shied.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 25 May 1905

HATHERLEIGH - The Hatherleigh Horror.  Suicide Of The Supposed Murderer.  Verdict Of Felo De Se.   A great sensation was caused at Hatherleigh on Monday evening in last week when it became known that the dead body of MISS BRETON, a guest of Mr Isbell, of Claremont Villa, and a well-known artist, had been found on the bank of the river Lew, about half a mile from the town.  On Tuesday afternoon the Inquest was held by Mr Coroner Prickman.  -  Mr Isbell stated that deceased was MISS J. MARY BRETON, aged 33 years, of Southampton, who had been staying with him for about a month.  On Monday evening she went across Strawbridge to a meadow, close by the river, to complete a sketch she had been making.  As she did not return at her usual time, he went to look for her, with Mr Veale, who found her dead body lying face downwards about 20 feet from the river bank.  - Mr Veale corroborated the latter part of Mr Isbell's evidence.  He saw no bullocks in the same field as deceased, but there were some on the other side of the river, across which there was a ford.  - Miss Isbell stated that she found no injuries about deceased's body, the only wounds being on the face and head.  - Sergt. Hill said he had searched the spot, and his theory was that she was sitting on the river bank and was charged in the back by a bullock.  She must have then jumped into the river to save herself, as her skirt was wet, after which she probably climbed out and walked to where she was found.  The blows were on the left side of the head and chin. She was lying in a pool of blood.  - Dr Atkins said the left side of the jaw was fractured.  She must have received two blows, which might have been dealt by a bullock's horn.  The blow on the head severed the artery, laying the bone bare.  The cause of death was haemorrhage.  The Jury returned a verdict that "Deceased died from haemorrhage, occasioned by injuries to the head, there being no evidence to show how such injuries were caused."

Great as was the sensation caused when the body of the deceased lady was found on Monday evening, it was nothing compared with the feeling of horror that pervaded the town on Wednesday when it became known that JOHN WARE, a labourer , had been detained by the police on suspicion of having murdered MISS BRETON, and that he had committed suicide in a cell at the local police station.

Inquest On WARE

The Court House at Hatherleigh was crowded on Friday morning, when Mr J. D. Prickman, County Coroner, opened an Inquiry into the death of JOHN WARE, who committed suicide in the police cells on Wednesday while being detained in connection with the tragic death of MISS BRETON, a lady artist.  The Jury were the same gentlemen who inquired into the death of the deceased lady.  The Coroner said there were circumstances in connection with the case which made it of more than usual seriousness.  They could not help associating MISS BRETON'S death with it, but they must judge the present case entirely as it affected JOHN WARE in a calm, cook, deliberate manner.  They must not be influenced by rumours or tittle-tattle.  If they came to the conclusion that the deceased man committed suicide while of sound mind, that would entail his body being buried without religious ceremony, but that point must not be allowed to interfere with their judgment.  The Foreman asked if the Coroner intended to re-open the Inquest on MISS BRETON.  The Coroner replied that that matter was closed.  The Foreman said the Jury were in favour of that Inquiry being re-opened.  The Coroner remarked that such a thing was impossible.  They were there to Inquire into the death of JOHN WARE, and they must confine their attention entirely to that.  GEORGE WARE, a brother, said the deceased came to Hatherleigh three weeks ago.  Witness had not previously seen him for several years.  Sergeant Hill stated that in consequence of the verdict returned by the Jury at the Inquest on the body of MISS BRETON, he made further inquiry, and saw WARE at a quarry on Wednesday morning.  He did not charge the deceased, but took him to the police station for the purpose of getting an account of his doings on Monday.  WARE told witness that he came home the whole of the way from his work with the other men, but this and other answers given witness had subsequently ascertained to be untrue.  When blood stains on his dinner bag were pointed out to him, WARE could give no explanation as to how they came there.  Blood stains were also found on his coat, but they were insufficient to make it practicable to ascertain whether it was human blood.  The same observation applied to faint stains on the handle of the woodman's axe carried by the deceased.

WARE was seen to enter the town shortly after eight on Monday night, whereas the other workmen with whom he left Bremridge Wood arrived an hour earlier.  The deceased was searched in the charge room, and given some clothes to change for those he was wearing.  WARE was placed in a cell, and Constable Smith was left in charge, with strict instructions to keep watch on him.  In answer to a Juror, the sergeant said WARE was quite rational, but while questions were being put to him he was very shaky, and his heels rattled on the floor like a kettledrum.  Constable Smith deposed to locking WARE in the cell at half-past twelve.  At twenty minutes past one, after having had his dinner, witness looked through the trapdoor, and saw WARE stretched out on the floor.  After sending for a doctor, he entered the cell and found deceased lying with his head in a pool of blood, with a black muffler tied tightly round his neck.  Witness cut the muffler, and artificial respiration was tried, without avail.  He did not recollect receiving instructions to keep a special watch on the deceased.  The regulations were that prisoners should be visited once an hour.  Sergeant Hill recalled, said he did not see the muffler on WARE when he was placed in the cell, otherwise he might have taken it away.  He did remove his braces.  Mrs Hill, wife of the sergeant, said she heard a loud thump ten minutes after the deceased was locked up.  Superintendent Bond said he gave instructions for WARE to be particularly watched.  The constable in charge complied with the ordinary regulations in regard to visiting prisoners.  Witness believed MISS BRETON was murdered by having her face held on one side while it was battered by a stone.  He discovered blood-stained stones in the river bed where she was found.  He did not think an axe was used.    Dr Atkins said he found deceased's head and neck congested.  There were marks of a twisted handkerchief on the neck.  He had made a post mortem examination and found no fracture of the skull.  Death was due to strangulation.  Mrs Davis, of Buddle-street, who said she was living apart from her husband, stated that deceased lodged with her.  On Thursday last he left to go to work about 6.30 in the morning.  He usually returned about seven o'clock, but that evening it was past eight before he arrived.  He went out again, and witness went to bed.  She heard nothing of him until about half-past one, when she heard oaths ascending from the kitchen.  She went down and found he was quite drunk.  The next morning he went out without any breakfast and said he was thinking of going to Plymouth, so that if he did not return she would know where he was.  He worked on Monday in his brother's coat, which she handed to the sergeant, and was the one now produced.  In reply to Superintendent Bond, witness said on Tuesday deceased was going to put his boots on without his socks, which were streaming wet.  She then gave him a pair of his brother's.  When she found him in the kitchen on Monday night she heard him say "My God, my God, what shall I do; where be I."  By the Foreman:  He also said "D---- the woman; they ought to be all chopped up."  He repeated similar observations after going to his bedroom.  On Tuesday evening he told her he had heard a young lady had been drowned, and he asked if she had heard anything about it. She told him she had, but at his request she went into a neighbour's house to inquire if it were true.    William Briskow, ostler at the London Hotel, saw WARE enter the inn at half-past eight on Monday night.  He called for a pint of beer.  The lower parts of his trousers were very wet, and he was shaking and very nervous.  He told witness he had finished up his job and was going off to Wales the next morning.  Charles Bolt, who was digging a grave in the churchyard on Monday night, saw deceased pass through the yard.  He hung his head when he saw witness there.    James Brooks, labourer, who was working with deceased at Bremridge Wood, stated that on their way home from work on Monday night WARE left them in the second marsh.  Witness and his mates reached the town at 7.35.  The same night, about 10 o'clock he saw deceased in the Bridge Inn.  He was then not drunk, and witness observed nothing usual about him.  Witness did not see MISS BRETON sketching, but he believed those who passed in front did.   Charles Short, another fellow workman, who was walking ahead of deceased on Monday night, said he saw MISS BRETON sketching in the marshes  There were no bullocks near, and witness remarked to "Jack" Tucker, who was with him, "I wonder what the young lady is painting this evening, because there are no bullocks here."  John Tucker agreed with the last witness's evidence.  In answer to Mr Friend, Tucker said he had never heard deceased remark as he passed homeward of an evening, "There she is again," referring to MISS BRETON as she was sketching.  Mr H. M. Veale, J.P., spoke to seeing MISS BRETON sketching shortly before seven, and about nine o'clock he found her body lying near the river.  - By the Jury:  There were no cattle that side of the river, and witness thought she was filling in her sketch.  The Coroner, summing up, said amidst all the flying rumours and stories which they had heard, the Jury had now to deal with hard facts.  The fact was that JOHNW ARE was detained in prison, and whilst there, strangled himself with a scarf.  They could not return any other verdict than that he committed suicide, but upon all the facts, were they prepared to say he murdered MISS BRETON?  That was a question which must govern their verdict, for if they believed he did commit murder, then they must consider whether he was guilty of self-destruction out of remorse, fear of punishment, or in a drunken frenzy.  The alternative was that he was insane, but this was a question which, in view of the police evidence, was hardly worth considering.  As a corollary, he asked the Jury to consider whether the police were absolutely and entirely justified ins taking him up on suspicion, and that their action was in no possible way culpable.  The Jury, after half-an-hour's private deliberation, returned a verdict that deceased died from strangulation, self inflicted, whilst of Sound Mind, and that he killed himself from fear of punishment.  They were also of opinion that the action of the police in detaining deceased was fully justified, and that no blame in any way attached to P.C. Smithy or anyone else on account of the death.  The Coroner said this was a verdict of Felo-de-se. 

WARE was buried on Friday night in Hatherleigh Churchyard.  He was carried to the grave and put in by four men.  The Vicar read a few extracts from the Burial Service in the graveyard.  A parish coffin was provided.  Townsfolk followed in crowds, but showed no sign of sympathy, and refused to help to carry the coffin.  Not a single mourner followed the corpse.

RACKENFORD - Rackenford Innkeeper's Suicide. - The District Coroner (Mr W. H. Gould) conducted an Enquiry at the Stag Inn, Rackenford, on Friday, concerning the death of HENRY TURNER, landlord of the Inn, who was found drowned on Thursday.

LOUISA TURNER identified the body of deceased as that of her husband.  She last saw him alive on Wednesday, when he was in his garden.  Deceased had complained of feeling unwell for some time, and had been suffering from pains in the head.  He was depressed at the time.  He had no occasion to go near the spot where he was found.  Mr Richard Leach, surgeon, stated that he saw deceased about four hours after he had been found.  He was then foaming at the nostrils.  Death was due to drowning.  He had previously treated deceased for chronic bronchitis.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while of Unsound Mind," and expressed sympathy with the deceased's family.

ZEAL MONACHORUM - Ex-Policeman's Suicide. - The Inquest on SAMUEL T. CARPENTER, formerly of Barnstaple Police Force, was held at Zeal Monachorum, near Bow, on Tuesday evening.  - The widow stated that on Sunday afternoon she heard two bumps on the floor upstairs.  Thinking her husband was knocking for something, she hurried up and found him lying on the floor in a pool of blood.  He died about five minutes afterwards.  For about two years he had been in consumption, and that and his financial position preyed upon his mind.  He was often very much depressed, and wept.  - Dr Haycroft,, of Bow, said he had been attending the deceased since March last.  He was suffering from rapid consumption.  He being invalided from the police force, and not being a member of any sick benefit club greatly affected him.  He was constantly speaking about these things, and he (the witness) had no doubt that this caused considerable depression.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide during Temporary Insanity."  The Jury expressed sympathy with the widow, and handed their fees to her.  On Thursday afternoon the funeral took place in the parish churchyard, Zeal Monachorum, of SAMUEL T. CARPENTER, lately a member of the Barnstaple Police Force.  The chief mourners were the widow and her three young children, MR and MRS CARPENTER (father and mother), MR CARPENTER (brother), and deceased's five sisters, Messrs. Jno., Jas., and G. Beer (brothers of the widow,) Mr and Mrs J. Beer (uncle and aunt), Mr and Mrs Brealy (sister and brother-in-law), Mr S. Beer (nephew), Mr G. Beer, and others, whilst two members of the Barnstaple Police Force attended to show their respect to a late comrade.  There were several choice wreaths, that from the Police Force being a particularly fine one.

Thursday 1 June 1905

DARTMOOR - Near Sticklepath, Dartmoor, the body has been found of an elderly man named SAMUEL COPPERS, who for years had lived practically the life of a hermit.  It is believed that death had taken place some ten days before the body was found, his severance from society accounting for the villagers not having missed him.  COPPER'S eccentricities were not confined to his liking for a lonely life.  Some two years ago he commenced the erection of a house, but he suddenly stopped the work when the structure was only part finished, and since lived in the place, which has neither windows nor floors.    At South Zeal on Saturday morning the dead body of a man called SAMUEL COPPERS was found in his house lying on the ground, with the greater portion of the face and neck eaten away by rats. COPPERS was a single man of about 64, and a strange character.  He built a house for himself about three-quarters of a mile from South Zeal village, right on the moor.  The house had no windows or stairs, and when the lonely occupant went to bed he climbed a ladder and pulled it up after him.  He was seen alive about eight days ago, when he was apparently in good health.  Mr J. D. Prickman held an Inquest on the body on Saturday evening, when the Jury concluded that deceased died on or about May 20th from "Natural Causes," probably heart failure.

Thursday 8 June 1905

TIVERTON - A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned at Tiverton on Monday night at the Inquest on HENRY SAUNDERS, age 47, of the Lamb Inn, Tiverton.  The evidence showed that the deceased stumbled over a mat, and in putting out his hand to save himself he knocked some beer bottles off a shelf.  One was broken and pierced deceased's right arm, with the result that he bled to death.

At the Inquest on HENRY ELLIOTT, killed on the railway between Cornwood and Ivybridge, on Wednesday, it was shown that he met his death by an error of judgment in not standing sufficiently clear of the metals.

Thursday 15 June 1905

TORRINGTON - Fatal Accident At Torrington. - On Monday Mr G. W.F. Brown (the North Devon Coroner) held an Inquest at the Town Hall, Torrington, on the body of MARY JANE PINKHAM, aged 53, who met her death by falling down stairs.

WILLIAM PINKHAM (the husband) said that when he came home on Saturday the deceased was sitting in a chair.  She remained there for some time, and then proceeded upstairs.  When nearly at the top she fell back into the kitchen.  He called in Mrs Gilbert who sent for Dr Macindoe, but the deceased was dead before he arrived.  Questioned by the Coroner, witness said his wife had been drinking for some time, and was the worse for drink at the time of the occurrence.    Jane Gilbert said that on Saturday she was called by the former witness, and found the deceased lying at the bottom o the stairs in a pool of blood.  She saw the deceased at about 12.40 the same day. She was then the worse for drink.  Dr Macindoe said he was called in to see the deceased on Saturday.  Death was due to concussion of the brain and a fractured skull.  The Jury, of whom Mr J. H. Sillifant was Foreman returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 22 June 1905

KNOWSTONE - Sudden Death At Knowstone. - On Monday the North Devon County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) held an Inquest at East Kidland Farm, Knowstone, on the body of NORA ELIZABETH BRAY, wife of WILLIAM BRAY, farmer, of East Kidland Farm. 

Deceased, who was 46 years of age, was on Thursday in her usual health up to about 11 a.m., when she was taken sick and faint, and retired to bed. Shortly afterwards she became unconscious, and passed away at 4 p.m.  Mr R. E. H. Leach, surgeon, of Witheridge, said in his opinion death was due to concealed accidental haemorrhage.  The Jury, of which Mr E. Newton was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

LYNTON - Lynton Infant's Death. - The death of EDWIN HENRY LEWORTHY, aged four months, infant child of EDITH JANE LEWORTHY, a servant at Watersmeet, Lynmouth, was investigated on Tuesday by Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon.  The mother said on awakening at 4.15 a.m. on June 16th, she found the child dead by her side.  Dr Atkinson (Lynton) attributed death to convulsions caused by an over-loaded stomach.  The Jury , of which Mr C. N. Bevan was the Foreman, returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence, and gave the fees to the mother.

Thursday 29 June 1905

PLYMOUTH - At the Inquest on Monday on EDWARD WOODROW, of 16, Cambridge-lane, Plymouth, EDWARD DENBOW, his step-son, said he last saw deceased alive on Friday.  He was then just recovering from the effects of excessive drinking, which was not usual with him.  He had no worries or debts as far as he knew, and had never manifested a suicidal tendency.  Mrs Oxland deposed to finding the deceased on Saturday hanging dead to a beam in the kitchen.  He had previously had an altercation with his wife on the subject of his drinking, which was due to an increase in his wages.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide during Temporary Insanity."

Thursday 13 July 1905

BIDEFORD - Sad Drowning Case At Bideford. - A sad bathing fatality occurred at Bideford yesterday (Wednesday) morning.  Some young men and lads had been bathing at the western end of the Long Bridge at 6.30, and then SAMUEL BROWNSCOMBE, aged 18, an assistant at Messrs. Wyatt and Son's, High-street, entered the water at the same spot.  BROWNSCOMBE, who had been bathing or a few mornings at Westward Ho but could not swim, seems to have stepped from the shallow water into the pool, where the water was about eleven feet deep, and was in serious difficulties before the accident was noticed.  P.C. Densham, who was on the bridge, shouted to the young men that BROWNSCOMBE was in danger, and they made an effort to save him, but all of them could not swim, and were unsuccessful.  The constable secured a dredger, and wading in up to his chest, did what he could to find the body, but it was not until twenty minutes or so afterwards that a man named Arnold, working on the Municipal Buildings, and Densham got the young man ashore.  Life was then extinct, and the body was taken to the mortuary.  The youth's father, a farmer, of Huntshaw, was sent for, and arrived in the course of the morning.  Where the pool forms there is a pit in the bed of the river, and the place is a veritable death trap to those unable to swim.  The police do their best to discourage bathing there, but there is no bye-law to support them.  BROWNSCOMBE was a very popular young fellow, and much sympathy is felt with his relatives in their bereavement.  The Inquest will be held this morning.

Thursday 20 July 1905

BIDEFORD - Bideford Bathing Fatality.  Lad's Gallant Attempts At Rescue. - At the Inquest at Bideford on Thursday on SAMUEL EDWARD BROWNSCOMBE, aged 18, P.C. Summers said he was on the bridge on Wednesday morning, and seeing deceased, who could not swim, was in difficulties in the Bridge Pool, shouted to the other bathers.  - John Kingsbury, a lad, who had just finished bathing, said he heard shouts and swam to the deceased.  He was attempting to get to BROWNSCOMBE'S back, when deceased got his arms round his neck and pulled him down twice.  Deceased impeded him, and he had to break away to save himself.  P.C. Summers threw a grappling iron and ran down to the river bed, but deceased had then sunk.  It was twenty minutes before the body was recovered.  - Wm. Yarnold, who stripped and dived five or six times before he located the body, which had drifted with the stream, and was in about nine feet of water, described the Bridge Pool as very dangerous for anyone to bathe in who could not swim.  - Dr C. S. Thompson said he had heard what was done to restore the deceased, and thought those present did rather more than could reasonably be expected in the excitement of the moment, and acted with great coolness and precision.  - The Coroner concurred, and commended those who tried to rescue the lad.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned," and added that the Town Council, both on the ground of its danger and indecency, should take steps to prohibit bathing at the Bridge end.

COMBE MARTIN - Retired Builder's Sad End At Combe Martin.  Found Drowned. - MR WILLIAM JOHN PHILLIPS, aged 64, formerly a builder at Exeter, but a native of Combe Martin where he has lived in retirement for some time, was missed on Monday evening in last week, and two days later his lifeless body was picked up on the sands closes to Sandy Bay.  At the Inquest on Thursday, held before Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon, MR FRED L. PHILLIPS, deceased's son, gave evidence of identification.  He last saw his father alive on the previous Monday night, when he was in his usual health.  Ernest John Parkin, fisherman, stated that he was in his boat off Combe Martin at eleven o'clock on Wednesday, when he saw deceased's body lying on the sands close to Sandy Bay.  He could see no trace of anyone having fallen over the cliffs.  Deceased's coat, cap, vest and collar and tie were missing.  Witness subsequently picked up the cap and stick on the same beach.  P.S. Adams, of Ilfracombe, deposed that deceased's pockets were full of sand, and there were some marks on his head.  Dr Manning informed the Jury that there were abrasions on the back of deceased's head, on his forehead, and the side of his face.  In his opinion death was due to drowning, the body having been in the water at least twenty-four hours.  He had attended deceased for acute alcoholism, and had seen him on the previous Monday morning.  Deceased did not give him the impression that he was likely to take his life.  There was nothing to show how deceased got into the water, and the Jury (of which Mr W. Cutcliffe was Foreman) returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."  The burial of the late MR W. H. PHILLIPS took place on Friday in the Parish Churchyard.  The Rev. F. W. Toms officiated.  The mourners were MRS PHILLIPS (widow), MR F. L. PHILLIPS (son), MR R. A. PHILLIPS and MR A. E. PHILLIPS (brothers), Mr E. Mudge and Mr W. Ebbels (nephews), Mr F. Openshaw, and Mr H. Page, Mr W. Cutcliffe.  The following also attended:- Rev. W. Ewens, Messrs. W. J. Dovell, Still, P. Draper, Twiss and J. Bastin.

Thursday 27 July 1905

MESHAW - Fatal Accident Near Southmolton. - MR HENRY J. HOOPER, landlord of the Gidley arms, Creacombe, Meshaw, was thrown from his trap at the foot of Creacombe Hill, the base of his skull being fractured.  He died shortly after he was conveyed to his home.  At the Inquest, conducted by Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 10 August 1905

BEER - Three Fishermen Drowned In Devonshire. - A disaster, resulting in the death of three fishermen, occurred at Beer, a little fishing village in South Devon, early on Thursday morning.  A small trawler, manned by three hands, THOMAS RUSSELL (owner), WILLIAM MILLER (sixty-nine) and RICHARD AYRES (sixty-three), left at two p.m. on Wednesday to go fishing.  During the night a gale sprang up, and when the boat was returning home by what is known as the western passage, the heavy seas capsized it, and all on board were drowned.  A fisherman, named Driver, witnessed the disaster.  Owing to the roughness of the sea he had turned out to save his nets from being washed away.  According to his description the boat, when about 200 yards from the shore, was suddenly overturned.  One man held to the tiller, but within a minute the boat was smashed to pieces.  MILLER'S body was afterwards recovered.  The body of AYRES was seen but could not be secured.  A curious coincidence is that RUSSELL was the only survivor thirty-three years ago in a similar disaster, when two men were drowned.  Another fishing boat, the "Fly," was also caught in the storm, and reached harbour with difficulty.  The Sidmouth lifeboat was telephoned for, and put out in a tremendous sea, but was subsequently recalled.  The Inquest on the three fishermen who were drowned through the capsizing of a trawler of Beer during the gale on Thursday morning was held on Friday.  the Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence, and commended Coastguard Bending for his work in assisting to rescue the bodies.

SWIMBRIDGE - Fatal Burns At Swymbridge Newland.  Danger Of Flannelette. - On Tuesday afternoon, an Inquest was held by the Borough Coroner, (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft), at the North Devon Infirmary, on the body of HENRIETTA LOUISA BROOME, aged 1 year and 11 months, of Swymbridge Newland, who died at the Institution on Sunday last, as the result of burns received on the previous day.  MRS HARRIET LOUISA BROOME, mother of the deceased, stated that on the morning of Saturday, August 5th, she left the child in the bedroom, and went to feed some poultry in the garden. She was first apprised of the accident by her little boy, about six years old, who came out and told her that the child was in flames.  She rushed in and finding the child's flannelette night-dress on fire threw her apron round the flames.  A neighbour put some linseed-oil over the burns, and the little one was immediately conveyed to the North Devon Infirmary.  The child must have come downstairs and picked up a box of matches that was lying on the table.  Apparently the matches had caught alight as the box was being opened, as they were all burnt.  There was no fire in the kitchen  Miss Beatrice Mary Kidd, acting House Surgeon at the Infirmary, stated that the deceased was brought to the Infirmary at about 8.30 on the morning of Saturday last.  The child was suffering from extensive superficial burns on the upper part of the right arm, on the right side, and on the right thigh.  In her opinion death was due to shock consequent on the burns.  In reply to a question, Miss Kidd said that although linseed-oil was not the right remedy, it would not hurt.  She thought that everything that was possible was done to save the child's life.  In summing up, Mr Bencraft did not think anyone could be blamed in the matter, but there were two points in the case upon which he would remark.  One was the great danger of leaving matches where children could get at them.  The other was that the case accentuated the great danger of children of that age wearing flannelette clothing.  A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned.

Thursday 17 August 1905

DARTINGTON - Killed With A Fork.  Boys' Fatal Play In A Dartington Harvest Field. - A sad fatality occurred on Saturday on Hood Manor Farm, on the Dartington estate, Totnes.  The occupier (Mr Crook) was saving a field of corn, and among those engaged in the operation were CHARLES BRIMMICOMBE, Fredk. Hawkins and Ernest Hawkins, employees.  The first named was driving the waggon between those who were loading the corn and the rick.  Frederick Hawkins, who is 16 years of age, was pitching with a two pronged fork to his brother on a waggon, and it seems that BRIMMICOMBE on one of his journeys, finding the waggon not ready for him, indulged in some play with Frederick Hawkins, who by some means stuck the point of the fork into his left eye.  BRIMMICOMBE was quickly removed to the farmhouse, and Dr Edmond, of Totnes, was summoned, but he died soon after his arrival, the injury having extended to the brain.  Deceased, who was 14 years of age, was the son of a widow, who resides at Kingsteignton.  At the Inquest at Dartington on Monday on CHARLES BRIMMICOMBE, who was killed on SAturday through the prong of a hay fork entering his brain, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BARNSTAPLE - Tragic Occurrence At Barnstaple.  Chemist Poisons Himself. - There was a sad tragedy at Barnstaple on Monday, when THOMAS DAVIES, chemist's assistant, in the employ of Messrs. Boots Ltd., died as the result of poisoning by prussic acid, self-administered.  The deceased, who was a single man, aged 34, was a native of Llanelly.  He had until recently carried on a business at Gowerton, near Llanelly, and had only been in the employ of Messrs. Boots about a week.  The deplorable facts leading up to the tragedy were elicited at the Inquest held at the North Devon Infirmary on Tuesday, before the Borough Coroner (Mr A. R. Bencraft) and a Jury of which Mr J. R. Ford was Foreman.  Mr A. F. Seldon watched the proceedings on behalf of Messrs. Boots, and the Chief Constable (Mr R. S. Eddy) was also present.  The Coroner having briefly detailed the circumstances, WILLIAM DAVIES, deceased's brother, a joiner of Llanelly, gave evidence of identification.  Deceased had been in business on his own account as a chemist, and a week ago took a situation with Messrs. Boots, Ltd.  His brother was at his house the previous Sunday week, and left for Barnstaple the following day, since which his sister had received one letter from him.

William B. Bell, manager of Messrs. Boots', Barnstaple branch, stated that deceased commenced his duties at Barnstaple on Tuesday last, being sent from head-quarters to fill a vacancy.  Witness found him to be of very intemperate habits, so much so, that he received instructions to suspend the deceased, which he did on Saturday last.  Deceased, notwithstanding, returned to business before nine o'clock on the previous day, and about 11 o'clock witness told him that he had received a wire ordering his suspension, and witness had to refer him to the firm.  Deceased was then most excited, and seemed almost on the verge of delirium.  He was not intoxicated at that time, but was probably suffering from the effects of drink.  Witness pointed out to him that it was very necessary that he should go home, and he expressed sympathy with him and suggested that he might be given another chance.  Deceased replied:  "Don't fret yourself about me; I can look after myself perfectly well."  He left for dinner at a quarter to one o'clock.  Witness recognised the bottle produced as one of the firm's which probably came from the Barnstaple shop.  It would have been kept in the poison cupboard upstairs, and deceased went upstairs once in the morning whilst witness was busy at the counter.  The bottle contained prussic acid, and was labelled "poison."  About 1.30 to 2 o'clock on the previous day witness was summoned to DAVIES'S lodgings, and found him being attended to by Drs. Lemarchand and Cooper.  Deceased was then unconscious. - By the Foreman:  Knew nothing to account for deceased taking poison other than he had already stated.  - Mr Seldon:  Is it not a fact that when the firm engaged DAVIES they obtained excellent testimonials for him?  - Witness:   Yes.  Deceased was engaged on his credentials.  Richard Follett, of Summerland-terrace, with whom deceased lodged, deposed that when on the previous day deceased returned to dinner he was a little excited.  On the previous Friday he noticed that deceased, who seemed to be worrying about something, had had a little too much to drink.  After dinner on Monday deceased remained chatting some little time, and about 1.35 remarked that it was time to be off to shop.  When DAVIES went for his hat on the sideboard there was something on it and deceased said he could not see it and must have left it upstairs.  He then went upstairs.  Some six minutes afterwards witness's wife heard groans.  On going upstairs, witness saw deceased lying on the bed, dressed, and he noticed the empty bottle (produced) labelled "Poison" standing on the chest of drawers, with the cork in.  DAVIES, who did not speak, was breathing heavily, and witness, suspecting that he had taken something, sent for Dr Lemarchand, who was followed by Dr Cooper.  Knew of nothing to account for deceased taking the poison.  Dr A. W. Lemarchand stated that when called to deceased at a quarter to two he found his clothes wet with recent vomit, and he at once concluded he had taken prussic acid.  Witness tried artificial respiration, and sent for a stomach pump, and succeeded in washing out deceased's stomach.  DAVIES did not recover consciousness, expiring about twenty minutes to three.  Prussic acid was generally very quick in its action, and he could only account for deceased lingering so long as three-quarters of an hour either by his having vomited, or having taken a small dose - not the whole of the contents of the bottle produced.  About three drops remained in the bottle.  Death was due to a dose of prussic acid, which, in his opinion, was self-administered.  Inspector Tucker also spoke to being called to deceased's lodgings, to directing the removal of the body to the Infirmary, and to communicating with DAVIES'S friends at Llanelly.    The Coroner, summing up, had no doubt that the unfortunate man died from the effects of prussic acid poisoning, self-administered, the remote cause which led to his committing the act appearing to be the loss of his situation, on account of his intemperate habits.  Whilst at Messrs. Boots' shop in the morning, deceased went upstairs, and, probably succumbing to a sudden temptation, helped himself to a bottle of prussic acid, and took it home and poisoned himself.  No one had any idea he intended to commit suicide, and everything possible was done to save his life.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."  The funeral took place yesterday (Wednesday), the interment being made at Holy Trinity Churchyard, Barnstaple.

ILFRACOMBE - Sudden Death At Ilfracombe. - Mr W. Pyke, Deputy Coroner, conducted an Inquiry at S.S. Philip and James' School on Thursday, on the body of an old man, unknown, who dropped dead in Market-street, Ilfracombe, on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr G. C. Jones was elected Foreman of the Jury.  P.S. Adams stated that although he had circulated a description of deceased, the body had been unidentified.  Frederick Lancy deposed that he was at the bottom of Avenue-road when he met deceased, who asked the way to High-street.  Deceased left witness and proceeded towards High-street.  About five minutes afterwards he again saw deceased at the top of Avenue-road when deceased fell over.  There was a gentleman with him when witness reached the spot.  Witness heard deceased groan two or three times, and he then expired.  P.C. Braund was called, and the body was removed with assistance to the Surveyor's office, which was close by.  Dr Langridge was immediately sent for and arrived in a few minutes.  Deceased was quite unknown to witness.  P.C. Braund said at 2 p.m. on the day in question he was called to the Surveyor's office, where he saw deceased.  Dr Langridge, who was in attendance, pronounced life to be extinct.  Witness, with the assistance of the last witness and P.C.'s Chadder and Hannaford, removed the body to the mortuary on a stretcher, and searched the deceased's pockets.  He found a purse containing £16 19s. 3 ¼d., a return tourist ticket between Cardiff and Ilfracombe, dated August 8th, a silver watch, a ticket from the Permanent Provident Fund, and a bottle containing about a quarter of a pint of brandy.  He was also carrying a brown hand bag and a walking stick.  There was no letter or anything to disclose the name of deceased.  P.S. Adams added that on the 8th inst., he caused a description of deceased to be circulated, and also gave information to the local press, but up to the present he had received no information as to his identity.  He had sent a full description to the headquarters of the police at Exeter, Cardiff, Canton, and Swansea, and had also caused the body to be photographed.  Dr F. W. Langridge deposed that he was summoned by telephone soon after 2 p.m. on August 8th to see a man at Market Square.  On arrival witness found that the man had been taken to the Surveyor's office, and was lying on the floor.  On examination he found the man to be dead.  There was nothing to show the cause of death, and he communicated with the Coroner, who gave orders for a post mortem examination, which he made.  The man was five feet nine inches in height, and was well nourished, but not stout, and his age was probable between seventy and eighty.  He had a short white beard and moustache.  The top of the head was quite bald, and there was a fringe of iron grey hair.  His eyebrows were dark, and he had grey eyes.  There was a slight post mortem staining and the rigor mortis was fairly well marked.  There were no signs of external injury except a small scab on the left knee.  On opening the skull the membranes of the brain were found to be fairly adherent to the skull cap. There was some minute haemorrhages on the brain. The lungs were very darkly pigmented, and both were intensely congested, but there was no sign of poisoning, and the stomach was quite empty.  His opinion was that death was due to heart failure.  The heart was small, covered by a layer of fat.  The liver, the spleen, and the kidneys were congested.  There was no doubt that he died of heart failure.  By the Jury:  Deceased might have gone for a good while without food, or he might have been very seasick.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.  Dr Langridge then made a complaint to the Coroner respecting the Mortuary, which he said was in a wretched condition, and in it, it was impossible to properly conduct a post mortem examination.  It was a small shed with a very broad table in the centre, so that to get at the other side of the body it had to be moved.  There were no towels, and in addition to the table he had already mentioned, all that remained in the shed to speak of was two clothes hooks and a tap in one corner.  The table was a very low one, so that it almost broke one's back to get at the body, whilst the only light was on one side and came through a broken window.  A candle had to be used to see the other side of the body.  As a mortuary it was all right, but it was a totally unfit place to conduct a post mortem examination in.  That morning he had to go to a cottage to wash his hands.  The Coroner said he would call the attention of the authorities to the matter.  The deceased man, whose name had not been discovered at the time the Inquest took place, has since been found to be MR GEORGE LEY, iron ore miner, of Gilfechayon Twenrodyn, Merthyr Tydvil, and a native of Combe Martin.  His son, HENRY LEY, was on Friday reading a report of the Inquest, and said to his friends "I believe this is father."  The local police wired to P.S. Adams at Ilfracombe, who replied that if the body was not identified it would be buried at 2 p.m. on Saturday. 

At one o'clock on that day the son reached Ilfracombe, and was met on the Pier by P.S. Adams.  He identified the deceased as that of his father by describing the contents of his pockets, and also from the photograph which P.S. Adams had caused to be taken.  The arrangements for the funeral were accordingly cancelled, and after the necessary legal formalities had been complied with, the body of the deceased was taken home to Merthyr Tydvil.  A sister of the deceased is living close to the place where the mortuary is situated, but was not aware of the identity of the deceased.

MORCHARD BISHOP - Harvesting Fatality At Morchard Bishop. - The District Coroner (Mr H. W. Gould) held an Inquest at Morchard Bishop on Tuesday on the body of EVELYN TUCKER, of Bishopsleigh Farm, Morchard Bishop.  JOHN TUCKER stated that the deceased, his daughter, was four years of age.  She went in a cart, with a man named Grant, to the harvest field, where witness found her unconscious, with severe injuries and bruises on the head.  She was taken home, and died on Monday.  John Grant, in the last witness's employ, deposed to driving the deceased to the harvest field.  The horse broke into a gallop.  When he looked around he saw the girl had fallen back and that her head was between the rails of the vehicle.  She did not speak, and appeared to be dead.  Mr Humphrey Allen, surgeon, Morchard Bishop, stated that he found the deceased unconscious.  She had severe bruises on the face and was bleeding from the ears.  The base of the skull was fractured, and that caused death.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

PLYMOUTH - "Death through Bathing with a Full Stomach" was the decision of a Coroner's Jury at Plymouth on Friday respecting the death of ARTHUR WELLESLEY HANNAFORD, a labourer, who bathed immediately after a meal at Cattedown on Wednesday and was drowned.

Thursday 24 August 1905

MARYTAVY - At Marytavy on Thursday a verdict of "Suicide during Temporary Insanity" was returned on WM. BALL, who was found lying with his throat cut on Dartmoor on Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday 31 August 1905

STONEHOUSE - A Coroner's Jury at Stonehouse on Friday investigated the death of WM. PIDGEN, aged 32, of Torpoint, a labourer, who was crushed to death at Keyham on Monday, and after 2 ½ hours deliberation returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  No one was censured, but reflection was cast upon the management of the Dockyard on account of the bad state of a railway line on which the accident occurred.

COMBE MARTIN - Fatal Accident At Combe Martin.  Child's Sad Death. - A sad fatal accident happened at Combe Martin on Friday afternoon.  MR GEORGE HENRY LEWIS, market gardener, having returned from Barnstaple Market, left his cart (containing hampers) with the shafts resting on some wood, and took his horse into the stable.  While he was so engaged his two little daughters began to play with the cart, with the result that the shafts tipped upwards and the vehicle fell on LORNA, aged 3 ½ , who sustained terrible injuries that at once caused death.  The Inquest was held at the Town Hall on Saturday before Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner.  Mr J. W. Cooke was Foreman of the Jury.  ANNIE ELIZABETH LEWIS, (mother) said she was at home about 4 o'clock on the previous afternoon.  LORNA was playing with her sister at the back of a cart at the rear of the house.  Witness heard a noise and went out, and found the cart tipped up, and the child underneath.  She lifted the cart up, and her husband carried the child in, but she did not speak or move.  Her husband took the child to the doctor.  GEORGE HENRY LEWIS, father of deceased, stated that on Friday he returned from a journey, temporarily leaving his empty cart resting on a standing in the yard.  He had only just taken the horse into the stable, and was engaged in feeding it, when he heard screams, and going out found the cart upset and the deceased underneath.  His two children in play had evidently hung on to the back of the cart, causing it to upset, and deceased's head was jammed between the vehicle and a large stone.  Dr N. S. Manning said he examined the deceased at Mrs Squire's shop, within a few minutes of the accident.  Life was then extinct.  He found she had sustained terrible injuries at the back of the head, the skull being badly fractured.  Blood was coming from the nose, ears and mouth.  Death must have been instantaneous, from the injuries she received.  The cause of death was fracture of the skull.  The Jury returned the verdict "Accidental Death caused by fracture of the skull."  At the request of the Jury the Foreman expressed their deep sympathy with the distressed and sorrowing parents.

EAST WORLINGTON - Suicide Near Crediton.  Clergyman's Sad End. - The Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of the REV. SAMUEL PRICE SMYTH, aged 31 years, rector of Wilby, Suffolk, whose body was found in Rock Meadow, East Worlington, near Morchard Bishop, on Thursday, was conducted by Mr H. W. Gould (County Coroner) at the Town Farm, East Worlington, on Saturday  The body was identified by GEORGE SMYTH, of the Town Farm, as that of his brother, a clerk in holy Orders, and late of Wilby, Suffolk.  Deceased, who was a single man, had been staying with witness since the middle of June.  He last saw his brother alive in the house on Thursday morning.  About two o'clock on that day witness found him dead in a field, lying on his face.  The empty glass produced, together with a note written by deceased were under the body.  The letter ran:-

"My dear Harry and George, - I do hope you will forgive me.  My life has become useless, and I cannot bear to be a burden to you any longer.  You have both been so utterly unselfish and kind.  You will find my will and papers about business matters on the chest of drawers in my bedroom.  You will also find there the addresses of those whom I wish you to write immediately.  - Your loving brother, - SAM."  Continuing, witness said deceased had been suffering from depression since Christmas, but he was not aware of the cause, although he attributed it to a cycle accident which deceased experienced about 12 months since.  Mr Richard Ernest Howell Leach, surgeon, of Witheridge, said as a result of a post-mortem examination he attributed MR SMYTH'S death to prussic acid poisoning.  MR SMYTH, recalled, said he did not know that deceased has prussic acid in his possession, and he had been unable to find any bottle which had contained prussic acid, or any other acid.  Deceased had been quite recently to Exeter and Tiverton.  The Jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased committed Suicide while Temporarily Insane.

The deceased was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he took his B.A. degree.  He was ordained deacon in 1899 and priest 1900, in the Diocese of Worcester.  He had the curacies of St. George's, Edgbaston, Birmingham, 1899-1900, Swymbridge, Devon 1903-1904; Madresfield, Worcestershire, 1904 in which latter year he was presented to the rectory of Wilby, Suffolk, which is worth £500 gross, and £442 nett, with a population of 331.

Thursday 7 September 1905

SAMPFORD PEVERELL - While blasting operations were in progress at Sampford Peverell lime quarry a charge from some unknown cause exploded.  A man named THOMAS was instantly killed by a crowbar, which was hurled through the air by the force of the explosion.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned at the Inquest on Saturday.

Thursday 14 September 1905

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death At Barnstaple. - At the North Devon Infirmary, on Monday last, an Inquest was held before the Borough Coroner (Mr A. Bencraft) and a Jury, of which Mr D. Moxham was the Foreman, concerning the death of a girl named ANNIE MALKIN, aged 17, who expired suddenly at her father's house at Sunny Bank, Barnstaple, on the previous Saturday.

JOHN MALKIN, an engine driver on the Great Western Railway, said he was the father of the deceased, who had been housekeeper for him for some time past.  She was 17 years of age last May, and she had enjoyed good health up to about a fortnight ago, when she complained of being very unwell.  About noon on Saturday he came home to dinner and found his daughter in her usual high spirits.  She told him the dinner would soon be ready, and that she was going to change her blouse.  He went and lay down on the sofa.  Shortly afterwards he heard a groan, and turning round he saw the deceased fall on the floor.  He thought she had merely fainted, and immediately lifted her upon the sofa, and loosened some of her clothing.  She did not speak after she fell.  He ran into a neighbour's house, and told the occupier, a Mrs Harding, what had happened, and asked her to go for the doctor at once, which she did.  Dr Gamble came first, and then Dr Lemarchand soon afterwards, but life was extinct before the doctors arrived.  Since a fortnight ago, when she had an attack of what was probably indigestion, she had complained sometimes of pain across the forehead.  Mrs Mary Jane Harding, a neighbour of the last witness, stated that she had known the deceased for about three years.  On the previous Friday morning deceased complained to her of having shooting pains in the head.  About 9 o'clock on Saturday morning deceased came to her house and again complained of having a headache, and asked her to come in and make her a cup of tea whilst she did some cooking.  She did not complain afterwards.  She saw nothing unusual about her.  Dr Lemarchand stated that he was called to the deceased about half-past one o'clock on the Saturday previous, but found that she had expired before he arrived.  he could not then certify as to the cause of death, and subsequently made a post mortem examination on the body at the Infirmary.  The deceased girl was slightly anaemic, but all the organs were perfectly healthy, except the lungs.  The right lung showed signs of incipient inflammation.  A person was very liable to faint in that state, and in his opinion death was due to syncope following on inflammation of the lungs.  P.S. Tucker also gave evidence.   The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

GEORGEHAM AND CROYDE - GEORGE JEFFERY, the three-weeks' old son of MR ALBERT JEFFERY, a licensed victualler, having died on Monday after only a short illness, an Inquest was conducted on Tuesday by Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner.  Dr W. J. Harper, Braunton, stated that deceased only weighted 6lbs., whereas the average weight for a child of that age was 8 or 9lbs.  Death was due to heart failure, occasioned by general debility.  The Jury, of which Mr W. Spencer was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes.

Thursday 21 September 1905

COUNTISBURY - Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner, yesterday investigated the death of ELIZA PALMER, wife of MR WILLIAM PALMER, of Welsham Cottage.  Deceased's husband stated that on Sunday evening his wife fell down in the kitchen, and died suddenly.  She had not been unwell, and had never been attended for any illness previously.  Dr J. P. Atkinson, who had conducted a post mortem examination, said he found congestion of the brain, lungs and liver.  Death was due to the fatty condition of the heart, associated with chronic inflammation of the kidneys.  The verdict was in accordance with the medical testimony.

BIDEFORD - Fatal Accident At Bideford. - An Inquest was held at Bideford last evening on the body of LEWIS EDWARD TAYLOR, aged 6, son of MR E. TAYLOR, of Hartland-road, Bideford.  The child on leaving school on Monday entered the shed where his father was reed-combing and sat on an arm of the driving gear.  In getting off the arm struck him in the stomach, and he expired after being removed to the Infirmary.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 28 September 1905

PARRACOMBE - MR HUMPHREY ROTTENBURY, retired farmer, aged 75 years, of Bumpley, Parracombe, retired to bed in his usual health on Saturday night, but on Sunday morning was found dead.  As no medical man had attended deceased for twelve months, the County Coroner [Mr G. W. F. Brown] for North Devon held an Inquest on Tuesday.  Dr Atkinson, of Lynton, who had examined the body, expressed the opinion that death was due to heart failure, consequent on rheumatic fever from which MR ROTTENBURY had suffered a year ago.  A verdict of death from Natural Causes was returned.

Thursday 5 October 1905

KNOWLE - Fatal Scalds At Knowle. - CHARLES WINSOR, the ten-months old child of a quarryman living at Knowle, near Braunton, has died as the result of fatal scalds.  The Inquest was held on Monday before Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon.  Evidence showed that on the previous Friday MRS WINSOR (deceased's mother) having placed the little boy in a chair, went to the door in order to speak to her mother. The child thereupon crawled to the fireplace, and reached at a kettle of boiling water, severely scalding itself.  Dr Walter Harper, of Braunton, was called in, but the unfortunate child passed away a few hours later from shock.  A verdict of Accidental Death was returned.

Thursday 12 October 1905

HARTLAND - Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner) held an Inquest at Harland on Monday, on the body of MRS CHARLOTTE ANN JEWELL, wife of MR JAMES JEWELL, of Bye-down Cottage.  Deceased, who was found dead in bed, had had no medical attendance for some time.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes," Dr Miller having deposed that as the result of a post mortem examination he found fatty degeneration of the heart.  Mr T. Braund was Foreman of the Jury.

TORQUAY  In the case of the Hele tragedy, the Coroner's Jury at Torquay, found that WILLIAM STUCKEY wilfully murdered MISS STAPLETON and then himself.

Thursday 19 October 1905

LANDKEY - Landkey Woman's Sudden Death At Barnstaple.  An Extraordinary Wish. - The sudden death occurred at Barnstaple on Monday afternoon of MRS ANN COTTLE, aged 68, of Landkey (wife of MR JAS. COTTLE, a market gardener), who had driven into the town in her pony-cart for the purposes of business.  Mrs William Shapland stated, at the Inquest conducted at the North Devon Infirmary on Tuesday by Mr A. R. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, that her mother (the deceased) had for years suffered from a weak heart and asthma.  Dr Lemarchand, of Barnstaple, had attended her, and had expressed the opinion that she would die suddenly some day.  When on the previous day, about one o'clock, her mother drove away from home to Barnstaple Market with produce she said her breath was "very tight".  Witness was not at all surprised to hear of her death, and it was really her "mother's wish to die suddenly."    Percy Charles Allan, a Lance-corporal in the Royal Army Medical corps, spoke to seeing MRS COTTLE leaning over the side of her cart outside the Hotels the previous afternoon.  Witness assisted her out over the vehicle into the shop of Messrs. Mock and Son, where he tried artificial respiration, another gentleman bathing her head with cold water.  MRS COTTLE passed away in a few moments, and Dr Cooper a little later ordered the removal of the body to the North Devon Infirmary.  Dr Cooper stated that deceased, whom he had known for some years, was a continual sufferer from asthma and chronic bronchitis, whilst she had suffered much from indigestion.  The condition of the lungs would cause degeneration of the walls of the heart, which would render her liable to sudden death if any extra strain were placed upon her.  In his opinion the extra strain in this case was caused by an attack of acute indigestion and wind in the stomach.  The whole circumstances pointed to death from syncope.  P.C. Gooding having spoken to himself, P.C. Pearse, the witness Allan, and another having taken the body to the mortuary.  The Coroner said that death was no doubt due to Natural Causes, and a verdict was returned accordingly by the Jury, of which Mr John Rice was Foreman.

SWYMBRIDGE - Young Woman's Sudden Death At Swymbridge. - There was a painful sudden death at Swymbridge on Saturday, when ANNIE SMALE, domestic servant, aged 22, who for nearly six years had been in the employ of Mr Wilton, of Herscott Farm, expired whilst at work.  At the Inquest on Monday (conducted by Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon, and a Jury of which Mr John Crang was Foreman), Miss Bessie Wilton stated that about 6.50 p.m. on Saturday, deceased was milking in the shippen when she heard the milk bucket rattle.  She sent her brother to the shippen, to see what was the matter, and from what he told her she herself went.  She met deceased coming out of the doorway with the bucket in her hand, and, in answer to witness, SMALE said "I feel faint."  The cow "kicked."  She helped deceased into the house and gave her a little whiskey, but she passed away within ten minutes.  The deceased was in her usual health before going milking.  The cow which she was milking was a quiet one, and deceased had never complained of its kicking before.  It was elicited that what deceased evidently meant when she said "The cow kicked" was that it had struck the bucket and frightened her.  The bucket was produced, and bore a mark as of having been struck by something. Dr Jonas, of Barnstaple, who made a post mortem examination, expressed the opinion that death was due to Natural Causes, namely heart failure, and a verdict accordingly was returned.

Thursday 26 October 1905

SOUTHMOLTON - Inquest At Southmolton. - An Inquest was held at the Town Hall on Thursday by the North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) on the body of a female child, the presumed daughter of MARY CLARK, a servant at the George Hotel.  Mr George Poole was Foreman of the Jury.  Mary Whitmore, manageress at the George Hotel, said she was informed that MARY CLARK was unable on Wednesday morning to take her ordinary duties.  She saw her at 7 o'clock and again at 9 a.m. She asked her what was the matter and she said she had a cold.  She said she thought she was far from well, and said she should send for a doctor, and BESSIE (that was the name she went by) asked her not to do so, if she had a rest and went home for a fortnight she would be all right.  Witness was not satisfied and sent for Dr Smyth.  Ellen Jewell, a waitress in the hotel, who occupied the same bedroom but not the same bed, said she retired to bed on Tuesday night about 11 o'clock, MARY CLARK went about 9 o'clock.  She was a light sleeper, but she heard nothing and did not think CLARK could have left the room during the night without her knowledge.  She (witness) rose at six and left CLARK in bed, who asked her to tell Mrs Whitmore that she was not well enough to get up.  The tin box was against the wall opposite the bed, she could not have reached it without getting out of bed.  She noticed blood on the floor when she went to the room about 11.30 a.m. and spoke to CLARK about it; she said she had cut her finger.

Mr H. J. Smyth, medical practitioner, of Southmolton, said he was called to the George Hotel about 5.30 on Wednesday afternoon, and went upstairs with Mrs Whitmore to MARY CLARK'S bedroom.  CLARK was in bed, but very weak.  She said she had pains in the stomach, and he found the same as he usually found after confinements.  After using a fomentation CLARK said, "I see you know all about it."  She said she had been confined, but she did not think it had lived, and it was in the box at the foot of the bed.  They examined the box and found a female baby inside wrapped up in an old skirt.  He had that day made a post mortem examination of the body of the child.  The child had breathed and the lungs were partially inflated, especially the right one.  After careful examination he had been convinced that it was not a full time child, but it had undoubtedly breathed.  But he could not say that it had been born alive or had a separate existence.  There were no marks of violence.  He was of opinion that it was a premature birth.  P.S. Newberry gave evidence as to receiving the body of the child in a tin box wrapped up in an old skirt.  The Coroner, having summed up the evidence and laid weight on the statement of the doctor that he could not say the child had a separate existence, the Jury (after retirement) said they found that the child was born at the George Hotel on October 17th, and that it had no separate existence.

Thursday 2 November 1905

BIDEFORD - Suicide At Bideford.  Retired Gamekeeper Cuts His Throat.  -  Mr G. W. F. Brown held an Inquest at Bideford on Friday evening on the body of WILLIAM THOMPSON, aged seventy-one, a retired gamekeeper, who was found with his throat cut at Salt Marsh, the New-road, a mile from the town, on Friday morning.  Mr H. Ascott, was Foreman of the Jury.

The Coroner said it was exceedingly painful for him to hold this Inquest on THOMPSON, who was a faithful servant and a man of the utmost integrity, with whom he had spent many pleasant days.  PERCY THOMPSON, son, said his father lost the sight of one eye some years ago, and sometimes had difficulty in seeing with the other.  He had been ailing in health for some time.  On Thursday witness heard that deceased was missing, and formed one of a search party which spent all night looking for him.  John Ackland, son-in-law, deposed to finding deceased in Salt Marsh, on the new road, with his throat cut.  P.C. Summers spoke to finding a razor under about six inches of leaves in a  quarry near a pool of blood, close to the place where the body was found.  Dr Grose said death was due to a cut throat self-inflicted, in his opinion, while the man was temporarily insane.  Deceased worried about his blind eye, but refused to have it removed, and suffered a great deal from it.  The Foreman of the Jury said he knew deceased had suffered a great deal by the loss of the sight of his eye, and at times it caused him a great deal of pain.  He (the Foreman) was quite sure that it was that which had unhinged his mind.  The Coroner said he knew deceased very well.  He was a man of the strictest integrity, who had served his master well, and in whom his master placed the most implicit confidence.  He knew also that he was much depressed over the loss of his eye.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane," and expressed their sympathy with the widow and family.

Thursday 16 November 1905

BERRYNARBOR - Tragedy At Berrynarbor.  Fatal Gun Accident. - There was a sad fatality on Saturday at Berrynarbor, the danger of leaving firearms being again tragically demonstrated.  The victim was HERBERT FRANCIS JOHN KEMP, aged 8, son of a labourer, and the details of the fatality were elicited at an Inquest conducted at the Temperance Hall, Berrynarbor, on Monday, by Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner.  GEORGE KEMP, father of the deceased, and a labourer, identified the deceased as his eight year old son.  Ephraim Courtney, aged nine years, said that on the previous Saturday he was at Hill's Farm about 9.30 in the morning with "JOHNNY" KEMP in the pig's house, where he had gone to feed the pigs.  There was a gun on the rack, and he (witness) knocked the gun, and it went off, hitting the deceased, who was standing in the doorway.

James Hancock, mason, said he was working at Lee Farm when he saw the deceased coming down the road shouting out twice: "I'm shot."  He fell down before witness was able to reach him, and he picked him up and took him to his (deceased's) grandmother's house.  He did not speak at all.  Witness noticed that his arm had been shot, and the blood was flowing from the wound, so he telegraphed for Dr Manning.  Witness knew the rack in the pigstye.  It was about 3ft. 9ins. high, and anyone would have to stoop to get under it.  P.S. Adams, however, stated that it was not necessary to go under the rack to go into the division where the pig was.   Ernest Watts, labourer, said he had a pig's house situated in Cruft Garden, where Courtney was feeding the pig for him on the Saturday.  There was a gun there on a rack made of strips of larch, which he had placed there, loaded, on the previous Thursday.  It was not cocked, and he kept it there for the purpose of scaring birds and killing rats.

The Coroner:  Why couldn't you take it there when you wanted to shoot rats?  Witness:  I am in the habit of going there, and it is a long way from home.  The Coroner:  Have you been in the habit of leaving it there loaded?  Witness:  No, sir.  The Coroner:  The first time you have done it?  The Witness:  I can say I never left a gun loaded in my life.  The Coroner:  Can anyone get access to this house without your knowledge?  - Yes sir.  The Coroner:  When you told Courtney to feed the pig, did you warn him that there was a loaded gun there?  - No sir, I didn't think at the time; I was in a hurry.  In answer to further questions witness said he did not think the gun could have come down without being taken down. The muzzle was facing the wall.  P.C. Holman, in reply to a Juryman's question, said that when he went to the house after the accident he found the gun on the rack.  Courtney was recalled on this point, and stated that he placed the gun back, but before it went off neither he nor the deceased touched it.  Interposing, Hancock remarked that Courtney had told him he took down the gun to look at it, but Courtney now denied this.  Courtney now tried the triggers of the gun, which was produced and was able to pull them, but not with ease.  Eleanor R. Geen said that Hancock brought the deceased to the Rectory Cottage (where her grandmother, who was also the deceased's grandmother, lived), and she took him upstairs and undressed him.  The deceased said "Ephraim Courtney has done it all.  He took down the gun and fired it."  He said that  Courtney gave him four apples to go and attend the pigs with him.  Dr N. Manning, of Combe Martin, stated that when he arrived the deceased was suffering from shock and loss of blood.  He found a fearful wound on the right side, through which his liver, which was greatly lacerated, was protruding.  On the outer side of his right arm was also a wound, and about six inches of bone had gone altogether.  There was no scattered shots, and the gun must have been fired at close quarters and horizontally.  P.C. Holman deposed to going to the pigs' house with Courtney, and the gun was resting on the rack.  He examined it and found the right trigger cocked and the left down.  On opening the breach he found in the right barrel a loaded cartridge, and in the left an empty case.  Courtney made the same statement to witness as he had made in evidence.  Underneath the rack was half a bundle of straw, on which the gun, if it had dropped, would have fallen.

Summing up, the Coroner pointed out that the triggers were good and the locks firm, taking some little pulling to get them off.  There was also a bundle of straw under the rack, and it was for them to consider whether they thought the shock of the falling of the gun would have sent it off.  It was very sad and a very terrible thing for Watts.  Naturally, the first thing a little boy would do would be too take a gun up, and, turning it round in his fingers, he would not be responsible in getting his fingers between the triggers and discharging the gun.  It was very doubtful whether the law would touch the case.  The law was very strong.  If a man committed such a foolish act as putting a dangerous weapon in a place where people could get access to it and an accident happened, that man was liable for manslaughter.  There was no doubt about that.  If a person wilfully left a loaded gun in a place where children had access he was undoubtedly liable to be indicted for manslaughter.  Not only the actual commission of the crime at shooting a person would bring him within the scope of the law, but gross negligence in leaving about the dangerous weapon would make him liable.  He did not for one instance suggest that Watts put it there wilfully or knowingly.  If he had given it one moment's consideration he was quite sure he would not have left it there or have sent the boy there.  The Jury had to satisfy themselves whether the story of Courtney was true, or the dying statement of the deceased to Miss Green.  he did not think that with his last breath he would have told a falsehood.  If that was the view the Jury took, and if the boy Courtney were older, it would mean a very serious thing for him, because that would amount to a verdict of manslaughter against him, and it would be for him to show to a Jury in another place that it was a pure accident and that there was no malice, or that there was any fighting for the possession of the gun or anything of that sort.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," finding that Courtney took down the gun, and was playing with it, and, accidentally discharging it, shot the deceased.  Death was due to the causes as stated in the medical evidence.  The Coroner cautioned Courtney, and told Watts that it would be a lesson to him that the result of his gross carelessness had resulted in the loss of the poor little boy's life.  He emphasised the great necessity of careful management of firearms.

APPLEDORE - Fatal Burns At Appledore. The Deadly Flannelette. - A shocking accident attended with fatal results, occurred at Appledore on Monday morning, when a little boy named WILLIAM HENRY EASTMAN, aged three years, son of CAPTAIN WILLIAM EASTMAN, who lives at Western Quay, was so terribly burnt that he subsequently succumbed to the injuries.  CAPTAIN EASTMAN, after having lit the fire, as usual, left the house just before 7 o'clock in the morning to attend to his vessel, leaving his wife, who was ill, in bed, with the children apparently asleep, in an adjoining room.  Deceased, however, got downstairs unknown to his mother, and shortly afterwards he ran screaming to his mother with his flannelette nightdress on fire.  In her efforts to extinguish the flames the mother herself was badly burnt.  A man, hearing the screams, ran in and put out the flames, but not before the poor little fellow was dreadfully burnt.  Dr Mence was called in, but from the first gave no hope of recovery, and the child expired the same evening.  The circumstances of the death were Inquired into yesterday, by Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner) and a Jury of which Mr H. Moody was the Foreman.  The first witness was CAPTAIN EASTMAN, father of the deceased child, who stated that on Monday morning he went down stairs some time between 6 and 7 o'clock.  He lit the fire and left the house to go to his vessel.  Shortly afterwards he was informed by Captain Harris that his little son was in flames.  He ran home as fast as he could, and found the child downstairs with his mother.  The flames had been extinguished, and Dr Mence had been immediately sent for.  The deceased must have come downstairs and stood in front of the fire, and in that way ignited his dress.  Thomas Jewell, sailor, of Appledore, deposed that between 6 and 7 o'clock on Monday morning he was standing in his doorway, when he heard screaming.  He walked towards CAPTAIN EASTMAN'S house, where he heard the screaming.  When he got near he could see flames through an upstair window.  He immediately ran into the house and went upstairs, where he saw the deceased in a bedroom.  His night dress had been burnt off, and the remains of it were smouldering on the floor.  He put out the fire, and carried the child downstairs.    Dr Mence, of Appledore, said he was informed of the accident at 6.50 a.m. on Monday.  He arrived at the house at 7.35, when he found deceased terribly burnt all over.  He applied the proper remedies, but he saw that the case was hopeless from the first, the child succumbing to his injuries at 6 p.m., the same evening.  Death was due to shock and exhaustion caused by the burns.  In summing up, the Coroner strongly emphasized the danger of dressing children in flannelette.  The great danger of this practice was being constantly brought to their notice.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and expressed their deep sympathy with the parents, to whom they gave their fees.

Thursday 23 November 1905

DEVONPORT - At the Inquest at Devonport on Friday on JOHN CARLYON, who was drowned by falling from the steam launch of the cruiser "Donegal", it was admitted that the whole of the boat's crew forgot that there was a lifebelt on board.

WESTLEIGH - At the Inquest at Westleigh on Thursday on WM. HOLLY, who was burnt to death in a lime kiln on Tuesday, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

LONDON - North Devon Girl In London.  Six Months' Imprisonment.  - At the Central Criminal Court, before Mr Justice Walton, LENA SMALE, (23), cook, a native of Petrockstowe, was charged on the Coroner's Inquisition with the Wilful Murder of her newly-born child, and she was indicted for the Manslaughter of the child.  The prisoner pleaded not guilty to both of these charges, but pleaded guilty to an indictment charging her with endeavouring to conceal the birth of the child.  Mr Symmons, appearing for the prosecution, said the Grand Jury had thrown out the bill for murder.  The prosecution did not propose to proceed on the Coroner's Inquisition for murder or upon the indictment for manslaughter, but they would be content with the prisoner's plea of guilty to the charge of concealment of birth.  Mr Curtis Bennett was counsel for prisoner, and addressed the Court in her behalf in mitigation of punishment.  The prison doctor certified that the prisoner still needed hospital treatment.  Arrangements had been made for her to enter one of Mrs Bramwell Booth's Homes, afterwards she would go to a good situation if his lordship (Judge Walton) took a lenient view of the case.  SMALE was sentenced to six calendar months' hard labour.

Thursday 30 November 1905

TIVERTON - At the Inquest on PERCY DE LA RUE REDDROP, of Tiverton, who was burnt to death at a Highbridge bank, the Jury found that the accident was caused by deceased falling in a fit and overturning an oil stove.

Thursday 7 December 1905

ILFRACOMBE - Death Of A Child At Ilfracombe.  Inquest. - Mortuary Wanted.  - An Inquest was held at the Tyrrell Hospital, Ilfracombe, on Saturday morning, before Mr G. W. F. Brown, Coroner, on the body of GORDON VICTOR WHITE, an infant of three months old, son of MR WHITE, of Woodstock Terrace, Ilfracombe.  Mr J. J. Mansfield was chosen Foreman of the Jury, and after the body had been viewed at the mortuary, the first witness called was ANNIE ROSINA WHIE, the child's mother, who said that the child was fairly healthy, but she often noticed that he turned blue, and his breathing was very quick.  In sleep he sometimes seemed to stop breathing.  On Thursday he seemed to have a cold, and he was put in a hot bath, and his chest rubbed with embrocation.  In the evening he slept well, and took his food, but early in the morning of Friday, witness saw that he seemed unwell, he turned cold, and witness's mother, who was fetched in, nursed him.  He had cold sweats, and died in witness's mother's arms about 6.40 a.m.  The child was not insured, and was her first born.  Dr Kettlewell said he was called to see the child after death, and could not certify as to the cause of death.  He made a post mortem on the Coroner's instructions, and found the body well nourished, but the lungs were congested.  His opinion was that the child died of bronchial pneumonia.  The heart was quite healthy.  After a brief summing up by the Coroner, the Jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes.

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Tragedy At Barnstaple. - There was a most deplorable occurrence at Barnstaple on Tuesday, when MISS MARGARET CANN JERVIS, who had carried on business jointly with her sister in the Square as a dressmaker and milliner, died as the result of a dose of oxalic acid, self-administered.  At the Inquest held last evening, before the Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft) and a Jury of which Mr J. R. Ford was Foreman, MISS MARY ANN JERVIS stated that deceased, her sister, was 60 years of age, and had been engaged with witness in the millinery and dressmaking business for a number of years.  Witness last saw her sister alive at eight o'clock the previous morning, when deceased in accordance with custom, came downstairs in her dressing gown for a cup of tea.  As her sister had not returned three-quarters of an hour later, witness went to her room, and found her lying by the side of the bed.  Sent for Dr Cooper, and handed him an empty package and a green glass found in another room.  Dr Cooper promptly arrived, and found that life was extinct.  Her sister would be in the habit of using the contents of the package in the work-room for cleaning straw hats; but witness did not know she had the package in her possession.  Deceased was in her usual health, except that at times she was in turn both high spirited and depressed.  Had not noticed anything peculiar in her conduct, and on the previous morning she seemed "as usual".  Witness's brother had died in an asylum.  - By the Foreman:  Her sister's health was fairly good.  Had not thought she would have taken her life.  - By the Coroner:  The cup and saucer which her sister had taken upstairs were found in the same room as the glass referred to.  -By a Juror:  Had never heard her sister threaten to take her life.  MISS JOAN JERVIS, another sister of deceased, also gave evidence.  Her sister did not seem at all depressed when she came downstairs the previous morning,  Knew of no reason why she should have taken her life.  On Monday she was very bright and cheerful.  Dr Walter Cooper stated that more than a year had elapsed since he attended deceased.  MISS JERVIS was never very strong, was subject to fits of depression, and sometimes acted in an eccentric manner.  She was, indeed, distinctly eccentric; he gave instances of this.  Called to MISS JERVIS about nine o'clock the previous morning, he found that life had been extinct for several minutes.  The lips were very white and witness noticed a peculiar smell.  Asked MISS JOAN JERVIS to look for any traces of poison.  She afterwards produced a green glass containing crystals at the bottom and some tea.  Had made a post mortem examination, and found the stomach and parts of the small intestines inflamed, and partly destroyed.  Tested the crystals in the glass and found that they were those of oxalic acid.  In the vomit and also in the contents of the stomach witness also found signs of oxalic acid.  Deceased's sister also showed witness a package with the red label of oxalic acid printed on it, and on inquiry at Mr Hickings', chemist, witness was informed a packet of oxalic acid had been sold that day before to an unknown middle-aged woman.  The packet contained half an ounce, which was a fatal dose.  Death was due to poisoning by oxalic acid. - The Coroner:  Do you think deceased was temporarily insane, if she took the poison knowingly?  - A.:  Certainly.  In accordance with the Coroner's suggestion, a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane" was returned.  The Jury expressed the opinion that the law should be so altered that oxalic acid should be scheduled as a poison that should be signed for when purchased.

Thursday 14 December 1905

LYNTON AND LYNMOUTH - At an Inquest yesterday on MISS FANNY KNIGHT, aged 84, of Sea Breeze Cottage, Lynmouth, who died suddenly on Tuesday, a verdict of Death from Natural Causes was returned.

MILTON ABBOT - Tragedy At Milton Abbot. - A man named JOHN PATRICK MURPHY, who had been through the South African war as a private in the Rifle Brigade, and who resided with his sister at the village of Milton Abbot, about seven miles from Tavistock, on Thursday cut the woman's throat, and that of her child, both fatally.  The man, who that morning received a refusal of work, afterwards gave himself up to the police.  He had maintained his victims while his money lasted, and was in despair concerning their future fate.  His demeanour after arrest was that of a man dazed, and totally unable to realise his position.

At the Inquest held on Saturday, a pathetic letter from the self-accused murderer, JOHN PATRICK, MURPHY, to his brother at Exeter, was read, and after evidence had been produced a verdict of Wilful Murder against MURPHY was returned.

GEORGEHAM - Policeman's Sudden Death At Georgeham. - The inhabitants of the village of Georgeham were much concerned on Saturday on hearing of the sudden death of P.C. MULES, of the Devon Constabulary.  Deceased, who was about 38 years of age, had been at Georgeham for some years and had earned the esteem of the people of the neighbourhood for the unofficious and conscientious manner in which he performed his duties.  He went on his beat as usual on Friday night.  After returning home he went to bed, but shortly afterwards got up, not feeling well, and then fell down dead.  Some years ago he was in charge of the County Police Station at Barnstaple, where his wife died, leaving two children.  He married again, and there are two children also by that marriage, each of the four children being under 12 years of age.  Much sympathy is felt for the widow and children.  Deceased, who was a native of St. Giles, was formerly stationed at Swymbridge, as well as at Bishopstawton and Barnstaple.

At the Inquest held before the County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) on Monday, the widow of the deceased stated that her husband came home at about 9.30 p.m. on Friday night, and shortly afterwards went to bed.  About 10.15 he got out of bed, and, falling down, expired almost immediately.  She at once sent for Mr Harper.  - Dr Walter Harper, of Braunton, deposed that deceased was quite dead when he arrived.  He had previously known deceased, and from knowledge he had of him he should say that death was due to natural causes, viz. failure of the heart's action.  A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned

Thursday 21 December 1905

BARNSTAPLE - Suicide Of A Lady At Barnstaple. - A painful sensation was caused at Raleigh, Barnstaple, on Sunday morning when it became known that MISS SARAH EMILY LEE, sister of MR JOHN LEE, of Pitt Farm, with whom she had lived for some time, had committed suicide by drowning herself.  The deceased, who was 43 years of age, left the house on Saturday evening, and as she did not return search was made, but no trace of her could be found until the following morning, when her dead body was found in the river Yeo.  An Inquest on the body was held at Pitt Farm on Monday, by Mr T. A. R. Bencraft (Borough Coroner), and a Jury of which Mr Charles Mcleod was the Foreman.  MR JOHN LEE, the first witness, stated that he last saw his sister alive at about 5.30 the previous Saturday evening, when she appeared in high spirits.  Calling a dog after her she left the house, and, as she did not return, he and some others went in search of her, but it was not until the following morning that the dead body of deceased was found in the river Yeo.  She had been a bit peculiar for years, but he always thought it was owing to her violent temper.  In May last, whilst at Bideford, the deceased attempted to commit suicide by cutting her throat, and was then sent to Cotford Asylum, at Taunton, where she remained until August 18th, when she was discharged, the medical superintendent at the Asylum saying that she had given no trouble and that she was then quite sane.  She had never told him she wished to commit suicide.  Miss Mary Stevens, a sister of the house-keeper at Pitt Farm, stated that she had known the deceased since the 18th August, and she always seemed in her right mind.  The deceased had a delusion, however, that people said she had murdered her mother.  One morning, a few weeks ago, the deceased said she had been ill during the night, and that she had wanted to get out of the window but somebody was there and would not let her, adding, "I wanted to go to the meadow, down to the stream."  Witness asked what she wanted to go to the stream for, but deceased made no reply.  Witness afterwards advised her to go and see Dr Cooke.  When deceased spoke of going to the stream it did not occur to her that she wanted to commit suicide.  Shortly after MISS LEE left the house on Saturday evening witness discovered that she had not taken her hat, and within ten minutes from the time deceased left the house they went in search of her.  Mrs Elizabeth Venner, of Sticklepath-terrace, deposed that for about 7 years she had known deceased, who had always been subject to delusions.  About three weeks ago MISS LEE was staying with her for a few days at her house at Sticklepath, when the delusions seemed to have taken an acute form.  The delusion to which the previous witness had referred was preying heavily upon her mind, and MISS LEE said she must go and make a confession to father Unsworth, the Roman Catholic priest at Barnstaple.  Witness went with deceased to see Father Unsworth, who advised her to think nothing more about it.  Witness asked her to go and see Dr Cooke, but had no suspicion that she contemplated suicide.  A labourer named Bennett, living at Pilton, stated that he found the dead body of MISS LEE on Sunday morning in the river Yeo.  The body was in a kind of an eddy, in about three feet of water, and about a quarter of a mile from the spot where he believed deceased must have entered the stream.  He immediately took the body out of the water and placed it on the river bank.  Dr J. W. Cooke, of Barnstaple, deposed that he had known MISS LEE for a great many years, and had frequently attended her.  She had been peculiar at certain periods; and on many occasions he had thought of sending her to an asylum.  In May last, when she attempted suicide, he ordered her to be sent to the asylum. He had not seen her alive since.  There was no doubt in his mind that deceased committed suicide whilst in an Unsound state of mind.  P.S. Tucker gave formal evidence, and spoke of finding footprints in the meadow, which deceased's shoes fitted.  A verdict of "Suicide whilst of Unsound Mind" was returned.

Thursday 28 December 1905

BIDEFORD - The Bideford Fatality.  Inquest Last Evening. - The Deputy Coroner, Mr W. Pyke, held an Inquest at the Municipal Buildings, Bideford, last evening on the body of JOHN BOWDEN, skipper of the trawler "Welcome" wrecked on the South Tail of Bideford Bar on Monday night, the 18th inst.  Mr Pengelly, Harbourmaster, was chosen Foreman of the Jury, and evidence of identification was given by Charles Cutcliffe, deceased's brother-in-law.  BOWDEN was 65 years of age.  John Carter, fisherman of Appledore, spoke to finding the body of BOWDEN at quarter to twelve on Christmas Day on the sands about a mile from Down End, Braunton.  It was lying on its back dressed in a singlet, shirt, waistcoat, and frock (jersey).  He had no boots, trousers, or drawers on, but was wearing his stockings.  The body was bruised a good deal about the legs, and had a scar up the lower end of the spine.  Witness covered the body with sacks, and then got a trap from Braunton and drove it to the lighthouse, where he put it in his boat and brought it to Bideford mortuary.   P.C. Bastin spoke to receiving the body from the last witness.  On searching the clothing at the mortuary he found a purse in an inside pocket of the waistcoat in which was £1 8s. 4d.  The body appeared to have been in the water for some time.  He should think the man had taken off his trousers to try to swim.

William Harding, skipper of another Bideford trawler, described how he was returning from the bay with other Bideford boats when he lost sight of the "Welcome," but did not know she was in any danger.  His was the first over the bar, and when the remainder of the fleet, with the exception of the "Welcome" reached Bideford, the skippers held a consultation, and concluded that the high southerly wind had either blown away her sails or else she had gone ashore.  Appledore was rung up on the telephone to keep a look out but nothing was seen until the next day when witness saw the wreck of the "Welcome" on the South Tail.  - In reply to Fred Cole (a Juryman) witness said it was not customary in these bays for local fishing boats to carry sailing lights and none of the fleets was showing lights on this occasion.  He denied, in answer to Chas, Cutcliffe, that he had ever said he saw the "Welcome" on the South Tail or in danger.  Witness was understood to say that mishap would not have happened if there had been a light on the Bar Buoy.  Mr H. C. Whitehead (local hon. sec. of the Royal Lifeboat Institution):  There are plenty of lights on land.    Witness:  Where?  Mr Whitehead:  At Appledore and Westward Ho.  Witness said that had nothing to do with it.  Witness repeated in reply to other questions that he did not know the "Welcome" was in danger, although when she did not arrive at Bideford he formed his own conclusions of what must have happened to her.  The Jury returned a verdict of Death by Drowning, attached no blame to anyone, passed a vote of condolence with the widow, and impressed upon the local authorities the advisability of trying to procure a gas buoy for Bideford Bar.

Thursday 11 January 1906

EASTDOWN - The North Devon District Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) has held an Inquest on the body of JOHN BOWDEN, aged 72, of Bugford Cottage, Eastdown.  MRS SOPHIA BOWDEN said her husband went to bed about 7.30 on Thursday evening in his usual health.  About 10.45 he got out of bed, and said he had toothache, but fell to the floor and did not speak again.  Mr N. S. Manning, medical practitioner, of Combe Martin, said death was due to syncope.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

Thursday 18 January 1906

SOUTHMOLTON - Railway Employee's Suicide At Southmolton. - WILLIAM HUSBAND, of West-street, Southmolton, was on Sunday morning discovered by his son CHARLES hanging by the neck by a rope in an outhouse, and, when cut down, life was found to be extinct.  The deceased, who was of quiet and retiring habits, and been for many years employed as a packer on the Great Western Railway.  Deceased leaves a widow and grown-up family, with whom much sympathy is felt in their bereavement.

The Inquest was held at the Barnstaple Inn on Monday before Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner) and a Jury of which Mr T. H. Vicary was Foreman.  The widow stated that her husband, who was 65 years of age, lit the fire on Sunday morning and then said he was going to the top of the garden to feed the pigs.  Subsequently called her husband, who was in a strange position, and as he did not answer sent her son to him.  Her husband, who had intended going to the doctor that morning, had been depressed since he had received his papers of dismissal from the G.W.R. Company.  He had been told that he would receive a pension.  CHARLES HUSBAND (son of deceased) said that on proceeding half-way up the garden he saw that his father was suspended by a rope.  Witness at once ran to the house for one of his butchering knives, and ran and cut him down.  Dr H. J. Smyth, who was called to the house shortly after nine, stated that HUSBAND was quite dead, but the body was still warm.  There was a depressed mark around the neck which was caused by the rope produced, and death was caused by suffocation.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Hanging while Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 1 February 1906

TORRINGTON - The Inquest was held in the Town Hall, Torrington, on Saturday afternoon, on the body of MRS MARY PERRIMAN, aged 73, wife of SAMUEL PERRIMAN, kennelman, of Torrington.  Deceased expired suddenly, on Friday evening.  Evidence was given by SAMUEL PERRIMAN, who said his wife suffered from spasms and pains in the head.  She had not been attended by a doctor for the past two or three years.  On Friday evening, after retiring to bed, she complained of pains in her head, and died a few minutes after.  Dr Macindoe deposed that death was due to natural causes, and a verdict was returned accordingly.  Mr G. W. F. Brown was the Coroner, and Mr Phillip Stapleton Foreman of the Jury.  Deceased was highly respected, and great sympathy is felt for MR PERRIMAN and his family in their sad and sudden bereavement.

Thursday 15 February 1906

GEORGEHAM - Terrible Tragedy At Georgeham.  Gentleman Takes His Life. - A sensation was caused at Georgeham on Thursday, when it became known that MR FREDERICK GEORGE WILLS SPENCER, of North Buckland House had been found dead in an outhouse, with a gun by his side.  The deceased, who had lived at Georgeham for more than a year, was 37 years of age.  MR SPENCER came from California, his wife having acquaintances near Tiverton.  By the many friends he had made since living in Georgeham, MR SPENCER was held in high esteem.  For the widow and child (a little girl aged six years) profound sympathy is expressed.  The sad circumstances attending the tragedy were Inquired into on Friday by Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner), who described the case as one of the saddest it had been his duty to inquire into.  Deceased was a quiet man, not addicted to drink, and it remained to be seen whether either of the witnesses could throw any light upon the tragedy.  P.S. Rouse intimated that no letter had been found on the body or in the house.  MRS SPENCER who was in deep mourning, and in terrible distress, stated that her husband and herself came to live at Georgeham in May 1901.  He had not been well lately; he had been depressed, but was not under any medical treatment.  On Wednesday she did not notice anything unusual about him.  She had arranged to go that day to a dance at Braunton, but she offered to stay at home with her husband.  He said, however, "Go, and enjoy yourself.  Don't stay at home."  If he had at all resisted her going, she would not have done so. She left home at quarter to seven in the evening leaving her husband and their little six-year-old girl in the house together.  Mr Jones, of Georgeham, had promised to come up to the house at nine o'clock to stay with her husband until one.  Her husband helped her to dress, kissed her good-bye, and walked to the gate and a little way down the road with her, saying he hoped she would enjoy herself.  She replied ""Don't leave the little one," and he went back to the house.  He had never threatened to do away with himself.  He did not leave any letter.  - Asked by the Foreman of the Jury (Mr J. G. Edwards) whether her husband knew Mr Jones was coming to the house to keep him company, the witness replied that her husband expressed pleasure when she told him that Mr Jones had promised her to come up to the house to stay with him that evening.  - Answering another question, witness said that her husband had been subject to fits of depression ever since their marriage.  For a few weeks at a time he would be depressed, and then be all right again.  The Coroner inquired whether any member of the deceased's family had suffered from insanity.  The witness said her husband told her that an aunt of his had had to be sent away on that account.  John Jones, grocer, of Georgeham village, who knew the deceased very well, said he was asked by MRS SPENCER to come up and sit with her husband on Wednesday night while she went to a dance.  He said he would come about 10 o'clock, or as soon as he had finished his work.  He had been in the habit of going up to the house with MR SPENCER, and MRS SPENCER said he was "rather low".  He arrived at the house about 10.30 p.m., but receiving no answer to his knocks, he went away, thinking MR SPENCER had left a light burning for his wife, and had gone to bed.  The deceased always spoke most cheerfully in witness's company.  Alice Tucker, daughter of a Georgeham farmer, said she went to a Braunton dance with MRS SPENCER on Wednesday night, and arrived back at Georgeham about 4 o'clock on the following morning.  Later MRS SPENCER sent for her, saying she had missed her husband.  That was at 9 a.m.  Witness discovered MR SPENCER lying dead in an out-house at the rear, with a gun between his feet.  MRS SPENCER did not know where her husband was gone, so witness thought she would have a look around.  MRS SPENCER had previously sent a man searching around the house.  P.C. Churchill produced the double-barrelled gun found with the deceased inside the out-house, the door of which was closed.  He produced, also, two cartridges found in the gun, one of which was discharged.  Besides jewellery, he found a razor in deceased's breast pocket.  He saw the body at 9.35 a.m., when it was quite cold and stiff.  Dr Harper said at 11 a.m. he saw deceased lying on his back, and the butt end of a double-barrelled gun lying between his feet.  The top f the skull was completely blown away, and the bulk of the brains were lying beside the body.  The gun must have been placed in the mouth and discharged, as there was no sign of burns around the lips, and there was a hole from the palate right up towards the skull.  The ceiling was covered with particles of brain and blood. The wound was self-inflicted.  This concluded the evidence, and the Coroner instructed the Jury that the only question for them to decide was whether the deceased was in a state of temporary insanity or not when he committed the act.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

LANGTREE - Fatal Burns At Langtree. - At Langtree yesterday, Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon, investigated the death of OLIVE CONSTANCE NETHAWAY, the four-year-old daughter of HENRY E. NETHAWAY, farmer.  The deceased was warming herself in front of the open fire on Sunday, when her clothes got ablaze.  Her father ran downstairs and extinguished the flames by wrapping a tablecloth around her.  Dr James Brown, of Torrington, was sent for, but the child, who had sustained extensive burns on the face, neck and both arms, expired the following day.  The Jury, of which Mr Henry Gribble was Foreman, returned a verdict of Accidental Death, expressing deep sympathy with deceased's parents.

BIDEFORD - Mr G. W. F. Brown and a Jury of which Mr W. H. Friendship was Foreman, held an Inquest at the Infirmary, on Tuesday afternoon, on the body of THOMAS EVANS, aged 86, a blacksmith, of Torrington Lane, East-the-Water.  On January 26th, deceased was going from one room to another, when he fell over the stairs and broke a thigh.  The evidence of Dr E. J. Toye, who ordered his removal to the infirmary, showed that the man succumbed to shock, the result of the accident, and a verdict of "Accidental Death" was accordingly returned.

BARNSTAPLE - The Recent Wreck on Barnstaple Bar.  Inquest On The Second Victim.  Gas Buoy Recommended On The Bar.  -  On December 18th last the skiff "Welcome" of Bideford, returning from trawling in the Bay, was wrecked on Barnstaple Bar, the captain - Captain Bowden, and mate, EDWARD INGRAM JENN, of Bideford - being both drowned.  The captain's body was picked up at Santon at Christmas, but that of JENN was not recovered until Sunday last, when it was deposited by the tide on the Anchor Wood bank at Barnstaple, and on being found was taken to the mortuary at the North Devon Infirmary.

In opening the Inquest at the Infirmary on Monday, the Borough Coroner (Mr A. R. Bencraft) said there were stories about that people had seen the wreck and had not reported it, and he thought they should get to the bottom of exactly what it was.  Another matter of importance was whether in the opinion of the Jury the accident would have been avoided had the Bar buoy been lit by gas. (A Juryman:  Most decidedly.)  He knew every inch of the Bar at low water, and it appeared to him that what they wanted was a light upon the Bar buoy to show sailors not only when they got abreast of the Bar, but to show them how far they were off it.  There were two lights on the shore, and there was talk of having two more, but he thought the cost of it would prohibit them from having that, whilst he believed every purpose would be met by having a gas buoy on the Bar.  (Hear, hear.)  He hoped by God's assistance they might be able in some measure at any rate to stop further accidents of this sort upon the dangerous ridge.  (Hear, hear).  MRS MATILDA JENN, deceased's widow, gave evidence of identification.  Her husband, who was 49 years of age, had been twenty years in the Navy and six in the Naval Reserve.  He did not, however, know much about Bideford Bar, and had only served a week with Captain Bowden when drowned.  He was a powerful swimmer.

Captain Oatway, of the "Morning Star," Bideford, who was out with the Bideford fishing fleet when deceased was drowned, saw Captain Bowden outside the Bar.  Both took up their trawls and made for the Bar, but witness was before the tide and hung about a bit.  There was a S.S.E. wind and a drizzly rain.  When they were coming in, his man, who had better sight than witness, said there was something over towards the Middle Ridge. Witness then saw an object, but what, he could not see through the rain and darkness.  It was a vessel of some sort, but whether afloat or aground he could not see.  - By the Coroner:  Did you think it was Bowden's boat?  - I could not say.  I thought it was his more than anyone's else.  - Did it occur to you at the time that it was a vessel in distress?  - No.  I thought if it was a vessel in distress there would be a signal of some sort, but there was nothing.  If there was I should have put a flare up at the same time.  - Q.:  It did not strike you it was Bowden's skiff until you got to Bideford Quay, and found he was not with the rest?  A.:  That is so.  - Q.:  And it was then too late to do anything?  -A.:  Yes.  -Q.: Bowden had got inside the harbour instead of outside?  - A.:  Yes.  - If there had been a gas buoy on the Bar do you suppose this accident would have happened?  - A.:  No, it would not have occurred.  - In answer to a Juryman witness said he could not have given assistance if what he saw was Bowden's boat, as they had as much as they could do in his boat.  - The Coroner did not think any fault could be found with Captain Oatway in the matter.  Capt. Harding, who saw the deceased's boat outside the Bar, and the wreckage - the skiff being in three pieces - the next day, said the vessel went on the outer end of the Middle Ridge, or the south side of the South Tail.  He defied anyone on a night like that to estimate to half a mile his position.  Capt. Bowden must have thought himself further out than he was.  A gas buoy would have prevented the disaster.  It was impossible on a night like that for the men to swim ashore.  It was not only a dozen or so men who were interested in a gas buoy, but there were some 140 or 150 small coasting vessels, with an average of three men aboard each.  They were all in favour of it, and it only wanted a little pushing.  Sidney Ovey, of Barnstaple, spoke to finding the body and P.S. Tucker to its dreadfully decomposed condition.  In a pocket was a rubber stamp bearing deceased's name.  The Coroner said not only would a gas buoy save money to the Lifeboat Institution, but, more than that, would save precious lives.  In this case Captain Bowden made an error of judgment in coming in on the wrong side of the ridge.  He thought it right to call Captain Oatway for many reasons.  No doubt what that witness saw was deceased's boat, but it did not strike him at the time there was anything wrong.  The accident would most probably have been avoided if there had been a gas buoy on the Bar, and he thought it would be well if the Jury added a rider to that effect.  A Juryman suggested they might throw out a cable and light the buoy by electricity!  The Coroner, however, explained that gas was usually used.  The Jury found deceased was "Accidentally Drowned," and added a rider that they did not think the accident would have occurred had there been on the Bar a gas buoy, which they recommended should be placed there.  The Coroner said he would communicate that rider to the M.P. for the Division and the authorities concerned.

Thursday 8 March 1906

PLYMOUTH - A Coroner's Jury at Rame on Thursday found that JOHN SPRAGUE, a Plymouth plumber, found dead near Cawsand on Tuesday, committed suicide.

TORRINGTON - Torrington Burning Fatality.  The Deadly Flannelette. - An Inquest was held on Thursday at Torrington on the body of LILY CUDMORE, aged 13 years, daughter of MR AND MRS J. CUDMORE, of Calf-street.  The evidence showed that the deceased and another child, aged two years, were left sitting in front of a fire while the mother went to a shop across the street for some oil.  She was absent about a minute.  On her return she found the flannelette clothing of the deceased in flames.  The mother's cries secured the assistance of Mr T. Richards, who extinguished the flames by wrapping the child in a coarse apron.  Medical aid was obtained, but the case was hopeless, and the child died from the burns received.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  The Coroner commented on the danger of flannelette clothing.

INWARDLEIGH - Suicide At Inwardleigh. - Mr J. D. Prickman (County Coroner) held an Inquest at the New Inn, Folly Gate, Inwardleigh, on Monday, on the body of RICHARD TRICK, aged 75 years.  Mary Chamings, of Folly Gate, with whom deceased resided, said he left on Wednesday morning, saying he was going to Sourton to work with the steam roller.  He appeared then in good health, but he told her a few days before that "something had taken him in his head."  Frank Chamings, of Folly Gate, said he was making a search on Sunday morning, and found the body of deceased hanging by a roper from a tree on Mr Reddaway's farm, Norratons.  Dr Burd said death was due to strangulation, and everything seemed consistent with the deceased having hanged himself.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while of Unsound Mind."

ILFRACOMBE - Suicide At Ilfracombe. - An Inquest was held at the Cottage Hospital on Saturday morning, by Mr G. W. F. Brown, Coroner, on the body of MARY ANN STADDON, aged 62, of 3 Witheridge Cottages, Hele, who was found dead on the previous Thursday evening.  Mr R. Dadds was chosen Foreman of the Jury, and the Coroner briefly stated the facts of the case.  The body was viewed at the hospital mortuary, where a post mortem examination had been made.  The first witness was JOHN STADDON, brother of deceased, who said he saw his sister on Sunday and Tuesday last, when she seemed quite well and glad to see him.  On Thursday evening, about 7 o'clock, his son told him he could not get into the house,.  Witness went, and found the door fast; he listened at the window and heard a gurgling sort of noise.  He went away to a neighbour, and his son came back with him.  They burst the door open, and he found his sister with her head hanging over the side of the bed; she seemed choking.  He at once sent for a doctor.  His son drew his attention to an empty glass which had contained something.  His sister did not speak to him; she seemed too far gone.  Deceased seemed right enough in her mind about most things, but seemed nervous at times.  His children were often in and out of the house.  A letter produced was in handwriting similar to that of deceased.  She had never threatened to commit suicide, or witness would have removed her to his own home.  The Coroner then read the following letter which had been found in deceased's house:-  There been a very long mystery and Dittry between Maria Taylor Sarah Monie is interested about me.  I should like to know whatever is the matter they say I am going to be transported for life and they will make me repent now her's going to have it when I get in jail they are going to cut me when I get there they say I shant live long when I get there I have lived in good service and kept my self respecktable all my life I cant think what is the matter and two police is coming for me and without given me any sumons whatever its put me in a fever.  I cant stand thiss sort of thing my nerves is very bad at times I am not going to be brought up I prefere is preference death not to be tortueged by jaylors indeed my own people I hope will not greve or truble about me I have no malice or hatred to no one I have no bills any were only the rent pleas be sure and pay it for me M.A.STADDON.  Nearly every word of the letter was underlined.  The witness said his sister seemed to have a delusion as to being persecuted by other people, of which witness tried to disabuse her mind.  The contents of the letter were all a delusion, as the persons named had always been neighbourly. 

Dr F. W. Langridge, Ilfracombe, said he had several times attended deceased, chiefly for nervous complaints, and last in December and January; she had had medicine since then.  He was called to deceased on Thursday evening, and found her in a state of coma, from which he could not rouse her.  He saw that it was a hopeless case, but he did what he could to revive her, and afterwards fetched a stomach pump. By the time he returned, she was quite dead.  He found a bottle of carbolic acid, and a glass.  From a post mortem examination, he found she had died from the effects of carbolic acid.  The letter read would represent her state of mind.  - By the Jury:  The acid, probably was taken four to five hours before death, and the agony from such a corrosive poison would be very great.  This closed the evidence, and the Coroner having summed it up, the Jury brought in a verdict of "Suicide while of Unsound Mind."

Thursday 15 March 1906

BISHOPSNYMPTON - Bishopsnympton Farmer's Sad Death. - At Bishopsnympton yesterday, Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon, investigated the death of MR WILLIAM BRAGG, aged 54, butcher and farmer, of Capitol Farm, which occurred as the result of a trap accident at Southmolton on March 3rd.  Deceased's widow, who is left with a large family, having given evidence of identification, Mrs Jessie Hill, of the Tinto Hotel, Southmolton, stated that on March 3rd, deceased called for a glass of beer about 4.20 p.m., leaving ten minutes later quite sober.  Robert Gould, coachman, of Southmolton, who was in East-street, just before five o'clock, said he saw the deceased's pony and trap come round the Station road corner, and the deceased thrown out of the trap on his head.  He could not say if the wheel of the trap struck the kerb; the pony was proceeding at a trot.  Dr Smyth said that on being called to the scene he found MR BRAGG quite unconscious and bleeding considerably from the right ear.  He accompanied him up to his death, which was due to a fracture of the base of the skull.  The Jury of which Mr W. Ayres was Foreman returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BEAFORD - Sad Fatality At Beaford. - There was a distressing fatal accident at Beaford on Saturday, the victim being SYDNEY PETHERICK aged 20, a farm labourer in the employ of Mr George Arnold, of Here Path Farm.  The deceased was sent by his master to draw mangold wurtzels from one field to another, and he was eventually found quite dead underneath the overturned cart, the nave of one of the wheels being on his chest.  Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon, investigated the sad affair at Beaford on Monday.  After evidence showing the work on which the deceased was engaged on Saturday had been given, Henry Ford, a labourer, spoke to seeing the deceased drawing mangolds down the road dividing the fields during the morning.  - Alfred Badcock, a fellow workman, deposed that as deceased was missing during the morning, he went to look for him, and entering the field he saw the cart on its side with PETHERICK underneath quite dead.  - Henry Friend, a mason, also gave evidence.  - Dr Drummond attributed death to a severe blow over the region of the heart.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

BIDEFORD - MRS MARY TEDRAKE, the wife of MR THOMAS TEDRAKE, newspaper proprietor, of Bideford, died suddenly on Sunday morning.  Deceased, who was 65 years of age, had been in ill-health for some time.  At an Inquest held on Monday, Dr Gooding, who was called to see deceased, attributed death to heart disease, and a verdict was returned accordingly.  Mr J. Pengilly was Foreman of the Jury.

Thursday 22 March 1906

HATHERLEIGH - Suicide At Hatherleigh. - The body of CHARLES PHARE, of Hatherleigh, was found hanging in an outhouse on Sunday night.  An Inquest was held on Monday, and a verdict of "Suicide during Temporary Insanity" was returned.

GEORGENYMPTON - Fatal Accident. - Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon, and a Jury of which Mr Henry Kingdon was the Foreman, held an Inquest at Little Hill House, Georgenympton, on Tuesday, on the body of LOUIS WRIGHT, aged 58, a farm labourer, who died as the result of injuries sustained on the 28th February last.  - MRS ELIZABETH WRIGHT, widow, stated that on Wednesday, February 28th, her husband rode a horse to Southmolton, and on his return in the evening told her that the horse had stumbled, and he had fallen to the ground cutting his nose and fracturing his left wrist.  He immediately went and saw Dr Smythe, who attended to the injuries.  He subsequently died on Sunday last.  Dr Smythe stated that the deceased died from tetanus, following on the injuries.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 29 March 1906

ILFRACOMBE - Terrible Accident At Ilfracombe. - A terrible accident took place at the old Gas Works Site, at Ilfracombe, about 1.0 p.m. on Thursday, by which a mason named GEORGE SANDERS lost his life.  The old gas holder is being dismantled, and the frame work was being taken to pieces.  SANDERS was at this work about the centre of the tank, when the iron work suddenly collapsed, carrying him down with it, and pinning him by its weight under the liquid in the tank.  It was seen that his case was hopeless, and Dr Langridge, who was on the spot in a few minutes, said that no man could live for three minutes in the liquid.  SANDERS fell from a height of about 17 feet, into about nine feet of water.  This had been in the tank a long time, and was impregnated with gaseous products and oxide, making it of a yellow colour, and fetid smell.  The only thing to be done was to pump out the tank and a hand pump was quickly rigged up, while the steam fire engine was got to work as soon as possible.  In these ways some 20,000 gallons an hour were pumped out, and by 5.0 p.m. the old fire-pump was brought.  SANDERS was a very steady man, and much respected.  He was about 38 years of age, a member of the Parish Church Choir, and would have sung at the Choral Concert in the evening.  The pumping continued until 3.0a.m., when the body was got out from the girders under which it was held.  The greatest sympathy is felt for the widow and four children.  The deceased was a brother of the late MR W. SANDERS, builder, of Barnstaple.  The Inquest.  -  The Inquest was opened at the Gas Company's office, Church-street, on Friday, at 5 p.m.  Mr G. W. F. Brown conducted the Inquiry.  Messrs. R. Lake, J.P., W. C. Rafarel, and J. P. Ffinch, J.P., Directors of the Gas Company, were present, as well as Mr Armstrong, manager.  Mr R. M. Rowe attended to represent the District Council, Mr J. C. Clarke, Chairman of the Council also being present.  Mr A. F. Seldon, solicitor, Barnstaple, represented the widow and family.  After the Jury had been sworn, the Coroner said that the deceased man had been working for the Gas Company in demolishing the old gasometer, and was busy unscrewing the ironwork just before 1 p.m. on Thursday.  The ironwork collapsed, and he fell into 8 or 9 feet of water.  Attempts were made to rescue him, but failed, as he was pinned down under heavy ironwork.  He himself happened to be passing at the time, and saw that everything possible was being done to get him out, but this was not effected till about 3 o'clock on Friday morning.  He had notified H.M. Inspector of Factories and Workshops of the accident, and received a reply that the Inspector could come on Tuesday. He should, therefore, only take evidence of identity, and adjourn to that day.  Mr J. J. Mansfield was chosen Foreman of the Jury, and after viewing the body, which was in the meter house of the old gas works, the first witness was THOMAS SANDERS, brother of deceased, who identified the body as that of his brother.  He was a  strong healthy man, and leaves a widow and four children.  The Coroner said he did not propose to take any further evidence that day, but just sufficient to enable him to give his certificate for burial; this was then handed to Mr Seldon, for deceased's brother.  Mr Ffinch said that the Directors and the Gas Company wished to give every assistance to the Coroner and Jury, and to express their deepest sympathy with the widow and family of the deceased.  The Coroner then adjourned the Enquiry to Tuesday at the Town Hall, at 11 a.m.  Resumed Inquest. -  The resumed Inquest was held at the Town Hall on Tuesday morning.  A number of the public attended, and among those present were Messrs. R. Lake, J.P., C.C., J. P. Ffinch, J.P., and W. C. Rafarel (Directors of the Gas Co.), J. Armstrong, (Manager), C. E. R. Chanter, solicitor (representing the Gas Co.), Mr A. F. Seldon (representing the family of the deceased), Mr R. M. Rowe, for the District Council, and Mr Shuter, the Government Inspector of Factories and Workshops for the district.  Dr Kettlewell, who was the first witness, said he examined the body of deceased on Friday evening.  There were no fractures or bones broken as far as he could tell from external examination.  There were slight bruises over the right eye, the top of the nose, and the lower lip.  There was also a slight bruise on the upper part of the left thigh, with an indentation an inch long and a quarter of an inch deep.  He thought all the marks were caused before death.  There were no other injuries of any sort. The probable cause of death was drowning.  No questions were asked of the witness.

Richard Passmore, labourer, employed by the Gas Co., said that GEORGE SANDERS was a fellow workman.    On Thursday last witness was at work at the old Gas Yard, attending deceased, who was on top of the gasholder, cutting away the battens.  Just before 1 p.m. SANDERS was out on a batten, making it fast to a rope held by witness.  The foreman called out to SANDERS to come in; he did not know what for.  Deceased then knocked away the upper batten, and the whole of the principals fell right into the pit, into 7 or 8 feet of water.  Mr Luxton, foreman of the works, was directing operations.  Efforts were at once made to get the body out, but owing to the quantity of water, it was not recovered until between 3 and 4 next morning.  Deceased had been employed in demolishing another gasholder in the same yard, on which witness was also employed, directed by Mr Luxton.  Deceased was a steady man.  By Mr Chanter:  Witness had been employed on similar work before, under Messrs. Willey, of Exeter.    By the Coroner:  It was the usual way of doing the job, but the ironwork collapsed before they could get the derrick fixed.  George Luxton, foreman , in the employ of the Gas Company, said deceased was working on Thursday under his supervision, taking down the old gas-holder.  He was working as described by the last witness, cutting away the principals.  There was no scaffolding for him to work on; he had worked on the other gas-holder.  Witness was present at ten minutes to one on Thursday, and called to SANDERS "Come in off the holder; it is not safe."  Deceased said it was quite safe, and he would put in the pole after dinner; he made no attempt to come in.  Deceased went on knocking out the rafters, and almost at once the ironwork collapsed into the tank.  None of the bolts and stays at the bottom had been knocked away.  Deceased was a very steady workman, and perfectly sober at the time. Witness's instructions were for the principals to be cut away, and let it down into the tank without anyone going on the roof.  Witness was supervising the work alternately with Mr Armstrong, the manager, and was not there when deceased went on the roof.  It was necessary to do that to cut away he rafters, as deceased was doing.

By the Inspector:  Witness had not seen deceased on the roof till about twenty minutes to one.  Witness then told him to get off the roof, as it was not safe, but he said it was all right.  Other men were busy cutting the angle irons round the rim, and when these gave it would cause the centre to buckle.  All the principals could have been cut, to let the iron into the tank, without going on the roof.  It was contrary to his instructions to go on the roof, and if the work had been done as he ordered, no one need have gone on the roof at all.   By the Coroner:  Witness was absent from 9.30 to 12.30, and during that time SANDERS went on the roof.  By Mr Seldon:  The work began on Monday, and on Tuesday, in discussing the work, they considered it better to cut the principals than go on the roof.  If the rafters had to be cut, they must go on the roof to do it.  Witness warned the deceased shortly before 1 p.m., but he said it was safe.  While deceased was cutting away the rafters, other men were pulling them in.

By a Juror:  The derrick referred to be Passmore was to prevent its collapse.  If his instructions had been carried out no derrick was needed.  As the work had been done a derrick would be wanted.  They had used one on the other and smaller tank, but in this case it was thought better to let the roof fall into the tank.  The weight on the centre of the gasholder would be about 30 tons.  Mr Chanter explained that there were two ways of taking it down, to cut the principals or to strip it and use a derrick.

By the Jury:  His mode of doing the work was safer, as there was no danger in doing it the other way.  No one gave any orders contrary to his own so far as he knew.  Mr Armstrong was there in witness's absence.  When the other holder was taken down a derrick was used.  James Armstrong, manager of the Gas Works, said the Company was engaged in demolishing the remaining gasholder on the day in question. He had not been with the Company long, and had to divide up his time in various ways, to get into the ways of the Company's work.  GEORGE SANDERS and Harry Harris on Wednesday afternoon suggested a scheme for taking down the holder, which scheme he considered advisable.  It was to take down the holder as the other one had been done before Christmas by the same men, to take down every other rafter, leaving in the rafter directly connected with the tension rod t the king-post.  Mr Armstrong produced the original plans showing a section of the roof of the gasholders.  He continued, saying every other principal had to be disconnected, leaving intact the rivets and the bolts fastening the tie-rod to the inner side of the gasholder.  At 12.30 he told the foreman that he would be at the works at 2 p.m. to superintend the fixing of the derrick and wooden structure under the kingpost, that every other principal might be disconnected.  Deceased was not working according to the scheme arranged by himself and Harris.  In order to disconnect the battens deceased had to go on the roof.  If every other principal had been disconnected, the derrick would not have been necessary for structural safety, in witness's judgment, but to help them in getting away the material.  In his opinion, the cause of the collapse was the knocking away of the bolts holding the rafters to the tension-rods and the king-post; who had done this witness had not found out.  It was not intended to let the roof collapse into the pit, but to take it out piece by piece.  On Wednesday afternoon he saw Harris busy at the holder, and at that time they were working according to the scheme suggested by him and SANDERS, and being experienced men, they were left to carry out the work in their own way.  On Thursday morning there was no one supervising the work.  Witness had entire confidence in SANDERS'S judgment as to the way they were working.  By the Inspector:  He wished to remove the roof by mechanical means, and the suggestion by Harris and SANDERS met with his approval.  He had not been able to give much attention to the work on Thursday morning.  they had, so witness had since found out, cut away from six to nine principals in succession, not leaving alternate ones, as the suggestion was.  It would not be wise to cut away the rim while men were working on the roof; it would weaken the structure, and witness, had he known of it, would not have approved of it.  The scheme suggested by Harris and SANDERS was not carried out in its entirety and no steps were taken to ensure it, as the Company had perfect confidence in the two men, who were experienced.  By the Coroner:  Had he seen what he knew now was done, he would not have approved of it under any consideration.  By Mr Seldon:  The men were in charge of themselves practically from 9.30 to 12.30.  In his opinion no collapse would have happened if every alternate principal only had been cut.  The cutting away of several in succession was the cause of the accident.  SANDERS was doing his proper work, but the cutting of several principals by someone had caused the fall.  By the Jury:  It was not the intention to allow the roof to collapse.  It was no part of the scheme to cut away the circumference, and they wanted to get at who ordered it.  If the scheme had been carried out as suggested no derrick would have been needed.  He did not know who altered the scheme; it was not submitted to the Directors. SANDERS, a mason, and Harris, a blacksmith, had had experience, and witness had full confidence in their capability to do the work.

Henry Harris, blacksmith, employed by the Gas Co., said he and GEORGE SANDERS were engaged in taking down the gasholder on Thursday.  They had taken down the other holder, with some men from Barnstaple and Exeter, all used to similar work.  Luxton was in charge of the demolishing of the first holder, but owing to illness witness was not there to see what scheme was adopted for taking down the roof.  Luxton suggested a scheme to demolish the gasholder, but SANDERS and himself did not agree with it, and suggested another one, which was to cut away the angle irons and then knock out the alternate rafters.  After doing the angle irons, SANDERS went on to cut every rafter, although witness told him it was wrong.  Their scheme was to take it down as it was put up, and not let it collapse. They intended to put up a derrick after dinner to prevent the roof collapsing.  On Thursday they began work at 6.30 a.m.  No one went on the roof that morning but SANDERS, who was shifting the rafters; he began this some time after nine o'clock, and was carrying out part of their scheme.  Witness was cutting rivets on the outside.  There was no one in particular superintending the work during the morning, and only SANDERS and himself were busy on the holder, with a man called Berry, who was cutting away rivets along the side.  Just before one o'clock they were discussing the putting up of a pole to keep up the centre when it collapsed.  By Mr Seldon:  They were working on their own scheme, and not taking orders from Luxton.  They wanted to get the job done.  By the Jury:  He had discussed with SANDERS the removal of the first holder.  The scheme they were engaged on was not carried out by SANDERS as first arranged, as he cut away several principals.  It was a mixture of the several suggestions, and if SANDERS'S original had been carried out in its entirety no accident would have happened.  By Mr Chanter:  Certain ways were suggested and no one had altered them but SANDERS.  Witness had told him he should not go on the top.  By the Jury:  SANDERS and himself had cut away the outside, contrary to their original plan; he did not know why.  If the derrick had been placed first, it would have been safer.  Berry was cutting away the rivets while SANDERS was on the roof.  By the Inspector:  When they cut away the outside, the roof would have fallen whether SANDERS went on or not.  When Luxton came in he warned SANDERS about going on the roof.  SANDERS did not keep the original plan.  By the Jury:  Witness and Berry, with SANDERS, had been cutting away rivets on the outside, and when SANDERS went on the roof, witness and Berry continued to cut the rivets.  No one but SANDERS went on the roof; witness was too careful.

By the Jury:  Berry was on the roof part of the morning, but only for a short time.  Neither the scheme for collapsing nor for removing entirely was fully carried out.  W. H. Duggleby, labourer, employed by the Gas Company, said he assisted to recover the body, which they tried for at intervals from 4.30 .m. on Thursday; it was found about 3.30 on Friday morning. Witness found the body in the tank, under a piece of T-iron, and it took 20 men to move it.  Witness had nothing to do with the work of removing the holder.  The Coroner, reviewing the evidence, said it would appear to remind them of the old adage that "too many cooks spoil the broth."  But he did not think the evidence produced would justify a verdict of manslaughter being brought against the Directors of the Gas Company or against their foreman or anyone connected with them.  The law laid down that the negligence of a servant did not render the employer guilty of manslaughter unless the employer was clearly shown to be aware that the servant was incapable of the duty entrusted to him.  They had heard that SANDERS had been engaged in the demolition of another gasholder, and in the opinion of the manager was therefore a fit and proper person to employ.  Of course the great fault to be found in this case was that there was no one present to see that the scheme was carried out which was arranged by SANDERS and Harris, and approved by the manager.  They had heard the men were left to themselves, and they carried out a scheme, which they might call a mixture of Luxton, Harris, Sanders, Berry, and Co., which culminated in this terrible accident, which they could all see happened by what was going on - each one digging and plucking away at his own particular spot, with no one to see that too many bolts were taken away.  The Jury then retired into the Town Clerk's room to consider their verdict, the Coroner assisting them by asking several questions elucidating various matters.  They agreed on a verdict, which was read out by the Foreman on returning to the Town Hall, as follows:-  "That GEORGE SANDERS died on the 22nd day of March; that the cause of death was Drowning by falling into a gasholder at the Ilfracombe Gas Works, owing to the collapse of the frame-work of the gasholder on which he was working; and we do further add that the accident occurred owing to the absence of skilled or any supervision on the part of the Gas Company."  Upon this the Coroner entered the verdict as "Accidental Death."

Mr Mansfield added that the Jury expressed deep sympathy with the wife and family, and the Coroner said he wished to add his own condolences to those of the Jury.  The fees of the Jury, the doctor, and the witnesses were given to the widow.  Mr Mansfield kindly promising to take them to MRS SANDERS. Mr Chanter, on behalf of the Gas Company, said the Directors wished to express the deepest sympathy with the widow and family, and their sincere regret at the unfortunate accident.

Thursday 12 April 1906

HIGH BICKINGTON - Suicide At High Bickington. - Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner for North Devon) held an Inquest at the Golden Lion Inn, High Bickington, on Monday, relative to the death of THOMAS CLEMENTS, aged 70, a pensioned plate layer, who committed suicide by hanging himself the previous Saturday.  MRS GRACE CLEMENTS, widow, stated that on Saturday her husband got up at about 8 a.m., and went downstairs and lit the fire.  About half-an-hour later witness also came downstairs, but did not see her husband.  After waiting a little while she opened the back door and saw deceased hanging to a beam in a back house.  She immediately informed men named Edward Elliott and George Pidler, the latter of whom came in and cut the body down.  Deceased had been unwell for some time, and Dr Tucker, of Chulmleigh, had attended him.  Witness was informed that the complaint was chronic indigestion.  Deceased had never threatened to take his life, and on the Saturday morning appeared just as usual.  He had lately, however, complained of pains in the head, whilst he had had a seizure just before Christmas.  Edward Elliott, coachman in the employ of Colonel Chanter, deposed that on the morning in question he was asked by Mrs Pidler to go across to MR CLEMENT'S house as she believed "TOM" had hanged himself, but instead of going to the back of the house witness went for the police.  Witness was present when George Pidler cut the body down.  Deceased was then quite dead.  Dr Arnold S. Good, of High Bickington, stated that he received information of the occurrence shortly after 9 a.m., and arrived in a few minutes.  When he arrived deceased had been cut down, but he had not been dead long.  There was a mark round the deceased's neck such as might be caused by a rope.  Death was due to strangulation.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."  The Jury and witnesses gave their fees to the widow.

BARNSTAPLE - The Fatal Accident to MR S. N. PETTER, C.C., at Barnstaple.  Inquest and Funeral. - The circumstances attending the peculiarly sad death, which aroused widespread sorrow throughout the district, of MR S. N. PETTER, C.C., of Barnstaple, as the result of a carriage accident, were investigated by the Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft) on Thursday afternoon.  The Inquest was held at deceased's residence in Victoria-road, the Jury - representative of the public life of the town - being composed of Alderman J. D. Young (who was chosen Foreman), Councillors W. J. Cooke, A. Perrin, F. Elliott, C. A. Youings, Messrs. J. Jordan (Borough Accountant), S. Northcote (Assistant Overseer), W. Hooper, J. Hobbs, J. Cummings, J. F. Ford, and G. W. Eales.  Mr C. E. R. Chanter and Mr A. E. Collings (the deceased gentleman's nephew) were also present.  The Coroner, at the outset, remarked on the very sad event which brought the Jury together, and said he expected most of them knew the circumstances of the distressing accident, which had resulted in the death of MR PETTER, from the accounts which had appeared in the papers.  He had known MR PETTER for a great number of years, and no words of his were necessary to emphasise the loss which the town had sustained by his death, and indeed they all knew and respected him.  He wished to make the Inquest as brief and formal as possible, because the principal witness would be MR PETTER'S widow, who, as they knew, was a witness of the accident, having had a rib broken.  Dr Harper informed him that MRS PETTER would be able to give her evidence whilst in bed, and as he understood MRS PETTER was desirous that the Inquest should not be adjourned, he proposed to fall in with the course proposed.  It would, he thought, be sufficient if one or two of the Jury came with him to the bedside, the remainder might hear the deposition from the doorway.  Mr Cooke asked whether it was really necessary to call the widow.

The Coroner replied that no one else was present at the time of the accident.  If MRS PETTER did not give evidence that day, an adjournment would be absolutely necessary  Mr Chanter, representing MRS PETTER, quite understood this.

Mr Chanter said it was MRS PETTER'S desire that the Inquest should be closed rather than that there should be an adjournment.  MRS PETTER was quite competent to give evidence, although of course the injury she had received prevented her coming down stairs to do so.  Mr Perrin said it had been suggested that in an Inquest on a former lady of the town the evidence of the husband, who was the only eye-witness of the carriage accident which resulted in her death, was dispensed with. Mr Cooke agreed with Mr Perin's remarks, adding that he attended the Inquest in question.  The Coroner:  In that case there was someone else who witnessed the accident.  A Juryman:  I do not think so.  The Coroner said the evidence of MRS PETTER was unavoidable.  It was not for him to criticise the action of any other Jury.  With the Jury he then repaired to the bedside of MRS PETTER, who had the company of her late husband's mother and sister, and her own sister and aunt.  MRS PETTER stated that her husband, herself, and child were driving at Goodleigh on Tuesday afternoon, when the horse shied at a stone wall, ran along the road, and kicked until they got to the hedge.  They were all thrown out, and her husband fell on his head.  She picked up the child, and having placed it in the hedge, went t the assistance of her husband, who had been rendered unconscious.  The horse was perfectly quiet.  Assistance at last came, and deceased was put in a trap and brought towards Barnstaple.  Some little distance on the road they met Dr Harper, who transferred her husband to his motor-car.  Dr J. R. Harper deposed that on hearing of the accident he motored towards Goodleigh and met MR PETTER being carefully removed to Barnstaple in a cart belonging to Mr Alford of Goodleigh.  With the assistance of one of MR PETTER'S own men, Mr Collings, and Mr Symonds, witness transferred deceased to his motor car, also conveying MRS PETTER to Barnstaple at the same time.  On arrival at Barnstaple, witness summoned to his assistance his partner, Dr Jonas, and Dr Ware, who was MR PETTER'S doctor.  The case was regarded as hopeless from the first, but in order that no effort should be wanting to save MR PETTER'S life he sent for Dr Russell Coombe, of Exeter.  Dr Coombe arrived by motor at midnight, but agreed that nothing could be done to the patient.  The question of an operation was discussed, but it was felt it would be of no service.  In his opinion the injuries which MR PETTER received were consistent with the description of the accident given by MRS PETTER.  There was no evidence that MR PETTER was kicked by the horse. MR PETTER was perfectly unconscious throughout, and was paralysed.  The deceased had received a fracture of the base of the skull, and laceration of the brain.  The doctor added that MRS PETTER, who was suffering very severely as the result of her injuries, seemed to have done everything possible for her husband after the accident, in fact, more than a woman could have been expected to do under the circumstances.  The Coroner said he did not propose to call any other evidence before the Jury. The accident seemed to have been unavoidable, and everything was done medically and otherwise to save MR PETTER'S life.  He suggested a verdict of accidental death.  The Foreman, addressing the Jury, said that was the first occasion in his life that he had to attend such a solemn event, and he sincerely hoped it would be the last.  He had no doubt that MR PETTER'S death was the result of a pure accident.  Having known MR PETTER both in private and public life for many years he was in a position to say that he always found him most straightforward and honest in all his dealings.  At times deceased might have seemed a little impetuous, but he was convinced that that was entirely due to his keen anxiety to promote the welfare of the town.  In municipal matters at their financial meetings MR PETTER was most assiduous, painstaking, and exceedingly clever, and he regarded him as one of the most valuable members that they had ever had.  Those who knew MR PETTER most respected him most, and they all deplored his death, and would remember him as one of the most valuable inhabitants.  Their sympathy went out to the widow, mother and other members of the family in the great loss they had sustained.  They sincerely trusted that MRS PETTER would soon be restored to convalescence.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned by the Jury, who endorsed the remarks of both the Coroner and Alderman Young, and decided to give their fees to the Nursing Association.  The Coroner agreed with the remarks of the Foreman, and asked Mr Chanter to convey to MRS PETTER and the relatives the heart-felt sympathy of the whole of the Jury and himself in the terrible trial that had overtaken them.  Mr Chanter promised to do so, and the proceedings connected with the Inquest then terminated.

DEVONPORT - A verdict of "Accidental Drowning" was returned at the Inquest at Devonport on Tuesday on JOHN COLLINS, aged 13, who was drowned in Stonehouse Pool on Sunday.

Thursday 19 April 1906

WESTDOWN - Westdown Woman's Sad Death. - Mr G. W. F. Brown, North Devon Coroner, held an Inquest at Dean Cottages, West Down, on Wednesday, on the body of ALICE ROOK, 21, wife of a labourer, who died after being delivered of twins on Monday.  Deceased had been married less than twelve months.  It was stated in evidence that deceased was attended by a certificated nurse in the village, named Jane Taylor, who was 66 years of age.  As the woman did not make satisfactory progress after confinement, a doctor was sent for, and Dr Toller, of Ilfracombe, who received a message at three o'clock, arrived at twenty minutes after three.  Then, however, the woman was dead.  He attributed death to haemorrhage, and said without doubt had a medical man been called in the first instance the life would have been saved.  The Coroner was of opinion that the nurse, although certificated, was really too old for the office, and a Jury, in returning a verdict of "Natural Causes" added a rider that they thought it inadvisable that Mrs Taylor should attend any more cases unless a doctor was also in attendance.

Thursday 26 April 1906

CLOVELLY - Fatal Fall At Clovelly. - On Wednesday an Inquest was held at the New Inn, Clovelly, before Mr G. W. F. Brown, the District Coroner, relative to the death of MRS MARY MOSS, aged 60, of High-street.  MR JOHN J. MOSS (of the Red Lion Inn), son of deceased, said he was called at 5 p.m. on Sunday last and found his mother in the kitchen, having fallen over the bottom stone steps which lead down to the same.  His mother was able to walk up the steps unassisted to a sitting room, and was laid on a sofa.  Dr Roberts Walker was sent for about 8.30 p.m., and came promptly.  His mother slept calmly, and appeared better.  She became unconscious, however, and the doctor was called a second time, but she died about 11 p.m.  Charlotte Hortop, a sister, was with deceased from 4 p.m., and corroborated the previous evidence.  Dr Walker, of Clovelly, stated that he found deceased lying on a sofa insensible, and she did not again regain consciousness.  He was called again about 11 p.m., but she was dead on his arrival  He attributed death to haemorrhage of the brain caused by the fall.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and passed a vote of sympathy with the friends of the deceased.

3 May 1906

SOUTHMOLTON - Suicide At Southmolton. - Mr G. W. F. Brown held an Inquest on Monday at Gunsdown-villas, Southmolton on the body of MR JOHN PIKE, and read the following letter which, he stated, had been left by the deceased addressed to Mr Bastin, solicitor, of Exmouth:-  Fern Bank Saturday.  -  Dear Mr Bastin, - Why didn't you write to me as promised.  I know there s something wrong somewhere.  I placed the sale in your hands.  Myself as well, so that you could put me right.  Why do you always write through Crews and Son. - PIKE.  You are responsible for my death.

The Coroner said it appeared that MR PIKE had been desirous of disposing of one or two houses he possessed at Exmouth, and Mr Bastin, deceased's solicitor, had placed the matter in the hands of Messrs. Crews and Son.  Another firm of land agents, Messrs. Blackmore and Son, had introduced a client, who was prepared to pay £825 for the house.  The deceased, however, declined to sell under £850, and this sum the client consented to give.  Messrs. Crews and Son thereupon offered £870, free of commission, and on this MR PIKE wrote Mr Bastin asking his advice.  Mr Basin then ascertained that the letter of acceptance of Messrs. Blackmore's office had been stamped and that therefore the preliminary contract had been completed.  Mr Bastin had been communicated with, and was present, and was represented by Mr A. F. Seldon, who was prepared to produce all the correspondence between the deceased and Mr Bastin.  Apparently the deceased expected a letter from Mr Basin on Saturday morning, and its non-arrival evidently preyed on his mind.  But from the evidence (added the Coroner) which would be produced, there was no justification for writing the letter.  The first witness was the widow, MRS EMILY PIKE, who said her husband was 54 years of age, and they had lived at Fern Bank for nearly seven years.  They had property at Exmouth, and Mr Bastin acted for them.  Communications had been passing between him, Messrs. Crews and Sons, and others.  Her husband was very irritable, easily upset, and liked everything his own way.  He had been greatly worried over her recent illness, and he was also upset over the delay in arranging the sale of the house.  They had talked over the matter of the sale at breakfast, and she advised him not to let the loss of £40 or £50 worry him.  Ellen Baker, servant, said her master had breakfast about 8.30 a.m.  He appeared all right.  He went out shortly after 9 and she subsequently saw him in a house in the garden.  She thought he looked strange and she ran for Mr Hill, a neighbour.  He had been greatly worried, owing to MRS PIKE'S illness.

Mr James Hill, retired farmer, living next door, said he was called by the previous witness about 9.30.  He found deceased in the outhouse in a sitting position, with the gun between his legs.  Witness took the gun and put it outside the door.  At first he did not think MR PIKE was dead.  He first called MRS PIKE and then at her request, fetched Dr Wigham.  When he first saw deceased he was sitting on a sack with some earth in it.  Deceased had been upset by MRS PIKE'S illness and absence in London, but when he knew an operation had been successfully performed he appeared relieved.  Subsequently he became depressed, and sometimes appeared quite lost, and would not recover himself for some minutes.  His manner had been very strange during the last few days.  Emma Northam, housekeeper to Mr Clarke, another neighbour, said she heard a gun fired off about 9.15.  As MR PIKE frequently used his gun to scare birds she took no notice.  Dr W. Harper Wigham said he was called to the deceased by Mr Hill, and arrived soon after ten.  He found MR PIKE dead.  there were no marks on him save in his mouth, which was blackened by the powder.  The bones of the skull were shattered by the shot coming out the top of his head and lodging in the ceiling of the outhouse.,  He died from a gunshot wound self-inflicted.  He could draw no inferences as to his mental condition.

Mr A. F. Seldon produced the correspondence between the deceased and Mr Bastin, which was of the most friendly character, the last letter having been written on the previous day.  He then referred to the correspondence with Messrs. Crews and Son and Messrs. Blackmore.  Messrs PIKE and Bastin were old friends when MR PIKE used to live at Exmouth.  Mr Bastin was very naturally upset by MR PIKE'S letter, as he was in poor health.  MR PIKE evidently was desirous of getting out of the contract with Messrs Blackmore, but as the letter accepting their offer had been stamped he could not do so.  Mr Bastin had done nothing but what an honourable man should have done.  Mr Bastin said he was doing all he could do expedite the settlement as MR PIKE wished.  The deeds were in his office.  There was a small mortgage on the house, and on seeing the news of MR PIKE'S death, the holder sent for them the same Saturday night.  A Juryman:  There does not appear to be the slightest foundation for the statement made in the letter.  Mr Hill, recalled, said that he found the letter fastened to a board with a pin.  The Jury, after a brief consultation, brought in a verdict that "MR JOHN PIKE committed suicide on Saturday morning by shooting himself whilst Insane," and they exonerated Mr Bastin from any flame whatever.  They also expressed their condolence with MRS PIKE and family.

Thursday 10 May 1906

CHULMLEIGH - Chulmleigh Baker's Suicide. - Mr G. W. F. Brown, of Barnstaple, District Coroner, held an Inquest on Saturday at Chulmleigh on the body of RICHARD FORD, baker, who was found hanging from a beam in a lumber room at his private residence in New-street on Thursday afternoon.  Mr W. Short was Foreman of the Jury.  MRS MARY FORD identified the body as that of her son, whose age was 49 years.  About 18 months since he lost his wife, and that and the worry of the business had made him very depressed.  He had been attended by his medical attendant.  Mr S. Smale, of the White Hart Hotel, deposed that, in company with Colr.-Sergt-Instructor W. G. Hudson, he went into the lumber room upon an alarm being raised and found the deceased hanging from a beam by a rope. Hudson lifted the body while witness cut the rope.  Life was extinct.  He had never heard deceased express any idea of committing suicide, and as regarded financial matters he was in a very good position.  Mr L. Feaver, surgeon, stated that the cause of death was hanging.  He had attended deceased of late for depression.  A verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane" was returned.  The Foreman expressed sympathy on behalf of the Jury with the three orphan children and friends of the deceased.

CHELTENHAM - Suicide Of A Barumite At Cheltenham. - The sad news was received at Barnstaple on Monday of the death of MR ALFRED VICARY, a Barumite, who had committed suicide by cutting his throat at Cheltenham on the previous day.  Deceased, who was 32 years of age, was for some time a teacher at St. Mary Magdalene School, Barnstaple, leaving Barnstaple only two months ago for an assistant mastership at St. John's School, Cheltenham.  At an Inquest held on Tuesday a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane" was returned.

YARNSCOMBE - Fatal Accident At Yarnscombe. - A sad accident occurred at Yarnscombe on Saturday last, resulting in the death of ROBERT ELLIS, a woodman in the employ of the Hon. Mark Rolle.   The circumstances were inquired into at an Inquest held on Tuesday before Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner.  The evidence showed that on Saturday the deceased, who was 76 years of age, went to Combe Wood, Yarnscombe with two other employees named John Piper and William Martin, for the purpose of cutting down trees.  Piper commenced cutting an old oak tree, deceased working on another tree close by.  Piper heard the tree he was cutting begin to crack, and he shouted to the others to get out of the way.  Deceased started to run, but instead of running away from the tree he ran underneath it, and the tree fell upon him.  With the aid of P.C. Hall, Martin and Piper conveyed ELLIS to his home, where he was attended to by Dr Good, of High Bickington.  ELLIS succumbed, however, on Monday morning.  Dr Good deposed that death resulted from shock, because the injuries - a blow under the left eye and a blow across the bridge of the nose - were not in themselves sufficient to cause death.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned, the Jury finding that no one was to blame.

Thursday 17 May 1906

BRAUNTON - Fatal Accident At Braunton.  Sad Death Of A Little Boy. - A trap accident, resulting in the death of a boy named WILLIAM GAMMON, aged seven years, son of a labourer, living at Georgeham, occurred near Braunton on Saturday evening last.  MR JAMES GAMMON, father of the deceased, was driving home from Braunton in company with his son, when, on passing a furniture van at Buckland Pillars the horse took fright at the van and backed against the hedge, overturning the trap and throwing the occupants into the roadway.  MR GAMMON escaped unhurt, but it was seen that his little boy was seriously injured.  With the assistance of the driver of the van, a man named Morrish, the poor little fellow was at once conveyed to Dr Walter Harper's surgery at Braunton.  By the time they reached the surgery, however, he had succumbed to the injuries.

The circumstances of the death of the little boy were inquired into on Monday at the Parish Room, Braunton, by Mr G. W. F. Brown, (County Coroner) and a Jury of which Mr P. Lamprey was the Foreman.  JAMES GAMMON, father of the deceased, deposed that on Saturday evening last he was driving home from Braunton accompanied by deceased.  All went well until they came to Buckland Pillars, where they met a furniture van which was driven by a man named Morrish.  Witness drove on the right side of the road, as he thought by doing so the van would be able to turn a corner more easily.  When the front part of the van became level with the horse's head, the horse, frightened by the approaching van, commenced to run backwards.  In backing the trap was overturned and witness and his son thrown into the roadway.  The man Morrish picked up deceased, who was lying in the roadway, and they immediately took him to Dr Harper's surgery. Deceased, however, expired before they arrived.  Witness did not see his little boy after he was thrown out of the trap before he was picked up by Morrish.  Charles Morrish gave corroborative evidence.  He was driving a furniture van in the direction of Braunton on Saturday evening, when near Buckland Pillars he met the last witness, who was driving a trap.  Witness pulled in against the hedge as far as possible, and walked his horses past GAMMON, who had stopped his horse in order to let him pass.  Witness's horses had just cleared the trap when GAMMON'S horse became restive.  After he had passed he looked back and saw that the trap was overturned and GAMMON and his little boy lying in the roadway.  He immediately went back to their assistance, and found that the little boy was seriously hurt.  He then took deceased in his arms and carried him to Dr Harper's surgery.  Witness did not see the trap overturn, but he did not believe the wheel of the waggon went over the boy, as there was a clear space of two or three feet between the waggon and the trap.    Dr Walter Harper stated the deceased was brought to him about 7.30 the previous Saturday evening.  Deceased was quite dead, and had been so for several minutes.  On examination he found that the child's chest was extensively damaged, while several ribs on either side were broken.  The lungs were perforated, and there had been a certain amount of haemorrhage.  In his opinion the little boy died from shock due to the extensive injuries of the chest.  There were no wheel marks on the clothes, but the injuries had been caused by some crush.  Whether deceased was caught between the van and the trap or the wheel went over him it was impossible to say.  The Coroner in summing up, said they were unable to determine how the injuries were caused.  It was a pure accident, and he did not think there was any negligence attaching to anyone.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and concurred with the Coroner that no one was to blame.  The Coroner and the Jury expressed their sympathy with deceased's parents in their  affliction.

Thursday 24 May 1906

LITTLE TORRINGTON - Suicide Near Torrington.  Tragic End Of A Well-Known Farmer. - On Tuesday morning last the parishioners of Little Torrington were thrown into a state of great grief on hearing of the news of the tragic end of one of the most highly respected farmers in the district - MR JOHN QUANCE.  It appears that about 6.15 a.m. a shot was heard in the house, at West Ford Farm, Little Torrington, occupied by MESSRS. JOHN and SAMUEL QUANCE.  MR SAMUEL QUANCE was at the time in his bedroom, and on hearing the report investigated the affair, and found his brother JOHN in bed with a portion of his head blown away.  He immediately called for assistance, and called Dr Macindoe and the police from Torrington.  The doctor arrived soon after the call, but found life extinct.  In the room was found a double barrelled gun with bloodstains on, and an empty cartridge was in the barrel.  The police, on arrival, took possession of the gun and a document signed by deceased found in the room. Deceased, who was 42 years of age, recently took Grange Farm, Merton, and intended taking possession at Michaelmas.  The sad affair was investigated by Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner, at Westford Farm, Little Torrington, yesterday.

SAMUEL QUANCE, deceased's brother, stated that on Monday morning between 6 and 7 o'clock, he heard a gunshot.  Thinking his brother was shooting birds outside, he called out "What are you shooting at" but received no answer, and afterwards going upstairs he found his brother lying on the bed suffering from a gunshot wound from which he expired soon after.  Had noticed nothing unusual in his manner lately, and was entirely at a loss to assign any reason for the deed.  P.C. Challice spoke to finding in a drawer in deceased's bedroom the following document:  "I have a greater undertaking than it is possible for me to bear.  I feel very unwell.  It is my will and wish that my brother SAMUEL, and sister, BESSIE PRISCILLA, take possession, except my six National Provincial Bank shares, which I give to Miss Lucy Metherall, of Stoke Barton, Hartland.  I hope all will forgive me.  I cannot bear my trouble any longer.  It is too much on my mind.  May 26th, 1906.  JOHN QUANCE.  In pencil underneath was added "I wish Dan Howard and Samuel to be my executors."  Dr Macindoe, Torrington, stated that the injuries were undoubtedly self-inflicted.  He attended deceased about two years ago for melancholia; deceased was then very low spirited and depressed for a month or six weeks.  Had not attended him lately.  The Coroner said it was a very sad and remarkable case.  Deceased spoke of a terrible trouble, but the members of the family knew nothing of it.  The Jury returned a verdict of Suicide whilst of Unsound Mind, the Coroner joining in the expression of sympathy with the relatives.

Thursday 31 May 1906

BIDEFORD - An Inquest was held at Bideford on Tuesday, on the body of WILLIAM ROBBINS, 66, labourer, who died suddenly the previous day.  Dr Grose, who made a post mortem, said the deceased's heart was very much diseased and that was evidently the cause of death.  The Jury, of which Mr J. Pengilly was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

HOLSWORTHY - Holsworthy Market Fatality. - An Inquest on the body of MR JOHN JONAS, who met with his death in the Market on Wednesday, was held by Mr Prickman at the Court-room, Holsworthy, on Friday evening.   MR ROBERT JONAS, son of the deceased, said his father, who was 60 years of age, had enjoyed good health for the last six or seven years.  Mr Edward Smith said he saw the deceased at Chapman's Well on Wednesday morning, where they had breakfast and fed their horses.  On arriving in the Square, and after taking out their horses, the deceased got on the top of his cart.  Witness saw him droop a little, and then turn round and fall off the cart.  He picked him up at once.  Deceased breathed, but did not speak.  The witness thought deceased might have turned faint.  Dr Gray said he saw the deceased lying on the ground quite dead.  He had since made a post mortem examination, and found that the cause of death was dislocation of the neck.  There was no evidence of heart disease.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and expressed their sympathy with the family.

WESTDOWN - At the Inquest on SUSAN KIFF, widow of GEORGE SCAMP KIFF, who died suddenly on Wednesday, a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.  Dr Osborne, who made a post mortem examination, found that heart disease was the cause of death.

Thursday 14 June 1906

WEST ANSTEY - Suicide At West Anstey. - A sad case of suicide was Inquired into by Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner) at West Anstey on Tuesday, the deceased being ROBERT MORTIMER K. QUARTLEY, a farm labourer, aged 24.

MRS SARAH QUARTLEY, grandmother of deceased, stated that she and deceased lived together at Land's Farm.  Last week she went away from home for a few days, leaving the deceased in charge of the house.  She returned home on Friday last, reaching the house at about 5.30 p.m.  She was unable to get in, however, as the doors were locked, and she went to her daughter's house and stopped the night.  Next morning witness again went to her house, and as the doors were still locked she went to the police constable.  The constable got through the window and found deceased lying at the bottom of the stairs quite dead from a gunshot wound, and clutching a gun.    A man named John Bale spoke to seeing deceased at about 4 p.m. the previous Thursday walking across a field at Lands Farm.  Dr Sydenham, of Dulverton, who was called in, said deceased had been dead about 24 hours when he arrived.  Deceased died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Two years ago witness certified deceased to be of unsound mind, and he was removed to the county asylum where he was detained for a few months, being discharged as cured.  The Jury, of which Mr W. A. Partridge was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

CLOVELLY - Sudden Death. - MRS CHARLOTTE BABB, of Dyke Green Cottage, Clovelly, died suddenly on Saturday morning last at the age of 65.  Deceased appeared to be in her usual health at about 5.30 when she called her son, MR THOMAS BABB, with whom she lived.  About half an hour later, however, she complained of being ill and asked for a drink of brandy which was given her, but she expired about 15 minutes later. - At an Inquest held on Monday before Mr G. W. F. Brown, and a Jury of which Mr T. Clear was the Foreman.  Dr Hobling, of Hartland, stated that he had made a post mortem examination, and found that deceased's heart was very diseased and fatty; death was due to natural causes, namely, heart disease.  A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned.

OKEHAMPTON - At the adjourned Inquest at Okehampton on Monday on CHARLES PARNELL, killed by a fall of earth at Meldon on Saturday, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and added that the rules appertaining to mines and quarries should be strictly adhered to.

Thursday 21 June 1906

NOSS MAYO - An Inquest was held at Noss Mayo on Thursday on Private WALTER SMITH, 2nd Devonshire Regiment, a native of Tiverton, who, while walking on the cliff overhanging Bigbury Bay, fell on to the rocks, 150 feet below.

BRAUNTON - The Braunton Mystery.  Body Found In The Taw.  An Actor's Troubles. - The North Devon Coroner, Mr G. W. F. Brown, on Friday held an Inquest at Abbotsham, on the body of FRANK GOODACRE, 41, an actor, who was missed from Braunton on Friday last, and whose body was on Wednesday afternoon found on the beach at Abbotsham.  The Rev. R. W. Sealy was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  LILY GOODACRE, who had travelled from Hereford, identified the ring, purse (containing one half-penny), and the clothes found on the body as belonging to her husband, whom she last saw on May 8th at Braunton.  He had then just left a house she had at Georgeham, and was going, he said, to Ilfracombe.  Since his absence from her he had written her three letters.  Her two last letters to him had not been answered.  She knew deceased to be in financial difficulties, and was aware also that the police wanted him.  He had often threatened to commit suicide.

George Frankpit, landlord of the Railway Hotel, Braunton, with whom deceased lodged for a week previous to his disappearance, stated that on Friday morning deceased asked for his bill, saying he was expecting a wired money order at eleven o'clock.  While witness and his family were having breakfast deceased left the house and never again returned.  During the week he had lodged at the Railway Hotel deceased seldom went out.  He always appeared cheerful, and spent the time loitering about and singing.  Deceased had on two other occasions lodged with him, once bringing with him his wife and two daughters.  P.C. Veale, Braunton, produced a letter which he had found in GOODACRE'S coat, which was on Sunday last found on the bank of the Taw at Heanton Court.  It ran:-   "When there is nothing left to hope there is nothing left to dread.  Trouble after trouble.  I cannot bear any more.  I have tried hard to avoid this terrible thing, but I could not.  Those who care for me will know the cause.  I hope I may be forgiven.  It is a bit hard, but it is the only way out of what has been for years a cruel life.  My love to all, and I pray their forgiveness and that of Him who alone knows the suffering I have endured. - FRANK GOODACRE."

With regard to his dog, which was found chained up near the coat, deceased wrote:-

"Whoever finds this be kind to my dog Bedelia, and be sure she is sent to Mrs Tatham Willoughby, Loughborough - a poor but pretty legacy.  It is a last wish.  I had a mind to take her with me, but I hadn't the heart to hurt the pool soul.  She is my only pal.  My life is over, and hers, sweet thing only just begun."   Frank Carter, groom, of Abbotsham, spoke to finding the body under Abbotsham cliffs on Wednesday.  It was fully dressed with the exception of hat and coat.  P.C. Rice said there was a wound on the upper lip.  Dr Grose, of Bideford, gave it as his opinion that death was due to drowning. The fact of the body being so well-preserved, except that part on which was not covered by clothes, practically proved that it had been under water up to a very little while of its discovery.  There were no signs of poison or foul play.  A fisherman named Brock, who assisted in the removal of the body from the beach, emphatically expressed the opinion that GOODACRE was drowned very near where his body was found.  He regarded the assumption that GOODACRE entered the Taw at Heanton and was carried by the current to Abbotsham as quite unacceptable, arguing that the body would never have gone over the Bar.  Dr Pearson attempted to disabuse the minds of some of the Jury of the impression that a body would never rise to the surface till nine days had elapsed.  A body would rise earlier in the summer than in the winter.  In the British Isles it usually rose within a week.  The Coroner, in summing up the evidence, stated that deceased had not lived happily with his wife.  He seemed to be a man always in debt and getting into trouble in other ways.  At the time he was lodging at Braunton he was wanted by the police for obtaining goods by false pretences.  When first his coat and dog were discovered on the river bank it was thought it might be merely a ruse to put the police off his track.  He could not agree with the witness Brock that deceased was drowned at Abbotsham.  A man who had made up his mind to commit suicide, as from his letter deceased apparently had, would not walk fourteen or fifteen miles, without hat or coat, to do so, and, furthermore, he could not have passed through Barnstaple so dressed without exciting attention.  He inclined to the belief that deceased entered the water at Heanton.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned," adding that there was no evidence to show how deceased got into the water.

ASHBURTON - At the Inquest at Ashburton on Saturday on URIAH COTTLE of Blackmoor Farm, an Open Verdict was returned.  Deceased's two sons, GEORGE and CHARLES, drunk at the previous hearing, were each fined 20s. or fourteen days.

BARNSTAPLE - "Cannot Get Over My Troubles."  Sad Suicide At Barnstaple.  - A shock was occasioned at Barnstaple on Monday when it became known that MR JOHN HENRY SMITH, grocer, a well-known resident, had ended his life by hanging himself.  MR SMITH was for nearly 30 years in the employ of Messrs. Yeo, Dennis and Co., grocers, and on this business recently becoming merged into another business concern, MR SMITH was engaged as manager by Messrs W. L. Richards and Co., of High-street.  MR SMITH was widely known as a most estimable citizen, and he constantly had a host of friends by whom his death is greatly deplored.  Deceased lived at No. 60, Gloster-road (where the sad act was committed), and it was his intention this week to remove into a new house which he recently acquired further down the same street.  MR SMITH leaves a widow, with whom general sympathy is expressed.  The Inquest was held in the Schoolroom, Newport, in the afternoon before the Borough Coroner and a Jury, of which Mr J. B. Spencer was Foreman.  At the outset the Coroner briefly related the sad affair.  He believed the Jury would have no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that MR SMITH took his own life.  It would be better for them to consider his state of mind at the time.  William Lake, draper, of Boutport-street, stated that deceased, who was 48 years of age, had for many years been in the employ of Messrs. Yeo, Dennis and Co.  Both MR SMITH and his wife had lately been unwell, and they decided to spend two or three weeks with witness and his family at Boutport-street.  They arrived on Saturday night.  On Sunday morning MR SMITH remarked "I think I feel better already," witness saying he was glad to hear it, and trusted he would soon pull up.  The deceased had been depressed and run down for several weeks.  Recently the business of Messrs Yeo, Dennis and Co. had been amalgamated with another and MR SMITH had been in the employ of Messrs. W. L. Richards and Co., of High-street.  He had several times remarked that it was quite a new business to him at his time of life, and it had worried him a good bit.  The Coroner:  Whilst he was conversant with the details of the old business, this business worried him.

Mr Lake:  Yes.  MRS SMITH had been in ill-health, mentally depressed, for some years, and this, too, had caused him anxiety.  On Sunday evening MR SMITH said he would get out early next morning and go for a walk before business, as it would do him good.  Witness agreed, but should not go out too early, naming seven o'clock.  MR SMITH rose at a quarter to six, having, he understood, been restless for some hours.  He told MRS SMITH "he would go out for a walk.  It would do him good.  He would go to Newport."  As deceased did not return at eight o'clock witness got rather uneasy, and went to the house at Gloster-road, thinking he must have fainted away in the house.  Finding the front door locked, he went through the next-door neighbour's house, scaled the wall, and entered the deceased's house.  He saw nothing in the kitchen, but in the sitting-room he caught sight of MR SMITH hanging at the door with his face towards him.  The rope was fastened to the outer knob and carried over the door, and MR SMITH was hanging on the inside.  His legs were crooked up, and one was resting on a chair which was close by.  He at once called a neighbour, and helped to cut the body down.  Life was quite extinct, but Dr Cooper was summoned.  On the back kitchen table witness found two letters - one addressed to him and the other to Mr Hopper, solicitor.  The letter to witness ran:-  "June 18th. - Dear Mr Lake, - I left your house about a quarter to six this morning with the intention of ending it, as it seems to me I cannot get over my troubles, and the longer it goes on the worse it gets in every way.  My last business venture was a failure, and at my time of life I feel I cannot commence again.  I thank you for your every kindness, and am broken-hearted to think this has come upon you.  Do forgive, and may God forgive me and bless you all.  Take care of my dear wife.  I am afraid this will be her end, but I cannot help it.  I am broken-hearted.  Let Dr Cooper break the news to her, and let Mrs Sanders take care of her.  There will be money enough.  I have put it in Mr Hopper's hands to do what he thinks best for her.  Well, good-bye, my dear Mr Lake, Mrs Lake, Frank, and Florrie.  Do take care of my dear wife, but let her go in the care of Mrs Sanders, and may God have mercy on my soul - Amen.  Ask Fred Braddon not to forsake his sister.  Keep as much of this away from her as you can.  God keep her; God have mercy on her."  The Coroner remarked that the writing was bad, whilst there were several interlineations and alterations, showing clearly that the mind of the writer was distraught at the time.  It was explained that the Mr Braddon referred to is MRS SMITH'S brother, whilst Mrs Sanders is a nurse who has attended MRS SMITH.  The Coroner further said that the other letter to Mr Hopper asked that he, Mr Bradford and Mr Lake should take his affairs in their charge, showing that he contemplated something wrong.  Mr Lake further stated, in answer to a question, that MR SMITH was in fairly good circumstances.  There could be no doubt that he was run down in health, but they anticipated nothing of this trouble.

P.C. Gooding spoke to being called to deceased's house that morning, and to seeing the body of MR SMITH.  Mr Lake was trying to resuscitate him, but life was quite extinct, and the body was turning cold.  He produced the new rope with which deceased had committed the act.  Dr Cooper, who was called to the house at 8.40, expressed the opinion that MR SMITH had been dead about an hour.  MR SMITH had been treated by him lately, having been a great deal depressed.  He had explained to him that he could not get on very well with the new business with which he had become associated.  - The Coroner:  What he meant when he said his last business was a failure was that he was a failure.  - Dr Cooper agreed.  As recently as the previous Wednesday he told him that he had made up his mind to leave, and felt quite comfortable.  MR SMITH had influenza some eight months ago, and he had not been strong since.  Influenza sometimes affected the brain, and there could be no doubt that he was temporarily insane when he committed the act.  There had, however, not been the slightest suspicion that he would do anything of the kind, and it had not been thought necessary to have him watched.  MRS SMITH was not well enough to be present.

The Coroner, in summing up, agreed with Dr Cooper that deceased must have been insane when he committed the act.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

DOLTON - Death By Choking At Dolton. - HENRY WOOLWAY, aged 55, baker, of Dolton, met with his death under remarkable circumstances on Thursday last.  He went to a butcher's shop and purchased some tripe, when suddenly he was seen to fall and he expired almost immediately.  It was found that a piece of tripe had stuck in his throat, death being due to suffocation.

An Inquest was held on the body by MR G. W.. F. Brown (County Coroner) and a Jury of which Mr J. E. Evans was Foreman.

MRS WOOLWAY, wife of the deceased, said she last saw her husband alive at about 8.30 p.m. on Thursday last.  When he left the house he appeared to be in his usual health.  John Hartnoll, butcher, stated that deceased came to his shop on Thursday evening and asked for 2lbs. of tripe.  He served him and went to his house to get some change. When he returned deceased was standing outside the shop.  Witness saw him suddenly fall to the ground.  He ran over to his assistance but found he had expired.  He saw the doctor take a piece of tripe from deceased's throat.  Dr Greenwood Penny, locum tenens for Dr Drummond, said he was called to see the deceased at about 10 p.m., on the day in question.  He arrived about five minutes later, but found that deceased was dead.  He found a piece of tripe stuck in his throat.  He made a post mortem examination, and in his opinion death was due to asphyxia caused by the piece of tripe stuck in his throat.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Accidental Causes."

Thursday 5 July 1906

APPLEDORE - Barnstaple Captain's Death At Appledore. - CAPTAIN HENRY MARTIN, retired merchantman, died suddenly at Appledore on Wednesday evening.  The deceased formerly resided at Appledore, but for the last few years lived with his daughter at Barnstaple.  On Wednesday he went on a short visit to his old home, passing away unexpectedly in the evening.  CAPT. MARTIN was 86 years of age.  Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner, conducted the Inquest at the Globe Inn, Appledore, on Thursday.    Henry Acland, of Barnstaple, son-in-law, stated that deceased had lived with him two or three years.  He had been in good health, and witness last saw him alive at one o'clock on Wednesday, when he went for a drive.  Witness had no idea he was going to Appledore.  John Bartlett, of Meeting-street, stated that deceased drove to his house on Wednesday afternoon.  About 8 o'clock witness assisted him upstairs and told deceased that he would help him down when he was ready.  Hearing a noise a few minutes afterwards he went upstairs, and was surprised to see deceased lying on the floor.  As he was a heavy man he called for assistance and sent for Dr Valentine.  Deceased sighed two or three times and expired.  Dr W. A. Valentine deposed that a post mortem examination revealed fatty degeneration of the heart and various diseases of old age.  He had no doubt that death was due to syncope, brought on by the exertion of going upstairs.  The Jury (of which Mr George Cawsy was Foreman) returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 12 July 1906

OKEHAMPTON - A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned at the Inquest at Okehampton on CHARLES BROOK, crushed by falling rock at Meldon Quarry.

SOUTHMOLTON - Fatal Accident At Southmolton. - Whilst WILLIAM EDIFORD, of Dolton, was conveying sheep for Mr G. Heaman, his employer, of Dolton, to the Southmolton Agricultural Show yesterday, on nearing Southmolton, it is supposed, the horse started trotting and jerked the driver back over the tail-board into the road.  The horse continued trotting and was not caught until it reached the town, EDIFORD was picked up dead, having broken his neck and received a fracture of the skull.  The deceased's employer stated that he was a steady workman, age about 70.  The body was conveyed (under the direction of Superintendent Crooke and Constables Tozer and Board) to the Horse and Jockey Inn, where the Inquest will be held today.

BRAUNTON - Serious Fire At Braunton.  Lady Burnt To Death. - Late on Tuesday night there was a serious out-break of fire at Braunton, and it was, unhappily, attended with loss of life.  P.C. Veale was on duty at 11.40 at the top of Caen Street where he heard a cry of "Murder," and finding the screams coming from the house in Caen Street occupied by Mrs Cooper he broken open the door, and she told him there was a fire in the bedroom.  He rushed upstairs and saw Miss Emily Perryman (niece of Mrs Cooper) whose clothes were on fire.  He asked her if there were anyone in the burning room, and on hearing there was a lady there he dashed into the room.  The brave constable found the bed empty, but he discovered the lady (MRS SLATER) on the floor between the bed and the window.  He picked her up and carried her on to the landing, but she kicked herself off his shoulder and screamed.  He shouted for help, and plenty of assistance soon came. Messrs. W. H. Howard, G. Staddon, and Barlow assisted the constable to carry MRS SLATER downstairs, and she was conveyed into Mr Howard's house, Dr Harper being sent for.  The unfortunate lady was terribly burnt, and she succumbed to the injuries at 3.30.  Having taken MRS SLATER to Mr Howard's house, P.C. Veale, who had been slightly burnt about the arms in the work of rescue, returned to the house in order to assist in fighting the flames.  Mr Gould Clarke, the captain of the Braunton Fire Brigade, was promptly on the spot, and with the assistance of P.S. Rouse and a large number of willing helpers the fire was soon got under control, there being a splendid supply of water.  As it looked at first as though the fire would be an extensive one, a message was sent to Barnstaple for the Bridge Wharf Fire Brigade, but by the time the Barumites arrived the fire had been subdued by the home Brigade.  Capt. Gould Clarke is to be warmly congratulated on the smartness with which the Brigade work was done.  On all hands, too, was to be heard praise of the plucky conduct of the constable.  MRS SLATER, who was a lady of means, came from London, taking lodgings with Mrs Cooper for three months.  She was in the habit of reading in bed, and it is supposed that the lamp she was using upset while she was reading on Tuesday night and so caused the fire.  The lamp was found at the foot of the bed.  Hearing a strange noise in MRS SLATER'S room, Mrs Cooper sent her niece (Miss Perryman) to see what was the matter.  On entering the room, Miss Perryman saw that the hangings of the bed were in flames.  She tried to put out the fire, and some of her clothes got alight.  She then raised the alarm.  The back of the premises were wrecked, and most of the furniture was either burnt or damaged.  The house was insured, but there was no insurance on the furniture, so that Mrs Cooper suffers a heavy loss.  Mrs Cooper is a widow, her husband having been drowned at Broadsands some years ago.  Some damage was done to the houses immediately adjoining - one being occupied by Mr Brooks, grocer, and the other by Mr Barlow, chemist.  The Inquest:-  Constable's Brave Act Commended.  -  The Inquest on the body of the victim of the fire was held at the Council School, Braunton, yesterday, by Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner).  Mr William Isaac was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  Miss Emily Perryman, a niece of Mrs Cooper, with whom she lived, stated that the deceased lady MRS JANET SLATER, who was 54 years of age, was in the habit of reading in bed.  On Tuesday evening MRS SLATER retired to bed at about 10.30.  About an hour later witness heard her aunt calling her, and on going to see what was the matter was informed by her aunt that something was wrong in MRS SLATER'S bedroom.  She at once went to MRS SLATER'S bedroom, where she saw the hangings of the bed on fire.  A paraffin lamp, which deceased was accustomed to read by after she got in bed, was overturned on the floor, whilst a table on which she stood the lamp was also overturned.  Witness saw MRS SLATER lying on the floor with her clothing on fire.  The clothing was almost entirely burnt off at that time.  Witness tried to extinguish the flames, but could not, and she then left the room and called for help.  P.C. Veale was soon on the spot.  Witness did not hear deceased speak.  She believed she was unconscious.  - In answer to the Foreman, witness said she could not tell whether the lamp bursted as it stood on the table or whether the fire was caused by the table being overturned.  The lamp, which had a brass vessel, was lying on the floor when she saw it.  P.C. Veale stated that he was on duty at Cross Tree the previous evening, when, about 11.40 he heard cries of "murder" proceeding from the direction of Caen-street.  On going down the street he found that the cries came from the house occupied by Mrs Cooper.  Witness at once burst the door open and rushed up the stairs.  On the landing he saw Miss Perryman, whose clothes were on fire.  Witness at once extinguished the flames and Miss Perryman then told him there was a lady in one of the bedrooms on fire.  He went into the room indicated by Miss Perryman, but for some time he could see no one.  After looking on the bed, his attention was attracted by the sounds of groans proceeding from one end of the room.  He went to her assistance and found she was covered in flames.  She was lying between the window and the bed.  At the foot of the bed he saw an overturned table and also portions of a lamp.  By this time witness was almost exhausted by the flames.  He managed, however, to get MRS SLATER out on the landing, but there she kicked herself off from his shoulder.  He then ran out of the house and across the street for help, and, in company with Mr Gould Clarke, he was soon back again.  By this time Mr Howard and several other men were there, and with their assistance, MRS SLATER was carried down the stairs into Mr Howard's house close by.  The only words witness heard deceased say were "My goodness, what has happened?"  When he first found deceased she was lying on her back, while she was partially under the bed.  Dr Walter Harper, of Braunton, deposed that he was called to see the deceased at about quarter or half past 12 o'clock.  When he arrived at Mr Howard's house he found deceased in the kitchen.  She had a blanket and a counterpane over her; otherwise she had no clothes on at all.  There were very extensive burns all over the body; she seemed almost unconscious.  Once or twice she spoke and seemed to recognise witness, but she said nothing that would throw any light as to how the accident happened.  Most of the time she was muttering, but what she said was unintelligible.  He dressed the burns and gave stimulants, but the injuries were so extensive that he had no hope from the first.  She succumbed to the injuries about 3.30 in the morning, from shock due to the extensive burns.  The Coroner, in summing up, said it was most deplorable that the fire should be attended with loss of life, but they ought to congratulate themselves on the fact that, owing to the abundance of water and plenty of help at hand, the fire was prevented from spreading further.  He thought that was something to be thankful for.  He thought a word of praise was due to the constable, who had acted in a most praiseworthy manner.  He had bravely gone into the bedroom in a mass of flames and removed the deceased.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and commended P.C. Veale for the bravery he had displayed.

SOUTHMOLTON - Inquest At Southmolton. - An Inquest was held at the Town Arms Hotel on Friday afternoon, by Mr G. W. F. Brown (District Coroner), upon the body of JOHN WILLIAMS, 75, labourer, of East-street.  Mr W. Sanders was Foreman of the Jury.  Evidence given by the wife (ANN WILLIAMS) and daughter of the deceased, showed that he retired to bed at 9 o'clock on Wednesday night, shortly after which a noise was heard.  On their proceeding upstairs to the room they found the deceased had fallen out of bed.  He had been sick earlier in the evening, and it was believed that another attack of sickness had come over him, and in attempting to get out of bed he had fallen.  Evidence was also given by Dr H. J. Smyth as to finding deceased in bed unconscious, cold and dying.  He attributed death to a rupture of a blood vessel on his brain, through his falling out of bed.  The Jury brought in a verdict of "Accidental Death," and gave their fees to the widow.

BARNSTAPLE - Terrible Accident At Barnstaple.  Oil Stove Causes Fatal Accident. - JOHANNA ALFORD, widow, aged 72, lodging with Mr John Turner, shoemaker, of Dymond-street, Barnstaple, by some means upset a lighted oil stove in her bedroom on Sunday evening, sustaining such shocking burns that she expired at the North Devon Infirmary the following night.

At the Inquest held before the Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft) and a Jury of which Mr J. R. Ford was Foreman, on Tuesday.

Mrs Johanna Parkin stated that her aunt (the deceased) was the widow of MR GEORGE ALFORD, a labourer or horseman, at one time employed at Hall.  MR ALFORD met his death by drowning twenty-six years ago.  Mr John Turner, deceased's landlord, informed the Jury that MRS ALFORD attended the service at the Rackfield Hall on Sunday evening, returning about 8.30 p.m., and going to her room upstairs. About a quarter to nine witness heard screaming, but thought it proceeded somewhere from the street.  Five minutes later Mr Huxtable, another lodger, proceeded upstairs, heard an unusual noise in MRS ALFORD'S bedroom, and called out.  Witness ran upstairs, and when Mr Huxtable pushed open the door of MRS ALFORD'S room, he saw the deceased in flames.  She was in a half sitting position, screaming, and throwing up her hands and trying to extinguish the flames.  Witness ran downstairs, obtained some water and extinguished the flames.  At the same time the house was in danger of being burnt down, as the tablecloth and newspapers in MRS ALFORD'S room were ablaze, and the lighted oil stove, which usually occupied a position on the fender, was overturned, and the burning oil was running all over the floor.  MRS ALFORD was evidently preparing her supper on the stove at the time, and his idea was that by some means her apron caught in it and capsized it.  When he found her, MRS ALFORD was covered in flames, and her clothing all over was burnt to rags.  On being sent for, Dr Cooke arrived in a few minutes, and ordered MRS ALFORD'S removal to the North Devon Infirmary.

Mr William Huxtable, an elderly man, bore out Mr Turner's version of the occurrence.  The door of MRS ALFORD'S room was not locked at the time.    Dr Mary Morris, the House Surgeon, stated that MRS ALFORD was admitted to the North Devon Infirmary on Sunday night suffering from burns on her head, tongue and mouth, arms, the front of her body, and a portion of her lower limbs.  The burns were not deep, but extended over a very wide area, and deceased was suffering from shock.  Dr Cooke came to the Infirmary, and assisted in treating deceased.  The case was regarded as a bad one from the beginning, particularly having regard to the deceased's age.  Everything possible was done for MRS ALFORD, who succumbed to the injuries at 10.45 on Monday night.  MRS ALFORD stood a worse chance of recovery, as apart from the accident she was ill and had been treated at the Infirmary.  Death was due to shock.    The Coroner explained that Dr Cooke was unable to attend through having an engagement in the country, but he did not think it necessary to adjourn the Inquest.  It was perfectly clear that in some way MRS ALFORD upset the oil stove, it being a pure accident, and no one being to blame in the matter.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 19 July 1906

EXETER - At an Inquest at Exeter on Saturday on RICHARD SANDERS, cattle dealer, who died from a fracture of the spine, the Jury returned a verdict of "Manslaughter" against Henry Western, butcher, of Brampford Speke.  Deceased, becoming quarrelsome, had a struggle with Western in a field at Brampford Speke, and fell.

SOUTHMOLTON - The Fatality Near Southmolton.  Alleged Cowardly Conduct By A Cyclist. - An Inquest was held at the Horse and Jockey Inn on Thursday afternoon, on the body of WILLIAM EDIFORD, of Dolton, who was killed the previous day by falling from a butt.  The Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) before taking the evidence, said that at an Inquest held the previous week in Southmolton he had to send for two Jurors; now Mr G. W. Bird was absent, and he should fine him a guinea.  Mr Richard Bawden was elected Foreman.  Evidence as to the identity of the body was given by WILLIAM EDIFORD, of Bath, eldest son, who said his father was 63 years old, and was a very steady man.  George Heaman, of Dolton, spoke as to his having engaged the deceased for the day on Wednesday to drive some sheep to Southmolton Agricultural Show.  He was driving a very quiet horse, and when witness passed him, about five miles from Southmolton, he was going along steadily.  Elizabeth Ellacott stated that she was on her way to Southmolton about 10.15 when a cart with the deceased and some sheep passed her, and a few minutes later a cyclist passed.  On the latter nearing the cart she noticed the horse swerve away from it, and the wheel went up over the hedge.  On nearing the spot she saw a hat in the road, and the man, a little further on, lying in the hedge-trough with a part of the coat covering his head.  She did not see the cyclist dismount.  Percy Couch, of South-street, whilst in the same street, saw a horse and cart coming towards him, trotting without a driver.  He stopped the horse.  A few minutes later a cyclist came up, and said there had been an accident, and he had ridden after the horse.  The cyclist stated that the man was slightly hurt.  the man then rode off in another direction.  Supt. Crooke gave evidence.  Dr Wigham, of Southmolton, said he found the deceased lying in the hedge with his head covered over by his coat as though he had been carefully laid out there.  He examined him, and found that he had a wound on the inner part of the right eye-brow, and there was only a little sprinkling of blood.  Deceased must have died within four seconds of receiving the injuries from a broken neck.  William Bowden, a mason, said the cyclist stated when the horse was caught that it had thrown its driver out of the trap by bolting, and had also thrown him from his cycle, his arm being covered with dust.  When asked where the man was, the cyclist stated that he was coming on behind.  He asked the nearest way to the station, and said he wanted to catch the train.  The Coroner, in summing up, stated that the evidence of his son showed that the deceased was a steady man, and Mr Heaman had shown that he was driving along steadily when he passed him.  The cyclist's conduct in riding away, perhaps to escape identification, was a cowardly game, especially to slip off without rendering assistance, or even leaving his name.  He should like to have had the man present, and to inform him that he was not an Englishman by his actions.  What he told Mr Bowden was a wilful lie.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death, resulting from fracturing his neck by falling from the cart."

FILLEIGH - The greatest sympathy has been expressed towards the relatives of the late JOHN BURNETT.  He left Filleigh about 3 o'clock on Saturday afternoon with the intention of cycling to Quantock Farm to visit his brother near Crowcombe.  About seven the same evening he collided with a baker's cart in the neighbourhood of Bampton, and received such severe injuries that he died shortly after 1 a.m. on Sunday morning.  An Inquest was held on Monday, and a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  The body was brought to Filleigh on Tuesday evening.  Deceased was an expert cyclist, and had served as a soldier in the Devonshire Regiment during the South African War.  The funeral took place in Filleigh Churchyard on Thursday, the Rector (The Rev. E. G. Beckwith) officiating.  The chief mourners were MR and MRS BURNETT (father and mother), JAMES, GEORGE, WILLIAM and FRED (brothers), MARY and LUCY (sisters), Mr and Mrs Tanton (uncle and aunt), Mrs F. Burnett,  Miss Flor and Mr F. Greedy.  There were a number of the parishioners present.

Thursday 26 July 1906

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Dose Of Poison At Barnstaple.  Hawker's Suicide.  -  WILLIAM SHADDICK, hawker, aged 61, who occupied a portion of the lodging-house kept by W. Porter at Green-lane, Barnstaple, passed away on Wednesday (as reported in last week's Journal) under circumstances which justified the belief that death was due to poisoning  By direction of the Borough Coroner (Mr A. R. Bencraft), the body was removed to the mortuary at the North Devon Infirmary for the purpose of a post mortem examination, and an Inquest was held at the institution on Thursday afternoon, the Foreman of the Jury being Mr W. Hooper.  The Coroner having given a resume of the evidence which he proposed to call, WILLIAM SHADDICK, the deceased's son, who was much affected, gave evidence of identification.  He last saw his father alive the previous day, when he was in a delirious state.  Mr E. Hicking, son of Mr J. Hicking, chemist of Joy-street, stated that he was acting as assistant chemist to his father.  On the previous Thursday, about 7 p.m., the deceased came into the shop and asked for two-penny-worth of vermin paste.  Witness told him that he only had the paste in penny and three-penny packets, and deceased then walked out of the shop.  He returned, however, a quarter of an hour later and asked witness's father for a penny-worth of vermin killer.  His father asked SHADDICK what he was going to do with it, his reply being to kill rats.  His father let him have the penny-worth as requested.  There was nothing unusual in MR SHADDICK'S manner at the time; he had a funny manner as a rule.  - The Coroner:  Was there anything to lead you to suppose the deceased wanted this poison for any other purpose than for rat killing?  - A.:  No.  Mr John Hicking, father of the last witness, deposed that on the previous Thursday, at about 7.15 p.m., SHADDICK entered the shop and asked for a penny-worth of poison. Witness asked him for what purpose he wanted it, his reply being "For the rats," and witness accordingly supplied one penny-wroth.  The poison was supplied in a bottle similar to the one produced, with the label:-  "Phosphorus paste, for destroying rats, mice, and beetles," and also bore the words, in larger letters, "Poison."  Witness did not notice anything peculiar in SHADDICK'S manner more than usual, and certainly did not think he was intoxicated at the time.  He had no suspicion that deceased wanted the paste for any other purpose than that which he said.  SHADDICK appeared cheerful as far as he could see.  He was not in the shop more than a quarter or half a minute.  - At the instance of Dr Cooke, the Coroner asked Mr Hicking whether he knew the amount of phosphorus contained in the paste.  Mr Hicking replied that he was not certain, but he believed there was usually about 10 per cent.  In answer to the Jury, both Mr Hicking and his son said they were positive that deceased bought the poison on the previous Thursday.  Mr W. Porter, the deceased's landlord, deposed that SHADDICK, who occupied rooms in his house, said on the previous Sunday morning about 11 o'clock that he felt ill and asked for a cup of tea, which witness's daughter took him.  After that deceased got a bit fidgety, remarking that he felt a bit bad.  Witness ventured the suggestion that it was the "drink again," SHADDICK admitting this and saying he wanted a pint of beer.  Witness, however, told him that a cup of tea would do him more good than a pint of beer.  SAHDDICK vomited in the morning, the vomit including blood.  Deceased came downstairs on Monday (with the intention of going to work), but had to go to bed again, saying that he felt ill in the stomach.  He complained of thirst and drank several cups of tea and jugs of water.  During the day deceased kept on spitting up blood.  On Tuesday, SHADDICK was no better and witness sent for Dr Charles Cooke.  SHADDICK had not said a word to him about having taken poison, and he did not think he would have done such a thing.  Deceased had no trouble on his head.  If he came home intoxicated he would be taken up to bed, and he would stay there singing half the night.  He had drunk horribly, and had eaten nothing.  this had been going on day after day, up to last Saturday.  SHADDICK died just after 5 o'clock the previous day.  He wanted to get out of bed in the afternoon, and was rambling in his mind.  Before this, however, deceased had seemed half cranky half his time.  If one spoke to him one could get no answer from him.  The drink had driven him to take poison and nothing else.  Dr Charles Cooke informed the Jury that he was called to deceased on the previous Tuesday.  People seemed very mysterious about the matter.  He (witness) could not gather what it meant.  He ascertained that deceased had been drinking very heavily, but SHADDICK was not in a worse condition than one would expect to find a man who had done this.  Except a slight tenderness over the liver, SHADDICK did not display any tenderness.  He seemed very thirsty.  He was told that the nurse could tell him something in regard to the matter, but on his consulting her she said she knew nothing except that SHADDICK had been drinking heavily.  Deceased described his symptoms to him, and on witness asking him if he had been taking anything besides drink he replied "No."  The same afternoon Mrs Porter told him that SHADDICK had been taking phosphorus paste and on his calling on Mr Hicking he found that deceased had bought some paste there.  On his seeing SHADDICK on the second occasion, deceased admitted that he had bought the paste and said that he had taken it on the previous Thursday.  Asked how he took it -  ("It is rather funny stuff to take," remarked Dr Cooke) - the deceased replied that he took it out of the bottle with a nail and put it into a cup of tea and drank it.  Dr Cooke further explained that the paste would not dissolve, but it was only a couple of teaspoonfuls, and in a cup of tea deceased could have swallowed it easily enough.  He asked SHADDICK why he took the poison, his answer being, "The truth, sir, is I was roaring drunk."  Witness directed the proper treatment for SHADDICK, but it was too late to give anything in the nature of emetics, inasmuch as the poison had got into his system at the time.  If he had seen SHADDICK soon after he took the poison he might have saved his life.  On Wednesday morning he found deceased very much worse, and he then called in Dr Jonas, both coming to the conclusion, however, that it was a hopeless case.  Witness continued the treatment, but SHADDICK expired about 6 o'clock on the previous day.  Witness had made a post mortem examination on the body with the assistance of Dr Morris (House Surgeon at the Infirmary).  The stomach was practically empty, and there was small haemorrhage in the lining of the stomach.  The liver had undergone rapid fatty degeneration - the effect of phosphorus poisoning, while all the organs, including the heart, were in a similar state, due to the same cause.  The organs were perfectly healthy, and all the symptoms were absolutely characteristic of phosphorus poisoning, and death could not have arisen from any other cause.  Dr Cooke explained that the effects of the poison would be slow, and mentioned the interesting fact that there was a case on record in which there were no symptoms of the poison taken for a period of six weeks.  He should say that SHADDICK was undoubtedly suffering from temporary insanity at the time he took the poison.  The Coroner, in summing up, said it appeared, unfortunately, that deceased had given way to drink to a great extent.  The evidence showed that he had bought the rat poison and, in a drunken mad fit, as he himself said, taken a dose which had resulted in his death.  He agreed with Dr Cooke that SHADDICK must have been temporarily insane at the time.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 2 August 1906

BARNSTAPLE - The Death Of A Brendon Child.  Exhaustive Inquiry At Barnstaple. - The death of FLORENCE LETHABY, the four-months-old child of a labourer living at Brendon, formed the subject of an Inquest at Barnstaple on Monday, by the Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft), and a Jury, of which Mr Dan Moxham was Foreman.  The child had been removed on the previous Thursday to the Workhouse, where the Inquest was held.    The Chief Constable (Mr R. S. Eddy) was present, and Mr A. F. Seldon watched the case on behalf of the N.S.P.C.C.  The Coroner, briefly stating the facts at the outset, said it appeared that the mother of the child for three months after the birth was unwell, being attended by Dr Atkinson.  The doctor had seen the child occasionally during its life.  Inspector Francis, N.S.P.C.C., visited LETHABY'S place the previous week, and found the child was very ill, and in an excessively emaciated condition.  The Inspector, not knowing whether the cause of emaciation was neglect or disease, very properly got a removal order and bought the child to the Workhouse.  The child was attended at Barnstaple by Dr Cooke.  Everything was done to save the life of the child, but it passed away on Friday night.  At his request, Dr Cooke, who was assisted by Dr Atkinson, made a post mortem examination, and the evidence would be that death was due undoubtedly to natural causes, or, in other words, from very violent consumption of the lungs.  He understood that the lungs were so bad that the doctors would tell them that they crumbled in their fingers, and no amount of care would ever have saved the child's life.  Of course if the Jury thought there was any blame attaching to anyone in the matter, it would be for them to say so.   GEORGE LETHABY, mason, of Brendon, deposed that his daughter, the deceased, was about four months old, and had he believed been unwell every since birth.  His wife was unwell until about a month ago, and his daughter had looked after the house, while a woman had come in to assist to look after his wife and the child.  He considered the child had been properly looked after; witness had daily paid for a pint of raw milk for the child, and in the last month his wife had got up four or five times during the night in order to attend to it.  He had always handed over his wages, which were precarious, to his wife, but the amount was hardly enough to live on.  There were eight children up to deceased's death, seven being now therefore alive.  The eldest child was 17 or 18 years of age.  His wife had had several other children, but most of them had died.  His wife had never neglected the family.  The other children were all looking well.  Dr Atkinson, of Lynton, was called in on the previous Friday week, and on his advice the child was removed to Barnstaple.  - A witness asked whether the Jury did not think it was pretty large a journey to take a dying child to Barnstaple. - The Coroner:  We will hear from the doctor about that directly.  To witness:  I suppose you raised no objection.  - Witness:  Certainly not.  The doctor knows better than I do.  - Questioned by Mr Seldon, LETHABY expressed the opinion that the child was not healthy at birth.  The doctor could answer better than he could. - Q.:  When did you notice the child beginning to get really ill?  -  A.:  I did not know until the other day when I came home, when the wife said the child was ill, and she had sent for the doctor. -  Q.:  Up to that time did you notice the child was getting ill?  - A.:  It was weak and delicate.  -Q.:  Nothing sufficient to call in a doctor?  -A.:  Certainly not.  -Q.:  How many children has your wife had?  -A.:  About 20.  - Q.:  So that one-third have died.  Have they been born alive?  -A.:  Yes.  -Q.:  How long have they lived?  -A.:  I really cannot tell you.  I remember that one died at eleven months old from convulsions, the day after it first walked.  - Mr Seldon:  I understand from you that the others have all died as infants. What has been the cause of death?  -  A.:  I cannot say.  I have another "tissicked" on its chest, but it looks healthy.  -Q.:  You have had certificates of death?  -A.:  Yes, sir.  -Q.:  Have the others died from apparently the same cause as this child?  -A.:  I do not know.  They never died from want of food or clothes.  I have always done my best.  - Mr Seldon:  I am not suggesting anything wrong.  I only want to get information.  - A.:  My wife is here, and she can tell you.  - Mr Seldon said a Juryman had suggested that LETHABY should be asked whether any of the children had been insured.  - The Coroner said he was going to ask the same question.  "Has this child been insured?"  he inquired.  -A.:  Not to my knowledge.  - Mr Seldon:  Have any of them?  -A.:  Yes, sir.  The insurance money had only been a small amount, about £1 or 25s.  - The Coroner supposed it cost more than that to bury the children.  -A.:  A good deal more.  - MR LETHABY went on to say that in regard to the insurance of one child they had allowed the policy to lapse, and he gave orders at the time (some months ago) not to have any of the children again insured.  Dr J. P. Atkinson, of Lynton, deposed that a message came to him on the previous Friday week to call at MR LETHABY'S house when he was passing, and he called on the following Sunday.  He was present at the birth of the child, and it seemed perfectly healthy, while it had thrived all right as far as he knew, save for occasional attacks of indigestion, up to the time he ceased to attend MRS LETHABY about two months ago.  The child was not one of the strongest, and was smallish.  Inspector Francis called on him last week, and on the following Wednesday he gave a certificate for the removal of the child to the Workhouse.  The child was then very emaciated, and he thought the best chance of saving its life would be to get it removed to the Infirmary at Barnstaple.  The mother of the child appeared very distressed at the thought of its being taken away from her, but he explained that it would be best under the circumstances, and accordingly a magistrate's order was obtained.  At the time he had thought that possibly the child was brought to the condition in which he found it either by neglect or by bad feeding - injudicious feeding would be as bad as underfeeding.  Having regard to the evidence, he should think that the child had suffered from injudicious feeding.  He was present at the post-mortem examination, and death was due to acute pulmonary tuberculosis, both lungs being absolutely studded with consumption.  He was now of opinion that the matter of feeding would not have made very much difference to the child one way or the other.  Save for the lungs, the other organs were all healthy.  He expressed the opinion that the consumption was probably inherited; the pre-disposition was, at any rate, inherited.  - The Coroner:  We have heard that several other children died young.  After hearing all these statements, what is your opinion about the case?  -A.:  It is quite possible that the pre-disposition might have been inherited, but I don't know.  -Q.:  If it was produced - and this is a very bad case, evidently - of how long standing do you think it was?  -A.:  In this particular case it is very uncertain to give a time; it might have dated back two months or a month, or it will develop sometimes in so short a time as three weeks.  -Q.:  In your opinion was death accelerated in any way by any wrong treatment, I do not say for what cause?  -A.:  I cannot say it was materially accelerated, but I think it would have been very much wiser if a doctor had been sent for earlier.  -Q.:  A month before you were sent for?  -A.:  Yes.  -Q.:  It would be rather difficult for you to get there, I take it, as it is a funny place to get at?  -A.:  Yes, but I passed the house every other day for a fortnight before I was called in.  - Q.:  You do not think the child was neglected over the matter of food?  -A.:  No.  I should say it had been very ignorantly fed.  I do not think on hearing the evidence, and from what I know, that there has been any attempt to starve it.  If the child had been starved, I should have found some indication of this in the post mortem.  There was no disease whatever except the disease in the lungs.  - By the Foreman of the Jury:  He understood that the child was conveyed to Barnstaple in a carriage, and he did not think that that injuriously affected it.  He thought the best chance was to remove the child to Barnstaple, where it would get skilled treatment.  - Mr Seldon:  Do you think that the disease existing in the lungs was sufficient to account for the emaciation?  -A.:  Yes.  - The Coroner:  And for death.  To Dr Atkinson:  You have no previous personal knowledge of the family prior to the last confinement?  -A.:  Yes.  I have attended MRS LETHABY in other cases.  In one case the baby developed whooping cough and bronchial pneumonia and died.  There was another child in the house with whooping cough at the same time.  He gave his certificate in that matter.  Dr Cooke stated that the first thing that struck him on seeing the child, when it was brought to the Workhouse, was its frightfully emaciated condition.  Four months old, it weighed 5lb. 11 oz., whereas the normal weight should be 10lb. 8oz.  It had whitemouth rather badly, while it had a cough, and its breathing was a little thick.  He directed proper treatment, but said to the nurse at the time that he did not think the child would live more than 24 hours.  This was on the previous Thursday, and the child died on Friday night.  He suspected when he first saw the child that it was suffering from tuberculosis, but the disease was not easy to diagnose in an infant with any certainty.  In accordance with instructions from the Deputy Coroner, he had made a post mortem examination, assisted by Dr Atkinson.  He agreed with Dr Atkinson's evidence, and said there was not the slightest evidence of starvation or neglect of any sort.  he did not think that if the doctor had been called in before the child's life could not have been saved. - A Juryman here asked why the doctor was not fetched earlier, MR LETHABY remarking that he was not always at home.  - Dr Cooke further explained that the wasting in this particular case would be very rapid from day to day, and people did not always call in a doctor immediately in the case of a child being ill.  - In answer to a further question. Dr Cooke remarked that a rumour had been circulated about the neighbourhood that the child had been starved.  - Mr Seldon:  The child had all the appearances of a starved child?  - Dr Cooke:  Undoubtedly.  - Mr Seldon:  It was only after a post mortem that a doctor could give a definite opinion that the child's death was due to  tuberculosis.  -A.:  Certainly. - Further questioned by Mr Seldon, Dr Cooke said that emaciation quickly followed the disease in question.  Very possibly three weeks ago the child would have been all right to all intents and purposes.  He should not think that it was likely that the child was in the condition described more than six weeks, and it may have been only three.  It might have been born with tuberculosis, which he described as very rapid in its development.  The Coroner, in summing up, said that they had ample evidence as to the cause of death, namely, tuberculosis.  He did not think an d Mr Seldon agreed with him, that it would be advisable to call as witness the mother of the child.  There were reasons for not doing this, and he did not think that if MRS LETHABY was called she could not carry the case any further than had already been done by her husband and the doctors.  With regard to the child's removal to Barnstaple, he thought it had been carried out as well as possible under the circumstances.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

LYNMOUTH - Bathing Fatality At Lynmouth.  Two Lives Lost.  A Resident's Bravery.  -  A terrible fatality occurred at Lynmouth on Friday morning, two persons being drowned whilst bathing.  Just before seven o'clock, several visitors and residents entered the water at the usual bathing place outside the Esplanade, among them being MR GEORGE LESTER, ironmonger, of 149 Stroud Green Road, London, and MR THOMAS JAMES WHITE, grocer's assistant in the employ of Mr Peddar, of Lynmouth.  There was a heavy ground sea, and a huge wave suddenly overwhelmed the two gentlemen named, and although a gallant attempt was made by Mr S. Bale, who was also bathing, to rescue them, it was, unhappily, unavailing.  Bale's brave effort would probably have been attended with success had not a succession of heavy waves overwhelmed him, so that he himself was quite exhausted when he reached the shore.  The tragedy was witnessed by many persons who stood on the Esplanade, but it was not known at first that any bathers were in difficulties.  Mr E. Bale, shoemaker, who was on the Esplanade, when he saw S. Bale struggling in the water with another bather ran for a boat, which Mr John Crocombe (coxswain of the lifeboat) ordered immediately.  Mr Crocombe rushed to the lifeboat house, broke the glass, and secured the lifeline and ran to the beach.  By means of the line he succeeded in reaching LESTER, and he brought him to land.  Sustained efforts at resuscitation were, however,  unavailing.  WHITE'S body was recovered later.  There can be no doubt that if a life-line had been kept on the spot ready for use both lives would have been saved.  The sad occurrence cast a gloom over the district.  MR LESTER, who had been staying at his brother's with his wife, had arranged to return to London on the day that he was drowned, the assistant who met the train in which he was expected to travel learning from another passenger of the tragic death of his employer.  MRS LESTER was bathing at the time of the fatality, and there were several other ladies in the water when the seas overwhelmed the two gentlemen.  MR WHITE, who was a native of Cullompton, was 30 years of age.  The Inquest:-  The Inquest on the bodies of MR GEORGE LESTER, of Stroud Green-road, London, N., and MR THOMAS JAMES WHITE, of Lynmouth, a native of Collumpton district was held on Saturday by the County Coroner, Mr G. W. F. Brown, at the Lyn Valley Hotel, Lynmouth.  Capt. E. B. Jeune was the Foreman of the Jury.  MR S. LESTER said his brother was 52 years of age, and a fairly good swimmer.  He left his house at 6.30 on Friday morning to bathe.  A few minutes later witness followed.  On arriving at the beach he saw his brother in the water swimming towards land.  After three or four minutes he saw him go under water.  The rest was a blank.  In answer to the Coroner, witness said he should think the deceased was in about eight or ten feet of water.  Mr Bale shouted to the bathers to get into the centre of the pond.  His brother's wife and his own were bathing with others.  He saw nothing of WHITE.  From the condition of his brother's body - there being gashes on the legs, &c. - he should think he must have been dashed by the sea against the ridge.  In answer to Mr C. N. Bevan, witness said there was no lifeline at hand.  If there had been probably both lives could have been saved.  Mr Samuel Bale, painter and glazier, said he passed MR and MRS G. LESTER about 6.35 on Friday morning.  Afterwards he saw MR LESTER standing in the water apparently on the eastern ridge inside the weir.  The water was about breast deep.  He was bathing himself.  He shouted to MR LESTER to come farther in as the seas were strong there.  MR LESTER replied, "All right, thank you."  He considered MR LESTER was overcome by the ground seas, which come on immediately after, and was also frightened at seeing WHITE go under.  He himself had as much as he could do to get to land.  As he was swimming back he heard WHITE, who was a weak swimmer, shout.  It sounded as if his mouth was full of water.  He turned back and passed Charbonnier, junr., who had been swimming near WHITE.  Previous to WHITE'S shouting he did not know anyone was behind him.  There was a succession of huge waves.  He (Bale) swam light, though he was not a good swimmer.  When he turned, a heavy sea struck WHITE, whom he found deep in the water.  He caught him under the arm and urged him to float.  WHITE said "I can't swim."  They both sank.  He got behind and tried to push WHITE.  But with the heavy seas, he became exhausted himself and sank.  Mr Charles J. Charbonnier swam out a little way again, but was apparently frightened, and returned to the beach.  No one else gave assistance.  Another huge wave then came, and WHITE SANK.  He heard MR LESTER shout, "Help me, help me."  This was all he heard.  Witness and WHITE had bathed together every morning.  By Captain Jeune:  He and WHITE were about 20 yards from land.  He was about 15 yards from WHITE when he first shouted.  A line could easily have been thrown.  The people on the beach seemed to think that they were shouting for a joke.  He did not see MR LESTER go down.  They were quite close to the shore.  He believed MR LESTER was washed on to the rocks.  Mr John Crocombe, Lynmouth, said he pulled out MR LESTER, who was insensible, by the aid of a life-line.  When he arrived Mr Bale was just coming out of the water.  He rescued the body of MR LESTER about 20 or 30 yards from the shore.  Mr Archibald Osborne and W. Johnson (visitors) rendered efficient first aid, securing blankets and hot water.  They were thanked by the Coroner.

MR GEORGE WHITE, Cullompton, identified the deceased WHITE as his cousin.  Mr George Richards proved finding the body of MR WHITE at noon on Friday.  Dr Atkinson said in both cases death was due to asphyxia, caused by drowning, possibly in the case of LESTER accompanied by fainting from fright.  The two visitors did everything possible for deceased before witness arrived, and a long continued attempt to restore animation was made.  A relative of WHITE'S wishing to know what steps were taken to recover that body, it was stated grappling was useless, although Mr Pedder went there to try it.  The Coroner thought it a most painful tragedy, but they must assume Bale's cries for help were unheard, for they could not imagine persons hearing them taking no notice.  In returning a verdict of "Accidental Drowning," the Jury added a rider recommending Lynton Urban Council to place life-saving appliances on the beach.  They also recorded their wish that Bale's gallant attempt at rescue should be brought to the notice of the Royal Humane Society.  MR LESTER expressed his admiration of Bale's conduct, and his appreciation of services rendered by Mr Crocombe and the visitors and others.  The Coroner complimented Bale on his bravery, and said he would report the case to the Royal Humane Society.  He said they all sincerely sympathised with the relatives of the deceased.

Thursday 9 August 1906

BIDEFORD - Pedlar's Death At Bideford. - Mr W. Pyke, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest at Bideford on Monday, on the body of KATE DAILY, alias CATHERINE DRISCOLL, a pedlar.

Sarah Martin, a young woman of Torquay, identified the body.  Deceased was known as KATE DAILY, but for years has been living with CORNELIUS DRISCOLL as her husband.  Witness did not know the whereabouts of DRISCOLL at the present time.  Deceased was a native of Southampton.  John Andrews, a Parkham farmer, said he was passing along the road between Hoops and Horn Cross when he heard voices in a field and told the persons, who were two women, that they had better clear off as there were policemen about.  The women were drunk.  Deceased several times requested the other woman to get up, and then at last as she could not move her asked witness to assist her, which he did.  He left them in the field.  After going a short distance he returned a she had left a stick in the gateway.  He then saw the deceased in the act of falling over a hedge about eight feet high.  No one could possibly have saved her.  He went to her assistance, and, as no one came along, he put her beside the hedge, went to Hoops for help, and then sent for the police.  P.C. Townsend, of Horns Cross, said the women were under the influence of drink and he decided to take them to Bideford Police Station.  He borrowed a farmer's cart, lifted the women into it, and got to Bideford about 11.40 p.m.  The deceased was breathing heavily on the way to Bideford, and when they got to the Police Station, they found she had to all appearances collapsed.  He sent for medical assistance.  Dr Grose was unwell, and Dr Thompson refused to attend.  Dr Pearson, however, came, and said the woman was dead.  Dr Pearson said he had made a post mortem examination and found that the cause of death was apoplexy, which might have been accelerated by deceased having lifted her companion, or by undue exertion.  P.C. Townsend, re-called, said he should think the policeman got the doctor in about a quarter-of-an-hour.  He went to Dr Grose, who was unwell;, Dr Thompson refused to come, and then he got Dr Pearson.  It was subsequently mentioned by Dr Pearson that there were no means of paying a medical man called by the police under these circumstances, and a doctor was not bound to attend.  It was no fault of the police, but simply that the County Council had no means of paying.  A Juror:  And it is open for a doctor to come or not?  Dr Pearson said that was so.  He might come, get no fees, and be neglecting his own patients.  The Jury, after retiring, found that deceased died from apoplexy hastened by exertion, as described by the doctor.  They were also strongly of opinion that the present system of non-payment for medical assistance in cases of accident when medical men were called by the police is very unsatisfactory, owing to there being no paid official medical man.

Thursday 16 August 1906

TORRINGTON - Fatal Scalds At Torrington.  Child Falls Into A Tub Of Boiling Water. - There was a very sad occurrence at 63 Mill-street, Torrington on Wednesday last, when the five year old boy of MR HERBERT HENRY ALLEN fell into a tub of boiling water, sustaining fatal scalds.  The Deputy Coroner (Mr W. Pike) investigated the affair at the Town Hall on Saturday.  MRS GRACE ALLEN, deceased's mother, said that on the afternoon of August 8th she emptied some hot water from the boiler into the wash tray, and went out for a pitcher of cold water.  She was only absent for about a minute, and on her return she found the deceased, whom she had left playing with other children in the passage, in the tray of hot water screaming.  She lifted the child out of the water, undressed him, and washed him down with paraffin oil.  She put him to bed until her husband came an hour later, when a medical man was sent for. Deceased died the following afternoon.  MR HERBERT HENRY ALLEN, father of deceased, then gave evidence.  Dr John L. Brown stated that he found the deceased suffering from shock and severe scalds  The scalds extended from the neck to the hip, whilst the whole of the back was involved, as well as the left arm.  Deceased remained conscious, but showed no signs of recovering from the shock, from which death was due.  - By a Juryman:  No injury was occasioned by the application of paraffin oil.  The Jury, of which Mr J. Folland, was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  Much sympathy is felt for the deceased's parents in their sad bereavement.

Thursday 30 August 1906

PLYMOUTH - Inquests held on TRYPHENA FLOOD, found in the sea off Plymouth Hoe on Saturday, and on WILLIAM S. COURTIS, a Plymouth barber, not far off on Sunday, failed to disclose how either got into the water.

Thursday 6 September 1906

BIDEFORD - Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner, held an Inquest at Bideford on Friday on the body of HAROLD RENDLE, aged 13 months, the child of a labourer living in Victoria-grove.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased was being taken out by an elder sister, when another child, who was playing collided with her, with the result that she let the little one fall.  Dr Thompson was called in on Sunday.  The child died on Wednesday.  The doctor said the cause of death was inflammation of the brain, brought on by a fall.  The Jury, of which Mr S. R. Chope was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  They gave their fees to the mother.

BOURNEMOUTH - FRANK BENOKE, of Ilfracombe, aged 16, employed at Bournemouth by the London and South Western Railway Company, on Tuesday evening last week was working at the Station cleaning an engine when another engine entered the shed and caught him between the buffers and killed him.  An Inquest was held on Thursday.  The funeral took place at Ilfracombe Churchyard on Friday.  The body was brought to Ilfracombe by the 3.36 train.  The deceased was a member of the Local Tent of Rechabites, who had charge of the funeral arrangements.  Members assembled at the Tent Room at 3 p.m., and accompanied the body to the Parish Churchyard.

BRAUNTON - Carriage Fatality Near Braunton.  Sad Death Of A Barnstaple Lady. - There was a distressing carriage accident near Braunton on Wednesday evening, as the result of which a Barnstaple lady, MRS SARAH MARY SHAPLAND, aged 84, of the Square, Barnstaple, sustained fatal injuries.  MRS SHAPLAND passed away on Saturday morning, and the circumstances attending the sad affair were investigated in the afternoon by Mr A. R. Bencraft, (Borough Coroner) and a Jury of which Mr W. Welch was Foreman.  The Coroner having detailed the facts of the case as he understood them, Ellen Ridge stated that she had been a servant in the employ of MRS SHAPLAND, who was the widow of MR GEORGE SHAPLAND, wine and spirit merchant.  On Wednesday her mistress, accompanied by four other ladies, drove to Braunton in a landau.  Witness occupied a seat on the box with the driver, William Fry.  They had reached Wrafton Lane on the return journey about 6 o'clock in the evening, when Mr Edger Langdon, of Ilfracombe, passed along the road.  One of the ladies desiring to speak to Mr Langdon, the driver was asked to turn back.  Fry stopped and turned the horse until its head reached the opposite hedge.  He remarked that he could not turn there as it was too narrow, and he was pulling the rein round in order to turn straight down the road again when witness noticed that one wheel of the carriage was rising in the air, and immediately, with the carriage upsetting, the whole of the occupants were thrown into the road.  Witness was thrown between the horse and the front of the carriage, and could not move until the animal was taken out.  She escaped with bruises.  One of the other ladies had a cut on her forehead, while MRS SHAPLAND was very much hurt, her eye being swollen, while her face was cut and bled considerably.  Dr Walter Harper soon came, and MRS SHAPLAND was removed into The Laurels.  Dr J. W. Cooke subsequently came, and MRS SHAPLAND elected to be driven home in a cab.  Her mistress passed away at 8.15 that morning.  William Fry, driver of the landau, bore out the previous witness's evidence.  The carriage was an ordinary landau, and he could not account for its overturning.  The vehicle did not go up over the hedge, and the horse was practically still when the carriage upset.  - By the Foreman:  It was a full-locked landau.  - By a Juryman:  It was supposed to turn in its own ground.  He examined the carriage when it was again raised, and there was nothing wrong with the locking arrangement.  Mr F. Northcote, Fry's employer, stated that the carriage was a full-locked landau, which meant that it should turn in its own length.  All his vehicles were examined each week by Messrs. Prideaux and Son, and he had examined this one since the accident.  There was absolutely nothing the matter with it, except the broken shafts and bent wheel bar, caused by the accident.  There was nothing wrong with the locking gear.  His only theory was that the weight of the occupants of the carriage might have been more on one side than on the other, and when the carriage was half turned the bed of the locking gear might be tied, thus causing the upset.  This was the only way in which he could explain the matter.  Dr J. W. Cooke, deceased's nephew, spoke to going to Braunton in response to a telegram and finding his aunt in the care of Dr Harper.  MRS SHAPLAND insisted on being brought home, and he (witness) accompanied her home.  Deceased had had a bad knock on the left side of her head, and a black eye.  She also bruised her back and chest very much, and complained of a good deal of pain.  But apparently no bones were broken.  MRS SHAPLAND was fairly well on the way home, and he did not think the removal was in any way prejudicial.  On Friday she developed a cough and congestion of the lungs.  Latterly she became unconscious.  Death was due to congestion of the lungs caused by shock arising from the accident.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," attaching no blame to anyone in the matter.

Thursday 13 September 1906

CROYDE - Bathing Fatality At Croyde.  Barum Painter Drowned:  Gallant Attempt at Rescue.  Narrow Escape Of The Would-Be Rescuer.  -  There was a sad bathing fatality on Friday morning at Croyde, a young Barumite being drowned and a fellow-workman who attempted a rescue having a narrow escape.  Two painters - SIDNEY RADFORD, aged 19 and Arthur Ward, aged 30, of Barnstaple, in the employ of Messrs. M. Croot and Son, house decorators - were engaged in carrying out work in Croyde Bay House, occupied by Mr and Mrs Gray, and just after seven o'clock on Friday morning they went into a narrow cove near the house in order to bathe.  They had done the same on some other occasions, but on Friday a heavy sea prevailed.  The men had not long been in the water when Ward, who is a good swimmer, noticed that RADFORD, who could only swim a little, was in difficulties.  Ward at once swam to his assistance and made heroic efforts to save him.  He had almost got RADFORD into safety when a huge wave struck them and swept them apart.  RADFORD was washed out to sea and Ward was thrown unconscious upon the rocks, where he lay with the waves at times sweeping over him.  Fortunately Ward's perilous position was soon noticed by Mr Wm. Jenkins, of Freshwell Villa, who happened to be passing across the front of his house in order to feed his fowls, and saw a man lying among the rocks about 100 yards distant.  Mr Jenkins rushed to Ward's assistance, and at great personal risk (for he was nearly knocked over by the breakers) he succeeded in carrying him into safety.  In the meantime Mrs Gray had also seen that something was wrong, and she sent a young man named Thomas to render assistance, while she got ready hot blankets and brandy.  Ward was carried over the rough ground by Messrs Jenkins, Thomas and Edmunds, and was wrapped in blankets, brandy being administered, as it was seen he was in a state of extreme collapse.  Ward was taken to Croyde Bay House, where artificial respiration was resorted to by Dr Haylock, a visitor to Croyde, who was promptly in attendance.  It was some time before Ward regained consciousness, and the verdict of Dr Walter Harper who was telegraphed for by Mrs Gray, was that it was the prompt application of brandy and the supply of warm blankets that saved the man's life, as Ward has a somewhat weak heart.  Ward, who was a good deal cut about in consequence of contact with jagged rocks, was accommodated at Croyde Bay House, where he received the most generous and kindly treatment.  RADFORD was the eldest son of MR FRANK RADFORD, of 7, Fairview, Braunton-road, Barnstaple.  He was a capable workman, and exceptionally steady, being held in high esteem.  Strangely enough, MR RADFORD had a presentiment that something was wrong on Friday, being most depressed the whole of the morning.  When he learnt of his son's untimely death he proceeded to Croyde on horseback, and joined in the protracted search for the body.  The earlier search party was composed of the Coastguardsmen, P.S. Robinson (Braunton), P.C. Churchill (Georgeham), and about forty residents and visitors.  The whole of the rocks in a wide area were carefully explored, but without avail.  The body was recovered on Sunday not far from the spot where the poor fellow lost his life.  The spot which the two men selected for bathing is very dangerous when there is a rough sea, as there are ragged rocks on both sides of the cove.  But visitors to Croyde are always warned that it is dangerous to bathe - owing to the strength of the under currents - save when the tide is rising.  A few years ago Mr and Mrs A. F. Baker, of Down End, caused notices to be erected warning people that they should bathe only when the tide is rising, and at least half in.  They also provided a life-buoy, but this is placed in the usual bathing quarter, which is some distance from the spot where RADFORD lost his life.

The Inquest:  -  The Inquest was held at Georgeham on Monday afternoon by Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner) and a Jury of which Mr Edmund Zeal was Foreman.  The Coroner, in opening the Inquest, said they had to Inquire into one of these sad cases which had often to be dealt with during the summer months - a bathing fatality.  It was a most regrettable affair.  The particular place where the fatality occurred was very dangerous for bathers, and he thought it was very rash on the part of the young men to bathe in such a place without having anybody near at hand to help them if they got into difficulties.  He understood they were not strong swimmers, and this made the act all the more rash.  He was sure their sympathies went out to the bereaved parents in their great loss.  FRANCIS HENRY RADFORD, father of the deceased, stated that his son, who was 19 years of age, worked for Messrs. Croot and Son, of Barnstaple, and was last week working as a painter at Croyde.  He last saw the deceased alive on the Monday morning previous to the accident, when his son left Barnstaple for Croyde.  Arthur Ward, painter, deposed that he was working with deceased at Croyde last week.  On Friday morning witness and deceased went down amongst the rocks to bathe.  The spot where they entered the water was just outside Mr Gould's house.  RADFORD was able to swim but very little - he could just swim for five or six strokes at a time.  Witness himself, however, could swim fairly well.  They both undressed and walked out into the sea until the water was up to their arm pits.  Witness went out seven or eight yards further than deceased.  Knowing RADFORD was not a good swimmer he (witness) told him to be very careful and not to go out very far.  RADFORD replying "All right."  Shortly afterwards deceased shouted out, calling him by his name.  Witness perceived there was something wrong, and at once swam to him.  Deceased had not been under at all then, and witness caught hold of him, tried to cheer him up in every way, and told him to strike out towards the land.  Witness tried to get him to shore, but did not succeed.  He was struggling in the water for about 20 minutes and did all that was in his power to save him, but owing to the heavy ground sea he could not make any progress.  He might have succeeded, however, if several heavy breakers had not come along so quickly in succession and knocked them about.  At last one large breaker parted both of them.  He did not see anything of deceased after that.  By this time witness himself was getting exhausted, and he made towards the shore.  It was only a matter of luck he got to shore, a heavy breaker landing him on a rock.  There was no one near to help as it was 7 o'clock in the morning.  Witness was only partially conscious, but he was able to beckon to a man named Jenkins whom he saw standing outside his house.  Mr Jenkins at once came down to him, and he told him he had lost his mate.  He then lost consciousness. - By the Foreman:  He was on the most friendly terms with his mate.  William Jenkins stated that on the morning in question he was standing outside his house when he saw a man lying down on the rocks.  He could only see his head and shoulders.  Knowing that it was a dangerous place to be bathing, he at once ran down to where he saw the man lying.  He lifted the man, who, he discovered, was the painter Ward, back on a ledge of the rocks, and as he knew the two painters were generally about together he asked him where his mate was.  Ward was only half conscious and witness could hardly understand what he said, but he gathered that the other man was in the water.  When he first discovered Ward, the breakers were nearly washing him off the rocks again, but witness carried him back as far as he could.  Mrs Gray, who was watching from her bedroom window, saw what had happened and sent down assistance.  Mrs Gray brought down some blankets in which they wrapped Ward, and afterwards carried him into the house, where Mrs Gray administered stimulants.  Witness then went down to the sea to look for RADFORD.  He saw deceased's clothes there and could discover nothing further.  Deceased was picked up the previous day, and he had helped to carry the body to the mortuary.  George Yeo, a machinist, living at Pilton, stated that he left Barnstaple on the morning of the previous day for the express purpose of looking for the body of deceased.  With two other men he searched the rocks, and he succeeded in finding the body just before one o'clock.  Deceased was lying face downwards in a crevice in the rocks about two gunshots from the spot where he was bathing on Friday.  The body was lying on dry ground and was not covered with anything. Witness got a blanket and with assistance carried the body to the mortuary.  Dr Walter Harper  deposed that he had examined the body of deceased.  He found marks upon the deceased's face, but this might have been caused after death.  There was also a gash over one of his eyes and discolouration.  The rest of the body was well preserved  there being no sign of decomposition.  The appearance of the body was consistent with its having been in the water since Friday.  The body must have been under water or covered with seaweed, otherwise it would have been more decomposed than it was.  In his opinion death was due to drowning.

In summing up, the Coroner complimented Ward on his plucky attempt to save his mate.  Having regard to the fact that a heavy ground sea was running at the time, the only wonder was that Ward had not been drowned also.  If the breakers had not luckily washed him on the rocks he would probably have suffered the same fate as his companion.  It was most deplorable that the young fellow RADFORD should have been thus cut off in the prime of his life.  It was a pure accident, and he thought no blame could be attached to anyone.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Drowning," and expressed their greatest sympathy with deceased's parents in their sad affliction.  The Jury also expressed their appreciation of the bravery displayed by Ward in his attempt at rescuing his friend.

Thursday 20 September 1906

SHEBBEAR - Fatal Burns At Shebbear. - A woman named WILMOT MOORE succumbed on Thursday to serious injuries sustained through being burnt whilst in bed at Shebbear, North Devon.  The County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) held the Inquest at Shebbear on Friday.  - Mrs Ann Squire, sister of the deceased, identified the body, and stated that her sister was about 70 years of age.  She lived in the village by herself.  Witness last saw her alive and well on September 11th, when deceased came to her house.  Witness was fetched on the 18th, when she was told that her sister had met with an accident.  When she saw her she (deceased) was unable to speak for a time.  Subsequently, witness asked her, "Did you catch the clothes on fire," the reply being "Yes."  - The Coroner:  Did she say how?  - Witness:   I think she said a match.  - Jane Harris, neighbour, said she saw MOORE last Monday night just before going to bed.  Next morning a neighbour told her that deceased was groaning upstairs.  Witness went to the door and called her.  Deceased gasped "Jane? I'm just a-go."  - The Coroner:  Did you go upstairs?  - We could not for smoke.  I sent for the doctor.  - In answer to another question witness said she did not think deceased was always "quite right" in her mind.  - Dr Clarke, of Shebbear, said that when he came the house was full of smoke, and it was impossible to enter the room for some minutes.  he had deceased removed to the next house.  She was practically unconscious.  There were no marks of burns on the body, and death was due in his opinion, to syncope, owing to shock and weak heart.  - The Foreman:  (Mr Griffin, a member of Torrington Board of Guardians) said they did not know whether it was an accident or not.  Deceased might have tried to light a candle and caught the clothes on fire.  - P.C. Ireland said there were matches by the side of the bed.  Deceased told  him that "she did it."  - The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

ILFRACOMBE - WM. RUTHERFORD, aged 29, commercial clerk, of London-road, Calne, who took lodgings on Wednesday at Mrs Davis's, 3 Capstone-place, was found unconscious in his room on Saturday and died on Sunday  At the Inquest on Tuesday Dr Kettlewell said he made a post mortem examination, finding a large haemorrhage on the brain quite sufficient to cause death.  It was like a stroke, such as might have been expected in an old man but was quite inexplicable in the case of an apparently healthy young man such as deceased.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

BERRYNARBOR - Suicide At Berrynarbor.  Farmer's Son Shoots Himself. - Quite a gloom was cast over Berrynarbor and neighbourhood on Thursday last, when it became known that MR GEORGE BAMENT, junr., son of MR GEORGE BAMENT, of Bodstone Farm, Berrynarbor, had terminated his life by shooting himself.  The deceased, who was 25 years of age, and unmarried, lived with his father at Bodstone Farm.  Deceased went about his customary work on the farm on Thursday morning, but although generally of a taciturn disposition he seemed quieter than usual, and later in the day his father, who  had occasion to go into the garden at the back of the house, was horrified to find deceased lying there with a gun-shot wound in his head.  A gun, which contained a cartridge that had recently been discharged, lay at his side.  Deceased was at once removed into the house and Dr Manning, of Combe Martin, sent for.  On arrival Dr Manning pronounced life extinct.  No cause can be assigned for the terrible act, deceased appearing to have lived on the happiest of terms with his parents and other members of the family.  The Inquest was held by Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner) at Bodstone Farm, Berrynarbor, on Saturday.  Mr John Ley was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  GEORGE BAMENT, senr., father of deceased, said his son, who was unmarried was 25 years of age.  Witness last saw him alive on the previous Thursday shortly before one o'clock, when deceased came into the house.  During the morning deceased went about his usual work on the farm, whilst he went to Berry Down in company with a workman named Shapland with some cattle.  Witness did not notice anything particularly unusual about his son that morning.  Deceased was always of a reserved and taciturn disposition, but he had never heard him say anything about doing away with his life.  Deceased went out shooting rabbits sometimes, but he (witness) did not see him with the gun that morning.  About 12.30 witness had occasion to go into the garden, where he found his son lying with a gun-shot wound in his head.  A double-barrelled gun lay beside him.  The gun contained an empty cartridge that had recently been discharged.  He (witness) believed the wound was self-inflicted.  Witness here mentioned that a short time ago he had a hay rick burnt, and he handed a letter to the Coroner from an insurance company.  Witness said his son interviewed the insurance company's representative who came to investigate the matter, and he did not know whether deceased was frightened by anything the company's representative had said.

The Coroner, after reading the letter, said the insurance company simply pointed out that in their opinion the rick was burnt by combustion  Personally he thought the company had acted perfectly fair in regard to the matter, having offered to pay all expenses for extinguishing the fire.  He thought there was nothing contained in the letter that would worry deceased in the slightest degree.  George Shapland, workman, in the employ of the last witness, deposed that on the previous Thursday morning he noticed that deceased was quieter than usual.  He had known him for about 19 years and had never heard him say anything about taking his life.  Deceased never said very much at any time, in company with deceased he drove some bullocks to Berry Down on the morning in question.  He appeared very moody all the way there and back.  Later in the morning witness was at work in the barn making ropes when deceased entered and commenced to spin a  rope, which he broke. Witness asked him if he had broken the rope.  Deceased replied that he had, and then left the barn.  That was shortly after noon.  Witness did not hear the report of the gun, the garden being situate at the further end of the farm buildings.  ALFRED BAMENT, brother of deceased, stated that he had never heard his brother threaten to take his life.  He saw deceased on the previous Thursday morning, and he thought he seemed just a little low spirited.  Deceased had nothing whatever to worry about that he (witness) knew of. Nothing had been found either on deceased's body or in the house that would throw any light as to the reason why deceased took his life.  - By a Juror:  His brother had a serious illness about two years ago, but he did not know whether that illness had affected him in any way.  Deceased's mother said she had noticed nothing very peculiar about her son lately more than that he appeared somewhat low spirited.  He had got nothing to worry him that she was aware of.  Witness remarked that she was not sure whether the recent hot weather had had some effect upon him.  On the previous Saturday evening, noticing that he was low spirited, she asked him if there was anything wrong, deceased replying that he could not sleep.  Just before he was found dead in the garden he came into the house where witness was and took something from the cupboard where the cartridges were kept.  Dr Manning, of Combe Martin, deposed that on the previous Thursday he was called to Bodstone Farm, where he arrived at about 3 o'clock.  Deceased, who had been removed from the garden to the kitchen of the house, was quite dead.  The whole of the top left-hand side of his head was shattered completely, whilst his left eye was blown out.  The whole of the palate had been blown away and the back teeth broken.  As evidence that the gun had been placed in the mouth, witness mentioned that deceased's lips were not injured, being only charred.  The gun must have been placed obliquely.  The left brain was shattered and death must have been instantaneous.  He had known deceased for about 11 years, and had always found him a very decent young fellow.  He was as quiet and inoffensive as could possibly be, and he believed him to be very sober.  About 2 ½ years ago deceased suffered a bad attack of pneumonia, but apparently perfectly recovered from that, and witness did not think it had left any ill effects upon deceased.  The fact that deceased had told his mother that he could not sleep was an indication that he had some mental worry.  The Coroner, in summing up, said it was an extraordinary thing that the young man, who was in his usual health, and who during the morning in question had gone about his usual work, should have committed such a terrible act.  There could be no doubt whatever that the wound was self-inflicted, for no one else could have placed the gun in the position in which it must have been fired.  It was a very sad case, and he greatly sympathised with the parents and other members of the family in their terrible affliction.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane," whilst they also expressed sympathy with the members of deceased's family in their bereavement.

Thursday 27 September 1906

FREMINGTON - Collision Near Fremington.  Captain Killed.  A collision, attended with fatal results, occurred in the river Taw, near Fremington, on Tuesday morning, between the S.S. "Tender," of Bridgwater, and the schooner "Proba," of Dartmouth.  The "Proba" had discharged her cargo at Fremington Quay and was proceeding down the river, when, just after passing Allan Rock, through a misunderstanding as to which side the other vessel was going to pass, ran into the steamer, which was making for Fremington with a full cargo. The yard of the schooner came into contact with the "Tender's" foremast, which broke off, falling with tremendous force on the head of the captain of the last-named vessel (HENRY IRISH), and killing him instantly.  Richard Bowden, the pilot of the steamer, was standing by the Captain's side when the accident occurred, but, fortunately, escaped uninjured.  The deceased, who lived at Bridgwater, leaves a widow and eight children, for whom general sympathy is felt.

The Inquest was held at the New Inn, Fremington, yesterday, by the County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) and a Jury, of which Mr Isaac Bale was Foreman.  JOHN HENRY IRISH, deceased's son, identified the body, which was lying at Fremington Station, as that of his father, who was 50 years of age.  Deceased resided at No. 2, Valetta-place, Bridgwater.

Dr Gamble, of Barnstaple, deposed that he was called to see CAPT. IRISH on Tuesday morning.  When he arrived he found him lying on the deck of the "Tender" quite dead.  On examination he found one side of the head completely smashed in and reduced to a pulp.  Death, which must have been instantaneous, was due to fracture of the skull.  The fracture was caused, no doubt, by the mast falling on him with tremendous force.  Richard Bowden, pilot, of Appledore, stated that he boarded the S.S. "Tender," just inside the Bar on Tuesday morning.  He was engaged to take the vessel to Fremington Quay, and when within a quarter of a mile from Allan Rock he saw a vessel coming towards them.  There was a fair wind blowing at the time.  CAPT. IRISH blew his whistle to warn the approaching vessel.  Witness kept the "Tender" as near to the rock as he possibly could.  If he had kept nearer his vessel would have struck.  The approaching steamer struck the "Tender" on the left of the bow.  Deceased was standing beside him at the time of the accident.  when the vessels collided the mast of the "Tender" came down and struck the deceased on the head.  Another steamer had passed them just before on the starboard side, and witness naturally expected the schooner "Proba" was going to pass the same side.  Witness ordered the whistle to be blown as a signal that he had ported his helm.  When he ported his helm it was the duty of the schooner to port her helm also.  The "Tender" was sailing at about six miles a hour, while the "Proba" was coming at about four miles a hour.  They happened to meet just abreast of the rocks.  He believed the sailing vessel was under proper control at the time.  The "Proba's" yard struck the mast of the tender and broke it off.  In falling the mast first struck the captain's head and then the rail of the wheel house.  If CAPTAIN IRISH had stooped a little the rail would have taken the blow. Witness believed the bare spar struck deceased on the head.  The mast broke again on striking the rail.  - In answer to a Juryman witness said he had no suspicion of danger when he first saw the "Proba."  - Q.:  Supposing you had stopped the "Tender" would that have avoided the accident?  -A.:  I could not stop in an instant.  I was bound to give her a little way owing to the tide to be able to steer her.  I blew the whistle warning the other vessel that I had ported the helm.  -Q.:  How long was it between the blowing of the whistle and the collision?  -  A.:  About four or five minutes. - Witness said he had been a pilot for about 20 years, and had been up and down the river thousands of times.  -Q.:  Do you think you were on the right side?  -A.:  I have no doubt whatever about it. I kept as near to the land as possible.  The "Proba" was under control.  -  Q.:  Was there room outside?  A.:  Plenty; the "Proba" had the open sea on her starboard side.  He could not move.

Alfred Bell, mate of the "Tender" said he was keeping a look out on the deck when the collision occurred.  He heard the "Tender's" hooter being blown when the vessels were about 300 to 400 yards from each other.  The helm was ported at the same time the hooter was blown.  The schooner did not alter its course at all, and struck the "Tender" on the port bow.  - In answer to a Juryman, witness said he left the side of the vessel when he saw the collision was inevitable.  The "Proba's" yard must have cut off the "Tender's" mast.  The "Tender" was close against the rocks, and was only travelling at "slow" gauge.  The schooner had plenty of water on her starboard side.  Witness saw someone standing on the "Proba's" starboard bow waving his hat telling them to keep to the port side.  The "Tender's" whistle was blown to answer them.  - Q.:  Could you not have backed water?  -A.:  We should have been on the rocks if we had.  John Hobbs, of Appledore, Master of the "Proba" said he was on deck when the accident occurred, but the pilot, William Evans, was in charge.  When just outside Fremington Rock he saw the "Tender" coming about a quarter of a mile away.  He did not hear the steamer's whistle being blown.  He was waiting to hear the whistle so that he might know what to do.  The "Tender" was coming straight ahead, and he did not know which side it intended to pass.  Another steamer had just passed them on the starboard side, and they thought the tender would do the same.  It was the duty of steamers to keep out of the way of sailing vessels.  Under any circumstances it should give the sailing vessel warning as to which side it intended to pass.  As soon as witness saw the "Tender" port the helm he at once gave orders that the "Proba's" helm should be put "Hard a port."  This was done, and they could not do more.  They had no warning whatever.  The "Proba's" bow did not strike the steamer's bow at all.  The schooner's bow was not damaged, but it would have been had it been struck. The damage was done to the fore rigging.,  It was impossible for the schooner to have struck the steamer where the damage was done, therefore the steamer must have run into the schooner and struck her abreast of the fore rigging.  After striking the steamer scraped along the schooner's side.  - Q.:  Do you think the schooner's yard would have broken the "Tender's" mast?  -  A.:  The yard ought to have broken before the mast.  Had witness known the "Tender" was going to pass on the port side he could have made room for it that side.  There was plenty of room outside if they had been told to keep out.  The "Proba" was drawing 7ft. 6in. of water, whilst the steamer was drawing 9ft.  A steamer was supposed to blow a whistle in passing another vessel.  The "Tender's" engines were not stopped, which could have been done in a second.  There were two ways the "Tender" had of avoiding a collision - either by stopping below the rock, or else giving an indication as to which side they meant to pass. Witness kept a straight course, and he thought he would have been to blame if he had altered his course.  In answer to another Juryman, witness said one blast of the hooter meant that they should keep to the starboard;  two blasts to ort, and four blasts to swing around.  The Coroner said witness and the pilot of the "Tender" were diametrically different as to the meaning of these signals.  Witness said he had always learnt that two blasts meant to keep to the port.  Bowden, on being recalled, maintained that it was one blast for port and two for starboard.  Hobbs said he had only taken a vessel to Fremington once before, and that was six years ago.  William Evans, of Appledore, said he had been a pilot for about 11 years, and had been taking vessels to Fremington all that time.  He agreed with the pilot Bowden that one blast should be given in putting the helm to port.  He was in charge of the "Proba" at the time of the collision.  A sailing vessel kept straight ahead, and it was the duty of a steamer to pass on the side which would avoid danger.  It did not matter which side.  - A Juryman:  Do you mean to say there is no rule of the sea?  -  Witness:  There is no rule in this river.  You can see by one another's actions which side they mean to pass.  The steamer could have went astern and avoided the collision.  -  Q.:  What made you think the steamer would pass on the starboard side?  -A.:  Because there was no room on the other side.  The "Tender" did not sound any hooter at all.  When witness saw the steamer drawing to the port he ordered the man at the wheel to put the helm hard to port, but it was too late to avoid a collision.  There was no rule for sailing vessels in the river Taw. The rule for steamers in passing each other was that each should port the helm.  It was about a hour and a quarter before high tide when the collision occurred.  He did not see how the accident could have been avoided unless the steamer had went astern.  She could have reversed her engines without the slightest danger.  Alfred Evans, of Appledore, mate of the "Proba", said he was at the wheel at the time of the collision.  He had orders from the pilot to keep in close to the rocks, which would enable the steamer to pass on the starboard side.  A man on the first steamer they passed held up his hand for them to keep inside.  He had good hearing, but he did not hear any whistle blown. Signals were given sometimes with the waving of one's hat and sometimes with the hooter.  Witness put the helm hard a port when he received the order, but the order came too late.  A steam vessel was also under better control than a sailing vessel.  A sailing vessel had often to go where the tide dragged it.  It was not before the vessels were within 30 yards of each other that he saw the "Tender" was trying to pass on the port side.  In his opinion the pilot of the "Tender" was endeavouring to avoid the rocks when the collision occurred.  The accident would have been avoided if the steamer had stopped below the rocks.  - A Juryman:  Is it the rule for a steamer to stop when there is danger?  -  Witness:  Yes.  The master of the "Proba" said he could bring four more witnesses if they wished to prove that no whistle was blown.  The Coroner and the Jury then had a long consultation in camera.  The Coroner subsequently said the Jury were unanimously agreed that deceased's death was accidental, being caused by the mast of the "Tender" breaking and falling on him.  They did not attach any negligence to the pilot or the master of the schooner as the result of the accident.  The Jury had very carefully considered the evidence given there that day, and it had been brought forcibly home to them that there should be some kind of "rule of the road" as to which side a steamer or vessel should keep when going to and from Fremington Quay.  The evidence had been somewhat conflicting. The crew of the "Tender" said they could not have gone closer on their port side, whilst the people on the "Proba" agreed that they could not go closer on their port side.  It was a deplorable affair.  He felt sure that the people in charge of the "Proba" would not have wilfully endangered the other vessel, and that if they had known that the steamer was going to pass on the port side they would have given them more room at the beginning.  He was satisfied that it was a pure accident, and agreed with the Jury that there had been no negligence on the part of the "Proba" in bringing about the accident.  He was sure they all deeply sympathised with the family of deceased.  He trusted that in the future vessels would give due warning as to which side they were going to pass, and not cut it quite so fine, and thus avoid another accident of that sort.

BISHOPSTAWTON - Suicide At Bishopstawton. - The inhabitants of Bishopstawton was painfully surprised early on Tuesday morning to learn that an old carpenter named JOHN HENRY FEATHERSTONE, who lived with his son-in-law in the village, had committed suicide by drowning himself.  Deceased, who was 66 years of age, was of a most happy disposition, and no one had the slightest suspicion that he would thus so tragically terminate his life.  His son-in-law, Mr Cudmore, got down shortly before 6 o'clock on Tuesday morning and found that the back door was open.  He afterwards found that deceased had left the house some time early in the morning.  After making inquiries without any result a search party was organised, the dead body of deceased being subsequently discovered in the river Taw.  The Inquest was in the afternoon of the same day held at the schoolroom, Bishopstawton, by the County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) and a Jury of which Mr Richard Taylor was Foreman.

James Cudmore, deceased's son-in-law, deposed that deceased had resided with him for about five months.  He was of a cheerful disposition, and appeared to be in his usual spirits on retiring to bed the previous night.  Witness got out of bed at 6.30 that morning and had a cup of tea.  As deceased did not come down witness called to him, but did not receive an answer.  His wife then went to deceased's bedroom and found the bed empty.  Witness went to Mr Scott's to see if deceased was there, as he did work for him sometimes, but he was not there.  A search was then made, a man named John Facey subsequently finding deceased's hat on the bank of the river Taw.  Deceased suffered from a painful complaint and was sometimes during the night almost frantic with pain.  Witness had never heard him threaten to take his life.  P.C. Seldon stated that at about 8 a.m. that morning he was informed deceased was missing, and he immediately instituted a search.  In company with deceased's son, JOHN FEATHERSTONE, and some other men, he proceeded to the river Taw, on the bank of which the hat (produced) was found.  he also discovered foot prints leading to the river bank.  they dragged the river and eventually found the body about six or seven feet from the bank.  He found no letter or communication that would throw light on the matter.  He did not think the body had been in the water very long.  Dr Lemarchand said the last time he saw deceased alive was on August 3rd, when he treated him for an affection of the nerves of one of his arms.  Witness believed he suffered great pain  at times.  He had examined the dead body, and was of opinion that death was due to drowning.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 4 October 1906

BIDEFORD - Inquest At Bideford. - Mr G. W. F. Brown (the North Devon Coroner) held an Inquest at Bideford Workhouse on Friday evening on the body of SARAH PALMER, aged 72, who had been an inmate for fourteen years.  It appeared that on August 30th deceased accidentally broke a leg when in the corridor of the Infirmary.  She was medically attended, and appeared to be making satisfactory progress until Thursday morning, when she suddenly had four convulsions and died.  Dr Grose said the convulsions were due to long standing kidney disease, and the accident had very little, if anything, to do with it.  The evidence shewed that deceased had received every care and attention, and a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

Thursday 11 October 1906

BIDEFORD - Suicide At Bideford. - Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner, held an Inquest at Bideford on Monday evening on JAMES LEE, retired refreshment house keeper, found dead in bed at his lodgings in the Market-place the previous afternoon.  Dr Ackland said he had known deceased for fourteen or fifteen years, and had been attending him for three years for chronic heart disease.  Some time ago he suffered severe pain, but he did not know that he had latterly.  He last saw him alive at 7 p.m. on Saturday, when he was very weak, and expressed the opinion that he should not live much longer and should be glad to go.  About 2 o'clock on Sunday he was called, and found deceased dead in bed, with a bullet wound through his head.  A revolver was clenched in his right hand.  he had no doubt whatever that the wound was self-inflicted. Witness having heard that deceased had mentioned to a friend, a Mr Rogers, that he "wished he had one of those little pills like Whitaker Wright had," directed that someone should be with him night and day, and he believed that had been done.  In reply to the Jury, the Doctor said deceased had always appeared to him a clear-headed and rational man, but it was possible his mind had become unhinged after he last saw him alive.  Mrs Elston, a niece of the deceased, who had been with him up to last Tuesday, said he was 73 years of age.  He had been retired for 22 years.  He seemed as usual when she last saw him.  Mrs Shute, the landlady, spoke to seeing deceased about 11 on Sunday morning.  He seemed as usual, and said he had had a bad night, but was a little better then.  On going to his room about half-past one, she saw his head lying on the table and that his nose was bleeding.  Mrs Sarah Hunt, a relative, who had been looking after deceased by day, said she was with him from nine to twelve on Sunday, when he told her to go and have her dinner as usual, which she did.  He added:  "You will be back again when you have had your dinner," and she replied "Yes."  She could not understand how he got at the revolver, as he was so weak.  A long time ago, when he was well, he showed her a revolver, which he kept in a box.  John Shute said deceased had lodged with him for five or six years.  On Sunday morning he saw him just before going to chapel, and spent five minutes with him just before one o'clock.  He had previously said he was feeling much better.  Before witness had finished his dinner he heard a noise, but did not put it down to the report of a firearm.  His wife went up, and then he was called, and found deceased dead, as already stated, with a revolver in his hand.  He sent for the doctor and the police.  Mr Sanders, the newly-appointed relieving officer, told him some time ago that deceased had a revolver, but he had never seen it before.  Deceased had left no writing.  P.C. Potter produced the revolver, a new weapon of moderately large calibre, and the bullet, which passed through deceased's head and then rebounded from the wall against a door.  The remaining four chambers were loaded, and he found more cartridges in deceased's box.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide during Temporary Insanity."

Thursday 25 October 1906

ARLINGTON - A painful sensation was caused when it was announced that WILLIAM KIFF had died suddenly on Monday last.  It appears that while engaged in "pitting" mangolds on Combes Head farm he slipped from the heap and fell, and knocked his head severely against the butt.  He complained of acute pains to Mr H. Hunt, another of Mr Vickery's employees, who, noticing that his condition was becoming alarming, assisted him to the homestead, about 100 yards distant, but before reaching it he became unconscious, and before medical assistance could be obtained he died.  Deceased who was only just 21 years of age, was of a quiet and retiring disposition, and had endeared himself to a large circle of friends.  Dr Manning certified his death to be due to haemorrhage.  Much sympathy is felt for MR and MRS KIFF and family in their sad bereavement.  An Inquest was held yesterday.

Thursday 1 November 1906

ARLINGTON - Fatal Accident At Arlington. - WILLIAM HENRY KIFF, aged 21, labourer, in the employ of Mr Vickery, of Combe Head Farm, died on Monday in last week (as reported in our last week's issue) as the result of injuries sustained whilst engaged in "pitting" mangolds the same day.  Deceased slipped from the heap and knocked his head severely against the butt.  Medical assistance was summoned, but the poor fellow died before the doctor arrived.  The County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) conducted the Inquest at Beccott Cottage, Arlington, on Wednesday.  MR J. KIFF, deceased's father, deposed that his son who was a farm labourer, was 21 years of age.  Dr N. S. Manning, of Combe Martin, said that at 1 p.m. the previous Monday he was called to see the deceased.  When witness arrived at 3 p.m. he was quite dead.  Acting on the instructions of the Coroner he made a post mortem examination on the body of deceased.  There was a large bruise above the left ear, and on opening the cavity of the brain he found a large clot of blood.  In his opinion death was due to fracture of the skull and rupture of a blood vessel caused by the blow.   A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 8 November 1906

DEVONPORT - A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned at the Inquest on ALBERT E. RIDDLE, aged seven years, who died from injuries sustained through falling over banisters at St. Stephen's School, Devonport.

Thursday 15 November 1906

EXETER - Exeter Railway Suicide. - At Exeter on Thursday, an Inquest was held on the body of RICHARD CARPENTER, a native of Alphington, found on the railway line early in the morning.  A strange letter was left by the dead man.  A verdict of "Suicide during Temporary Insanity" was returned.

COPPLESTONE - North Devon Farm Tragedy. - An Inquest was held at Bewsley Farm, Copplestone, on Saturday, on ROBERT EDWARD SEARLE, single, aged 30, son of MR JOHN SEARLE, farmer, who said deceased had suffered from a weak stomach and ate very little.  He gave his attention to reading and would not follow the agricultural industry.  That naturally caused witness disappointment and was the only cause of unpleasantness between them.  On the previous Saturday evening deceased threatened to go away after witness complained of the little interest he took in the farm.  Deceased said "I wouldn't be like you for all the world.  I won't touch a stroke of anything more."  Witness tried to smooth matters over, and deceased said he was sorry for what had occurred.  By the Coroner, (Mr F. Thomas):  He asked deceased what prospect he had in view and offered to help him in any way he could if he had any idea to suggest as to getting a living in any way other than farming.  On the Saturday when the differences arose between them, deceased said rather than stay on the farm he would take his life, but he only considered it an empty threat.  Deceased was missed on Tuesday, and witness thought he might have gone to visit some friends, but finding that his gun was missing he came to the conclusion that something wrong had happened and sent for P.C. Tancock, of Coleford.  P.C. Tancock said he found the body of deceased by the side of a hedge in a field about 400 yards from the house, lying face downwards.  The gun was resting over his shoulders and the stock supported on the hedge.  One barrel had been discharged and the other was loaded and cocked.  The charge had entered deceased's head.  His coat, waistcoat, collar, and cap were lying near the body.  On the morning before he heard from MR SEARLE, he had a message from Sergt. Mogridge stating that a man had written a letter to an Exeter paper.  The Coroner read the letter, which was as follows:-

Bewsley, Copplestone, 6th November, 1906  Dear Father, - I keenly regret to cause you so much trouble.  I think I should have made it a great deal easier for you if you had let me go away as I wished (Monday morn).  I wish to say that I feel grateful to you for my material surroundings, the many privileges received at your hands, and your good intentions concerning me .......  I hope I have earned my living.  I thought it was generous of you when you said you had no doubt that you were many five pounds in my debt; you need not think that at all.  But if you take the trouble to inquire you will find that I have studied your interest when you have been absent from me.  To that rule there has been no exceptions apart from the time when you conducted that open war against your own house.  I am not extolling the quality of my services for I am quite conscious of my limited capacity.  Whenever we have got a tantrum I have never meant to express wholesale denunciation, and I know I have been wrong in expressing any criticism.  I ought to have left years ago.  You will now have full opportunity to say as much as you think proper of your dead son, but it would be kind of you not to belittle my memory more than needs be.  There is one thing I wish more than that.  I beg you don't be harsh to our precious mother.  She really deserves the greatest kindness you are capable of.  She has tried very hard to make the home happy and comfortable for you, and do remember that it is cutting words, when there is no fault, that kills the best in people.  I don't think I am any use in the world, so will pass out.  I have tried to write to many kind friends, but get flooded in the attempt.  I thank you again for your very good intentions and strenuous efforts, and deeply regret that I have never been able to be a joy to your heart.  If possible don't let my foolish action crowd your memory.  I attribute my position to a lack of interest in my occupation, and I can't bear to think of being entirely useless in the world.  It seems most brutal to bother you, but I can help it no longer.  Your Latitudinarian Son, BOB.    To the Press. - On hearing of my death you may publish this.  In a further letter found upon the body, and to which no date was attached, deceased wrote:-  "Dear Friends - I am sorry to be unable to carry out my duties concerning you. - BOB.  P.S. - Cherish mother and father.  Mr L. H. Moiser, surgeon, having given evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide during Temporary Insanity." 

HUISH - North Devon Shepherd's Sad Death.  An Extraordinary Illness. - MR WILLIAM JOHN PADDON, aged 48, of Huish, a shepherd in the employ of Lord Clinton, on August 12th was thrown from a cart and after an extraordinary illness expired on Sunday as the result of the injuries.  At the Inquest on Tuesday (held before Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon) it transpired that on the date named, MR PADDON drove to Hatherleigh with some sheep and pigs, and was returning home when, in a narrow road about two and a half miles out of Hatherleigh, he met a cart with a load of straw, which was overhanging rather considerably.  The deceased pulled in close to the hedge-trough in order to pass, but a large heap of stones deposited by the highway authorities at the side jerked him out of the vehicle, MR PADDON falling on his head and shoulder.  Apparently not much injured, the deceased followed his occupation for a week, but then complained of a headache.  He was attended by Dr Drummond, of Dolton, and the pains passed off.  About a month ago the discomfort returned, and eventually MR PADDON became unconscious,  Dr Drummond regarded the case as most serious, and to his great surprise the patient again regained consciousness and appeared to be getting much better.  Unfortunately, however, there was a relapse, and after being unconscious for nearly a fortnight, MR PADDON passed away on Sunday.  A post mortem examination revealed an injury to the head, evidently caused by the fall, death being due to meningitis.  The witnesses were Samuel Hill, postman, of Hatherleigh (who witnessed the accident), PERCY PADDON ( who was with his father, the deceased, at the time) and Dr Drummond.  The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death, and added a rider expressing the opinion that the highway authorities were guilty of negligence in depositing a heap of material in a narrow road.

Thursday 22 November 1906

SOUTHMOLTON - Southmolton Farmer's Sad Death.  Fatal Fall From A Horse. - The deplorable circumstances attending the death (reported in last week's issue) of MR THOMAS JOHN DENSEM, a young farmer, of Town House Barton, Southmolton, were Inquired into by the County Coroner for North Devon, Mr G. W. F. Brown, at Deptford Farm, Chittlehampton, on Thursday.  The

evidence showed that on Tuesday night, MR DENSEM left the 8.40 train at Umberleigh, and went to the Rising Sun Inn, where he had a glass of whisky.  He left there at 10 o'clock, Ernest Kingdon, driver of the mail cart between Umberleigh and Southmolton, taking the horse out of the stable for him.  MR DENSEM mounted and rode quietly away, and was in Kingdon's opinion perfectly sober.  At 5 o'clock the next morning, when Kingdon took the mails to Southmolton, he was horrified when near Deptford to discover MR DENSEM unconscious,  "huddle up" in the road.  He was taken to Mr Thomas's farm and Dr J. H. Smyth sent for.  Deceased's skull was fractured, and at six o'clock on Wednesday evening he died.  The horse's saddle was found by deceased's legs, with the girth, which did not appear to have been very strong, and was tied with string, broken.  P.C. Yabsley said he found horse's hair on the ground for some distance, and believed the horse had tripped and fallen.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and expressed their deep sympathy with deceased's mother.

BRIDESTOWE - At the Inquest on GEORGE VICARY, aged 92, who died from injuries received through the collapse of the gable end of a new Bible Christian Chapel at Bridestowe, on Friday, the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and added a rider that no blame was attached to anyone.

YARNSCOMBE - Case of Overlaying At Yarnscombe.  Coroner's Warning. - At Yarnscombe, on Thursday, Mr G. W. F. Brown, the County Coroner for North Devon, Inquired into the death of WILLIAM HENRY TUCKER, aged 15 months, the child of a farm labourer.  The evidence showed that MR and MRS TUCKER retired to bed at 8.30 on Wednesday night, having the infant in the same bed.  The child awoke at 3 a.m., and was then fed, being all right.  When MRS TUCKER awoke at 6.30 she found the child dead, lying on her left arm.  Dr Macindoe said that in his opinion death was due to suffocation, the child having been overlain.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death from Suffocation."

Thursday 29 November 1906

BARNSTAPLE - Tragedy At Barnstaple.  Suicide Of The Borough Accountant.  Pathetic Letter.  A painful sensation was caused at Barnstaple on Friday evening by the news that MR JOHN JORDAN, the Borough Accountant, had committed suicide.  MR JORDAN was acting as Secretary in connection with the complimentary banquet to the ex-Mayor, and he met the dinner stewards at the Imperial Hotel at 3 o'clock, arranging to call again with details as to the number of guests.  He did not so call, and all efforts to find him failed.  MR JORDAN had the key of the chest containing the borough plate, and as he could not be found it was necessary to force the lock in order to get out the plate for use at the banquet.  Among those who went in search of MR JORDAN was the Town Clerk (Mr J. Bosson), who soon after six went to the Accountant's office at the Municipal Electric Light Works.  MR JORDAN was not in the office, but finding the lavatory locked Mr Bosson became suspicious, and he had the door forced.  He found MR JORDAN lying there in a comatose state, with a bottle of carbolic acid near him.  Several medical gentlemen were promptly in attendance, but their efforts were unavailing, and MR JORDAN expired at 6.45.  Only a few of those who attended the Mayoral banquet were aware until the function was over that the terrible tragedy had occurred.  The fearful news was broken to MRS JORDAN by Dr J. W. Cooke.  MR JORDAN, who was forty-four years of age, was a native of Mevagissey.  He came to Barnstaple from South Wales 23 years ago to become chief Clerk in the office of Messrs. Bencraft and Bosson, Mr Bosson being the Town Clerk.  He was mainly occupied with Council work, and when the new office of Borough Accountant was created he was appointed, filling the office down to the time of his death.  He was a remarkably clever accountant, and he had a thorough grasp of every phase of municipal work.  He had been strange in manner for some weeks, and he was obviously not himself on Friday.  A man of the most genial disposition, he had a host of friends, who learnt of his sad end with the profoundest sorrow.  He was one of the leading supporters of Barnstaple Football Club, and did much to secure for it the commanding position it occupied some years ago.  It was mainly through his instrumentality that the grandstand was originally projected.  Some years ago MR JORDAN lost his eldest son as the result of an accident, the boy falling from an upstair window at his residence in Ashleigh Road. MR JORDAN never really recovered from the blow.  He leaves a widow (the daughter of a Launceston hotel keeper), four daughters and a son, the youngest child being six years old.  [NOTE:  Long account of the Inquest over four columns, ending with the result]:-  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane," and expressed a desire that a message of condolence should be sent to the widow and family in their bereavement.

ST GILES - North Devon Sensation. - Suicide Of A Farm Labourer Near Torrington.  Trying To Strangle A Girl.  - A sensational story was told on Monday at the Inquest held at St Giles on the body of HENRY LOCK, seventeen (farm labourer, in the employ of Mr Hookway, of Flavil Farm) who was found hanging in an outhouse the previous day.  Witnesses stated that the youth had been in Mr Hookway's employ about two years, and had always proved steady and reliable.  On Saturday he was seen at the farm discharging his duties with accustomed gaiety.  At six o'clock in the evening, when Mr and Mrs Hookway were still absent at Torrington Market, he called to Florence Dennis, aged fifteen, another servant at the farm, from a barn just as she was on her way to the shippen to milk.  The girl went over to the door, so she told the Coroner, and deceased then pulled her inside, and having closed the door threw her to the ground, and pulling a piece of rope, with a noose, from his pocket, endeavoured to get it over her head.  She struggled, whereupon LOCK then pushed her hands away and tried to strangle her.  The girl fought her way to the door, and was at last able to escape.  Deceased made no attempt to follow, and the girl proceeded to the shippen.

When Mr and Mrs Hookway returned from Torrington, Dennis told them what had happened, and a search was made for the youth.  He could not be seen anywhere and it was assumed that he had gone to the house of his father, who is a farm labourer, living in St. Giles.  The search was renewed, when the father, in reply to inquiries, said his son had not been home, and deceased was eventually found hanging from the beam in the round house.  The body was then quite cold, death having taken place some hours previously.  Sergeant Callard, Torrington, deposed to searching the body and finding in one of the pockets a rope of the character described by the witness  Dennis.  Dr Brown, Torrington, said he had examined Dennis, and could find no signs of attempted assault.  The Coroner said there was one thing they must be thankful for, and that was that they were not holding an Inquest on the poor girl.  It was an extraordinary thing how the girl got away.  The lad evidently found himself frustrated, and got another rope and committed the rash act fearing the consequence of his assault on the girl.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane," with which the Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) expressed thorough agreement, remarking that deceased must have been a raving lunatic when he attempted such an extraordinary act as the witness Dennis had described.  The Jury gave their fees to the parents of the deceased.

PARRACOMBE - Mr G. W. F. Brown has held an Inquest in the Parracombe Schoolroom on the body of AGNES GIBBS, who died suddenly early on Thursday morning.  The Rev. J. F. Chanter was Foreman of the Jury.  Dr Atkinson said that a post mortem examination disclosed that deceased died from fatty heart.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes," and handed their fees to the aged widower, with whom they expressed their deep sympathy.

Thursday 6 December 1906

BARNSTAPLE - Awful Tragedy At Barnstaple.  Girl Brutally Murdered.  Suicide Of The Assailant.  A Spectator Severely Stabbed. 

The Inquests:  "Could Not Die Without Liddie."  An awful crime was committed at Barnstaple on Monday evening, a young woman being brutally murdered and the murderer - who also seriously stabbed a young man who came along just after the crime had been committed - subsequently taking his life by throwing himself in front of a train.  The victim of the murder was LYDIA BROWN, a single woman aged 32, and the murderer was HENRY JOHN ASH, aged 22, a labourer residing with his parents at Lake, a hamlet in the parish of Tawstock, situated a mile and half from Barnstaple.  The two had been keeping company, and it was understood by ASH'S family that they were to be married soon after Christmas.  MISS BROWN evidently desired, however, to put an end to the affair, for less than an hour before her death she told her aunt, Mrs Pine, of Queen Street, Barnstaple, that she did not want to have anything more to do with ASH.  She was led to make this remark to Mrs Pine because ASH  had that day written a note asking her to meet him in the evening at the bottom of Sticklepath Hill.  She told Mrs Pine she would keep the appointment in order that she could tell ASH the decision she had come to.  About half past seven MISS BROWN, having no suspicion of foul play, met ASH and walked with him to Sticklepath, and whilst they were in the roadway just behind the old turnpike gate the fearful crime was committed.  Almost opposite the spot is an electric lamp, and the murder was actually witnessed by two little boys who, when they saw the girl lying on the ground, ran to Mr Copp's farm just above and gave the alarm.  William Alford, a horseman, employed by Mr Copp, at once ran down the hill, and found MISS BROWN lying in a pool of blood, quite dead.   But before this Mr William Dean, in the employ of Messrs. Gaydon and Co., of Cross-street, who was walking at Sticklepath with his fiancée (Miss Gladys Perrin), had come on the scene.  As he was crossing the main road he noticed a woman lying in the roadway, with a man standing close by.  He went over and asked if the woman was ill, the man replying "Yes, she's done for."  And then without any warning ASH savagely attacked Mr Dean, stabbing him in the left collar bone.  Miss Perrin did not at the time know that Mr Dean had been stabbed, but just afterwards she saw blood on his collar and she fainted.  At the time Mr Dean and Miss Perrin arrived on the scene MISS BROWN was not dead, as Miss Perrin heard a moan.

When Alford found the murdered woman he rushed off towards the Junction Station for assistance, and sent a cab into town for a doctor and the police.  Dr J. W. Cooke was soon on the spot, and so were P.C.'s Corney, Screech and Braund.  When the doctor arrived the woman was quite dead and the body was at once removed to the mortuary at the North Devon Infirmary.  The victim had been stabbed in the chest and in the shoulder, while the throat had been cut from ear to ear.  The flow of blood was enormous, and the scene  of the crime presented a painful spectacle.  Thousands of persons visited the spot on Monday night and on Tuesday.  Sawdust was placed over the fatal spot on Tuesday.  What became of the murderer?  Having committed a brutal crime ASH rushed up the hill leading towards Lake, washed his bloodstained hands in the cattle trough outside the entrance to Mr Copp's farm, and then ran to his home at Lake.  He there told his brother that he had "stabbed LYDDIE at the bottom of Sticklepath Hill," and on the brother starting off for Sticklepath the murderer said, "See what you can do for her, JIM."  ASH started for the town with his brother, who, however, missed him at the well and never saw him again.  ASH went to the London and South Western Railway by way of the lane leading from Lake, in the direction of the river, and threw himself in front of the mail train which left Barnstaple at 8.25, his mangled remains being discovered ten minutes later.  While waiting for the train, ASH, by the light of a signal lamp, wrote a farewell message in his pocket book, declaring that he could "not die without LIDDIE" and that he stabbed her because she had forsaken him.  The awful crime created an immense sensation throughout the district, and the official investigation of the facts at the Inquest was awaited with the deepest interest.  Below will be found a full report of the proceedings at the Inquest.  Mr Dean, who was stabbed by ASH, had an extremely narrow escape, and we regret to learn that he is not yet out of danger.  The blow struck at him by the murderer was a severe one, the knife cutting through the lapel of his overcoat and laying open the shoulder to the collar bone.  The wound would have been deeper and more serious if the blade had not struck the bone.  Mr Dean, who resides at Sticklepath, is being attended by Dr Ware, who found the condition of the patient serious on Tuesday.  A nasty cough had kept the wound from closing and caused complications.  But Mr Dean had a good night, and was decidedly better yesterday.  Mr Dean, who is a native of Exmouth, has charge of Messrs. Gaydon and Co.'s branch business in Cross-street.  On Inquiry last night we learnt that Mr Dean was not so well as he was in the morning, but the doctor's verdict was that there was no immediate danger.  Mrs Dean, his mother, arrived at Barnstaple from Exmouth yesterday.

MISS LYDIA BROWN formerly resided with her parents at Honiton, where a brother and a sister still live.  The BROWNS came to Barnstaple about 14 years ago, the family living in the Churchyard until the death of the mother.  The victim of the murder was the youngest of a family of seventeen, and she has four brothers and four sisters all married.  The father and mother, as well as a sister, are buried in Holy Trinity Churchyard.  The murderer has five brothers and a sister (aged 14).  One brother is in South Africa, one is in Wales, two are on farms, and one is living at home at Lake.  ASH was for some time employed as a packer at the Raleigh Cabinet Works, but he had been out of regular employment for some time.  He had been in indifferent health lately.

ASH and MISS BROWN were evidently on good terms so recently as Saturday, for they attended a promenade concert given in the Barnstaple Market by the Volunteer Band, and enjoyed a dance together.  ASH was passionately attached to the young woman, and in the summer he told Miss Pine (the girl's cousin) that if he ever saw LYDIA with another young man he would shoot them both.  ASH had been exceedingly depressed for some time, and was under the delusion that he was dying.  A fortnight ago he was ill, and MISS BROWN went to see him.  They were both found crying bitterly, and it is supposed that ASH told his sweetheart he was dying.  HENRY JOHN ASH, the perpetrator of the terrible outrage, was 22 years of age.  He was the son of MR and MRS ASH, of Myrtle Cottage, Lake, his father being an esteemed farm labourer at Tawstock.   ASH has not been following any employment for some little time, having been in ill-health.  For some short period he worked at engine cleaning on one of the local railways, and his last place of employment was the Raleigh Cabinet Works, where he was engaged in the packing department.  MISS LYDIA BROWN, the murdered young woman was 32 years of age, being a native of Honiton, but she had lived in Barnstaple for a good many years.  Both her father and mother are dead, but she had eight brothers and sisters living in Nottingham, London, Salisbury and other places.  An aunt is Mrs Pine, the well-known wardrobe dealer, of Queen-street, Barnstaple.  MISS BROWN was a machinist at the Queen-street collar factory, where she has been a much respected employee for the last sixteen years, having been one of the first hands to be engaged there when the factory was started.  Up to the early part of the present year, MISS BROWN lived with a sister (MISS ALMA BROWN) in the parish churchyard at Barnstaple, but on her sister's death in April she went to lodge with MR and MRS ASH (the parents of her sweetheart) at Lake, Tawstock, about a mile and a half from the borough.  She got in ill-health about two months ago, and since that time she had lived with her aunt, Mrs Pine, of Queen-street.  The news of her niece's tragic death only an hour or so after she had left her house naturally came as a terrible shock to Mrs Pine on Monday evening.  Speaking under great emotion, Mrs Pine told one of our representatives on Tuesday morning that her niece came home from work about 7 p.m. on Monday, and mentioned that ASH, her lover, had left a letter for her at the collar factory, in which he said something was missing from her box, and asked her to meet him at the bottom of the hill that evening.  As ASH had called at her house at eleven o'clock in the morning, Mrs Pine thought it strange that he should not have left the letter there.  She advised her niece not to go right out to Lake, and with the remark that she should not go further than the bottom of Lake-hill, MISS BROWN left about 7.30 p.m.  It was at the bottom of Lake-hill, the point referred to, that the terrible tragedy actually took place.  The spot where the murder was committed lies a couple of yards outside the borough boundary - the addition to the borough made a few years ago including a portion of Sticklepath and the Junction Station.  The place where the murderer committed suicide is also a little outside the borough boundary.

At five minutes to seven on the evening of the tragedy, ASH was met by Mr R. Gratton, of Raleigh, Barnstaple, proceeding down Sticklepath in the direction of the town.  Mr Gratton, who has known ASH for some years, said "Good night, JACK," the deceased replying in a quiet way, with another "Good night."  ASH was walking very fast at the time.  ASH'S walking stick (which was identified at the Inquest by deceased's brother) was found at the point in the Lake Road where ASH was stated to have washed his hands immediately after the tragedy.  There has been no such sensational a crime in Barnstaple for nearly thirty years.  In October, 1877, a butcher named William Hussell, who lived in Diamond-street, murdered his wife by stabbing her, and he was executed at Exeter.  The crime was committed while Hussell was under the influence of liquor, and at the trial he pleaded guilty.

The Inquest on ASH. Verdict of Suicide.  -  Great excitement prevailed, as may be imagined, in the picturesque and usually quiet little hamlet of Lake, where the young man ASH resided with his parents, when the tragedy became known on Monday evening.  But on Tuesday morning, when the death of ASH was inquired into, the little spot presented quite its normal appearance.  As ASH had taken his own life outside the borough boundary, the Inquest was held (at the residence of deceased's parents) by Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner for North Devon) and a Jury composed of Messrs. W. Bennett, E. Pearce, A. Jones, W. Arthur, S. Tucker, R. Bailey, J. Jones, H. Bennett, F. Bailey, J. Handford, G. Buxey, R. Shopland and H. Wadley.  Mr Wadley was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  Among those present were Superintendent Hobbs (of the County Constabulary), Inspectors Percival and Pring (Engineer's Department of the South Western Railway), and Mr A. R. Bencraft (Barnstaple Borough Coroner), who attended with Mr Brown as a question of jurisdiction had arisen in regard to the Inquest to be held on the unfortunate young murdered woman, MISS LYDIA BROWN.  The Coroner, addressing the Jury, said:  You are called together to Inquire into the circumstances of the death of HENRY JOHN ASH, who was a labourer residing in this parish, and aged about 22.  I am sorry to say that this is the second, or, I might say, the third act in a terrible tragedy which was enacted last evening within the precincts of your parish.  It appears that the deceased was keeping company with a young woman named LYDIA BROWN, and from the evidence you will find that he made an appointment to meet her last night at the bottom of Lake Hill.  That he did so was, unfortunately, too evident.  He appears, for some reason or other, to have wilfully killed this poor girl - this case will be dealt with later on - and after he committed that terrible act he went home, tells his brother what he has done, and leaves some notes in a pocket book, which will be produced by the police presently, then runs off towards the London and South-Western Railway - being seen on the way by Mrs Dunn, whose husband wishes him "Goodnight," but he makes no answer - and after a very short time he is found on the railway line in the parish of Tawstock with his head practically severed from his body.  The train had passed over him and, of course, that alone was sufficient to cause death.  He agreed to meet the poor girl in question at a quarter to 8, and the whole tragedy occurred between that time and 8.30 last evening.  I shall adduce all the evidence that it is possible to put before you, including that of the young man who first saw the body on the line, and of P.C. Seldon, of Bishopstawton, who when he reached the spot, found that deceased's head was not only nearly severed, but was crushed to pieces.  The first thing which the Jury will do will be to view the body.  The Jury having performed this sad function, evidence was then taken.  HENRY JOHN ASH, deceased's father, having given evidence of identification, said:  My son was 22 years of age last April.  I last saw him alive from 6 to 6.30 last evening, when we were having our supper  I did not see him afterwards until he was brought home on a stretcher.  When I last saw him alive he was in his usual health, and had his supper just the same as the rest did.  The Coroner:  When he went out did he say where he was going?  -  A.:  No, sir, as far as I know.  - Q:  But he went out after supper?  -A:  He was supposed to be going to town, and he cleaned and went away.  Q:  You did not know where he was going to?  -A:  No, sir.  I was not in the house when he went away.  -Q:  Did you know a girl named LYDIA BROWN?  -  A:  Yes, sir.  -Q:  Has your son been keeping company with her?  -A:  He was supposed to be I believe, sir.  Several things were bought and they were to be married at Christmas, from what I can pick out of it, sir.  -Q:  Where did she live?  -A:  She lived with Mrs Pine, of Queen-street, Barnstaple.  - Q:  You believe they were to be married at Christmas.  -A:  I considered they were to be, from what I could see.  -Q:  Your son returned here later in the evening?  -A:  He came back when he did the deed, but I was not here.  My other son was here.  -Q:  Did you know of any quarrel between him and this girl?  - A:  Nothing, to my knowledge.  -Q:  Has she been a frequent visitor here?  -A:  Yes; for years, sir.  -Q:  When was she here last?  -  A: Wednesday was it?  I cannot say exactly.  -Q:  Last week?  -A:  Yes, some time last week.  She was here Sunday week to tea.  -  Q:  Has she resided here any portion of her time?  -A:  She was here for months.  She was taken bad and Dr Lemarchand ordered her to town. She had appendicitis coming on, and she was told to go to town.  -Q:  Has your son been peculiar lately?  -A:  He seemed a bit peculiar yesterday, sir. I was here all day.  He was in and out.  Missus lighted up the fire in this room to make him comfortable, but he did not bide here any time at all.  He seemed somehow or other wrong.  - Q:  Restless, do you mean?  -A:  Yes, sir, restless.  -Q:  Why was he not at work yesterday?  -A:  He has been under the doctor.  -Q:  What has he been suffering from?  -A:  He is supposed to have had indigestion - something like that.  He was under Dr Lemarchand.  -Q:  What you have told us is all you know about his movements last evening?  - A:  Yes, sir.  -Q:  Until he was brought back by the police?  -A:  That is it, sir.  The Foreman:  Had he been under the doctor very long?  -  A:  Pretty well two years, off and on.  -  The Foreman:  Regularly?  -  A:  Oh, no.  He had been into the Dispensary.  -Q:  So that he did not enjoy good health for two years?  -A:  he did not.  JAMES ASH, brother of deceased, deposed:  I saw my brother yesterday.  He went into the town in the morning, and returned at about half past 11.  The Coroner:  Do you know what he went for?  -A:  I do not.  -Q:  Where you here at supper time?  -  A:  Yes, sir.  -Q:  Was deceased here too?  -A:  yes, sir.  -Q:  Was he in his usual spirits and health?  -A:  He seemed like it.  He had his supper the same as he used to.  -Q:  What time was that; about 6.30?  -A:  yes sir.  -Q: When he had his supper what did he do?  -A:  He cleaned, put on his jacket and went out.  I don't know where he went.  -Q:  Did he tell you anything?  -A:  No, sir.  I was having a bit of a sleep when he went out.  Mother woke me up and said "JACK has gone out in all this wind" - Q:  When did you see him again?  -A:  About 20 minutes to 8.  I was still asleep beside the fire when he came back. He said, "Father, father, come."  Father was not in the house.  He then said, "JIM, JIM, come; O my God, come."  I woke up in a fright.  He said "I have stabbed LIDDIE."  I said, "You have not."  He replied, "Yes, I have stabbed her."  -  The Coroner:  By "LIDDIE" I suppose he meant LYDIA BROWN?   - A:  Yes sir.  -Q:  Did he say where?  -  A:  Yes, sir.  At the bottom of Sticklepath Hill.  - Q:  Did he say anything else?  -A:  Yes, The last word he said was "see what you can do for her."  - Q:  Where was he then?  -A:  He was just up by the well.  -  The witness here further explained that when his brother told him what had happened, "I ran up the hill towards Sticklepath, and deceased was coming after me.  When I got to the well I stopped to see whether he was coming, but I could not see anything of him."  -  The Coroner:  What did you do then?  -A:  I went right to the bottom of Sticklepath Hill.  -Q:  Did you see anything there?  -A:  Yes; I saw MISS BROWN lying dead.  -Q:  On the Lake road?  - A:  Right at the bottom of the hill.  - Q:  I suppose there were other people there by that time?  -A:  There were two when I got there.  -Q:  Was that the last you saw of your brother?  -  -  That was the last I saw of him.  - Q:  Do you know whether they had any quarrel?  -A:  I do not.  - Q:  Should you know your brother's writing if you saw it?  -A:  I cannot say.  I have never seen much writing of what he had done.  -Q:  Do you know if they were to be married after Christmas?  -A:  I heard something about it, sir.  -Q:  Did you ask him why he did it?  -A:  No, sir.  I was too much frightened; it was a proper shock.  -Q:  He did not say anything more as you were running along?  -A:  No, sir. I identify the pocket book now produced as belonging to my brother.  -  The Coroner:  Look at the writing.  Have you seen anything like that before?  -  Witness (examining the writing):  He has written a bit better before.  -Q:  Taking the circumstances under which it was written, is that like his writing?  -  A:  It is.  -Q:  You recognise the pocket book now produced by P.C. Seldon as your brother's?  - A:  Yes, sir.  -Q:  Do you know if your brother had a knife?  -A:  He had a pocket knife.  - Witness examined an ordinary black-handled knife, usually called a lambs-foot knife, and containing one blade about three inches long. Witness  said:  That is his pocket knife.  Lydia Dunn, an elderly woman living at Lake said:  - Last evening, just before eight o'clock I was with my husband going down the lane.  Someone - I thought it was HENRY JOHN ASH - was coming very fast behind.  My husband, as the man was going such a rate down the lane towards the railway, said, "Goodnight, what's up?"  My husband remarked to me that he thought it was JACK ASH, and I said "I fancy so, but he is going so fast that as his mother told me in the morning he was ill I do not think ASH could go at such a rate."  The man went on, and made no answer to my husband.  George H. F. Rowe, a young lamplighter employed on the L. and S.W.R. at Barnstaple, said:-  Last night I was on duty until half-past eight for the last up train at Barnstaple Junction.  I made out the gas and was going home to Bishopstawton by way of the railway line.  The night mail had gone on, having left at 8.25.  - The Coroner:  In the course of your walk did you come across anything?  -A:  I saw a dark object on the line:  I could only just see it between two signals.  -Q:  Did you go and examine it?  -A:  No, sir.  -Q:  Did you know what it was?  -A:  Yes, sir; I saw his white trousers. -Q:  You saw it was the body of a man?  -A:  Yes, sir.  -Q:  What did you do?  -A:  I made haste home, and went straight and informed P.C. Seldon.  -Q":  Did you go back with the constable?  -A:  Yes, sir.  -Q:  When you got back was the man dead?  -A:  Yes, sir.  Q:  Was his head injured?  -A:  His head was nearly off.  -Q:  Did you know who it was?  -A:  No, sir. -Q:  You were afterwards informed, I suppose?  -A:  I thought it must be ASH, as I had heard of the murder before I left the station.  P.C. Seldon, stationed at Bishopstawton, deposed:  - Last night, about nine o'clock, I received information from the last witness and proceeded down the railway towards Barnstaple.  About twenty two chains from the Junction Station I discovered the body of deceased lying as described by Rowe.  The body was lying right across the up line; the feet nearly touched the outer rail, and the head, which was just outside the inner rail, was almost severed from the body, hanging by a bit of skin at the back of the neck.  With assistance I had the body removed to deceased's home at Lake, and searched it.  I found the pocket book produced, a pocket knife, a purse containing 5 ½d. , papers, a lead pencil, recently sharpened, and a handkerchief.  I sent to the Junction for help on finding the body, and several men brought a stretcher.  One of the railway men told me the deceased was JOHN ASH, labourer, of Lake.  The Coroner here read some writing which appeared in isolated pages in the pocket book found on the deceased.  The message left by deceased was as follows:-  "Goodbye, mother, father, Flo, Willie and George.  Give Bill my guns and watch.  Well, mother, I have been down-hearted for a long time, and could not die without LIDDIE.  Poor maid was good to me, but it is all over now.  God has forgive me for my sin tonight.  I stabbed her because she forsaken me.  God has forgive me."  On another page the Coroner found written - "My air gun is Gale's," and a Juryman suggested that ASH was referring to a gun which he might have taken to Mr Gale's at Barnstaple.  The deceased's brother, who was re-called, said in answer to questions that the deceased had two guns, an air gun and a little shot gun.  His brother had taken the air gun to Mr Gale's.  It is presumed that ASH wrote his farewell message in his pocket book while waiting for the last up-train, and it is supposed he wrote by the light of a signal lamp.  Continuing his evidence, P.C. Seldon said there were blood stains on the rails for 20 or 30 yards back from where he found the body.  The body had apparently been carried along by the engine.  Inspector Percival said there was no doubt the body had been carried along by the guard rail for a distance of about 18ft.  P.C. Screech, of the County Constabulary, stationed at Barnstaple, stated:-  I received information of the tragedy last evening, and, proceeding to the bottom of Sticklepath-hill, I found the body of the girl, LYDIA BROWN, which, by the orders of Dr Cooke, I removed to the mortuary at the North Devon Infirmary.  I have not produced what I found on the girl at this Inquest, but I have here a letter which was handed to me this morning by the girl's aunt - Mrs Pine, of Queen-street, Barnstaple.  The Coroner proceeded to read the letter, which was addressed from Lake, Tawstock, but bore no date.  The letter was as follows:-    "Dear LIDDIE,  - Just a line to you.  Very sorrow to tell you that I have missed something of yours and cannot find it anyware.  Well, dear, if I cannot find it today I shall never forgive myself.  I am nearly dead, and this will make it worst, so don't be angery when you know what it is.  So I shall see you to-night about it.  Please come to the bottom of the hill, and I will be there half-past seven or quarter-to-eight has it has give me puzel.  I cannot make it out how I came to let it slip.  Please forgive me this time.  From your old stand-by.  -J.H.A."  P.C. Screech added that when the girl left Mrs Pine's the previous evening she told her aunt she was going to meet ASH.  A Juror:  ASH'S parents cannot throw any light on what deceased had missed, I supposed.  The Coroner:  We can ask the father or the brother.  MR ASH, senr., was sent for, and the Coroner asked:  Do you know if your son had lost anything that belonged to the girl?  -A:  Not that I am aware of.  - The Coroner:  He states in a letter that he has lost something.  - MR ASH:  I have never heard anything about it, sir.  The Coroner, again addressing the Jury, said:  I think, gentlemen, that this is all the evidence which it is necessary to put before you.  As I said before this is a very sad and terrible thing to have occurred in our midst.  These two young people kept company and intended to be married after Christmas.  He writes her this letter to meet him last evening at the bottom of Sticklepath hill, and she goes there and keeps the appointment.  What transpired at the meeting I am afraid we shall never find out, because both parties are now, unfortunately, dead.  It is evident the deceased must have been seized with some malicious feeling against the girl at the time, having regard to the terrible act which he committed.  He killed the poor girl in the most cold blooded manner, having first stabbed her and then cut her throat.  Having done this he goes home and informs his brother of the act, his brother immediately running towards the spot and deceased following, to be missed, however, by his brother after the latter had got a little way up the hill.  The thread of the story is taken up by Mrs Dunn, who when walking with her husband down the lane, heard someone walking very fast, first behind them and then past them.  The man made no reply, and Mrs Dunn could not be quite sure it was he.  But there is strong presumptive evidence that the man in question was ASH.  He must have proceeded down the lane and on to the railway line, where the lad, George Rowe, on proceeding home after work, subsequently found the body.  P.C. Seldon, on receiving information from Rowe, immediately proceeded to the spot, and found the body as described, the head being almost severed from the trunk.  I think it is evident that the man had lain across the rails and that the whole train had passed over him.  I have adduced all the evidence I think it possible to put before you.  It is for you to say how deceased met his death, and whether you are satisfied that he placed himself on the railway line and was killed by the night mail train which went up about the time described by Rowe.  You have also to determine ASH'S reasons for taking his life.  Was it by reason of the terrible crime which he had previously committed, and which he refers to in the notes I have read?  It is for you to say whether through fear of the consequences of the first act he placed himself on the line and practically took his own life.  If that is the conclusion you come to your verdict will be that deceased committed suicide at the time and place aforesaid and it will be for you to decide as to whether you have anything to add as to the state of his mind at the time he committed the act.  It is a terrible thing.  He had removed himself from any trial that would otherwise take place, with the consequences, and all we have to do is to say how he met his death.  Inspector Percival here mentioned that no marks of blood could be found on the engine attached to the train which was presumed to have passed over the deceased, saying that with such weather as they had been experiencing any marks of blood would have been washed off.  The Jury, with the Coroner, retired to the next room for consultation.  On their return, the Coroner said that the Jury had expressed the wish to defer their verdict in the present case until they had had a chance of hearing the evidence in the Inquest on the unfortunate young woman, and also of hearing the evidence of Dr Lemarchand, who had attended the deceased man. He thought that this was a very proper and reasonable request to make, and he, therefore, adjourned the Inquest until 5.30 that afternoon, when Dr Lemarchand would give evidence in the case at the North Devon Infirmary, where the body of the poor girl was now lying.  The Inquest was adjourned, but before thei9r dispersal the members were re-sworn for the purposes of the Inquest on the murdered young woman, LYDIA BROWN.

INQUEST ON MISS BROWN.  -  Verdict of Wilful Murder.

The Coroner, before leaving Lake, addressed the Jury in regard to the Inquest on MISS BROWN.  He said:  It appears that the young woman was keeping company with HENRY JOHN ASH, and from the letter already placed before you - and which will be again read in the next case - he made an appointment to meet her between 7.30 and a quarter to eight at the bottom of Lake-hill last evening.  Evidence will be put before you to show that she went there, and some boys who saw what transpired will tell you that ASH did something to the girl.  She was found lying on the ground with her throat cut, and, after examination, with two stabs in her chest.  She was quite dead.  You will again have the evidence of the brother of ASH, who will tell you that his brother came home in an excited condition, said he had stabbed "LIDDIE," as he called her, asked his brother to do what he could for her, and, although supposed to be following his brother up the road, was then missed.  The brother proceeded to the bottom of Sticklepath-hill, and found the young woman lying in a pool of blood.  You will also hear P.C. Seldon, who found the body of ASH, with a knife identified as belonging to ASH.  I also hope that the young man attacked and wounded by ASH, on the young fellow asking what was the matter just after the occurrence at the bottom of Sticklepath, will be well enough to attend.  These and other facts will be placed before you, in order to enable you to arrive at a satisfactory verdict.  The Jury having entered into recognisances to appear at the Inquest on MISS BROWN, the proceedings terminated, the Inquiry having occupied about an hour and a half.  At the Inquiry relating to the death of MISS BROWN at the North Devon Infirmary at 5.30 p.m., some touching scenes were witnessed.  JAMES ASH (brother of HENRY JOHN ASH), Mrs Pine (MISS BROWN'S aunt), and two lads named Tucker (who witnessed the first part of the terrible tragedy) crying bitterly at different stages of the proceedings.  In addition to the Coroner and the Jury there were present Supt. Hobbs, P.S. King (County Constabulary), Mr R. S. Eddy (Chief Constable of Barnstaple), Inspector Percival (L. and S.W.R.) and several members of the borough and county police force.

The Jury having viewed the body:  -  Mrs Mary Anna Pine, of Queen-street, the deceased's aunt, was called.  She had merely deposed that the deceased had lodged with her, when the Coroner elicited that she had not seen the body at the mortuary.  Mr Brown having remarked that Mrs Pine must be able to give evidence of identification, asked the witness to view, and meanwhile called another witness.  Wm. Tucker, a lad living at Lake, deposed:  Last evening I was in Barnstaple, and was returning home about a quarter to eight. I was at the bottom of Sticklepath-hill when I saw some people a little distance up, and when I came close up I saw that two of them were JOHN ASH and LYDIA BROWN.  They were stopped talking, but I did not hear what they said:  we were not close enough.  - The Coroner:  Did you see anything?  -  A:  I saw one chap pull away his girl, and say "Come on, come on."  We could not see exactly what happened.  -Q:L  What was ASH doing?  -A:  We were not close up, and could not see what he was doing.  - Q:  What was LYDIA BROWN doing?  -A:  They parted, and we then saw something in the road.  I was afraid to go over and we went up the road.  [The witness here cried bitterly, whilst the younger brother burst into tears.]  - The Coroner:  You said you saw something lying in the road.  A:  Yes, sir.  - Q:  Did you then see ASH do anything?  -  A:  Yes, sir.  I saw ASH go over and lift up the girl's head.  I said "Good night JACK," but he passed right by us, and did not speak.  - Q:  He went up Lake-hill?  -  A:  Yes, sir, he ran on in front of us.  -Q:  What did ASH then do.  -A:  We could not then see him.  I was afraid to go home, and I went in to ask Mr Copp, of Herton, to go home with us, but seeing a light in Mr Copp's  stables, I went in and found Mr Alford, a workman, there.  P.C. Screech:  A little way up Lake-hill you saw ASH do something?  -A:  He stopped by the side of the road and washed his hands.  He was breathing very loud when he lifted up the girl's head, and then ran off.  By the Coroner:  Mr Alford went back with us.  - Q:  Did you see it was LYDIA BROWN on the ground?  -  A:  When we got close up we saw a pool of blood, and LYDIA BROWN lying down.  Mrs Pine then gave her evidence:  I identify the body, she said, as that of LYDIA BROWN, who was 32 years of age.  I last saw her alive last evening about seven o'clock, when she came in to tea from her work.  Her niece was having her tea, and witness was sewing close to the table, when MISS BROWN said, "You know that JACK ASH;, he brought a note in to shop today."  I replied, "My goodness,  he was in here at eleven o'clock; why not have left the note here?  That is funny."  My niece went on to say that ASH, in the note, said 'He wanted to see me something about a box I have got out there [presumably at his house], and he will meet me tonight at the bottom of the hill about half-past seven.'  I explained that ASH had called at my house in the morning, and had sat on the sofa talking.  -  The Coroner:  Did he say what he wanted?  A.:  He did not say he wanted anything.  I said I thought he was too bad to come into town.  He replied:  " I cannot stay home, I am too worried.  I am under the doctor, but no doctor's medicine don't do me no good."  I said "JACK, have a cup of cocoa or coffee," as it was on the table; but with the reply, "No thanks, I believe I have something alive in my stomach," he got up and walked out, saying he would be in again directly.  He went off, and I did not see him afterwards.  I am before my story, remarked Mrs Pine, as ASH also said the doctor ordered him to have bread and cheese.  I said "Bread and cheese, and you so bad!"  ASH answering "Dr Lemarchand ordered me that last Saturday  I had it for me dinner yesterday."  That was the last thing he said.  - The Coroner:  Did you see the note he sent?  - A:  I did not.  When my niece came home at dinner-time she invited my daughter upstairs and read the note to her.  I did not know anything about it then.  -Q.:  Did you hand the police the note?  -A:  Yes sir; or my daughter did.  -Q:  Did MISS BROWN say she was going to meet ASH?  -  A:  She did.  She said "JACK ASH brought a note  A fine thing bringing the note to the Factory."  I observed "It is funny."  My niece added, "He wants to see me about something in my box.  I was to meet him half-past seven or quarter to eight."  I said "The chap is bad.  Better fit he was home instead of coming to meet you at that time of night at the bottom of the hill."  -Q:  She went up to keep the appointment?  A:  Yes.  I said "LYDIA; I should not go if I were you."  She replied, "I will go out and see what it is about the box, and will tell him not to come after me, as I don't want him."  I particularly advised her not to go so far as Lake; she replied, "I will only go as far as the Bridge, at the end of the hill."  -Q:  She told you she would tell ASH she would have nothing more to do with him?  -  A:  Yes.  She wanted my daughter Grace to go with her, but she did not care about it.  -Q:  I believe MISS BROWN used to stay at ASH'S house?  -A:  Yes.  She has not stayed out there for the last two months.  She was ill.  Dr Lemarchand attended her, and she came into town.  ASH wanted her to go to his parent's house to live again, but she said to me, "I am comfortable here, and I shall stay here with you, aunt."  When she lived at ASH'S house, they took her like one of their own.  About half-past eight on Monday night somebody knocked at my door and asked if LYDIA BROWN was in.  I said "No, she's gone out," the reply being "She's murdered."  - The Foreman:  Has MISS BROWN kept company with any other young man besides ASH?  - A:  She has been with no one else since she has been in my house.  P.S. King here announced that Mr Dean, the young man who was stabbed by ASH immediately after the latter had murdered MISS BROWN, was not well enough to attend the Inquest, but Miss Perrin, the young lady who was in his company at the time of the tragedy, was in attendance.  Miss Gladys Perrin, who resides in Gloucester-road, then stated:  Last evening about 7.35, Mr Dean and I were proceeding up Sticklepath, having made up our minds to go up the old road.  We thought we saw a man in the hedge;, at least I thought it was two boys playing at the bottom of the old Sticklepath road.  We crossed from one side to the other with the intention of going up the old road, and as we got nearer we saw something lying on the ground.  We thought it was someone ill.  As we got nearer we saw a man a few paces from us.  I thought it was a boy lying on the ground, but we found it was a woman.  Mr Dean asked if the woman was ill, and the man replied, "Yes she's done for."  That was all.  - The Coroner:  What did he do?  -A:  With the same the man struck Mr Dean.  -Q:  Could you see what he struck him with?  -A:  No.  -Q:  Where did he strike him?  -A:  On the left shoulder.  -Q:  What took place then?  -A:  We made our way back over the hill, down over the bridge.  Mr Dean did not make any remark as we came down over the hill.  -Q:  Could you see what had taken place?  -A:  We saw someone lying down, and heard her moan.  Supt. Hobbs:  What happened to Mr Dean?  - A:  I saw him struck.  -Q:  Did he feel he was wounded?  - A:  I asked whether he was hurt.  He said he thought he was.  I only thought, however, he had been struck by the man with his fist.  The Coroner:  Did he say he had been stabbed?  - Miss Perrin:  No.  - Supt. Hobbs (suggestively):  Did he after?  -A:  He did not say it to me.  I, however, saw blood on his collar and drew my own conclusions.  At the bottom of the hill we saw a boy, but did not speak to him.  At the beginning of Sticklepath Terrace we met Miss Tucker and a gentleman friend.  Mr Dean's hat here blew off, and as I crossed the road to pick it up the gentleman friend went over to Mr Dean.  Miss Tucker stayed behind with me, and the gentleman friend took Mr Dean on.  Mr Dean resides in Sticklepath Terrace, but he walked on towards the town with the intention of seeing a doctor.  I did not actually know what had happened until after the doctor had come.  -Q:  You could not tell who the man was who committed the act?  -A:  No; only someone short, who was wearing a long overcoat and cap.  ASH'S cap was here produced.  The Coroner (to Miss Perrin):  Could you recognise the cap if you saw it?  - A:  I do not think so.   William Alford, horseman, in the employ of Mr Copp, of Sticklepath, said:  Last night about 8 o'clock I was in the stables, when William Tucker and another little boy came to me and asked me to go home with them.  I said, "What are you afraid of."  They replied that they had passed JOHN ASH down the road, that he was blowing a good bit, and that they were afraid of him.  I said "Why?"  They replied "We don't like the way he passed us."  They admitted that ASH had not struck or done anything to them.  I said "Well, what is the matter then."  Tucker then said "Will you come down as far as Lake for company," while both boys added that there was something at the bottom of the hill they were afraid of.  Something was also said about an old mackintosh or bag, which JOHN ASH had thrown on one side, and that they were afraid of it.  I accompanied them to the point indicated and found the young woman, LYDIA BROWN, dead in the middle of the road.  The Coroner:  Did you see anything of ASH?  -A:  No, sir.  -Q:  Was there anybody else there?  -A:  No, sir.  -Q:  Did you see ASH'S brother come later on?  -A:  Yes, sir.  I then went in over the Bridge, told a cabman what had happened, and went back to the spot and remained there until the policemen came.  I turned over the woman's face as she lay in the road, and saw it was the body of LYDIA BROWN.  -Q:  Was there blood about?  -A:  All about the place.  -Q:  Who was the first person you saw afterwards?  -A:  Bruce Reed, a cabman.  JAMES ASH, brother of JOHN ASH, was again in attendance, and the evidence which he had given at the Inquest in the morning was read over and confirmed by the witness.  The witness, who cried most bitterly at the outset, identified the walking stick, cap, pocket knife, and pocket book, produced by the police as belonging to his brother.

P.C. Braund, Barnstaple Borough Police, deposed:  Last night, about 8 o'clock, I received information from Bruce Reed, a cab-driver, that a young woman had committed suicide at the bottom of Lake Hill, by cutting her throat, and it was believed she was dead.  I at once proceeded to the spot in Reed's cab, and at the bottom of Lake Hill I found a young woman lying in the road on her back in a pool of blood, quite dead, with her throat cut.  I at once sent for Dr Cooke.  On looking at the wound which had been inflicted, I found that deceased's head had almost been severed from her body.  I recognised the deceased as LYDIA BROWN, as I have known her for the last 12 years.  I helped to remove her body to the mortuary at the North Devon Infirmary, where Drs. Cooke and Lemarchand made a close examination of the body.  - The Coroner:  Did you notice any marks of any struggle in the roadway?  - Witness:  I should say there was  struggle.  Deceased's muff and hat were two or three feet from the body, and there was blood on the muff.  The Jury were at this stage asked whether they would like to inspect the muff, but they preferred not to see it.  P.C. Seldon also repeated the evidence which he gave at the Inquiry relating to the death of ASH in the morning, and produced a pocket book in which deceased had left a message to his friends, which message was again read by the Coroner.  P.C. Screech, who also received information of the tragedy about 8.10 p.m., on Monday evening, stated:  I found the body of deceased at the bottom of Sticklepath Hill, as described by P.C. Braund, P.C. Corney being also on the spot.  I noticed that the deceased's throat was cut from ear to ear, and life was extinct.  Immediately after my arrival Dr Cooke came, and he was also of the same opinion.  I helped to remove the body to the mortuary, and on searching it I found that the deceased was wearing a silver watch with a guard around her neck, which was covered with blood.  Other articles included two rings, but we were unable to get the smaller of the two off the finger.  Mrs Pine handed me a letter (which I now produce) in the morning,  The Coroner again read the letter.  P.C. Screech added that he was present at the Infirmary when the doctors examined the body of the deceased.  Dr James Wood Cooke, of Barnstaple, deposed:  Last evening I was called to the bottom of Lake Hill to see deceased, just after 8 o'clock, the message being that she had committed suicide.  I went at once and found the woman lying at the bottom of the road, her head being held up by two policemen.  She was quite dead, her throat having been cut from ear to ear.  In accordance with my suggestion, the body was removed to the mortuary at the North Devon Infirmary, for further examination, and shortly afterwards I went to the mortuary.  Deceased's clothes having been removed, I saw a stab in the centre of the chest, quite superficial, the knife used having impinged against the bone.  There was another wound across the shoulder, and the throat had been completely severed down to the bone, from one ear to the other.  Everything was divided.

The Coroner:  Could the wounds have been caused with a knife like this (producing the knife found on ASH)?  - Dr Cooke:  Yes; it is quite possible, if it were sharp at the time.  The injuries must have been caused by something pointed and not with a razor.  Tremendous force must have been used.  It was utterly impossible that the deceased could have committed the act herself.

Superintendent Hobbs:  Do not marks on the knife show that it has been recently sharpened?  - A:  Yes, sir.  It would not be quite so sharp now because of its having jagged against the bone.  Were there no marks of blood on this knife when found?  -P.C. Seldon:  There were no marks of blood.  The Coroner here said:  It is thought that there are two marks inside the knife, but the light here is not good enough by which to distinguish anything.  Dr Cooke:  It is quite possible that a knife of this sort would be sufficient to cause the injuries.  I think it questionable, however, that there are any marks of blood inside.  You really cannot tell.  I should think that ASH probably got at the back of the woman and drew the knife right around her neck.  The girl must have died in a few seconds, as the quantity of blood which flowed must have been enormous.  The Coroner, finally addressing the Jury, said:  I think, gentlemen, this  is all the evidence I can put before you in this case.  You have had the advantage of hearing the evidence both at the Inquest on ASH this morning, and this afternoon in connection with the death of the poor young woman.  It is to effect that the boy Tucker saw ASH at the bottom of the hill stooping over something, but the boy was so frightened that he did not make a very close examination.  You have heard that ASH made an appointment with the girl to meet him at 7.30 or quarter to 8, and it is evident that she proceeded there with the intention of telling him that she wanted nothing more to do with him.  I presume she did tell him that, and that enraged him and led him to commit this very terrible crime.  You have seen the knife, you have heard Dr Cooke's evidence, and it is quite plain that the wounds were inflicted upon this poor girl by HENRY JOHN ASH in a most cold-blooded manner.  There was really no time for any quarrel between the parties, and he must have gone there with the intention of committing the murder, and speedily carried out his intention.  Miss Perrin and her young man were taking a walk in the locality, and on Mr Dean inquiring if there was anything the matter, he received a wound himself, concurrently with the reply "Yes, she is done for."  After committing the crime, ASH proceeds home and says to his brother JAMES, "I have stabbed LYDDIE BROWN."  The brother doubts the statement, and he again repeats it.  The brother then goes towards the spot, followed by HENRY JOHN ASH, but in his hurry he finds that the latter is not following him, HENRY JOHN ASH having evidently made off in another direction.  HENRY JOHN ASH was found later on as described by a railway employee, who was walking home to Bishopstawton by way of the line, ASH having evidently placed his head upon the rails, it being nearly severed from the body.  Upon ASH is found a pocket book with the entry already read, in which he clearly implicates himself.  He must have hurriedly scribbled this by the light of the signal post while waiting for the train which passed over him.  In this note he bids "Good-bye" to his relatives and disposes of his property.  It shows that he knew pretty well what he was doing, and he made up his mind not to face the terrible consequences of his own deed, but to take his own life.  It is pretty clear that LYDIA BROWN met her death at the bottom of Lake Hill on December 3rd, her throat having been cut by HENRY JOHN ASH.  Whether ASH committed the act in cold or warm blood, the evidence shows he committed wilful murder, and you should have no difficulty in arriving at your verdict in this case.  As in the case of ASH you desired the evidence of Dr Lemarchand, who has been attending ASH for some time past, I will now proceed to call him.  Dr A. W. Lemarchand, of Barnstaple, deposed:  I have attended HENRY JOHN ASH having first seen him last summer.  He complained of pains in his stomach three or four hours after meals.  I treated him for some little time, and he then came on for treatment at the Dispensary as an out-patient.  I had not seen him for some time until last Saturday, when he came into my surgery.  I asked him how he was getting on, and he replied "I have been pretty well until about the last week, and the old pain is coming back again."  I asked him what time the pain was worse, and he said "About three hours after the midday meal."  He added that it was his heaviest meal, and at times he rather hurried away to get to work.  I suggested that he should eat his heaviest meal in the evening, about six or seven o'clock, and at midday have a light meal of eggs or fish.  - The Coroner:  You said nothing about eating bread and cheese?  - Dr Lemarchand (smiling): No, sir.  But I don't think bread and cheese would have hurt him.  - Q:  Did you see him yesterday?  - A:<  No, but my surgery boy says he came in about 20 minutes to 8 in the evening.  - The Coroner:  The evidence goes to show that at that time he was at Sticklepath.  - Dr Lemarchand:  There is no clock at the surgery, but he, undoubtedly, came there some time between 7 and 8.  He asked whether the doctor was in, and was told he would not be in until about 8 o'clock.  ASH then said "I will leave my bottle for the medicine  and will be back again about 8 o'clock."  The bottle is at the surgery now.  The Coroner:  Was ASH a person of weak or unsound mind?  A:  Certainly not, he was a very intelligent lad.  - The Foreman:  He never gave you any indication as being of unsound mind?  -A:  Certainly not.  One night he called me out in the middle of the night to go and see LYDIA BROWN at Lake.  We talked the whole way, and he was a most intelligent boy.  WILFUL MURDER AND SUICIDE.  The Jury's Verdict.

The Jury then retired to consider their verdict in the respective cases.  On their return to Court, The Coroner asked:  In the case of LYDIA BROWN are you agreed upon your verdict?  - The Foreman:  Yes.    The Coroner:  Do you find that LYDIA BROWN died on the 3rd December at the bottom of Lake Hill in the parish of Tawstock?  - The foreman:  Yes.  The Coroner:  Do you further find that she was wilfully murdered by one HENRY JOHN ASH?  - The Foreman:  Yes.  The Coroner:  Is that the verdict of you all?  - The Foreman:  Yes.  The Coroner:  In the case of HENRY JOHN ASH, do you find he died on the 3rd December, 1906, on the railway line at Tawstock?  - The Foreman:  Yes.  The Coroner:  Do you further find that he committed suicide by placing himself in front of a London and South Western railway train?  - The Foreman:  Yes; and that at the time he was temporarily insane.  - The Corner:  Is that the verdict of you all?  The Jury:  Yes.  [NOTE:  Article includes description of funerals and also photos of the victims.]

Thursday 13 December 1906

BURRINGTON - Child Suffocated AT Chulmleigh.  Coroner's Warning. - At Burrington, on Tuesday, Mr G. W. F. Brown held an Inquest on the month-old child of WILLIAM RICHARDS, a labourer, of Penny Hop Cottage.    The mother said on Sunday last she took the child to bed with her and her husband.  At midnight she fed it.  Then they covered it with the clothes and went to sleep.  At 6 a.m. the child was dead.  The Coroner:  And having covered it over with the clothes like that, were you surprised to find it dead?  - I was.  Sarah Bater, a midwife, 71 years of age, who attended the mother, saw no harm in placing the child in bed with its mother; she always did it.  The Coroner:  And you have been lucky enough never to have suffocated one?  - Yes.  Dr Hanson (Chulmleigh) said death was due  to suffocation, and covering the child over with the clothes in a bed in which there were two other people, was sufficient, in his opinion, to cause it.  The Coroner said he had before pointed out the danger of the practice, and it really amounted to negligence on the part of the parents to take a child to bed with them, and completely cover it over with the clothes.  The only wonder was that it had not been suffocated before, if this had been the usual practice.  If the Jury thought there was negligence, they should return a verdict of manslaughter.  After some consideration, the Jury found the child was Accidentally Suffocated through the bedclothes having been placed over its head inadvertently.  They, however, added a rider that they thought it desirable that a notification should be sent out to every parish nurse, pointing out the danger of the practice of putting a young child to bed with the parents.

Thursday 17 January 1907

TORRINGTON - Inquest At Torrington.  A Sad Story. - Mr G. W. F. Brown (Coroner) attended at the Town Hall, Torrington, on Friday evening, to Inquire into the death of an infant child, aged about nine weeks, named ALFRED JONES, an illegitimate child of MAUD MARY JONES.  The child was taken ill and died on Wednesday.  Dr Brown was sent for, but refused to give a certificate until the Coroner had been consulted.  Dr Brown had made a post mortem examination.  The Jury, of which Mr T. Heywood was the Foreman, were Messrs. T. J. Dyer, W. Short, J. Folland, C. Langbridge, J. Bright, G. Blatchford, W. Davies, R. Curtice, W. Couch, J. D. Copp, R. Glisary, and A. Blight.  Inspector Francis of the N.S.P.C.C. (Barnstaple) watched the case for that Society.

The first witness was Thomas Kelly, an insurance agent, of Torrington, who stated that he called on business at the house where the mother of deceased lived on Friday last.  The grandmother was nursing the child at the time.  In course of conversation she said she did not know what was the matter with the child's arm.  It seemed of no use to it.  Witness asked if it was paralysed.  She replied that she did not know.  He examined the child's arm and found it broken.  He asked if he should fetch a doctor, but the grandmother preferred leaving it until the mother came in.  However, he went to the doctor and gave information.  In reply to the Coroner, he said he did not know whether the child was insured or not.  The mother of the child, named MARY JONES, said she was a married woman, living apart from her husband.  She was living with her father and mother.  She did not know the child's arm was injured, and did not know how it happened.  She did not notice it was broken until the doctor was sent for.  The child did not cry much unless she touched its arm.  She had previously washed the child, and found that it kept its arm down by its side.  She did not think it necessary to send for a doctor.  The child was not insured.  She had had other children, but they had died.  The last one was born dead.  She fed deceased on milk.    MARY JANE WARD, grandmother, said she could not account for the injury to the arm.  She knew nothing about it.  The child slept with its mother.  The mother was a heavy sleeper.  Dr Brown gave evidence as to the death occurring from natural causes.  He had made a post mortem examination.  There were no marks of violence.  The child was not well nourished.  The cause of death was collapse, resulting from gangrene of the bowels.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.  The Coroner said the Inquiry revealed a horrible state of affairs.  He warned the mother as to sleeping with children, as she was a heavy sleeper.  He cautioned her to mend her ways, and not to come before him again.

Thursday 24 January 1907

FILLEIGH - On Thursday morning last, HENRY BALE, of Heddon, who had reached the age of 67, went to his work as usual at a neighbouring farm where he was employed in hedging, &c.  He had not returned home at 7 p.m.  His son went in search of him, and found him in a reclining position against the bank where he had been working, quite dead, but still holding the hook and sticks, which he had been using, in his hands.  It transpired at the Inquest which was held on Saturday by the County Coroner, that BALE has suffered from chronic heart disease for several years, and a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.  On the previous Tuesday his aged father died at Loxhore.  Besides working on various farms, BALE had been for years often employed by people of Filleigh in garden work, at which he was a very capable man.  He was a cheerful, industrious workman, and great sympathy is expressed with the widow and sons and daughters who mourn his loss.  The funeral took place in Filleigh Churchyard on Tuesday afternoon.

WOOLACOMBE - Woolacombe Tragedy.  Fatal Fall Of Earth. - The North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) held an Inquest at the Golf Pavilion, Woolacombe, on Saturday, into the circumstances attending the death of JAMES SUMMERFIELD, fifty-nine years of age, and a labourer, residing at Ilfracombe, who died on Thursday from injuries sustained in consequence of a fall of earth.  Henry Huxtable, labourer, stated that deceased and himself were engaged in cutting a new road between Woolacombe and Croyde.  At the time of the accident they were trying to let down a piece of muck, which rose nine to ten feet above the level of the cutting.  Before work had actually commenced witness advised deceased not to "stand in there," but after looking up over he seemed to be satisfied that there was no danger, and began to use his pick.  Deceased loosened some stones, and within a few minutes witness saw the bank begin to open.  He shouted to SUMMERFIELD to mind himself, but before he could get clear the earth fell down, almost completely burying him.  When extricated he was dead.  The accident was nobody's fault.  They had originally attempted to push off the top of the bank, and it was only when this failed that they went to loosen it in under.  No warning had been issued in respect of the particular place; none was considered necessary.  Richard Branch, the Foreman, said the two men  were working alone at a spot where no work had been done since last June.  They had not started five minutes when this happened.  Witness gave them instructions, and had only turned round and gone a short distance when he hears Huxtable's warning shout.  He helped to extricate the deceased, and found blood about the lower part of the body, besides which his leg appeared to be broken.  - In reply to a Juryman, witness said it was not true that the earth was first loosened by a bar from the top.  The Foreman (Mr F. Beer):  It is customary to put someone to watch when you are working nine or ten feet down?  -  That depends on the material.  This was not shillate, but rubble, earth and rock.  Not more than a butt load fell.  Another Juryman said no one would think it possible that this small quantity that fell would kill a man.  Dr T. Young gave details of shocking injuries deceased sustained in the lower part of his body.  The thigh was shattered, and there was a ragged wound, from which the intestines protruded, evidently caused by deceased's pickaxe.  Witness concluded that deceased stumbled over his pick in attempting to run away, and the weight of earth falling on him drove the pickaxe completely through his body  Death was practically instantaneous.  The Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) said death was evidently due to an accident and was perfectly unavoidable.  The case was unusual, however, and it was remarkable that the blunt part of a pickaxe should cause such a wound.  He was sure the widow had their deepest sympathy.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned, and the doctor and Jury gave their fees to the widow.

Thursday 31 January 1907

PLYMOUTH - At the Inquest at Plymouth on MARTIN SNOOK, aged 72, retired farmer, of Bath, the Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 7 February 1907

ILFRACOMBE - We last week recorded the painfully sudden death of MRS WILLIAMS, wife of MR SAM WILLIAMS, of 7, Strand, Ilfracombe, who was walking in Fore-street on Wednesday evening when a varicose vein in her leg burst, and she expired shortly afterwards.  At the Inquest on Thursday a verdict of Death from Natural causes was returned.

APPLEDORE - An Inquest was held at Appledore on Monday by Mr G. W. F. Brown (District Coroner) on the body of SAMUEL JAMES WINCHURST, the infant child of a private in the R.M.L.I., living with its mother at Appledore.  The child was found dead in bed on Friday morning, and Dr W. A. Valentine stated that it had died from pneumonia.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

BARNSTAPLE - Hotel Keeper's Death At Barnstaple. - MR JAMES BRADFORD TUCKER, landlord of the Queen Anne's Hotel, Barnstaple, who died suddenly while serving a customer in the bar on Monday evening, was a native of Tiverton.  Many years ago the deceased emigrated to Australia, and he was for some time an hotel proprietor at Foots Cray, Victoria.  He took a great interest in public life, and was a town councillor and twice Mayor of Foots Cray.  At the Inquest on Tuesday, Alfred Mills Newport (Barnstaple), local Superintendent of the National Benefit Trust, stated that he had known deceased since he had resided at Barnstaple.  On the previous day, MR TUCKER standing outside the premises, told him he was going to leave that week, and witness called on deceased about 9.30 p.m.  Deceased served him with a glass of beer, and remarked that he had lost a little money on the business.  They had not been talking more than three minutes, when MR TUCKER fell, behind the bar. Witness jumped over the counter and having loosened his shirt collar, fetched Dr Cooke.  MR TUCKER never spoke, and witness believed he passed away before medical aid was summoned.  He should think death was due to heart failure.  The deceased had nothing to drink, and seemed in fairly good spirits whilst conversing with him.  Witness noticed that MR TUCKER turned very pale when he fell.  LUCY JANE TUCKER, widow of deceased, stated that her husband, who was a native of Tiverton, was 65 years of age.  Up to some short time ago they had resided for some years in Australia, where her husband kept a licensed house.  Deceased had suffered from a weak heart for the past thirty years.  They had been in occupation of the Queen Anne's Hotel just over a fortnight.  The night before they came he was unwell and seemed to have been suffering from a cold.  The business had somewhat worried him, and the previous week he complained somewhat of his heart.  Finding the business did not suit him - there being really no business - her husband decided to move out of the house.  On the previous evening he ate his tea all right and she did not suspect anything wrong with him.  He was to have sailed for Melbourne on Saturday, the English climate not suiting them.  On the previous evening witness was engaged in packing things upstairs, when her niece called her, and coming downstairs she found her husband in her niece's arms in a dying state.  She considered that death was due to heart failure.

Dr C. Cooke, who arrived at the Hotel a few minutes after deceased fell, said life was then quite extinct.  In his opinion the deceased died very suddenly from heart failure. MR TUCKER had evidently had some fainting attacks on one or two previous occasions.  A verdict of Death from Natural Causes was returned.

Thursday 21 February 1907

BIDEFORD - Bideford Hawker's Death. - Mr G. W. F. Brown (North Devon Coroner) held an Inquest at Bideford on Monday on the body of RICHARD PATT, a well known Bideford hawker, who was found dead in his trap between Fremington and Instow on Friday evening.  The evidence showed that a lad named Heal was returning from school on the evening in question and saw the deceased just outside Fremington.  He had intended asking him to let him ride.  PATT endeavoured to put on his coat, but suddenly fell against the side of the cart.  The boy, thinking deceased was under the influence of drink, did not interfere.  The attention of Thomas Prust, a Fremington dealer, was called to deceased lying in his cart, and on looking at him, he saw that he was dead.  Dr Toye, of Bideford, said he had made a post mortem examination, and found that deceased was suffering from fatty degeneration of the heart, and that the cause of death was syncope.  The Jury, of which Mr T. W. Elliott was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

TORRINGTON - Inquest At Torrington. - Mr G. W. F. Brown (North Devon Coroner) held an Inquest in the Torrington Town Hall on Monday, on the boy of MRS HARRIET TAYLOR, wife of MR JOHN TAYLOR, Calf-street, Torrington.  The husband identified the body, and said his wife was 67 years of age.  He last saw her alive on Saturday morning about 9.30 when she appeared to be in her usual health.  He went to work, but was called about 10.15 to find his wife dead in an armchair in the kitchen.  His daughter was present.  Deceased had suffered for years from heart complaint, and a doctor had attended her, but not recently.  She sometimes had two or three attacks a week.  ELLEN TAYLOR, daughter, said she was in the kitchen with her mother (who was sitting in the armchair) when she complained of feeling a pain in the back part of her head and then expired.  Dr Macindoe, who arrived about 10.45, found deceased dead, and attributed death to heart failure.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes," and expressed sympathy with MR TAYLOR and family in their loss.

BRAMPFORD SPEKE - An Inquest was held at Brampford Speke, near Exeter, on Thursday, on HENRY SIMMONS, aged 22, a West-end carrier, who, instead of appearing at a London Police Court to answer a summons charging him with assaulting Miss E. Harbourn, to whom he was engaged to be married, came down to Devonshire, and threw himself in front of a Great Western express.

HUISH - Sad Death Of A Boy At Huish. - At Huish on Monday morning Mr G. W. F. Brown (North Devon Coroner) held an Inquest on the body of a little boy named PERCY JOHN PADDON, who died suddenly on the 14th inst., at the Schoolroom.

Mr Brown, addressing the Jury, of which Mr Wright was Foreman, said that day he had an extra-ordinary run in his district.  He had already held one Inquest at Torrington, and had next to proceed to Bideford, and then to Parracombe.  The case before them was particularly sad.  It was but a short time ago that he held an Inquest at Huish touching the death of the little boy's father - a man much respected in the parish - who died following injuries received through a fall from his cart.  It must be a terrible trial for the poor mother to lose first her husband and then her little boy, who gave evidence in the Inquest touching the death of his late father.  MRS PADDON, mother of deceased, who was greatly distressed, identified the body, and said that on the 14th inst., PERCY left for school as usual.  He had never complained of anything in particular.  Miss Marshall, schoolmistress, stated that on the day in question, the children went out to play at eleven o'clock.  She stood at the door watching them.  When they formed up in lines to come back to school she saw PERCY PADDON stagger and fall.  She caught him in her arms, and after struggling a little he was quiet and never spoke again.  Deceased was a very bright lad.  The Rector (Rev. Mr Scantlebury) spoke to removing the boy to the Rectory, where he died in a very few minutes.  Everything possible was done for him.  Dr J. E. Passmore, locum tenens for Dr A. P. Drummond, of Dolton, spoke to having made a post mortem examination on the body of deceased.  He found that the boy had an enormous heart, whilst the other organs were greatly enlarged.  The left valves of the heart were thickened.  In his opinion death was due to natural causes, namely, acute dilatation of the heart.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony, and expressed sincere sympathy with the bereaved mother.

PARRACOMBE - MARY ANN WOOD, a widow, aged 66, of the village, was found dead in bed on Friday.  At the Inquest on Monday before the County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown), deceased's stepson, EDWARD CHAS. WOOD, stated that MRS WOOD retired to bed apparently in her usual health on Thursday, but at 7.45 next morning he found her dead in bed, lying on her right side.  She had not been medically attended for the last four years.  Dr J. P. Atkinson, who made a post mortem examination, said death was due to valvular disease of the heart, and a verdict of Death from natural Causes was returned.

WEARE GIFFORD - Scalding Fatality At Weare Giffard.  Censured By The Coroner. - The sad death of MARIA HUXTABLE, aged 66, wife of a farm labourer, of Weare Giffard, was Inquired into by the County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) yesterday.

It transpired that on January 11th deceased was sitting in front of the fire in the house.  Whilst in the pigstye, the daughter heard a scream, and she found her mother lying in the grate, a kettle of boiling water having upset over her.  MRS HUXTABLE was picked up by her daughter, who dressed the burns with "raw potatoes."  She put her mother to bed, and next day dressed the burns with some ointment - she did not know what sort.  A doctor was not sent for until January 16th.  Dr Brown, of Torrington, found deceased suffering from severe burns all over her left arm and shoulder, being in considerable pain.  He dressed them, and advised her removal to Bideford Infirmary or Torrington hospital, but the relatives refused to allow her to go there.  MRS HUXTABLE died on February 19th.  Dr Brown thought if deceased had been properly attended from the commencement her life might have been considerably prolonged.  He attributed death to septic absorption of the scalded area, added to the debility of the deceased.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and desired the Coroner to censure the husband and daughter for not having called in medical assistance earlier.  The Coroner called MR HUXTABLE and his daughter before him, pointing out to the daughter that although she might have thought she was doing right the application of raw potato was an extra-ordinary remedy for severe scalding, and only increased the danger of septic poisoning.  He advised her in any other cases with which she might be associated to call in medical assistance at the proper time, to carry out the doctor's orders and not continue in the foolish way she had acted in the present case.

Thursday 28 February 1907

FREMINGTON - MRS FANNY CLOAK, wife of MR JAMES CLOAK, of North Farm, Fremington, died with painful suddenness whilst at home on Friday.  MRS CLOAK was 60 years of age.  Great sympathy is expressed with MR CLOAK in his sad loss.  Death was due to natural causes, and a verdict accordingly was returned at the Inquest held on Saturday by Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon.

TORRINGTON - Fatal Burns At Torrington. - The death of MARY GUARD, of Kingscott, St. Giles, was Inquired into by Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner) at Torrington Workhouse, on Tuesday.  Mrs Cooke, a neighbour, said that on the 8th inst., she heard deceased scream, and on entering her house found her in flames.  - John Cooke spoke to extinguishing the flames.  MRS GUARD could not say how the fire occurred.  Dr Macindoe said death was due to exhaustion following extensive burns. MRS GUARD was removed to the Workhouse, where she died.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 14 March 1907

ASHREIGNEY - Drowned In A Well At Ashreigney.  Sad Death Of A Child. - A very sad tragedy was investigated at Ashreigney on Friday, when the County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) held an Inquiry on Friday on the body of a child named WILLIAM JOHN BROOK, son of CHARLES BROOK, of Bridgereeve, who was found in a well the previous day.  The well in which the deceased was found was close to the front door of the house, and is without a cover.  It is only 2 feet 3 inches deep, with about 1 foot 6 inches of water.    CHARLES BROOK (father) identified the body as that of his son, who was four years of age.  He last saw him alive at 10.30 a.m.  He was not at home when the accident happened.  the boy had previously fallen into the same well, but was rescued in time.  THIRZA BROOK (aunt of deceased) said about 12.30 the previous day she went outside the house and saw the child in the well with his legs upwards.  She hauled the child out, and called for Robert Friend, the blacksmith, who tried, unsuccessfully, artificial respiration.  She sent for Dr Tucker, who arrived very quickly.  She only missed him about ten minutes.  Mr Joseph Tucker, a medical practitioner, practising at Chulmleigh, deposed to being called to see deceased on the 7th inst. at 1 p.m.  He arrived at about 1.10 p.m., and found that life was extinct.  In his opinion death was due to drowning, being almost instant.  Summing up, the Coroner pointed out how dangerous wells of this description were.  It was level with the surface of the ground, was just outside a dwelling-house, and in the direct path to the garden.  In fact, it was really nothing more nor less than a death trap.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and unanimously requested the Coroner to communicate with the owner of the cottage with a view to having the well filled in.  The Jury gave their fees to the parents.

Thursday 21 March 1907

LANGTREE - Inquest At Langtree. - At an Inquest at Langtree on Saturday on STAFFORD H. MARTIN, four months old, son of JAMES MARTIN, shoemaker of the village, the mother said on Wednesday morning it breathed peculiarly and she put up a barleymeal poultice.  Soon after midday the child died.  The child was not ill enough the previous day when the doctor was in the village to call him in.  In reply to Inspector Francis, N.S.P.C.C. (Barnstaple), the mother said she fed the child on milk.  Mrs Annie Vanstone, a neighbour, said the child appeared very ill on Wednesday.  She told the mother she thought the child had inflammation of the lungs, and advised her to send for a doctor if it did not get better.  Dr Brown (Torrington) was sent for after the child was dead, said a post mortem examination revealed that death was due to failure of the heart, consequent upon the condition of the lungs.  There were appearances in both lungs of pneumonia of a day or two's standing.  It would have been possible to save the life of the child if they had got medical aid soon enough.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Natural Causes," the Foreman remarking that he thought if the doctor had been called before matters would have been different.

SWYMBRIDGE - Sad Affair At Swymbridge.  Farmer's Wife Takes Poison, With Fatal Results. -  A painful sensation was caused at Swymbridge on Tuesday when it became known that MRS ANNIE DUNN, wife of MR ERNEST DUNN, of Combe Farm, who had been in ill-health for some little time, had the previous evening taken a dose of arsenic with fatal results.  MRS DUNN who was only 31 years of age, had an attack of influenza about two months ago, and this left her in a very weak state, while she was also subject to delusions.  She had recently been on a visit to MR DUNN'S father at Heanton Court, and had only returned home a couple of hours when she took the fatal dose.  MRS DUNN, who was the organist at Swymbridge Parish Church, was held in the highest esteem in the district, and profound sorrow is expressed at her untimely death.  For MR DUNN, too, who is generally respected, the deepest sympathy is felt.  The facts connected with the sad occurrence were elicited at the Inquest on Tuesday, held before Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner, and a Jury of which Mr F. R. Harding Nott was Foreman.  The Coroner having briefly detailed the sad circumstances, MR NERNEST DUNN deposed that his wife, who was 31 years of age, had been somewhat unwell lately, suffering from depression.  During the past ten days she had been staying with his father at Heanton Court.  She felt better on Sunday, and elected to return the previous day about 3 o'clock, when she did not seem quite so well.  The deceased became very restless about a quarter to six the previous evening, while she seemed to be in pain, and vomited.  Witness endeavoured to quieten her, and did not suspect anything for about half an hour.  He then asked her if she had taken anything, to which she made no reply.  A quarter of an hour later he noticed a peculiar smell, and he once more asked his wife if she had taken something, her answer being that she "expected she had."  Her father (MR WILLIAM IRWIN) arrived at the house about this time, and witness at once left in order to fetch Dr Cooper of Barnstaple.  On arriving just before nine o'clock, Dr Cooper applied remedies, but his wife passed away about 10.30 p.m.  The Coroner:  Has your wife ever made any attempt on her life before? -  A:  She said she had.  - In answer to further questions by the Coroner, MR DUNN said that his wife expressed a desire to return home on the previous day.  He kept a parcel of arsenic, which had used for killing rats, securely locked up in a cupboard until recently, when his wife asked him to unlock the cupboard so that she might catch mice in the house.  He had neglected to again lock up the cupboard.  Further asked if he used much arsenic for rats, MR DUNN said that he had not used much of late, as he kept cats in the house.  MR DUNN further mentioned that the arsenic was the only thing that had been kept in the cupboard.  MR DUNN further stated, in answer to a Juryman, that it was on the previous Thursday week that deceased said that she had previously attempted to commit suicide.  MR WILLIAM IRWIN, deceased's father, informed the Jury that he was sent for about 6.30 the previous evening, finding deceased in the dining room with her husband.  MR DUNN asked him to remain while he fetched the doctor.  The deceased was walking about, apparently in great pain, and witness suggested that if she sat down the pain might pass, whereupon she replied, "Father, I shall not get any better, I have taken something."  Witness asked what she had taken, and she answered "rats poison."  He said "I hope you have not," her reply being "I have."  Witness further asked why she had taken poison, her answer being that she had got very low, had seemed to get behind with everything, and could not possibly get forward again.  - The Coroner:  Do you think it was a delusion on her part?  - Mr Irwin agreed.  His daughter had been a "little bit out" for nearly a fortnight.  She had been a little better at times, and then the old feeling returned.  Her two cousins brought her back from Heanton Court on the previous day, and they had tea together.  Her cousins could not have left Combe more than five minutes when MRS DUNN took the poison.  MR DUNN was cleaning his bicycle at the time.  In answer to another question, Mr Irwin said he saw his daughter at Barnstaple on the way home the previous day, and she then seemed pretty well.  - By the Foreman:  He had never heard his daughter threaten to commit suicide, but he was aware of what happened on Thursday week.  He mentioned that at the time the masons were taking out the windows of the house for the purposes of renovation, and the work seemed to upset his daughter a little.  His daughter had given no trouble at Heanton Court.  She was very quiet, and did not join in the company as usual.  He thought that the delusion that she could not get the house clean had preyed upon his daughter's mind.  Dr Walter Cooper, of Barnstaple, stated that on arrival at MR DUNN'S house about 8.30 the previous evening, he asked MRS DUNN whether she had taken anything, and was shown a bag containing a quantity of arsenic.  Deceased afterwards told him she had taken some of it, indicating about two table-spoonfuls, in a glass of water.  The glass was fetched from the bedroom, and there was about a teaspoonful of sediment at the bottom.  The amount taken was more than sufficient to cause death.  Witness applied remedies, but MRS DUNN passed away about 10.30, being conscious to within twenty minutes of her death.  Witness asked her why she took the arsenic, and she made no reply.  Witness had attended her during the past ten days for depression and delusions.  After she went to Heanton, witness advised that she should in turn spend some little time with her cousins at Ash.  Her relatives thought she seemed better on Sunday, and MRS DUNN expressed a desire to return home.  On the previous evening witness asked her if she wanted to die, and she replied "No, she did not," and it looked as if there had been a mistake of some sort.  With regard to the alleged previous attempt on her life, it was a very feeble attempt at scratching her throat with a razor, it was not determined in any way.  Mr Irwin here mentioned that his daughter had an attack of influenza about two months ago.  P.C. Watts also gave evidence.  The Coroner, summing up, said it was an exceedingly sad case for the family.  MRS DUNN had, no doubt, been suffering from delusions and acute depression, and that she meant to do away with herself was evidenced by the fact that she had taken more than sufficient poison to kill fifty people.  He was sure the Jury would extend their sympathy to MR DUNN and his family in the great trouble that had come upon them.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane," and joined in the Coroner's expression of deep sympathy with MR DUNN and his family in their terrible bereavement.

Thursday 28 March 1907

MORELEIGH - An Inquest was held at Morley Parks Farm, between Totnes and Kingsbridge, on Saturday, on WILLIAM EDMONDS OLDREIVE, farmer, who died on Friday from a gunshot wound, accidentally caused by a friend.  A verdict to that effect was returned.

BIDEFORD - Sad Fatality Near Bideford. - Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner) held an Inquest at Warrington Farm, near Bideford, on Friday, on the body of REGGIE GLASS, aged one year and ten months, who was found drowned in a cattle trough the previous day.  The father of the deceased identified the body, and MRS GLASS, the mother, said she saw the deceased playing at the front of the house about ten minutes before the body was discovered.  Miss Huxtable, an assistant in the house, deposed going into the yard and finding the deceased lying in the cattle trough in about fourteen inches of water.  She immediately took him out of the trough and into the farmhouse, but she was of opinion that he was dead when she found him.  A doctor was at once sent for.  Dr Toye said the child was quite dead by the time he came, and that death was due to drowning.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and expressed sympathy with the parents.

MORCHARD BISHOP - North Devon Suicide.  A Farmer And His Losses. - An Inquest was held n Saturday by Mr Coroner W. H. Gould at Week Barton, Morchard Bishop, relative to the death of MARK COLE, farmer, aged forty years.  DANIEL COLE, farmer, of Heavitree, said deceased, his brother, had lost some cattle lately, and had worried a great deal about it.  On Thursday morning he received a letter from deceased referring to his trouble, and stating that he could not stand it any longer.  Dinah Tamlin, deceased's housekeeper, deposed that on Friday afternoon last she left home to go to the station.  Deceased was then in the kitchen in a very depressed state, in consequence of the loss of cattle in business, and having notice to leave his farm.  She had heard him say several times that he must get out of it.  On her return from the station later in the afternoon she called to deceased, and not receiving any reply, she went to a neighbour, Mrs Smith.  Together they entered the house, and found the deceased lying on the floor dead, with his gun by his side.  Elizabeth Smith, wife of a labourer, said she noticed a stick in deceased's left hand pointing towards the trigger of the gun.  Mr H. Allen, surgeon, Morchard Bishop, said the deceased had a wound immediately under his chin. The skull was fractured, and, in witness's opinion, the wounds were self-inflicted.  The Jury returned a verdict that "Deceased committed Suicide whilst of Unsound Mind."

Thursday 4 April 1907

BURRINGTON - Fatal Accident At Burrington. - At Burrington yesterday Mr Coroner Brown investigated the death of ABEL HODGES, a well-known licensed hawker.  Deceased was seen near the Fortescue Hotel about 7.30 p.m. on Tuesday, and a little later a man named Thos. Slader found him under the cart by the horses heels with the reins round his neck.  HODGES was quite dead, and Dr Anson found death to be due to a fracture of the skull, evidently caused by the horse kicking.  It was assumed that the animal had taken fright by reason of a large copper falling from the cart, and deceased in endeavouring to pull it up, had fallen between the shafts.  A verdict of Accidental Death was returned.

Thursday 11 April 1907

NORTHAM - Tragedy Near Torrington. - On Tuesday morning, about a quarter to eight the body of a woman was discovered at Whitford's Old Docks, Higher Cleave Houses, in the parish of Northam, where it had been left by the tide.  A Hat and an umbrella were found on one of the seats by the bank of the Torridge, at Bideford, by a man going to his work before six o'clock the same morning.  Mr Whitford, who discovered the body, communicated with P.C. Rice, and the latter, with the aid of P.C. Wyatt, of Bideford, got it conveyed to the Clay Works mortuary at Northam, to await an Inquest.  The deceased was identified by an employee at Marland Clay Works, named STAPLEDON, as his wife, aged about 30.  He also identified the umbrella and hat.

The County Coroner (Mr G. W.F. Brown) and a Jury of which Mr S. Fulford, C.C. was Foreman, held an Inquest in the vestry room, Northam, at noon yesterday, on the body of MRS GERTRUDE STAPLEDON, aged 28, wife of RICHARD STAPLEDON, a clay presser, of New-street, Torrington.  The Coroner said deceased had been somewhat unwell lately, and had been attended by Dr Brown up to Sunday.  On Monday she disappeared from her home, and although search was made for her during most of the night it was not until early on Tuesday morning that she was discovered in the river at Cleave Houses, near Bideford.  She was then apparently quite dead, and her hat and umbrella were found on a seat further up the river bank on a public walk.  He thought there was no doubt the poor woman had been very depressed,  and she must have intended to take her life, and had entered the water somewhere about the locality where the hat and umbrella were found.  Evidence supporting these facts were given by the widower, Alfred Parr, J. Whiteford, and Dr Brown.  The widower said a few days ago his wife said she should not be able to stand the strain if she did not soon get better.  Dr Brown stated that he had been treating deceased for dyspepsia for six or eight weeks.  Latterly she had been rather depressed and worrying about her condition rather more than she did previously  He saw nothing to point to suicidal tendencies beyond the depression.  The evidence he had heard at the Inquest led him to believe she had become very depressed.  The appearance of the body was consistent with death from drowning.  After nearly a quarter of an hour's deliberation in private, the Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned," and expressed their sympathy with the widower.

BARNSTAPLE - Barnstaple Lady Found Dead.  The Dangers Of Living Alone. - MISS ELEANOR SMITH BUCKINGHAM, aged 76, who had lived alone at No. 30, Hill's View, Barnstaple, for some time, not having been seen by the neighbours for a couple of days, the police were communicated with on Friday evening, with the result that an entrance was forced into the premises, the lifeless body of MISS BUCKINGHAM being found on the floor of the bedroom.  The circumstances were Inquired into by Mr A. R. Bencraft, the Borough Coroner, and a Jury, of which Mr J. R. Ford was Foreman, at the house on Saturday evening.  Mr John Carter, retired farmer, of Southmolton, stated that the deceased was his aunt, and aged about 76.  She lived in that house by herself.  Witness had not seen his aunt for some years, and she had not written to him for years.  He believed she was in very good circumstances, and could certainly have afforded to have kept a servant.  Mrs Jane Ayre, Fort-street, deposed that deceased had lived in that district for over 15 years.  She first resided with her brother, who died in that house about six years ago.  For some time after the deceased kept a servant, but for the past two years she had been living alone.  She had occasionally employed a charwoman.  For the last few months MISS BUCKINGHAM seemed to be ailing, and, apparently, had had indigestion.  Deceased had thought her heart was not quite strong, and had complained to witness at times.  Witness did not know why she had not kept a servant; she had begged her to have someone.  Deceased used to say sometimes she would, but kept putting it ff.  She last saw her alive on the previous Tuesday night, when she (witness) was with her at her house for rather over an hour, leaving at 8.10.  MISS BUCKINGHAM then appeared to be better than she had been for some time; she was generally of a very cheerful temperament.  Miss Sarah Hutchinson, deceased's next door neighbour, stated that she was not much acquainted with MISS BUCKINGHAM.  While in her back garden on the previous Wednesday evening just before dark, witness saw the deceased close the kitchen window and pull down the blind. Witness subsequently noticed a light in the kitchen.  She noticed the deceased in the garden a week previously, and she appeared to be somewhat shaky.  Dr C. Jones stated that on being sent for the previous evening, he found P.S. Tucker in the front bedroom, in which the body of the deceased, half dressed, was lying on her back on the floor by the side of the bed.  One arm was through the back of a chair, which had evidently been pulled over as deceased fell down.  Life must have been extinct at least 24 hours, and judging from the condition of the body, death must have been almost instantaneous, being due to cardiac failure.  He understood that many years ago the deceased was attended by Dr Jackson and the late Dr Harper.  So far as he could gather, she had not been medically treated since.  P.S. Tucker stated that about 7.30 the previous evening a young man named Carder informed him that the neighbours had sent him to say that MISS BUCKINGHAM had not been seen of late, and they were somewhat suspicious that something had happened.  He went to No. 30, Hill's View, and knocked at the door, but no one responded.  Eventually, young Carder entered a small window at the rear of the premises and unbolted the kitchen window and let witness in.  Witness had to force a door leading from the kitchen, another door downstairs and the front room door, and he eventually found deceased lying in the bedroom as described by Dr Jonas.  He immediately sent for medical assistance.  Mr Carder found three private letters in the passage underneath the letter-box, the first letter having apparently arrived on Thursday morning.  Mr Passmore, dairyman, who had been in the habit of supplying deceased with milk, had informed him that MISS BUCKINGHAM had usually left a jug or cup for the milk outside the door, but there was no cup there on Thursday morning and no one responded to his call.  The Coroner in summing up, said there could be no doubt that the unfortunate lady died from heart failure, and she probably passed away when going to bed on Wednesday night.  he had often spoke of the undesirability of old people living alone, because if anything happened to them, there was no one in the house who could render them any assistance .  Moreover, for a person to live alone constituted a physical and mental danger, while it was a source of invitation to the criminal classes to pay a visit and help themselves to other people's goods.  A Juror having added that there was also a danger of old people, physically enfeebled, living alone, upsetting lamps and igniting their own house and adjoining property, the Jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes.

Thursday 18 April 1907

BOW - A Boy Killed At Bow.  Falls Off A Roundabout. - Morgan's roundabouts and swings visited Bow on Wednesday and were stationed in a field at the higher part of the village.  They had just commenced business, when CHARLES EDWORTHY between five and six years of age, was placed on one of the horses.  As the bell rang to start, the boy was seen to sway from side to side, and then fall to the ground.  He was picked up unconscious, and conveyed to his home.  A doctor was at once summoned, and pronounced life to be extinct.  The lad's neck was broken.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned at an Inquest and the Jury gave their fees to the parents.

BARNSTAPLE - Barnstaple Man's Sad Death. - On Sunday evening, WM. STONE, aged 50, son of MRS STONE, of the Red Cow Inn, Holland-street, Barnstaple, was found dead in a stable at the rear of the premises.  At the Inquest on Monday evening before the Borough Coroner (Mr A. R. Bencraft) and a Jury, of which Mr R. Courtney was Foreman, MRS KATIE ASH, deceased's sister, stated that her brother had resided at home with their mother and witness.  In answer to the Coroner, she said her  brother had been addicted to drink for years, although sometimes he would not touch liquor for weeks at a time.  Deceased had a pony and trap, and since he sold the trap for £2 2s. 6d., the previous Friday week, he had been drinking very heavily.  About four years ago he attempted to commit suicide while in a state of intoxication.  Just after she opened the bar on Sunday morning, her brother, who had been away during the morning, came indoors intoxicated.  Witness told him that she was getting dinner, and as she noticed he was going out again, asked where he was going.  He replied that he should not be long before he would be back again; he went out and did not return.  As, however, this was not unusual, no suspicion was aroused; sometimes he would stop away a whole night.  Mrs Emma Mock (wife of a mason and a relative of MRS STONE) said that about 9.45 the previous night MRS STONE asked her to take a light and see if the pony was in the stable, and on going in the stable she saw the pony there loose, whilst she found the deceased lying in the corner.  She called him, but go no answer and finding that he was cold on touching him, witness at once informed Mrs Ash, who communicated with the police, and medical aid was afterwards summoned.  Witness added that the deceased was lying on his face and hands, with his head under the manger and resting on a little bucket.  - By the Foreman of the Jury:  Deceased was, she believed, subject to fits.  P.C. Braund spoke to being sent for. Deceased's right cheek was resting on a pail, which was used for mixing up bran for the pony; the pail was empty.  Deceased had a very deep mark around the neck, caused by his collar and stud.  The pony was running loose, but he could not say whether it had touched the deceased.  Dr Harper said that when he was called to deceased at 10.15 p.m., STONE had evidently been dead about six or eight hours.  He knew something about STONE, who was an alcoholic subject of a very pronounced character.  Deceased also suffered from epileptic fits.  There could be no doubt that he was drunk when he went into the stable for the purpose of lying down in the manger, and that he had a fit, with the result, from the position in which he was found, that he was suffocated.  The Coroner summed up, and the Jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes, namely, a fit.

Thursday 25 April 1907

BIDEFORD - Bideford Cattle Drover's Sudden Death. - An elderly man named THOMAS GLOVER, a well-known drover, died suddenly on Wednesday evening at Mr Cutland's Old Ring of Bells, Bideford.  He suddenly looked peculiar and expired.  The body was removed to his home in Old Town.  An Inquest was held on the body by Mr Coroner Brown on Saturday.  The evidence showed that the deceased was taken suddenly ill at the Old Ring of Bells Inn on Wednesday evening and the landlord (Fred Cutland) sent for the deceased's son, who came with a pony and trap to take him home.  Just as he got into the trap, however, he expired.  Dr Grose arrived just at the same time, and he pronounced life extinct.  The landlord said the deceased was a friend, and had been at the house some time during the day, but had only one glass of whisky.  Dr Grose said deceased had been treated for some years for a weak heart and other complaints, and he thought deceased would go off suddenly, and had told the family to be prepared.  Replying to the Jury, the Coroner said there had been no delay in the holding of the Inquest, as certain inquiries had to be made first, and he decided that it would be advisable to have the Inquest so that there should be no reflection on the landlord of the inn.  The Jury, of whom Mr E. Luxton was foreman, returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 2 May 1907

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Accident at Barnstaple. - The serious accident to MR GEORGE BOWDEN, grocer's assistant, at Barnstaple a week previously - MR BOWDEN having, as the result of a fall in High-street, fractured his skull - had a fatal termination on Thursday morning, when he passed away at the North Devon Infirmary.  The Inquest was held at the Infirmary in the afternoon, before Mr T. A. R. Bencraft, (Borough Coroner), and a Jury of which Mr Robert Courtney was Foreman.  The Coroner, having briefly detailed the circumstances, and referred with regret to the death of MR BOWDEN, who was well known to all of them, Mr John Ashton, grocer, of High-street, stated that deceased, who was 39 years of age, had been in his employ over 12 years.  On the previous Thursday afternoon MR BOWDEN left the shop, in accordance with custom, for the purpose of obtaining some orders, and when he returned at 5.30, witness noticed that he was not quite well.  MR BOWDEN having given him his orders and money perfectly correct, witness told him to go and have some tea.  The Coroner here asked whether Mr Ashton did not think the deceased had had a little to drink.  Mr Ashton first said he would rather not answer that question, but on being pressed admitted that the suggestion was correct.  He (Mr Ashton) afterwards told BOWDEN that he thought he had better go home, so as to be all right on the following day (Market day), and he left his establishment about 6.30.  In answer to a question, witness said that two glasses of liquor would at any time upset MR BOWDEN, who had not a good constitution.  In reply to further questions, Mr Ashton said that a fortnight ago a dog bit deceased in the leg at Marwood, and this had upset him a "goodish bit."

A labourer named Ford deposed that on the previous Thursday evening, just before 7 p.m., he heard someone fall heavily on the wood pavement just outside the police station, and on going over he found it was MR BOWDEN.  Blood was issuing from his ears.  A constable came upon the scene, and witness assisted MR BOWDEN into the police station.  Here MR BOWDEN said he was all right, and wanted to go home.  There was no one near MR BOWDEN at the time of the occurrence.  P.C. S. Hill informed the Jury that about 4.45 p.m. he met MR BOWDEN in the street, deceased being under the influence of liquor.  About 6.45 witness was in the police station, when he heard a thud outside, and on going out he found deceased lying on the ground with the witness, Ford, in attendance.  Mr Goss, an attendant in the shop of Messrs. S. Harper and Sons, booksellers, informed witness that he saw MR BOWDEN throw up his arms and immediately fall to the ground.  Witness assisted the deceased into the police station, and telephoned for medical aid.  Dr Jonas came, and having regard to the fact that it was a serious case, ordered BOWDEN to be removed to the North Devon Infirmary.  Mr Rendall, house surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, deposed that BOWDEN was brought to the institution bleeding from one ear and in a condition of shock, but witness was unable to definitely ascertain whether his skull was fractured.  On Friday he seemed better, but subsequently he had fits.  By his appearance he might have been an epileptic subject.  Death was due to shock and haemorrhage, the result of the fall.  Replying to questions, Dr Rendall thought that apparently the deceased had some kind of fit when he fell down.  Once, when MR BOWDEN was conscious, he asked him the4 reason of his falling, but he failed to get any explanation.  It was here remarked that Dr Jonas had stated that deceased's skull was fractured, and Dr Rendall agreed that this was probable, but said that owing to deceased's condition he had not been able to detect this.  He was understood to agree with the Coroner's view that there was a large internal rupture in the head.  The Coroner, in summing up, said that had he known that an assistant in Mr Harper's shop had seen the deceased fall, he should have called him as a witness, but he thought it was perfectly clear that deceased was not knocked down, and thought he had fallen quite accidentally.  MR BOWDEN was certainly not quite sober, but at the same time some of the symptoms went to show he had some sort of fit.  As Dr Rendall had told them, the deceased had fits whilst at the Infirmary, and his appearance seemed to be that of an epileptic subject.  He left the verdict to the Jury.  The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.

Thursday 9 May 1907

TIVERTON - Railway Fatality At Tiverton. - Monkleigh Man's Sad Death. - A sad fatality occurred just outside Tiverton Railway Station on Saturday by which MR SIDNEY TUCKER, a young fireman, who had been lodging at Exeter, but belonged to Monkleigh, lost his life.  The unfortunate man, who was about 20 years of age, had been in the service of the Railway Company nearly three years.  He was unmarried.  The Exe Valley branch of the G.W.R. is worked on the staff of ticket system, and it was while taking the ticket at the higher cabin the department of the 1.30 p.m. train from Tiverton to Dulverton (12.56 from Exeter), that the fatality occurred.  TUCKER, the fireman, who had only been at the work about a month, stood in his customary place to receive the staff, and the driver, William Weeks, of Exeter, stood by him.  Weeks saw the signalman, Dadd, and remarked that he had got the ticket on the stick that day, and saw, as he thought, TUCKER safely take the ticket.  He turned to put on steam, when he heard TUCKER cry "Whoa!" and looking as he shut off steam saw TUCKER was gone.  He stopped the train at once.  Dadd, the signalman, having given up the ticket, turned to go to the signal-box when he heard a cry, and turning again, saw the ticket on the ground.  At the same time he saw the unfortunate fireman being carried along at the edge of the footboard, afterwards falling between the engine and the first coach, the first wheel of which went over his chest, death being instantaneous.    MR E. TUCKER, of Monkleigh, deceased's father, gave evidence at the Inquest on Monday, at which Dadd spoke to the facts detailed above.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and expressed their condolence with the relatives, with whom much sympathy is felt both at Monkleigh and Bideford.

Thursday 16 May 1907

TORRINGTON - The Drowning Fatality Near Torrington.  The Inquest. - Diligent searches have been made ever since the 27th of last month for the body of the little boy DYMOND, who fell into the river Torridge, just below Taddiport Bridge, on that date.  On Sunday, while walking along the bank of the river near Bideford, and close by the iron railway bridge, a man named Charles Paddon, of Bideford, observed something floating in the river.  On landing it he found it to be the body of the missing lad.  He immediately gave information to the Bideford police, and the body was conveyed to the unfortunate lad's home at Taddiport.

The Coroner, (Mr G. W. F. Brown, Barnstaple) held an Inquest on Monday, at Torrington, touching the death of WALTER DYMOND.   JAMES DYMOND, father of the deceased, said his son was four years and four months old.  He last saw him alive on the morning of the 27th of April, at 6 o'clock.  He was informed later that the boy had fallen into the river, and every effort had been made to recover the body.  A tiny lad, answering to the name of Johnny White of Taddiport, said that he and WALTER DYMOND, with others, were letting sticks float down the river.  WALTER DYMOND, in throwing a stick, slipped in and the water washed him away.  There was nobody near.  He ran home and told his mother.  No one pushed him into the water.  In answer to a Juryman, witness said he handed deceased a stick to catch hold of.  Charles Paddon, of Bideford, gave evidence as to finding the body.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" and gave their fees to the bereaved parents.

APPLEDORE - A painfully sudden death occurred early on Monday morning, when MRS THIRZA HARE, of Irsha-street, passed away after a few hours' illness.  She had for years been subject to fits, but for some time had been free from them.  Early on Monday morning she had a very severe fit, from which she never rallied.  She leaves a grown up family, for whom the greatest sympathy is felt.  Her husband, CAPT. HENRY HARE, was drowned in a heavy gale many years ago, his vessel never being heard of after she left Appledore, and his eldest son was also with him at the time.  Three of deceased's sons are at present away at sea.  An Inquest was held in the Public Hall on Tuesday evening on the body of MRS THIRZA HARE.  CAPT. THOS. HARE identified the body as that of his mother, aged 56.  JOHN HARE stated that his sister called him early on Monday morning, as his mother was in a fit, and she died at 8 o'clock.  Dr Thomas stated that he was called on Monday morning, and found MRS HARE dead, death having resulted from heart failure.  A verdict of "Death from Heart Failure" was returned.

Thursday 30 May 1907

SOUTHMOLTON - Suicide At Southmolton. - On Monday Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner, held an Inquest at the Board room of Southmolton Workhouse on the body of HENRY WELLER, the industrial trainer and gardener of the Workhouse, aged about 50 years, who was found drowned by a lad named Herniman in Hacche Lime Pitts on Sunday.  Deceased had been missing since the 13th inst.  Mr J. R. Kingdon was elected foreman of the Jury.  Mr A. E. Shapland, a Guardian, and Mr T. A. A. Powell, clerk to the Clerk to the Guardians, were also present.  Mr H. G. Pallin, Master of the Workhouse, said deceased was a very quiet man.  He had never seen him the worse for liquor.  He had found no fault in him that day, but he had to speak to him some time since upon one or two trivial matters.  Deceased was a man who originally came there on tramp.  In the reply to the Foreman, the Master said he asked deceased to stop in that night to help him, but he replied that he wished to go out to get some cuttings.  He could give no reason why deceased should do away with himself.  WELLER had been at the Workhouse for 8 ½ years.  Jessie Hill, of the Tinto Hotel, said deceased had one drink of beer on the evening of the 13th inst..  He seemed as usual.  Robert Herniman, a lad, gave evidence as to finding the body in the pit and informing the police.  P.S. Newberry gave evidence as to recovering the body.  Deceased's watch had stopped at 9.30.  A purse, with 6s. 4d. in money, was found on the body.  Dr Wigham said he was of opinion that deceased had been dead about a fortnight.  Death was due to drowning.  Deceased was a very quiet man.  The Jury after a short retirement, returned a verdict of "Suicide during a Fit of Insanity."  Mr Shapland expressed his regret, as a member of the Board, at the occurrence. During the time deceased had been in the employ of the Guardians he had always conducted himself in a  proper manner.

BARNSTAPLE - Woman Found Dead At Barnstaple.  A Sad Case. - On Wednesday evening in last week, MISS MARY JANE KNILL, aged 51, who had lived alone in a cottage at Bradiford, Barnstaple, was found dead in bed.  The circumstances were Inquired into on the following evening by the Borough Coroner, Mr A. R. Bencraft, and a Jury, of which Mr W. J. Halls was the Foreman.

The Coroner having explained the object of the Inquiry, stated that deceased was a woman of somewhat eccentric habits and not at all sociable with her neighbours.  MISS KNILL, who had been living alone, had been in receipt of parochial relief, and had, he believed, refused to go into the Workhouse.  She had been allowed 2s. per week by the parish to live on, and her friends had, unfortunately, not been in a position to help her very much, although he believed that one sister had paid the rent.  He recalled the circumstances under which her lifeless body had been found, and thought it would be established that she died on the previous Saturday night.  If the deceased had been neglected in any way, it would be for the Jury to say so.    JOHN G. KNILL, a mason, stated that the deceased, his sister, served her apprenticeship in the drapery trade with the late Mr Peake, of Joy-street.  On leaving Barnstaple, she filled two or three situations in London and elsewhere, and she eventually went to Swansea in order to nurse a younger sister.  Having saved a little money, the deceased afterwards started a little business in Swansea, and was very successful for some time.  She then went into a larger business, at a rental of £60.  This proved too great an undertaking, and she lost her money and became poor.  This affected his sister's mind, and at times she seemed to lose her head.  She returned to Barnstaple about 16 years ago, and since then her health had not permitted her to do any work.  She tried a situation at Bristol nine or ten years ago, but only remained a month.  His sister had lived alone about three years, his youngest sister paying the rent, and deceased being in receipt of 2s. a week from the parish.  About three years ago she had an offer to go into the Workhouse, but she refused.  He did not think that she had been in want.  - The Coroner:  Have you noticed her getting thin?  - Witness replied that the family had sent her food.  -Q:  You considered her eccentricity was almost insanity, and consulted Dr Manning about it?  -A:  Yes, but he could not certify that she was insane.  Whilst living with the family his sister had done very strange things.  She would lie in bed, for example, for two or three days, and after they retired to rest she would go downstairs and cook her supper.  She would not go out of doors by day; she went out by night, and this caused a lot of unpleasantness with the family.  On one occasion, about five years ago, his brother refused to allow her to go out, and she escaped by the staircase window, a policeman bringing her back about two o'clock in the morning.  Witness last saw his sister alive a week previously, when she came to his house and seemed to be much brighter and better than she had been of late.  On the previous day, a friend mentioned that deceased had not been for her pay as usual, and his wife thereupon went to the house, but could not get any answer.  Witness subsequently secured a ladder, and on getting up to the bedroom window saw his sister lying at the foot of the bed, whilst on entering he found she was dead.  It seemed to him deceased had been vomiting, that she then sat up on the bed, falling backwards and expiring.  - In answer to the Coroner, MR KNILL did not think his sister had been in actual want; in the house he found a loaf of bread, tea, and five or six pounds of bacon, while her purse contained 4s. 2 ¼d., two gold rings and a silver ring.  Alfred H. Cann, labourer, deceased's next door neighbour, stated that MISS KNILL, who had lived in the cottage about 18 months, had seemed rather strange, going out by night and keeping in by day.  Witness saw her in Mrs Ridd's grocery shop near, where she was making some purchases, between 9.30 and 10.30 on the previous Saturday night.  She seemed just as usual and did not appear weak.  Deceased did not strike him as being thin and starved.    Dr Manning, of Pilton, deposed that deceased had only been his patient for three weeks.  He remembered having been sent for to see her five or six years ago, but she then refused to see him.  Latterly, MISS KNILL had consulted him for sleeplessness and for a pain in her side.  He had previously heard about her from the lady district visitors.  She seemed too proud to ask for anything, and they found it difficult to approach her.  They had, however, given her work to do in order to help her.  He was of opinion that deceased had been suffering from indigestion; she told him she had been living practically on tea and bread.  The deceased, who had told him that as soon as the weather permitted she was going to her friends in Wales, was exceedingly weak and had great difficulty in getting up the hill.  She always came to him at night, and once she told him that she had only had a cup of tea that day.  Under his treatment she seemed to get better, and he last saw her on May 15th.  She seemed quite rational, but she would not go into the Workhouse.  He had examined the body, which was thin but not emaciated.  He did not think that death was due to actual starvation.  The deceased had vomited about 1 ½ ounces of blood, and there was a good deal of haemorrhage, probably due to ulcerations, which had weakened the walls of the vessels.  He thought that death was a natural one, the probable cause being syncope from the internal haemorrhage.  The Coroner:  That was brought on from her general weak state, and, no doubt, from want of proper diet?  A.:  I think so.  -Q:  As to her mental state, did it not amount to insanity?  -A:  No, she talked quite rationally, but she was very timid and shy.  A Juror here remarked that there were reports that deceased had died from starvation, and he was very glad to hear Dr Manning's statement as to the help which had been given her by district visitors.  The Coroner said it appeared to him that the deceased had not been starved in the ordinary sense, but there could be no doubt that she had not had the proper variety of food which was necessary to build up the human body.  It was one of those distressing cases about which one hardly knew what to say.    The deceased's pride had evidently not allowed her to take generous offers of help, or to go into the Workhouse.  It was very difficult for the Guardians, with hard and fast rules by which they were governed, to deal with a case of this sort, and, as in other cases, they had given her relief, with the option of going into the Workhouse, an opportunity of which she refused to avail herself.  He did not think that anyone was to blame in the matter except the unfortunate lady herself.  He thought the Jury would have no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that death was a natural one.  The Jury, who associated themselves with the Coroner's remarks, returned a verdict of "Death from Syncope, the result of haemorrhage."

Thursday 13 June 1907

EXMOUTH - Sudden Death At Exmouth.  An Ilfracombe Gentleman Expires In The Plantation.  - A tragically-sudden death occurred at Exmouth about half-past six o'clock on Saturday evening.  MR EDWIN LANCEY, an elderly gentleman, well-known in yachting circles, who was a native of Ilfracombe, but resided at Endsleigh, on the sea front, at Exmouth, was sitting in the Plantation watching a game of croquet, when he groaned and suddenly expired.  Dr Hanna was immediately sent for, and Dr Eaton, who was passing, examined deceased.  But their efforts were of no avail.  At the Inquest death was shown to be due to heart disease.

Thursday 20 June 1907

EXETER - In the case of JOHN LANGDON, agent, Exeter, the Coroner's Jury found that he committed Suicide during Temporary Insanity, induced by excessive use of strong drink.

Thursday 27 June 1907

BRAUNTON - A Braunton Lad Drowned. - SIDNEY FLOYD WILLIAMS, aged 16, sailor, who had resided with his parents at Sunnyside, South-street, Braunton, met with a tragic death by drowning on Monday afternoon.  He had rowed a small boat to Capt. Drake's vessel, "Jane and Sarah," which was lying near the hospital ship "Nymphen," and had caught hold of a rope flung to him when he fell into the water and was drowned.  The deceased had been on several voyages in his father's vessel, "The Shamrock," and on Tuesday he was to have started on a lengthy voyage with Capt. Drake.  He was pulling out to the "Jane and Sarah" in order to take the Captain ashore.  The Inquest was held at Braunton on Tuesday before Mr G. W. F. Brown, Coroner for North Devon.  Robert Drake, captain of the vessel "Jane and Sarah," said his vessel was lying off Broadsands on Monday.  He saw the deceased lad, who was in his employ, coming towards the vessel in a boat.  The tide was flowing smartly.  As the deceased could not reach his vessel with the boat, he threw him a line with a buoy attached, which the lad caught amidships.  The rope became tight, and the boy was pulled overboard.  He must, however, have let go the rope as he threw up his hands.  As the tide carried him away, he (the witness) threw him a  life-buoy, which the deceased was unable to get hold of.  There was no boat on board the vessel to launch, to go to the lad's assistance.  Charles Gould, carpenter, who was on board at the time of the accident, gave corroborative evidence, and said the weather was stormy.  William Luscombe stated that he found the body in Horsey Weir at a quarter to nine.  Dr Walter Harper said his opinion was the death was due to drowning.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned by the Jury, who gave their fees to the parents.

Thursday 11 July 1907

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Suicide At Barnstaple.  Publican's Wife Takes Carbolic Acid.  -  MARY STEVENS, aged 32, wife of the landlord of the Union Inn, Derby, Barnstaple, took her life on Saturday morning by swallowing a dose of carbolic lotion.  Only a short time before being discovered in a dying condition, MRS STEVENS stood on her doorstep conversing with friends, and the deplorable suicide created a painful sensation in the Derby district.  A large number of persons awaited the result of the Inquest near the Inn on Saturday evening, and the sad affair has been almost the sole topic of talk in the neighbourhood during the week.  The Inquest was held at the Miller Institute, before the Borough Coroner (Mr A. R. Bencraft) and a Jury of which Mr W. J. Halls was chosen Foreman.  The Coroner, in laying the facts before the Jury, said he did not think there was any doubt that MRS STEVENS took the poison in question, and died from the effects.  It would be for the Jury to hear and determine whether she took the poison by misadventure or knowingly, and if knowingly, what was the state of her mind at the time.  ALBERT STEVENS, deceased's husband, stated that his wife and himself occupied the same room the previous night, and they came downstairs and had a cup of tea and bread and butter together, with the servant girl, just before eight that morning.  Subsequently he washed down the front of the house, and his wife stood on the doorstep talking to neighbours.  She was in her usual health, and he did not notice anything peculiar about her  A neighbour brought a plant, and his wife asked him what she should do with it.  He told her to put it in the yard behind, and he then lost sight of her.  His wife was perfectly sober; so far as he knew she had nothing to drink that morning.  Some little time after, his child called him from upstairs.  Witness thought she was calling for a book and answered back that he was tired.  The child then called the servant, who went upstairs and called down to him.  He went up immediately, to find his wife lying across the bed, as if she had sat down and fallen backwards.  MRS STEVENS was unconscious, and he noticed a bottle labelled "Poison:  Carbolic lotion," beside the bed.  He came to the conclusion that his wife had taken some of it, and he got some hot water, soda and salt, and tried to put it into her mouth.  [MR STEVENS almost broke down, and cried greatly at this stage.]  Witness also sent for the doctor, but his wife did not recover consciousness.  He did not think his wife was quite dead when he got upstairs, but she passed away before Dr Gibbs arrived, about a quarter of an hour later.  - The Coroner:  Was your wife in the habit of taking too much to drink sometimes?  -A.:  On occasions, sir.  -Q.:  Last night had she had too much?  -A.:  She had some, sir.  -Q.:  Did she ever threaten to take her life?  -A.:  Never.  -Q.:  Have you had any unhappy differences - anything to account for her being in a morbid condition?  - A.:  No, sir.  - Q.:  Unfortunately, married people will fall out and quarrel at times.  Have you had any bad quarrel lately that would account for your wife doing anything?  -  A.:  Not lately.  -  Q:  I suppose, like other people, you have had falls out occasionally?  - A.:  Yes, sir.  I have.  -  Q.:  Was there anything in MRS STEVENS'S life at all to account for her taking her life, if she did take it?  - A.:  I do not know of anything.  I know that when she was young she met with an accident, having her head split open.  -Q.:  You think the accident might have affected her head?  -A.:  Yes.  -  Q.:  Was she strong?  - A.:  She always suffered in headaches.  - Q.:  Have you found her head so affected, that she would be more excitable than other people?  - A.:  No; she complained of her head a lot.  She took a lot of "Daisy powders" for headache.  - By the Foreman:  Did not speak unkindly to his wife when he told her to take the plant out into the yard.  - By the Coroner:  He had the carbolic lotion from Dr Harper for use on his leg just before Christmas last.  He had always kept the lotion on a shelf in the back kitchen.  - Q.: In sight?  - A.:  Yes.  -Q.:  Do you think your wife must have taken the lotion from the shelf?  - A.:  The last time I saw the lotion, it was on the shelf.  - Q.:  Did your wife help you to use the carbolic as a lotion?  - MR STEVENS was understood to assent.  He added "She knew what it was all right."  - Q.:  It was plainly marked "Poison?"  A.:  Yes.  - By the Foreman:  His wife did not complain of anything that morning.  Maud Bratcher, a young woman, deposed that she had been a domestic servant at the Union Inn seven years. MR STEVENS'S little girl called her from upstairs that morning, a little after nine o'clock, and on her going up, she found MRS STEVENS lying across the bed.  Witness saw she was ill, and at once called MR STEVENS.  She did not think at the outset that her mistress had taken poison, but she afterwards saw the bottle in question by the side of the bed.  MR STEVENS went downstairs for something to give his wife, whilst Mr Hill and Mr Westacott went for the doctor.  Before the occurrence MRS STEVENS seemed just as usual - fairly well.  So far as she knew, she had no intoxicating liquor that morning.  - The Coroner:   Last night, did she appear to have been drinking?  - A.:  She had a drop, and MR STEVENS told her to go out of the bar.  -Q.:   Did she go, or did MR STEVENS put her out?  - A.: She went out, and MR STEVENS told her to go to bed.  - Answering further questions, witness said MRS STEVENS went upstairs, and about an hour later she came down again, sitting in the kitchen whilst MR STEVENS had his supper.  Did not think her mistress had anything.  Did not know what happened afterwards, as she went to bed, leaving MR and MRS STEVEWNS downstairs.  There was no row, no unpleasantness, and there were no blows.  Heard MR and MRS STEVENS come to bed, about a quarter to twelve.  - The Coroner:  Did you hear any high words, or anything approaching a row, afterwards?  - A.:  No, sir.  -Q.:  Have you ever heard MRS STEVENS threaten to do any violence to herself, or take her life?  - A.: No, sir.  - Q.: Was she generally in pretty good spirits or health?  - A.:<  MRS STEVENS'S sister said this morning she had her head cut open when she was small.  MRS STEVENS told me the same thing some time ago. -Q.: Did MR and MRS STEVENS live very unhappily together?  - A.: No, sir.  - Q.:  They were not unhappy together, as a rule?  - A.: No, sir.  - Q.:  Was there anything in her conduct leading you to suppose she was going to take her life?  - A.:  No, sir.  - By the Foreman:  She saw her mistress go upstairs that morning.  The little girl was in bed when she called downstairs.  Her mistress had not complained to her.  Mrs Emily Collett, of 6 Princes-street, informed the Jury that she knew MRS STEVENS very well; and about 8.30 that morning she was on her doorstep talking in the usual manner, and passing a joke.  Did not notice anything peculiar in her conduct.  Witness took her a chrysanthemum, and MRS STEVENS asked her husband whether he would like to have it, his reply being "Yes."  MR and MRS STEVENS seemed to be good friends.  They were laughing and talking for a quarter of an hour.  P.C. S. Hill, who was called to the Union Inn at about a quarter-to-ten, said the deceased was lying on her back in bed, and the bottle in question was on a harmonium by the side of the bed.  The bottle, which was corked, by a mark inside looked as though it had recently been about a third to a half full of lotion.  He looked around the room, but saw no note or letter there.  Miss Bratcher, recalled, said she did not notice MRS STEVENS carry the bottle in question upstairs.  Did not see her in the back kitchen that morning.  Witness last saw the bottle in the back kitchen two or three months ago.  It was then pretty nearly half-full of lotion.   Dr S. R. Gibbs stated that on being called to the Union Inn that morning, between nine and ten o'clock, he found MRS STEVENS lying on the bed, while her husband was standing by her trying to perform artificial respiration.  MRS STEVENS was quite dead; life had, however, not been extinct more than five or ten minutes.  Witness examined the body, and found no marks of a struggle.  MR STEVENS was naturally very much upset; he was in a terrible state.  The lotion in question had, he understood, been supplied to MR STEVENS for use on his arm or leg before Christmas last.  The strength of the mixture was 1 in 32.  In the 16 oz. bottle there would have been 4 drachms of pure carbolic, with water added.  The dose which had been taken was a small one to cause death, but a similar dose had been known to be fatal.  Death would not be due to the corrosive action of the liquid, but to the effect on the heart and respiration.  MRS STEVENS was a person of robust physique.  - The Coroner: MRS STEVENS had complained of her head.  Do you think the liquid would take effect quicker on this account?  - A.:  It is impossible to say.  Although the dose taken was a small one, it had obviously caused death.  There were cases in which death had been caused by a drachm; the dose in question was about 1 ½ to two drachms.  He could not come to any conclusion as to MRS STEVENS'S probable state of mind; he had never seen her before.  - Q.:  It would have been practically impossible for anyone to have made her take this dose against her will?  - A.:  Yes, sir; she did not show any signs of a struggle.  - DR Gibbs, in answer to further questions, said that death might have ensued in a quarter of an hour, and it would be much more quickly fatal than by corrosive action.  There would not necessarily be any weakness of the organs.  The Coroner, in summing up, said no doubt the poor woman died from a dose of carbolic lotion, self-administered; but whether she took it by misadventure, thinking, as it was a colourless liquid, it might be something else, he did not know.  He must point out, however, that the bottle was labelled "poison" very distinctly, and the moment MRS STEVENS had a drop of the poison in her mouth, she must have known it was something very peculiar.  The Jury had heard that when young, MRS STEVENS had an accident to her head, and this had the effect of giving her bad headaches.  This being so, and there being practically no other adequate reason for her taking her life, it would be for them to consider whether her state of mind when she took the poison did not amount to temporary insanity.  The Jury, having deliberated in private for a few minutes, returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 18 July 1907

SWYMBRIDGE - The Birth And Attempted Burial Of A Child.  Extraordinary Story:  Inquest Adjourned.  -  MARY STEPHENS, aged 21, daughter of the headmaster of the elementary day school at Travellers' Rest, Swymbridge, gave birth to a male child at her home at Travellers' Rest on Monday, no medical man or mid-wife being present or called in.  On Tuesday relatives took the body of the child to Barnstaple Cemetery for burial, but were told that a certificate was at first necessary. The certificate was not forthcoming, and the facts having been reported to the County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown), a post-mortem examination and an Inquest were ordered, the Inquest being held in the schoolroom at Travellers' Rest on Thursday.  The matter was almost the sole topic of conversation in the picturesque hamlet.  Dr Gibbs, of Barnstaple, was present, and the case was watched by Superintendent Hobbs, of the Devon Constabulary.  Mr H. Cook was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  The Coroner, addressing the Jury, said they were called together to Inquire into the circumstances of the death of an infant child of one MARY STEPHENS, a single woman, living at Travellers' Rest.  From the evidence which he should put before them he was afraid that he should not be able to complete the evidence that day, the case being a somewhat difficult one, and a little out of the usual running.  He should ask them to give very careful consideration to the evidence, which would be placed before them both then and at the adjourned Inquiry.  It would be for them to consider whether the child in question was born alive and whether it met its death by natural causes or foul means.  The Jury would have to be guided by him on the law of the matter after they had heard the medical evidence.  The circumstances of the case were these.  On Monday morning MARY STEPHENS gave birth to a male child - a full time, fully-developed child, of good proportions and good weight, and from what he could gather the only person present at the birth was the mother of the girl, MRS STEPHENS.  On Tuesday the grandmother of the child, with her son, proceeded, he understood, to the Cemetery at Barnstaple and endeavoured to get the body buried, but, of course, the Cemetery keeper could not bury the child without a proper certificate either from a doctor or from himself (the Coroner).  They then went to the surgery of Drs. Harper and Jonas, and asked for a certificate, stating the child was still-born; but, naturally, Dr Gibbs informed them that no such certificate could be given.  So that the relatives took the body of the child into Barnstaple in this peculiar manner, instead of sending for a doctor and having him present at the birth of the child.  Dr Gibbs at once communicated with him (the Coroner), and he sent to the surgery P.C. Screech, of the County police, who took charge of the body.  The body was then moved to the County Police Station, where Drs. Gibbs and Jonas had made a post mortem examination.  He suggested that they should have only sufficient evidence to justify an adjournment, so that the body of the child might be buried after they had viewed it, and disposed of the evidence of identification.  They would have to wait until they could get all the evidence possible to clear up any mystery concerned with the birth of the child.  The body had been brought there in charge of the police, and the first duty of the Jury would be to view.  The Jury then proceeded to carefully examine the body, which was enclosed in an ordinary wooden box.    Before MRS JANE STEPHENS, the grandmother of the child, was sworn, the Coroner said he must caution her that she was not bound to answer any questions that might incriminate herself.  He wished to give her that caution; he simply wanted to elicit all the information possible.  Witness might give her evidence voluntarily or she might refuse to answer questions.  Did she understand this?  -A:  Yes, sir.  MRS STEPHENS the deposed that MARY STEPHENS, mother of the child in question, was her daughter.  She was 21 years of age and was at present living at home.  She had been in service until a few months ago, coming home in February.  On the previous Monday her daughter gave birth to a male child about 11 o'clock in the morning.  No doctor or midwife was present.  Witness was in the garden hanging out clothes when her daughter, who was in bed, called her, and on witness going to the bedroom she saw a child.  Her daughter had been in bed since the previous Friday.  - The Coroner:  You expected this child?  -  A.:  No, sir.  I have asked my daughter time after time if there was anything the matter, and she replied "No."  Pressed by the Coroner as to whether she did not know of her daughter's condition, MRS STEPHENS emphatically replied "I did not."  When the child was born her daughter said "It is that beastly old man I met going through Venn."  Her daughter added that a "big tall man, dressed in brown with a box hat," had assaulted her and that he was the father of the child.  -Q:  Did she inform you of this before?  -A:  No, sir.  She asked her daughter why she did not mention the matter before and have the man traced, and she replied that she was afraid to.  Prior to February, her daughter was a domestic servant in service at Barnstaple.  - Q.:  Your daughter made no complaint to the police of being assaulted?  -A.:  She did not say anything about it.  She thought her father would be cross with her, and was afraid to say anything.  -Q.:  Would her father be cross because she had been assaulted?  -A.:  She always was afraid of him.  - Q.:  But she never told you about it?  -A.:  No.  -Q.:  do you believe the story told by her?  -A.:  I do.  She stuck to it all along.  She said he was a tall gentleman and she had no power in the matter.  A few weeks ago I asked her what was the matter, but she did not say anything about that then.  - MRS STEPHENS at this stage examined the body of the child in accordance with the Coroner's request, and she identified it as the child which her daughter had given birth to.  -Q.:  Your daughter took to her bed on Friday?  -A.:  Yes, sir.  -Q.:  Did she tell you what was the matter then?  -A.: No, sir. She was very bilious and sick, but this had occurred all the time she had been home and whilst she was at Barnstaple.  - Q.:  Did not the symptoms lead you to suspect something?  - A.:  No, sir.  I was not like it myself.  Further examined, MRS STEPHENS said her daughter had, previous to the birth of the child, shown no signs as to her condition.  There was no preparation for the birth.  "My daughter has always denied it up to Monday."  When her daughter called her into the room on Monday the child was on the bed, beside her daughter.  The child was not crying.  "I never heard it cry or breathe or anything."  -Q.:  What did you do?  -A.:  I did not know what to do.  I pulled the child away and told my daughter to be quiet.  Nobody was in the house at the time.  - Q.: Have you no neighbours?  - A.:  I have one who is deaf and another lives in the lane.  I could not leave my daughter to fetch them.  - Q.:  But your husband was there?  -A.: Yes, in the school. - Q.:  And a good many children?  - A.:  Yes, sir, but I could not leave my daughter to run to get anybody. -Q.: What did you do with the child?  -A.: I wrapped it up in that thing (pointing to the wrapper in the box).  She said he was dead.  - Q.:  How do you know the child was dead?  -A.:  He was not breathing.  -Q.:  Was the child lying on its back or its face?  -A.: I can't say.  - Q.:  Can't you remember?  -A.:  I think I was too horrified with what I saw.  -Q.: You made no attempt to nurse the child?  -A.:  No, sir.  - Q.:  Did you wash it?  -A.: No sir.  -Q.: Was the child washed?  -A.: No, sir.  - Q.: You say you did not have any doctor or midwife; who attended to your daughter?  -A.:  I attended to her in the usual way. -Q.:  Did you not think it necessary to get a doctor to see the child?  - A.: No, sir, because I thought the child was still-born.  -Q.: On Tuesday what did you do?  -A.:  I took the body of the child to Dr Harper; Dr Gibbs saw it.  -Q.:  Did you attempt to get the child buried?  -A.: Yes, sir.  -Q.:  Where?  -A.: In the Barnstaple Cemetery.  -Q.: Why take it to the Barnstaple Cemetery?  You have a church in the parish here.  -A.: Yes, sir.  We wanted to keep it quiet.  We did not want to take it to the Parish Churchyard.  -Q.:  What did the Cemetery keeper inform you?  -A.:  That we were to take the body to a doctor to get a certificate.  That was the reason we took it in there.  -Q.:  Did you not think it necessary to inform the police.  -A.:  I did not think it necessary.  -Q.:  Your husband knew this child was born?  -A.:  Yes, sir.  I told him when he came in.  - Q.:  Was he surprised?  -A.:  He was.  He did not expect anything of the sort, because he had spoken to his daughter once, while over and over again she said she would go to any doctor; "she was not that way at all."  Witness gave her every chance to go to a doctor.  - Q.:  As a mother, you did not have her examined with these symptoms?  -A.:  She denied it.  -Q.:  Young people generally do deny these things?  -A:  I suppose so.  -Q.:  Dr Gibbs informed you that a certificate could not be given?  -A.:  Yes, sir.  -Q.:  Who took the body of the child into Barnstaple with you?  -A.:  My eldest son, WILLIAM STEPHENS.  -A.:  Where is he?  - He went to Cardiff on Tuesday to seek work.  -Q.:  Why did he go away with this Inquest coming on?  -A.:  He did not think there would be anything serious.  He told Dr Gibbs he was going away.  -Q.:  But he might have waited.  When will he be home?  -A.:  I do not know.  He went to seek employment and will write home.  -Q.:  Will you undertake to get him here at the adjourned Inquest?  -A.:  I hope you will not adjourn the thing. It is bad enough as it is.  -Q.:  You do not think it is any fault of ours?  -Who is your usual doctor?  -A.:  The last one was Dr Harper.  My daughter was under the doctor from Christmas in last year for sixteen weeks with biliousness.  She was first taken in her ears, and she then had biliousness and nervous debility.  Her daughter had not been to any doctor this year.  -Q.:  How long before your daughter will be fit to be here?  -A.:  I cannot tell you.  -Q.:  You have had no doctor in to her?  -A:  No, sir.  -Q.:  Would you like Dr Gibbs to see her?  -A.:  Yes, sir.  - The Coroner:  Very well, I will arrange that he shall see her presently.  The Coroner also put several other important questions to witness relating to the condition of her daughter, this being supplemented by Supt. Hobbs.  In answer to one question by Mr Hobbs, witness said she was prepared to swear she did not know what was the matter with her daughter and did not have any suspicion regarding her.  She had had nine children, seven being now alive and she had never had any trouble of this sort before.  - Q.:  You still say, being a mother of nine children, you did not know what was the matter with your daughter?  -A.:  She told me there was nothing the matter, that is all.  Witness mentioned incidentally that after getting home in February her daughter went to a situation in Ilfracombe, but she only stayed a short time.  Further asked whether a certain thing did not lead MRS STEPHENS to suppose what was the matter with her daughter, the witness gave no answer.  Replying to P.S. King, MRS STEPHENS said the child never cried at all.  - The Coroner:  Did your daughter tell you whether it cried?  -A.:  She said it never cried.  - The Coroner here invited the Jury to put any questions, but none were asked.  ROBERT STEPHENS, grandfather of the child, stated that his daughter had resided in his house for some months.  At the end of February she went to Ilfracombe; but she returned home a week later, not liking her situation.  He did not know the name of the people for whom his daughter worked at Ilfracombe; his daughter knew. - Superintendent Hobbs here suggested that his daughter came home from Barnstaple because she was enciente.  -A.:  Not that I know of.  I never heard anything of the kind.  - Q.:  Did you notice anything peculiar in your daughter's condition?  -A.:  I did about two months ago.  I spoke to her; she replied "it was nothing of the kind."  My daughter has been unwell lately, suffering from sickness.  But she has been like that before - a year or two ago.  -Q.:  You are the father of nine children.  Did you not make up your mind what was the matter?  -A.: I was not certain.  When she denied it I did not know what to think.  In May the school attendance officer asked me what was the matter with my daughter.  I replied "Nothing that I know of."  I spoke to her that very night, and she said "it was nothing of the kind."  -Q.:  Your friend noticed it?  -A.:  Somebody told him so.  -Q.:  The neighbours noticed it? -A.:  I do not know.  I never heard a word.  That was the only time anybody has said a word about it.  - Further examined, MR STEPHENS said when he got home on Monday his wife told him his daughter had given birth to a still-born child.  - The Coroner:  Had the child been washed?  -  A.:  I do not know at all.  I think not.  She found it dead.  -Q.:  You knew what your duties were?  -A.:  Not with a still-born child.  Q.:  Did you not know it was your duty to inform the police?  -A.:  Not with a child like that.  _Q.:  You knew it had to be buried, and that you had to have a certificate?  -  A.:  Not with a still-born child.  I did not know we had.  -Q.:  Did you not think it necessary to send for a doctor?  -  A.:  Not then.  My daughter seemed nicely.  The child was dead.  I did not think it really necessary. -Q.:  Were you not alarmed about your daughter's condition?  -  A.:  Yes.  - Q.:  Was any preparation made for the birth?  - Q.:  Nothing at all.  - Q.:  Have you any objection to the police coming to the house and having a look around?  -A.:  Oh, no, sir.  - Q.:  Were you aware your wife and son took the body of the child to Barnstaple to bury?  - A.:  Oh, yes, sir; I knew that.  I sent them in to see if they could have the child buried there.  - Asked whether he believed the story about a stranger having assaulted his daughter, MR STEPHENS replied:  "I hardly knew what to do; she stuck to her tale  I have told her that if she told me at the time I should have gone to the police."  -  The Coroner:  The police are very careful; but I do not think they would have found this man.  - Q.:  Swymbridge is your parish.  Why not have sent the body to the Swymbridge churchyard?  -A.:  I wanted things quiet.  - Q.:  You must have known you were trying to evade the law?  -  A.:  No.  You can bury a child anywhere, the same as any other person.  -Q.:  Why has your son gone away just before the Inquest?  - A.:  He meant to go all the time.  He did not know he was to be a witness.  -Q.:  You knew on Tuesday there would be an Inquest?  -A.:  We did not.  - Q.:  Did not your wife inform you when coming from Barnstaple?  -A.:  She said "probably," but she was not certain there would be an Inquest.  - Replying to further questions, MR STEPHENS said his son, who had been working at Hartland since September or October for Mr Murch, of Umberleigh, came home on the previous Friday night, having finished some steam rolling work.  - Q.:  Will you undertake to get him here at the adjourned Inquiry?  -A.:  I do not know exactly where he is until I hear from him.  - The Coroner:  I am afraid we must have him here.  We must find him, or you must undertake to get him.  - A.:  Probably he will be back on Saturday, if he does not find work.  That is what he said.  -  Q.:  Did you see the child when you came home on Monday?  - A.:  No, sir I did not.  I felt "so put about."  They told me it was dead.  - The Foreman:  You did not think it necessary to see the child?  -A.:  I did not.  The Coroner thought he was bound to adjourn the Inquest.  First, he should want to place before the Jury the evidence of MR STEPHENS'S son, whilst they must have the evidence of the daughter, who was the mother of the child.  Dr Gibbs would presently see MISS STEPHENS, and he would, in all probability, be able to tell the Jury, before the adjournment, when she would be in a fit condition to give evidence.  At the adjourned Inquiry, he would be able to take the evidence of Dr Gibbs, as also that of Dr Jonas, who helped in the post-mortem examination.  They would then have the whole of the evidence before them.  He expected by now the Jury would see that the circumstances of the case were peculiar, and that it was necessary to have all the evidence possible on the matter.  A Juryman here remarked that a certificated nurse lived within 100 yards, and she could have been reached within five minutes of the birth of the child.  P.C. Screech, of the County Constabulary, Barnstaple, deposed that, acting on the Coroner's instructions, he on Tuesday afternoon visited the surgery of Drs. Harper, Jonas and Gibbs, at Barnstaple.  He saw Dr Gibbs, who handed him the body of the child in question in a box done up in paper.  He kept charge of the body until the post mortem examination by Drs. Gibbs and Jonas the previous day, when he handed the body over to P.C. Watts of Swymbridge.  P.C. Watts, of Swymbridge, gave formal evidence of receiving the body of the child from P.C. Screech.  The matter had not been reported to him by the relatives of the child.  He knew MARY STEPHENS, but no complaint had been made to him of her having been assaulted in November.  He had never heard of the matter until Wednesday, when MRS STEPHENS mentioned it to him.  MRS STEPHENS also said she did not know that her daughter was in a certain condition.  Dr Gibbs and P.S. King, accompanied by the Coroner, then visited MR STEPHENS'S house, being absent about three quarters of an hour.  On the Coroner returning to the room, he adjourned the Inquest until Tuesday, July 30th, at 4 p.m., saying he understood from Dr Gibbs that the mother of the child would be able to attend about that time. The Coroner bound the witnesses and the Jurymen over each in the sum of £10 for their appearance at the resumed Inquest and emphasised to MR STEPHENS the importance of procuring the attendance of his son, adding that he did not want to be compelled to issue a subpoena.  The hearing occupied about two hours.

WEST BUCKLAND - Terrible Occurrence AT West Buckland - Little Child Burnt To Death. - There was a most deplorable occurrence at West Buckland yesterday morning, a little child sustaining terrible burns, and expiring in a short time as the result of its injuries.  MRS STANBURY, wife of a farmer, rose at the usual time, leaving her little daughter, EVELYN, aged 3 ½ years, in its cot in the bedroom.  A little later MRS STANBURY noticed a peculiar smell, and on hurrying to the bedroom she was horrified to find the child on fire, having ignited its flannelette nightdress as the result of playing with matches.  The unfortunate child sustained such injuries that little could be done to save its life, and it passed away in a short time, death being due to shock.  The sad affair caused a painful sensation in the district, and much sympathy is being expressed for MR and MRS STANBURY in their loss.  Mr G. W. F. Brown, the County Coroner for North Devon, was communicated with during the day, and the Inquest has been fixed for today (Thursday) at four o'clock.

Thursday 25 July 1907

BIDEFORD - Sudden Death At Bideford.  The Hot Weather. - An Inquest was held at the Bideford Workhouse on Friday evening on JOHN LEY, 64, an inmate.  The Master (Mr W. H. Andrews) said deceased worked regularly in the garden.  On being called to the men's room on Wednesday, he found LEY in his chair dead.  James Barr, an inmate who had been working in the garden with LEY, and returned to the house with him, said he was in his usual health, and had not complained.  He sat in the day-room and had a conversation about going to the Mayor's outing at Westward Ho the next day.  Suddenly his head dropped, and witness sent for the master.  Dr Gooding, who had made a post mortem examination, said he considered death due to syncope, brought on by the excessive heat.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

WEST BUCKLAND - Fatal Burns At West Buckland.  The Flannelette Danger. - Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon, on Thursday Inquired into the circumstances attending the death of EVELYN ANNIE STANBURY, the 3 year old daughter of MR AND MRS STANBURY, of Hilliers Leary, West Buckland.  The evidence showed that about 8 o'clock on Wednesday morning MRS STANBURY left the child in bed asleep and went downstairs to do her work.  Shortly afterwards she smelt something burning, and, on going to the bedroom, she found the child lying on the bed with its flannelette nightdress completely burnt off.  None of the bedding was involved, and it was obvious that the child had been playing with matches.  MRS STANBURY carried the child downstairs and Dr Smyth of Southmolton, was sent for.  Dr Smyth arrived in a short time, but in spite of the remedies applied, the child expired in an hour, having sustained extensive burns over the body and face.  Dr Smyth pointed out the great danger of using flannelette as wearing apparel.  The Coroner also emphasised the danger of flannelette clothing, remarking that in this country there were almost daily cases of children being burnt to death by its use.  The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death, expressed sympathy with MR and MRS STANBURY in their loss, and handed their fees to MRS STANBURY for the purpose of a wreath.

Thursday 1 August 1907

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Fatal Accident At Barnstaple. - There was a sad accident on Monday evening at Barnstaple, when MR JAMES TREBBLE, tailor, of Fort-terrace, and husband of MRS TREBBLE, caretaker of the Barnstaple Council School in Ashleigh-road, met with a fatal accident on the school premises.  It appears that MR TREBBLE was on a high pair of steps, engaged in dusting, when, by some means, the steps overbalanced and fell, deceased being thrown heavily, and his head striking the floor.  MRS TREBBLE, who was in the room at the time, sent for medical assistance, and her husband was removed to the North Devon Infirmary, where he died later as the result of his injuries.  The Inquest was conducted at the Infirmary on Tuesday afternoon by Mr T. A. R. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, and a Jury of which Mr J. R. Ford was chosen Foreman.  MRS ANNE TREBBLE, wife of the deceased, stated that her husband was a tailor by trade, and had lived in the town for some years - about 29 years.  He was 52 years of age last birthday.  She was employed by the Education Authority as caretaker of the Council Schools in Ashleigh-road.  When her husband came home from his work on Monday between four and five o'clock, her daughter had the tea ready, but he would not have tea, saying that he would go to the school and work for an hour.  He was in his usual health.  She was at the school first, and he joined her  She was cleaning one of the rooms, which were lofty.  There was a partition in this room, and deceased had brushed the walls and windows, and was just finishing the last bit.  He was on a pair of steps, and she advised him not to go up so high, saying that she was nervous, and asking him to put the cloth on the brush and brush it from the ground.  He replied that he would dust it as it did not come clean with the brush.  He was three or four steps from the top of the steps, about five or six feet high.  She was looking the other way when the accident happened, being occupied in taking up the ink-wells.  She heard a fall, but could not see her husband, but on going around she saw him on his back and thought he was dead.  The steps had fallen against the desk, and he had fallen under them.  Her husband had helped her in this work for six years, and had never had any accident before.  She thought he was insensible and sent for Dr Lemarchand, meanwhile getting some hot water to bathe his head, thinking it was a bruise.  Dr Lemarchand soon arrived, and ordered his removal to the Infirmary.  He was unconscious before he arrived at the Infirmary, just before seven o'clock.  Deceased told him he did not know how it happened.  He was very sick, and wished her to stay with him.  Before she left him, about nine o'clock, he kissed her and told her to come again in the morning.  She had never known him subject to fits or fainting.  Witness saw him again when he was unconscious, at about 11 p.m., and he passed away about half-past twelve the same night.  In her opinion everything was done to save his life.

Dr R. M. Rendall, House Surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, deposed that MR TREBBLE was brought there about 7 o'clock on Monday evening by Dr Lemarchand's orders.  He saw him at once, and found, as Dr Lemarchand stated, that deceased was suffering from concussion of the brain.  He did all in his power to save his life.  He consulted  with Dr Lemarchand, and saw TREBBLE again at 8 o'clock.  Dr Lemarchand was in the hospital about 9, and he asked him to see TREBBLE again, which he did.  They had a consultation with the rest of the staff, but the unfortunate man suddenly got much worse and expired.  He had made a post mortem examination, and found that death was caused by a large clot of blood pressing on the brain, on the right side of the back part of the skull.  This meant certain death.  Nothing more could have been done for TREBBLE.  In his opinion such a fall as described would have caused the injuries.  Dr Lemarchand had no more particulars than those given, and therefore did not give evidence.  The Coroner, in summing up, said that they had had all the facts before them.  MR TREBBLE was evidently on a high pair of steps, and somehow managed to overbalance, the steps falling with him and thus bringing his head into contact with the floor and causing the injuries from which he died.  Everything was done to save his life.  They were going to have a consultation to see what was best to be done when he collapsed and died.  There was no doubt that it was an accident, and that TREBBLE died as the result of injuries received from the fall.  The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.

SWYMBRIDGE - The Swymbridge Sensation.  The Birth and Attempted Burial Of An Illegitimate Child.  Extraordinary Story:  Relatives Severely Censured.  The resumed Inquest on the body of the unnamed male child of MARY STEPHENS, domestic servant, aged 21, the single daughter of the schoolmaster at Travellers' Rest, took place in the schoolroom on Tuesday, before Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner for North Devon) and a Jury of which Mr Cooke was Foreman.  Supt. Hobbs, of the County Constabulary, was again present, with P.S. King and two police constables; whilst Inspector Francis, of the N.S.P.C.C., of Barnstaple, was in attendance.  The proceedings were of a protracted nature, and eventually the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that the child died on July 8th, but there was no evidence to show how it came by its death.  They further found that if the child had received proper attention at birth it would have lived, and severely censured the mother of the child and her parents for their conduct in the matter.  [Note:  Two columns detailing the Inquest].

Thursday 15 August 1907

ILFRACOMBE - Fatal Accident At Ilfracombe.  A Dangerous Spot.  -  An Inquest was held at Tyrrell Hospital on Tuesday afternoon, by Mr G. W. F. Brown, Coroner for North Devon, on the body of RICHARD LORD, painter, aged 58, who was found in an unconscious state at Larkstone on Saturday morning, and removed to the Hospital, where he died on Monday morning.  Mr John Jones was chosen Foreman, and after the Jury had viewed the body (which was in the mortuary) the first witness was MR GEORGE LORD, Barnstaple, nephew of the deceased, who identified the body as that of his uncle, RICHARD LORD, who was 57 last birthday.  Mrs Bubear, 8, Foxbeare, said deceased had lodged with her for over a year.  She last saw him alive on Thursday night, just before ten, when they had supper  On Friday morning, he was not in his room, when witness left home about 6.30.  She had never known him the worse for drink, and he never brought any in the house.  He might have had a glass occasionally, when they had some.  Mr Bridget Cooper, 4 Albert-place, said he knew deceased, and last saw him about 8.30 on Friday night.  He brought a ladder and bucket for work next day.  He said he was tired, and sick of the smell of paint.  He left before nine, promising to be there next morning.  Witness did not know where he was going.  -By the Foreman:  He seemed quite unwell, and staggered against the door as he came in.  William Trathen said he saw deceased in Quayfields, about 9.20 on Friday night.  He passed up a path, and said good-night to witness.  He seemed to ramble a bit as if tired.  Henry Gregory said he was in Quayfields on Friday, about half past 9 p.m., and saw a man staggering up the path.  He did not know him, but when he heard of a man being picked up, he judged it was the same.  Samuel Jones, employed at Rapparee Beach, said he heard on Saturday morning of a man being in Larkstone-lane.  When he went to the body, he saw blood in the road, and sent for a policeman. The man was quite unconscious, and was lying in the road about 6 feet from the bridge.  The Foreman said it was strange they had no evidence.   P.C. Christopher said he was called to the man, who was lying in the road, about 19ft. 6 below the bridge, across the road.  There was blood on some of the steps.  The clothing was quite wet, as if he had laid there all night.   The man was conscious, but very cold.  He thought the man had fallen down the steps, and recovered himself, falling into the road, there was no sign of foul play.  The spot was dark, and anyone going over the bridge could not see him.  Dr Kettlewell said he saw deceased at the Hospital.  He was quite unconscious, and here were two slight wounds on the head.  The deceased never recovered consciousness, and died on Monday morning.  By the Coroner's instructions he had made a post mortem examination, and found the brain covered with blood.  The base of the skull was fractured all round.  The cause of death was, no doubt, the fracture of the skull and haemorrhage on the brain.  There were no marks of injury other than those above named.  He agreed with the constable as to the probable mode of the accident.    The Coroner briefly summed up the evidence, and the Jury gave a verdict of "Accidental Death."  The Jury added a rider to the effect that the place was dangerous, and the authorities ought to take steps to lessen the danger by removing or raising the bridge, and by placing a light there, so as to light the steps.

NORTHMOLTON - Suicide At Northmolton. - Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon, held an Inquest on Monday, at the Church Room, Northmolton, on the body of FRANCIS PARKIN, farmer, aged 57, of Barnes's Close Cottage, who was found dead on Friday morning in the shippen, as the result of a wound caused by a gun.  Mr C. A. Passmore was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  ELIZA PARKIN, widow, stated that at 5.30 a.m. on the morning in question, she awoke and missed her husband.  She called her little daughter, and told her to go down and light the fire, take in the cow, and put it in the shippen.  A little later her daughter came and told her that she had found her father lying on the floor in the shippen, he being in a pool of blood.  Witness doubted this, but she afterwards sent the girl for the police.  Her daughter also informed her son, who decided not to go and see if it was so.  Her husband had been suffering from pains in the head, and had been discharged from the North Devon Infirmary only a week previous.  VICTORIA JANE PARKIN, child of deceased, who spoke up in a clear manner, said that she took in the cow, and on entering the shippen, she saw her father on the ground with a double-barrelled gun by his side, and lying in a pool of blood.  She went and told her mother, who said "Are you sure?" and she answered "Yes."  A little later her mother sent her to fetch the police, which she did.  WILLIAM PARKIN, aged about 28, son of deceased, deposed that his little sister informed him that his father had shot himself in the shippen.  On being asked by the Coroner if he went to see if that were correct, or if his father was living, he replied in the negative.  He did not go to see the body until the constable arrived.  He said he had been working with his father the past few days, and had noticed nothing unusual the matter with him, though he had been quieter than usual the last few months.  His father never complained to him.  He recognised the gun produced as his, and also the empty cartridge case.  He was not at all on unfriendly terms with his father.  He did not hear the report of the gun.  Dr Cardozo stated that on being called, he saw deceased about 7 o'clock in the shippen as described, and he was quite dead.  The gun had evidently been placed in his mouth, and the whole of the left side of his head had been blown away.  Death was due to haemorrhage, caused by the wound.  P.C. Wills, said that he arrived in a few minutes of being called, and searched the body, but found no note or letter.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane," and censured the son for his callous behaviour in not going to see if his father was living or dead.  Inquiry at the North Devon Infirmary elicited the fact that deceased was in the institution about a fortnight, and was treated for gastric trouble.  Dr Rendall, the house surgeon, said that deceased's complaint would in no way cause depression of mind.

Thursday 22 August 1907

BIDEFORD - Sad Fatality At Bideford.  Juror Fined For Non-Attendance. - The sad death of ARTHUR DUNN, the six-year-old son of MR CHAS. DUNN, painter, of Victoria Grove, was the subject of an Enquiry by the North Devon Coroner, Mr G. W. F. Brown, and a Jury of which Mr C. Heywood, was Foreman, at Bideford Infirmary on Monday afternoon.  It appeared that the lad was at play near Ford Rock on the New-road on July 19th, when, in climbing up a bank he fell and pitched on his head, suffering a compressed fracture of the skull.  He was not, however, at the time rendered unconscious, and with the assistance of his brother, CHARLES ERNEST, aged 9, and his other playmates, walked to the Infirmary, where he was promptly attended by Dr Pearson.  All the doctors connected with the institution twice held a consultation on the case, and an operation was performed to relieve the pressure on the brain. Owing to the extent of the injury, however, an abscess formed, and inflammation of the brain was set up and resulted fatally on Saturday morning last, after everything possible had been done to save the boy's life.  When asked how it happened, deceased said he fell down.  Evidence was given by the boy's father and brother, Drs. Pearson, and Toye and the Matron, after which the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  Mr W. Beer drew attention to the dangerous condition of the place adjoining the highway, where the accident happened, and the Jury added a rider embodying that view and expressing the opinion that those responsible should make the place safe.  The Coroner said he would forward the recommendation to Bideford Urban District Council.  The Coroner said that Mr Samuel H. Burrow, who had been summoned to attend as a  Juror, and had not done so, would be fined £1 1s.

Thursday 29 August 1907

NORTHMOLTON - Infant's Death At Northmolton. - Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon, on Tuesday held an Inquest on the five-days'-old infant child of JAMES BUCKINGHAM, labourer, of Dartick Cottage, Northmolton.  Mrs Kingdon, midwife, of Northmolton, deposed to attending the child's mother during her confinement.  No doctor was call in although the child was very weak from birth.  It frequently turned blue.  On Saturday she noticed a difference in the child's breathing, and it again turned blue.  She did not even then think it necessary to send for a doctor. The child died at 2 p.m.  Dr Cardozo, of Northmolton, said that he was called in after death on Saturday evening.  He examined the body, and found no marks of violence.  Apparently, however, at the time of birth the umbilical cord had been twisted round the child's neck in such a way as to have impeded the breathing.  Consequently the lungs had never been properly expanded, which accounted for the child turning blue.  Death was due to natural causes.  If a medical man had been called in, the child would no doubt have been made to breathe freely, and its life would have been saved.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes," and considered that the midwife should have called in a doctor before, seeing that the child was weak for five days.  The Coroner censured Mrs Kingdon and told her she should have sent for a doctor as soon as she saw that the child was not breathing properly.  he advised her in other cases to call in a medical man at once.

ISLINGTON - MISS JESSIE MABEL LANGRIDGE, sister of DR. LANGRIDGE, of Ilfracombe, poisoned herself with cyanide of potassium during a fit of illness on Friday last, and at the Inquest at Islington on Monday a verdict of "Suicide during Temporary Insanity" was returned.

Thursday 5 September 1907

ILFRACOMBE - Child Burnt To Death At Ilfracombe.  The Deadly Flannelette.  -  On Monday morning MRS NORMAN, wife of MR W. NORMAN, who drives a char-a-banc for Mr Burfitt, and who resides at 19, Marlborough-road, Ilfracombe, went out to work, leaving her three-year-old daughter (OLIVE ELSIE) in bed.  Some time afterwards a lodger in the house, named Whitfield, heard screams, and on going upstairs found the child with her nightdress in flames.  These were promptly extinguished, but the little child was found to be badly injured, and as quickly as possible she was conveyed to the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital, which is close by, and attended to be Dr Kettlewell.  After lingering for some hours the child died.  It is conjectured that after her mother left the little girl got out of bed and found a box of matches, which she ignited, and thus set fire to her nightdress, which was of flannelette.  Several matches were found in the bed.  The Inquest:-  The Inquest was held on Tuesday afternoon at the Tyrrell Hospital, before Mr G. W. F. Brown, Coroner.  Mr W. H. Trengove was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  MRS NORMAN, the mother, said she went out to work in the mornings, and on Monday left the house about six o'clock, leaving four children, aged 11, nine and six and the deceased, who was in a bed in her room.  By her bed was a candle with a box of matches.  Later in the morning, witness was sent for, and found her child had been burnt.  She was in her nightdress.  Witness usually came back about 8, to get the children ready for school.  WILLIAM NORMAN, the father of deceased, said he left home on Monday about quarter to six.  The child was then in bed asleep.  She had a flannelette nightdress, which he knew was inflammable.  He had heard that non-inflammable flannelette was sold.  His wife had been going out in the mornings nearly all the summer. The eldest child, who slept in the same room, was downstairs at the time of the accident.  James Whitfield, a lodger in the house, said he was awakened about 7.30 on Monday morning by the shrieks of a child.  He rushed on to the landing, and found the child burning.  She was wearing a little close-fitting vest, and he stripped it off.  He sent for the neighbours and the mother, and the latter took the child to the Hospital.  After this, he went to the room, and saw the sheet and bed on fire.  He put them out.  There was a candle on the bed, and loose matches about on it also.  By the Jury:  The nightdress must have been worn over the vest he stripped off.  Dr Kettlewell said he was called to the Hospital about 9 a.m. to see the child, who was in a state of collapse, and very cold.  Everything was done to help her, but without avail, and she died about 2 o'clock.  The body was badly burnt, but least where the vest was.  The death was due to burns and the shock.  P.C. Christopher said he went to the house, and on the bed found matches, burnt and unburnt.  He saw no candle on the bed then.  On the landing he saw the burnt place, where the flannelette nightdress had evidently burnt itself out.  The box of matches had been by the bed, within reach.  The Coroner said it was another instance of the danger of using ordinary flannelette, which was most inflammable.  He was constantly trying to impress the fact on juries and on the public, and wished he had brought a sample of the non-inflammable sort, to show the Jury.  It was very cheap, but until it was made an offence to sells the other abominable material, people would continue to use it.  He summed up the case, and commended the witness Whitfield, who himself was burned in helping the child.  The chief danger lay in the use of the flannelette for clothing.  The Jury complimented the witness Whitfield for his prompt action.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 19 September 1907

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Accident At A Barnstaple Railway Station.  An Employee Killed. - A most unfortunate accident, attended by fatal results, occurred at the Great Western Railway Station at Barnstaple on Tuesday morning shortly after nine o'clock.  GEORGE BEATTIE, aged 20, belonging to Exeter, but who has been engaged at the station as summer porter since July 1st, was crossing the rails for the purpose of going to the good shed, when, by some means, he got crushed between the buffers of two trucks standing on one of the lines, and was seen immediately after to fall into the roadway.  Assistance was at once forthcoming, and the unfortunate young fellow was conveyed to the North Devon Infirmary.  The injuries were so serious, however, that BEATTIE expired within half an hour after admission to the institution.  Deceased was a young fellow of fine physique, and his untimely death cast quite a gloom among the employees at the station, by whom he was held in much respect.  Additional pathos is lent to the sad affair by reason of the fact that deceased's grandmother was lying dead at his home at Exeter at the time, the funeral having been fixed for yesterday (Wednesday).  BEATTIE'S mother is a widow.

The circumstances of BEATTIE'S death were investigated by the Borough Coroner (Mr A. R. Bencraft) and a Jury, of which Mr McLeod was Foreman, at the Infirmary on Tuesday afternoon.  Mr C. H. Withy, Station Master at the Great Western Railway Station, was present, together with Chief Inspector Shattock, of Exeter, representing the Company.  The Coroner first gave a resume of the evidence which he proposed to call.  ALBERT JOHN BEATTIE, deceased's brother, gave evidence of identification.  His mother, a widow, lived in Belgrave-road, Exeter, and he last saw deceased alive at home about three weeks ago.  Mr C. H. Withy, Station Master, at the Great Western Railway Station, stated that since July 1st deceased had been employed by the Company at the Station as a summer porter, while he also helped in the parcels office.  That morning he went from the parcels office to the goods shed in order to see about a consignment of fish.  In doing so he would have to cross three sets of rails, what was known as the mileage line being on the outer side.  Standing on that line there were seven cattle trucks and four other vehicles, and there was a space between the buffers of some of the trucks of about a foot  At this stage Mr Withy, in answer to the Foreman, explained that the railway employees always crossed the line in going to the respective departments, but the general public were not allowed to go this way, having to go round by a separate entrance.  In shunting operations further up on the mileage line five cattle trucks were cut off from the engine and allowed to gravitate slowly back to the point where the deceased endeavoured to cross the line. The deceased did not appear to have seen them coming back towards him, and he was in the act of passing between the buffers of the stationary trucks, when the other trucks struck them, with the result that he was caught between them and crushed to death.  He did not actually see the accident, but a witness would prove that the brake was put on as the trucks in question were gravitating down towards the end of the station, so that they could not have gone down that way too abruptly.  John Hall, porter at the G.W.R. Station, stated that he was engaged in shunting the trucks in question that morning, being on the second truck nearest the platform, away from deceased.  He put on the brake as the trucks neared the stationary trucks, and he did not see deceased or hear any cry.  He knew nothing of the accident until he was told of it shortly afterwards.  He further explained that the trucks were running down hill, and that when he put on the brake he nearly stopped them.  He did not actually hear the moving trucks bump against the trucks between which the deceased tried to pass.  Had he known that deceased was there, of course he should have stopped the trucks.  One of the guards three or four minutes later acquainted him  with what had happened.  He thought that if deceased had looked he could have seen the trucks coming before he tried to get across the line.  George A. Evans, guard, informed the Jury that about 9.15 that morning he was standing in the road behind the mileage section, when deceased, who had evidently been caught between the buffers of two of the trucks, fell forward into the roadway.  BEATTIE only  said "Oh my stomach," and "Oh my coat."  Witness picked him up and gave him all the assistance possible, and shortly afterwards accompanied him to the Infirmary in a waggon.  - The Coroner:  Could he, if he had looked before he went in between the buffers have seen the shunting operations going on?  - A.:  Yes, before he jumped off the platform. If he had looked up towards the engine shed he could have seen that they were shunting.  - Q.:  Is it usual that when shunting operations are going on to give warning?  - A.:  We always keep a sharp look out when not engaged in other duties.  We give the drivers of engines a signal by blowing a whistle.  - Q.: Was it the right thing for deceased to try and get between the buffers?  -A.: No, not in such a small space.  - The Coroner, to Mr Withy:  The deceased would be aware that shunting operations would be proceeding every morning, and that it would be necessary for him to be careful?  - Mr Withy:  Certainly.  Inspector Shattock also said that deceased was n possession of a book of rules, one of which warned the employees in regard to shunting operations.  Dr Lemarchand stated that deceased was brought to the Infirmary at about 9.45 that morning.  Nothing could possibly be done for him, and he passed away twenty minutes after admission to the institution.  In a post mortem examination he found very little external injury, while no bones were broken.  The abdomen was full of liquid blood; there was a large rent of the liver; the spleen was torn across; the tops of both kidneys were bruised and the lower edges of both lungs were torn and bruised.  The injuries must have been caused by a severe crush, and deceased must have been caught by the buffers of the trucks just below the ribs.  It was rather curious that no ribs were broken.  Dr Randall, House Surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, who attended deceased on admission and who assisted in the post mortem examination, also gave evidence.    The Coroner, in addressing the Jury, called attention to rule 24 in the Company's rules, a copy of which was supplied to every member of the staff.  It was to the effect that servants engaged in the working of trains and shunting must not expose themselves to danger, and must prevent, as far as possible, such exposure on the part of their fellow servants.  Such exposure was treated as an offence against the Company's regulations and punished accordingly.  Whether deceased was aware of the trucks in question being shunted he did not know, but in his, the Coroner's, opinion, no one was to blame, except perhaps the unfortunate deceased man.  he supposed that to place a porter on each side of the railway when shunting operations were in progress was impracticable; the Company's servants were supposed to know the dangers, and take precautions accordingly.  The sad occurrence seemed to have been a pure accident.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and expressed the opinion that no blame was attributable to anyone in the matter.

Thursday 26 September 1907

MARWOOD - Inquest At Marwood. - The North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) held an Inquest on Thursday at Middle Marwood relative to the death of MARY LAKE, aged 62 years, who resided alone at the "Old Prison", Middle Marwood, and who was found dead on her doorstep on Thursday morning.  The evidence showed that the deceased, who was eccentric, was last seen on Tuesday by Mrs Couch, the deceased having been to receive her parish relief.  On Wednesday, Mrs T. Gammon was in her garden, near the house of the deceased, and saw MRS LAKE lying across the doorstep dead, at 12.20 p.m.  She was clad only in her night attire, and was holding a tin can in her hand.  A sister of deceased identified the body, but said she had not seen her sister alive for two or three months.  In the house was found 18s. 3 ½d., two small loaves, some cakes, and a piece of apple pie.  Dr F. B. Manning (Barnstaple) who made a post mortem examination, said the body was well nourished, but deceased had suffered from pleurisy, which would affect her breath.  He thought death was due to pleurisy.  The Jury of whom Mr J. L. Montague was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 3 October 1907

COMBE MARTIN - Fatal Fall At Combe Martin. - An Inquest was held at the Town Hall on Saturday by Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner, touching the death of WILLIAM LOCK, who died at Mill Weir Cottage, on Wednesday, September 25th, aged 76 years.  Mr George Thorne was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  Florence Burgess stated that she was a distant relative of the deceased.  She was in the house on Wednesday, September 25th.  Deceased was in a bedroom upstairs.  She visited his room three times during the afternoon, found him sitting upon the bed, and put him in.  He was deaf and dumb.  She went up about half-past three and found him lying on the floor  She then went into the street to seek help, but saw no one.  She also went to see if she could get Mr Huxtable, but he was from home.  Her mother came home about a quarter to four.  They then sent for Dr Manning.  She did not hear deceased fall nor any noise.  That was probably owing to her working the sewing machine at the time.  In answer to the Foreman of the Jury, she said deceased had not complained that day of being ill.  She did not think the matter very serious.  Dr N. S. Manning stated that he was called to see the deceased on the day named.  He found him in bed, and Mrs Burgess bathing his face with water.  There was a large bruise over the right eye, which was much swollen.  He was in deep coma, and evidently dying.  Pressure on the brain caused the coma.  He was unconscious and unable to swallow.  The injury was caused by a blow.  The skin was not cut, but there was an extensive bruise.  It might have been caused by striking the floor or the box.  The base of the skull was fractured.  Mrs Burgess (mother of the first witness) said she hardly knew how to describe her relation to the deceased, but they were distantly related by marriage.  She identified the body lying at Mill Weir Cottage as that of WILLIAM LOCK.  He was seventy-six years of age last birthday.  She saw him last about ten minutes to twelve on Wednesday.  He was then lying asleep.  Her daughter was in the house.  She returned home about a quarter to four.  She found the deceased lying on the floor.  With the help of Mrs Squire she put him to bed.  His head was against the box.  There was no blood except a little at one of the nostrils.  He was unconscious.  Dr Manning came very soon after he was sent for.  Deceased died about nine o'clock on Wednesday night.  The Coroner, in summing up the evidence, expressed his surprise that the service of some neighbour had not been obtained, as from what he knew of the people of Combe Martin he was sure it would readily have been given.  He thought there could be no doubt the death was the result of a fall, probably against the box, and that it was accidental.  The verdict of the Jury was "Accidental Death."  - The Foreman stated that he desired to express his entire concurrence with remarks of the Coroner with regard to the willingness of any neighbour to have rendered help on the occasion.

FREMINGTON - Distressing Fatality At Fremington.  Mr ARUNDELL CLARKE, J.P., Loses His Little Son.  - Under most distressing circumstances, MR ARUNDELL CLARKE, J.P., of Brookfield House, Fremington, has lost his little son, FREDERICK DAVID GRANVILLE CLARKE, aged two and a half years, during the past week.  On Wednesday MRS CLARKE took two of her children, the deceased and a little girl, out for a walk, and called at Chilcote Farm, the residence of Mr John Hobbs, in order to consult the housekeeper in regard to some milk.  MRS CLARKE was conversing with the housekeeper in the front kitchen, when her little boy crossed within MRS CLARKE'S sight to another room.  Suddenly a scream was heard, and MRS CLARKE rushed out to find that her little boy in returning had fallen backwards into a pan of scalding milk, which had been set, with others, in the front passage to cool.  The unfortunate child was severely injured, and, despite the fact that everything possible was done for it, it passed away on Friday.  The greatest sympathy is expressed for MR and MRS CLARKE in their sudden and tragic bereavement.  MR CLARKE takes great interest in local matters, being a Parish Councillor, and representing Fremington on the District Council, while he is the well-known secretary of the North Devon Polo Club. The Inquest was held on Friday at Brookfield, before the County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) and a Jury, of which Mr Carter was Foreman.  After the Coroner had recounted the circumstances of the case, which he said were particularly sad, MR ARUNDELL CLARKE formally identified the body, and said deceased was two and a half years old.  The evidence of MRS VIOLET A. CLARKE showed that the visit to Chilcote took place about 12.30 on the day in question.  The child crossed the passage to another room while she was talking with the housekeeper, and must have tripped in returning and fallen into the pan of scalding milk in which she found him.  She picked him out, took off his clothes, wrapped him up in a blanket, and carried him home.  She quite thought the pans contained clotted cream. When she went in she remarked to her little girl, "What lovely cream."  Emma Northcote, housekeeper at Chilcote Farm, said that MRS CLARKE conversed with her in the front kitchen about the milk.  From where she stood she could see the end one of five pans of milk set out from the front door along the passage.  She heard a scream, and MRS CLARKE ran out.  she followed, and saw the child in the pan - sitting in it.  They cut off his clothes with a pair of scissors, wrapped him in a blanket, and he was carried home.  She had always put the milk in the passage to cool in summer.  - A Juryman asked if she would put the milk there again, seeing that such accidents had occurred in several places.  - Witness replied that she had not put it there since.  If the child had fallen into any other pan he would not have been hurt, as that pan was the last one taken off the fire.  -Q.:  Don't you think this custom is dangerous?  -  A.:  I have never had an accident before and have done it for many years."  Moreover, she added, there were no children at Chilcote.

Dr J. R. Harper stated that he was sent for, but was absent at the time. He arrived about half-an-hour after Dr J. Cooke had left.  The scalds had then been suitably dressed.  The child was suffering from severe scalds.  The whole of its left buttock and thigh and part of the right buttock and thigh were scalded.  These constituted extensive scalds in a child of that age, and were usually followed by fatal results.  Deceased passed away from heart failure, consequent on shock.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned, much sympathy being expressed with MR and MRS ARUNDELL CLARKE in their sad bereavement.

Thursday 10 October 1907

BISHOPSNYMPTON - Fatal Accident At Bishopsnympton. - The North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) on Saturday held an Inquest touching the death of RICHARD ELWORTHY, labourer, aged 79, of Bish Mill, Bishopsnympton.  Jacob Venner, farmer, said deceased was in his employ on September 24th.  ELWORTHY and others were collecting stubble in one of the buildings, when a wasp stung a pony near by.  Deceased jumped to its head to hold it, but was knocked down and stepped on, with the result that his right leg was broken and his chest injured.  Witness had him removed to his house, where he was attended to by Dr Smythe.  Death ensued on the 3rd inst.  Dr Smythe said death was due to shock.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 17 October 1907

MARWOOD - A Marwood Tragedy.  Fourteen Year Old Boy Shoots Himself.  -  THOMAS GOULD, aged fourteen, son of a widow living at Marwood, on Tuesday took his life by shooting himself, at Viveham, Eastdown, where he had been in the employ, as a farm servant, of Mr Henry Hoskins.  The circumstances, said Mr G. W. F. Brown, the County Coroner for North Devon, at the Inquest at Muddiford, Marwood, last evening, were exceedingly sad, particularly having regard to deceased's age and to the fact, as would be shown by evidence, that he had taken his life in a most rash manner.  He detailed the facts, and said he was afraid that what induced GOULD to commit the terrible act they would never discover.  William Geen, deceased's uncle, stated that he last saw GOULD about a fortnight ago, when he appeared to be in his usual spirits.  He was a cheerful boy, and witness never heard him threaten to do away with himself.  Deceased used to suffer from sick headaches, but witness had never heard that he had gatherings in his head.  He always appeared to be comfortable with Mr Hopkins.  Mr Hopkins deposed that deceased had been in his employ about eighteen months.  At work the previous day, GOULD was laughing and whistling; but when witness got indoors at 5.30, he was told it was thought "TOMMY" had shot himself in the storeroom.  His neighbour, Mr Balment, went to the door of the room, but could get no answer.  Witness went for the police.  The gun produced was kept in the storeroom; it was not loaded.  - By the Coroner:  Deceased was a cheerful boy, and witness had not been finding fault with him.  Of course he wanted correcting occasionally, the same as most boys did.  On the previous day deceased was told to scrape up the yard; but it appeared he went upstairs to Miss Hoskins's bedroom, upsetting her jewellery and dresses and disarranging the bedclothes.  GOULD'S little sister, another servant, who had been left alone in the house, went upstairs and spoke to him, and he came downstairs with his boots in one hand, and his leggings in the other.  Mrs Hoskins subsequently spoke to him, and said she should tell his mother, deceased's reply being that he had taken nothing, this appearing to be so.  Witness could give no reason for deceased going to his daughter's bedroom.   KATIE GOULD, deceased's sister, informed the Jury that her brother had been very comfortable with Mr Hoskins, and never complained.  On the previous day he came in with a milkcan, and just after he went out she heard a gunshot.  She knew of no reason for her brother committing the act.  She bore out Mr Hoskins's statement with regard to deceased visiting Miss Hoskins's bedroom.  P.C. Mogridge stated that in forcing the storeroom door he found deceased lying in a pool of blood, with a hole on the left side of his forehead. The gun was lying across him, and a little boy spade produced by his side.  In a little handbook which he found in deceased's pocket was written:-  "The end.  Dear Mother.  I am very miserable.  Master is driving my life to an end very fast, and has been for a long time past.  So now, dear mother, bear up as well as you can.  Missus has gone mazed, and I am going to.  The end is coming, no matter how slow or fast.  I am going to make a clean job of it now.  No more worries for you or me.  KATIE told the old woman everything.  God forgive her and also me."    Dr Manning stated that the whole of the frontal bone of deceased's forehead was blown off, and the brain fearfully shattered.  He should think deceased had placed the gun in the left eye, and death must have been instantaneous.  He had understood that GOULD was very happy, and his mother was very pleased to have him at Viveham.  Deceased's sister, recalled, said she did not know of any worry her brother had.  - The Coroner:  He says he told your mistress everything.  Did he refer to his visit to the bedroom?  -A.:  I only told what I was asked.  The Coroner, in summing up, said he did not think for one moment that Mr Hoskins had corrected deceased unduly, or been in any way responsible for the boy getting the idea that he had been worried.  Deceased had merely gone to the bedroom out of natural curiosity - "to see what it was like," as he told his sister.  He supposed the lad was corrected on the following day, and this seemed to have preyed upon his mind.  The extraordinary letter was a recital of imaginary wrongs.  The story apparently reflected upon Mr and Mrs Hoskins, but he was sure all right-thinking people would agree there was no ground for any reflections, and that sympathy would be extended to them.  Several of the Jurors testified to deceased having spoken of Mr and Mrs Hoskins's kindness to him, one saying GOULD had said "they were kindness itself," whilst one stated that during harvesting GOULD complained of pains in his head.  The Jury (of which Mr Born was Foreman) returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 24 October 1907

COMBE MARTIN - Child Drowned At Combe Martin. - An Inquest was held on Monday afternoon at the Volunteer Recreation Room by Mr G. W. F. Brown, Coroner for North Devon, touching the death of GILBERT THOMAS BAKER, whose body was found in the stream at the bowling green on SAturday morning. Mr H. Isaac was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  JAMES BAKER identified the body as that of his son, GILBERT THOMAS, who was about thirteen months old.  He last saw him alive about a quarter past ten on Saturday morning, when he carried him in from his workshop to the house and left him with his wife.  He then returned to work in his shop.  The child was in the habit of visiting his other shop at the bottom of the garden.  The stream runs close by.  There is a door between the garden and the stream.  The door is usually latched.  On Saturday morning it had been left open a little while.  He thought the child must have fallen into the stream just there.  He was playing about in the garden just before he was missed.  About five minutes after he was missed, a little boy came to say the child had been found in the stream at the bowling green.  Dr Manning was sent for, and all was done for the child that could be.  MARY ANN BAKER said:  I am the mother of the deceased.  I last saw him alive about twenty-five minutes after ten on Saturday morning in the garden.  I could see him while I was hanging up the clothes  He was playing with the clothes pins.  A boy left the door open in the garden.  I have three other children.  Martha Norman said:  On Saturday morning I was near the bowling-green about half-past ten.  I saw something in the stream.  On going near I found it was the body of a child.  It was lying still.  I called Somerville, who took it out and carried it into my house. It appeared quite dead.  I did not know whose child it was.  Dr N. Manning said:   I was sent for to go to Mrs Norman's house about a quarter to eleven.  I there saw the body of the deceased.  Efforts had been made to restore the child.  I tried artificial respiration but without effect.  The child had not been in the water long.  The cause of death was drowning.  The body was slightly bruised.  The Coroner having summed up the evidence, said MR BAKER must see there was a proper fastening to the door at this very dangerous place.  He was sure the Jury with himself felt the greatest sympathy for the parents.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death" from Drowning.  The Foreman expressed his concurrences with the remarks of the Coroner.

SOUTHMOLTON - On Sunday evening, whilst SAMUEL EVANS, of Cooks Cross, was in his brother-in-law's house (Mr R. Johnson) in South-street, talking with his sister, he suddenly fell down dead. Dr W. H. Wigham was called in at once, and pronounced life extinct.  Deceased, who was 51 years of age, has been postman for many years for the Warkleigh district.  At the Inquest on Tuesday Dr Wigham said death was due to apoplexy, and a verdict was returned accordingly.

SOUTHMOLTON - Southmolton Tragedy.  "Found Drowned."  -  On Tuesday, Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Crooner, held an Inquest at Southmolton on VIVIAN LOCK aged 26, whose body was found in the pond at Aller Lime Kilns.  The deceased, who was employed by Mr J. Ford, jobmaster, was accustomed to drive the mailcart between Southmolton and Northmolton.  The evidence of the widow and other witnesses showed that deceased was in his usual health on Wednesday.  He did not seem depressed when at home for dinner, although his wife "had words" with him on Tuesday night because he had been drinking.  A week previously he was summoned in the County Court for £2 for groceries supplied last year.  It was proved that there was no truth in a rumour that his wife threw a glass of beer in his face at a public house on Tuesday evening  A witness stated that when the body of the Workhouse gardener was taken from the Aller pits some months ago, deceased said jocularly, "I shall be next."  The wife said she had never heard her husband threaten to take his life.  The body was found in the pond at Aller on Sunday. The Coroner said there was no evidence to show whether deceased fell into the pits or threw himself in, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."  The Jury added to their verdict a rider stating that no blame whatever attached to the wife.

Thursday 31 October 1907

LYNTON - The Sudden Death At Lynton Railway Station. - At the Foresters' Hall, Lynton, on Thursday, Mr G. W. F. Brown, the North Devon Coroner, held an Inquest on MR WM. JOHN ROBINS, 61, commercial traveller, Sidwell-street, Exeter.

The deceased, the Coroner remarked, was well-known in North Devon, where he travelled for Sully and Company, coal merchants of Lydney and Bridgwater.  On Wednesday he went to Lynton and Lynmouth from Barnstaple, and returning up the hill from Lynton to the station, was a little anxious whether he should catch the train, and asked Mr Alfred E. Smith, who was with him, to go on and delay the train a few minutes if necessary.  As it happened, he arrived on the platform in good time, and went into the lavatory, where, however, he immediately fell dead.   Mr Leonard Gale, MR ROBINS'S son-in-law, of Exeter, said the deceased was told a few years back by the doctor not to hurry and to be careful in various ways.  He suffered from giddiness very badly.  Mr E. Pedder, of Lynmouth, said earlier in the morning he saw deceased, who was then quite in his usual health, and had breakfast at his house. Mr Fursdon, stationmaster, Lynton, said when deceased came to the station he had a minute in which to catch the train, and, asking if he had time to go to the lavatory, witness said he had.  Half a minute later MR ROBINS ell down, and he went  to his assistance.  After gasping twice he died.  Deceased had evidently hurried up to the station, but he spoke in his usual manner.  Dr Atkinson said there was a wound on deceased's head through the scalp to the bone, but there was no injury to the skull.  Evidently the wound was caused by the fall.  A post mortem examination revealed that deceased suffered from extensive fatty degeneration of the muscles of the4 heart, and there was a thickening of one of the valves.  Death was due to heart failure, following hurrying to the station, especially after a meal.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes," and the Foreman (Mr Hodges) expressed sympathy with the relatives.  Concurring in this expression, Mr Thomas King, of Bridgwater, said Sully and Company deeply regretted the sad occurrence, and they had lost a most valued servant.  The Jury gave their fees to Lynton Nursing Fund.

Thursday 7 November 1907

LYNTON - Inquest At Lynton. - An Inquest was held on Thursday at the Town Hall, Lynton, by Mr G. W. F. Brown, on the body of MRS ELENORA CROOK, who died after a short illness.  MR WILLIAM CROOK, postmaster, identified the body as that of his wife, who was in her 47th year.  Three years ago she underwent an operation for cancer, a breast being removed.  He could not say that she was at times addicted to drink, whether she took laudanum to alleviate pain, or whether she took whiskey on Sunday last.  Spirit was, however, kept in the house.  Dr Warren was called in on Monday, when the deceased was found in a state of collapse on the floor  His brother-in-law was also summoned.  Witness remained with her the whole of Monday night.  She was in a semi-conscious state.  On Tuesday she seemed much better, and was quite intelligent and chatted in her usual way.  Dr Warren called at 9 p.m., and left about 9.10, recommending witness to go to bed.  He accompanied the doctor to the surgery for a pill, which the nurse administered.  Five minutes later the latter asked him to fetch the doctor, and he rushed down, but when they returned she was dead.  Two nurses were with her the whole of Tuesday.  P.C. Bibbings said he saw the deceased staggering about outside the Valley of Rocks Hotel about 7.25 on Sunday evening.  She fell down, and he went to pick her up, saying, "You are drunk."  This she denied.  She seemed drowsy, as if from the effects of some drug, but was quite sensible, and her speech was not out of the way.  Dr Warren said he was called to attend deceased at 2 p.m. on Monday, and immediately sent for two nurses.  On Tuesday night, at 9.30, she seemed wonderfully well, her speech being coherent, and she was laughing and joking, and had taken food during the day.  He told MR CROOK he might go to bed.  He saw her at 10 p.m., and she was then dead.  By the Coroner:  When he attended her first, on Monday, she was in a state of collapse, with symptoms suggesting laudanum.  He restored animation, and she was able to walk about the room and rested on a settee all Tuesday.  There were all the symptoms of laudanum poisoning.  He, with Dr Atkinson, held a post mortem and found the heart small and very fatty, the liver was very much enlarged, but there were no traces of laudanum in the stomach, which was practically empty.  Death was due to heart failure.  Dr Atkinson greed as to the cause of death.  The fatty condition of the heart  might have been due to alcoholism or otherwise, but he could not say.  By Mr Seldon, who appeared for the family:  He was aware deceased underwent a serious operation three years ago, the whole of the left breast being removed, as also the whole of the pectoral muscle, causing great difficulty and pain in moving the arm.  Deceased was highly strung and had a great dread of the recurrence of cancer.  The Coroner, in summing up, said deceased's health seemed to have been in a peculiar state and she was, apparently, drowsy from the effects of some drug when Dr Warren first visited her.  Everything possible seemed to have been done, and on Tuesday she was very much better.  But on sitting up to take a pill she collapsed and died.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes," and the Jury's fees were handed to the Nurse Fund.  The Jury expressed their sympathy with MR CROOK.

LANDCROSS - On Saturday last an Inquest was held on MRS ELLEN WALTERS, aged 50 (the wife of RICHARD WALTERS, a labourer) who died somewhat suddenly at about 12.30 on Friday morning.  The poor woman had walked to Bideford and back on Thursday and the husband said he had never seen her apparently in better health.  He heard no complaint from her until about 12 o'clock on Thursday night, when she told him she was feeling very unwell, and almost before he could call a neighbour, she had expired.  She leaves three children.  The Rev. E. T. Fyffe (rector of Landcross) was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  The medical evidence was to the effect that the body was well nourished, and most of the organs were in a normal state, but the heart was enlarged.  There was valvular disease, and the cause of death was syncope.  A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned.

Thursday 14 November 1907

BARNSTAPLE - Railway Fatality At Barnstaple.  "How Did I Get There?"  -  MR JOHN LUSCOMBE SMITH, crossing-keeper at the Commercial-road crossing near Barnstaple Town Station, was found lying in the permanent way near the crossing shortly after 8.30 on Saturday morning.  MR SMITH had been knocked down by the 8.28 down train, and was terribly injured.  Dr Cooper was summoned, and he ordered the unfortunate man's removal to the North Devon Infirmary, where he expired shortly after six o'clock in the evening.  The deceased was sixty years of age.  The Inquest was held at the North Devon Infirmary on Monday afternoon, before the Borough Coroner (Mr A. R. Bencraft) and a Jury of which Mr J. R. Ford was Foreman.  Among those present were the Chief Constable (Mr R. S. Eddy), Inspector Percival (Police Dept., L. and S.W.R., Exeter)Mr E. C. Watkins (Town Stationmaster), Mr F. Battrick (local Secretary, A.S.R.S., of which deceased was a member), and Mr A. F. Seldon (legally representing the same Society).  The Coroner, in opening the Inquest, said MR SMITH had been in the employ of the L. and S.W.R. Co., as a gatesman at Barnstaple for some years, and they all knew him very well.  On Saturday morning he was found in the four-feet way, some fifteen paces or thereabouts from the gates that he had been accustomed to attend to on the Quay near the old Town Station  He was suffering from very severe injuries, having apparently been knocked down by a train.  How the unfortunate man got on the railway did not appear to be known.  He should call several witnesses, and it would be for the Jury to determine how MR SMITH met his injuries.  CECIL N. SMITH, deceased's eldest son, stated that his father had lived in High-street.  His health had been good so far as he had seen, but he had, however, been shaky on his feet for the past three years.  His father drank, but did not go beyond the mark.  The Coroner:  As a matter of fact, he drank a goodish drop?  -A.:  Yes, sir.  When witness last saw him alive on Friday at dinner-time his father was in his ordinary health.  He had never threatened to take his life, and witness did not know of anything that would induce him to do so.  - The Coroner:  He was accustomed to meet trouble and fight hard against it, was he not?  -  A.:  Yes, sir.  - In answer to a further question, witness said that his father was accustomed to keep some bottled stout in his cabin, but there was none there when witness went there on Sunday.  His father had been on gate duty at the Commercial-road crossing for five years, had never met with any accident, and, as far as he knew, had done his duties satisfactorily.  He saw his father at the Infirmary after the occurrence on Saturday, but deceased did not say anything about the accident. He asked him to remove his cap, but was evidently referring to the bandages on his head, as he had not any cap on at the time.  His father also asked him if he could lift him on his side, but witness told him that he had to lie still.

Mr Seldon here explained that he was instructed by the A.S.R.S. to attend and to watch the interests of the relatives.  he did not wish to ask this witness any questions.  Fireman Frederick Cole, L. and S.W.R., stated that he was on the train that came over the bridge on Saturday at 8.23 from the Junction Station.  As they came off the bridge he looked out to see if the signals were up.  The gates were open, and the signals all on.  At a distance of 22 yards, he saw MR SMITH standing on the Quay side with his back to the gates, and his face towards the engine.  Witness, who was looking through the eye-glass, came to the conclusion that MR SMITH was standing protecting the gates.  They did not see him come towards the engine, and thought they had passed him all right  At the time they were travelling at the rate of ten miles an hour, and were slowing up, on nearing the station.  Witness was in the act of applying the hand-brake when he saw MR SMITH.  Witness could not account for deceased getting under the engine, and they did not know until they reached Ilfracombe that he had been run over, a message having arrived there to this effect.  Both the driver and himself examined the engine, but there were no evidences of its having struck anyone.  There were hooks on the engine, and the light was good at the time.  - By the Foreman:  Most times MR SMITH would be leaning out over the gates towards the river, but this time he had his face towards the engine.  Witness thought he was protecting the gates, as it was his duty to do.  - The Coroner:  There was nothing unusual in the position in which you saw him guarding the gates?  -  Witness assented.  - By Mr Seldon:  Witness sometimes saw him on one side of the crossing and sometimes the other.  - The Foreman:  Could not the gates be locked from the cabin?  -  Witness agreed, and said the wicket gates could also be locked from the cabin.  - By Inspector Percival:  Had not at any time seen anyone open the small wicket gates when the trains had been passing, and as far as he knew they had been locked.  - Inspector Percival said the gates had to be locked from the box; hence his question.  - By the Coroner:  MR SMITH was standing inside the gates on Saturday.  Dr Walter Cooper deposed that on being called to Commercial-road at about 8.45 on Saturday morning, he found SMITH already on a stretcher.  He saw he was dangerously injured, and advised his removal to the North Devon Infirmary.  Witness followed, administered chloroform to SMITH, and attended to his injuries.  He was then much collapsed.  SMITH recovered somewhat in the middle of the day, but again collapsed, and died at 6.30 p.m.  Deceased had extensive wounds on the scalp and face, a compound fracture of the right forearm, and injuries on the upper parts of the right side of the chest.  Death was from shock, from the severe injuries sustained; and the injuries were consistent with SMITH having tried to cross in front of the engine, and being knocked down.

ORLANDO STANLEY SMITH, deceased's younger son, stated that his father left home for work about a quarter to eight on Saturday morning.  He only had a cup of tea before leaving, intending to return for breakfast later on.  Witness went to the town station for his father's morning paper, and took it to him in the cabin just before eight o'clock.  A few minutes later witness returned to have a look at the paper, and to light his father's fire.  His father was sitting in the box reading the paper, and said he did not want any fire that morning.  It was not very cold.  Witness then left, and a little later heard of the accident.  - By the Coroner:  Things had not been comfortable at home, but this had been going on for a long time, and his father did his best to fight against it.  - By Mr Seldon:  His father was quite sober when he left home on Saturday.  It was quite usual for his father to stand at the wicket gate to prevent anyone passing, and not to lock the wicket gate, although there was a lever enabling him to lock the gates in the cabin.  - In reply to Inspector Percival, witness said he had known his father leave the wicket gates unfastened when the barges were being unloaded on the Quay.  The Coroner here elicited that the engine-driver of the train in question was not present, and that, as a matter of fact, he saw nothing of MR SMITH on the Saturday morning.  Mr E. C. Watkins, stationmaster at the Town Station, stated that on leaving the back of his house in Commercial-road, about 8.20 on Saturday morning, he saw SMITH standing by the cabin porch, about 15 yards from the wicket gates.  Deceased appeared to be all right.  After the train had left the Town Station at 8.28 he locked up his office and went indoors to breakfast, and about two minutes later Mr Ford, the booking clerk at the station, came and told him that he had found MR SMITH lying in the four-foot way.  Witness went to the spot and found deceased as stated, and that a doctor had already been sent for, and other assistance summoned.  The first indications of deceased having been knocked down were about six feet from the sleeper crossing.  Hair could then be traced for six yards to where SMITH was lying in a pool of blood.  Witness's theory was that SMITH, in a fit of absent-mindedness, thought that the train had really gone across the bridge, whereas it was advancing, and that he was too feeble to get out of the way when the train came up as he was crossing the line.  The train must have passed over him.  In deceased's cabin there was a lever by which the wicket gates could be locked against the public crossing, whilst the big gates were also locked from the Town Station, so that there was no need for deceased to have stood outside the wicket gate to prevent anyone crossing when trains were passing.  His position was inside the box; this was a rule of the Company.  - The Coroner:  He would be doing nothing out of the way if he stood there guarding the gates?  -A.:  No danger whatever, as far as I can see.  He had ascertained from the signalman at the Town Station that the big gates were not opened that morning for any vehicle to pass.  - Mr Seldon:  You have no rule which says that the gateman shall lock his wicket gate whenever a train passes?  -  A.:  There is no rule in the rule book.  - Mr Seldon:  Is it not a practice of the gatemen, instead of going and pulling the lever, to stand as SMITH did on this occasion near the wicket gate, to caution the public when the train in coming?  -  Mr Watkins was understood to admit it was done, and said that if a gateman stood at the wicket gate it was quite safe.  - The Coroner - If you saw him doing that would you not report him?  -A.:  Certainly not.  - The Coroner:  Practically it was his duty to be there?  -  A.:  I cannot admit that, seeing that we have provision in the box for locking the wicket gates.  - In answer to another question, Mr Watkins said there had been no alteration in the time of the particular train in question for the last two years.  Frank O. Lord, booking clerk at the Town Station, spoke to finding MR SMITH lying in the permanent way, on his right side near the left rail.  MR SMITH did not speak.  He smelt slightly of alcohol.   P.C. Smith, who assisted in removing deceased to the Infirmary, was next called.  At the Infirmary he heard deceased say "How did I get there?"  in answer to a question by his wife.  RENEE SMITH, deceased's widow, bore out previous evidence.  On leaving for work on Saturday, her husband put some money on the table for some fish, and said he would be back to breakfast the usual time.  Deceased had never threatened to take his life.  At the Infirmary her husband said "How did I get there?" and "Who has given me this blow in the side of the head?"  Witness asked him if he realised he had met with an accident, and he said "What accident?"  She felt certain her husband came to his death as the result of an accident.  Dr Rendell, House Surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, bore out Dr Cooper's evidence.  The Coroner, in summing up, said how deceased got on the railway they did not know, unless, as Mr Watkins suggested, he was temporarily lost, thinking about something else. There could be no doubt that he was knocked down by the train, and things went to show that it was a pure accident.  The Jury, after consulting in private, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  Mr Seldon, on behalf of the A.S.R.S., expressed sympathy with deceased's relatives in their bereavement - an expression in which the Jury joined, through the Coroner.

WATERMOUTH - Boy Drowned at Watermouth. - Mr G. W. F. Brown (North Devon County Coroner) held an Inquest at Watermouth, near Ilfracombe, on the body of a three-year-old boy named LEOL CHRISTIAN PIERRE FREDON, son of the head gardener, a Frenchman, at Watermouth Castle, whose body was found in a pond near.  The under-gardener (Mr H. Webb) stated that while passing a pond on the grounds he saw the body of the deceased in the water.  He immediately called his father, and they took the body out and sent for Dr Manning, of Combe Martin.  Artificial respiration was tried for some time, but it proved of no avail.  An empty can was also found, which indicated that the boy had been to the pond to dip up water and had fallen in.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" and expressed their sympathy with the parents.

Thursday 21 November 1907

SUTCOMBE - Old Lady's Death After A Fall At Sutcombe.  -  The North Devon County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) conducted an Inquest at Sutcombe on the body of MARY BLIGHT, aged 82, who resided in the almshouses.  A daughter of the deceased, EMMA BLIGHT stated that on October 14th her mother fell heavily to the ground when about to sweep the floor.  She was removed to bed.  Dr Emtage said he was called to see the deceased, and found that she had fractured her thigh.  Despite all treatment, she died on the 11th November.  A fracture in the case of such an old woman rarely set, and the shock generally proved fatal.  Death was due to the shock received by the accident.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 5 December 1907

NORTHMOLTON - Blind Man's Sad Death At Northmolton.  -  MR FRANK BURGESS, retired carpenter, aged 76, was found dead in his cottage at Northmolton on Sunday morning.  MR BURGESS, a widower, was stone blind, but despite this he had lived alone for some time.  He managed to look after his house, doing his own cooking, whilst he was able to find his way to almost any part of the parish.  He was an old and esteemed resident, and his familiar figure will be much missed.  A post mortem examination of the body was ordered by the County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown), who conducted the Inquest held in the Church Room on Tuesday afternoon.  Albert Edward Marland, deceased's son-in-law, stated that BURGESS had lived alone in a cottage at Northmolton village.  The deceased was stone blind, but he had managed to do his own cooking and look after himself.  Frank Bond, a boy, who went to deceased's house on Sunday morning, deposed that on getting no answer, he opened the door and found MR BURGESS in a kneeling position on the floor with his head on the ground.  He called neighbours and medical assistance was summoned. Dr Cordova, of Northmolton, who arrived at deceased's house about 10 o'clock on Sunday morning, stated that MR BURGESS had evidently then been dead for several hours.  A post mortem examination showed that the heart was very much enlarged and dilated, and death was undoubtedly due to heart failure.  The Coroner, in summing up, emphasised the danger of blind persons living alone, saying they ran the risk, among other things, of setting their own and adjoining premises on fire.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes," in accordance with the medical testimony.

BIDEFORD - Sad Fatality At Bideford.  A Lad's Strange Death. - The North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) and a Jury, of which Mr J. Prouse was Foreman, investigated the circumstances of a strange fatality at Bideford Infirmary on Monday afternoon. 

MR SIDNEY SHORT, collar cutter, of Meddon-street, gave evidence of identification, the deceased being his son RONALD, who was 14 years of age last June.  He was an apprentice at Mr Clements's drapery establishment in High-street, enjoyed very good health, and went to his work in every way as usual at 9.15 on Saturday morning.  Mr A. Clements said RONALD, who had been with him four months, was strong, active and much respected, and a general favourite with the staff, and they all greatly regretted this occurrence.  He came as usual on Saturday morning.  ?There were two opinions as to why he went to a store in the back premises approached by a flight of wooden stairs.  One was that he went to put some empty boxes there, and the other was that he went there to have his lunch.  The stairs were in general use.  Witness was in his drawing room at 11.25 and heard a fall.  The servant shouted that SHORT had met with an accident, and he rushed out at the back and found the lad lying unconscious at the bottom of the stairs.  He carried him in and telephoned for a doctor, Dr Pearson being present within four minutes.  The poor lad was bleeding from a wound over the right eye.  Dr Pearson said there was a small wound over the right eyelid, half an inch long.  That was the only external injury.  Inside the orbit had been perforated, and a hole about the size of a threepenny-bit and three inches long entered the brain.  It was evident the lad had fallen on something sharp.  A post mortem showed that no operation could have been performed or anything done which could have saved the boy's life.  Mr Clements, in reply to the Jury, said the stairs were quite clear; he could find no projection or anything which could have caused the injury described by the doctor.  Nothing had been removed since the accident.  In answer to the Coroner, Dr Pearson said no foreign substance was left in the wound.  It might possibly have been caused by a stick which in the spasm of the injury the lad might have pulled out and thrown away.  If it had been a pencil he should have expected to find the top broken off.  The Matron produced a pair of blunt pointed scissors, attached to a chain, found in deceased's waistcoat pocket, where he usually kept the, but they did not appear to be stained.  Dr Pearson, in reply to the Foreman, said he personally took the lad to the Infirmary in a cab and remained with him two hours.  Dr Gooding also saw him.  they agreed there was nothing more that could be done then.  Every medical man in the town was advised of the case, and a consultation, fixed for 3.30, to see if an operation would then be possible, and five medical men came, but the lad had passed away a quarter of an hour before..  Nothing could have been done to save the boy's life.  Mr Prouse said the Jury were satisfied that everything possible was done by the doctors, the hospital staff, and Mr Clements.  MR SHORT also added that his wife and himself were kept advised by the hospital staff.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and tendered their deepest sympathy with the parents in their sad loss, and also with Mr and Mrs Clements.

Thursday 12 December 1907

EAST ANSTEY - East Anstey Baby's Death.  Parent Censured.  -  At East Anstey on Thursday, the North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) held an Inquest on  MINNIE SKINNER, 15 months old, daughter of JAMES SKINNER, labourer of Mouse-hole Cottages.  - The Coroner said the child was found dead in the cradle, and Dr Sydenham, of Dulverton, declined to certify the cause of death.  The circumstances were not exactly as they should be, and the N.S.P.C.C. inspector had had to pay frequent visits to the house in regard to this child and others.  An Inquest has been held on another child of these parents before.  The mother said the child was not insured.  She had had nine children, of whom four were living.  The N.S.P.C.C. inspector had warned her of the dirty and neglected state of the children.  In regard to deceased, her husband went in for the doctor, but the child was dead before his return.  The husband, JAMES SKINNER, was questioned by Inspector Francis, of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and admitted that the latter had said that he would be forced to report him if there was no improvement.  Dr Sydenham, of Dulverton, said the child was fairly nourished, and from what he had heard that day and from previous knowledge he should say death was due to bronchitis of a tubercular nature.  The mother was not bright mentally.  Inspector Francis spoke of the number of times he had visited the house, and the condition of the place, which he had found filthy from top to bottom.

The Coroner thought the condition of the house showed a lamentable state of affairs, and it was horrible producing children into the world to die.  The case amounted almost to criminal neglect, but the mental condition of the woman weighed with him, otherwise he should certainly have advised the Jury to return a verdict to that effect.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes," and the Coroner, censuring the father, said he could see for himself the state of the house.  A bucket of whitewash did not cost much, and if SKINNER or the landlord did not have the place cleaned he would make strong representations to the proper authorities.  The father had just escaped being indicted for manslaughter.  He did not know the steps the N.S.P.C.C. would take.  That would depend on the inspector's next visit, and he hoped he would be able to make a favourable report.

Thursday 26 December 1907

DEVONPORT - At the Inquest on HERBERT W. ATTWELL, a contractor's foreman, found dead in Devonport Cemetery on Thursday, a verdict of "Suicide whilst of Unsound Mind" was returned.  Death was stated to be due to yew poisoning.

SUTCOMBE - Fatal Quarry Accident At Sutcombe. - Mr G. W. F. Brown, Coroner for North Devon, held an Inquest at Sutcombe on Saturday last on the body of JOHN BROMELL, quarryman, who was killed as the result of an explosion while working in a quarry.  A charge of gelignite had failed to explode, and the deceased, although warned of the danger, proceeded to try to remove it with an iron scraper.  The charge exploded, and BROMELL was blown twelve paces.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death", and expressed sympathy with the widow and family, to whom they gave their fees.

Thursday 2 January 1908

PARRACOMBE - Inquest At Parracombe. - An Inquest was held at Walnor Farm, Parracombe, on Tuesday evening, by the Barnstaple County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) on the body of FRANCES ELIZABETH BRAY, infant daughter of JOHN BRAY.  The evidence showed that on the 23rd instant MRS BRAY was doing some washing, the child being in an adjoining room.  On going into the room later, MRS BRAY found the child in possession of a bottle of carbolic acid, some of the liquid having been evidently swallowed by the child.  Emetics were speedily administered, and Dr Atkinson, of Lynton, sent for.  The child died from the effects of the poison on Tuesday morning.  Dr Edwards, locum tenens for Dr Atkinson, said that death was due to carbolic acid poisoning, and the Jury returned a verdict accordingly.

Thursday 9 January 1908

BIDEFORD - A Child's Death At Bideford. - A baby, named MAY HOPKINS, the seven months old child of MR AND MRS HOPKINS, of the Three Tuns Inn, Bideford, was left in bed by her mother, who, on going to the child some little time afterwards, found a pillow lying partly over her face.  The baby appeared to be partially suffocated.  Dr Gooding was at once sent for, and on his arrival he found it necessary to resort to artificial respiration, which proved successful.  He left, and returned some hours later, when the baby seemed quite recovered, and had some milk.  At 11 o'clock the same night the child had a convulsion, and the mother again sent for the doctor, but on his arrival the baby was dead.  Dr Gooding, at the Inquest held on Friday by Mr G. W. F. Brown, in the Town Hall, said his opinion was that the baby died of convulsions brought about by the partial suffocation in the morning.  The Jury, of which Mr Sanguine was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

STONEHOUSE - At the Inquest at Stonehouse on Friday, on the body of FLORENCE CROOK, who was found dead in bed at her home in High-street, on December 20th, a verdict of "Wilful Murder," with a rider that there was extreme provocation, was returned against her husband GEORGE CROOK, labourer, who was committed for trial at the next Assizes.

Thursday 16 January 1908

BARNSTAPLE - Death From A Scratch.  G. W. R. Fireman's Sad End At Barnstaple. - GEORGE ABRAHAM GARLICK, fireman in the employ of the Great Western Railway Co., has died at Barnstaple from blood-poisoning, resulting from a scratch sustained while at work.  The deceased, who was 27 years of age, belonged to Malmesbury, Wilts.  The Inquest was held at the Infirmary last evening before the Borough Coroner (Mr A. R. Bencraft), and a Jury, of which Mr W. Hooper was Foreman.  Mr A. F. Seldon watched the case on behalf of the deceased's relatives, whilst Mr Waster, assistant superintendent, of Bristol, was present on behalf of the Company.  The Coroner having briefly explained the circumstances, Alfred Ridd, mason, of Portland-street, stated that GARLICK had lodged with him for about 18 months.  On January 6th, deceased told him that whilst at work he had burnt his left hand and complained of pains running up and down his arm.  Witness noticed a small bladder on his hand about the size of a sixpenny piece, and suggested that it was a boil.  GARLICK had a restless night, and on Tuesday he was treated by Dr Lemarchand.  John Evans, engine driver, G. W.R., deposed that on January 6th deceased told him that he had knocked his hand against the smoke plate of the fire engine, which would have been very hot.  The burn was very slight, resembling a scratch.  GARLICK added that he felt a pain up his arm, and that he had a little lump in the joint, and witness advised him to get it attended to.  Dr Lemarchand stated that deceased came to him about 9.30 p.m. on January 7th, having a festering wound about the size of a shilling on the back of his left hand, and some red lines indicative of blood poisoning extending to his upper arm.  GARLICK said that he had burnt his hand on the engine, and that he had been in pain during the night.  His general condition was very good.  Witness cleaned and dressed his hand, and told him to come next morning.  On Wednesday morning GARLICK was not any better, and he told him that as he might get worse and require constant nursing, he had better go into the Infirmary.  He entered the Infirmary the same morning, but got steadily worse, and died from blood poisoning.  At one stage deceased's arm was swollen enormously, and an incision had to be made in order to let out the fluid.  He agreed with the Coroner that the slight wound must have been infected by some poisonous matter, and that it was dangerous to leave even the smallest wounds exposed; they should be washed and covered up.  By Mr Seldon:  Death was from blood poisoning, the primary cause being the scratch sustained while at work on the engine.  Dr James Appleyard, House Surgeon at the Infirmary, stated that he saw deceased immediately on admission on January 8th.  Matter was oozing from the wound, and deceased's upper arm was inflamed and red.  Witness treated him, but GARLICK gradually got worse, and passed away at 10.45 the previous night, everything possible being done for him. So far as he could see, GARLICK was a perfectly healthy man.  Death was primarily due to the wound, and secondly to the development of blood poisoning as the result f the wound.  He, too, agreed that wounds, however, slight, should be carefully washed and bound up.  The Coroner said there could be no doubt that the poor fellow died from blood poisoning, supervening from a small scratch or burn he received while in the execution of his work.  Everything had been done to save his life.  He thought that if it went forth to the general public that even a small wound neglected was really very dangerous, that Inquiry would not have been held in vain.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence, and expressed their great sympathy with the relatives of the deceased.

BIDEFORD - Inquest At Bideford.  -  Mr G. W. F. Brown held an Inquest at Bideford on Monday on the body of FLORENCE ELLIOTT, wife of GEORGE ELLIOTT, labourer, of 5, Cornwall-terrace, Clovelly-road, Bideford.  The evidence of the husband showed that deceased retired to bed apparently in the best of health, on Saturday, and that he spoke to deceased at 12 o'clock, and also at 4 o'clock on the morning of Sunday.  At 5 o'clock he awoke and found her gasping for breath.  He ran for medical assistance, but when he got back with Dr Pearson his wife was dead.  Dr Pearson said he had attended deceased last July, but he had not seen her since.  She seemed to enjoy very good health.  He had made a post mortem examination, and found all the organs of deceased were normal, with the exception of the heart, which showed fatty degeneration, sufficient to cause death  The complaint would not be visible during life.  The Jury, of which Mr J. M. S. Clarke was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Death from Syncope," in accordance with the medical evidence.

WINKLEIGH - Shocking Fatality At Winkleigh.  Farmer's Tragic Death.  -  Quite a shock was caused on Tuesday, when it became known that MR J. SHOPLAND, of Ward Farm, had met with his death whilst engaged in bruising oats in the barn.  The machine was worked by horse power, and the deceased had been at work scarcely half an hour when the sad catastrophe occurred.  Something was thought to be wrong by the workman who was driving the horses, and on entering the barn to see what had happened, found that the deceased had been killed.  It is thought that his coat must have caught in the fly-wheel, and that the deceased was brought with force against the machine, his skull being badly fractured.  In all probability death must have been instantaneous.  The deceased was a very prominent agriculturist, and widely known and much respected.  On many occasions he acted as judge in agricultural matters.  Much sympathy is felt for the sorrowing widow and family.  Mr J. D. Prickman, County Coroner, held an Inquest on Wednesday.  THOMAS SHOPLAND, farmer, of Burrington, brother of the deceased, identified the body  His brother had lived in Winkleigh parish for 30 years.  George Harding, horseman in the employ of the late MR SHOPLAND, stated that at 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday last he put four horses into the threshing gear to crush oats.  He had been working about 20 minutes when he saw his master looking over the barn door.  Five minutes later there was a jerk in the machinery, and the horses stopped.  He went into the barn, and there saw his master hung up by the machinery, his coat and right arm being entangled with the axle of the extra wheel.  The deceased's head was beside the wheel, and the machine was then stopped.  There was no protection to the wheel or the belting.  He (the witness) considered that his master's coat had caught in the machinery.  The body was nearly upright.  The feet were on the ground, and the head against the wheel.  Blood was coming from his master's eye, nose and ears.  His master never spoke.  He called for help, and took the body into the house.  John Hill, nephew of deceased, gave corroborative evidence.  The machine had been in use six or seven years,  Mr H, J. Norman, surgeon, of Winkleigh, deposed to being called to Ward Farm at 3.50.  He found deceased's right arm broken, and the upper part of the left side of the head was extensively fractured.  The spoke of the wheel was covered with blood.  The injuries were consistent with the description of the accident as had been given.  The Jury (of which Mr Collihole was Foreman) returned a verdict that deceased died from the injury received through being caught in the machinery, and that his death was Accidental.  The Jury also passed a vote of condolence with the family.

CROYDE - Inquest At Croyde. - The North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) on Tuesday conducted an Inquest at Chappel Farm, Croyde, relative to the death of WILLIAM ZEAL, infant son of MR STAFFORD ZEAL, of that farm.  MRS ROSE ZEAL, the mother, stated that at five o'clock on Monday morning she was surprised that the ten-weeks-old baby did not wake.  She had had four children, and always had taken them into bed.  The only thing she noticed when she took the baby up on Monday morning was that the child's arm was stiff.  MR STAFFORD ZEAL, the father, said the child was not insured.  Dr W. Harper said there were no marks of violence on the body, but the fingers were doubled into the palm of the hand, the toes being drawn under the feet.  The signs were consistent with death by suffocation.  The child was healthy and very well nourished.  The Coroner, in summing up, said it appeared the mother took the baby to bed with her, which was a dangerous practice.  There was no law to prevent parents taking an infant to bed with them, but it was his duty to point out the danger.  The Jury, of which Mr Moses was Foreman, returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

DEVONPORT - At the Inquest on JOHN H. WARREN, a coal porter, who fell into the water at Tamar Wharf, Devonport, and succumbed to double pneumonia, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

HARTLAND - Doctor's Sudden Death At Bideford. - On Tuesday evening DR HENRY MILLER, of Hartland, went into Messrs. Tattersill's shop, in Market-place, Bideford, to wait for the Hartland carrier.  Just before 6 o'clock the assistants saw the doctor fall off the chair on which he was seated.  He was picked up and removed to the back of the shop.  Dr Grose was summoned, and he arrived within a few minutes, and saw DR MILLER expire.  The deceased was a superannuated official of the Bideford Guardians, whose medical officer he had been for the Western (Hartland) District for over 25 years.  He retired some two or three years ago.  He was between 65 and 70 years of age.  He came to Hartland from Plymouth about 30 years ago.  Mr G. W. F. Brown, Coroner, and a Jury of which Mr E. Grimes was foreman, yesterday afternoon held an Inquiry at the Town Hall, into the circumstances attending DR MILLER'S death.  - Alice Cook, his housekeeper, said he complained of a pain in his chest in the morning, which he put down to smoking.  Mr F. J. B. Langbridge, manager at Messrs. Tattersill's Market Place Store, spoke to deceased coming into the shop, complaining of being ill, and asking an assistant to get him a peppermint.  Before that could be done he fell off the chair and did not speak again.  Witness telephoned for Dr Grose,  who stated to the Jury that the doc tor died just before he came.  A post mortem examination showed death to be due to fatty degeneration and a rupture of the heart.  Deceased was a heavy smoker, and had been warned against it, but that would not have caused the rupture.  The Jury returned a verdict of death from Natural Causes, in accordance with the medical evidence.

SWYMBRIDGE - Young Woman's Sad Death Near Swymbridge.  Burnt Whilst Using Methylated Spirits.  -  In last week's North Devon Journal, we reported a serious burning accident at Bydown House, near Swymbridge, the victim being MISS ALICE GARMAN, domestic servant, in the employ of R. Jameson, Esq.; and we regret to state that the unfortunate young woman passed away early on Thursday morning.  The sad affair was Inquired into by Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner for North Devon), and a Jury, of which Mr H. Cope was Foreman, at Bydown House on Thursday afternoon.  The Coroner in his opening statement, said they were met to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of ALICE GARMAN, domestic servant, employed at that house.  On Tuesday she was at work and somehow caught her clothes on fire, and was severely burnt.  She was attended by Dr Jonas, and she succumbed to her injuries at about two o'clock on that morning (Thursday).  WILLIAM GARMAN, father of the deceased, gave evidence of identification, and said his daughter was 23 years of age.  He was informed of the accident, and saw her about 12 o'clock the same morning.  He could not say that she was exactly conscious, and she could not tell him how the accident occurred.   Dennis Gill, gardener at Bydown House, deposed that on Thursday morning he was in the house at about quarter to eleven.  He was in the scullery when he heard someone screaming as if frightened, the sound coming from the direction of the butler's pantry, and he went in that direction to see what was the matter.  On going there, he met ALICE GARMAN coming through the kitchen door, and she was burning rapidly, being literally on fire.  He took her in his arms and laid her on the floor, putting mats and hearth rugs over her to try and extinguish the flames. The cook was also present.  Witness sent a boy for MR GARMAN, whilst he himself went for a doctor.  Deceased said nothing to him.  There was a fire in the pantry, and when witness looked in the pantry he found the paper on which GARMAN had been cleaning silver was on fire.  There was a  jar of methylated spirits broken on the floor, deceased having evidently taken it up and let it drop.  About a quart remained on the table, and some of the spirit was burning on the floor.  Deceased's dress was a print one, but witness could not understand how she caught her clothes on fire.  In answer to the Foreman, witness said the table in the pantry was about four or five feet away from the fire.  Dr Jonas stated that he was sent for on Tuesday morning and reached the house a little after twelve, and found deceased in her bedroom sitting on a chair  She was very collapsed then, and hardly knew what she was talking about.  She was burnt over the whole of the legs, up to the thighs, across the back and shoulders, and on the right arm, and also on the neck, whilst her hair was singed.  He attended her up to the time of her death, which took place about two o'clock on Thursday morning.  The cause of death was shock due to the burns.  In answer to the Jury witness said the under part of GARMAN'S dress had probably got well alight before she noticed it.  Mary Hoyle, cook at Bydown House, deposed that on Tuesday, ALICE was in the pantry supposed to be cleaning the silver, and she was in the scullery with Gill.  She bore out the witness Gill's evidence as to the putting out of the flames.  When witness got her upstairs she asked her how she met with the accident, deceased replying that the methylated spirits "flew over her.  It broke and fell over her and caught on fire."  In her opinion some of the spirit must have got over her dress.  The Coroner, in summing up, said it appeared that the poor girl was cleaning silver, and evidently upset the methylated spirit and ignited her dress.  She seemed to be enveloped in flames.  In his opinion the cause of her death was shock due to the burns.  No one was to blame in that case, and it appeared to be a pure accident.  Deceased seemed to have upset the spirit, and he suggested the verdict accordingly.  The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death, and expressed their sympathy with the parents and relatives of the deceased.

Thursday 23 January 1908

NEWTON ABBOT - There was a wild rumour on Sunday that the death of ex-Sergeant-Major RENDELL, a member of the Newton Constitutional Club, whose body was found in a mill-stream at Newton in the morning, was due to foul play, but the Inquest on Monday on the body resulted in a verdict of "Found Drowned."  Evidence showed that the deceased was the worse for drink on Saturday night, and that a blow received before death had caused a black eye.  It is thought that RENDELL must have fallen into the mill leat.

Thursday 6 February 1908

HIGH BICKINGTON - Sad Tragedy at High Bickington.  Aged Workhouse Inmate Hangs Himself.  -  The body of PHILIP JERMAN, aged 80, and an inmate of Southmolton Workhouse, was found hanging in Gratley Wood, High Bickington, his native place on Tuesday morning.  At the Inquest before Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon, yesterday, Henry Richards of Burrington, stated that on Thursday Southmolton Guardians allowed JERMAN, whom he had known all his life, to come to his house for a holiday.  JERMAN appeared very cheerful.  Witness saw him go to bed on Sunday evening, but next morning was informed by his wife that deceased was missing.  Witness made enquiries, and searched for JERMAN until eleven o'clock.  He resumed the search at 6 a.m. next morning, and ultimately met a man named Albert Eastmond, who informed him he had just found deceased in Gratley Wood.  Witness accompanied him to the spot, JERMAN was in a lying position, with a cord round his neck, fastened to a small hazel bush.  JERMAN was quite dead, and stiff.  Albert Eastmond, who was working at Gratley Quarry, on Monday spoke to seeing JERMAN enter the Wood.  Hearing next morning that he was missing, he searched for him, and found him as described.  P.C. Tuplin stated that there were no signs of a struggle.  In deceased's pockets were some silver and coppers, and tobacco.  Dr Goode, of High Bickington, deposed that death was due to strangulation.  Mr Pallin, Master, of Southmolton Workhouse, informed the Jury that JERMAN, who had been an inmate of the Workhouse two years, was a very quiet and well behaved old man. Deceased was granted a week's leave to go to Mr Richards's, and witness supplied him with money to pay his railway fare, and also his allowance of tobacco.  He appeared very cheerful on leaving.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 13 February 1908

CREDITON - Killed On The Railway Near Crediton. - On Saturday afternoon a man was run over and killed by the London and South Western express train at Puddecombe Crossing, between Crediton and Newton St. Cyres.  The body was identified as that of WILLIAM BURLEY, aged 61 years, a tanner's labourer.  He went to work at Messrs. Tremlett's Tannery, Exeter, on Friday morning, at 6 o'clock.  He did not return after breakfast.  Deceased, who was a native of Plymouth, had been working at Exeter for about 18 months.  He was a married man, his wife living at 32 Exeter-street, Plymouth.  At the Inquest at Crediton, on WILLIAM BURLEY, tanner's labourer, of Plymouth, a guard said he saw deceased deliberately place his head on the line in front of the train,. The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 20 February 1908

DEVONPORT - At the Inquest at Devonport on CHARLES O. WILLS, of the Works Department, Devonport Dockyard, drowned in the Hamoaze, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

EXETER - VICTOR NORMAN BINDLEY, about 50, surgeon, of London, who has been doing temporary duty at Tiverton Infirmary, committed suicide at Heavitree by taking prussic acid,  A pathetic letter from deceased's sister was read at the Inquest at Exeter on Friday.

DEVONPORT - Quartermaster Sergeant WELLS, a well-known musketry expert, committed suicide under strange circumstances in his office at Devonport on Thursday.  At the inquest on Friday, the evidence related to a tragic story.  Brevet-Colonel Stanton, staff officer, said that deceased seemed troubled about his work, but his accounts were all properly kept.

Thursday 5 March 1908

BARNSTAPLE - Sad Tragedy At Barnstaple.  Railway Employee's Wife Commits Suicide.  -  FLORENCE AMELIA GREENAWAY, aged 32, wife of MR WM. GREENAWAY, foreman in the locomotive department at the G.W.R. Station, Barnstaple, was found by her husband with her throat cut at their house in Gloster-road, Barnstaple on Thursday.  Serious injuries had been inflicted with a razor, and MRS GREENAWAY, after being treated by Dr Gibbs, was removed to the North Devon Infirmary, where she died in the evening.  The Inquest was held at the Infirmary on Friday afternoon, before the Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft) and a Jury of which Mr Dan Moxham was Foreman.  MR WM. GREENAWAY, deceased's husband, stated that at Christmas a railway employee came to his door and asked his wife to tell him that an engine driver had been found at the station with his head cut off. This proved a great shock to his wife, who had "not been the same woman since."  She was treated by Dr Lemarchand for haemorrhage, and a nurse had been in attendance.  Witness was called away from home to the funeral of his father on the previous Sunday, and he returned home on Tuesday to find that the nurse had left.  When he left home for work at 9.45 on Thursday morning, his wife appeared to be more cheerful than she had since Christmas.  Against his wife's wishes, but unknown to her, he decided to ask the nurse to again attend, but unfortunately she was out shopping, and did not reach the house until dinner-time on Thursday.  His wife's mother had died as the result of a growth in her side, and his wife had the delusion she was suffering from a similar complaint.  Whilst at work at the station about 12.20 on Thursday his little boy, aged seven, came to him and said he was unable to get into the house.  Going home as quickly as possible he found the door locked, and scaling the wall at the back, he went upstairs and found his wife lying on the floor in the front bedroom in a pool of blood, with his razor near by.  Witness sent for medical aid, and Dr Gibbs eventually ordered his wife to be removed to the Infirmary.  He and his wife had always lived most happily together, and his wife had nothing to trouble about, so far as he knew.  The only thing he knew was that she had been reading a newspaper report of the death of his father, which she left on the kitchen table, and he thought this must have affected her.  MR GREENAWAY, who was greatly affected whilst giving evidence, added "I only buried him last Sunday," and burst into tears.  The Coroner glanced at the newspaper in question.  It reviewed the fact that INSPECTOR GREENAWAY, who was 65 years of age, was the Royal driver, and had received the Victorian order.  He drove the late Queen Victoria's "Jubilee" train, and was in charge on the footplate when her Majesty's remains were taken from London to Windsor in 1902.  His record of service was a remarkable one; he could point to the fact that right up to the end he had never been concerned in an accident.  Annie West, Deceased's next-door neighbour, stated that she went into MR GREENAWAY'S house about ten o'clock.  During the half-hour she was there MRS GREENAWAY appeared quite cheerful - more cheerful than the day before.  About an hour later witness heard her in the back yard.  Dr Gibbs deposed that about two o'clock he received a message that MRS GREENAWAY was dead, but on going to the house he found her lying on the bed just breathing.  On the floor was a pool of blood, with a razor and deceased's two rings.  MRS GREENAWAY revived within a quarter of an hour after his arrival, and within twenty-five minutes she showed signs of consciousness.  She had a large wound right across her throat from the left windpipe, there being considerable haemorrhage as the result of the serious injuries.  Witness asked her if she had caused the injuries and suggested that if she had done so she should hold up her hand, which she did.  She also indicated that she wanted her rings, being quite sensible.  When she had sufficiently recovered, witness thought the only chance for her was by removing her to the North Devon Infirmary.  The wounds were very extreme and witness was surprised at her being alive when he reached the house.  Death was due to haemorrhage and shock.  Dr Appleyard, House Surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, gave somewhat similar evidence.  Little or nothing could be done to save MRS GREENAWAY'S life, the case, having regard to the injuries, being a hopeless one.  Death occurred just before 8 p.m. on Thursday.  P.C. Gooding, who helped to remove MRS GREENAWAY in a hand ambulance to the Infirmary, was also called.  He searched the house; deceased left no note of any kind explaining the deed.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane," and the Coroner expressed great sympathy with MR GREENAWAY in his bereavement.

Thursday 12 March 1908

BEAFORD - Gamekeeper's Sudden Death At Beaford. - The North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) conducted an Inquest at Beaford on Monday, on the body of SAMUEL CHARLES WHITE, a retired gamekeeper, who was for many years employed by the late Sir William Williams, and lived at Heanton Punchardon.  The deceased has been living for the last few years at Beaford.  He was in his usual health on Friday when he had his tea, but as he was walking across the kitchen, afterwards, he fell dead on the floor.  Dr Johnstone, who is acting in the place of the late Dr Drummond, deposed that WHITE died of valvular disease of the heart.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.  The deceased leaves a widow.

Thursday 19 March 1908

TORRINGTON - Torrington Child's Death. - An Inquest was held at Torrington on Thursday on CHARLES YELLAND, the four months' old child of EMILY YELLAND, farm servant of Frithelstock.  Inspector Francis (Barnstaple) appeared for the N.S.P.C.C.  - The child had been placed to keep with Mrs Margaret Parsons, of Caddywell, and the Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) said Mrs Parsons had not been registered by the Board of Guardians to take in children, as the Infant Life Protection Act specified.  The mother said she had had four children, two living.  The deceased with another of her children, was being kept by Mrs Parsons, whom she paid 5s. per week, but the two, the exact sum she earned each week. Deceased had been with Mrs Parsons three weeks.  - Margaret Parsons said she had kept children for twenty-three years, sometimes three and four, but she never knew she had to be registered.  She could not read or write.  She did not know she had to give the Coroner notice within twenty-four hours of the death of a child in her house.  She was a mother of thirteen, and treated the children as she would wish to be done unto.  The children were not insured.  Early on Wednesday morning the child had convulsions, and she sent for the doctor, but the child died before he arrived.  - Dr Macindoe ascribed death to convulsions, secondary to catarrhal pneumonia.  - The Coroner remarked that Mrs Parsons was no doubt an estimable person, but she was not registered to take children to nurse.  That would not be a matter for the Jury, but for the police and the Board of Guardians.  Returning a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes," the Jury asked the Coroner to call the attention of the Guardians to the matter, expressing the hope that some steps would be taken to see this unregistered nursing did not take place.

CHULMLEIGH - Fatal Accident at Chulmleigh. - Mr G. W. F. Brown, North Devon County Coroner, conducted an Inquest at Chulmleigh on Monday afternoon upon the body of MR FREDERICK BIRD MITCHELL, a single man, age 39, who had been carrying on the business of a corn and seed merchant.  - William Short, of Chulmleigh, identified the body.  Herbert Cockram stated that he was driving a pony and trap, in which were the deceased and a youth named Hannaford, last Wednesday from Eggesford Market to Chulmleigh.  It was about four o'clock when they reached Chulmleigh.  While passing a vehicle in Southmolton-street, the wheel of their trap slightly skidded in the gutter, and the pony commenced to gallop, and witness was thrown out.  The deceased evidently rose from his seat and tried to get out of the trap, with the result that he was thrown violently on his head in the roadway.  The pony was stopped a few yards further on by the boy Hannaford.  Witness went back to pick up the deceased, whom he found lying in the road in a pool of blood.  John Hannaford said the pony did not appear to be going very fast.  The deceased got up from his seat, and the next witness saw of him was when he was lying in the road.  Dr Tucker, who was immediately called to the scene of the accident, stated that MITCHELL had a cut on his chin, and was bleeding from the nose freely.  He attended to him during the week, but other symptoms - convulsions - set in, and the deceased died on Saturday as the result of convulsions caused by the shock of the accident.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 2 April 1908

BARNSTAPLE - Aged Woman's Death At Barnstaple. - MRS ELIZA DELBRIDGE, aged 74, residing with her married son at Congram's-row, Newport, died on Saturday, and as the Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft) was informed that she had met with an accident about two months previously, an Inquest was held on Monday evening.  The Foreman of the Jury was Mr Dan Moxham.  The Coroner, addressing the Jury, said it was important in cases where old people were concerned to see that they had every care, both medical and otherwise, and were treated with that consideration that were due to their age and infirmities.  He hoped that this had obtained in the present case, but the Jury would see by the evidence, and if they thought that anyone was to blame, it would be for them to say.    JOHN DELBRIDGE, son of deceased, stated that his mother had lived with him.  Two months ago, about 5 a.m., witness heard a noise in the stairs, and on getting out of bed and going down he found his mother sitting in a chair in the kitchen.  Deceased stated that she had fallen downstairs and hurt her arm.  Witness called his wife, and with her assistance took his mother upstairs, while he afterwards called Mrs Balment, a neighbour, and his brother FREDERICK.  On the following day his brother fetched Dr Woodbridge, who had attended her to the time of her death.  Witness, in answer to the Coroner, said that he and his wife had been kind to his mother.  No one had knocked her about, while she had everything in the way of food which had been ordered her  Deceased was 74 years of age.  - By the Foreman:  His mother did not give any reason for being up so early when she fell downstairs.  He had not known her get up so early of late years.    MRS CAROLINE DELBRIDGE, the last witness's wife, also gave evidence.  She did not know why her mother-in-law was downstairs so early on the morning of the accident.  Deceased complained of having injured her left arm, which became swollen.  Her mother-in-law had every attention.  Her life was insured, witness's husband holding the Insurance Police.  FREDERICK DELBRIDGE, another son of deceased, stated that his brother and himself maintained his mother.  Their mother had never complained of wanting anything, and everything ordered by the doctor was obtained for her.  Witness thought his mother was very comfortable with his brother.  Mrs Mary Grace Balment, a neighbour, was the next witness.  She spoke to seeing the deceased upstairs after the accident, and to having visited her.  Witness asked her how she fell downstairs, MRS DELBRIDGE replying that she did not know, and that she did not know where she was going at the time.  She did not say that anyone had pushed her downstairs.  Dr Woodbridge said that he was called to deceased on February 1st.  She had injured her left arm, and had bruises on the left leg, which were consistent with falling downstairs.  Witness had attended her regularly, but she gradually sank and died on the previous Saturday.  Death was due to general senile decay, which was accelerated by the shock of the accident.  The injury which deceased sustained in the accident would not have been serious to anyone except to an old person like herself.  Witness should have thought her older than 74, judging by her general appearance.  A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned.

ILFRACOMBE - At Ilfracombe Hospital on Wednesday afternoon, Mr G. W. F. Brown (Coroner) held an Inquest concerning the death of ARTHUR REGINALD DENDLE, son of MR WILLIAM DENDLE, of 23, Wilder-road.  Mr G. Southcombe was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  WILLIAM DENDLE said his son was five months old.  Witness left his house for work at 8 a.m., but was soon sent for.  When he returned the child was dead. When he last saw him he seemed quite well.  Some time ago the child had a fit from teething.  RHODA DENDLE, daughter, stated that she was nursing the child when it suddenly had a fit and died.  Dr Osborne stated that he saw the deceased about 9.30.  He was quite dead.  There were no marks of violence or anything to indicate death.  A post mortem examination disclosed congestion of the brain, which no doubt was caused by convulsions.  The child had been well cared for, and appeared very healthy.  The Jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes, expressed sympathy with the parents, and handed their fees to them.

BERE ALSTON - At the Inquest on MRS EMMA PARKEN, of Ward Cottage, Bere Alston, who committed suicide by hanging, a verdict of "Suicide during Temporary Insanity" was returned.

TAVISTOCK - A Coroner's Jury at Tavistock on Friday returned a verdict of "Suicide during Temporary Insanity" in the case of ALBERT E. CORY, 42, a postman, who, depressed through fear of dismissal in consequence of deafness, threw himself into the River Tavy and was drowned.

BARNSTAPLE - Woman's Death Near Barnstaple. - MRS SUSAN ANN PERRIN, aged 62, wife of MR JOHN PERRIN, of Deptford Cottages, near Barnstaple, fell at the bottom of the stairs on Wednesday evening and died on Friday  As the injuries she received were not sufficient to account for death, a post mortem examination was ordered and an Inquest was held by Mr G W. F. Brown, County Coroner, and a Jury of which Mr William Ho9lland was Foreman, on Saturday morning.  MR JOHN PERRIN, deceased's husband, stated that about 8.20 p.m., on Wednesday his wife was going upstairs with a water-bottle, when she fell at the bottom of the stairs. Witness found her lying on her side, and he took her into the kitchen, and fetched Mr and Mrs Baker, neighbours.  His wife did not speak, and died on Friday morning, without recovering consciousness.  Deceased had been in failing health for some years, having had a seizure about nine years ago.  He mentioned that on Wednesday morning his wife's nose bled, as she got out of bed.  William Baker, a neighbour, deposed that, called by MR PERRIN, he found the deceased sitting on the floor in the kitchen, and he helped her on the sofa.  She had a bruise on the side of the head, as the result of the fall, and was unconscious. He fetched Dr Cooper.  Dr Walter Cooper, of Barnstaple, stated that called to MRS PERRIN, about 9 p.m., on Wednesday, he found she had a large bruise about the size of an egg on the side of the head, there being in the middle of the bruise a small wound from which blood was pouring.  There was no fracture.  The left arm was severely bruised, this being consistent with a fall as described.  MRS PERRIN passed away on Friday morning.  A post mortem examination revealed that death was due to apoplexy, caused by the rupture of a blood vessel inside the brain, and not by the fall.  Death was due to natural causes.  A Juryman referred to MRS PERRIN bleeding from the nose on Wednesday morning, and Dr Cooper said there was a general congested condition of the blood vessels.  The Coroner having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes," expressing sympathy with the family in their bereavement.

Thursday 9 April 1908

ILFRACOMBE - Death of MR THEOBALD.  The Inquest. - The Inquest was held on the deceased at the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital on Thursday morning, before Mr G. W. F. Brown, District Coroner.  Mr J. J. Mansfield was chosen Foreman of the Jury, and after viewing the body, which was lying in the Hospital Mortuary, the first witness called was: - James Turner, gardener, employed by the deceased.  He identified the body, and said that MR THEOBALD, would have been 79 years of age on April 17th next.  He last saw the deceased on Wednesday week.  MRS THEOBALD, widow of deceased, said that her husband had not been very well for 10 days, but on Tuesday was in fairly good health.  About 10 p.m. he called witness from her room, and said he wanted a mustard leaf poultice, but Homocea was used instead.  After being rubbed he said the gas might be turned out, and he would be left.  Shortly, he said he would like the doctor fetched (having previously  said he would have him in the morning).  The doctor was sent for, but before he could arrive deceased's eyes began to glaze, and he gave a few deep breaths, and passed away.  This was about 10.40 p.m., nearly half an hour before the doctor came.  He said that he thought he had influenza, but took no special precautions.  By the Jury:  Dr Toller had attended him, but not very recently.  He had a heart attack about a year ago.  Dr F. H. Rudge (Dr Toller's locum tenens) said that on arrival at the house, he found that MR THEOBALD was dead.  On instructions, he made a post mortem examination, and found that deceased suffered from a  fatty heart; this would account for all the symptoms described by MRS THEOBALD.  The Foreman asked if it was necessary to remove the body from the house, and the Coroner said it was inconvenient to conduct a post mortem in a private house; they were dependent on the kindness of the Hospital authorities for allowing it to be done in their mortuary, as there was no public one.  The doctor concurred in these remarks.  The Coroner said the Jury might make a representation to the Council, but Mr Brooks (one of the Jury) said that the Council had accepted the offer to use the Hospital Mortuary and therefore had taken no further steps.  A verdict of Death from Heart Failure was returned.

ILFRACOMBE - Sudden Death At Ilfracombe. - At the Tyrell Hospital on Tuesday morning, Mr G. W. F. Brown, District Coroner, held an Inquest on the body of MRS MARY GERMAN, aged 67, of 95, St. Brannock's, late schoolmistress at Burlescombe, who recently came to settle at Ilfracombe.  Mr A. C. Blake was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  MR W. GERMAN, husband of deceased, identified the body.  His wife on Saturday felt a little giddy in the morning, and had to be supported.  The feeling passed off and she was well till afternoon.  They sat by the fire in the evening, and deceased complained of being cold.  Witness arranged a hassock for her, and she slept by the fire for two hours, with her head on witness's knee.  She went upstairs about 9 o'clock, and witness heard a noise and went upstairs.  He found his wife almost unconscious; she smiled as he went in, and in a few minutes died in his arms.  She had enjoyed pretty good health of late, and had not needed the attendance of a doctor.  Dr Osbourne said he was called to the house on Saturday night, and found MRS GERMAN dead  There were no marks of violence and after a post mortem examination, found that death had resulted from haemorrhage of the brain.  This quite agreed with the husband's evidence.  The Coroner having briefly summed up the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes.  The Jury passed a vote of sympathy with the husband and family.  Mr Knight and Mr N. Stephens said they had known MR and MRS GERMAN all their lives, both being natives of Ilfracombe.

Thursday 16 April 1908

BRENDON - Sudden Death At Brendon. - The County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) on Thursday last conducted an Inquest at the Parish Room, Brendon, relative to the death of MARIA CLARK, aged 52, housekeeper at Brendon Rectory, who was found dead in bed the previous day.  William Huxtable, in the employ of the Rector, deposed to seeing deceased about 10 p.m. on the 7th inst., sitting in the kitchen, when she complained of having a sick headache.  Next morning he was called to her room by the Rector, where he found her dead in bed.  The Rev. Jas. Day (Rector) gave evidence of identification, and said that deceased retired to bed on Tuesday evening, appearing to be in her usual health.  Dr Henry James Edwards, of Lynton, who made a post mortem examination, said death was due to syncope, secondary to disease of the spleen.  The Jury returned a verdict accordingly, and gave their fees to the Working Men's Club.

TORRINGTON - Torrington Widow's Death.  Would Not Have A Doctor.  -  Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner) held an Inquest on Monday in the Torrington Town Hall touching the sudden death on Sunday afternoon of a widow named MARY ANN HELLINGS, aged sixty years, residing alone at Stoneman's lane, New-street, Torrington.  Florence Minnie Glover, of Bideford, identified the body as that of her aunt.  Blanche Smale, residing next door, said she went into deceased's house about four o'clock on Sunday afternoon She found her on the floor in front of the fire.  Witness called a neighbour, who fetched a doctor.  Deceased died about twenty minutes after witness found her.  Deceased had been unwell since Wednesday last, but would not have a doctor.  Dr J. M Leigh Brown deposed that death was due to heart failure.  He had never attended deceased before.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" in accordance with the doctor's evidence.

Thursday 23 April 1908

KINGSNYMPTON - Farmer's Suicide At Kingsnympton. - Mr G. W. F. Brown (North Devon Coroner) on Thursday conducted an Inquest at Kingsnympton into the circumstances attending the death of WILLIAM BOURNE, farmer, of that parish, who hanged himself on Wednesday morning.  MRS BOURNE stated that deceased had been ill a considerable time, and for six months had done no work, owing to rheumatism.  On Tuesday night he was in a great deal of pain and did not sleep.  He rose at half-past six, made tea, and went out about eight o'clock.  That was the last time she saw him alive.  Later she went into the orchard close by, and saw him hanging from an apple tree.  She called William Bradford, who cut down the body.  William Bradford stated that deceased must have climbed up the tree to have tied the rope in the way he had done.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

Thursday 7 May 1908

BARNSTAPLE - Forty Years Sextoness.  Sad Death At Barnstaple. - CHARLOTTE COURTNEY, a widow, who for forty years was sextoness at Landkey Church, has died in Barnstaple Workhouse at the age of 86.  The circumstances were deemed sufficient to justify an Inquest, and this was held at the Barnstaple Workhouse on Tuesday afternoon by the Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft) and a Jury, of which Mr D. Moxham was chosen Foreman.  The Coroner said that about a week ago the deceased had occasion to get out of her bed in the sick ward, and in getting back into bed, with the assistance of another inmate, somehow or other, she broke the bone of one of her arms.  Of course, as they knew, the bones of people of that age were very brittle indeed, and it was very seldom when a person of that age met with an accident like that, that they recovered again.  MRS COURTNEY was very feeble indeed, but if the Jury found that the accide3nt accelerated her death, it would be their duty to return the verdict accordingly.  Mr F. W. Watts, Master of the Workhouse, stated that the deceased had been in the Workhouse for some considerable time.  She was 86 years f age, and a widow, and she had told him that she had been sextoness at Landkey Church for over 40 years.  She was very feeble both in mind and body, having been so for about 12 months or more, and had been in the sick ward for over three months.  She was bedridden, but had not been so for very long.  On Tuesday, April 28th, the accident to MRS COURTNEY was reported to him, and he immediately went for the doctor, and she died on Sunday evening.  Mr Watts spoke of the contentedness of the deceased, and said she made no complaint to him of anything.  Louisa Rew, an inmate of the Workhouse, spoke to helping MRS COURTNEY into bed on the day in question, when her arm went "snack" under her.  Witness was trying to put MRS COURTNEY into bed, and she (MRS COURTNEY) was trying to help herself.  She was handling MRS COURTNEY very gently.  Witness informed the nurse what had happened.  Nurse Jeans, one of the nurses at the Workhouse, deposed to being called to the sick ward and finding MRS COURTNEY'S arm broken  She had no idea as to how it was done, and deceased made no complaint to her.  She went for the Master.  Witness said that she did not think there could have been shock at all.    Mrs Copp, lady Guardian, said she had known MRS COURTNEY for many years, and latterly she had been failing in health greatly.  She had noticed a marked change for about three weeks. She thought MRS COURTNEY could not have lived more than a short time longer even if she had not met with an accident.  Witness saw her on Friday last, and she was very comfortable, and she told witness it was an accident and it was done as she was getting into bed.  Deceased had always spoken of how nicely she was treated.  She had told witness she was sextoness at Landkey Church for over 40 years.  Dr F. L. Thomas, Medical Officer of the Workhouse, deposed that on being called in he found that MRS COURTNEY was suffering from a broken arm, about some one-third way down her right arm.  Asked by the Coroner how he supposed it was done, witness replied that he thought the attendant had her arms in the deceased's arm pits lifting her up, and she gave a sudden jerk to help herself, and the muscle over-acted, breaking the bone, which was very brittle.  He should think it was a pure accident.  On being asked, Dr Thomas said that he did not think that the accident did accelerate death.  Asked by the Coroner if he thought death was due to senile decay, slightly accelerated by the accident, Dr Thomas answered "Yes."  Witness said everything possible was done for deceased.  The Coroner thought that the Jury could not do better than follow the doctor's opinion, that death was due to senile decay, slightly accelerated by the accident.  Everything appeared to have been done for MRS COURTNEY, but as they knew, a person of her age seldom recovered from an accident.   The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

BIDEFORD - The North Devon Coroner, Mr G. W. F. Brown, and a Jury of which Mr W. H. Luxton was Foreman, held an Inquest at Bideford Workhouse on Friday evening, on the body of JOHN DARK, aged 88, who had been an inmate since 1885, and had been in the Infirmary Ward about four years.  On April 16th, which was a particularly windy day, he was going into the airing ward, when the door blew open against him, causing him to fall and break his leg.  He had been attended by Drs. Thompson and Grose up to the time of his death on Thursday.  Deceased, an old sailor, had broken his leg twice before, once when at sea.  Dr Grose said the man's right thigh was fractured.  Death was due to exhaustion, brought on by the accident.  Mr Andrews (the Master) said deceased had always been a  well-behaved inmate, and had seemed very comfortable in the house.  The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.

Thursday 14 May 1908

BARNSTAPLE - Shocking Railway Accident At Barnstaple.  Permanent Way Inspector Killed. -  The Barnstaple Junction Station of the London and South Western Railway was on Friday afternoon a scene of a most deplorable accident.  About three o'clock MR JOHN PALMER, the permanent way inspector of the district, was engaged in his work on that portion of the line between the overhead footbridge and the bridge across the main road leading to Sticklepath, when by some means an engine which was being shunted back to the down platform knocked him down, passing over him before there was time for the engine to be pulled up.  A boy who had seen the occurrence on the station platform at once reported what had occurred, and assistance was promptly forthcoming. Mr T. Somerfield, the stationmaster, and several employees at once going to the scene.  It was seen that MR PALMER had been very badly injured, and first aid having been rendered and Dr Gibbs having arrived, the victim of the accident was at once conveyed on a hand stretcher to the North Devon Infirmary, but unfortunately passed away before reaching the Institution.  The news of MR PALMER'S tragic death was received with general regret, for MR PALMER had been permanent way inspector of the Company at Barnstaple for the long period of 27 years, and he was generally held in the highest respect and esteem, MR PALMER, who was 62 years of age, leaves a widow and a grown up family, for whom the greatest sympathy is felt.  The Inquest was held at the North Devon Infirmary on Saturday, before Mr T. A. R. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, and a Jury of which Mr W. J. Halls was chosen Foreman.  Among those present were - Mr T. Somerfield, stationmaster, Detective-Inspector Percival, Exeter, Mr W. Cox, Superintendent of the permanent way, Exeter, and Mr Pring, travelling permanent way inspector.  The Coroner said they were met to Inquire into the very sad circumstances attending the death of MR PALMER, who having for a number of years been stationed at Barnstaple as a permanent way inspector of the L. and S. W. R. Company, was well-known to them all, and was well acquainted with all the workings of the trains.  The Coroner showed that MR PALMER was on the railway at the Junction Station, about 3 o'clock on the previous day, at a point which he indicated on a rough map produced, and that near by was an empty engine which was waiting to be shunted back to take on an Ilfracombe train, the Bideford train having already gone.  Neither the driver nor the fireman of the empty engine saw MR PALMER and having been given signals to shunt back to take the train, the engine had gone about ten or a dozen paces, travelling at a speed not greater than two miles an hour, when the deceased was knocked down, MR PALMER sustained injuries which would presently be described to the Jury.  MR PALMER appeared to either have his head down inspecting the permanent way, to be reading some papers, or to have stumbled, as was stated by a boy who witnessed the accident.  It was difficult to say what accounted for MR PALMER getting under the engine; he suggested that it must be due to one of the causes named, or else the deceased must have forgotten where he was at the time.  The Coroner went on to refer to the assistance that was rendered, and expressed his great regret at MR PALMER'S untimely end.  Mr Thomas Somerfield, stationmaster, stated that deceased, a very steady and respectable man, had been permanent way inspector for the district for 27 years, and the inspection of the permanent way at Barnstaple Junction Station would, of course, be included in his duties.  Mr Somerfield went on to speak of the arrangements by which empty engines were shunted back to the platform from the point named, by means of a dummy signal, and hand signal given by a porter from the platform.  The line was about level at the spot and the driver of the engine in question could not have been travelling more than two miles an hour, as he had only proceeded about 10 or 12 yards, before striking MR PALMER.  He pointed out that as Inspector PALMER was, as a matter of fact, at the back of the engine when the accident occurred, the driver could not have seen him even if he had been looking out at the time.  As soon as witness heard of the accident on Friday, eh procured a tourniquet and proceeded to the spot, and with others gave the necessary assistance.  MR PALMER was insensible at the time. Porter Gilbert very thoughtfully went into the box and telephoned to Dr Gibbs, who was on the spot within four or five minutes.  MR PALMER then being removed on a stretcher to the Infirmary.  One of the men picked up a letter containing ordinary instructions which MR PALMER had been holding in his hand at the time the accident occurred.  His idea was that MR PALMER either slipped on the rails or was reading the letter, and so did not notice the engine, and was knocked down.  Just previously, Signalman Madge saw MR PALMER coming from the up platform towards the signal box, and it was in crossing to the down Ilfracombe line that deceased met with the accident. There was nothing to prevent MR PALMER seeing the engine, which was in full sight of him, and there was nothing whatever to prevent him from hearing the whistle.  MR PALMER was not deaf, while he possessed good sight.  - By the Foreman:  There was not a sufficient breeze at the time to prevent MR PALMER from hearing the whistle prior to shunting back.  Further questioned, Mr Somerfield said that MR PALMER would be perfectly well aware that the engine in question was waiting at the spot to go back and take on the Ilfracombe train - an everyday occurrence.

Arthur Madge, signalman, deposed that on the previous afternoon about 3 o'clock he saw MR PALMER walking towards the signal box on the railway, from the direction of the up platform.  He noticed that he was carrying some paper or letter in his hand, and he did not observe anything peculiar in his manner, as if he was going to have a fit or anything of the sort. Witness gave the driver of the empty engine the signal to go back, but he could not say whether the whistle was sounded, as there was so many engines about.  He noticed MR PALMER on the rails after the engine had passed over him.  About three minutes elapsed after he first saw MR PALMER  when he noticed him lying on the rails.  Henry Babb, aged 13, said that he was on the Junction platform on the previous day collecting for the Crippled Children's Home, just after three o'clock.  He was standing on the down platform near the waiting room, when he happened to look in the direction of the signal box, and saw MR PALMER hitch his foot in the rails, and stumble on the line.  The deceased tried to get out of the way of the engine, but before he could do so, he was rolled over, and the accident happened.  Witness called out to the foreman porter, and several persons immediately proceeded to the scene of the occurrence.  James Vanstone, foreman porter, spoke to receiving the communication that an accident had happened from the boy Babb, and to finding MR PALMER as stated.  The line was all clear when the signal was pulled for the engine to be shunted back.  Witness, who did not see MR PALMER, also gave a hand signal to the engine from the down platform, and directly he saw the engine start he walked back towards the train.  He could not say whether MR PALMER thought the engine was going either backwards or forwards, but he must have known that it was the rule for the engine to go towards the down platform.  - By Inspector Percival:  There was nothing unusual in the working of the engine, it being the custom to shunt back to the down platform.  Thomas Harris, the driver of the empty engine, stated that the engine was stationary for about ten minutes, close to the dummy signal before the accident happened.  He had the signal from the dummy signal, and also from the porter standing on the down platform for him to come back, and having looked out on the signal side, and seeing that the line was clear, he blew the whistle and had gone about ten yards when he felt the engine lurch, MR PALMER being run over.  He had not seen MR PALMER previously, and could not account for the accident.  At the time the engine was not proceeding over two miles an hour.  William Galliford, fireman on the engine, also gave similar evidence.  Witness looked out on the signalbox side, and he saw nothing whatever of MR PALMER.  Dr Gibbs spoke to being called to the scene, and to finding MR PALMER just breathing, but pulseless.  First aid had been rendered, and arrangements made for moving MR PALMER to the Infirmary, but he passed away on the way to the Institution.  Describing the injuries, Dr Gibbs said there was a bruise and a small punctured wound at the back of the head:  the left foot was completely crushed, the left leg above the ankle was fractured, the right leg was also fractured in several places above the ankle, and he believed the neck of the thigh was fractured.  The injuries were consistent with deceased having been knocked down by the engine, and death was due to shock.  The Coroner, in summing up, said there were a lot of loose stones on the line at the point named, and it was quite possible that MR PALMER might have stumbled over the rails, being knocked down by the engine before he had time to get out of the way.  He could not quite understand why no one but the boy Babb saw MR PALMER on the line, but it was perfectly evident that they did not see him, being engaged, he supposed, in their own particular work. Death was undoubtedly die to an accident, and, as far as he could see, there was no one to blame.  The Jury, through the Coroner, asked Mr Somerfield whether it was the duty of the foreman porter, after giving a signal to the engine to shunt, to keep his eye on the line until the engine got back to the train, or would his duty cease when the engine started.  Mr Somerfield replied that he did not think that it would be the porter's duty to watch the engine all the time.  Several of the Jury thought that the spot in question, near which there was a barrow platform, was dangerous, and, The Coroner said he quite concurred in the view that a porter ought to be employed to watch the spot when engines were being shunted in the way described.  He thought it would be well for the stationmaster to give instructions accordingly.  Mr Somerfield:  "I will do so, sir."  The Coroner further remarked, in support of the recommendation, that on the previous day he saw two men cross the line near the spot in question, despite the warning of the porters that they were acting illegally.  He thought if the suggestion was adopted it would be a wise one.  He did not think the present accident could have been averted even if a watch had been kept, but they wanted to prevent accidents in the future.  The Coroner further said that he was sure everyone sympathised with MR PALMER'S family in their great bereavement, a view with which the Jury cordially agreed, in returning a verdict of Accidental Death.

[Note: Description of the Funeral and Mourners followed].

BARNSTAPLE - The Barnstaple Tragedy.  "I Shall Try To Do Away With Myself."  -  The Inquest on MRS ROSINA TWIGG, wife of a purveyor's agent, of Victoria-street, Barnstaple, whose body as reported in last week's Journal, was found by her husband hanging to the door of one of the bedrooms, was held on Thursday, before the Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft), and a Jury of which Mr Dan Moxham was chosen Foreman.  Mr B. T. James watched the interests of MR TWIGG.

]  The Coroner, in opening the proceedings, said there appeared to have been some unfortunate differences between MRS TWIGG and her husband, and he had not been living with her for something like a fortnight.  (MR TWIGG:  Ten days).  The Jury would hear the reason of this from MR TWIGG personally.  No one appeared to have seen MRS TWIGG since Monday evening, until the previous day, when MR TWIGG, fetching something from the house a little after two o'clock, to his horror found her hanging by a rope to the bedroom door, quite dead.  MR TWIGG was too frightened to do anything himself, but called a neighbour Mr Bussell, who cut the body down.  From all appearances it was a case of suicide, and the Jury would have to judge what was the state of her mind at the time MRS TWIGG committed the act, and also the cause.    WILLIAM J. TWIGG, husband of the deceased, stated that his wife was 60 years of age, and that they had been married over 40 years.  - The Coroner here remarked that he understood the first trouble was after the birth of one of the children, and that afterwards MRS TWIGG took to intemperance.  Latterly, he believed, she had been twice before the borough bench - in October and November, 1906.  - "It is admitted, sir," said Mr James.  - The Coroner further said that he did not know whether MR TWIGG was aware of the fact, but last September the deceased came and signed the pledge at his office, but he feared she did not keep it very long.  - MR TWIGG:  Three days.  - The Coroner said this would show the general character of the poor lady consequent on this failing of hers.  - MR TWIGG:  It is more than that.  This is her record (producing a document) since 1891.  MR TWIGG went on to say that his wife attempted to poison herself in 1896 at Sydenham, while she had also jumped down a well in Berkshire.  She had been four times in lunatic asylums, while she had been in every inebriates' home he could get her in.  - The Corner:  Although you thought her bordering on insanity, you could not get her certified.  - MR TWIGG replied that some time ago he saw Dr Charles Cooke, who refused to certify his wife to be insane, saying that if she was sent to an asylum she would soon be out again.  - The Coroner:  While she kept from drink she was more or less rational.  - A.:  No, her brain went wrong first, and she took to drink invariably.  - The Coroner:  I have heard her conduct to you was very bad some little time ago, and you had to tell her you could not live any longer with her.  - A.:  I have done it a dozen times.  - Q.:  You instructed a solicitor to write telling her you would provide for her maintenance, but under no circumstances could you any longer live with her.  - A.:  That is so.  MR TWIGG continued that at Easter his son and daughter were down from London, and on account of his wife's conduct he had to sleep out the night.  Last Thursday week, too, he too had sent his daughter back to London, while he left the house.  - The Coroner:  Since then MRS TWIGG had been living here by herself.  I understand you have provided plenty of means and food?  -  A.:  Yes. - Q.:  You recently sent her a postal order for 15s., telling her to keep the previous postal order for £5, in order to provide dresses for herself and saying that you would supply food and maintenance.  The postal order was found unchanged upon her?  -  A.:  Yes.  MR TWIGG further said that on the previous day he wanted something in his desk, and came home.  He first went to his desk, and noticed the knife and steel 0produced) in the middle of the room.  A slip of paper on the table bore the words, "I shall try to do away with myself. - R.T."  Witness went upstairs and found nothing amiss in the back bedrooms, but when he pushed open the door in the front bedroom, he caught sight of his wife's head, and she was hanging at the door  He immediately called Mr Bussell, a neighbour, into the house.  - The Foreman asked why MR TWIGG did not have someone to look after his wife?  - Witness replied that she would not have anyone.  He had tried time after time, and she would not keep anyone in the house.  His business kept him away travelling.  - The Foreman thought that all the more reason why MR TWIGG should have someone to look after his wife.  - MR TWIGG repeated that his wife would not have anyone.  - The Coroner:  Did you consider she was in a dangerous state up to now?  -A.:  I never expected this would have happened.  Mrs John Aze, deposed that she had known MRS TWIGG for several years, and she knew her to be of intemperate habits.  Witness had tried many times to induce MRS TWIGG to sign the pledge and give up the drink.  On the 9th September she signed the pledge at Mr Bencraft's office, but she did not keep it many hours.  MRS TWIGG had told her that she "went bad" on Easter Sunday, while she also told her she was very unhappy, and was afraid her husband would never forgive her again.  Witness replied that she was sure he would.  MRS TWIGG then left her and was coming back again for the purpose of trying to see her husband, accompanied by witness, but she had not seen her since.  MRS TWIGG had told her that her husband had been very kind to her; but the kinder he was the worse she served him.  She said the more he did for her the more the devil got into her, and made her do what she should not do else.  Witness had no idea that MRS TWIGG contemplated such a rash act, although she was not altogether surprised.  - The Coroner:  Have you ever heard any suggestion that MR TWIGG has not behaved as a husband should?  -  Mrs Aze:  No.  It was all the other way.  Her only regret was that she was unjust to him, but never he to her.  MRS TWIGG would not have anyone in the house, as she was afraid of being watched.  - Mr James:  That answers the question of the Foreman of the Jury with reference to the last witness.  - "Quite so," said the Coroner.  Mr Ralph Easton, a young man, stated that on the previous Monday evening about six o'clock, he saw deceased trying to find the key-hole of her door to put the key in.  She was on the door-step three or four minutes before she succeeded in doing this, and she then went in and shut the door.  - In answer to a question the witness said he should say she was a little under the influence of liquor.  Mr J. E. Bussell spoke to being called by MR TWIGG at 2.35 the previous day, and to finding MRS TWIGG hanging by the neck from the top of the bedroom door, by means of the cord produced.  Near by was a chair on which MRS TWIGG had apparently stood, while close at hand were also her basket and umbrella.  Witness last saw deceased about a quarter past five on Sunday afternoon, when she was under the influence of drink.  He knew the deceased to have been of intemperate habits.  He had frequently heard her abusing her husband night times; she was continually talking.  So far as he could see MR TWIGG had always shown the greatest kindness to her, and she had everything she required in the way of money.  - By the Foreman: When MRS TWIGG had behaved as stated, MR TWIGG would have very little to say.  It would generally end in his leaving the house, and going out to sleep.  Mr Lemarchand stated that the body bore all the signs of death from strangulation.  Life had been extinct some considerable time; witness should think that deceased committed suicide on Monday night.  MRS TWIGG'S umbrella near by was a bit damp; he believed it rained on Monday.  The bed did not look as if it had been slept in.  He should say that MRS TWIGG committed suicide in a fit of depression after alcoholism.  - The Coroner:  In other words it was a case of temporary insanity produced by alcoholism.  - Dr Lemarchand answered that people who drank like MRS TWIGG were, in his opinion, more or less insane, or they would not drink so much.  There was no law that could prevent them unfortunately.  P.S. Tucker, who was called to the house on Wednesday afternoon, also gave evidence.  He found a postal order, and money amounting to £1 3s. 3 ½d. upon deceased.  MR TWIGG, recalled, said he had never ill-treated his wife either physically, or in any other way.  The Coroner, summing up, pointed out that first appearances pointed to there having been some neglect of MRS TWIGG, her husband having left her for some time without any attendant, or anyone to look after her.  But he thought Mrs Aze had made it quite plain that deceased would not have anyone in the house with her.  He suggested a verdict of suicide while temporarily insane, induced by deceased's indulgence in alcoholic liquor.  A verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane" was returned.

Thursday 21 May 1908

BIDEFORD - A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned at an Inquest at Bideford on Monday on the body of MRS MARGARET MAIN, aged 37, of 24, Clifton-street, East-the-Water, wife of a labourer, who died suddenly on Friday afternoon before a doctor could be fetched.  Dr E. J. Toye, who made a post mortem, said death was due to fatty degeneration of the heart.  Deceased had just had a hearty meal before being taken ill.

CHITTLEHAMPTON - MRS ELIZABETH BASSETT, aged 78, wife of a labourer, was found dead in bed at Chittlehampton, on Wednesday.  At the Inquest held by Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner) on Friday, MR GEORGE BASSETT, deceased's husband, stated that his wife had been unwell for some little time.  Dr P. H. Seal, of Southmolton, attributed death to heart failure, following inflammation of the lungs.  A verdict was returned accordingly.

BIDEFORD - Death From A Scratch.  Bideford Gentleman's Sad Death. - An Inquest was held at Culworth, Bideford, on Tuesday, by Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner)., concerning the death of MR ERNEST GOTTWALTZ, a gentleman, who expired early the same day from blood poisoning.  Mr R. Dymond, J.P., was Foreman of the Jury.  The Rev. A. B. GOTTWALTZ, brother of deceased identified the body.  Henry John Blackmore, a gardener, employed by deceased, said that on May 2nd his master and he were removing some barbed wire in the garden.  MR GOTTWALTZ scratched the knuckle of one of his fingers with a piece of bright wire.  It was just like a pin scratch.  He took no notice of it, although the blood ran over his finger.  He did not go in for an hour afterwards.  Dr E. J. Toye, of Bideford, said he was called in on the 9th May, and found MR GOTTWALTZ suffering from a poisoned wound in the knuckle of the middle finger.  He noticed the early stages of blood poisoning.  He dressed the wound, and had attended deceased ever since in conjunction with Dr Harper, of Barnstaple, who was called in.  The deceased died from blood poisoning as the result of the scratch.  Asked if he could account for such a small scratch causing blood poisoning, Dr Toye said he thought there must have been an extra virulent germ on the barbed wire.  He was MR GOTTWALTZ'S regular medical attendant, and the state of his health was not such as would lead one to think such a trivial wound would have had such serious consequences.  At the time he was called in, the local wound was better than it had been, he was told, but the general symptoms were worse, and that was why he was called in.  The Coroner referred to the sad nature of the case and the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," the Foreman expressing, on their behalf, their greatest sympathy with MRS GOTTWALTZ and the family of deceased.  The Jury gave their fees to the Bideford Hospital.  Deceased, who was 51 years of age, was the eldest son of the late MR J. F. GOTTWALTZ, of Bideford.  He had been away from Bideford for some years, and returned about 18 months ago to his residence at Culworth.  He was a well-known follower of the Cheriton Ottery Hounds, and for a short time acted as field master.  He leaves a widow and two sons, the eldest of whom left for Canada about a month ago, after being at home for nearly a year on a visit to his parents.  A hunt of the otter hounds in the Bideford district on Monday last was abandoned on news being received of MR GOTTWALTZ'S condition.

Thursday 4 June 1908

ILFRACOMBE - Suicide at Ilfracombe. - A great sensation was caused in Ilfracombe on Sunday by the news that a man had been found dead on the West Hagginton Farm, and it was supposed to be a case of suicide.  P.S. Woollacott, with P.C. Clark and Dr Kettlewell, proceeded to the farm, and found the body as described, with a revolver close by.  The deceased was removed to the mortuary at the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital, and the Inquest was held at the Hospital on Monday evening by Mr G. W. F. Brown, District Coroner.  Mr W. Cole was chosen Foreman, and after the viewing of the body, the first witness was William Stephens, son-in-law of deceased, who identified the body as that of GEORGE LEY, aged 63, of 35 Carmarthen-road, Swansea.  He was a fruit and potato merchant.  On the previous Thursday witness saw him, as he was going to Ilfracombe by boat to spend the rest of the day.  He was quite rational, and did not say he was going away for any special purpose.  In the evening deceased wired to his wife that he should return on Saturday, and then sent another telegram and a letter to say that he should be home on Monday.  In the letter, he complained of pains in his head and asked his family to look after his business, sending his love to all.  Witness did not know of any financial or other trouble, and deceased was happy in his home life.  About a month ago he was noticed to be somewhat weak in the head, a recent illness greatly unsettling him.  Thomas Ley, nephew, said that he saw is uncle about 20 minutes to 11 on Sunday morning, at Berrynarbor.  He was going towards West Hagginton, and said casually that he was in middling health, adding that he would see witness again in the evening.  John Watts, West Hagginton, said that while attending to his sheep he noticed a man lying by the hedge; he was bleeding, but dead.  He had a revolver in his right hand, a walking stick in his left hand and there was a newspaper by his legs.  Witness at once informed the police.  Dr Kettlewell said he was called to deceased, and found him quite dead; he had been dead about two hours.  Deceased had shot himself through the right ear.  P.C. Clark said that he had that day been to Barnstaple, and, from inquiries made, found that the deceased had bought a revolver for 25s. and 50 cartridges for 3s. from Mr Gale in that town.  He had tried to buy a revolver from Mr F. Jones, of Ilfracombe, and when he got one at Barnstaple, came to Mr Jones again and asked him to show him how to unlock it.  P.S. Woollacott said that he found a five chambered revolver in deceased's right hand.  One of the chambers was discharged and two shots had missed fire.  In his pockets there were gold and silver, a cheque, and several bills, besides jewellery and five other cartridges.  The newspaper was of Saturday's date.  George Martin, assistant at Mr Jones's, said the deceased came to the shop on Thursday and asked for a revolver.  He was shown two, but said they were not large enough.  On Saturday he called again; he produced a revolver which he said he had bought at Barnstaple and asked witness how to open it.  He also asked for some cartridges to fit the revolver, but these were not supplied.  This concluded the evidence, and after the Coroner had summed up, the Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while of Unsound Mind."  The Jury gave their fees to the Cottage Hospital.

CLOVELLY - Fatality At Clovelly.  Child Burnt To Death. - A sad accident occurred at a cottage which adjoins the Providence Chapel, on the borders of Clovelly.  MRS BLYTHE, wife of a labouring man (who has recently gone to America), left her little girl, FLORENCE, under five years of age, and the baby boy, JAMES HENRY, under two years while she went to Clovelly to post a letter to her husband.  There was a small fire in the grate in the kitchen, and it is conjectured that the little boy meddled with the fire and caught his underclothing, mainly flannelette, on fire.  The girl, FLORENCE, was too young to render any aid.  When the mother returned, the child, to her amazement, was lying in the middle of the kitchen, and badly burnt about the body.  Medical aid was at once called, but the infant in the meantime had expired.  AT the Inquest held on Thursday by the Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown), the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

TORQUAY - At the Inquest on MISS KATE EDYVEAN, of Torquay who died in London, as the result of injuries sustained by being knocked down by a brougham, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 11 June 1908

BIDEFORD - Dangers of Sheep-Shearing.  Inquest At Bideford.  -  The need for the most scrupulous care when sheep-shearing, was emphasised at an Inquest held by Mr G. W. F. Brown and a Jury of which Mr Luxton was Foreman, at Bideford Infirmary yesterday afternoon on RICHARD OKE, a farm labourer, who died in the institution the previous evening.  Deceased, stated to have been a very healthy man, and not to have had a day's sickness for thirty years - he was 49 years of age - was in the employ of Mr Vivian, farmer, of Bradworthy, and lived at Milton Damerell.  On April 16th last he was with J. A. Martin on his master's farm cocking sheep, when a sheep kicked and struck the shears, two points of which pricked the deceased's head, behind the left eye.  The wounds bled a good deal and Martin washed off the blood at a pump.  Deceased washed the pricks again when he got home and was rather nervous about them.  He continued to work, although complaining of feeling unwell, and had a gathering in his right ear.  On May 6th the wound shaving quite healed deceased was so ill with pain in the arm  that Dr Emtage was sent for, and he having just died, Dr Gill came, and ordered deceased's removal to the Infirmary.  He could not be taken there, however, until May 19th, owing to there being no vacancy, Dr Gill in the meantime attending to the case.  Dr W. R. Gooding of Bideford, stated that ease was given at the Infirmary by an operation to the shoulder, but no further operation could be undertaken, and the chart showed a typical case of blood poisoning, with the temperature on several occasions reaching 106.  Witness had two or three consultations with his colleagues, and everything possible was done, but the man passed away from blood poisoning, probably due to the prick with the shears.  The Coroner mentioned that mortification often set in when a sheep was accidentally pricked, and the animal died within a few hours.  The doctor remarked that that showed there must be some very powerful germ, and the wound bleeding freely in this case might account for the length of time which elapsed before serious symptoms set in.  The Coroner added that only last year he saw in one field nine sheep which had died after being pricked by the same man in shearing  After the tiniest prick the sheep spread all over black, and were dead in two hours.  There evidently must be something very poisonous about sheep, and shears used on them, from the wool or dirt of the sheep.  He had known many men who had been pricked with shears have very bad hands.  The Jury returned a verdict of death from blood poisoning, accidentally caused by pricks from the sheep shears.

BRAUNTON - The Braunton Trap Accident.   Death of MR DUNN.  -  The sensational trap accident at Braunton nearly three weeks ago has, unhappily, been attended by a fatal result, MRS JAMES DUNN, who was thrown out of the trap and sustained serious injuries to his head, passing away on Monday morning, having lain in an unconscious state ever since the sad occurrence.  MR DUNN, who was a carpenter, aged 48 resided in Silver-street, with his wife and family, for whom profound sympathy is felt. 

At the Inquest on Tuesday, held before the County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) and a Jury of which Mr  J. G. Clarke was Foreman, MRS DUNN, deceased's widow, stated that on May 24th, the date of the accident, her husband left home intending to walk to Braunton town to see his aunt.  About 12.30 he was brought home in an insensible condition, and he never regained consciousness.  James Perryman, cab proprietor, deposed that on May 24th, he was putting a mare which he had bought in Barnstaple market the Friday previous into a carriage when deceased came along and asked whether he might accompany him and a man named Dyer, witness agreeing, and DUNN electing to sit in the front of the carriage.  He drove to Barnstaple, returning by the old road to Braunton.  They then went through several streets, and the mare went all right until they got to Church-street, where a cyclist coming down the new road first caused the animal to move a little on one side, and then shy.  Witness held her in, and when she found she could not go she commenced kicking.  He found it impossible to hold the mare, and told DUNN and Dyer to look, out for themselves.  DUNN went into the road first, but whether he fell or not witness could not say, as he was looking after the mare.  Dyer also got out of the carriage by some means, and he saw him attending to MR DUNN on the ground. Witness was eventually precipitated out of the trap, and the mare ran away, being stopped somewhere near Knowle.  Mr Perryman added that on going into Barnstaple the mare showed no signs of kicking, but did not seem to be comfortable in the harness.  - The Coroner:  She seemed fidgetty.  -A.:  Her ears were back.  Witness told DUNN and Dyer to look after themselves because the mare was kicking away the front of the trap.  She was running away and kicking at the same time, being uncontrollable.  - The Coroner:  Had you been warned about this horse?  -  A.:  No, sir.  - Further asked whether the animal had been in any accident before, witness said he could not prove that it had, but he understood that a man was thrown out of a trap to which the mare was attached at Ilfracombe, being laid up for three weeks as the result.    James Dyer bore out Mr Perryman's version of the affair.  He could not say how MR DUNN got out of the trap, as he was in the front and witness at the back.  - By the Coroner:  The horse was kicking and running away at the same time. Witness got out of the trap by the back step.  Dr W. J. Harper spoke to being called to Church-street at mid-day on the date named, and to finding deceased in a semi-conscious state.  He never recovered consciousness, but was more conscious at times than at others.  Death was due to laceration of the brain and fracture of the base of the skull.  He thought the injuries consistent with the accident as described.  The injuries would not have been caused by a wheel of the vehicle passing over deceased.  The Coroner, summing up, thought it was a pure accident, no blame being attributable to anyone.  The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death, and expressed sincere sympathy with the widow, to whom they gave their fees.

BARNSTAPLE - Terrible Railway Accident Near Barnstaple.  G. W. R. Engine Driver's Sad Death.  -  MR SAMUEL BEER, of Barnstaple, one of the most esteemed G. W. R. engine drivers in a wide district, has lost his life as the result of a deplorable accident which occurred at Filleigh Station on Monday evening.  Two engines were attached to the passenger train due to arrive at Barnstaple at 9.34, and on arrival at Filleigh, MR BEER, who was the driver of the second engine, stepped on to the line in order to oil some of the machinery.  Having received the usual signal from the guard, the driver of the first engine re-started without knowing that his colleague had left his engine, with the result that MR BEER'S right arm was caught in one of the wheels and shockingly injured.  A sad feature was that two of MR BEER'S daughters and his grand-daughter were travelling from Taunton by the same train, and they were naturally much affected.  MR BEER bore up remarkably well, being able to walk with some little assistance, and he was brought to Barnstaple in the same train, and was subsequently admitted to the North Devon Infirmary.  The injuries to MR BEER'S arm were of such a nature that amputation of the limb was found to be necessary at the institution on Tuesday afternoon, MR BEER, however, passing away about three hours later.  The news of MR BEER'S death was received at Barnstaple with profound regret, and general sympathy is expressed with MRS BEER and her family in their great bereavement.  The Inquest was held at the North Devon Infirmary last evening, before Mr T. A. R. Bencraft (Borough Coroner) and a Jury of which Mr J. R. Ford was Foreman.  Inspector W. Phillip, locomotive department, Bristol, and Inspector T. Shattock, traffic department, Exeter, were present on behalf of the Company, whilst Mr A. F. Seldon watched the interests of the family of deceased.  WILLIAM BEER, deceased's son, of Taunton, gave evidence of identification.  His father was sixty years of age last February, having been for many years an engine driver in the employ of the G.W.R. Company.  Frederick Thorn, the driver of the first engine, stated that on Monday the train reached Filleigh at 9.15 p.m.; it was getting somewhat dark in the cutting at the time.  his fireman was Henry Drayton.  They stopped at the station about a minute and a half - the usual time.  On the second engine was MR BEER and fireman Hall.  Witness started the train when Mr Ackland, the guard, gave the signal (by means of a green light) at the other end of the platform.  There was a falling gradient, and witness was doubtful whether the train would not have started had he not put on steam.  Witness did not blow the whistle.  He did not know that MR BEER was engaged in oiling the second engine.  The train was pulled up by the brakes of the second engine, and Fireman Hall called attention to the position of MR BEER.  Witness withdrew the steam, and looking over the rails he found MR BEER had been caught in his own engine and crushed.  They usually sounded the whistle when they started with two engines, but there was no hard and fast rule.  Witness did not sound the whistle on this occasion because several vehicles with horses attached were standing close to the station, and he was afraid of frightening the animals.  It was very unusual for drivers to oil engines at Filleigh, and no communication was made to him that MR BEER was so engaged.  As recently as Saturday witness oiled his engine at Southmolton, and told MR BEER to be careful until he got in the train again.  He agreed that if an engine required oiling it was the driver's duty to put matters right.  MR BEER oiled the engine at Southmolton on Monday night, and he did not think anything serious would have happened even if MR BEER had not done any oiling at Filleigh.  Witness assisted MR BEER into the train, and brought him to Barnstaple.  MR BEER would have had thirteen minutes in which to oil the engine at Barnstaple, having been due to return to Southmolton the same night; but he did not suggest it was necessary to oil the engine, as it was all right.  - By Mr Seldon:  It was left to the engine driver to oil whenever he thought necessary.  At Southmolton witness sounded his whistle before the train started, and MR BEER answered.  There were a good many people at the station at Southmolton.  First aid was not rendered in connection with the accident, as it was not available.  Witness thought the best course was to bring MR BEER right on to Barnstaple.  - By the Coroner:  Witness did not find it necessary to oil his engine from Taunton to Barnstaple  Had never seen any driver get out to oil an engine at Filleigh previously.  - By a Juror:  Deceased asked why the engine had been moved, when he went to his assistance.  - By Mr Seldon:  He agreed that MR BEER could not oil the same part of the engine at Southmolton, that he was attending to at Filleigh.  Hy. R. Drayton, fireman, on the first engine, bear out the evidence of driver Thorn.  It was usual, when the second engine driver was oiling, to instruct the first driver accordingly.  - By Mr Seldon:  It was the duty of both engine drivers to look out for the guard's signal.  He regarded the whistle of the first engine as being intended as a warning primarily to passengers.  Hy. Hall, who acted as fireman on the second engine, stated that it was not MR BEER'S usual engine.  Deceased oiled it in different parts at Dulverton and Southmolton, and appeared to think further oiling necessary at Filleigh.  Without saying anything, he got down on the line with the oil-can close to the engine.  As soon as witness got the signal from the guard, witness stepped across the footplate of the engine to call MR BEER up.  AT the same time the engine moved somewhat, and witness at once applied the brake.  MR BEER had his arm caught in the wheel of the engine, and asked witness to release it.  He did so, and assisted in bringing MR BEER to Barnstaple.  Witness did not notice if the engine was going queerly, but MR BEER was obviously trying to prevent anything going wrong.  If deceased had found anything wrong, he would undoubtedly have acquainted the other drivers.  It was the usual rule for the first engine to whistle, but it was not always done.  The horses in question were within six yards of the first engine.  He thought MR BEER was trying to get his oiling forward at Filleigh, as he knew he would not have much time at Barnstaple.  Alfred Ackland, guard on the train in question, stated that he gave the signal to start from Filleigh Station at the correct time.  Witness saw the train move slightly immediately afterwards, and the brakes were then applied.  He could not say whether driver Thorn sounded his whistle; witness was engaged with passengers.  There was no regulation providing for double engines to sound their whistles on starting, and it was very unusual to do so.  Witness remarked n the frequency of complaints as to whistles on the engines being sounded.  - By Mr Seldon:  The stationmaster gave him the signal to start, and there his duty ended.  Dr Thomas, of Barnstaple stated that he saw the deceased at the infirmary at 10.30 p.m. on Monday.  Witness attended him and found the injuries were so great that it was necessary to amputate the right arm, which was terribly crushed.  Witness, Drs. Cooper, Lemarchand, and the House Surgeon (Dr. Appleyard) were present at the operation, which constituted the only chance of saving MR BEER'S life.  Several bones in the arm were broken, whilst the nerves were torn away.  Ribs were also broken, one penetrating the lung.  The injuries were consistent with the accident, and death was due to shock.  Dr Appleyard, House Surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, was also called.  - By Inspector Shattock:  Deceased survived the operation three hours. - By the Coroner:  He agreed that the operation was necessary.  Inspector Phillip informed the Jury that there was no regulation providing for the whistle being sounded in starting passenger trains, although he had known it done in some cases; as, for instance, when there was a level crossing in front of the engine.  - The Coroner suggested it would be well to have a regulation providing for the whistle being sounded in every case.  - The Inspector replied that there were many complaints about whistling at present, as causing a lot of trouble to passengers and the general public.  As a matter of fact the driver on the second engine usually looked out for the guard, whilst the driver on the first engine was responsible for taking the signals and starting the train, and he did not think any other precaution was necessary.  The whistle was blown more for the protection of passengers than anything else, and one would not expect an engine driver to have left his engine in order to oil it at Filleigh.  Inspector Shattock said it was usual when a driver left his engine in order to oil it to communicate with the front driver, which MR BEER failed to do.  The Coroner said they understood that, and proceeded to sum up in accordance with his previously expressed views.    The Foreman remarked on the first engine driver having received the proper signal from the guard, but said he preferred not to express an opinion as to whether any further signals were necessary.  The Jury, having consulted in private, returned a verdict of Accidental Death, with the view that no blame was attributable to anyone.  The Coroner, however, said the Jury desired to forward the recommendation, with which he cordially agreed, that when two engines were coupled in the front of a train, the first engine driver before starting should give a warning to the second driver, either by whistle or some other way, and get an unmistakable answer from him that all was well.  It should not be left to mutual understanding between engine drivers, but should be made a hard and fast regulation of the Company, and any infringement should be punishable.    The funeral will take place on Sunday, the cortege leaving the house in Portland Street, Newport, at three o'clock.  Service will be held in Newport Church, and the interment will take place at Bishopstawton.

Thursday 25 June 1908

KINGSTEIGNTON - A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned at the Inquest at Kingsteignton on Monday on EDWARD FURSE, who was killed in Hexter, Humpherson, and Company's Brickworks on Saturday.

Thursday 2 July 1908

ILFRACOMBE - Sudden Death At Ilfracombe. - At the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital, Ilfracombe, on Thursday afternoon, Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner, conducted an Inquest touching the death of RHYS MORRIS DAVIES, aged 39, Station Master of Tidworth.  Deceased came to Ilfracombe for his health, and on Tuesday went for a trip on a passenger steamer.  On the return journey he was taken ill and on arrival at Ilfracombe received medical attendance at the hands of Dr G. D. Kettlewell.  He passed away in the early hours of Wednesday morning.  The Coroner explained that deceased was the late station-master of Tidworth, Hamps., and was ordered to Ilfracombe by his medical adviser as he was suffering from influenza.  On Tuesday he went with his wife for a trip to  Clovelly and during the return journey became unconscious.  He was removed to his lodgings, but died about midnight without having regained consciousness.  MRS DAVIES said her husband had been very unwell, and they came to Ilfracombe on Saturday last, deceased being 39 years of age.  When at home deceased was attended by Dr Williamson, on June 16th and 17th, who certified him as unfit for work.  Her husband was in his usual health, but complained of pains in his head when nearing Ilfracombe.  Harbour Constable Stentiford stated that he saw deceased assisted ashore from the steamer.  He was unconscious at the time.  Dr G. D. Kettlewell, who attended deceased, deposed that he had made a post mortem examination, revealing the fact that death was due to haemorrhage of the brain.  A verdict was returned in accordance with the medical evidence.

ILFRACOMBE - Tragic Death At Ilfracombe. - A sensation was caused in Ilfracombe (as we reported last week) on Wednesday morning by the news of the death of MRS BILLETT, stewardess of the Constitutional Club, and wife of JOHN BILLETT, the steward.  It appears that at 3 a.m., when MR BILLETT woke, he found his wife sleeping by his side, but on waking again at 7 o'clock he missed her  He left his room and called his wife, but meeting with no reply, went to the kitchen door, finding it locked.  He ran out of the house and called Mr Clark of the Victoria Hotel, who came at once, and they burst open the door.  The room was full of gas, and MRS BILLETT was sitting in a chair quite dead.  The taps of the gas stove were found turned full on, and it is supposed that MRS BILLETT had been dead for an hour and a half.  Medical aid was obtained, but was of course quite useless.

The Inquest was held on Thursday, by Mr G. W. F. Brown, District Coroner, at the Constitutional Club and Mr H. J. Macey (Secretary) represented the Committee of the Club.  Mr H. A. G. Barnett appeared on behalf of MR BILLETT and family.  Mr T. D. Harding, J.P., was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  JOHN BILLETT, steward of the club, identified the body as that of his wife, MARY JANE BILLETT, stewardess of the club.  He said she was 53 years of age last March, and he last saw her alive at 3 a.m. on Wednesday.  Having toothache, he was wakeful, but went off to sleep again.  At 7.30 he missed her, and called out, but got no answer.  He went to the kitchen, but the door was fast.  He called Mr Clark, of the Victoria Hotel, and he burst the door open.  His wife was sitting in a chair, and there was a strong smell of gas in the room.  Mr Clark turned off the gas, and witness sent for a doctor.  He did not know why his wife went to the room, and they had no disagreement.  She had never threatened to take her life.  When he woke at 3 a.m. all that was said was an enquiry about his toothache.  There had been no unpleasantness of any sort between them.  He could not in any way account for what his wife had done.  She was not very well about 18 months ago, and was attended by Dr Kettlewell.  She had been depressed lately, and witness advised her to take medicine, but she had not done so.  Deceased was not put out at witness's proposed trip to Bristol on Wednesday.  She had not left any letter likely to throw light on the matter.  By the Jury:  They retired to rest as usual the previous night  When he missed his wife he went to the kitchen to make some tea, but could not get in  About three weeks ago she was depressed, but seemed to get better.  Mr C. Lewis, Juryman, said someone had spoken to him who had seen deceased in her usual health at 11.15 p.m. on the Tuesday night.  Dr Kettlewell said he was called to the house in the morning, and found a strong smell of gas as soon as he came in.  He found deceased in a chair by the gas stove, quite dead, and apparently so for two hours.  There was no mark of violence on the body.  From the quantity of gas, he should say death soon took place; the effect of it would be to make the person incapable of moving before becoming unconscious.  By the Jury:  The body would not stiffen quite so soon as by an ordinary injury, so deceased might have been dead longer.  Mr Clark, Victoria Hotel, said that MR BILLETT called him about 7.45.  He found the scullery fastened, and forced the door.  There was a strong smell of gas in the room.  He shouted through the door to MRS BILLETT, but getting no reply, burst the door open.  He heard the rush of gas from the stove, and went to the window, where he found a black apron across the joint of the window.  He turned off the taps, and opened the window, and when he turned back, he saw deceased partly hidden by the door.  He called out to MR BILLETT, and said "Good God, she's dead."  He sent at once for a doctor.  He could not say how the door was fastened inside.  By the Jury:  He  had seen deceased in the bar at 12.0 the night before, and she seemed in her usual state.  He had noticed depressions on previous occasions, but not at this time.  P. S. Woollacott said he had searched the house, and had found no letters of any sort, to show any reason for what had happened.  The Coroner summed up the evidence before the court, and said it was clear that deceased intended to make away with herself.  The Jury retired for deliberation, and on returning, the Foreman said their unanimous verdict was one of "Suicide during Temporary Insanity."  The fees were given to the Cottage Hospital.

BARNSTAPLE - Little Girl Drowned At Barnstaple.  -  ELSIE WILLIAMS, the three-year old child of WILLIAM WILLIAMS, labourer, of Olinda-place, was playing with another child on Rolle's Quay on Saturday evening when by some means she fell into the water, and was carried by the ebbing tide between the Quay and a disused ketch, the "Shamrock," owned by Capt. Lemon, of Barnstaple.  No grown-up person appears to have witnessed the accident, and before help arrived the poor child was unfortunately drowned.  The body was recovered from the water about three quarters of an hour after the accident, attempts at artificial respiration proving abortive.  The Inquest was conducted on Monday afternoon by Mr T. A. R. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, and a Jury of which Mr Dan Moxham was chosen Foreman.  The Coroner having briefly outlined the facts, MRS ELIZABETH WILLIAMS, the mother (who was greatly affected) gave evidence of identification.  She said her child was just over three years old, and she last saw her alive about 6 o'clock on Saturday evening, when she left home to go to her father who was at work in the brickyard.  When the child did not return, she searched the fields near by, and also went to the brickyard, but could not find her.  Elizabeth Crocker, wife of a neighbouring mason, deposed to her little boy (about three years old) coming home some little time after six on Saturday and telling her that ELSIE had fallen into the Duck's Pond.  She went to the spot named, and on seeing two jam tins floating thought the children must have been playing with them and that WILIAMS had fallen in, afterwards going home with her clothes wet.  Witness then went back to her work, but on going on the quay on hearing crying a little later saw the child in the water between the middle part of a vessel and the quay.  The previous day her little boy told her that ELSIE and himself were jumping the ropes leading from the vessel to the quay.  He jumped all right, but ELSIE slipped over the rope and fell over the quay.  Witness thought the deceased must have slipped over the quay, owing to the sand giving way under her.  Mrs Crocker thought that the sand should be removed in a certain time, and not constantly left there.  She did not know whose sand it was, but it had been there for some months.  In answer to a Juryman, witness said the vessel in question had been lying where it now was for six or seven weeks, and she thought it belonged to Captain Lemon.  MABEL WILLIAMS, deceased's sister, aged 10, stated that on looking into the water, she saw her sister between the vessel and the quay.  The body was face downwards, and it was still.  She went on crying and Mrs Crocker came out to her, and she called Mr Scott.  Mrs Mary Stribling, of Olinda place, spoke to seeing the two children at play on the sand on the quay on Saturday evening about 6 o'clock.  When she returned from the town some time later there was no one there.  Witness thought the body must have been in the water about three quarters of an hour.  Asked if she thought it a dangerous position for these two children, witness replied that she did not think so.  They were not near enough to the "Shamrock" to fall over.  Further questioned, Mrs Stribling thought it the custom to deposit sand and gravel on the quay.  If the sand or gravel was not there, children would not play there.  Witness thought it would not be so dangerous if it was placed further back on the quay.  Henry Scott, engine driver at Messrs. Stanbury's, stated that on Saturday evening on hearing shouts about 7.30 he went out. Witness saw a man jump into the water fully dressed from the opposite bank, and on looking into the water he could just see the child's clothes between the ship and the quay.  There were about four feet of water there at the time.  He procured a long crook he used in his work, and eventually succeeded in taking the body from the water.  Before being able to get it out he had to take it to the stern of the boat.  With assistance, he tried artificial respiration, but without success, and on feeling the child he found it to be stone dead.  In answer to the Coroner, witness said the sand in question belonged to the Town Council, but it had to be deposited on the edge of the quay in discharging.  This sand had been there since the end of April.  Dr Woodbridge, who was soon on the spot after the occurrence, thought death was due to drowning.  Everything possible had been done to try to save the child's life.  The Coroner, in summing up, said it seemed to have been a purely accidental death.  The poor little child was playing on the quay, and he personally questioned the wisdom of allowing a small child of that age to go and play with a smaller child, but, of course, it was a difficult matter to deal with.  Mothers should consider whether it was advisable to let small children go out to play in such dangerous places.  The unfortunate child seemed to have tripped over the rope and fallen into the water and to have been carried by the tide in under the ship, and there was no doubt that death was due to drowning.  As to the sand, the quay was for the unloading of barges of sand or anything else; it was difficult for anyone to say that these things must not be left there, and it was quite as difficult to say that children should not be allowed to play there.  A Juryman thought it neglect that the sand should have been left there.  It was a trap for anyone to step on it, because it gave right away under one's feet.  Children would go and play there, and he thought it should have been cleared away long before.  Another Juryman said the quay was for the purpose of discharging things there.  Mr M. Hardy (a Juryman) thought mothers should exercise more care, and not let their children go and play in such dangerous places.  In answer, the Foreman said that directly the parent's backs were turned no one knew where children went, and it was very difficult to keep them in.  Mr Hardy also said that that very afternoon he noticed a child walking on the edge of the quay.  The Coroner thought it a very difficult matter to deal with, and said he thought that parents should exercise every possible care in not letting children go in such dangerous places.  The Jury agreed with this remark in returning a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned."

Thursday 9 July 1908

ATHERINGTON - A child named DAISY BEER, aged two years, daughter of a labourer, of Ford Down Cottage, Atherington, named FREDERICK BEER, has died some what suddenly.  At the Inquest held by Mr G. W. F. Brown, the mother stated that the child seemed unwell in the morning, and she gave her magnesia and rubbed her chest with camphorated oil.  She appeared to be better afterwards, but in the afternoon became worse.  The mother sent for Dr Goode, of High Bickington, but the child died ten minutes before his arrival.  Dr Goode said he had made a post mortem examination, and the cause of death was bronchial pneumonia.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 16 July 1908

NORTHTAWTON - Suicide at Northtawton. - At Northtawton an Inquest was held on Thursday on JOHN ELLIS PYKE, aged 53 years, late assistant-overseer and clerk to the Council, found in the linhay at the back of his house with his throat cut.  MR C. PYKE, son of deceased, gave evidence of identification.  Witness last saw his father alive on Wednesday night.  The deceased had been looking through the parish books during the day, as they had been returned for completion by the Government auditor on Tuesday.  There was a slight discrepancy, and he appeared much worried over the matter.  The next morning witness's mother called him, and when he came downstairs he found his father dead.  P.C. Facey, stationed at Northtawton, deposed that he was called about 7.5 a.m. on Thursday.  Deceased was lying on the ground in a linhay at the back of the house.  Beside the body lay a penknife.  There was a quantity of blood, and there was no doubt as to the cause of death.  Witness had known deceased for about fifteen months.  MR PYKE often complained to him of suffering from rheumatism and pains in the head.  He left two letters, one to his wife and the other to his son.  Dr Cutcliffe corroborated the constable's evidence, and attributed death to loss of blood. In answer to Mr Pierce (the Foreman of the Jury), Dr Cutcliffe said that the pains mentioned by the constable would doubtless lead deceased to take an exaggerated view of trifles, and the consequent worry might temporarily upset his mental balance.  Mr May (overseer) who was at the audit on Tuesday, said the books were all right with the exception of a small error.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide during Temporary Insanity."  The Foreman tendered the sympathy of the Jury to the family of the deceased.  He (Mr Pierce) had known deceased for twenty-five years, and he was sure the parishioners generally would join in the expression of sympathy.

BIDEFORD - Child's Death At Bideford.  The Inquest.  -  Giving evidence at an Inquest at Bideford yesterday on the seven months' old child of MR and MRS SHORT, of Abbotsham road, Dr Thompson said in his opinion it was a case in which death was due to suffocation, caused by regurgitation of food, which had been drawn into the air passages.  The death might have been painless, without awakening the parents, who were occupying the same bed.  There were absolutely no signs of over-laying.  It appeared from the evidence of the mother, that the child was out later than usual on Monday, and the customary practice was departed from, the infant being given bread and milk at 10 o'clock instead of at 7.30 and being put to bed an hour later.  It seemed to be sleeping placidly at 6 o'clock the next morning, but in fact had ten been dead some hours.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony, and the Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown, of Barnstaple) commented upon the danger of giving so young a child bread and milk, and of its sleeping in a bed with adults.  He was constantly giving warnings, but people did not seem to take notice of them until something occurred in their own families.

Thursday 23 July 1908

NORTHMOLTON - Fatal Fall From A Chair.  Accident To A Septuagenarian At Northmolton. - The County Coroner for North Devon (Mr G. W. F. Brown) on Monday evening investigated the death of MR WILLIAM WESTACOTT, retired farmer, aged seventy-nine of Northmolton.  Ethel Pester, a neighbour, stated that on July 10th MR WESTACOTT fell heavily from a chair in the kitchen, severely knocking his head and bleeding from one of his ears.  Richard Smith and William Watts carried him upstairs, and he was medically attended, but passed away on Monday.  Dr S. Cardoza informed the Jury that deceased fractured the base of the skull and sustained a serious bruise on the right hip.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 30 July 1908

WESTWARD HO - At Westward Ho on Thursday an Inquest was held by Mr G. W. F. Brown on the body of ELLEN TAPPER, spinster.  The evidence of Harriett Taylor and her daughter, with whom deceased lodged, showed that the deceased, who was seventy-three years of age, retired in apparently good health on Tuesday night.  But early on Wednesday morning she called Mrs Taylor, jun., and said she was dying.  Almost immediately she expired.  Dr Bayley said the cause of death was undoubtedly syncope, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."  Deceased was formerly a dressmaker in Bideford.

BARNSTAPLE - Fatal Accident At Barnstaple. - The Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft) Inquired into the circumstances attending the death of MRS MARY JANE RUNGE, aged 68, who was the widow of a waiter, residing at Fort-street, Barnstaple, on Monday evening.  It appeared that MRS RUNGE had for some time been subject to rheumatic gout in her legs, and on last Monday week was walking in her kitchen when she had another attack and fell, fracturing one of her thighs.  The unfortunate lady was put to bed, where she contracted an attack of bronchitis, from which she died on Sunday morning.  Mr Dan Moxham was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  The Coroner briefly outlined the facts of the case.  MISS AMY MARIA RUNGE, daughter of deceased, gave evidence of identification, and said her mother was 68 years of age, and had resided at Fort-street for about six years.  Deceased had been subject to attacks of rheumatic gout in her legs, especially in her right leg, and a doctor had been treating her for it for some time. On the previous Monday her mother appeared to be in her usual health, but when witness was coming downstairs she heard her mother fall in the kitchen, and on going to the spot found her lying on the floor.  Her mother said to her, "Oh, my bad leg has given away," and pointed to her thigh.  Witness added that when lifting her mother, she said "I think I have broken something here," pointing to her thigh.  Dr Jonas was immediately sent for, and she was then put to bed.  She died on Sunday morning about ten minutes after twelve.  - By the Foreman:  Her mother's leg had given away before.  She was not carrying anything.  Dr Jonas deposed to being called to the case on the previous Monday, about 11.30 a.m.  Dr Harper arrived before him, and when witness reached the house he found MRS RUNGE sitting in the front room.  she had a fracture at the neck of the femur on the right side, for which he treated her, but she developed bronchitis.  He mentioned that in the case of an elderly person meeting with an accident, bronchitis frequently set in.  He attributed death to the accident, followed by bronchitis, and thought the nature of her injuries would be likely to be caused by the fall.  Witness added that MRS RUNGE had fallen before.  Nearly every winter she had an attack of bronchitis, and he thought it was better for her to move about a little, if possible, for exercise.  The Coroner mentioned that he once had a case brought under his notice of a person 80 years of age, who broke a bone and it united again, but it was a very rare occurrence.  Summing up, he said no doubt it was an accident, death being due to bronchitis, brought on by the accident.  The Jury agreed with the Coroner's remarks, and passed a verdict accordingly.

Thursday 6 August 1908

CREDITON - Killed On The Line.  Bickington Man's Death At Crediton.  - Mr W. H. Gould held an Inquest on Tuesday afternoon, at the Railway Hotel, Crediton, on the body of DANIEL DAVIS, who was found dead that morning on the railway near Dunscombe crossing.  Mr F. Chamberlain was Foreman of the Jury, and Mr John Banks, the Stationmaster, and Inspector Gillard attended on behalf of the London and South Western Railway Company.  MISS DAVIS identified the body as that of her father, who lived at Bickington, near Barnstaple.  He was a labourer, and 52 years of age.  ELLEN DAVIS, the widow, said deceased left home on Wednesday morning last.  She could not give any reason for his leaving, but he did the same thing last October.  There were no angry words before he left.  He had been drinking, which he did at times.  She did not know what money he had when he left, nor that he had any. He did not take the wages which were due to him last Friday.  He received a blow in the head at Torrington recently.  P.C. Farthing stationed at Crediton, said last Friday deceased came to the Police Station for a ticket for the Workhouse.  Witness knew him at Barnstaple.  He asked deceased how long he had been on the road, and he replied a week. Asked why he did not go home again, DAVIS said he should do so.  W. H. Stone, of Exeter, said he was brakesman on the ballast train, and about 6.15 he found deceased on the down line quite dead.  The body was cold and stiff.  Witness remained by the body until Mr Carnall came and removed it.  He also found a clay pipe (produced).  P.C. Isaac said he searched deceased's clothes, and found a purse contained 2d., a pair of stockings, and a few matches.  J. Couch, engine driver, who was working the 9.10 special train from Exeter that morning, said he found some hair on the left guard.  It was like deceased's.  Dr W.S. Campbell said he examined the body and found a wound about 4 inches long and 1 ½ inches deep on the back of the head.  He should think it was caused by the engine.  MRS DAVIS was recalled, and in answer to the Coroner stated that she had not had a quarrel with her husband before he left.  The Coroner, in summing up, said it appeared likely that the deceased sat down on the "sleeper" and went to sleep, when the train came along and killed him.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 13 August 1908

ILFRACOMBE - Sudden Death of HERR KLEE.  -  HERR KLEE, a member of the season band, who had been connected with the musical work of Ilfracombe for many years past in various capacities, and particularly as a violinist, died on Thursday morning.  He woke about 4.0 a.m., and complained of difficulty of breathing.  He said to MRS KLEE that he thought he would get up, and after doing so, made himself a cup of tea.  He felt better, apparently, after this, and lay down on the bed again.  MRS KLEE dozed off, and an hour or so later, when her daughter came in, they found HERR KLEE with his head over the side of the bed.  He was still alive, but died almost immediately, before Dr Kettlewell, who was at once called, could arrive.  An Inquest was held at the Cottage Hospital on Saturday morning, at 11.15 o'clock, by Mr G. W. F. Brown, District Coroner.  Mr G. C. Jones was chosen Foreman of the Jury, and after the viewing of the body (in the Hospital Mortuary) the first witness called was MRS KLEE, who said deceased was her husband.  They lived at 28 Portland-street, and deceased was 58 years of age.  On Wednesday night he was in his usual health and spirits.  Witness woke at 4 on Thursday morning, and deceased was opening the window; he said he could scarcely get breath. Witness said she thought it might be spasms, but he would not have a cup of tea, as she suggested.  About 6.0 witness woke again, and her husband was dressing, saying he thought he would go out.  A little later he came back to bed, saying he would remain an hour longer.  He seemed quiet, and when their daughter came in she said, "Oh my God, look at father."  His head was out over the bed.  Witness got a little rum, having no brandy in the house, but deceased could not take it.  Witness sent her little boy for the doctor, but before he could come her husband had passed away.  He had not been ill lately, and had had no medical attendance for years.  HILDA KLEE, daughter, said she went into her parents' room just after six and saw her father as described previously.  He died very shortly.  Dr Kettlewell said he was called to see HERR KLEE shortly before 7; he was quite dead, but only just so, the body being warm.  He had made a post mortem examination of the body, and found an obstruction on the right side of the heart by a kind of chalky deposit, where a clot of blood had evidently for some hours been forming.  This would account for the pain.  The cause of death was the stoppage of the heart's action in consequence of the obstruction.  The Jury returned a verdict of death from Natural Causes.  The Jury tendered their sympathy to the widow and family, to whom also they gave their fees.

Thursday 20 August 1908

BARNSTAPLE - The Bathing Fatality At Barnstaple.  The Dangers Of Bathing At Flood Tide. - As was reported in last week's North Devon Journal, a distressing bathing fatality occurred at Barnstaple on Wednesday evening, FREDERICK MUSGRAVE, an assistant at the establishment of Mr A. E. Dark, jeweller, of High-street, Barnstaple, losing his life whilst bathing at flood tide in the river Taw.  The deceased, who was 18 years of age, was a son of MR CHARLES MUSGRAVE, jeweller and silversmith at Lytham, near Blackpool.  The body was recovered by a lad named Scoins near the spot - Pill Pool - at which the fatality occurred, at five a.m. on Thursday, and was conveyed to the mortuary at the North Devon Infirmary.  The sad affair was Inquired into at the Infirmary on Thursday afternoon by the Borough Coroner and a Jury of which Mr J. R. Ford was Foreman.  The Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft) said they had a very sad task to perform that afternoon.  They were met to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of MR FREDERICK MUSGRAVE, who was an assistant at Mr A. E. Dark's shop in High-street.  He believed deceased came from somewhere near Blackpool.  On Wednesday afternoon, accompanied by a friend, Mr Burnard, a fellow assistant at Mr Dark's, deceased hired a boat to row up the river.  They also had his friend's child, an infant boy, with them.  they anchored near the G. W. R. iron bridge about 10 yards away from the bank on the Park side.  The tide was running very fast at the time.  This he, the Coroner knew for a fact, as he saw Mr Harper's boat, which was at the spot just after the accident happened, passing under the bridge not long before.  MR MUSGRAVE was an enthusiastic swimmer, learning to swim three months previously, and he was very fond of practising the art.  MUSGRAVE jumped out of the boat, swam across the tide to the bank.  Reaching it safely he ran down towards the Bridge, and jumping again into the river swam out across the tide to the boat.  He caught hold of the side of the boat for a moment or two, and said to his friend "I am going ain," and struck out again towards the bank.  After giving a few strokes he called out for help, threw his arms up and went down, and was never seen again alive.  The Coroner said it was most unusual for a person to go down without coming up the usual three times, and expressed the opinion that there must have been an acute attack of cramp, trouble of the lungs, or a stoppage of the heart.  They could not tell, however.  When deceased went down, his friend in the boat called to the occupants of two boats near by for help.  He rowed to the fatal spot, and put out his hands in readiness for the reappearance of the deceased.  He showed the occupant of the other boats where MUSGRAVE had disappeared, and two young lads at once divested themselves of their clothing, and dived.  Their efforts, however, proved unavailing, and the next morning John Scoins found the body near the shillies, having evidently drifted up the river with the tide, and came back with the morning's tide.  After the Jurymen had viewed the body, MR FRANK MUSGRAVE, jeweller's assistant at Lytham, brother of the deceased, identified the body as that of his brother, who was in the employ of Mr Dark.  His brother was 18 years of age last November, and was the son of MR CHARLES MUSGRAVE, jeweller, of Lytham.  He last saw his brother alive when he came home for a few days last Christmas.  He was perfectly healthy as far as he knew.  He did not know if he was subject to heart disease.  Oscar Burnard, an assistant in Mr Dark's shop, said he was with the deceased on the previous day.  At 3.30 they hired a boat to go on the river.  they had expected some friends from the same shop to accompany them, but they were disappointed.  Witness's infant son, eighteen months old, was with them.  They had intended primarily to go down the river to Ashford, as they had been in the habit of doing, but being unable to pass the long bridge, they went up the river, anchoring at a spot just above the G.W.R. bridge, opposite Pill Farm.  They were about ten yards off the bank, exactly opposite two narrow gaps where the water rushed in, the bank at that particular spot being very steep.  The tide had been running about three-quarters of an hour.  Hs friend undressed and dived off the stern of the boat head first, and swam to the shore.  When he got ashore he walked along the bank towards the G.W.R. bridge.  He did not remember his friend getting over a stile.  He waded out some distance below where the boat lay, and struck out for the boat.  He caught hold of the prow of the boat and worked himself along towards the stern.  When he got to the stern he asked him (the witness) if he should re-enter the boat, and dive off.  Witness replied, "Do not dive off the boat."  In reply to the Coroner, witness said he did not wish his friend to come into the boat to dive off, because he might upset the child.  It did not strike him that there was any danger.  The deceased swam towards the shore and when he was about a dozen yards away he threw out his arms and shouted for help.  Witness pulled the anchor up and turned the boat around.  He shouted to a boy on the shore, who was in a direct line with the boat.  MUSGRAVE immediately sank.  As he shouted for help he (witness) pulled the anchor up.  He was half facing him and it was just after he shouted for help that MUSGRAVE went down, being about four yards off the bank.  After he sank, witness never saw him again.  Witness at once rowed to the place where MUSGRAVE sank.  The Parish Church choir boys, who were enjoying an outing on the river in company with Mr Sydney Harper, came up in two larger boats, and to them witness shouted for help.  Mr Harper's boat proceeded to the bank, where some of the boys, who were expert divers, undressed.  Mr Harper set his boys diving, and advised witness to accompany him to the Police Station.  They could not find MUSGRAVE.  Questioned as to deceased's swimming powers, witness said MUSGRAVE had learnt to swim that season.  They were both in the habit of practising every morning by the G. W. R. bridge.  MUSGRAVE'S swimming powers were sufficient to take him to the bank.  He believed deceased's heart was quite sound.  MUSGRAVE had, in a casual conversation, expressed the fear of having the cramp.  Had there not been an attack of some kind, he was confident that MUSGRAVE would have made a struggle to reach the bank.  He believed deceased had the cramp.  He did not notice any whirlpool, and if deceased had re-appeared he would certainly have seen him.  Dr Appleyard, House Surgeon at the Infirmary, deposed to seeing deceased's body five minutes after its being brought into the Infirmary early that morning.  There were no bruises, but some scratches were plainly visible on the cheeks.  It was possible that they were made by deceased's nails.  There were two finger marks on the left cheek and one on the right.  From the appearance of the body, the cause of death was drowning.  The position of the legs, which were drawn up a little, and the clenched hand he thought indicated cramp. It was not usual for a drowning man to scratch himself.  In cases of cramp it was usual for a body to rise, and he was almost certain the deceased had taken some breaths under water.  John Henry Scoins, aged 19, stated that he was on the river bank near Pill farm at five o'clock that morning, when he saw the body in the river bed half-way between the iron bridges.  The tide was out, and the deceased's body was lying face downwards in three feet of water.  He at once went to Mr Beer at Pill Farm, whose grandson came and helped to secure the body.  P.S. Tucker and P.C. Hill were sent for.  The tide began to rise, and Mr Beer, senr., obtained a rope with which he tied the body.

P.S. Tucker stated that at 5.30 on that morning he received information, whilst at the Police Station, that the body of the unfortunate young man was recovered on the shillies.  He went with P.C. Hill to take possession of the body, and saw the last witness, with the body, secured by a rope, lying in the water under the river bank.  The tide was then coming up.  He immediately secured assistance to get the body to the bank.  At this spot there was a tremendous drop from the bank to the water.  It was just within the borough boundaries.  On turning the body over a little blood rolled out from the mouth.  This was very probably caused by the tongue being bitten.  The scratches on the cheeks were, he thought, done in the death struggle.  The body was brought to Barnstaple on the ambulance stretcher.  The Coroner, in his address to the Jury, said it was perfectly evident that death was caused by accidental drowning.  There was always danger on the Taw when the tide was coming up.  A friend of his whilst swimming was once dragged down in a whirlpool, and if he had not been a strong swimmer, and he (Mr Bencraft) had not been near, he would have been drowned.  It was only a matter of seconds and not minutes.  It was, he thought, clear that the poor fellow had had the cramp, not being afte3rwards seen again.  He might have come to the surface with no one seeing him, even if it had been cramp.  It would be very remarkable if he did not come up.  He had noticed a good deal of ripple on the river on the previous evening.  He was satisfied that the cause of death was accidental drowning, and he was also satisfied that no assistance could have been rendered in the circumstances.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned while Bathing."

Thursday 27 August 1908

ALVERDISCOTT - Fatalities At Alverdiscott.  Two Old Men Meet With Tragic Fates.  -  Mr G. W. F. Brown, the North Devon Coroner, on Monday conducted two Inquests in the parish of Alverdiscott, where previously there had been no Coroner's Court for twenty years.  The first Inquest was touching the death of a tramp, aged 69, name at first declared to be unknown, who was given work by Mr J. T. Lyle, farmer, of Alscott Barton.  It appeared from the evidence that deceased, who told Mr Lyle he was called CLARKE, and informed one of the Jurymen that he was called THOMAS, called at the Barton on August 12th in a famished and terribly emaciated condition.  He was fed, and implored Mr Lyle to allow him to remain for a time, promising to do any possible work.  He slept in a loft over a barn, it being ascertained that he had no matches.  On Saturday morning he was found lying naked, and dying on the floor of the barn in a pool of blood.  It was surmised that, having been to the tub to wash his shirt, deceased, after climbing a ladder to the loft, missed his footing, and fell some nine feet down to the floor of the barn again, sustaining a fracture to the base of his skull.  Dr Brown, of Torrington, was sent for, but could only pronounce life extinct.  The Coroner said it would appear from deceased's own statement that he was called THOMAS CLARKE, but there was no evidence as to where he came from.  He also mentioned that P.S. Banbury found on deceased an incoherent sort of diary, and an agreement concerning a dog, made between a Mr Lewis and THOMAS CLARKE.  It was for the Jury to say whether they thought the man's name was THOMAS CLARKE.  A man named CLARKE had been missing from Cullompton, but he was only fifty one years of age.  The Jury thought the man was THOMAS CLARKE, and returned a verdict of "Accidental Death.".

Fatal Result Of Smoking In Bed. - The second Inquest was held at Matthew's Mill, on the body of WILLIAM BEAGEN, aged seventy-seven, who was burnt to death on Sunday morning, when his bedclothes caught fire.  Deceased, who had been bed ridden for some years, was smoking his pipe just previously, and it is presumed that some hot ashes must have ignited the clothing.  The body was identified by HARRY BEAGEN, deceased's brother, of Barnstaple.  Sarah George, deceased's sister-in-law, said that she rushed upstairs in response to BEAGEN'S cries, and found him in flames.  She called his nephew, George Matthews, who endeavoured to extinguish the fire, getting both his hands terribly burnt in the effort.  Her brother-in-law habitually smoked his pipe in bed.  George Matthews, who appeared with both hands bandaged, said he found the old man in flames, all his clothes blazing about him.  Witness smothered the flames with a carpet and the bedclothes.  Deceased had been smoking his pipe and was wearing a flannelette shirt.  Dr Pearson was sent for, but BEAGEN died later in the day.  Dr Pearson described the fearful burns, and said death was due to shock.  The Coroner expressed sympathy with Matthews and the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

HATHERLEIGH - Fatal Fall From a Reaper AT Hatherleigh. - Mr H. Brown, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest at Grudgworthy Farm, Hatherleigh, on Friday on WILLIAM H. HARRIS, aged 60, who died as the result of a fall from a reaping machine on Wednesday.  John Crocker, farmer, of Dickport Farm, Hatherleigh, stated that deceased came into a field where he was cutting on Wednesday afternoon and after some talk witness allowed him to take his place on the machine.  Witness followed with a gun to shoot rabbits which ran out of the corn.  On witness firing at a rabbit one of the horses began to plunge and was taken away.  Soon afterwards a rabbit, having gone back into the corn after being driven out, the shouting caused a bird to rise in front of the remaining horse which began to plunge, but was steadied by witness's son, who was leading it.  Witness told deceased to put down the rake and hold tight to his seat.  The horse immediately plunged again, and witness saw deceased fall back over the machine on the back of his head.  The drop would be about three feet.  Deceased was taken to his home and a doctor was sent for.  Dr Slade, Hatherleigh, said life was extinct when he arrived.  The cause of death was fracture and dislocation of the spine.  Mr William Risdon, steward of Mr Smyth-Osbourne, of Ash, deceased's employer, said it was HARRIS'S duty to help the farmers on the estate in any way he could during harvesting.  He wished the Coroner to convey to the widow and family the deep sympathy of both himself and Mr Smyth-Osbourne in their bereavement.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  The Jury were of opinion that no blame was attached to anyone.

COLYTON - A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned at the Inquest at Colyton on Monday on WILLIAM HENRY CLARK, who died from injuries received in the harvest field on Saturday.

TEIGNMOUTH - A verdict of Felo De Se was returned at an Inquest at Teignmouth on Monday on the body of WILLIAM WESTAWAY, caretaker of the District Council's Cemetery.  He left a mysterious note on the table.

Thursday 3 September 1908

ILFRACOMBE - Sudden Death At Ilfracombe.  Supposed Ptomaine Poisoning.  Inquest Adjourned. - At the Tyrrell Hospital on Monday morning, an Inquest was held by Mr G. W. F. Brown, District Coroner, on the body of ELLEN SOPHIA KELLY, marine store dealer, 13 Broad-street, Ilfracombe, who died suddenly on Friday last, at 11 p.m.  Mr W. Blackmore was chosen Foreman of the Jury, and after the viewing of the body (which was in the Hospital mortuary) the first witness called was:-  LEWIS JOHN KELLY, who said that the deceased was his mother, aged 48.  He knew nothing about the illness which was the cause of death, and he had not seen his mother since Whitsuntide, as he lived in the Rhondda Valley, South Wales.  ALMA ELLEN KELLY, daughter of deceased, said she lived with her mother.  On Wednesday, at 12.30 midnight, her mother woke up, saying she had cramp in her feet, and asking witness to rub her.  During the night she seemed to be suffering, and was sick several times.  Deceased did not wish a doctor sent for, but, unknown to her, witness sent for one about 10 in the morning.  Deceased had had a meal about 7 p.m. on the previous evening, consisting of a little boiled rabbit.  She had nothing to drink with the meal, so far as witness knew.  Witness had none of the rabbit, but a man named Pike had some; he had not suffered any ill-effects since.  The rabbit was given to her mother by Mrs Lake, and part of it had been eaten; the rest was given to her mother to take home with her.  Witness and her mother had some beef-steak and mutton chops at breakfast on the same day.  Others had some of the same food, but had suffered no ill-effects.  Witness could not say which food had caused the illness but her mother had not been well for a long time, having suffered from sickness and diarrhoea.  She took no medicine on Wednesday, but during the night complained of thirst and took about two pints of water.  Deceased had a good deal of cramp on the Wednesday night, and again on the Thursday, in her legs.  Deceased did not make any statement as to what might have caused the sickness; she had got wet twice on the Wednesday.  Deceased was often complaining about her foot, and sometimes about her head.  There was no poisonous substance of any sort in the house, to witness's knowledge.  About two days' before, deceased had a tin of soup, but there were no ill effects from taking it.  Dr Osborne said he was called to the house on Thursday morning, and found deceased suffering from constant vomiting and diarrhoea.  She was in great pain, and he used the usual means to relieve the pain.  On Friday, she seemed to be in a state of collapse, and Dr Toller was called in for a consultation.  In spite of all they could do deceased died on Friday night.  He had made a post mortem examination, and found traces of an irritant in the small intestines.  The heart was diseased, but of old standing, and this would render her unable to bear a shock.  There were no traces of any poison in the stomach.  Poisoning by ptomaine would produce the effects he found, and food containing such might be taken by one person with no ill effects, while another would die from it.  He would not say which of the food might have been the cause of the illness, but he was of opinion that deceased died of ptomaine poisoning.  Dr Toller said he was called in about 2.15 p.m. on Friday.  Deceased was in a state of collapse, suffering from some irritant in the shape of ptomaine.  The food that produced it might have been eaten some time before.  He agreed that they could not positively say what food had been the cause of the poisoning, but it was undoubtedly due to ptomaine.  The Coroner said that he must adjourn the Inquest in order to have the contents of the intestines sent to the Home Office for analysis.  The Inquest was thereupon adjourned to Monday, September 14th, at 12.15 noon, at the same place.

CHARLES - Shocking Tragedy At Charles.  "Out-Of-Work" Commits Suicide. - A shocking tragedy was enacted at Charles, the little parish adjoining Northmolton, on Tuesday night.  A man named ALBERT CARLYLE, who had for some time been working at Swansea, and got out of employment, and had since the previous Friday been staying at the house of his brother at Charles.  CARLYLE had been acting strangely during his stay, and on Tuesday night his brother heard a curious noise in the bedroom.  On going there he found CARLYLE savagely hacking at his throat with a carving knife, and before anything could be done the man had nearly severed his head from his body, death being instantaneous.  The police were apprised of the shocking affair, while the County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) was subsequently communicated with, and an Inquest will be held today (Thursday).  The terrible occurrence caused a painful sensation in the district.

SAUNTON - Shocking Cycling Accident At Santon.  MAJOR HIGGINSON Sustains Fatal Injuries.  -  On Sunday evening there was a sensational occurrence at Santon, the well-known seaside resort situated between Braunton and Croyde.  MAJOR HENRY HIGGINSON was cycling towards Croyde, having just entered the new marine road, when, apparently on his wrong side of the road, he collided with Ernest Thorne, of Berrynarbor, one of four cyclists who were travelling in the opposite direction towards Braunton.  As the result both cyclists were thrown violently, and Thorne received bad cuts under one eye and on one leg, whilst MAJOR HIGGINSON had his skull fractured.  Help was soon forthcoming, MAJOR HIGGINSON being conveyed to Braunton in a motor car kindly lent by a visitor at the Santon Hotel.  MAJOR HIGGINSON was accommodated at the house of Mrs Incledon and Dr Wright was promptly in attendance, but the injuries were of such a nature that it was practically impossible to do anything for the unfortunate gentleman, who passed away at 5.30 a.m. on Monday.  The sad affair caused a painful sensation in the district.  MAJOR HIGGINSON, who was 53 years of age, and had lived at Braunton for the past three years.  MAJOR HIGGINSON was made Lieutenant in 1870, was promoted to Captain in 1884 and to Major in January, 1895.  He served in the Egyptian campaign of 1885, and was awarded the medals, with clasp and the Khedive's Star. The funeral will take place at Braunton today (Thursday).  The sad circumstances attending MAJOR HIGGINSON'S death were Inquired into at Braunton Parish Rooms yesterday by Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner) and a Jury of which Mr W. Manaton was selected Foreman.  P.S. Robinson produced MAJOR HIGGINSON'S bicycle, the damaged condition of the front wheel of which supported the theory that the deceased was on the wrong side of the road when the accident occurred.  The Coroner briefly related the facts, as he understood them, and remarked that the impact must have been very severe, judging by the damage caused to the front wheel of deceased's cycle.  Thorne and the other cyclist with him seemed to have done everything possible for MAJOR HIGGINSON, and he thought from evidence carefully got together by P.S. Robinson, that the Jury would say no blame was attributable to anyone.  It was a pure accident, and had resulted, unfortunately, in MAJOR HIGGINSON'S death.  MISS GERTRUDE HIGGINSON, deceased's sister, stated that her brother was a retired Major of the North Staffordshire Regiment.  He was never in the Cameron Highlanders, as had been reported, and she could not understand a card of her brother's bearing the words "Cameron Highlanders," upon it.  Her brother was an expert cyclist, having cycled whilst he was in the Army.  She last saw him at Easter, when he stayed with her in London.    Ernest Thorne, of Berrynarbor, who appeared in Court walking very lame and with a large scar under one eye, deposed that on Sunday evening, between 7 and 7.30, he was cycling in company with his brothers Tom and Albert, a nephew, and Frederick Gammon, of Westdown.  They were nearing the Santon Hotel from the Croyde side, his brother Albert being about 100 yards in front, and witness being the last of the four, all proceeding slowly with the wind.  The chain of his nephew's machine, which had a fixed wheel, came off, and his nephew jumped off in order to attend to it.  Witness slowed right up, and was on the point of jumping off his machine in order to see what had occurred, when MAJOR HIGGINSON, who was going "from one side of the road to the other in zig zag fashion," suddenly came across the road into the direction of witness.  Witness shouted to deceased just as he passed his brother, but the front wheels of both machines collided and they fell, witness and his bike being on top of deceased.  The Coroner here asked witness whether he was sure that he was not travelling at a considerable rate.  - Throne replied emphatically; No sir, within the length of the machine I should have been on my legs, as I was stopping in order to see my nephew's machine.  - The Coroner:  Have you brakes on your machine?  - A.:  Yes, you can see them.  - Q.:  Was there anything that would cause the deceased to come on your side of the road.  -A.:  No sir, he was going from side to side.  The Foreman of the Jury suggested that deceased was adopting this course by reason of having a very strong headwind against him.  - Witness agreed and added that the MAJOR did not take the slightest notice of him.  The deceased seemed to have a bicycle pump in his hand at the time.  - Q.:  Was his head bent down towards his handle bars, as he was riding along?  - A.: Yes sir, and he did not take the slightest notice of me, when I shouted.  We were all ringing our bells - all the lot.  witness proceeded to state that MAJOR HIGGINSON was rendered unconscious and witness assisted him all he possibly Could.  His eldest brother, who had heard the crash, also came back, and Gammon went to the Santon Hotel for help.  Here a motor care was placed at their disposal, and witness and his brother accompanied deceased to Braunton, where he was taken in at Mrs Incledon's house.  - By Mr T. Yeo, a Juror:  Witness saw deceased some little way down the hill before the accident occurred.  His brothers both shouted to MAJOR HIGGINSON, but to no purpose.  He reiterated that his was on his correct side of the road when the collision occurred.  - A Juryman said it had been reported that one of the four young men told MAJOR HIGGINSON to go on the right side of the road.  - Witness could not say that this was so, and a Juryman suggested that they were evidently dodging each other.  - In answer to further questions witness said that MAJOR HIGGINSON'S  face was towards the hill on witness's left when the accident occurred.  - Mr H. Slee, another Juror, asked witness how he accounted for the condition of deceased's bicycle if they were travelling very slow at the time.  - Witness replied that he might have fallen on the machine.  Witness produced his own machine, the damage to which was very trifling, and which he contended  proved that he was not riding very fast at the time.  P.S. Robinson added that Torne rode home the same night, and early reported that his machine was not much damaged.  Thos. Thorne, nephew of the last witness, deposed that they were nearing the Santon Hotel, when witness's chain came off, and his uncle was pulling up his machine, when he collided with MAJOR HIGGINSON.  He (witness) was examining his chain, and on looking up saw his uncle and the deceased lying in the road some little distance away.  They were not riding fast; witness was unable to ride fast.  There was a strong wind, and witness did not hear his brother shout to deceased.  Mrs Nellie Clatworthy, cook at the Santon Hotel, informed the Jury she was walking towards Croyde at a point just above Preston House, when five cyclists, who seemed to be travelling at a reasonable pace, came down the hill, whilst MAJOR HIGGINSON was also proceeding up the hill slowly.  Shortly afterwards she saw the last witness dismounted attending to his machine, and she next heard a noise and saw Thorne and deceased on the ground a little further up the hill.  When she first saw MAJOR HIGGINSON he was on the sea side of the road, but where the men fell was a good distance away from the sea side.

Mrs Incledon, at whose house MAJOR HIGGINSON died, stated that when brought to her house on Sunday evening, he was partly conscious.  After being got to bed he told her he had got a frightful blow in the head.  Witness said she understood he had collided with another cyclist, and deceased agreed, adding that it had given him a frightful headache.  He did not blame anyone.  One of the other cyclists said in her presence that the accident had occurred through MAJOR HIGGINSON'S fault, and deceased did not deny it.  - In answer to questions, Mrs Incledon said she did not know if MAJOR HIGGINSON was deaf, but she thought he was a little near sighted.  A Juryman added that the deceased used to wear one eye-glass.  Dr Wright deposed that deceased's nose was broken, whilst the skull was fractured, and there were signs of injury to the brain.  Deceased had lost a lot of blood.  Witness got him to bed, but MAJOR HIGGINSON passed away the following morning at 5.30.  Nothing more than was done could possibly have saved deceased's life.  The cause of death was fracture of the base of the skull, and the laceration of the brain was probably extensive.  P.S. Robinson said he could call the other cyclists who were present when the accident occurred; but the Foreman and the other members of the Jury did not think this necessary.  The Coroner thought it evident that Ernest Thorne's evidence - supported as it was by the perfectly independent evidence of Mrs Clatworthy - was substantially correct.  The four cyclists were evidently proceeding at a reasonable rate on their correct side, when MAJOR HIGGINSON, taking a cross-cut from his right to his wrong side collided with Thorne. The deceased sustained a severe blow on the head, and this had evidently caused his death.  It would have been unfortunate for the other cyclists if any blame had attached to them, but he did not think they were to blame in any way.  The only person to blame was the deceased; it was a pure accident.  "Accidental Death" was the verdict of the Jury and the Foreman added that they did not think blame was attributable to anyone.  Apart from the evidence, he thought the condition of MAJOR HIGGINSON'S bicycle afforded strong evidence that the deceased was on the wrong side of the road when the accident occurred.

Thursday 10 September 1908

EXETER - The body of JOHN HEARL, an Exeter fruiterer, was discovered in a cellar at his residence on Thursday morning.  He had cut his throat with a carving knife, and at the Inquest a verdict of "Suicide while Temporarily Insane" was returned.

CHARLES - The Tragedy At Charles.  Verdict of Felo De Se. - At Charles on Thursday the County Coroner for North Devon (Mr G. W. F. Brown) Inquired into the death of ALBERT CARLYLE, aged 26, until recently employed as a draper's assistant at Swansea.  Deceased appeared to have got out of work, and went to stay at his brother's house at Charles, where he committed suicide.  MR WM. CARLYLE stated that deceased, his brother, arrived at his house the previous Friday in a very excited and nervous condition, and evidently suffered from the effects of drink.  He kept to his bed on Tuesday, and in the night witness's wife, hearing a noise, awoke witness.  On going to the deceased's bedroom he saw his brother cutting his throat with a carving knife.  He tried to take the knife away, and in doing so cut his own hand.  His brother died almost immediately.  MRS CARLYLE, wife of the last witness, gave supporting evidence.  The Coroner, summing up, said it was evident that deceased arrived at his brother's house suffering from the effects of heavy drinking, and that he had deliberately committed suicide by cutting his throat with a carving knife.  CARLYLE left no explanation of any sort, and matters pointed to his intention to commit suicide.  A verdict of Felo De Se was returned by the Jury.

Thursday 17 September 1908

ILFRACOMBE - Death From Ptomaine Poisoning At Ilfracombe.  Adjourned Inquest. - At the Tyrrell Hospital on Monday the adjourned Inquest on MRS KELLY, of Broad street, was held by Mr G. W. F. Brown, Coroner for North Devon.  It will be remembered that the Inquest was adjourned from a fortnight since that the contents of the intestines, which contained ptomaine poison, might be sent to the Home Office for examination and analysis.  The Coroner read the report from the Home Office as under:-  "I have analysed the parts of viscera of deceased received on September 3rd from Dr Osborne, and have to report that I have found no poisonous substance.  The result excludes all reasonable probability that the death was caused by any of the poisonous articles used in trade or medicine, but does not exclude the possibility that there has been poisoning by partially decomposed food, i.e. ptomaine poisoning."  Matilda Vernon, cook at Mr Lake's, said the deceased was at Mrs Lake's on the Wednesday before her death.  She cooked two rabbits with milk on that day, and there was nothing at all wrong with them, so far as she knew.  Part was eaten in the dining-room, and parts of both came out.  She had the liver herself, and others had some of what was left.  No one had suffered in any way.  The Coroner said that there seemed little doubt that nothing was wrong with the rabbit, and the other things eaten by other people had produced no ill effects.  Something must have set up the poisoning, but there was nothing to show the precise cause.  Dr Osborne said that they could not detect ptomaine except by its results, by any scientific process, and ptomaine would affect one and not another.  Any of the other poisons would have been detected.  Dr Toller said that an enema previously used would probably wash away any putrefactive matter, and make the analyst's task more difficult.  The Jury having deliberated, returned a verdict of Accidental Death from Ptomaine Poisoning, but what set it up there was no evidence to show.

LITTLE TORRINGTON - Death From Lockjaw In North Devon.  Injection Of Serum Proves Futile At Little Torrington. - The Barnstaple County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) conducted an Inquest at Huntshaw Farm, Little Torrington, on Friday on the body of JOHN MOCK, aged seventy-three, a retired farmer, who died on Thursday from lock-jaw.  Frank Elliott, son-in-law of deceased, said MOCK on September 2nd was assisting him in making a rick of corn.  After they had finished his father-in-law suggested they should get a pole to place against the side of the rick.  Deceased went to fetch a pole but presently returned without it, saying he had smashed his finger.  Witness sent him indoors to have his finger bandaged.  Next day MOCK came as usual to see him, but he was subsequently taken worse, and Dr Brown, of Torrington, was sent for. Dr Brown stated that he saw symptoms of tetanus, and at once wired to London for serum, and injected it next day.  MOCK, however, was too far gone, and he died on Thursday from heart failure following tetanus and blood poisoning.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

SOUTHMOLTON - Mr G. W. F. Brown (District Coroner) held an Inquest at Southmolton on Monday on the body of MRS ELIZABETH TUCKER, an aged widow, of Church-street.  Mr G. Sanders, rural postman, with whom the deceased lived, said that on September 7th he was called by MRS TUCKER, whom he found on the floor in her room.  Deceased explained that she had caught her foot in the carpet and fallen down.  She was 88 years of age.  Dr Smyth stated that deceased had fractured her thigh bone, and died from shock.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death"

CHULMLEIGH - MRS MARY MAYNE, a widow, who resided in Church-street, was found dead in her kitchen.  At the Inquest (held on Thursday before Mr G W. F. Brown, the North Devon Coroner) Dr Tucker attributed  death to apoplexy, and a verdict to that effect was returned.  The deceased was 74 years of age.

LYNTON - Death Of An American Specialist At Lynton. - An Inquest was held by Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner) at Lynton, on Saturday, one the body of PROFESSOR CHARLES HARRINGTON, who died suddenly on Friday at the Castle Hotel, where he was a visitor.  The deceased gentleman was an eminent American specialist.  He was Professor of hygiene at the Harvard University and Secretary of the Public Health Department.  Dr Jno. Templeton Bowen stated that he was a physician and he was travelling with the deceased for the benefit of the latter's health, and for rest.  They arrived at the Castle Hotel, Lynton on Tuesday in the week previous, when the deceased seemed in good health.  His condition was the same even until Thursday night, when he retired to bed.  At nine o'clock the next morning witness received a message from the deceased that he wished to see him.  He finished dressing and on going to the Professor's room he found him lying on the bed unconscious.  He immediately sent for Dr Edwards, but when he arrived the Professor was dead.  Dr Edwards said when he arrived in the bedroom deceased made one breath and expired.  He had made a post mortem, and in his opinion death was due to disease of the valves of the heart.  A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned.

Thursday 24 September 1908

BARNSTAPLE - Barnstaple Sensation.  Child's Mutilated Body Found.  The Inquest.  Arrest Of A Woman.  Charge Of Concealment Of Birth.  A most gruesome discovery, which caused quite a sensation in a wide district, was made at the Barnstaple refuse depot (formerly the old claypits) behind Rolle Quay, on Saturday morning.  Mr Edwin Radcliffe, one of the municipal workmen, was engaged in levelling a heap of rubbish, which had just been shot at the spot from one of the borough dust carts, when he was startled by coming across the head of an infant child, whilst a short time later he also found the body, minus the legs and arms, amongst the same refuse.  A careful search, extending over two hours, failed to reveal the missing arms and legs.  Mr George Bennett, one of the dustmen, at once conveyed the head and body of the child to the police station, and in the afternoon Dr Jonas (by the orders of the Borough Coroner, Mr T. A. R. Bencraft) made a post-mortem examination of the remains at the mortuary of the North Devon Infirmary.  The borough police (under the Chief constable, Mr R. S. Eddy) set to work with commendable promptitude, and a sequel to the ghastly discovery was forthcoming on Sunday morning.  P.C. S. Hill (to whose charge the body of the child was first committed) then proceeded to Fort-street, where at her place of employment, he arrested EDITH STEVENS, a domestic servant, aged eighteen, after she had made a sensational confession (reported in connection with the Inquest proceedings) in the matter.  The unfortunate girl was first taken to the police station, and as she was found to be very weak, was afterwards removed to the Workhouse Infirmary, in custody.  The Inquest on the remains of the child was held at the North Devon Infirmary on Monday afternoon, before the Borough Coroner, and a Jury of which Mr J. R. Ford was chosen Foreman.  Inspector Tucker watched the proceedings on behalf of the police, and among those present was MR. STEVENS, father of EDITH STEVENS, who works in Somerset, and is a native of Pilton.  The Coroner said they were met there that afternoon to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of a newly born child (supposed to be the son of EDITH STEVENS, domestic servant), the body of which was found in the municipal ash heap in the Braunton-road, on Saturday.  The head of the child was first found and the body afterwards, and portions of the legs and arms were still missing.  It appeared that the mother had been found, and on being cautioned, made an admission to the police which they would hear directly.  From the medical evidence it appeared to him that the child, if not quite still-born, was nearly so, and the cause of death seemed to be haemorrhage, which would occur naturally unless means were taken to prevent it.  Edwin Radcliffe, a Town Council employee, deposed that at the claypits depot behind Rolle Quay, between 1`0.30 and 11 o'clock on Saturday, he was levelling a heap of ashes just deposited at the spot, when he came across the head of a child.  Some children near who also saw it, said "It is a baby's head," but witness "passed it off" by suggesting it was a dog's head.  Witness placed the head, which was wrapped up in paper, in a bag.  On George Bennett, one of the scavengers who brought the rubbish in question, returning with another heap from Pilton, he asked him whether he knew what he had brought in the butt, and he replied "No."  Witness then showed him the head of the child, and Bennett, having said he must take it to the police station, left for this purpose. By the time Bennett returned, witness had found the body of the child in the same heap of rubbish, wrapped up in brown paper.  Witness also searched for the legs and arms of the child for about one and a half hours but without result. In answer to questions Radcliffe said there were no blood stains on the paper, but it was wet on the outside, through rain or damp ashes, he supposed.  Asked what he had done with the paper, he said that as the result of its being wet, it had fallen off.  George Bennett, dustman, deposed that he took the ashes in question from premises on the right-hand side of Fort-street, on Saturday morning, but he did not notice the body of the child in any of the receptacles when emptying them.  He deposited the ashes at the municipal depot, and on Radcliffe handing him the head and body of the child he took them in turn to the police station, handing them to P.C. S. Hill.  He did not notice the paper which fell from the body.  The body was a bit damp; he did not see any blood about it.  The body was black with ashes.  - The Coroner then said the ashes containing the body of child were supposed to have been put out in the roadway from No. 45 Fort-street, and asked witness whether he knew that ashes were so put out.  - Witness replied he could not tell unless he looked at the house, and the Coroner said he had better do so, the Jury hearing the remainder of his evidence later.  - Witness then left the Court for the purpose of visiting Fort-street.  P.S. Tucker stated that on going into the charge room of the police station about mid-day on Saturday, the last witness showed him the bag containing the upper portion of a young child's head.  The head was black, this being probably caused by contact with soot and ashes.  The lower jaw and the lower lobes of the ears were missing.  Witness noticed a cut across the forehead, which separated the skin. He at once took the head to the surgery of Messrs. Harper and Jonas, and caused a communication to be sent to the Coroner on the telephone.  Shortly afterwards P.C. S. Hill handed him the body of the child, with portions of the legs and arms missing.  Dr Jonas viewed the body which, by his instructions, witness took to the mortuary at the North Devon Infirmary.  Later on Drs. Harper and Jonas held a post-mortem examination.  On Sunday, witness, P.C. Hill, and Jas Burnell (a borough employee) tested the drains of the house in question at Fort-street; but were satisfied that the missing limbs had been washed away.  P.C. S. Hill spoke to receiving the head and body of deceased from George Bennett.  On certain information the previous morning he proceeded in uniform to No. 45 Fort-street and there saw EDITH STEVENS, the domestic servant, in the dining room, Mr and Mrs McWhinnie (her employers) and Mrs Hutchings being also present. Witness cautioned STEVENS, told her there was a rumour in regard to a child which had been found, and that he believed she knew something about it.  STEVENS then volunteered the following statement, which witness wrote, in the book produced, at the time:-  "I am EDITH STEVENS, aged eighteen.  On September 16th I went to the w.c. just in the rear of the house, when to my surprise I gave birth to a child ..... I did not know there was anything the matter with me...... After I saw what it was I went into the kitchen for a knife.  Then I went out and cut it up.  I do not know what I cut up first.  The head and body I put in the ash bin, covering it with ashes.  The legs and arms I threw down the w.c.  I did not hear it cry."  P.C. Hill first said he did not read the statement over to STEVENS, but afterwards corrected himself.  He now distinctly remembered reading over the statement to STEVENS and her signature was affixed to it.  The witness, Bennett, here returned and said that he really could not swear that ashes were put out at No. 45 Fort-street, on Saturday.  - The Coroner:  It does not matter, as STEVENS has confessed.  - To witness:  You believe the ashes were put out?  - Bennett:  I am not sure.  If I had fetched the ashes from inside the premises I should remember, but I do not recollect doing it.  Dr Jonas spoke to receiving from the police two parcels, one containing the upper part of the child's head, covered with ashes, and the other containing the trunk with the upper part complete, and the lower half much mutilated.  He explained that the lower jaw and portions of the legs and arms were missing.  ~The remains were those of a full-time male child, and on the left shoulder there was a slight sign of decomposition.  - The Coroner:<  Without going into details, did you find the organs healthy?  -  A.:  Yes. - Q.:  What do you consider was the cause of death?  -  A.:  None of the wound son the body showed evidence of being inflicted before death.  The stomach and bowels floated in water, showing that the bowels contained some air.  The lungs also showed signs of having been fully distended with air.  - The Coroner:  That is to say, the child had breathed?  - A.:  Yes.  Dr Jonas went on to say that there was a large bruise on the skull, which must have been caused before death, but it was not to be taken as evidence of violence.  The brain and bones of the skull were absolutely uninjured.  The whole of the organs were bloodless.  From the condition of the lungs, his conclusion would be that the child breathed.  The air in the stomach and upper part of the bowels afforded evidence, but not conclusive proof, that the child lived.  The bloodless condition of the organs, the heart in particular, made it probable that the child died of haemorrhage.  - The Coroner:  The state of the body was consistent with STEVENS'S story?  -  A.:  Yes.  - The Coroner also asked Dr Jonas whether he considered STEVENS had shown negligence, but witness said he did not know whether it was a question for medical men to answer.  - The Coroner:  You would know her state of mind, probably, having had experience of these matters?  -  A.:  It all depends what you call negligence.  I really cannot say whether it is negligence or not.  - The Coroner indicated the course which would have been taken had a medical man been present at the birth of the child, and said that perhaps the child's life would have been saved.  He further said that if what STEVENS had stated was correct, the death would have been a natural one.  - Dr Jonas:  Yes.  The Coroner, summing up, said he thought sufficient evidence had now been placed before the Jury to enable them to arrive at their verdict.  He reminded the Jury that they were only concerned with the cause of death, and he did not think that there was any evidence before them which would justify a verdict of manslaughter, or a more serious charge.  With  the charge of concealment of birth, on which, as they had no doubt all heard, STEVENS had been arrested, that Court had nothing to do.  At this stage the Coroner suggested to Dr Jonas that very likely the child did not live more than three minutes.  Dr Jonas replying it would not be longer.  - Q.:  Would it be right or wrong to describe the birth as still-born?  -A.:  I am afraid I cannot say.  My evidence points to the child having breathed.  It probably had a separate existence, but I cannot say for certain.  The Jury then retired, and after a brief consultation returned a verdict to the effect that on September 16th, at 45 Fort-street, the deceased child died from haemorrhage at the time of birth.  On Tuesday, George Roulston, a Barnstaple fisherman, found the left fore-arm and hand of the mutilated infant on the bank of the river Taw at Chaddiford, the limb having evidently passed through the borough sewer and been discharged into the river.  Roulston reported the discovery to P.S. Tucker, who went down the river and took charge of the remains.  By the order of the Borough Coroner the limb was placed in the coffin containing the head and body of the infant, the whole being subsequently interred.  EDITH STEVENS, the accused woman, is still very unwell in the Workhouse Infirmary, and it is unlikely that she will appear before the Borough Magistrates for some little time.  She will be charged with concealment of birth.

Thursday 1 October 1908

NEWTON ABBOT - "Accidental Death" was the verdict at the Inquest at Newton Abbot on Thursday on ERNEST H. PURCHASE, 43, a claycutter, whose spine was broken through a lump of clay weighing about 4cwt. falling upon him whilst in the Binney Mine, Kingsteignton.

TORRINGTON - Inquest. - Mr G. W. F. Brown, North Devon Coroner, held an Inquest at Torrington Town Hall on Monday, to Inquire into the death of JANE FARTHING, an aged woman who, on the 9th of September, fell and fractured her arm, and died on Saturday.  Mr Fred Green was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  Evidence was given by THOMAS LOCK (son of deceased) that she was 90 years of age and had, until recently, resided at the almshouse, from which place she was removed to his house, where she died after the accident.  Mary Northcott, another inmate of the almshouse, said she found deceased on the floor groaning, and she called for help.  How deceased came on the floor she did not know.  Dr Macindoe gave evidence, and a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

Thursday 8 October 1908

APPLEDORE - Appledore Woman's Tragic Death.  "Callous And Cruel Case":  Coroner's Strong Censure.  -  On Monday an Inquest was conducted at Appledore by Mr G. W. F. Brown, Coroner for North Devon, on the body of MABEL JENKINS, aged 31, wife of a bargeman living in New-street, who was found dead on Sunday morning.  Mr George Westcott was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  The Coroner said they were called together to Inquire into the death of MABEL JENKINS, a married woman, living at New-street.  Her husband came home on Monday morning early, it appeared, and found his wife in an unconscious condition downstairs.

WALTER JENKINS identified the body as that of his wife.  She was 31 years of age.  He saw her alive last about 1 o'clock (mid-day) on Saturday.  She was out in the back kitchen when he came in the front.  He put down his money, 25s. (two half-sovereigns and two half-crowns).  He had earned 30s. 6d. that week, but he kept the rest to buy a shovel. He spoke to her and said, "Here, MABEL, here's your money.  I want to go up the street."  He went back again at 1.30 on Sunday morning.  His wife was lying down on the step between the two kitchens at the bottom of the stairs.  He did not take much notice how she was lying.  He went out and called Mr Young, as he thought she was drunk.  Mr Young would never believe that she used to drink.  He could not make Mr Young answer.  He tapped to the door twice and then went up to the window and tapped at their window.  Mrs Young answered and Mr Young was in very quickly.  When he saw his (witness's) wife he said, "Your wife is dead; she is quite cold."  There was blood all over her face.  There were no signs of a struggle, but a mat and a few old pieces of carpet crumpled up were on the floor.  He picked up a bottle which was lying beside her.  He did not see any stick or any instrument of that kind near her.  He did not see any money and could not tell what she had done with it.  P.S. Wright said he found 7s. 6d on the body.

Continuing, witness said he did not make any inquiries as to where she went to spend the money; he had not taken any interest in the matter.  He was in with his mother from about 11.30 to 1.30.  He generally had his meals there.  He did not ascertain whether she was drunk, as he could tell by the smell, nor did he ascertain if anybody had seen her.  The Coroner:  If you had come home and found a dog or a cat dead you would have made enquiries?  -  Witness:  Yes.  The Coroner:  You would not about your wife?  -  Witness:  She must have killed herself.  Witness said he was not drunk himself, although he admitted having been drinking during the evening up to 11 o'clock.  He was drinking in the Champion of Wales public-house.  He was sober when he left.  His five children were up to bed and asleep when he got home.  The eldest was a boy aged 12 years.  When he asked the boy if he had heard anything the boy said no.  He called the three eldest boys, telling them to go down and see their drunken mother.  That was before Mr Young came in.  Witness made no attempt to lift the deceased up.  The lamp was burnt dry, and Mrs Young had to bring in some oil and fill it.  The Coroner:  So you degraded your children by calling them down to see their drunken mother, as you have said.  Why is Mr Young called into this debauch?  - Witness:  Because he would not believe that she used to drink; but he had seen her like it before.  The children were unable to tell him how his wife got there; in fact, he did not ask them.  If he did, witness added, he would not have got anything out of them.  A Juror:  Did you hear from the little girl who was in bed that she heard groaning?  -  Witness:  Yes.    The Coroner:  Why did you not tell me?  - Witness:  That was the little girl.  The Coroner at this point ordered the children to be fetched.  Mrs Young, a next-door neighbour, said that she saw the deceased alive last at about five minutes to eleven on Saturday night.  She was in the kitchen sitting in a chair.  She did not know whether she had been in long, as she was only in her house a  quarter of an hour before.  She (witness) was sitting in her house until a quarter to one, and never heard a sound.  She could not say whether anybody went into the house next door.  The deceased's husband called for Howard, and he went in.   Witness could not say how the deceased was lying.  There were no children downstairs when she went in.  She had never seen the deceased drunk, and she did not know what had made her start drinking that day.  The doctor was there when she went in.  By a Juror:  She had seen her frequently during the day.  Deceased had been in and out her (witness's) house.  The last time the deceased came into her house was about half-past ten.  She did not ask her why she had been drinking.  She was very friendly with the deceased. When she saw her at nine in the evening she was not drunk.  She must have had it in her house, if she had it.  Howard Young, husband of the last witness, stated that he was called by WALTER JENKINS.  He went into the deceased's house at about five minutes to two.  The deceased was lying across the foot of the stairs on the matting, between the two kitchens.  There was blood on her forehead.  He could not say how long she had been dead.  He tried to raise her, but on putting his hand on her cheek he found it to be cold.  He did not think anyone went into the house.  He was called out from his bed.  He had never seen her drunk.  There was nobody in his (witness's) house from eleven until twenty past.  He came home at about twenty past eleven.  Dr Valentine said he was called to the house, 25, New-street, and arrived there at 2.27 a.m. Sunday morning.  He found the body fully dressed, prone, lying in front of the kitchen.  The face was downwards, resting on the right cheek.  Some blood had escaped from the left nostril.  On the upper-arms there were some old bruises.  She was dead.  She must have been dead from two to four hours.  There was a box of matches, a piece of candle, and a belt under the deceased's arm where she lay.  He had made a post-0mortem examination that morning, and found the body to be healthy.  There was no food in the intestines or stomach.  There was a bruise on the left temple about the size of a shilling.  In the scalp there was haemorrhage, and a starred fracture, running in three directions.  On opening the skull there was haemorrhage all over the brain.  Death was due, in his opinion, to fracture of the skull.  There were no signs of the deceased being an habitual alcoholic subject.  At this stage the children of the deceased arrived.  WILLIAM, the son, aged 12, said he came home from work on Saturday evening at about seven o'clock.  His mother was sitting in her chair sewing.  He had his tea, and went to bed.  He did not see or hear anything further.  His mother did not come upstairs.  Witness volunteered that he thought his mother fell downstairs, but on being further questioned by the Coroner, the boy cried bitterly, and then the Coroner elicited from him the statement that he did not really think that his mother fell downstairs.  The little girl, six years old, and another small boy, aged nine, corroborated their brother's story that they heard nothing after they went to bed.  The Coroner, summing up, said the evidence disclosed a most deplorable state of affairs.  Here was a man who saw his wife at 1.30 on Saturday afternoon, and did not come home again until 1.30 on Sunday morning.  He admitted he was in different houses until eleven o'clock, and said he was sober.  That statement he (the Coroner) somewhat discredited.  His wife, he alleged, was drunk, and that she was frequently drunk, whilst neighbours said they never saw her drunk, only on that occasion.  Mrs Young, who lived next door never saw her drunk before.  Why should this woman suddenly start drinking on Saturday and get in this condition without some cause or reason?  When her husband came home and found his wife lying on the floor, he said she was dead drunk, and went out and fetched a neighbour.  Then he returned and looked at her, but never made any attempt to revive her, or to see if anything could be done for her.  He treated her like one who coming in and finding a cat, gave it a kick to put it on one side.  It was simply horrible, and a more callous state of affairs it had never been his duty to inquire into.  It seemed to him the man treated the body of his wife like an inanimate sack.  The man said he called his children downstairs to witness the horrible spectacle, his wife, their mother, drunk on the floor.  It was most inhuman, but he believed it was a lie, because the children said they were never called down.  Still, it was just the sort of thing the man would do.  The husband admitted he made no attempt to find out where his wife was from the time he left her.  He did not care where she went or what happened to her.  If he had come home and found the cat dead he, probably, would have created a row with the neighbours about it; but this was his wife, and it was a case of "Oh, it's all right, we need not trouble any more about it."  It was a deplorable state of affairs, and the sooner the man made up his mind to give up the drink the better for his family and himself.  A man who came home and found his wife dead on the floor without trying to find out anything about it was bound to come to a very bad end.  The medical evidence showed that the woman died from a fractured skull.  The question was, how that fracture was caused.  It must have been caused by a violent blow.  Did she fall and sustain it, or did someone hit her?  They had no evidence that anyone was in the house after she was last seen alive at 11 p.m. by Mrs Young, when she was sitting in a chair.  The children heard nothing.  The little boy started to tell him that his mother fell downstairs.  That never entered the boy's head of its own accord, but it was suggested to him by someone to say that.  Mrs Bennett, a sister of the deceased, interposing, said she heard from her sister on Thursday week that she was starving, and she sent her 2s.  The deceased had not spoken for a fortnight to her husband, who, added Mrs Bennett, treated his wife very cruelly.  She had shown her bruises on her arm where the husband had gripped her.  The Jury returned a verdict that deceased died from a fracture of the skull, but that as to how it was caused there was no evidence to show.  They added a rider censuring the husband for his callous conduct.  The Coroner concurred, and severely reprimanded the husband for his conduct.  It was the most callous and cruel case he had ever investigated.  If there had been a single bit of evidence upon which he could have directed the Jury to have brought in a verdict of manslaughter, he should have done so.  JENKINS might think himself lucky that there was nothing there upon which they could bring in such a verdict against him.  He presumed his callousness and absolute want of feeling were due to drink, and he hoped this would be a warning to him.  He trusted he would never have a similar case in Appledore.  They might be sure he would probe it to the bottom.

Thursday 15 October 1908

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death At Barnstaple. - The Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft) conducted an Inquest on Monday evening on the body of a man named JOHN VODDEN, quarryman, aged about 63, who was found dead in bed at Mrs Woodman's lodging house, in Belle Meadow, the same morning.  Mr Dan Moxham was chosen Foreman of the Jury.

The Coroner, in opening, said they were met together to Inquire into the circumstances attending the death of JOHN VODDEN, a labourer quarryman, formerly living at Bishopstawton.  Some few years ago he lost his wife, and since that time he had been living in different places, where he could get work.  The Coroner went on to detail the circumstances of the case.  John Holland, carter, residing in Bull Court, a nephew of the deceased, gave evidence of identification.  His uncle was a quarryman, and he should think he was about 62 or 63 years of age.  He was pretty steady in his habits as a rule.  Witness last saw him alive the day previous, when his uncle called at his house, where he had two cups of tea to drink, but said he would have nothing to eat.  He appeared to be in his usual health, and was quite sober at the time.  At one time he lived permanently in Bishopstawton, but for some time he had been moving about from place to place.  Mrs Mary Woodman stated that she kept a lodging house in Belle Meadow.  She had known VODDEN for a good many years, and there was nothing wrong with him on Sunday.  He used to take a drop to drink.  Witness had not seen him for over six months until the night previous, when he called at her house and asked for lodgings.  Someone called her, and said there was a drunk man wanted lodgings.  Witness came and saw who it was, and gave him lodgings.  Before he went to bed another lodger gave VODDEN a cup of tea, who said he had had a glass or two of beer.  He walked upstairs by himself, and went to bed.  She was called to the room at ten o'clock on Monday night, but VODDEN was not ill then.  When called in the morning, VODDEN did not wake up, and she sent for a doctor.  John Baker, who lodged at the lodging-house, deposed to sleeping in the same room with VODDEN.  Witness saw VODDEN get out of bed at about 10 o'clock, and also between two and half-past on Monday morning.  He returned to bed again all right; and witness did not hear him moan or make any noise.  Witness went to the room in the morning to wake the lodgers, but could not wake VODDEN.  He called Mr Essery, who found that he was dead.  In answer to the Foreman, witness said VODDEN did not speak to him or to anyone else when he got out of bed in the night.  there were three others in the room.  He did not hear him moan or make any noise.  George Edwin Essery, another occupier of the same room, gave corroborative evidence.  P.C. Fry deposed to being called to Mrs Woodman's lodging-house at about five minutes to nine on Monday morning.  He found VODDEN, who was dead, lying in a sleeping position.  Dr Thomas afterwards arrived, and ordered VODDEN'S removal to the Mortuary.  Witness found in deceased's possession 1s. 6d in silver, and 1d in copper, together with a pipe, about half an ounce of tobacco, and a pocket knife.  Dr Thomas said he was called to the house in question on Monday morning.  When he arrived VODDEN had been dead about four or five hours.  He had made a post-mortem examination on the body, and he found no marks of bruising or injury of any sort.  He was frothing at the mouth.  He was well nourished, and there was no sign of any violence on the body.  The muscles of the heart were very pale and weak, and he had had valvular disease.  The lungs and kidneys were in a very congested condition, which would be the case if the heart had not been acting properly.  The other organs were rather congested, but appeared healthy.  In his opinion the cause of death was failure of the heart, or natural causes.  The Coroner asked Dr Thomas whether, if deceased had indulged somewhat freely in alcoholic liquor, that would accelerate death or otherwise.  Dr Thomas said he thought it would accelerate death, but not to any great extent in this case.  He thought that death was due to heart failure.  The Coroner, in summing up, said there was no doubt that death was a natural one.  The Jury, without retiring, returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes; namely Heart Failure."

PARRACOMBE - Parracombe Child's Death.  -  At Lynton Town Hall yesterday Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner, held an Inquest on the body of BESSIE LEWORTHY, aged 7, daughter of MR LEWORTHY, of Rowley Cottage, Parracombe, who had died at the Cottage Hospital.  MRS LEWORTHY said that on October 7th the child on returning from school complained of considerable pain in the leg.  Dr Edwards was called in, and he ordered her removal to the Cottage Hospital.  - Mrs Stapley, schoolmistress at Parracombe, said the playground was covered with large loose stones.  On the left side of the playground was a dilapidated wall, which adjoined a field. In some places the wall was only 2ft. high.  -  JOSHUA LEWORTHY said that on October 7th his deceased sister was climbing over the wall, and fell on her face in the playground.  Dr Edwards, who made a post mortem examination, said in the thigh he found an abscess deep in the muscle.  Death was due to inflammation of the brain, probably caused by concussion.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," adding a rider to the effect that in their opinion the Managers of the School, or the Devon County Education Authority, should at once take steps to put the playground in proper order, and also to see that the wall was properly repaired, as there was really nothing to prevent children from climbing over the wall; also that the Managers were wanting in consideration, not one of them attending the Inquest.  The Coroner was requested to forward the rider to the Devon Education Authority.

Thursday 22 October 1908

HARTLAND - Sad End Of A Farmer At Hartland.  The Inquest. - The North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) conducted an Inquest at Hartland on Thursday, touching the death of JOHN PILLMAN, farmer, of Tosbery Farm, a painful state of affairs being disclosed.  The Coroner said deceased was aged about sixty-six.  He attended a fair at the West Country Inn on Monday, and arrived home at about 11 p.m. somewhat the worse, it seemed for liquor.  Next day he sent a messenger to the West County Inn for a bottle of gin.  He remained about the house the whole of the day, and apparently consumed most of the contents of the bottle, rendering himself unconscious.  In the evening he was asleep in the kitchen, and when his wife, who had been away, returned, she found him lying on the floor, and he was left there.  No one saw him afterwards until seven o'clock next morning, when his wife came downstairs and found him in the same place.  He was dead.  Dr Martin was sent for, but could do nothing, confirming the fact that the man was dead.  It was  a most unfortunate affair.  There was no doubt deceased had been drinking very heavily lately, and from the doctor's evidence he thought the Jury would find that there was no doubt that such drinking was the cause of death.  LOUISA PILLMAN, daughter of the deceased, who was much affected in giving her evidence, said that her father went to the West Country Inn at a quarter past ten on Monday morning, and returned home just before eleven in the evening, when he was under the influence of drink.  - Coroner:  Did he go to bed?  - Witness:  he laid down here (the front parlour), until between one and two, in the chair.  Then he went up to bed.  The next day he came down between seven and eight o'clock, and asked the man to fetch some gin from the West Country Inn.  He had a basin of broth first and then he drank all the gin except that remaining in the bottle.  The bottle was produced.  Its capacity was 1 ½ pints, and it was nearly empty.

Coroner:  He was practically under the influence of drink the whole of that day?  - Witness (sobbing): Yes, sir.  He was in bed and out again.  In the evening he was in the kitchen.  Mother had been away, and she came home that night.  When she arrived home, father was lying on the mat between the fire and the table.  - Coroner:  What had he under his head?  - Witness:  Nothing, sir.  - Coroner:  He was simply lying on the floor?  -  Witness:  Yes, sir.  - Coroner:  Did your mother wake him?  - Witness:  No, sir.  She thought it wouldn't be wise to wake him.  Answering more questions, witness stated that her mother and herself went to bed, leaving her father in an unconscious condition on the floor.  No one went down in the night.  Coroner:  Has he ever done this before?  - Witness:  Oh! yes.  We have left him there, and he has come to bed.  I was asleep all the night.  When I woke I was surprised that I hadn't heard him, and said so to mother.  MRS PILLMAN said her husband was 66.  She had been away for a week, and returned on Tuesday.  She found her husband asleep on the floor.  Her daughter met her and told her about him, saying:-  "Don't wake him, mother.  He'll come to bed, directly."  The two of them went to bed, leaving her husband.  She occupied a separate room when he was drinking.  He had been in this condition many times before.  - Coroner: And that was the reason you didn't come down?  - Witness:  I have done it scores of times, I might say, sir, but I didn't do it then.  When witness came down in the morning her husband was in the same place.  She sent for Dr Martin.  Dr Martin said the opinion he formed, as the result of the post mortem examination ordered by the Coroner, was that the deceased fell into a state of coma, and died from paralysis of the respiratory centre, which produced heart failure.  Summing up, the Coroner said he was afraid there was no doubt that drink was the primary cause of the man's death.  They had heard of the state he was in on Monday, when he dared say some of them saw him at the West Country Inn.  He appeared to have arrived home very much the worse for drink.  He seemed to have lain about in the room until two o'clock in the morning, when he went up to bed.  The next day he was in a fearful condition, and craving for drink, and the next thing he did was to send for some more.  Of course, it was a pity that there was no one in the house who would have had any control over the deceased and prevented him taking more drink, for it seemed that he got hold of a bottle of drink and rendered himself frightfully drunk.  It was a very terrible thing for the wife to come home and find her husband in this filthy condition on the floor - just like an animal.  In conclusion, the Coroner defended the action of the wife and daughter in not rousing the man, who was stated to be very quarrelsome when in such a condition.  A Juror:  The quantity of gin he consumed would not be enough to keep the man unconscious all day. - Coroner:  But I think he was soaked with drink.  - Another Juror:  I saw him at the West Country Inn, and he was better than I've seen him lots of times. A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes," in accordance with the medical evidence, was returned by the Jury, who expressed sympathy with the deceased's wife and daughter, and exonerated them all from blame.

ILFRACOMBE - Sudden Death At Ilfracombe. - At the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital, Ilfracombe, on Monday, Mr G. W. F. Brown, Coroner, held an Inquest concerning the death of GEORGE LUSON, gas fitter, in the employ of the Gas Company.  Mr J. P. Ffinch, J.P. (one of the directors), and Mr J. Armstrong (manager) represented the Gas Company.  Mr George Reed was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  REGINALD LUSON, son, clerk at the Gas Co.'s office, identified the body as that of his father, who was 56 years of age.  His father, foreman gasfitter, went to work at 6.30 on Saturday morning at the new Council school at Shepherd's Bush.  As he did not come home to breakfast, enquiries were made.  He was found ill at the new works and brought home, subsequently expiring.  John Reed, in the employ of the Gas Company, said he was at the new schools with LUSON.  Witness saw him at 7.40.  LUSON was fixing the gas pipes, and witness cutting the threads.  He went to breakfast at 8.20, leaving as far as he knew LUSON.  Going to the Gas Works at 9 o'clock, he saw LUSON'S son, who was looking for his father as he had not been home to breakfast.  Witness and others next went to the schools, and found LUSON kneeling on the joists with his head down between.  ~The day before LUSON complained of giddiness, adding that when he looked up at the ceiling his head was dazed.  He also complained to other workmen two days before of being ill.  John Comer, mason, employed at the new schools, went to LUSON.  His head was between the joists.  LUSON was alive, but unconscious.  Dr Kettlewell certified that death was due to haemorrhage of the brain, evidently caused by the bursting of a blood vessel.  The Coroner remarked that it was a case of death from natural causes, there not being any accident.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence, expressed sympathy with the widow, and gave their fees to the Hospital.  Mr J. P. Ffinch, one of the directors, said the Gas Company deeply regretted losing the services of such a valuable servant, and he was sure that regret would be expressed by a great number of the customers.  LUSON being very civil and attentive to his duties.  The Company expressed great sympathy with the family.

Thursday 5 November 1908

BIDEFORD - P.C.'s Death From Lockjaw.  Native Of Bideford. - The death occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning of P.C. WILLIAM JOHN NEWCOMBE, who has been stationed at Honiton for the past three years, since his removal from Sandford, which is in the Crediton Division.  On the 14th October the deceased was returning from Luppitt on his cycle, where he had been to serve a summons, when he slipped, and fell heavily off his cycle, and sustained some nasty bruises.  He was attended to by Dr Hedden, and made rapid progress, and was out as recently as Monday in last week.  On Tuesday he went to see his medical adviser again, and it was then discovered that other complications had set in.  Drs. Hedden and Ash held a consultation, and on Saturday Dr Roper was called in, but despite every attention he passed away about 3 o'clock on Sunday morning, the cause of death being lockjaw.  Deceased, who was 38 years of age, had been in the Devon County Police Force for over 18 years.  He leaves a widow and four children, for whom the greatest sympathy is felt.  The deceased also leaves a mother and father, and a brother and three sisters, all of whom are members of a well-known and highly respected Bideford family.  At the Inquest on Monday a verdict of "Death from Lockjaw, the result of an Accident," was returned.

ROMANSLEIGH - Inquest At Romansleigh. - Mr G. W. F. Brown (North Devon Coroner) on Monday Inquired into the circumstances attending the death of WILLIAM MATHEWS, aged 47, retired draper, of Romansleigh.  SAMUEL JOHN MATHEWS, brother, said the deceased had been an invalid for the last two years.  No doctor had been called in for twelve months.  His brother was taken worse on Wednesday.  Witness wanted to send for a doctor, but his brother did not wish it.  - Dr H. J. Smyth, Southmolton, stated after making a post mortem examination he discovered the lungs to be very congested.  Death in his opinion was due to congestion of the lungs.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

Thursday 19 November 1908

GEORGEHAM - Georgeham Child's Sad Death.  Fatal Scalds:  Inquest Adjourned. - A very sad accident, which was attended with fatal results, occurred on Saturday last at Georgeham.  A little girl named VERA GWENDOLINE BARNES, aged 3 ½ years, the daughter of MR THOMAS BARNES, farmer, of North Buckland, Georgeham, by some means fell into a pan of scalding milk whilst its mother was attending to another child in the kitchen.  Dr Walter Harper was sent for, and he advised the unfortunate child's removal to the North Devon Infirmary, where, despite every attention, it died on Sunday from its injuries.

The circumstances were Inquired into at the North Devon Infirmary on Tuesday evening by the Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft) and a Jury of which Mr Dan Moxham was chosen Foreman.  The Coroner said the mother, in consequence of the sad affair, was too ill to attend, and as there was no-one else who saw the accident they must adjourn the Inquest.  MRS BARNES had said she would be well enough by that day week, to which he thought an adjournment should be made.  Briefly outlining the facts, the Coroner said it appeared on Saturday morning the mother of the child was in the kitchen, and there was a pan of milk scalding on the fire.  the mother saw another younger child crawling in the doorway and put down the pan of milk to attend to this child, and as she went to do so, the poor little child VERA turned round and somehow or other fell into the pan of milk, receiving scalds and injuries to a considerable extent.  Dr Harper, of Braunton, was at once sent for, and he advised the child's removal to the Infirmary, where it died on Sunday.  At this stage of the proceedings he thought it hardly right perhaps to make any comment at all except to say that accidents of this sort, unfortunately, very frequently occurred, and it was desirable that people should exercise a very great amount of care in leaving pans of scalding milk about when there were small children anywhere near.  He had written to MRS BARNES and she was not able to attend that day.  MR THOMAS BARNES, father of the deceased, gave evidence of identification.  The accident happened at about twelve o'clock, and they arrived at the Infirmary with the child just before six.  He was satisfied that everything possible  had been done for his daughter at the hospital.  The Inquest was then adjourned until Tuesday next, at three o'clock.

Thursday 26 November 1908

GEORGEHAM - Georgeham Child's Death.  Dangers Of Scalded Milk Pans. - The adjourned Inquest on VERA GWENDOLINE BARNES, the 3 ½ years' old daughter of MR THOMAS BARNES, farmer, of North Buckland, Georgeham, was concluded at the North Devon Infirmary, Barnstaple on Tuesday, before Mr T. A. R. Bencraft, Borough Coroner.  Mr D. Moxham was Foreman of the Jury.  The mother, for whose presence the Inquest was adjourned, said on Saturday, November 14th, she was scalding milk on the bodley in her kitchen, and had placed a pan of scald milk on the floor.  Hearing a younger child crying in the back kitchen, she ran to see what was the matter.  Returning in half a minute, she found that the deceased had fallen into the pan of scalded milk.  Dr Walter Harper, of Braunton, advised the removal of the child to the North Devon Infirmary, Barnstaple, and there it died the following day.  Dr Appleyard, house surgeon, said the child was badly burned about the lower parts of the body.  - In reply to the Coroner, he said the best thing to do in cases of burns, where a doctor was not immediately available, the body should be wrapped up as warmly as possible, and the air kept from the injured parts.  The Coroner remarked that he might emphasize what he had said at the opening, that the very greatest care was necessary where children were about when milk scalding was going on.  There had been several such accidents in that neighbourhood alone, and they were continually occurring all over the country.  It seemed where a pan of hot milk was on the floor, and children were anywhere about, they were almost certain to tumble into it.  The warning might do some good in other cases, but, of course, could do none in the present case, which was a very sad one.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

MORETONHAMPSTEAD - The REV. KINGSLEY SPENCER, D.D., was found dead in a summer house at Moretonhampstead.  The Coroner's Jury returned a verdict that he was Accidentally Shot.

Thursday 10 December 1908

EAST BUCKLAND - East Buckland Farmer's Death. - The North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) on Monday investigated the circumstances attending the death of WILLIAM STEVEN HOLLOWAY, farmer, of Upcot Farm, East Buckland, aged 51.  WILLIAM THOMAS HOLLOWAY, son, said his father on Friday went to Barnstaple, returning about five o'clock, apparently in his usual health.  He went about his work on the following day, and in the evening retired to his bedroom, where he was found by his daughter, who considered he was asleep.  As she could not wake him, he was fetched to see him, and he believed his father to be dead.  They sent for the doctor at once.  Dr H. S. Smyth said he made a post mortem examination on the body, and found a ruptured blood vessel in the brain, with a good deal of blood clotted, which caused apoplexy.  The Jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes.

Thursday 17 December 1908

FREMINGTON - Mr G. W. F. Brown, the Coroner for North Devon, on Thursday, conducted an Inquest on VIOLET WINIFRED WEBB, the infant daughter of MR JOHN WEBB, of Penhill, Fremington.  Mr F. Holland was Foreman of the Jury.  Dr S. R. Gibbs deposed to being called to Penhill on Wednesday morning, when he found the infant dead.  Death was due to convulsions.  MRS WEBB, the mother of the child, said the deceased was three months old.  The child was quite well on Tuesday night, but at 6 a.m. on Wednesday she found it dead by her side.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes - Convulsions."

Thursday 24 December 1908

LANGTREE - Child's Death At Langtree. - At Stibb Cross, Langtree, yesterday, the County Coroner for North Devon (Mr G. W. F. Brown) Inquired into the death of WALTER ERNEST STONEMAN, the five months old child of THOS. STONEMAN, labourer.  MRS STONEMAN stated that the child seemed unwell on Saturday.  It appeared to be all right at 2 a.m. on Sunday, but at 5.45 she found it dead by her side.  Dr Macindoe deposed that a post mortem examination showed death to be due to heart failure, following on pneumonia.  Poulticing might have done good to the child.  The Coroner pointed out that although the child had not died of suffocation, the mother had acted wrongly in taking it into bed with her.  The Jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes.

APPLEDORE - Inquest At Appledore. - An Inquest was held on Friday evening at Richmond Villa, Hassells, near Appledore, on the body of MR ARTHUR HUSON, aged 68, a retired merchant, who died somewhat suddenly on Thursday.  Deceased appeared in his usual health until Thursday morning, when he was found by his son lying on the bed in an insensible condition.  Dr W. A. Valentine was summoned, and found him dead, and certified the cause of death to be rupture of a fatty heart, a verdict being returned accordingly.  Mr T. H. Kelly was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  Deceased was greatly respected in Appledore and the neighbourhood, and since his residence here has made many friends.  Great sympathy is felt for his wife (who is an invalid), and for the family of the deceased.

SOUTHMOLTON - Fatal Scratch Near Southmolton. - Two fatalities from trifling scratches have occurred in North Devon during the past week, one being at Bideford, and the other at Southmolton.  The victim in the Southmolton case was JOHN MUXWORTHY, labourer, aged 46, of Embercombe Cottage, whose death was Inquired into by the County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) on Tuesday.  MRS MARIA MUXWORTHY stated that her husband was engaged in cutting browse on Bremridge Farm on December 5th, when in some way he sustained a scratch across the forehead.  He continued to work, but two days later returned home complaining of severe pains in his head and back. Her husband went to bed next day, but afterwards worked until the following Saturday.  On the 16th inst., Dr Searle, who was called in, found her husband suffering from erysipelas and blood poisoning.  Deceased had a large swelling in his forehead and kept asking her to take out the prickle, but she could not find any such thing.  Her husband died on the 20th inst.  Dr Searle deposed that death was due to blood poisoning, which probably originated in a scratch from a thorn or bramble.  The Jury (of which Mr Wallace was Foreman) returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," presenting their fees to the widow.

Thursday 31 December 1908

BIDEFORD - Tragic Mistake Near Bideford. - At Hallsannery, near Bideford, on Tuesday afternoon the Coroner, Mr G. W. F. Brown, and a Jury of which Mr W. H. Friendship was Foreman, Inquired into the circumstances attending the death of THOMAS SLEE, for thirty years coachman to the late Mr R. B. James, and a valued servant of the family.  It appeared that on the evening of October 3rd, MRS SLEE heard her husband in the harness room of the stable making a noise as if sick.  He said he had brought home a drop of beer, but had drunk something from the wrong jar by mistake, the two jars standing close together.  She made him an emetic of mustard and water and he vomited copiously, and said he should soon be better, and went to bed, sleeping for two or three hours.  Next morning Dr C. K. Ackland was called in, and found that what deceased had taken was Burnett's fluid, used diluted as a lotion for footrot and horse and cattle diseases.  Its active principle was chloride of zinc, and the doctor gave an antidote.  SLEE made a good recovery from the shock for a time, but then the ulcers caused by the corrosive fluid contracted and practically blocked up both ends of the stomach.  For the past four weeks deceased had been unable to take any food whatever, except what was administered artificially, and he succumbed on Monday from exhaustion.  A post mortem examination showed that an operation would have been useless.  The jar which had contained the poison was produced, and was similar to the stone jars ordinarily used for malt liquors.  It bore a pale red label stating what it contained and how to dilute and use it, but was not marked poison.  The Coroner inquiring where it was purchased, it was stated that it appeared to have been at Hallsannery for many years, and had been removed from a cupboard to the stable on a turn-out, after Mr James's death.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and expressed their sympathy with the widow, in which the Coroner joined. 

Thursday 7 January 1909

WEMBWORTHY - Strange Death Of A Man At Wembworthy.  Inquest Adjourned.  - Mr H. W. Gould (County Coroner) held an Inquest on the body of AARON BOON at Wembworthy on Friday afternoon.  JAMES BOON, son, identified the body, and said he last saw his father alive about a month ago.  Deceased, as far as he knew, never had any trouble.  He returned from Canada, where he had been for many years, last August, and stayed with witness for two months.  He did not know that deceased had any poison in his possession, and had never seen the box produced.  Elizabeth Rooks said deceased had lodged with her for two months.  He came from Winkleigh, and while he stayed with her, he followed no occupation.  He was away three weeks, and returned a week ago.  Deceased had had pretty good health, but at times he complained of pains in his side, and said he believed his heart was affected, and that it would carry him off, adding that he had got crushed by horses abroad.  On the 30th of December deceased came down, as was his custom, about 10 a.m., went to the door and looked out, and said "We have had some more snow tonight."  Then he began to cry.  She asked him why he was crying, and he said he should not tell anyone, then they could not tell it after he was gone.  She put the breakfast before him, and all he ate was a piece of fried bread and drank a cup of tea.  Witness went and fetched Mrs Southcombe, and when they came they found deceased struggling in a chair at the breakfast table.  She did not see any signs of poison.  Mrs Southcombe said she was fetched by the last witness, and asked to come up and see MR BOON, as he was very bad.  She went, and saw deceased sitting in a chair close to the table in a straight position.  He was dying, and she gave him a drop of brandy.  She did not notice any signs of poisoning.  Dr J. Tucker said he made a post mortem examination, but could find no traces of disease.  The Inquest was adjourned until the 15th inst. for analysis of the stomach.

SOUTHMOLTON - An Inquest was held at the Town Hall on Thursday evening by the District Coroner (Mr G. W.F. Brown), touching the death of WILLIAM SLEE, aged 38, of Tout's Court, East street.  The evidence went to show that deceased was in usual health on Tuesday evening, but he was found by his wife dead in the bedroom at 9.45 on Wednesday morning, having expired while dressing.  Dr Seal, who made a post mortem examination, stated that death was due to syncope, the result of kidney disease, and a verdict was returned accordingly.  Mr J. G. Webber was Foreman of the Jury.

Thursday 21 January 1909

WEMBWORTHY - Wembworthy Man's Untimely End.  -  Mr H. W. Gould (Coroner for the District) on Thursday conducted an Inquest at Wembworthy relative to the death of AARON BOON, aged about 73, a resident of the parish. At the last hearing, Elizabeth Rooks, wife of John Rooks, labourer, of Wembworthy, deposed to the deceased having lodged with her for two months.  Deceased had been in good health, but he believed his heart was affected.  On the 30th December deceased came down at 10.30 as usual, but began to cry, and said he should never tell anyone what troubles he had.  He ate very little for breakfast, and said he was not at all well, and would go out.  He pulled out a leather case (produced) and gave it to witness, thanking her for her kindness to him.  Deceased said "I shall not be with you long."  Witness fetched a neighbour, and on returning found deceased sitting on a chair almost "gone."  He did not struggle at all, but was perfectly still at the table.  She saw no trace of any poison.  Annie Southcombe, of Wembworthy, stated that after deceased had expired she found the box (produced) in his coat pocket.  - Mr Joseph Tucker, surgeon, of Chulmleigh, stated he could not find any disease to account for death, after having made a post mortem.  -  Elizabeth Rooks, re-called, stated that deceased had always called himself WILLIAM BOON.  The case BOON gave witness contained his bank book and will.  Witness did not know that deceased had made a will, but knew now.  Witness and her husband benefited under the will.  - Dr A. Wynter Blythe, Public Analyst, said the contents of the box found on deceased to contain strychnine, of which deceased had taken about two grains, which proved fatal.  A little over half a grain would prove fatal.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Felo-de-Se."

BARNSTAPLE - Terrible Occurrence At Barnstaple.  Lady's Determined Suicide.  -  A painful sensation was caused at Barnstaple on Friday morning when it became known that MRS BETSY CARTER, wife of the late MR GILES CARTER, for many years a respected tradesman of the town, had attempted to commit suicide.  About eight o'clock MRS CARTER, who lived in Alexandra-road, was found by her daughter tearing at her throat in front of a looking-glass in the bedroom, and it was seen that she had inflicted an ugly wound in her throat with a pair of scissors and was endeavouring to intensify the wound.  Drs. Harper and Jonas were soon in attendance and after MRS CARTER had received their attention, she was removed to the North Devon Infirmary.  The injuries which she had inflicted, however, proved to be of such a terrible nature that she passed away at the Institution on Friday night.

The Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft) Enquired into the sad circumstances on Saturday.  Mr Dan Moxham being Foreman of the Jury.  The Coroner, in opening, said it appeared that the deceased lady had been of an unsound mind some time before this sad occurrence.  That was a long time ago, but the Jury would have evidence that for some time MRS CARTER had been under medical treatment, being depressed, and she had caused a good deal of anxiety to her relatives.  He briefly related the facts of the case, and said he had no doubt that the deceased was of an unsound mind when she committed the act.

MISS ANNIE CARTER, daughter of the deceased, stated that on Friday morning about eight o'clock she left her mother in bed all right whilst she went down to attend to the housework.  On hearing a noise, and knowing that her mother was not well and rather depressed, witness went upstairs.  -  Q.:  You went up to the bedroom and saw her in front of the glass stabbing herself with a pair of scissors?  -  A.:  I did not see what she had in her hand, and I called my aunt in the next room.  Witness continued that she went into Mr W. M. Jones's house next door, and Mr Jones went for a doctor.  Her mother had been depressed at times, whilst at other times she had been quite herself.  Deceased had been to an asylum for about nine months some thirty years ago, and lately Dr Jonas had been attending to her.  The previous Monday morning witness stopped her mother from tying something round her neck.  Mrs Anne Cole, sister of the deceased, deposed to being called by the last witness on Friday morning.  When she went into deceased's room she found her sister in front of the glass with her fingers in her neck.  She was trying to tear the wound open.  A pair of scissors covered with blood lay on the floor. Deceased was bleeding very much, and witness kept her as quiet as she could.  Witness thought there was no doubt that deceased inflicted the wound herself.

Dr Jonas stated that when he arrived at the house on the day in question he found the deceased sitting on the bed, with Mrs Cole holding her hands.  There was a good deal of blood on the floor, in front of the glass and on her clothes.  Witness sent for Dr Harper, and he administered chloroform, whilst a tube was inserted in MRS CARTER'S throat.  She had cut right through the cartilages on the larynx, and he thought she could not have been in her mind at the time.  MRS CARTER suffered from depression.  Witness thought some days before it would be wise to have company in the house with the daughter, and had advised someone else should be sent for.  Dr Moore, house surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, spoke to the deceased being brought to the institution.  Everything possible was done to save her life, but she died on Friday night about 8 o'clock.  P.C. Braund spoke to removing the deceased to the Infirmary.  The Coroner, summing up the evidence, said the deceased appeared to have been in fairly good health, but for some time had given her friends some cause for uneasiness.  A doctor was called in, and he supposed his directions were carried out as far as possible.  He thought there was no doubt the injuries to the deceased were self-inflicted, and that at the time of the act she must have been in a state which amounted to temporary insanity.  The Jury, without retiring, returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane," and expressed their sympathy with the relatives, in which the Coroner also joined.

Thursday 28 January 1909

LYNTON - Tragedy At Linton.  Cliff Railway Conductor's Sad End. - A sensation was caused at Lynton yesterday by the discovery, in the water tank at the top of the cliff railway, of the body of MR THOS. ANDREWS, one of the conductors of the cliff railway.  The cliff railway (which is seldom used in the winter months) is at present undergoing extensive repairs, and MR ANDREWS has been engaged in generally supervising certain work.  The water tank referred to stands on a site adjoining the garden of Mr H. M. Ross.  About 12.30 yesterday Mr Ross's gardener (Mr Baker) was engaged in trimming the hedge close to the tank, and happening to look in, he saw MR ANDREWS standing upright in the tank.  At the time the depth of water in the tank was about 5ft. 9 in., and the water just reached up to the unfortunate man's mouth.  MR ANDREWS was at once taken out of the tank, whilst Dr Warren (who lives near by) was promptly called, only, however, to be able to pronounce life to be extinct.  MR ANDREWS had not been seen for some little time previous to his body being found in the tank, and how he got into the water is a mystery.  MR ANDREWS, who was about forty years of age, had been in the employ of the cliff railway company for fourteen years.  A man of the most cheery disposition, he was generally esteemed, and his widow and daughter will have general sympathy in their great bereavement.  The Inquest will probably be held today (Thursday).

Thursday 4 February 1909

LYNTON - The Linton Tragedy.  Inquest:  Accidental Death.  -  On Thursday Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon, and a Jury of which Mr Herbert Medway was Foreman, investigated the death of MR THOMAS ANDREWS, the esteemed conductor of the Cliff Railway, whose body (as reported in last week's North Devon Journal) had been found in a water tank located at the top of the railway.  The Jury first viewed the scene of the tragedy, and then proceeded to the Foresters' Hall, where the Inquest was held.  Mr C. E. R. Chanter, of Barnstaple, watched the proceedings in the interests of the Cliff Railway Company, whilst Mr A. F. Seldon, of Barnstaple, appeared for the widow of deceased, who was accompanied at the Inquest by the Rev. T. Edgar Jackson (Wesleyan Circuit Minister).  The Coroner, addressing the Jury, said they were there to Inquire into the death of THOMAS ANDREWS, aged 46 years, who was in the employ of the Lynton Cliff Railway.  It appeared that the deceased left home somewhere about 7.30 a.m. for his work on the Cliff Railway, which was undergoing repairs.  The deceased was found later on by a gardener named Baker in the tank at the top of the Cliff Railway.  The body was in a somewhat standing posture under the water at the top end of the tank.  Life was quite extinct, the body being subsequently removed to the mortuary.  It appeared that a man named George Blackford could throw some light on the question as to how ANDREWS got into the tank, but no one saw him go there.  Dr Norman, who was acting for Dr H. J. Edwards, at his (the Coroner's) instructions, made a post mortem examination of the body, and would tell them the condition of the man, and what, in his opinion, was the cause of death. Mr C. E. R. Chanter here said he attended on behalf of the Cliff Railway, who wished to express their deep sympathy with the deceased's family and also the great loss the Company had sustained at the death of their old and valued servant.  On behalf of the Railway Company he would be glad, if possible, to throw any light on the subject, whilst at the same time expressing his extreme regret at such an unfortunate occurrence.  MRS ANDREWS, widow of the deceased, said her husband was forty-three years of age.  Her husband was a conductor on the Cliff Railway, having been in their employ for nineteen years.  She last saw him alive on Wednesday morning when he had his breakfast and was in his usual health, being quite cheerful.  He did not com plain of being ill.  His usual time to arrive home was either about 10 o'clock or else one o'clock.  The next thing she heard about him was that he had been found dead in the tank.  He had nothing whatever to worry him.  John Baker, gardener, said that on Wednesday at about 12.30 p.m., he was pruning trees just above the large water tank.  About five minutes after he started work he looked into the tank, in which he saw the body of a man at the end nearest Mr Ross's garden.  The body, which was in a standing position, was completely covered with water.  he did not know who it was until the body was raised above the surface. He went for help, and, with assistance, got the body out.  There was no ice on the water.  There was not the least sign of life in the body.  He looked at it for about one minute, and he did not see the least movement.  He had not been on that particular spot before that morning, although at times he had been working close by.  He saw the iron ladder, which was in its usual position on the higher side of the tank.  - Mr Chanter:  It is fixed there?  -  A.:  I think so.  - Q.:  There was no ladder running into the tank?  -  A.:  No, sir.  -  He did not see anything else in the water, except the cistern ball which regulated the supply of water in the tank.  Witness thought the water was about six feet in depth where the body was standing.  - Mr Seldon:  It was said there was a golf ball there.  Did you see it?  -  No, sir.  George Blackford, in the employ of the Cliff Railway, stated that the deceased was accustomed to work at the top of the Cliff Railway, whilst he (witness) was working at the bottom.  If the water in the tank was frozen the railway could not be worked.  Witness telephoned to ANDREWS at 8.45 a.m., but he received no answer.  Witness and ANDREWS usually let one another know whether the pipes were all right.  He (witness) rang the bell three or four times up to 9.45 a.m., but he received no answer.  -  The Coroner:  What happened after that?  -  Witness:  It did not matter very much about ANDREWS answering, and he (witness) went on working until about five minutes to one o'clock.  -  Witness, in answer to the Coroner, said it was usual for ANDREWS, when the water was frozen, to go to the top of the tank to see if it was frozen very much.  He had not seen ANDREWS that morning to speak to.  ANDREWS had not been in any trouble that he knew of.  Dr Norman, who was acting as locum tenens for Dr H. J. Edwards, stated that on receiving instructions from the Crooner, he made a post-mortem examination of the body.  There were no marks of violence.  The organs and lungs were exceptionally healthy, and there was practically no fluid in the lungs or the stomach.  The right side of the heart was congested and gorged with blood.  The vessels of the brain were congested, but exceptionally healthy.  He considered that ANDREWS died from heart failure, caused by suffocation, following immersion in cold water.  ANDREWS certainly did not die from drowning.  -  Mr Seldon:  You think he died immediately?  -  Dr Norman:  Immediately.  ANDREWS had no chance to call for help.  The Coroner, summing up, said the body was found in a standing position, slightly stooping over, in water completely covering him.  They (the Jury) had all seen the tank, and the high water mark.  He (the Coroner) had gone to the tank with Mr Chanter, and on taking measurements, had found the high water mark at one place to have been 6ft. 2ins., from the bottom.  That was, of course, quite sufficient to cover the top of the deceased's head.  The lift could not be worked when the water was frozen, and ANDREWS' duty was to see if it were so, and possibly went there for that purpose.  ANDREWS either walked in or slipped in.  No one was present, and no one heard cries of help, which was accounted for by Dr Norman's evidence.  They all knew what an extremely cold morning it was, and the cold water produced heart failure.  ANDREWS was unable to help himself.  There was no reason to suppose that ANDREWS committed suicide, as there was nothing troubling him, and he was a man of cheerful disposition.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death in the discharge of his duties," at the same time conveying their deepest sympathy to the family, and subscribing their fees towards a wreath for the funeral.  The Jury thought it necessary that steps should be placed inside the tank, to prevent any accident in the future.  Mr Brown said perhaps Mr Chanter would convey the suggestion to his directors.  The late MR T. ANDREWS was insured in the Ocean Insurance Corporation Ltd., and the Directors have notified through their Agent, Mr George Tizzard, of Barnstaple, that they will be prepared to at once pay over the amount of this policy, at the same time expressing their sincere sympathy with MRS ANDREWS in her sad bereavement.

BARNSTAPLE - Burning Fatality At Barnstaple.  Little Girl's Terrible Death.  -  A terrible burning fatality occurred at Barnstaple on Saturday morning.  the victim was a little girl named BERTHA CROCKER, the 10 year old daughter of a mason named JOHN CROCKER, of Olinda-place, Rolle's-quay, and she succumbed at the North Devon Infirmary.  The child was sitting by the fire in the bedroom with other children when, without her noticing it, her dress caught fire.  Her screams attracted her sister who endeavoured to wrap a blanket around her, but could not owing to the girl's struggles.  The flames were put out by a bargeman named Bowden with his coat, and on Dr Woodbridge being called the little sufferer was conveyed to the North Devon Infirmary, where she died on Saturday afternoon.  The sad circumstances were Inquired into by the Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft) and a Jury of which Mr J. R. Ford was chosen Foreman, at the North Devon Infirmary on Monday.  The Coroner having briefly outlined the facts, deceased's younger brother aged seven years, spoke to being in the bedroom on SAturday morning with the deceased and the baby, who was unwell, the former by the fire reading a book.  Sitting too near to the fire her frock caught and witness tried to put it out with his hands, "but it all blazed up."  WINNIE CROCKER, aged 13, sister, explained that she was looking after the house whilst her father was at work, and her mother was engaged in the collar factory.  The children were upstairs in the bedroom ill, and about a quarter past ten she heard screams, and on running upstairs found deceased with her clothes alight.  Witness was going to get a blanket to put around her, when deceased struggled and ran to the stairs and fell down.  Witness then called Mr Bowden.  Deceased was wearing a sateen dress, and a flannelette petticoat, which were both burnt.  Mr George Bowden, bargeman, stated that he was on the Quay on Saturday morning when he saw the last witness holding up her arms and screaming.  On going into the house he saw the deceased all in flames.  He immediately took off his coat and wrapped round her and put his cap on her face, and hereby extinguished the flames.  Mrs Jane Hill, neighbour, who helped to extinguish the flames said all the child's clothes were burnt to small pieces.  She was of opinion that deceased's flannelette petticoat caught first.  Dr Woodbridge deposed to being called to the house on Saturday morning.  the child was burnt practically all over her body, and he ordered her removal to the North Devon Infirmary, but it was a hopeless case.  It would have been serious even had only one third of the surface of the child's body been burnt.  Dr R. M. Moore, house surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, deposed that death took place from shock, due to burns.  The Coroner reviewed the facts, and said that it was an unfortunate occurrence.  Even had a grown-up person been in the house at the time, it was quite possible that nothing more could have been done to save the child's life.  The Foreman agreed with the Coroner's remarks.  In answer to a question, the girl MINNIE CROCKER, said there was no fire guard in the bedroom, but there was one downstairs.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned, some of the Jurymen commenting on the danger of flannelette and the advisability of using fireguards.

Thursday 11 February 1909

BISHOPSTAWTON - Sudden Death At Bishopstawton.  The Inquest.  -  A painful sensation was caused on Thursday last at Bishopstawton, when it became known that MR ERNEST H. EDGER, a well-known local tradesman, had suddenly passed away.  MR EDGER had been at work during the morning, and after temporarily visiting the Three Pigeons Inn, returned to his work, but as he was making for his bench he was observed to fall backwards, expiring before medical assistance could be procured.  MR EDGER, who was the son of MR WILLIAM EDGER, carpenter, who for many years lived at Bishopstawton, was 33 years old, and had resided at Bishopstawton all his life.  For some years he carried on business as a tailor and grocer, but about twelve months ago he disposed of the grocery department, continuing in business as a tailor.  The deceased, who was held in high esteem in the parish, leaves a widow and one child, with whom the deepest sympathy is felt.  The circumstances attending the sad affair were Inquired into by the County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) at the parish reading room on Saturday morning.  - The Rev. E. A. Lester was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  The Coroner, in opening the case, said they were met to Enquire into the painfully sudden death of MR ERNEST HARPER EDGER, who was a tailor residing in the village.  It appeared that on Thursday he was in his usual health, and in the middle of the day paid a visit to the Three Pigeons Inn.  On leaving there he went back to his workshop, where he was taken ill, and died almost immediately.  He had not been attended by any medical man for many years, but he (the Coroner) believed he had been warned that he was suffering from heart disease, and that any violent exertion or undue excitement might terminate his life at any moment.  William Pearce, brother-in-law of deceased, gave formal evidence of identification, and said deceased was 33 years of age.  Witness saw him on Tuesday night, and he then appeared to be quite well.  Mrs Prideaux, wife of landlord of the Three Pigeons Inn, Bishopstawton, stated that deceased called at her house on Thursday between half past twelve and one o'clock.  He appeared to be in his usual health, and was quite sober.  Deceased had a stone ginger with a dash of cider in it, and remained at the house about three minutes.  He did not complain of being unwell.  Mr Pearce (re-called) said as far as he knew deceased slept all right on Wednesday night, and on Thursday he seemed to be as well as ever he had been.  William Ridd, an apprentice in the employ of MR EDGER, said he was in the workshop on Thursday morning.  MR EDGER had been at work through the morning, and came in again about twenty minutes to one.  He was making for his bench, and at once fell back against the wall.  Witness lifted him up and undid his collar, and sent for assistance.  Witness thought MR EDGER died before anyone arrived.  Dr Lemarchand stated that he had tended the family of deceased for some years, and knew MR EDGER suffered from affection of the heart.  He was born with it, and had been warned some fourteen years ago to avoid excitement of any kind.  When witness saw him on Thursday morning he was quite dead, and in witness's opinion death was due to distension of the heart, probably caused by some slight indigestion.  He added that very few people lived to grow up with such a complaint.  The Coroner, in summing up, said no doubt death was due to natural causes.  The Jury returned a verdict accordingly, and expressed sincere sympathy with the relatives of deceased.

Thursday 18 February 1909

APPLEDORE - The Deadly Flannelette.  Child's Death At Appledore. - Mr Geo. W. F. Brown, North Devon Coroner, on Saturday held an Inquest at Appledore on the body of VERA GWENDOLINE CURTIS, the three-year old daughter of WM. CURTIS, a bargeman, who died as the result of accidental burns.  - The Coroner said the father appeared to have been away at work on his barge, and the mother left home to go to work as well, leaving the children in the house, it being understood that a neighbour would keep an eye on them.  The mother said there was no fireguard and very little fire in the grate when she went out on Tuesday.  -  WM. FRANK CURTIS, ten years old, told the Coroner he was on the doorstep when deceased caught her clothes on fire.  - Mrs Curtis, the neighbour, said she had been in the house before the accident occurred, and then the deceased was out in the street.  The child had on a flannelette frock and print pinafore.  -  WM. CURTIS, the father, in answer to the Coroner, said some weeks he earned a pound, and the next week it might not be 10s., so it helped things along for his wife to go out to work.  Dr Valentine said the neighbours had acted very promptly, and without waiting for him sent to the chemist's for the best remedies.  - The Coroner regarded the case as another victim to flannelette.  On April 1st the new Children's Act would come into force, and neglect of children would become a criminal offence.  If children were burned through not being sufficiently looked after there would be a report from the Coroner to the police to take action.  (Hear, hear.)  In the present case clearly the cause of death was accidental.  - A verdict that the child was Accidentally Burned was returned, and the Foreman (Mr T. H. Kelly) thought parents' attention should be called to the dangers of flannelette.

INSTOW  -  Fatal Accident At Instow.  -  The North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) conducted an Inquest at the Jubilee Hall, Instow, on Monday, on the body of JOHN RIDGE, aged 83, a retired gardener, of Instow.  Mr T. Molland was Foreman of the Jury.  Deceased's son, THOMAS RIDGE, gave evidence of identification.  On the 5th February he was informed that his father had fallen down in the road and broken his arm.  William Frayne, postman at Instow, spoke to finding deceased on the 5th February in the road near the new Rifle Range lying on his face and hands.  Witness picked him up, and with help took him home.  Dr J. S. Grose said deceased had broken his left arm, and died from shock on February 14th.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

BARNSTAPLE - Sudden Death At Barnstaple. - The death occurred on Monday morning with painful suddenness of MR CHARLES HARRISON, of Sticklepath-terrace, Barnstaple.  The deceased, who was 50 years of age, had resided in Barnstaple for three years, having previously lived at Herner.  He was for 32 years butler in the employ of Mr Chichester, of Hall.  The circumstances attending the death were on Tuesday Inquired into by the Barnstaple Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft) and a Jury, of which Mr J. R. Ford was chosen Foreman.

The Coroner having briefly outlined the facts, MRS MARY HARRISON, the deceased's wife stated that her husband was not a robust man, and had not enjoyed very good health of late years.  Lately he had not been able to get out of doors, and his appetite was very bad.  On Saturday last deceased had a little soup and some bread, having similar food on Sunday.  Witness had several times suggested he should have a doctor, but he said he would rather not.  Her husband came downstairs on Sunday morning.  On Monday witness left her husband in bed all right, whilst she went downstairs to make a cup of tea.  On returning about half-an-hour later she discovered her husband dead in bed.  Witness sent for Dr Cooper, who soon arrived.  She had not heard deceased complain of his heart.  Dr Cooper, of Barnstaple, said some years ago he had treated the deceased for indigestion and colds, but he had not seen him of late.  MR HARRISON was a delicate man.  Witness was called on Monday morning to the house, and on his arrival he found MR HARRISON dead in bed.  On the Coroner's instructions witness made a post mortem examination, and found deceased had disease of the liver and of the heart.  In his opinion the immediate cause of death was syncope.  The Coroner in summing up, thought it perfectly plain that deceased died from heart failure.  He, however, thought it was a pity that deceased had not had medical advice, in accordance with his wife's suggestion.  the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 25 February 1909

BEAFORD - Yesterday, an Inquest was held at Beaford on the body of LILY C. E. CORNELIUS, the ten-year old daughter of a road contractor.  From the evidence it appeared that about a fortnight ago the child was suffering from quinsy, and that since then it had not made rapid progress.  On Monday morning deceased was taken for a little walk, and in the afternoon it fainted, and suddenly expired.  The district nurse (Nurse Laura Major) who had been attending the child, did not think it necessary to call in medical advice.  - Dr P. Johnson, of Dolton, who made a post mortem examination, said the valve of the heart was much diseased, and he understood from MRS CORNELIUS that the child had rheumatic fever two years ago.  - Mr Coroner Brown said no doubt deceased's mother and the nurse had done their best for the child; still it was very unwise not to have called in a medical man.  He advised the nurse in all future cases of any doubt to send for a doctor.  A verdict of Death from Natural Causes was returned.

Thursday 11 March 1909

CHITTLEHAMPTON - Farmer's Sudden Death At Chittlehampton.  -  MR WILLIAM SMOLDON, the well-known occupier of Furzeball Farm, Chittlehampton, died suddenly on Friday.  The Inquest was held on Monday, before Mr G. W.F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon.  WILLIAM SMOLDON, junr., stated that on the previous Friday his father and himself went out rabbiting, deceased being in excellent health and spirits.  They returned home about quarter to five.  His father took a seat by the fireside, but in a few minutes fell off his chair and suddenly expired.  MRS SMOLDON, the widow, having given supporting evidence.  Dr Seal, of Southmolton, who had made a post mortem examination, stated that there was considerable disease of the heart.  In his opinion death was due to heart failure.  Probably the extreme cold weather had something to do with the sudden collapse.  A verdict of "Natural Causes" was returned.  The deceased was of a most affable disposition and generally respected.  He leaves a widow and a grown-up family of six children, of whom three are married, to mourn his loss, and the greatest sympathy is extended to them.  The funeral took place at the Parish Church yesterday (Wednesday) and was very largely attended.

TIVERTON - Sad Death Of MR FRANK CLEVERDON.  Fatal Fall From A Horse.  -  An Inquest was held at Tiverton Infirmary on Thursday night regarding the death of MR FRANK CLEVERDON, farm bailiff, a member of a well-known and respected Parkham family.  Mrs Greenslade said deceased, who was 31 years of age, had been her bailiff for the past six years at Little Tidcombe Farm, Tiverton.  He rode to Tiverton on Tuesday on business.  The horse was about 5 years old, very quiet, and was ridden regularly by deceased.  About 7.30 in the evening she was fetched to Cleeves Laundry, where deceased was lying unconscious.  The horse came home by itself, covered with mud on the "off" side, and with its shoulders grazed.  She inspected the roadway at the corner of the lane and saw blood marks. The road was very slippery, and it was freezing very hard.  Thomas Rawle, employed at Tidcombe Laundry, said deceased called there last Tuesday just before 7 p.m.  He was perfectly sober.  He rode off at a gallop, and about two minutes after he heard the horse stop.  He followed, and at the bend of the road, by the canal, found deceased lying unconscious across the road, face downwards, in a pool of blood.  The road was very slippery; no one could stand there.  - Dr Pollock said he was called to Tidcombe Laundry at 7.45 and found him lying on a sofa, unconscious, suffering from a fractured base of the skull.  It was a hopeless case.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.   Great sympathy is felt for MR and MRS CLEVERDON and family in their sad bereavement.  The funeral took place at Parkham Parish Churchyard, when many tokens of respect were manifested.  The Rev. S. A. Hensley very feelingly officiated.

ILFRACOMBE - Tragedy At Ilfracombe.  Fall of 200 Feet.  -  A painful sensation was caused at Ilfracombe on Monday when it became known that the body of MR JOSEPH A. EMBERSON, of Champernowne Crescent, a gardener in the employ of the Rev. E. A. Collinson, at Wigmouth, had been found at the bottom of the cliffs.  About nine o'clock EMBERSON told another servant that he was going to throw some bottles over the cliff, and was seen with two or three bottles in his hand.  As EMBERSON did not return a search was instituted, and his lifeless body was found by some boatmen at the foot of the cliff, there being also some empty tins close by.  EMBERSON had fallen a distance of some 200 feet, and had sustained terrible injuries about the head.  The body was conveyed to the mortuary.  The circumstances surround the sad affair were Enquired into at Price's Capstone Restaurant, Ilfracombe, yesterday, by the County Coroner for North Devon (Mr G. W. F. Brown), and a Jury of which Mr R. Pickett was chosen Foreman.  MRS CHARLOTTE EMBERSON, the widow, stated that her husband was 48 years of age.  Deceased left home on Monday morning about 7 o'clock for work, and that was the last occasion on which she saw him alive.  He had complained very much of pains in his head a few days previously, especially Sunday, and she stayed up with him all night.  He said it was a "roaring" noise in his head, and he felt as if he was going to fall.  These attacks were periodical.  The deceased had been an inmate of an asylum some nine years ago, and on Monday morning witness went to see Mr R. Vicary, with a view of having her husband medically examined.  The Coroner:  Did you see signs of insanity coming on?  -  A.:  Yes.  - Q.:  Did he drink?  -  A.:  Never in his life.  - Q.:  Did he know you were going to see a doctor?  - A.:  No; he only knew that I was going to find out who was the parish doctor.  -  Q.:  Did he at any time threaten to take his life?  -  A.:  On several occasions.  -  Q.:  Has he lately?  -  A.:  No, sir.  Q.:  Not that morning?  -  A.:  No.  -  Q.:  When he left was he any worse?  -  A.:  No; he seemed a bit better.  Witness added that deceased said he would call home before going up to town if he was sent anywhere.  - Q.:  Has he ever tried to commit suicide?  -  A.:  Yes; he tried to blow his brains out about 15 years ago.  -  Q.:  He was prevented?  -  A.:  Yes; I prevented him.  - By the Foreman:  Deceased was not subject to fits as far as she was aware.  - Asked if she had told anyone of her intentions in regard to her husband, witness replied "No, only Mr Churchill, the Rector of Berrynarbor."  -  Q.:   Did your husband know that?  -  A.:  No.  Nellie Lewis, servant, in the employ of the Rev. E. A. Collinson, said that deceased came to work about half-past seven on Monday morning, and she did not notice anything unusual in his manner.  About nine o'clock he said he was going to throw some bottles over the cliff, and witness saw him with one or two bottles in his hand.  Witness expected him to return soon, as he generally had some tea about nine o'clock.  As he did not return witness informed her master of the fact, and search was instituted about 10 o'clock.  She had never heard EMBERSON threaten to take his life.  - In answer to questions, witness said she did not see the bucket deceased took the articles away in, but the bucket was missing, and she thought he must have taken it.  It was an iron bucket, not very heavy.  - Q.:  Had he ever thrown anything over the cliff before?  -  A.:  He was supposed to if there was much rubbish, but very seldom.  At this stage the Coroner announced that the Rev. E. A. Collinson was ill, and was consequently unable to attend the Inquest. He wrote saying that the place where the body was found was under the steepest part of the cliff, and a long way from the spot where deceased was accustomed to shoot the rubbish.  P.C. Champion said there were some empty tins about five or six feet away from where the body was found.  The girl Lewis added that Mr Collinson had warned deceased to be careful when he went on the cliff.    Thomas Knill, the next witness, deposed that on receiving information of what had occurred on Monday he proceeded with help to the foot of the cliff, where he found the body of deceased.  Witness shouted to Mr Collinson, who was at the top of the cliff, and told him that EMBERSON was dead, and asked him to go and inform the police.  The place where the rubbish was usually tipped was into a quarry about 20 yards away, not over the cliff.  Witness saw no rubbish on the beach, but observed about half-a-dozen tins near the deceased's body, which he thought came over with the body.  P.C. Champion spoke to receiving information from Mr Collinson on Monday morning about 12.30.  He at once proceeded to Wigmouth beach, where he found the body of deceased lying almost on his face and hands.  He described the injuries to deceased's head as being terrible, and said he found a pail and deceased's cap about five or six feet from the body.  There were some tins on the beach.  The body was conveyed to the mortuary, and later in the day witness visited the top of the cliff.  On examination of the spot he saw some broken glass and bottles lying on a slope directly above the spot where deceased was found.  There was a grassy slope about 20ft. down so that if anybody slipped from the top of the cliff they would be able to catch themselves.  From the slope the cliffs were perpendicular to a depth of about 200 ft. to the beach.  There were no signs of any landslip.    Dr G. D. Kettlewell described the injuries to the deceased, which, he said, were nearly all confined to the head, with the exception of a graze hear the elbow and some scratches.  The skull was fractured, and the nose broken, with other terrible injuries.  The clothes of deceased were not disarranged, and there was no mud on them.  The Coroner, having reviewed the evidence, the Jury retired to consider their verdict.  On returning, the Foreman said the verdict was that EMBERSON was found dead at the bottom of the cliffs, that the cause of death was fracture of the skull and that there was no evidence to show how deceased came at the foot of the cliffs.

Thursday 18 March 1909

WESTWARD HO  -  Found Drowned AT Westward Ho.  -  At Northam, on Friday, Mr George W. F. Brown (North Devon Coroner) held an Inquest on ARTHUR JOHN JOHNS, 22, a groom, who was found drowned in Mr Taylor's reservoir at Buckleigh, Westward Ho, on Thursday.  The Coroner said the deceased was in the employ of Mrs Murray, of Westward Ho, and on Wednesday last went to Melbury Races with a party, returning somewhere after six in the evening.  JOHN JOHNS, the father, said he saw his son driving away in the morning, but did not see him again.  When he found his son had not come home for the night he thought there was something the matter with the horses.  The boy had always been honest and straightforward.  The two coats were found on the wall at the bottom of his garden, which adjoined the reservoir.  His son often got over the wall to get in by the back door, and his idea was he was getting over when his hat blew over the wall, and he either reached over for it or got over to get it.  The two walls adjoined, and the hat and whip were on the reservoir side. Mrs Emma Murray, of Westward Ho, said deceased had been in her employ for six months.  It was about 9.10 in the evening he returned to the stables from Melbury.  He should have been back before, but she believed he had been in Bideford.  She went to the stables about 9.30 and his condition was such that she did not like the idea of his grooming the horse.  The Coroner:  Did you think he was under the influence of drink?  -  I did.  Witness added that she told him to go home and go to bed, and she would get someone else to put the horse right.  He was angry, and said if he could not put away the horse he would do no more work for her, but would clear out.  He took the things which belonged to him, which he would do if he was leaving and went away.  She watched him go up the hill towards his home.  She had never had occasion to complain to him before.  Chief Boatman Edwin Parsons, of the Westward Ho Coastguard, explained how, with others, he dragged the reservoir and recovered the body.  They tried to restore respiration, but without result.  Dr E. J. Toye said death was due to drowning.  The Coroner said the case was a very sad one.  Deceased was spoken to in a kindly manner by Mrs Murray, who advised him to go to bed, and how he got into the reservoir he was afraid they would not discover.  There was nothing to show he intended to commit suicide.  A verdict of "Found Drowned" was returned, and the Jury, of which Mr S. Fulford, C.C., was Foreman, expressed sympathy with the parents, to whom they gave their fees.  The funeral of ARTHUR JOHNS took place in the parish churchyard, in the presence of over 1,000 people from the surrounding district.  The service was conducted by the Rev. J. F. Anderson.  There were two sets of bearers, young men and married, the former carrying the bier from the mortuary to the church, and the married set from the church to the graveside.  The coffin was of pitch pine, with brass fittings.  The shield bore the inscription:-  'ARTHUR JOHNS, died March 10th, 1909, aged 22 years'.  The chief mourners were MR J. JOHNS and MISS EVELYN JOHNS (father and sister), MR W. JOHNS and MISS ANNIE JOHNS (brother and sister), Miss M. Slee (who was engaged to the deceased) and other members of the family.  Among the floral tributes were two everlasting wreaths - one from his fellow comrades, and the other from the staff of the Royal Hotel, Westward Ho.

EXETER - At the Inquest on WILLIAM JAMES EVELEY, wheelwright, who died at Exeter as the result of injuries received when repairing machinery at Okehampton, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was recorded.

SOUTHMOLTON - Sudden Death At Southmolton. - The North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) held an Inquest on Monday, at the Town Hall, Southmolton, on the body of MR HENRY COCKING, who died on Sunday at the residence of his son, 36 South-street, Southmolton, with whom the deceased had been living.  Deceased's son stated that his father came to live with him about a fortnight ago from Bromley, Kent.  His father had been medically treated for the last two years at Bromley, but he had not had a doctor since coming to Southmolton.  Deceased was 78 years of age.  On Sunday he came down about 7.30, but was not feeling very well.  He (witness) wanted to send for a doctor, but deceased said he was all right.  He (witness) did not see him again until about 1.30 when he found him walking about the room, and, on asking him if there was anything the matter, he answered "No."  Then, all at once, the deceased seemed to stagger, and witness caught him in his arms.  He must have expired almost at once.  Dr Whigham stated that he was called in after death, and examined the body.  There were no marks of violence.  He had since made a post mortem examination.  The body, on the whole, was in a healthy state, but the deceased had suffered severely from kidney disease.  There was a clot of blood on the heart.  He considered that was the cause of death.  The Jury gave a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

Thursday 25 March 1909

SOUTHMOLTON - MRS LUCY THATCHER, widow, aged 68 years, was found dead in her bed at 16, West-street, on Tuesday morning.  At the Inquest conducted in the Town Hall by the County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) yesterday the Jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes.

Thursday 1 April 1909

ILFRACOMBE - Death Of A Shipwright At Ilfracombe.  The Inquest.  -  On Saturday morning an Inquest was held at the Cottage Hospital by Mr G. W. F. Brown, Coroner for North Devon, on JOHN BURGESS, late of Alma Cottage, aged 65, ship carpenter, who died on Thursday last.  Mr R. M. Rowe represented the deceased's widow, and Mr J. P. Ffinch attended on behalf of Mr R. Pickett.  Mr J. P. Huxtable was chosen Foreman of the Jury and in opening the Enquiry, the Coroner said that deceased was working on the Pier on January 25th last, and complained of great pain, and on going home said he did not think he should do any more work.  He died on Thursday last.  After the viewing of the body, the first witness called was MRS BURGESS, the widow of deceased, who said the deceased was working on the Pier for Mr Pickett on January 25th last.  He came home and said he had strained his back, and should never work any more.  He had complained of a pain constantly since, and said that at his work he had a piece of wood in his hand, and twisted round.  He died on Thursday.  By the Jury:  He did not speak of any fall, or anything of the sort.  William Pavey, labourer, said he was working with BURGESS on the day named.  They were repairing the Pier, and shifted their place according to the tide.  About 6 p.m. they were shifting an old iron shoe to foot a new pile, and on reaching the top of the Pier, deceased said, "Oh, my poor back."  By the Jury:  The shoe was 3 to 4 cwt., and they were moving it by an endless chain.  Three of them were at work on it, and this was quite enough for the job.  When they were picking up their tools, deceased made the remark about his back.  Dr Osborne said he attended the deceased from about the end of January for pain in the back, said to be due to an injury located in the spine.  From a post mortem examination he had made, he found near the seat of pain deceased complained of a deep-seated effusion of blood near the spinal column; the rest of the back seemed quite normal.  The effusion was in the region of the twelfth dorsal, first and second lumbar spines of the spinal column.  On opening the spine the end of the spinal cord was stained, but that might be an incident of the post mortem.  The left lung had pleuritic adhesions behind; the right lung was adherent everywhere.  The heart was badly diseased, showing a marked thickening and incompetence; the stomach and bowels were quite normal; the liver was hard and cirrhotic.  The brain was normally healthy, but the dura mater on the right was much thickened, evidently from an old extravasation of blood.  The witness considered that deceased died of heart disease accelerated by the injury; he would not say the injury caused the death, but accelerated it.

By the Jury:  The injury described would be caused by a sprain such as was named, and probably was done at the time deceased spoke of it.  By the Coroner:  Deceased was not at any time unconscious.  By the Jury:  Deceased did not explain the mode of the injury, and seemed rather indefinite.  By Mr Ffinch:  He only said that he had hurt his back.  By Mr Rowe:  He did not give any date of the accident.  It was possible, but very improbable, for the injury to happen while hauling at a chain; it was more likely to have taken place by lifting.  By the Jury:  If deceased was attaching the chain to the shoe, it might have happened; it would hardly be due to a blow.  By the Coroner:  In a thoroughly healthy man the injury would probably have healed in six to nine months; it would not probably cause death.  The disease he suffered from might have caused death at any time, or he might possibly have lived some years longer.  The Coroner summed up the evidence, and the Jury considered the case in private, returning a verdict that deceased died of Heart Disease, accelerated by an injury received to his spine during his work on Ilfracombe Pier on January 25th last.

WALES - Loss Of An Appledore Vessel. Inquest At Barry.  -  On Tuesday an Inquest was held at Barry Island on WILLIAM COBBLEDICK, aged 17, one of the crew of the Appledore ketch, "Nourella Marie," which (as reported in page 3) was wrecked off Porthkerry early on Thursday morning last.  The body was identified by John C. Carsey, of Bude-street, Appledore, an uncle of the deceased.  Witness said the ketch had come from Newport laden with coal, and he saw the vessel on Wednesday last in Bideford Bay.  It was very rough, and the vessel was anchored in Clovelly roads.  There was a crew of three hands, namely, Captain Joshua Boon, and his son, Wm. Boon, and the deceased.  The vessel was seen navigating across Bideford Bar, and then the weather thickened, and she was lost sight of in the haze.  Tom Jackson, Barry Dock, said that on Sunday he found the body of the deceased wedged between two rocks.  The jersey and shirt worn by deceased were found on the head, as if deceased had made an attempt to divest himself of those garments whilst in the water.  Neither of the other bodies had been recovered, but a jersey with the letters "W.R." had been washed ashore.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Drowning".  The remains of COBBLEDICK were conveyed to Appledore yesterday by the steamship "Eddy."  The interment will be made in St. Mary's Churchyard tomorrow.

Thursday 8 April 1909

BARNSTAPLE - Found Dead At Barnstaple.  -  MARY HARRIS, laundress, aged 64, was found dead in bed at 11, Corser-street, Barnstaple, on Monday morning.  The body was conveyed to the North Devon Infirmary, a post mortem examination being ordered by the Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft).  The Inquest was held at the Infirmary on Monday afternoon, Mr W. J. Cockram being Foreman of the Jury.  Mabel Norman, niece, stated that deceased was 64 years of age.  Latterly she had complained of feeling unwell, but she would not have a doctor if one was suggested.  On Saturday she returned from work at Mrs  Sanders's, Pilton Quay, quite jolly.  Deceased went to bed at 10.30 p.m., but when witness went to her with a cup of tea next morning she found her to be dead in bed.  Witness sent for Dr Thomas.  Her aunt appeared to have passed away in her sleep.  Mrs Elizabeth Sanders, laundress, stated that deceased had worked for her seventeen or eighteen years, being a good, faithful servant.  Latterly she had complained of a cough, and witness had advised her to see a doctor.  In the past week or so the cough had entirely left her, but this was followed by a pain in her chest.  Deceased complained somewhat of pain after having an egg for tea on Saturday.  She rested awhile, and left about 8.30 p.m. quite cheerful.  - Mr McLeod, a Juryman, said deceased had complained to him of her heart, and he had known her buy chlorodyne lozenges at his shop.  The witness added that deceased had been a delicate woman.  Dr Thomas stated that on arrival at deceased's  house on Sunday morning he found that HARRIS had been dead several hours.  As the cause of death was not apparent, witness, by orders of the Coroner, made a post mortem examination.  He found the heart to be diseased, this being sufficient to account for death.  P.S. Tucker, who with the assistance of P.C. Fry, by order of the Coroner, removed the body to the Infirmary, was also called.  The Jury, at the suggestion of the Coroner, returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes.

APPLEDORE - Fatal Scalds At Appledore. - WILLIAM FORTH ROGERS, aged 19 months, the infant son of MR BENJAMIN ROGERS, chemist, of Appledore - who resides at Wooda House - died on Monday night from the effect of scalds sustained on March 27th.  Much sympathy is expressed with the parents in their sad bereavement.  MR ROGERS has only recently come to Appledore from Weymouth, having purchased the business of Mr E. J. Burnell-Jones, chemist, Bude-street.  The circumstances surround the death were Inquired into yesterday by the North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) at Wooda Farm.  The mother said the child was 19 months old.  On March 27th, at 5.30, she was preparing the child for a bath in the sitting room, and whilst the nurse was getting some cold water deceased fell into the bath of hot water.  The child burnt one of his arms and his head.  She (the mother) treated him with olive oil and flour, and sent for Dr W. A. Valentine, who came immediately.  -  Alice Taylor, nurse, also gave evidence.  -  Dr W. A. Valentine said he attended the child from 27th March to April 5th.  The scalds extended over the left armpit, throat, face and fore-arms.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Shock, resulting from being accidentally scalded with boiling water."

LONDON - Sad Death Of A Barumite In London. - An Inquest was held on Tuesday at the Prince of Wales' Hospital, Tottenham, on WILLIAM BRAILEY, aged 59, a pensioner from the Royal Marines, who resided at Laurel Cottage, Trinity-street, Barnstaple.

MARY JANE BRAILEY, a lady's maid, daughter of the deceased, said that her father had suffered from an internal complaint for about two years, and had come to London on March 23rd with a view to being treated at a London hospital.  He seemed fairly well before he entered the Tottenham Hospital.  Dr P. Harper, junior house surgeon at the hospital, said that after the deceased was admitted it was considered necessary to ascertain the nature of the deceased's malady, to operate upon him, and it was inadvisable to do this without an anaesthetic.  Chloroform was decided to be the most suitable anaesthetic for the case, and it was administered by witness on SAturday last, in the presence of Mr Carson, the visiting surgeon and two nurses.  Witness examined the patient before applying the anaesthetic.  The anaesthetic had reached the second stage called the excited or struggling stage, when the respiration and pulse were noticed to suddenly cease.  Everything possible was done to bring the deceased round, but every effort was unsuccessful.  Witness had made a post mortem examination, and found the heart affected.  The cause of death was heart failure while under the anaesthetic.  In reply to the Coroner, witness said that the examination was necessary to ascertain the deceased's malady, and the operation could not be performed without the patient being put under an anaesthetic.  The Coroner said that it was one of those cases which happened occasionally, and the Jury could only say that the deceased died from the effects of the anaesthetic, which was being administered for the purpose of a necessary operation.  A verdict of "Death from Misadventure" was returned, the Jury expressing their sympathy with the family.

Thursday 29 April 1909

HARTLAND - Inquest At Hartland.  -  The County Coroner for North Devon (Mr G. W. F. Brown) conducted an Inquest at Hartland on Tuesday on the body of WILLIAM URQUHART, who had resided at Pillham Farm, Hartland.  CECIL FREDERIC URQUHART, brother of deceased, gave evidence of identification.  Deceased was 46 years of age, and witness last saw his brother in August last.  Roberta Hurley stated that she had acted as companion to deceased and his wife for about three years.  Deceased had been ill for about a week but he would not have a doctor.  On Saturday last he said he felt much better, and got out of bed about 12 o'clock, and went into another room.  About 4.30 a.m. on Sunday, he called witness and on her going to him he said that he was going to die, and lay down on the bed, and died at about 7 a.m.  Dr Alfred L. Martyn, medical practitioner, stated that as a result of a post mortem examination, he found that there were no marks of violence.  The lungs were congested, and the heart was very fatty.  The liver was much congested and enlarged, and in his opinion death was due to heart failure.  A verdict of Death from Natural Causes, viz., heart failure, was returned.

BIDEFORD - Bideford Tragedy.  Suicide Of A Nurse.  Sensational Story:  Jury's Indignant Censure.  -  The sensation of the week in North Devon was the subject of an Inquiry at Bideford on Tuesday, when Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner, held an Inquest on the body of MISS ROSE CATHERINE BUDD, a professional nurse, who committed suicide at the Nursing Institute, Chudleigh Villas, on Saturday by taking carbolic acid.  The deceased, who was a young lady of considerable personal attractions, was much esteemed in the town.  She was 28 years of age.  Mr W. H. Dawe was Foreman of the Jury.  In opening the Inquiry the Coroner said deceased was a nurse at the Nursing Home, Chudleigh Villa, Bideford, and was on SAturday found dead.  There was a parcel of presents tied up in the room and labelled to be sent to Dr Bishop's address.  It was found deceased and that gentleman had been on very friendly terms, and, in fact, he supposed, had been engaged.  There must have been some trouble - the circumstances of which he hoped to arrive at - which had preyed upon the young lady's mind, with the result that she committed this rash act.  ALFRED BUDD, brother, of Portsmouth, gave evidence of identification.  He had not seen his sister since the autumn.  She did not tell him of any trouble.  She spoke of her marriage at Christmas, but did not say to whom, adding she would tell him all about it after.  The Coroner:  Did there seem any mystery about it?  -  No; she said it was a doctor, and I thought she did not like to say anything until it was all settled.  Witness added that a month ago he had a very despondent letter from his sister, who said her nerves had all gone to wreck, and she could not sleep.  There were no threats, and he thought she was just run down.  Her letters were usually very cheerful, but this appeared to come from another woman altogether.  Deceased's mother suffered from melancholia, and was in an asylum.  Mrs F. E. Sanders, head of the Nursing Home, stated that on Saturday, NURSE BUDD said she was not well enough to work as she was grieved at not having received a letter.  She seemed very depressed.  Witness last saw her alive about 2.30 p.m. on Saturday, when, as usual, she put her head out of the window to say "Good bye" to a little child who was being taken out.  At quarter to five witness found her dead in bed.  The Coroner:  Did you know there was any love affair?  -  Yes, I knew as long ago as last June, and I spoke to her about it.  She was a nurse I valued very much.  She was often very depressed, but it soon passed off.  Mr V. H. Hogg, chemist, stated that on Saturday NURSE BUDD came to his shop and he supplied her with four ounces of carbolic acid, which she said was for disinfecting purposes.  This was not entered in his poison book, as it was under Section II.  She talked for some five minutes about clinical thermometers.  The time was about noon.  MISS BUDD appeared then to be quite all right.  Dr G. H. Bishop, of Wimbledon, stated that he had known deceased just over a year.  He met her at the house of a patient at Wimbledon.  The Coroner:  Were you engaged to her?  -  Yes.  For how long?  -  More than six months.  Were you to be married at Christmas?  - Yes; next Christmas or before.  -  (MR BUDD:  - Last Christmas she told me).  The Coroner:  It would have been a long time to have fixed from last  October to Christmas of this year?  -  Dr Bishop:  Not under the circumstances.  Was the engagement broken off?  -  No.  The Coroner read the following letter from witness to deceased:-  "28, Mansel-road, Wimbledon, Friday."  "Rosie Mine.  - Your little letter to hand tonight does not improve the state of my mind.  I have had a horrible week, and do not get a bit better.  I have not written you, simply because I should make you as bad as I am.  Nothing but trouble do I get, and I feel that all happiness in my life is dead.  The very moment I am myself again I will write and tell you.  I suppose it is no use praying you not to fret or worry about me.,  Yes, you made me supremely happy once, and one of the chief causes of my worry is that the little visit did not at all pull me out of this ghastly depression.  I am frightfully ashamed of myself, and too grieved for words for causing you sleepless nights.  Again, I have promised you, Rosie, to let you know the moment this cloud lifts, if ever it is going to again, and in the meantime just sit tight and be a plucky girlie.  - I am thine, Harry."  Witness went on to state that the last letter he received from NURSE BUDD was on the day previous (Monday).  The Coroner read the following extract from the letter:-  "I am sending your letters back.  I do not want other eyes to read them when I am gone.  The silver, my watch, and ring I will also send; I have told you I cannot live without you.  I ought never to have stayed here away from you.  I have just moped and lost interest in my work.  You have been everything to me.  I have never loved anyone but you.  God will forgive me for what I am going to do.  Remember I loved you unto the end.  - Yours ever, Rosie."  Dr Bishop continued that this letter was posted on Saturday and delivered to him on Monday morning.  She had been depressed for some time, but had never threatened to take her life.  The Coroner:  What was she depressed about?  -  Some weeks ago she said she had something to tell me, which I ought to know, and I said she had better come up and talk it over.  She told me of a malady from which her mother was suffering, and thought she ought to break the engagement.  I would not hear of it, but she kept harping about it, depressed herself, and made me miserable too.  She told me she slept very badly, so I prescribed her a simple narcotic, which I believe she took.  I wrote to her on Friday and it was delivered on Sunday.  The Coroner:  In that letter you say, "I will let you know the moment the cloud lifts, if ever it is going to again.  In the meantime sit tight and be a plucky girl."  Now, what was that cloud, Dr Bishop?  -  There was no cloud except her own misery.  She was all right when with me, but the moment she left me she used to worry and fret and get very morbid.  Was there any difficulty in the way of your marrying?  Why arrange 18 months before?  -  I had not known her very long, and, as a matter of fact, I am not in a position to marry, through heavy financial losses.  The Foreman:  It has been reported that you are already married?  -  Dr Bishop:  No, sir, it is not correct.  I am divorced.  Has that divorce been made final?  -  No, but I expect it to be final in two months.  When did MISS BUDD know of this?  -  She has always known it.  You have had other letters from her?  -  Yes.  Have you any to show whether the depression existed before this?  -  I have not any letters.  There was one last Friday.  Where is that?  -  It is at home.   Why was not that produced?  It would have helped considerably. -  I did not think it would.  There was nothing in it.  That would be for us to judge.  -  There was nothing in it whatever to help you.  When was the decree nisi in your divorce proceedings?  -  In January.  Don't you think it strange that you should have so arranged your marriage with MISS BUDD eighteen months in advance?  -  We met this Easter, which was the first occasion we talked definitely of marriage.  In your letter you talked of a cloud.  If the decree was to be made final there would be no cloud?  -  Except her depression and miserable letters.  Your letter does not imply that?  -  I intended it to.  Another Juror:  Just now you said it was financial difficulties which precluded marriage?  -  Dr Bishop:  Before next Christmas.  The Juror:  You said the difficulty was financial.  Why did you not tell the Coroner about the divorce proceedings?  -  He did not ask me.  The Juror:  do you think you were honourable to go on with this young lady when you had a wife?  -  No answer.  The Coroner:  You were engaged to deceased in May of last year, long before the divorce proceedings had taken place?  -  I was not engaged.  I knew her.  You gave her a ring in June?  -  Yes.  You did thi9s, according to her diary, on June 6th at Barnstaple!  - Yes.  That was before the divorce proceedings.  Did deceased know you were married?  -  Oh, yes, she knew I was parted from my wife.  Did you institute the divorce proceedings, or your wife?  - My wife.  A Juror:  Was it because of your relations with deceased?  -  It was.  The Coroner:  What were the grounds of divorce?  - Cruelty and adultery were alleged.  Did you defend the case?  -  No.  Who was the adultery alleged with?  -  This lady.  The Foreman:  How many times have you seen her since you became acquainted?  -  On four separate occasions.  I have not seen her since Easter.  MR BUDD (deceased's brother):  What was the evidence for divorce?  Did you know my sister last May?  -  Yes.  Did she spend any time with you?  -  No.  Then where did the divorce evidence come from?  -  Her letters to me were intercepted by my wife's solicitor or my wife.  Why did you not defend the case?  -  We made up our minds not to.  You persuaded her to let it slide.  Was that manly?  -  Her name was never mentioned.  The Coroner:  You knew you could not marry her until after divorce proceedings, which had not then, when you gave her the ring, been instituted.  Were you then living with your wife?  -  No; not for two years.  The Foreman:  When you promised marriage, were you aware your wife would institute proceedings?  -  Yes, certainly.  A Juror:  Why were you living apart from your wife?  -  I do not think this a question you have any right to ask.  The Coroner:  Did she leave you?  -  No, I would not live with her.  Mrs F. Bale, of Lime-grove, Bideford, said that she had known deceased for nearly five years, and MISS BUDD had confided many things to her.  She told her of her engagement to Dr Bishop, and of the divorce proceedings.  Witness tried to persuade her out of it all.  She told witness that Mr Barnes, a local solicitor, had been to her, Mrs Bishop having sent to him in the matter.  She told witness she was to be married next July, as Dr Bishop could not wait any longer.  Dr Bishop, recalled, said that after the successful divorce proceedings, he wrote to deceased that they were free, and could be married any time after July 11th.    The Coroner:  You refer to successful divorce proceedings.  I should think from your point of view they were unsuccessful.  -  It was necessary for me to get a divorce.  They had slight grounds, and I wonder they got it.  However, they did.  She thought the wedding fixed for July 11th?  -  Yes, but when I saw her at Easter it was settled for October.  Dr Ellis Pearson said death was due to carbolic acid poisoning.  She probably took nearly an ounce, which would be sufficient to cause death, probably within an hour.  She acid had had such an effect that there was no possibility of her having recovered.  It was remarkable to find that deceased had, after taking the poison, been able to leave the glass at one end of the room, walk to the bed and get into it, laying herself in a perfectly natural way.  For the first few minutes there would be great agony after taking the poison.  With the exception of the poison there was nothing else the matter, and no indication of any cause which might induce deceased to take her life.  P.S. Newberry said no letters had been found, but deceased had left out 2s. for postage.  Summing up, the Coroner said the case was considerably out of the ordinary, and one of those unfortunate affairs he was glad they were not often troubled with.  It appeared strange that deceased seemed to have entered into this engagement with Dr Bishop with her eyes open, and knowing he was a married man.  Subsequently their conduct must have led Mrs Bishop to institute proceedings against her husband and to allege misconduct.  The proceedings were not defended by Dr Bishop, nor was any appearance, he understood, entered on behalf of deceased to deny misconduct.  The decree nisi was made last January, and would not be made absolute for six months from that date.  They had heard several versions as to the time of the wedding of deceased to Bishop, but whether it was to be October, or Christmas, or July, there seemed to have been some cloud hanging over them.  But what possessed the young woman to take her life he could not tell.  He was not at all satisfied with Dr Bishop's evidence.  He did not tell them all the facts as he should have at first.  The Foreman certainly elicited some information not at first given to the Coroner.  It was certainly more reprehensible that Dr Bishop, a married man, should become engaged to the deceased.  This evidently preyed on deceased's mind, she became depressed, and took her life.  He was sure their sympathies would go out to the brothers of the deceased, and to Mrs Sanders.

The Jury considered their verdict in private, and before presenting it again questioned Dr Bishop  On the reopening of the court, the Coroner said the Jury were of opinion that deceased committed suicide by taking carbolic acid.  The Jury unanimously desired that he should convey their deep sympathy to the brothers in their trouble, and to Mrs Sanders in the fact of the unfortunate occurrence having taken place in her home.  They were also unanimously of opinion that Dr Bishop should be severely censured for his conduct in the matter.  In regard to that the Coroner said Dr Bishop had not given his evidence in at all a satisfactory way, for it had to be dragged out of him, whilst he had given many contradictory stories.  As he had said in his summing up, the conduct was most reprehensible, as a professional man and a married man in practically taking advantage of a nurse who was conducting a case of his.  He became engaged to her whilst a married man, with the no chance of being divorced at the time, for no divorce proceedings were instituted for some months, and then by the wife in respect of this very person he was engaged to.  It looked as if it was a "plant", and that he got her to act as a tool to get his wife to take proceedings for divorce.  Whether this engagement was postponed or put off from time to time, they did not know, for Dr Bishop, when he was recalled, gave two contradictory statements.  He asked him if he had received the letters sent off on SAturday, and he said "yes"; and he made the same reply when he asked if he had them still.  But in answer to the Foreman, he said he had destroyed them.  If so it was a most extraordinary proceeding on his part.  Constable Horn reported the case to him (the Coroner) on Sunday morning, and before ten o'clock sent off to Dr Bishop a telegram announcing the death of deceased, and ordering him to attend the Inquest on his behalf.  He believed the police also warned him on Monday.  As he did not receive the letters until Monday, he must have immediately destroyed them, knowing full well those letters would have shown them, if there was anything in them, why this girl committed suicide; and if there was not, then it would have cleared him entirely of suspicion in the matter.  The Jury were of opinion that his conduct was a disgrace to the honourable profession to which he belonged, and he (the Coroner) entirely endorsed the Jury's opinion.

Thursday 13 May 1909

BIDEFORD - At an Inquest at Bideford on Tuesday on an infant, a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" being returned, the Coroner, Mr G. W. F. Brown, said since the new Children's Act had come into force they had to be very careful in cases of the deaths of infants who had not been attended by a doctor, and responsibility was placed on parents and guardians, especially in regard to overlaying.  In this case he was glad to say there was no evidence that the child had been overlaid, and no blame attached to anyone.  The deceased was the three-days' old child of MR and MRS JEWELL, of 15, Hart-street, and the evidence of Dr M. R. Gooding showed that death was due to inanition.

Thursday 27 May 1909

MERTON - Fatal Accident At Merton. - Mr Geo. W. F. Brown (North Devon Coroner) on Friday held an Inquest at Merton on ALBERT JAMES HUTCHINGS, aged 14, son of MR SAMUEL HUTCHINGS, of Merton Mill, who was found in the roadway on Wednesday suffering from shocking injuries, from which he never recovered.  The evidence of the lad's employer, Mr G. Isaac, of Ball's Farm, Merton, was that the lad took out a pair of horses, to which he was used, and which were quiet.  The next he heard was the finding of the body in the road by Robert Chinz, postman, the horses being in a lane near by.  Dr Johnson, of Dolton, who was called in, said the lad died of compression of the brain.  The Coroner was of opinion the lad fell from one of the horses and so injured his head, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 17 June 1909

BARNSTAPLE - Bathing Fatality At Barnstaple.  The Treacherous Taw:  Question Of A Bathing Place.  -  At the North Devon Infirmary on Thursday afternoon, the Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft), and a Jury of which Mr J. R. Ford was chosen Foreman, Inquired into the death of ALBERT EDWARD GREEN, the seven year old son of CHARLES GREEN, of Aze's Lane, who was drowned whilst bathing at Pottington on the previous Tuesday.  The Coroner at the outset gave a resume of the facts, and commented on the treacherous nature of the river Taw, with its strong currents, dangerous pits, and slimy banks.

CHAS. GREEN, deceased's father, spoke to his son leaving home for school on Tuesday morning.  There was a half-holiday at the school in the afternoon, and deceased did not come home to dinner.  Indeed, witness did not see him alive after he left for school in the morning.  - In answer to the Coroner, witness said his son had not been taught to swim.  He added, "There is no place in Barnstaple to teach them, unless it is in a basin."  John Crocker, six years old, of Olinda Place, stated that after school on Tuesday morning, he saw deceased and a boy named Avery leave for Pottington, and after he had had his dinner he followed them to the river side.  Avery and GREEN were in the water, and just as witness undressed GREEN ran into a pit in the river, and went down.  Witness went in to his armpits, and when deceased rose he tried to pull him out, but he was out of his reach.  Deceased tried to get out of the water, but he was unable to do so.  Witness last saw him on the opposite side of the pit, floating down the river.  When he lost sight of GREEN, he ran to Pottington and told Mr Smith what had happened.  Bertie Smith, of Pottington, the young fellow who was communicated with by the boy Crocker, deposed that on going to the spot at 2.15 he saw footprints around the pit in question, but there was no sign of deceased.  Witness picked up GREEN'S clothes on the bank, and having informed his father of what had happened, procured a boat and tried to find the body.  Witness's father communicated with Mr Sanders, a fisherman, who also brought a net, but they failed to recover the body.  Vessels had been lying in the pit in question, and the depth of water at the time was about 3 ft. 6 in.  The tide was running out.  William Stribling, a lad, spoke to being in a boat with his brother on Wednesday afternoon, when he saw GREEN'S body lying in about three feet of water just outside the old Town Station.  He lifted the body into the boat and subsequently reported the matter to P.S. Paltridge.  P.S. Paltridge, who, with assistance, took the body on an ambulance to the North Devon Infirmary, was also called.  The Coroner, summing up, remarked on the fact that deceased was a fine boy, and thought it most deplorable that he should have been drowned.  He did not think anyone was to blame in the matter.  It was difficult, in fact it was impossible, to keep children away from the river.  He was sorry to say that not only children, but older persons did not understand the terrible dangers of the Taw.  In addition to the strong currents, continually shifting sands, as he had pointed out on many previous occasions, made the river exceedingly dangerous.  Often-times, where there were only a few inches of water, a vessel would come along and make a big hole, with the result that a pit several feet deep would be formed at low water.  It could not be too widely known by residents and visitors that it was most dangerous for anyone who could not swim well to bathe in any part of the river.  He wished that warning to go forth to the public.  With regard to the question of a boating-place being provided, it seemed to him that there were two very great difficulties, but whether they were insuperable or not he could not say.  The first difficulty was that the water of the river was too dirty and too foul to be used for a public bath; and the other was that of getting fresh water from any other source.  He did not know whether if the Water Company were approached upon the matter they would come to terms with the Town Council, and so render any scheme practicable, or whether on the other hand it would be advisable to tap the town mill leat supply at a point above where it was fouled by the tanning and skin-cleaning properties.  This seemed to him to be a possible way out of the difficulty.  It was a matter of great importance from many points of view that a public bathing place should be provided, and it was a question whether the matter should not be commended to the earnest consideration of the Town Council, in order to see whether they could not surmount the difficulties.  There was no doubt that deceased met his death whilst bathing in the river Taw.

The Foreman said in regard to a bathing place for the borough he was not personally altogether in favour of the scheme.  They had a bathing place at Barnstaple many years ago, and that fell through very quickly.  He did not think a bathing place would prevent boys from going to the river; they would always be doing something daring, or at least, the majority of them.  In regard to the use of fresh water for bathing, it would be found to be very cold.  If, however, the jury thought any scheme advisable, he should be pleased to recommend it.  The Coroner remarked that of course fresh water was naturally colder than the salt water of the river, but perhaps, if the mill leat supply could be tapped, the water could possibly be passed through the Electric Works to the bathing place, and could be warmed to some extent.  A Juryman expressed the opinion that a bathing place [?] necessary as, as if not more necessary than, a public park.  Similar provision had been made in other towns, and he did not see why the difficulties should be insuperable at Barnstaple.  He suggested that, in accordance with the Coroner's views, they should communicate with the Town Council asking them to give the matter their very serious consideration.  The Foreman expressed the opinion that the rates of Barnstaple were already sufficiently high, without increasing the burdens by the provision of a bathing place.  The Juror in question pointed out that not only youths, but older folk bathed in the river, the dangers of which were evidenced by the fact that there had been a number of drowning fatalities.  If a bathing place was provided, and bathing fatalities then occurred in the river, the municipality would be relived from responsibility.  The Coroner agreed with this view.  If a bathing place was provided, the onus of responsibility would be taken off the shoulders of the municipality.  No doubt the Town Council would hear of the views which had been expressed, and would give the matter their serious consideration.

A verdict of "Accidentally Drowned whilst Bathing," was returned.  A Juryman:  I take it the majority of the Jury do not recommend anything.  Another Juryman:  I do not think it is any good.  Yet another Juryman added that riders recommending the provision of a bathing place had been added on many previous occasions.  The Coroner finally remarked that he thought the sloping part of the Quay outside the Town Station, near the Electric Light Works, would be as good a site as any for a bathing place.

BIDEFORD - Bideford Officer's Sad Death. A Victim To Depression. - Very great regret was occasioned at Bideford on Friday evening when it became known that Lieut. Colonel WILLIAM CHETWOOD LLOYD, late 20th Hussars of "Kiltrasna," North Devon road, had died under painfully sad circumstances.  The deceased gentleman, who was 62 years of age, and had resided at Bideford for a number of years, was well-known in the district, and, with his family, highly esteemed, many of the aged poor, and children having reason to be grateful for their unostentatious kindness.  COL. LLOYD took an active interest in Evangelical Church organisations, and was the local hon. secretary of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.  A graduate of the Staff College, he served in the Soudan campaign of 1885, and also with the Soudan Frontier Force in 1885-6 and was present at the engagement at Yiniss.  For his services in the Soudan he was awarded the medal with clasp and the Khedive's Star.  COLONEL LLOYD leaves a widow and two sons, of school age, with whom, and the other members of the family, much sympathy is felt.  The North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) and a Jury of which Mr J. Sanguine was Foreman, on Monday held an Inquest at the house into the circumstances surrounding the deceased officer's death.  The Coroner said the witnesses he should put before the Jury would he thought show that the deceased had been somewhat depressed lately, and on Thursday last he was discovered in one of the rooms of the house vomiting and exceedingly ill.  Dr Ackland was sent for, and on his arrival found that deceased was suffering from the effects of poison.  Dr Ackland questioned him, and at last obtained from him that he had taken Paris Green, which was a composition of arsenic and copper used for horticultural purposes.  Dr Ackland did all he possibly could, gave him emetics, and although he vomited and was purged very freely, the quantity he had taken eventually proved fatal, and he died the next day about 3.30 p.m., the result, as the doctor would tell them, of taking a quantity of arsenic.  He understood no one saw him actually take the poison, but, they would have the evidence of the widow who saw him just previously, and who found him in  a state of collapse after he had taken it.  The Jury would have all the evidence that was possible, and he thought they would be able to arrive at a satisfactory verdict.  The first witness called was the widow, MRS CATHERINE LLOYD, who was much distressed.  In answer to the Coroner's questions, MRS LLOYD said her husband came into the dining room a little after seven o'clock on Thursday evening.  He did not look well.  Asked if he complained at all, witness said yes, he said he felt sick.  He did not take anything to cure it.  She wished she had thought of something, but she did not.  COL. LLOYD went away and vomited.  When she saw him in about five minutes he did not still complain of being unwell, but she noticed he had green on his coat and on his collar.  He was then sick, did not look well, and she sent for Dr Ackland, who came.  He did not say he had taken anything then.  She asked him and he did not answer.  She did not see any glass or signs that he had taken poison from anything.  She subsequently heard him tell Dr Ackland that he had taken something.  He had had fits off and on of depression.  "Has there been anything to make him depressed," asked the Coroner?  -  "I have been very ill; he has been depressed over that," replied witness.  On Thursday during the day was he more depressed than usual?  Did you notice anything?  -  I noticed he did not look very well.  He was a little depressed.  Has he ever attempted to take his life before?  -  No.  Not that you know of?  -  Well, he has hinted occasionally.  Has he threatened?  -  Hinted.  I never thought he ever would, really.  Did you attach any importance to these hints?  -  No.  I thought he was so good he never would.  In fact he told me he would not.  Did you take the precaution of cautioning people against supplying him with any fire-arms?  -  Yes, I did.  But that only was from hearsay.  I never say or noticed anything.  That was about twelve months ago?  -  I cannot remember the date.  I know I was told it was not safe for him to have fire-arms.  It might have been twelve months ago.  Can you account for anything that would lead him to do this on Thursday last.  Had he hinted lately that he would do it?  -  He had hinted occasionally, when he was depressed.  Recently?  -  Perhaps about a fortnight ago, but I never believed he would do such a thing.  Has he given you any reason at all why he took this poison, after taking it?  -  No.  Did you know he had this arsenic?  -  No, I had no idea of it.  The Jurors asked no questions.  Alfred Newcombe, gardener in the employ of deceased, asked if he knew anything about his master purchasing the poison, mentioned that about three months ago COL. LLOYD said he would get some of it for spraying the gooseberries.  Later on he again mentioned the matter to witness, who pointed out that the bushes were too far forward, the fruit having formed, and his master said he would let it go this year, and added "I won't get it now."  Witness never knew that he had purchased it.  He saw his master about 3.50 on Thursday afternoon.  The Colonel passed the time of day and remarked, "It's not much hay weather," and he replied "No, sir."  He had looked "down in the dumps" for a long time, but he did not notice that he was especially so on Thursday.  He had been low spirited, and looking as if he had had a lot of trouble for about three weeks.  He had never hinted to witness what was troubling him.  Paris Green had not been used in the garden since he had been there, and he did not know of its being used there before.  COL. LLOYD told him he had read or been told that it was a good thing for killing caterpillars.  Mr G. W. Greenaway (a Juror):  Had there been any difference between COL. LLOYD and yourself about the hay making?  -  Witness:  No, sir, nothing.  Or with the other man?  -  The other man is leaving on Saturday, but I don't know that there is much out of the way in that.  The Coroner:  Was there anything about cutting grass?  -  Witness:  Well, the other man said he would not mow the grass because it was too hard work, and the Colonel said, "If you don't mow it you will have to go," and he's going to go, I suppose.  The depression would rather be on the man's part?  -  Yes, the Colonel did not seem put out.  He said "If you don't like to mow it you will have to go."  A man was not going to stake his existence on that.  There are more men than one in Bideford, I suppose?  -  Yes, and some better than others.  Mr J. D. Morgan, from Mr Hogg's, chemist, Bideford, said the deceased was a regular customer at the shop for a great many years and he knew him very well.  On April 7th last he purchased two ounces of what was commonly called Paris Green.  It was a registered poison and he signed the book for it.  He said it was to make a spray for fruit trees.  It was an article very much used in commerce, especially for paints.  Deceased was thoroughly conversant with the fact that it was a poison, and said he had read a leaflet issued by the Board of Agriculture recommending it for spraying fruit trees.  He had never sold him any before but deceased had purchased various forms of preparations used for gardening purposes.  Witness had never been warned against selling him poisons, and witness had not the least hesitation in supplying him.  Dr Ackland said he was deceased's regular medical attendant, and had known him ever since he had been here, over twelve years.  On the 10th inst. he was sent for and arrived at 8.45 p.m.  Deceased was sitting on a sofa, and there were green stains round the mouth, on the moustache, and down over the front of his clothes.  He had vomited and was purged.  The Coroner suggested that he must have taken a lot of the stuff, and the Dr. said yes, an enormous quantity; he should think all he had purchased.  He was conscious throughout.  Witness asked him if he had taken anything, and he replied:  "I can't tell you."  Vomiting followed by acute diarrhoea was a symptom of arsenic poisoning.  Witness did not ask him anything more for a moment and proceeded to treat him.  He took all witness gave him, and after pressing him he told witness that he had taken Paris Green.  Up to that point witness had been rather in the dark, except that he considered it was probably arsenic.  Asked what time he took it, deceased said seven o'clock.  Two grains of Paris Green would be sufficient to cause death.  Witness asked deceased why he had taken it, but he would not answer.  He answered no questions at all except to say that he was not in pain, and towards the end that he was thirsty, and that his stomach burned.  Otherwise he said nothing.  In reply to the Coroner's question whether it was not extraordinary for life to have been so prolonged after taking such a large quantity of the poison, Dr Ackland replied in the negative.  It was a slow poison, and although a large quantity was taken, it frequently took 18 to 24 hours to prove fatal, and in this case the form in which it was then was a rather insoluble one, which would make the time longer.  The usual antidotes, and the special antidote, oxide of iron, were administered, but the purging continued.  There were cramps in the legs, gradually the heart failed, and he was pulseless  several hours before he died.  The post mortem examination confirmed the fact that death was due to poisoning by Paris Green.  There was a gall-stone, but all the other organs were healthy.  The Coroner:  I should like to ask you whether he was anxious to recover after you came?  -  Witness:  Well, he took everything I gave him, although he was capable of refusing if he had wished to.  Answering other questions, witness said that two grains of the poison was sufficient to cause death.  It was not an extraordinarily long time for deceased to have lived, although he took it on an empty stomach, as the form in which he took the poison was rather an insoluble one.  He died at 3.30 on Friday afternoon.  A post mortem examination confirmed his opinion that deceased died from poisoning.   Mr H. I. Meredith, ironmonger, of Bideford, said that deceased came to his shop about twelve months ago and examined some catalogues, with a view to purchasing an Army Service revolver of a particular pattern, but gave no order.  Subsequently witness was asked not to supply deceased with any firearms.    The Coroner, in summing up, said it was sad and unfortunate that a man of mature age, retired from His Majesty's Army, and who was much respected, should have suddenly committed this very rash act, apparently for no reason.  Alluding to the poison the Coroner said it was recommended by the Board of Agriculture for the purpose for which it was sold, viz., spraying bushes and was quite the correct method.  The quantity which deceased purchased was enough to kill at least twenty men.  The Foreman said he had thought that there would have been more evidence brought forward.  He spoke in high terms of the deceased, and suggested that the Jury's verdict should be that the deceased committed suicide by taking arsenic, expressing no opinion as to the state of his mind at the time.  MAJOR LLOYD asked to be allowed to say that his brother had unquestionably been subject to nervous depression for many years, and he took a very serious view of small things which would probably not trouble anyone else.  The Jury decided to return a verdict in accordance with the Foreman's suggestion.

Thursday 24 June 1909

CHITTLEHAMHOLT - Inquest at Chittlehamholt.  An Inquest was held on Monday at Head Post Cottage, Chittlehamholt, by the County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown), on the body of JOSEPH SKINNER, a labourer, aged 75.  The body was identified by WILLIAM SKINNER, deceased's son.  He said his father had always enjoyed fairly good health. On Friday the deceased was at work cracking stones, and afterwards went to bed, looking as usual.  The next morning he was found dead in bed.  Dr Seale, of Southmolton, said deceased had been dead for six or seven hours when he saw him on Saturday morning.  A post mortem examination revealed the fact that death was due to heart failure.  The Jury, of which Mr Baldwin was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes," and gave their fees to the widow.

STOKE RIVERS - Sad Accident At Stoke Rivers.  Death Of A Little Girl.  -  A distressing accident, which was attended with fatal results, occurred on Wednesday in last week at Stoke Rivers.  A little girl named MARY NOTT, the five year old daughter of a labourer, was playing with some other little children, on a stile, when she fell off the fence, fracturing her thigh bone.  She was taken to her home, and Dr Manning was sent for.  After being treated by him she was conveyed to the North Devon Infirmary, where she died on Sunday evening.  The circumstances of the sad case were Inquired into on Tuesday afternoon at the North Devon Infirmary by the Barnstaple Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft) and a Jury of which Mr Dan Moxham was chosen Foreman.  MR FRANCIS NOTT, father of the deceased, gave evidence of identification.  He said he was at work at the time of the accident.  His wife was unwell, and not able to attend the Inquest.  The deceased had always been weak on her legs, and Dr Manning had been treating her for the same up to the time of the accident.  When the accident happened witness was called, and Dr Manning was sent for.  On his arrival the doctor ordered her removal to the North Devon Infirmary, where she was conveyed.  Deceased did not tell witness how the accident happened.   FLORENCE NOTT, aged six, who was playing with the deceased at the time of the accident, stated that her sister got up on the stile and then on the top of a fence, when she fell off.  Mrs Annie Floyd, of West Buckland, who was staying at Stoke Rivers on Wednesday last, spoke to hearing cries, and on proceeding to the stile found MARY NOTT lying on the ground.  Other children told her that deceased had fallen off the stile, and the child cried "Oh my leg."  Witness carried her home.  The height of the stile was about 2 ½ ft. high.    Dr Manning, of Barnstaple, deposed to having attended the deceased.  She was a healthy child, but had a difficulty in walking.  She had improved greatly of late.  He was called to Stoke Rivers on Wednesday, and found the child suffering from a fractured thigh bone, such would result from a fall of the kind described.  Witness thought the injury was a bad one for the height of the fall.  Deceased's father, re-called, said the height of the fence by the stile was about six feet, whilst the little girl FLORENCE NOTT said the deceased fell from the top of the fence and not the stile.  Dr Moore, House Surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, stated that when deceased was admitted to the institution, she did not display any evidence of shock.  The little girl received careful treatment, and progressed favourably until Saturday, when she developed symptoms resembling those of inflammation of the brain.  She gradually got weaker, became unconscious, and passed away on Sunday evening.  he had made a post mortem examination, and in his opinion death was due to the effect of the injuries.  The Coroner, in summing up, said there was no doubt the child accidentally fell off the fence and sustained injuries from the effects of which she died.  In a thoroughly healthy child the accident would not, perhaps, have had fatal consequences.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

YARNSCOMBE - The Alarming Accident At Yarnscombe.  Fatal Termination:  Inquest.  -  WILLIAM ANTHONY BOND, mason, of Under Cleave, Little Torrington, who (as reported in last week's North Devon Journal) sustained serious injuries as the result of a portion of an archway of a new cattle shed at Delley Farm, Yarnscombe, falling upon him, expired in the North Devon Infirmary on Sunday.  The Inquest was held at the Infirmary on Tuesday, before Mr T. A. R. Bencraft (Borough Coroner) and a Jury of which Mr Dan Moxham was chosen Foreman.  The Coroner said the cattle shed was erected by Mr Darch, builder, from his own plan.  The pillars and abutments were built about a fortnight or three weeks, and ought to have settled well, whilst the arches had been erected about a week previously.  He understood the foreman removed the centring of the wooden mould carefully, and thought everything was all right.  A portion of the abutment and arch suddenly collapsed, however, three of the workmen being practically buried by the falling masonry.  Unfortunately, the deceased sustained fatal injuries;, and it would be for the Jury to determine whether anyone was to blame in the matter.  WILLIAM HENRY BOND stated that his son, the deceased, was a mason, being 27 years of age.  Witness last saw him eight days ago.  After the accident his son complained greatly of pain.    Samuel Parkhouse, foreman mason, in the employ of Mr Darch, deposed that a portion of the building in question had been erected some time.  The arch was built a fortnight ago, the width being 8ft. 6in., and the rise about 7 inches.  It was made of brick courses and stone between, in the usual way.  Did not try to make the lower line of bricks wedge-shaped; in a short space this would not be really necessary.  The wall was 3ft. across, the gravel and lime used being in the proportion of two to one.  Thomas Gent had assisted in the work, which in his opinion was well done.  In removing the wooden supports on the previous Wednesday, witness knocked away first the centre, and then the two outside ones.  He told the men not to hurry, in order to see the wall had properly settled.  Two of the supports had been removed quite easily, when he (witness) heard a crack, and the pillar came down with a crash.  BOND, who was nearest, was very much injured by the falling masonry; the other men escaped with bruises.  Deceased was eventually removed to the North Devon Infirmary.  By Mr E. Y. Saunders, Borough Surveyor (a Juror):  He had no suspicion that the ground was bad; he too considered the abutment was sound; in the [?] , it sprang about 4 inches.  - By the Coroner:  The other arch stood safely.  -  Mr Saunders:  The strange thing to me is that the other side of the building remained intact.  - Witness could give no reason. - Mr Saunders:  Don't you think, with a span of 8ft. 6in. you might give a little more rise?  -  A.:  I had confidence that the abutment would stand it.  - By the Foreman:  He had taken away supports much quicker than this one - eight or nine days.  There had not been much rain recently.  - By the Coroner:  Witness had had a good deal of experience, and adopted the usual course in this work.  - Mr G. Dendle, another Juryman, said the supports were left standing a fair time, if the wall was well built.  - Mr Saunders:  It seems that the abutment was weak.  - The Coroner:  The thrust of the arch was too much for the abutment.  - Mr Saunders:  "I consider the arch rather flat.  I should have given it a bit more rise."  Looking at it on paper, he was surprised, however, at the abutment going.  Thomas Pearce, mason's labourer, expressed the opinion that the best mortar was used in the work, whilst the archway was built all right.  In the accident he was completely buried by the falling masonry, escaping with bruises on his back and neck.   Thomas Gent, mason, also spoke to the material and work being good.  The abutment was 3ft. thick, by 18 inches the other way.  Thomas Darch, builder, stated that the building was erected from his own plans.  In his opinion the job was perfectly satisfactory; it was good workmanship, whilst the best of material was used.  He could not explain why the abutment gave way; it was now only about 3 inches out of straight.  Had been engaged in the building trade nearly all his life, having worked on his own account fifteen or sixteen years. - By Mr Saunders:  Building such an arch was quite common to cattle sheds, and witness had never had an accident in connection with work previously.  Dr Moore, House Surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, stated that deceased was admitted to the institution suffering from extensive bruises, and a compound fracture of the left leg.  BOND was quite sensible, and said an archway had fallen upon him.  There were no internal injuries, but BOND was suffering greatly from shock, from which he died.  Deceased did not blame anyone.  Samuel Wollacott, farmer, of Delley Farm, Yarnscombe, who heard the arch fall, and arrived on the scene just afterwards, was also called.  The Coroner, summing up, said it was perfectly clear that the accident was caused by the abutment giving way.  Some of the Jury would know better than he whether it was sound construction, and whether there ought not to have been a stronger abutment.  Having regard to the super incumbent weight upon the arch, and its extreme flatness, he should have thought a stronger abutment, if not absolutely necessary, would have been more advisable.  Death was no doubt due to the accidental collapse of the arch.  The Jury, after consulting in private, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death caused by the falling of an arch through an abutment giving way."

Thursday 1 July 1909

ILFRACOMBE - An Inquest was held at the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital, Ilfracombe, on Friday evening by Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner, on the body of JOHN GIBBS, who was found dead in bed on Thursday morning.  Mr J. Berry was chosen Foreman.  FREDERICK GIBBS, brother, said deceased and he lived together in Highfield House.  He was 52 years of age.  Witness woke up about 7.30 on Thursday morning, and deceased was then sleeping, but at 8.30 he saw there was something wrong with him, and Dr Osborne was sent for.  The day previous deceased had been doing a little gardening.  ANNIE GERTRUDE GIBBS, sister, said deceased was in his usual health on Wednesday last when he went to bed.  Dr Osborne said he had made a post mortem examination of the body, and found a very large haemorrhage on the right side of the brain, which was sufficient to cause death.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

ILFRACOMBE - Sudden Death of MR W. H. SMYTH.  -  A painful sensation was caused in the town on Tuesday, early in the afternoon, by the news that MR W. H. SMYTH, of the Montebello, had died suddenly at Newquay.  It appears that deceased who went down to Newquay on the "Cambria," with his wife, his niece and her husband, was landing from the steamer in a small boat, which filled and sank close to the Quay.  There were 10 passengers, including MR SMYTH, who were all promptly rescued, but deceased, after getting up the steps, collapsed and died almost at once from heart failure.  The body was at once removed, and an Inquest was held at Newquay yesterday.  Deceased was a very well-known tradesman in the town, having lived there all his life, his age being 53.  For 35 years he had been connected with the Montebello, and he married Miss Gardner, daughter of the first proprietor of the business.  He had been a member of the District Council for some years past, gaining the fifth seat in 1899 with 567 votes.  At the end of his first term he retired owing to illness, but in the following year (1903) he was elected second on the pool with 742 votes.  He served for a third term, securing second place again with 752 votes, in 1906.  This year, owing to the state of his health, he retired, but expressed a hope that he might again take a place on the Council.  He was a great lover of sport, and was for many years a member of the Committee of the Rugby Football Club, of which he was a most generous supporter; he was also connected with the Bowling Club.  Of the Foresters' and Oddfellows' Societies he was an hon. member, and gave good help in various ways.  In politics he was an ardent Conservative, taking a prominent part in the work of the party locally.  Great sympathy is felt with the widow so painfully and suddenly bereaved.  Deceased leaves no children.

UMBERLEIGH - Labourer's Suicide At Umberleigh. -  Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon, on Thursday evening held an Inquest at Hor Farm, near Umberleigh, on JOSEPH BLACKMORE, labourer, aged 45, whose body had been found in the River Taw.  The deceased lived with his mother until her death, which occurred a year ago.  BLACKMORE then becoming an inmate of Southmolton Workhouse.  He recently took his discharge, and from Friday to Monday, when he was at the Rising Son, Umberleigh, he was looking for work in the neighbourhood.  Sidney Ware, stated that on Wednesday he found the body in the River Taw near the railway station, and deceased's bag in the edge, about eighteen yards away.  Mrs Ware, who saw deceased the previous night, said he appeared to be quite cheerful then,.  Dr A. W. Lemarchand (Barnstaple) attributed death to drowning and the Coroner thought the position of the body, with the head inward and cap on, and the fact that the water was only one or two feet deep there, pointed to suicide.  A verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily of Unsound Mind" was returned.

Thursday 8 July 1909

SOUTHMOLTON - The District Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) held an Inquest at the Town Hall on Thursday on the body of GEORGE NUNN.  Mr A. W. C. Martin was Foreman of the Jury.  The deceased, who was a retired gamekeeper, was found dead in bed.  WILLIAM NUNN (son) identified the body, and said his father was 71 years of age.  Mrs Cockram, who lived in a part of the same house, deposed to finding NUNN dead about 11.30 on the 29th.  Dr Seal said death was due to heart disease and the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

BRENDON - At Brendon on Wednesday Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner for North Devon) Inquired into the circumstances attending the death of ALFRED LEWORTHY, a baker, living at Combe's Foot, Brendon.  -  FRANK LEWORTHY, brother of deceased, stated that the deceased had for some time been subject to epileptic fits.  Witness went into the backyard on the 29th June, and found his brother lying on his face, dead.  Dr H. J. Edwards, of Lynton, said he found abrasions on the face and nose of the deceased.  Suffocation following an epileptic fit was the cause of death.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

NEWTON ABBOT - An Inquest was opened at Newton Abbot on Monday concerning the death of the new-born child of a servant girl named COUNTER, who is in custody at the hospital.  The Inquest was adjourned until the 15th inst. for her attendance.

BEAFORD - Fatal Accident At Beaford.  A Dangerous Well.  -  The North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) on Thursday conducted an Inquest at Beaford on the body of SAMUEL PARKHOUSE, thatcher, aged eighty-four, who was drowned in a well on Tuesday evening.  MRS PARKHOUSE stated that on Tuesday evening deceased went to draw some water from a well.  As he did not return for some considerable time she proceeded to look for him, but failed to find him.  Thomas Lock said that about nine o'clock on Tuesday evening he went to the well and saw a pitcher near by half full of water.  He also noticed something in the well and went for assistance, it being found that PARKHOUSE had fallen into the water and been drowned.  Deceased had evidently overbalanced and tumbled into the well.  P.C. Perkins said the well was a very dangerous one.  Dr Philip Johnson, Dolton, said he found a mark on the right temple and a few scars on the top of the head, all evidently caused by deceased falling into the well.  Death was due to drowning.  Witness was of the opinion that the well was very dangerous.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death" adding a rider requesting the Coroner to urge the District Council to close the well, and place a pump in its place.

ILFRACOMBE - Death of MR W. H. SMYTH.  The Inquest.  -  The Inquest on the body of MR WM. HOBBS SMYTH, of the Montebello, Ilfracombe, whose sudden death while on a trip to Newquay we recorded last week, took place at Newquay on Wednesday before Mr E. L. Carlyton, County Coroner.  MRS SUSAN SMYTH, the widow, said her husband was one of the party who came from Ilfracombe to Newquay the previous day.  She was in the same boat.  They arrived about 1.45, but they did not land in the first boat, as they were afraid of a rush.  They got into a boat with ten occupants, including the boatman.  The boat did not seem right when they got into it.  The water was coming through the bottom.  Her husband began to bail out the water with a jam jar, which he found under his feet and said to the boatman, "For God's sake make haste and get ashore, or we shall all be at the bottom of the sea in a minute."  She was up to her knees in water when coming across.  The boatman was passing his hat round when her husband said he would be responsible for the money if the boatman would pull ashore.  Her husband was helped to the top of the steps and sat down.  He expired in a very few minutes.  He had been suffering from a weak heart for some years.  James Watts, who was in the next boat, said he saw that the boat was loaded, that MRS SMYTH was getting nervous, and that the boat was getting lower in the water.  He thought the boat was overcrowded.  As the boat sank one of the occupants swam to another boat  MR SMYTH was up to his waist in water and slipped.  Witness helped him up the steps on to the quay and saw him die.  Dr Gadsden inquired if MR SMYTH was in his usual health on board, to which the witness replied "Yes.".  Samuel Billing said he was a boatman, and was employed about the quay at odd times.  The quay belonged to the Great Western Railway, and to his knowledge no boats were licensed.  He was the owner of the boat, which was 15ft. 4in. over all, with a possible beam of 4ft. 10in.  In winter seasons the boat was kept mostly on the quay, and in the summer on the beach.  No one examined the boats at any time.  They simply paid dues for storing their boats there.  The boat was on the quay until Monday morning, when she was brought down about dinner time.  During the last seven or eight days they had been throwing water over her to tighten her.  She was in the full glare of the sun on the quay.  He was not warned about the condition of his boat in the morning.  The boat was about ten years old.  She had never had any repairs because he did not think she required it.  In the middle of the day he saw the steamer coming, and went aboard his boat and pulled out to her.  He did not think the boat made any water until the load got in.  He carried a bail, which would contain about a pint.  He took no water out of her on the way out.  He placed three passengers on the fore thwart, and the others stepped in themselves.  There were only eight passengers and himself as far as he knew.  There might possibly have been ten.  The boat was quite capable of carrying the weight.  About half-way from the steamer people began to complain that the water was coming in.  He should say that it was coming in at the top straights.  he then pulled a little harder.  He did not know that MR SMYTH had a bail in his hand.  He put on extra speed when asked to go quicker, and MR SMYTH said he would be responsible for the money.  He could have run the boat in at the head of the quay, and taken the passengers one by one if they had remained quiet in the boat.  He was not alarmed.  He did not think there was nine inches of water in the boat, as his feet were not wet.  The water gradually increased.  He thought it was the rush of the passengers that turned the boat.  There were a lot of people to help bring the passengers ashore.  He remembered hearing deceased say, "Pull on."  Dr Gadsden said MR SMYTH died from shock.  Probably the anxiety of having his wife on board and his exertion to rescue her brought on the shock.  There was no doubt he died from syncope.  The Coroner said there could be no doubt that the cause of death was failure of the heart.  No doubt the boat's seams were opened in the sun, and it was shown that it had only been in the water for a couple of ties, which was insufficient to tighten them.  It was quite clear that Billing should not have taken out a boat of that description.  It was also for the Jury to decide whether they should add a rider as to whether the boats should be properly licensed and overhauled.  Mr Vivian said there were powers just invested in the Urban District Council, which would be put into force.  The Jury found that death was due to syncope caused by excitement, and they censured Billing for taking the boat out in such a leaky condition.  They were pleased to find that the Urban District Council were taking steps to have the boats examined.  They expressed sympathy with the widow and family in their sad bereavement.

HARTLAND - Hartland Lady's Sad Death.   -  Mr Arthur Butt, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest at Stratton on Tuesday, on MRS LILY WICKETT, wife of MR TITUS WICKETT, of Hartland.  The husband said his wife had been depressed for about four months, and they came to Stratton for a change.  there were no family worries.  When depressed she had said she would like to die.  On Thursday morning she arose at their usual time, and went out to look at the shops.  When he missed her he went to Bude to search for her.   Dr T. A. King said MRS WICKETT'S injuries were broken nose, broken lower jaw, both eyes badly bruised, body generally much bruised.  He attended her two months ago for melancholia.  Frederick May said on July 1st he saw a lady walk to a point of the cliffs near Bude, look over and about, and then return a little way.  She then went to another point, sat on edge of cliff with legs dangling over, then threw up her hands and slid over.  He was about a quarter of a mile away.  He rushed to the spot, and sent a man for a doctor, who came in ten minutes.  He measured the cliff and found it was a perpendicular drop of 60 feet.  Mr Matthew Parnacott, brother-in-law of the deceased, said that MR and MRS WICKETT came to stay at his house for a change, as she was depressed.  He saw her soon after she fell.  She said, "I don't know why I did it."  A verdict of "Suicide whilst of Unsound Mind" was returned.  The Coroner was asked to convey the sympathy of the Jury to MR WICKETT.

Thursday 15 July 1909

BISHOPSTAWTON - Child's Body On North Devon Railway.  Sensational Evidence At Adjourned Inquest.  Verdict of "Wilful Murder" Against a Woman.  The Inquest on the body of a newly-born child found at Chapelton Railway Station was resumed at Bishopstawton on Thursday, before Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon, and a Jury of which Mr J. Smallridge was Foreman.  Public interest in the matter had increased since the inquiry was first opened by reason of the fact that LUCY TANTON, domestic servant, of Bishopstawton, had been arrested on a charge of concealing the birth of the child.  TANTON who was represented by Mr J. Bosson, was now present, but made no statement.  The evidence adduced was, however, of a sensational character, and after a protracted hearing the Jury returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder" against TANTON.  Supt. Hobbs, of the Braunton Division County Constabulary, conducted the case for the police.

[Note:  Long two column description of Inquest].

APPLEDORE - Appledore Captain's Sad Death. - An Inquest was held by Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner) in the Council School on Saturday relative to the death of CAPT. JOHN HAMMETT LAMEY, of New-street, Appledore, which occurred after an operation at Bideford Dispensary on July 8th.  Mr T. H. Kelly was Foreman of the Jury.  Capt. W. Hobbs, brother-in-law of deceased, identified the body, deceased being 44 years of age.  William Schillers, seaman, said he was mate of the ketch "Lively" of which deceased was captain.  They left Appledore about a fortnight ago for Lydney, and left Lydney on July 2nd with a cargo of coal for Boscastle.  The following day, on account of contrary winds, they put into Barry.  The captain was not well, though he did not go ashore.  On Monday morning, whilst assisting in getting up the anchor, deceased suddenly doubled up, and complained of having hurt his inside.  As deceased was in great pain, witness made all speed down channel, and in the evening put into Appledore, where the captain was at once landed.  He had not complained much until heaving up the anchor.  -  By the Foreman:  He should think the anchor and chain would be about 7 or 8 cwt.  Deceased did not complain until they were getting it up.  Dr W. A. Valentine, of Appledore, who was called to deceased, said the latter told him he was feeling ill, and put into Barry, but did not go ashore.  When assisting to get up the anchor he felt something give way on his inside, and he was evidently in great pain.  As the symptoms showed an obstruction of the bowels, he advised him to have second advice, and Dr Pearson was called.  On July 8th, an operation being necessary, he was moved to Bideford Dispensary, where the operation was performed.  Dr Ellis Pearson said it was decided that an operation was imperative.  This revealed some remains of development which formed a small sac not much larger than an eggcup  It was about an inch across and two inches deep. Into this sac a piece of bowel had slipped, so that there was no passage.  There were records of curious cases of strangulation of the bowel, but no record of a pouch of that sort.  That pouch must have been in the body all the man's life.  The man's condition was, of course, very critical, but it was hoped he would survive the shock which such an operation always entailed.  Had he done so for 24 hours he would have been in a comparative condition of safety.  Unfortunately his heart gave out and he died from shock.  The Coroner remarked that everything possible was done for deceased.  The circumstances were purely accidental.  The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death, due to shock, the result of an operation, and that the cause was a strain while heaving up the anchor.  Sympathy was expressed with the widow and family, and the Jury gave their fees to the Bideford Hospital.

TENBY  -  Suicide Of A Barumite In Tenby.  -  On Tuesday in last week MR RICHARD F. FISHWICK, a native of Barnstaple, who had for eighteen years resided at Tenby, committed suicide by cutting his throat with a razor.  Two months ago MR FISHWICK, who had been for eighteen years chief clerk in the employ of Mr F. B. Mason, auctioneer and estate agent, Tenby, left Mr Mason's employ, and set up a business as a fishmonger and poulterer in Cob Lane.  At the Inquest Mr Mason deposed that a few days previously deceased came to see him and said he was giving up the business, as he was not succeeding.  FISHWICK was very depressed, and he told him he could return to his employ and he arranged to start work in his old position on Tuesday, the day on which he committed suicide.  On Monday morning, however, FISHWICK again called on him and said that as people were saying he was obliged to close, he thought he would keep open another week to show that it was not so.  He then arranged that FISHWICK should return to his employ and that he should take over the management of the house and estate agency business.  Mr Mason said the deceased was a very clever man.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide during a fit of Temporary Insanity."  -  The deceased, who was 39 years of age, was the son of a sea captain, who resided at Barnstaple about 25 years ago.

ILFRACOMBE - Sudden Death At Ilfracombe. - We regret to record another sudden death, which took place on Thursday. MR THOMAS NICHOLSON, aged 58, a retired architect, formerly of Guildhall Chambers, Bristol, and recently living at 5, Castle-terrace, with his wife was the gentleman who unhappily passed away so unexpectedly.  The Inquest was held at the Cottage Hospital on Friday afternoon, by Mr G. W. F. Brown, District Coroner.  Mr W. Backmore was elected Foreman of the Jury, who viewed the body, then lying in the Hospital Mortuary.  The Coroner said that deceased had been enjoying good health for a long time until Wednesday, when he was not very well, and lay down in his room, but passed away suddenly towards evening.  Mr Croot, a neighbour of deceased, said he had known him for the past 15 months; deceased was 58 years of age, and an architect from Bristol, retired.  He was called in to see deceased about 6.50 p.m. and found him unconscious.  Witness and MRS NICHOLSON tried to administer brandy, but it was useless, as deceased was probably dead, though the body was warm.  Dr Green (for Dr Toller) said he was called to 5 Castle Terrace on Wednesday evening, and found that deceased had just died.  He had made a post mortem examination, and found that the hart was in a state of fatty degeneration.  There were signs of old-standing mischief in both lungs.  He believed death was due to syncope, and deceased would possibly not have felt much of the trouble before.  He had not been attended by Dr Toller at any time.  The Coroner briefly summed up the evidence, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."  The Jury desired the Coroner to convey their sympathy to the widow of deceased.

Thursday 22 July 1909

NORTHMOLTON - Fatal Accident At Northmolton.  Well-Known Farmer's Sad Death.  -  Residents in the Southmolton district learnt with deep regret on Friday that MR JOHN R. THORNE, of Lower Fyldon Farm, had passed away as the result of injuries sustained in an accident a fortnight previously.  The deceased was one of the representatives of Northmolton on the Rural District Council, and was one of the most respected residents in the district.  Profound sympathy is expressed with the widow and daughter in their bereavement.    Mr G. W. F. Brown (Coroner for North Devon) held an Inquest on the deceased at Lower Fyldon on Saturday, Mr F. Dobbs being Foreman of the Jury.  MRS THORNE, the widow, said deceased was a farmer, and was 60 years of age.  On June 30th he left the farm at about 7 p.m. to go to Heasley Mill, and about five minutes later he was brought back unconscious and very much injured.  Bert Ayres, an employee on the farm, stated that on June 30th MR THORNE was on horseback carrying a sack of corn, which he was going to take to Heasley Mill to have ground, and he asked witness to hand him two mowing machine knives that he might take them to be sharpened.  As witness was doing this the horse took fright and galloped away.  MR THORNE was thrown and seemed to pitch on his head.  Dr Baker, of Northmolton, said that death was due to fracture of the base of the skull and laceration of the brain.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and passed a vote of condolence with the widow and family.

TORRINGTON - Sudden Death At Torrington. -  On Thursday Mr G. W. F. Brown, Coroner for North Devon, held an Inquest at Torrington on the body of MR JOSEPH VICKERY, aged 65, builder, who expired suddenly on Wednesday.  Mr C. H. Slee was Foreman of the Jury.  - MRS VICKERY deposed that her husband was in his usual health on Tuesday evening, when he did some accounts and then had a walk in the garden before supper.  At 1.30 on Wednesday morning he lighted a candle and said he felt ill. He walked to the next room and expired in a few minutes, before medical aid could be obtained.  Dr Watkins said MR VICKERY was dead when he arrived at the house.  He made a post mortem examination.  Heart failure was the cause of death.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

Thursday 29 July 1909

BIDEFORD - Suicide At Bideford.  -   At Bideford yesterday an Inquest was held before Mr Pike (Deputy Coroner) on the body of WILLIAM BLIGHT, dairyman, of Meddon-street, who died on Monday as the result of taking carbolic.  From the evidence of the widow it appeared that deceased up to the time of the discovery was in his usual health.  On Monday morning he came into his kitchen from an outhouse and said he had fallen from a loft.  The widow sent for a doctor, and he died two hours later.  It transpired that the sheriff's office was in possession for a debt which deceased had promised to meet that day.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane."

LYNTON - Suicide At Lynton.  -  A sad tragedy occurred at Lynton on Sunday, when JOHN POWE, a labourer, aged 37, living at Cavendish Place, committed suicide by cutting his throat with a razor, the head being nearly severed from the body.  POWER was out of work and had been drinking heavily.  On Sunday morning deceased was very strange in his manner.  At 11 o'clock he kissed his two children "Good-bye," saying he was going away.  Soon after he locked himself into a lavatory, where his wife heard him breathing heavily.  She became alarmed and fetched Dr Edwards and a policeman.  At 12.30 Vyvyan Thompson, a waiter, lodging in the house, returned from his work, and on going to his own bedroom discovered POWER dead on the floor.  The deceased, who was at one time "boots" at the Cottage Hotel, leaves a widow and two children.  The circumstances surrounding the tragedy were Inquired into by the Deputy Coroner, Mr W. Pike, of Bideford, and a Jury of which Mr W. B. Pulkinghorne was chosen Foreman, at the Foresters' Hall, on Tuesday afternoon.  -  THOMASINE POWE wife of the deceased, said her husband complained of being ill on Thursday, saying he had had a lot of drink.  He said he had suffered a lot the past few days, and was not going to drink any more.  The deceased seemed very quiet and sober on Saturday, and did a good deal of work at home.  On Saturday night he promised witness that he would sign the pledge.  -  The Coroner:  Did he take any drink on Saturday?  -  A.:  I could not tell you.,  -  On Saturday night witness was aroused by deceased's shouting.  He said "Drive away those men.  There's men in the room."  Deceased quietened a little and returned to bed.  However, he continued to shout until six o'clock in the morning.  She had previously at two o'clock called a lodger, Vyvyan Thompson, to help her.  At six o'clock witness dressed, and deceased jumped quickly out of his bed and went straight to Vyvyan Thompson's room,  where he shouted for his razors.  He continued to complain of seeing men in the room up to 6.30, when he dressed and went out.  He returned later with a pint-and-a-half of beer in his pocket, which, he said, was for Thompson.  He was much quieter, and had breakfast with his children and the lodger.  He seemed all right, and returned to bed, where he remained until 10.30.  Then he came down stairs and kissed his children "Good-bye," saying he was going away.  At 12 o'clock he fastened himself into the lavatory, where the witness heard him breathing very hard.  She fetched Dr Edwards and a policeman, and on her return it was found that her husband had cut his throat.    Vyvyan Thompson, waiter, lodging at MRS POWE'S, said he was aroused at 2 o'clock on Sunday morning by MRS POWE.  She called for a light and asked him to speak to her husband.  Deceased recognised witness and said nothing was the matter.  Witness didn't see any more of him until just before six o'clock, when he came to witness's room and accused him of taking his razor away.  Witness advised him to return to bed.  Just after six o'clock deceased left the house and within a few minutes returned with a bottle of beer.  Deceased gave witness the bottle, saying "Drink my health, I have finished."  Witness then dressed and went to work.  Passing through the kitchen deceased wished witness good morning.  At 12.30 witness went to his own room, where he found the deceased dead on the floor with his throat cut.  Joseph Rooke said he saw deceased on Sunday morning at about 7.30 o'clock having breakfast with his family.  After breakfast deceased went upstairs to bed.  At 11 o'clock deceased again came downstairs and kissed his two children "Good-bye."  POWE then said to witness "What about those policemen that are in the house" to which witness replied "I have seen no policemen this morning."  Deceased rejoined "You know all about it.  I heard you talking about it."  Witness then assured the deceased that there was no one there.  Ten minutes later deceased pared his nails and went to the lavatory.  Coming out of the lavatory deceased stood in the middle of the stairs, where witness saw him for the last time alive.  - By a Juror:  Was he in such a state that he was not accountable for his actions?  -  In witness's opinion deceased's mind was much disturbed.  Dr H. J. Edwards, medical practitioner at Lynton, said on Sunday morning at twenty minutes to one he met MRS POWE, who asked him to go and see her husband.  He went with her, and on going upstairs on the floor of the bedroom in the front of the house he saw deceased lying with a very extensive wound across the front of his throat.  The wind pipe and almost all the large blood vessels on both sides of the neck were severed, the wound extending almost to the spine.  On the floor in front of the dressing tab le there were lying a cap and an open razor.  He had every reason to believe that the wound was self-inflicted.  The Foreman elicited from the widow that her husband had been out of work a fortnight.  -  Q.:  Did he complain or demonstrate any depression from being out of work?  -  A.:  No.  He said he was out of work, and he was going to seek for work on Monday morning. - Another Juror:  Where did he find the razor?  -  A.:  In the bottom of a tin box in the waiter's room.  -  Q.:  Did it appear that he had had anything to drink?  -  A.:  No.  The Coroner, addressing the Jury, said the facts seemed very clear.  The only question was whether they considered that from the evidence they had heard the man was in his right mind when he committed the act.  The Jury retired and on their return, the Foreman said they were unanimously of opinion that the deceased committed Suicide by cutting his throat with a razor during a fit of Temporary Insanity, accelerated by drink.  On behalf of the Jury he expressed deep sympathy with the widow, whom they knew to be very industrious and hard-working woman.  The Jury presented their fees to the widow.

Thursday 12 August 1909

DAWLISH - Cliff Mystery At Dawlish.  Northam Man Found Shot.  -  A sensational discovery has been made at Dawlish.  The decomposing body of a man was found on Friday evening lying in some furze and bracken on the very edge of the cliff near the popular walk known as the Ladies' Mile, which leads to Dawlish Warren.  It is stated that the man had been shot, a bullet having entered the mouth and come out at the eye.  The mysterious feature of the affair is that no weapon has been discovered.  The police have searched the ground in the vicinity, and have cleared away the bushes and bracken, but without result.  The body was found by Mr Charles Henry Strickland, Great Western Railway cliff inspector.  The man had evidently been dead three or four days.  He was a comparatively young man, and was very respectably dressed in a grey suit, with collar and cuffs.  The body was identified on SAturday as that of an Exeter dairyman named SMALE, and the Inquest opened on Saturday evening, was adjourned in order that a post mortem examination might be made.  At the Inquest which was conducted by Mr Sidney Hacker, Charles Henry Strickland, Manor-row, Dawlish, said he had occasion to go to the top of the cliff overlooking the Great Western Railway line on the night of the 6th inst.  He noticed a very foul odour, and discovered the body of a man in the grass about 6ft. from the edge of the cliff, in a narrow strip of land divided from the public path by a wire fence.  The body was partially hidden by furze and bracken.  The man lay upon his back, and the face was black.  Witness noticed no object near the body.   MARY JANE SMALE, Northam, Bideford, identified the body as that of FREDERICK WILLIAM SMALE, her nephew, twenty-three years of age.  He formerly lived with witness at Bideford, but after his marriage, on September 29th last, he went to 80, Paris street, Exeter, and was in business as a dairyman.  She was not aware of his business position, but he had been in very delicate health.  His father had died from consumption.  Horace James Allen, 81 Paris-street, Exeter, also identified the body as that of F. W. SMALE, whom he last saw alive on the 2nd inst.  On that day SMALE and his wife had been to Dawlish Warren, and SMALE spoke of having spent a pleasant day there.  Witness had noticed nothing unusual in his manner, though he saw him frequently.  He seemed to be doing well in business.  SMALE rode a bicycle, and witness identified the machine in court as deceased's property.  It had been left at Crispin's Warren Restaurant a few days before.  Charles Edwin Down, furniture dealer, Exeter, said he saw SMALE in Exeter market on the 30th ult.  Talking business, he asked him if he could settle an account, to which he replied that cash had been slack, and that he would pay something in a fortnight.  He seemed in good spirits, and mentioned that he had several accounts due to him.  About three months ago SMALE came to witness and said he wanted to purchase some poison for killing ants, and asked witness to accompany him to the chemist's. They made a purchase of poison at Messrs. West and Aplin's.  On Thursday a lad in SMALE'S employ said his master had gone away on his bicycle; they didn't know where.  SMALE'S wife told witness the poison had been used for killing ants.  It was stated that deceased's wife was in delicate health, and was in a state of collapse, a medical certificate to this effect being received.   The Coroner said the doctor's evidence must be the only evidence on which they could come to a decision, as no weapon could be found at the spot by the police.  The local medical gentlemen laboured under a great disadvantage owing to the inefficient regulations of the mortuary, which was not provided with the proper appurtenances and appliances necessary to make an immediate examination, as was desirable where a body was in such a dreadful state as this one was.  The Inquiry was adjourned until Thursday at 11.15 a.m.

MARWOOD - Suicide At Marwood.  A Pathetic Message.  -  A painful sensation was caused throughout the district on Saturday last when it became known that MR PHILIP JOHN LARAMY, a well-known and much respected farmer, of Kinnacott Farm, Marwood, had committed suicide by hanging.  The deceased had been much depressed of late, and left home on Saturday morning to go into the fields.  As he did not soon return a search was instituted, and as the result his lifeless body was discovered hanging from a beam in a linhay.  The body was cut down and the police sent for.  The County Coroner for North Devon (Mr G. W. F. Brown) and a Jury, over which Mr John Lynch was chosen Foreman, Inquired into the circumstances attending the death at Kinnacott on Monday afternoon.

The Coroner, in opening, briefly outlined the facts of the case.  He said the circumstances were very sad, and he was sure they all sympathised with the family in their great trouble.  He understood that the deceased had no real trouble to lead him to commit such a rash act.  They all knew him very well, and he was a man whom everyone respected.  The first witness called was Miss Ellen Rudd, sister-in-law.  Deceased was 40 years of age.  He had been unwell for a long time and had been very depressed, and although under medical treatment he did not seem to get any better.  He went to see Dr Harper on the previous Friday, and as the result of a consultation with him he decided it would be wise for him to go to London and see a specialist.  Witness last saw her brother-in-law alive on the Saturday morning about 11 o'clock, and he then said he was going out into the fields a bit for a change.  She asked him to stay, but he would not.  He appeared to be just as usual and no livelier. As he did not soon return witness went to look for him about one o'clock, and about quarter to two found him hanging from abeam in the linhay at Broad Park.  Her sister was a short distance behind, and she called a workman, who cut the body down.  As far as she knew there was really nothing that made the deceased worry, but he was very low in spirits and very depressed.  The Foreman:  Do you think going away made any impression?  A.:  He did not say anything about it, but did not seem to mind.  William Down, workman in the employ of the deceased, spoke to being called by Miss Rudd on Saturday.  On going into the linhay he found LARAMY hanging from a beam, his feet being off the ground.  Witness cut the body down, life being quite extinct.  Witness had not seen his master before that morning.  P.C. Sanders deposed to receiving information of the sad occurrence just after two o'clock on Saturday, and on proceeding to the linhay he saw the body of the deceased lying on some straw.  The rope (produced) was on the beam.  On examination of the body he found a deep mark around the neck, and the face was discoloured.  He searched the body and found a razor and a purse, which contained the following note in deceased's handwriting:-  "My poor mind is so bad.  Can't stand it any longer.  No one knows what I have suffered.  Mind gave way."  One of the Jurymen identified the writing, which was in pencil, as that of the deceased.  The Coroner, in summing up, said it was a very sad case.  The deceased's mind, for some reason or other, seemed to have got into a very depressed state, but there was nothing known as to the cause of it.  He was a man of very good position, and it appeared that on Friday last he saw Dr Harper, who told him (the Coroner) the facts of the case.  When LARAMY came on Friday he seemed to be more depressed than ever; in fact, it was as much as the doctor could do to get him to answer "yes" or "no".  He suggested he should go to London and see a specialist, and said that this, coupled with the change of scenery and life, would do him good, deceased acquiescing in the suggestion.  On Saturday, however, he seemed to have got worse, and then went to the linhay and committed the rash act.  His mind seemed to have given way altogether, and there was no doubt that he committed suicide by hanging himself.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst of an Unsound Mind."

Thursday 19 August 1909

NORTHAM - At an Inquest held at Dawlish on Thursday on the body of FREDERICK WILLIAM SMALE, dairyman, of Paris-street, Exeter, a verdict of "Suicide whilst of Unsound Mind" was returned.  The deceased was a native of Northam.

CHUDLEIGH - At the Inquest held on Saturday at Chudleigh by Mr S. Hacker, on the body of JAMES HASSETT, who committed suicide the previous day, by cutting his throat, the Jury returned the verdict that the deceased committed the act while of Unsound Mind.

Thursday 26 August 1909

SUTCOMBE - Motor Bus Upset At Sutcombe.  Devon Police Sergeant Killed.  -  Late on Wednesday night the motor 'bus Devonia, running between Holsworthy and Bradworthy, capsized on Sutcombe-hill, and Police-Sergeant PARNELL, one of the inside passengers, was killed instantly.  The sixteen other passengers were practically unhurt.  Most of the passengers were returning from Holsworthy market by the 'bus, which is well-known to residents and visitors of North Devon, and the police-sergeant asked the driver to give him a lift.  Whilst ascending Sutcombe-hill something went wrong with the engine ,and the driver's assistant got out to see what was the matter.  The 'bus then began to run backward, and the brakes were applied without effect.  The driver told the passengers to keep their seats, but PARNELL appears to have taken no notice of the warning.  He attempted to get out, and just as his feet touched the ground the 'bus made a sudden swerve to the right.  The vehicle ran backwards into the hedge and capsized, the police sergeant being crushed underneath.  It is thought that the man's foot slipped as he tried to get off the 'bus.   Three persons on the top of the 'bus had miraculous escapes but the most serious injury was a sprained ankle.  Others had a few scratches.  The news of the motor accident was brought to Holsworthy by Albert Lews.  Constables Quant and Clements, with Drs. Kingdon and Grey, immediately proceeded to Sutcombe, where they found the motor 'bus overturned in the road.  Sergeant PARNELL was dead, and the body was taken to a barn.  Deceased's head and right arm were terribly crushed.  Dr Betts, of Bradworthy, and the Holsworthy nurse were also in attendance.  The deceased was a very efficient officer, greatly respected and the sad occurrence has caused much sorrow in the district,.  His time in the force had nearly expired, and he intended shortly to retire.  He was 48 years of age, and leaves a widow and two children.  Sergeant TOM PARNELL had been in the Devon Police Force for 27 years.  He joined on December 18th, 1882  and was promoted to sergeant 16 years later, on October 1st, 1898.  He had been stationed at various places in the country.  He first went to Teignmouth, then to Ashburton and Stoke Canon, and after that he was for a time a mess caterer at head-quarters.  On his promotion to sergeant he went to Landkey, and next year to Bampton, where he remained some time, afterwards being again stationed at Teignmouth.  He went to Holsworthy about twelve months ago.  Before commencing the business of the court at Holsworthy Petty Sessions on Thursday, the Chairman referred to the tragic death of Police-Sergeant PARNELL.  He said the deceased was generally respected by everybody, and he had the esteem of the Bench.  He was a very compassionate man, one who did his duty admirably, and always showed great judgment and discretion.  In every respect he was an admirable officer.  He (the Chairman) knew him as a husband and father, and language failed him to express his great sympathy for the family.  The magistrates deplored the loss of such an efficient official.  The Inquest:-  Mr G. W.F Brown, County Coroner, on Thursday conducted an Inquest on the dead police-sergeant.  Mr H,. R. Bazeley was present representing the Kingsley Country Motor Company.  P.C. Clements, of Pyworthy, identified the body.  He last saw the sergeant alive at Holsworthy at seven o'clock the previous evening.  PARNELL told him he was going to Bradworthy by the motor 'bus.  He did not see the sergeant get on the 'bus.  About 8.15 witness was informed that the motor 'bus had upset on Sutcombe Hill, and that the sergeant was killed.  John Clubb, driver of the 'bus, said he had been driving for about twelve months.  On the previous night he was going up Sutcombe Hill when the engine of the 'bus stopped. His assistant, named Percy, got out and started the engine, but before witness could get the car to proceed it commenced to run back - something seemed to have gone wrong with the machinery.  He shouted to the people inside to keep their seats, and not to jump out, but the police sergeant seemed to have got out.  The car still continued running back, and witness steered it into the hedge.  The wheels of the vehicle went up over the hedge about five feet, and the car capsized.  When he got out he saw the sergeant under the 'bus.  The car went up the hill all right in the morning.  By the Jury:  He put on the brakes, but they would not act.  Cross-examined by Mr Bazeley:  He was quite sure that he examined the car before he came from Holsworthy.  The sergeant asked witness if he might ride to Bradworthy, and witness replied "yes."  He did not pay anything for the ride.  The sergeant said he had to get back at a certain time, and witness told him he would ride at his own risk.  The sergeant must have heard him say to the passengers that they must not get out but immediately witness spoke PARNELL rushed out through the car and jumped into the road.  Dr Betts said that, in his opinion, the cause of death was a fractured skull and injuries to the chest.  A blacksmith named Walters said he was outside his shop and saw the 'bus pass up. Just as it got above the higher side of his shop it stopped.  He saw the assistant trying to start the engine and heard something go "click."  Then he saw the car going backwards down the hill.  It ran into the hedge.  The sergeant jumped out, and as his feet touched the ground, he fell  At the same time the car turned over, crushing the sergeant under it.  In summing up, the Coroner said the sergeant was a man who had done his duty in the force for twenty-seven years.  He appeared to have taken the 'bus to Bradworthy to call at the Police-station there, and all went well until Sutcombe-hill was reached.  The driver appeared to have done everything it was possible for a man to do.  The blacksmith, who saw the accident, had told them that the brakes were applied, and he heard something snap.  In his opinion the driver did his very best.  If the sergeant had not fallen, he would probably have been saved.  He (the Coroner) did not think there was any blame attached to anyone.  It was one of those accidents in which something went wrong and a person was killed.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."  They attached no blame to anyone, but added a rider that they did not think the car was suitable for the neighbourhood.  The Coroner agreed with the verdict.  He promised to forward the Jury's rider to the proper quarter.  Mr Bazeley, on behalf of the Motor Company, expressed great sorrow and sympathy with the family.  Similar expressions came from the Foreman of the Jury, who remarked that sympathy was poor compensation for the loss of a husband.  Sergeant Mogridge of Crediton, promised to convey the Jury's sympathy to the relatives of the deceased sergeant.

BARNSTAPLE - Old Lady's Death At Barnstaple.  -  MRS BETTY CHAPPLE, aged 96, was the victim of an accident, in the garden of her daughter, Mrs Sarah Jane Hammett, of 93, High-street, Barnstaple, which proved fatal on Friday last.  At the Inquest before Mr T. A. R. Bencraft, Borough Coroner, on Saturday, Mrs Hammett stated that her mother was the widow of the late MR JOHN CHAPPLE, cooper, of High Bickington, who died more than half a century ago.  On August Bank Holiday, her mother, who had been in good health for her age, was walking in the garden at the rear of the house, when witness heard her cry out.  her mother had fallen on the grass, and explained that she had felt a little giddy and thought her leg gave way.  She complained that she could not move her leg, and as witness was unable to help her into the house alone, she called in the assistance of P.C.'s Braund and S. Hill.  Dr Cooper deposed that MRS CHAPPLE fractured the neck of her right thigh bone, bruised the right knee, and suffered considerably from shock.  MRS CHAPPLE was well looked after, but the bone would not unite, and she died from the accident and shock consequent on the injury.  P.C. Braund was also called.  The Jury (of which Mr J. R. Ford was Foreman) returned a verdict of Accidental Death, and, through the Coroner, expressed sympathy with the family "at the sad end of a very long and grand old life."  Mr G. Hammett, deceased's grandson, acknowledged the Jury's kindness, said he believed that but for her accident his grandmother would have become a centenarian.  He mentioned that, despite her great age, his grandmother had preferred to walk upstairs without assistance, and that up to the last she had been able to read and sew without the aid of glasses.  The venerable old lady leaves a son and daughter, nine grand-children, and three great grandchildren.

WESTWARD HO - Sudden Death Of A Barnstaple Solicitor.  MR J. J. HARDING Dies At Westward Ho.  -  It is with profound regret that we have to record the death of MR JAMES JOHN HARDING, principal of the well-known firm of HARDING and Son, solicitors, the Strand, Barnstaple, who passed away with startling suddenness at Westward Ho on Tuesday evening.  The deceased gentleman, who was a bachelor residing with his widowed mother at Pilton, was very fond of golf, and was for many years accustomed to spend August at Westward Ho.  This year he went to Westward Ho on July 30th, occupying Buckleigh House with his mother and his brother (MR R. HARDING) and sister (MISS AMY HARDING).  He had not felt well lately, and when in Barnstaple last Friday he saw his doctor, but nothing serious was apprehended.  He was in his usual spirits on Tuesday afternoon when he went on to the golf course, but on retiring to the Pavilion of the Royal North Devon Club about 6.30 he suddenly expired, heart failure being the cause of death.  His father died in 1891 with equally tragic suddenness, expiring while engaged in fishing at Eastdown.  MR J. J. HARDING'S sudden death caused a painful sensation at the Golf House and the Union Club, where the deceased was extremely popular.  Dr Frances, of Northam, was speedily in attendance, and the deceased's medical attendant at Barnstaple was communicated with.  The sad news was learnt with poignant regret at Barnstaple, and on all hands sympathy with the bereaved relatives was expressed.  The deceased was the eldest son of the late MR JAMES NOTT HARDING, of King's Close, banker and solicitor, who for many years played a prominent part in the public life of Barnstaple.  Educated at Rugby and Magdalene College, Oxford, he qualified a s a solicitor, and in 1880 became a partner with his father, the firm being styled HARDING and Son.  On the death of his father in 1891 he assumed sole charge of the business.  The deceased gentleman, who was 53 years of age, never took part in municipal work, but he filled many important offices.  He was for some time one of the overseers for Pilton, and he for many years acted as Vicar's warden at Pilton.  He was the solicitor of the Barnstaple Permanent Mutual Benefit Building Society, and was hon. Secretary of the North Devon Club (Strand).  A man of high culture, he had a charming disposition, and he was held in the warmest esteem throughout the district.  The mortal remains of the deceased will be removed from Westward Ho to Barnstaple today, and the interment will be made in Pilton Churchyard tomorrow (Friday).  The circumstances attending the death of MR HARDING were Inquired into last evening at Buckleigh House, Westward Ho, by the County Coroner for North Devon ((Mr G. W. F. Brown) and a Jury, of which Col. Digby was chosen Foreman.  Evidence of identification was given by MR REGINALD HARDING, who stated that the deceased, his brother, was in his usual health on Tuesday, and that he went out after lunch and played at golf.  He had complained of indigestion for a day or two before, but made no mention of any heart trouble.  Thomas James Webber, who carried MR HARDING'S clubs for him, informed the Jury that deceased played golf with Mr Davis and Mr Trask.  He seemed to be in his usual health until he got to the eleventh hole, when he picked up his ball and asked to be excused from going on any further, as he was feeling unwell.  He said he would walk quietly back to the Club House, and went away very slowly.  that was the last they saw of deceased alive.  Benjamin Jewell, caddie, stated that about 6.30 he was near the golf links, when he saw deceased lying on the grass on his back.  He watched him for about ten minutes, and as he did not move witness informed two gentlemen of the fact, and they went over and found that MR HARDING was dead.  Dr Gibbs, of the firm of Messrs. Harper, Jonas and Gibbs, of Barnstaple, deposed that his firm had attended to MR HARDING'S family for several years past, but they had never treated deceased for any heart trouble. Deceased called at the surgery on Friday last, and complained of a slight attack of indigestion after breakfast every morning.  He said that after he had played a hole or two of golf it went away.  Witness gave him something for the indigestion.  He had made an examination of the body, and in his opinion death was due to syncope.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes - namely, Syncope."

Thursday 2 September 1909

AYLESBEARE - At an Inquest at Aylesbeare on ARTHUR BREWER, 17, who was found dead in a ditch with gunshot wounds, the Jury found that deceased accidentally shot himself, and then to escape the agony he was suffering committed suicide.

BIDEFORD - The North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) on Tuesday evening held an Inquest at Bideford Town Hall on LAURENCE HENRY MATTHEWS RAYMOND, an infant four months of age.  The Inquiry was held under the provisions of the Infant Life Protection Act.  The child had been placed to keep with Mrs Giddy, at 54 Meddon-street, Bideford, and died on Sunday night.  Mrs Giddy stated that the child was placed with her in April last by its mother, and was unwell about a week ago, when she sent for Dr Pearson.  The child gradually got weaker and died on Sunday.  The child was not insured.  She had neglected to give proper notice to the Coroner as provided by the Act.  Dr Pearson said the child was suffering from consumption of the bowels, and died on Sunday as stated.  It had been properly cared for since he had been attending to it.  The Coroner pointed out that any person with whom a child was placed for keep was to immediately notify the local authority of the fact, and if the child died must within 24 hours notify the Coroner and produce to him a medical certificate showing the cause of death.  If that were not done an Inquest must be held.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."

BRAUNTON - Unfounded Allegations.  Death Of An Aged Braunton Widow.  -  The North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) on Monday last conducted an Inquest at Braunton on the body of SUSAN LOVERING, aged 85, the widow of a labourer.  Deceased died as the result of a fall over some stone steps on July 23rd whilst fetching water.  Mr John Yeo Tucker was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  Susannah Barrow, daughter of MRS LOVERING, gave evidence that she last saw her mother at eight o'clock on the night of the accident.  Her mother attached no blame to anyone for the accident.  The Coroner, who remarked that there had been rumours in connection with the case, asked FREDERICK LOVERING, son of deceased, if he had heard any allegations that anyone had pushed his mother down.  LOVERING replied that there had been some allegations, but no one could have pushed her, because there was no one in the house at the time the accident occurred.  In answer to the Foreman, witness said he had never treated his mother with anything but respect.  Dr W. J. Harper said he was called on the evening in question.  Deceased then told him that she had fallen, but made no suggestion that anyone had pushed her.  Dr F. R. E. Wright said death was due to exhaustion consequent on the accident.  He was satisfied that her friends did all that was possible for her.  The Coroner, in summing up, said one of the advantages of an Inquest was that rumours could be proved or dispelled.  In this case it appeared that the affair was an accident, and that no blame could be attached to anyone.  A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned.

Thursday 9 September 1909

TORRINGTON - Railway Accident At Torrington.  Lad Killed.  Inquest And Verdict.  -  Mr G. W. F. Brown, the North Devon Coroner, held an Inquest on Saturday afternoon, in the waiting-room of the Torrington Station of the L. and S.W.R., on the body of HORACE HERBERT STEVENS, a lad in the employ of Messrs. Spiers and Pond as kitchen boy on the L. and S.W.R. corridor express train, who was knocked down by an engine and killed the previous day.  The train by which the Coroner travelled arrived at Torrington just one hour late, and the Jury were kept waiting.  At the outset Mr Brown said he had to apologise for the delay, but it was altogether the fault of the Railway Company.  He supposed some six extra people up the line had caused this delay!  -  Mr L. H. Parkhouse (a Juror):  But knowing that, sir, don't you think you could have come by an earlier train?  We have been here more than three-quarters of an hour.  - The Coroner:  We should have had to have waited for the people who have come by the same train from London.  This delay means that I have to waste my whole evening.  The proceedings were watched by Inspector Percival, from Exeter, and Locomotive Inspector Moore, from Exmouth Junction.  The deceased's lad's father, who lives at Twickenham, and who was much affected, said his son had been in the employ of Messrs. Spiers and Ponds for three months.  He saw him alive last the previous Friday week.  The lad travelled up and down two or three times a week, but he had only been on this particular journey for about three weeks.  Frederick George Ford, restaurant-car attendant, said the boy joined the car at Bideford at 8.45 a.m., and proceeded to help prepare the luncheons for the 12.10 up train.  At about 11.30 a.m. he went out to get the empty dust-bin, and he was coming down the little slope from the up platform with the tin on his back when he was knocked down by the engine of the passenger train which had just come in.  The lad had his back to the engine, and the dust-bin must have taken off some of the sound.  The engine did not whistle because the driver or fireman could not have seen the boy, the tender being foremost.  At this point the dust-bin was produced, it being in an extraordinarily battered condition as the result of being carried and crushed by the wheels of the engine.  Answering a Juror, witness said he did not see anyone signalling the engine back.  The Stationmaster (Mr Willcocks) here explained that the carriages brought by the engine were pulled out from the platform by another locomotive and placed on the departure road.  By Inspector Percival:  The driver had the signal to put back his engine, and he whistled.  He didn't see the lad at all, but he heard the sound when he struck the can, and immediately stopped the engine.  The witness added that the engine caught the lad full on the back.  A Juror:  Wasn't it possible for him to have seen the engine at all?  -  Witness:  Yes, of course, if he had looked across.   The driver, Richard Lee, said he did not see the boy at all.  What attracted his attention was the rattle of the can under the engine.  He stopped the engine after it had gone about its length.  He had sounded his whistle before starting, and he looked out on one side of the line and his mate the other.  The only person they saw was the shunter about 100 yards away.  Answering P.S. Banbury, witness said he thought deceased was attracted by the detached moving coaches, and was watching them and waited until they had passed him, not noticing the engine.  George Yendell, the shunter, said that when he gave the signal to the driver to come back on the other end of the coaches he saw nothing of the lad.  The Coroner agreed that the unfortunate young fellow evidently had his attention taken off by the carriages, and was not looking out for the engine.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and expressed sympathy with the relatives, as did also the Coroner, Mr Pearce (representing Spiers and Ponds) and Mr Willcocks (for the Railway Company).

EXETER - A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned at the Inquest at Exeter on ELLA BOWDEN, aged 10, who died as the result of a fractured skull, which was not discovered until the post mortem examination.

BARNSTAPLE - Baker's Tragic Death At Barnstaple.  Dangers Of Children Playing Hoops In The Streets.  -  There was a distressing fatal accident at Barnstaple on Wednesday evening last.  MR ALBERT WM. WATTS, a respected baker and confectioner, carrying on business at Pilton, was driving to his stables near the Quay when his horse, frightened by some children playing hoops in the streets, bolted.  MR WATTS being thrown into the roadway and sustaining a nasty wound in the head.  MR WATTS was able to walk to his home, about 200 yards distant, without assistance, but later he became seriously ill, and passed away at midnight.  The tragic death of MR WATTS, who was 32 years of age, caused a painful sensation in the town, expressions of sympathy for his bereaved widow and other members of the family being general.  The Borough Coroner and a Jury, of which Mr J. R. Ford was Foreman, investigated the sad fatality at deceased's residence, 10 Pilton Street, on Thursday afternoon.  The coroner at the outset, gave a brief resume of the facts.  Thomas T. Channon, deceased's father-in-law, having given evidence of identification, Joseph H. Ridd, foreman to Messrs. S. Berry and Sons, manure merchants, Pilton Bridge, deposed that about 5.50 the previous evening he was in his employers' yard, when he heard a horse coming along the roadway from the direction of Pilton Bridge.  The horse, which was jumping and kicking very violently came towards the yard, the vehicle striking the right hand pillar at the entrance.  It re-bounded, and the horse jumped to the opposite pillar and then ran into the yard, kicking all the time. Witness saw that it was MR WATTS'S vehicle, but he did not see the deceased until he was picked up near one of the pillars at the entrance.  The concussion knocked a piece of brickwork out of the pillar, and when the animal got into the middle of the yard it kicked itself free of the trap.  It then ran into the corner of the yard, all the while kicking, so that no one could get at it for several minutes.  Mr Challacombe shouted to him in regard to MR WATTS, who was picked up in the roadway by Mr James Sanders.  It looked as though MR WATTS'S head had struck the kerbstone, on which there was a quantity of blood.  After a minute or so MR WATTS walked into the yard, but witness advised him to consult a doctor.  He asked the deceased what caused his horse to bolt, his reply being that it was the result of some boys playing hoops.  MR WATTS did not say whether the hoops struck the horse, but mentioned that when the horse became frightened it started kicking and bolted.  MR WATTS had only had the animal a week or ten days.  The deceased, who was bleeding from the head, left the yard in the company of his wife, walking steadily by himself.  In answer to the Coroner, Mr Ridd said that the animal was a cob about 14.3 in height.  Mrs Mary Jane Clatworthy, laundress, in the employ of Mrs Sanders, deposed that she was working in an upstair front room just opposite Messrs. Berry's premises the previous evening.  Hearing a horse coming along the road she looked out of the window, and saw MR WATTS thrown out of the trap unto the ground on his back, with his head on the kerb, the animal going into Mr Berry's yard.  Mr Sanders went to the deceased's assistance, and advised MR WATTS to consult a doctor, the deceased replying, however, "It is only my nose."  MR WATTS endeavoured to rise from the ground when first thrown, but could not do so, and Mr Sanders then arrived on the scene.  James Sanders spoke to going to MR WATTS'S  assistance, and to helping him gently on to his feet.  Witness suggested that a doctor should be sent for, but deceased said "It is only my nose."  MR WATTS was, however, bleeding from his head.  After being held up by witness for a time, deceased said that he wanted to see his horse, and went around the corner, into Mr Berry's yard.  He seemed a little dazed, and staggered somewhat, and witness followed him to prevent his falling.  Blood was streaming down MR WATT'S face.  MRS WATTS soon arrived on the scene, and a little later the deceased walked home with her.    Dr G. S. Ware, who was summoned to MR WATTS'S house about six o'clock, said that he found him sitting in a chair at the kitchen window.  There was a wound in his head, which had bled very freely.  MR WATTS was very pale, but quite conscious.  Witness examined the wound, but there was no fracture.  He stitched the wound, and also inserted a stitch in a wound on the right forearm.  MR WATTS seemed to think he was pretty well, and he believed he would have "gone about" if witness had not advised him to go to bed.  In conversation, witness understood that deceased's horse had been frightened by a child's hoop, but did not understand that the hoop had struck the horse.  Witness sent MR WATTS to bed, and left with the intention of sending some medicine.  Mrs Channon came for the medicine, and told witness MR WATTS had been sick about 7.30 p.m.  Witness remarked that that was a grave symptom, and if it continued he would pay another visit.  Witness was fetched about 9.30 or 10 p.m., and when he arrived at MR WATTS'S house he found deceased had spasms and convulsions, whilst there were symptoms of bleeding into the brain. Witness came to the conclusion that an internal vessel away from the seat of the internal injury had been torn, and there were symptoms of this bleeding slowly into the brain.  If one could have localised the exact spot at which the bleeding was proceeding an operation might have been performed; but one could not do so.  Everything possible was done for MR WATTS, who became unconscious and passed quietly away, just before midnight.  The Coroner remarked on the danger of children playing hoops in the streets, and said parents should insist on their children going into the parks which were provided for them.  As the result of children playing hoops horses were often frightened, whilst the children themselves often got in the way of traffic.  It was most unfortunate that a valuable life should be sacrificed in this way.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and expressed their sincerest sympathy with MRS WATTS and the other members of the family in their sudden and terrible bereavement.

Thursday 16 September 1909

ROMANSLEIGH - Romansleigh Farmer's Death. - The death of FREDERICK WEBBER, farmer, aged 56, of the Barton, Romansleigh, was Inquired into yesterday by Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner for North Devon.  The Coroner explained that on September 16th deceased was jumping from his trap, when he felt a sudden pain in his right side.  He became very ill and died on Sunday.  It was only on Tuesday afternoon that he (the Coroner) was informed of the death, the funeral being arranged for that day (Wednesday).  It was well that everybody should understand thoroughly that the law required that in the case of an accident, however trifling it might have appeared, if it accelerated death in any way, an Inquest must be held, for more reasons than one, in order that the whole of the circumstances might be inquired into.  Although MR WEBBER had been suffering pain in his right side for some little time, no doubt death was accelerated by the jerk in question, as Dr Smythe would probably say, having been ordered to hold a post mortem examination.  Had he (the Coroner) known  of the case earlier, he could have held the Inquest the previous day; as it was, he hoped the least possible inconvenience would be caused.  Evidence was given by deceased's son,  John Thorne, and ELLEN WEBBER, whilst Dr Smythe (Southmolton) said death was due to kidney trouble of long standing aggravated by the jump from the trap.  He mentioned that Drs. Seal and Tucker saw the patient on Tuesday, agreeing with him as to the nature of the case.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

HUNTSHAW  -  Killed By A Horse.  Fatality At Huntshaw.  -  At Gammaton, three miles from Bideford, on Thursday evening, Mr G. W. F. Brown (Coroner) held an Inquest on WILLIAM YEO, a farm labourer, of Huntshaw, who met his death earlier the same day.  The body was identified by MR R. YEO, of Bideford, a brother,  Deceased was 58 years of age, and employed as a farm labourer by Mr Brownscombe.  William Waldron, an apprentice to Mr Stapledon, blacksmith, of Gammaton, said deceased came to the smithy with a horse to be shod.  The front feet of the animal were attended to by Mr Stapledon, and witness was walking round the animal to get to the other foot, when it reared.  Witness picked up his box and jumped out of the way, and turning round, saw deceased on the ground, the horse having one foot on his chest, and the other very near, if not on him.  He got the animal away, picked up deceased, and sent for his employer.  With assistance, they sat him on a chair, and replying to witness, he said he did not think he was much hurt.  Soon after, however, he seemed to collapse, and died about half an hour later.  Dr Pearson said he was called after death had taken place.  Death was due to the blow.  The Coroner said they could not do other than return a verdict of Accidental Death, and no blame was attached to anyone.  The Jury returned a verdict accordingly.

WELCOMBE - On SAturday last Mr G. W. F. Brown, Coroner for North Devon, held an Inquest at Hennaford, Welcombe, on the body of ELIZABETH ANN GOODENOUGH, wife of MR JAMES GOODENOUGH.  It appeared from the evidence of the husband and daughter that the deceased, who was 45 years of age, took to her bed on Tuesday with a cold.  She did not complain of any pain until Thursday morning, but she would not allow the doctor to be called in.  On Thursday Dr Chamberlain was sent for, but when he arrived MRS GOODENOUGH was dead.,  As a result of a post mortem, the doctor found that death was due to pneumonia of from five to nine days' standing.  The doctor told the Jury that possibly if proper treatment had been given in time her life might have been saved, but he was bound to say that her heart was weak.  The Jury returned a verdict of death from Natural Causes.  The interment took place at Woolfardisworthy Churchyard on Monday.  The breastplate bore the inscription:-  "ELIZABETH ANN GOODENOUGH, died September 9th, 1909; aged 45 years."  Many wreaths were sent by relatives and friends.  Mourners who followed were MR JAMES GOODENOUGH (husband), MARY, MABEL and EMILY (daughters), WILLIAM, JOHN, ROBERT, and THOMAS (sons), Mr and Mrs James Stevens (father and mother), Messrs. William, John and James Stevens (brothers), Miss Mary Stevens (sister), and many other relatives and friends.

Thursday 23 September 1909

BARNSTAPLE  -  Barnstaple Tragedy.  Jockey's Suicide.  A Pathetic Letter.  -  The discovery of a letter and some articles on the river bank at Barnstaple on Tuesday led to the suspicion that a man had committed suicide by throwing himself into the river and the discovery of a body yesterday morning established the fact that the tragedy that had been feared had occurred.  The unfortunate victim was JOHN WALL, aged 26, a professional jockey, son of a coachman residing at Gorwell, Barnstaple.  The facts were elicited at the inquest which was conducted at the North Devon Infirmary yesterday afternoon by Mr T. A. R. Bencraft, the Borough Coroner.  The first witness called was WM. WALL, coachman at Gorwell, father of deceased, who stated that his son was a professional jockey.  A good rider, he was employed in France in races, and in a steeplechase there two years ago the horse he was on tripped and fell on him.  He was badly injured, being practically paralysed in his right arm ever since.  He did nothing much up to June, since which he had been away learning to drive motors.  A substantial sum (£49) was sent to his son from France as compensation for his injuries, and he had been living on this money.  As the result of the accident and trouble about the compensation, deceased had at times been very much depressed.  His son had not given way to drink, only taking a glass of beer now and again.  Witness did not see his son from the second week in June until Saturday morning, when at 4 a.m., deceased knocked at the door.  Asked where he had been, and what brought him there, he replied that he had been taking poison to kill himself, but could not do so.  Witness thought it was nonsense, and advised him to take a walk and return later.  Witness intended him to have some breakfast and talk the matter over.  Deceased walked away without saying anything further, and witness had not heard or seen anything of him until that day.  Witness and his son had been on very good terms, but at times deceased and his stepmother used to fall out.  Witness repeated that in his opinion the accident in France had affected his son's head.  He thought deceased could have got employment as a stableman.  Should not think he would have been competent to drive a motor-car, having regard to his accident.  -  By the Foreman:  Deceased had said he wished he had been killed outright by the accident in France.  - A Juror suggested when deceased arrived at the house at 4 a.m., he might have been admitted.  - The Coroner pointed out that MR WALL had stated that he could not disturb his household at that time.  - MR WALL said his son was not a child, had had plenty of money, and ought not to have been out at that hour.  - By a Juror:  Deceased had never said he intended to commit suicide.  John Guard, Naval pensioner, of Victoria street, Barnstaple, stated that he was fishing near the G.W. railway bridge about one o'clock the previous day, when deceased walked up the bank and sat on a seat on the opposite side of the river.  Witness noticed nothing peculiar about him.  Subsequently witness fished further up the river and returning half-an-hour later, deceased had disappeared.  Witness then went to the opposite side to fish, as there was no sport, and walking down the bank he saw a tobacco pouch, and pipe, with a letter and a small soda-water bottle containing whiskey .  In the river close by was about six or seven feet of water, but witness saw no tracks leading to the river.  Witness should think deceased must have jumped from the bank into the water.  He did not attach any importance to the letter, and as he had not his glasses he did not read it.  At home a young man read the letter to him, and as it contained a threat of suicide he took it to the police.  That morning he went to the river bank in order to see whether the body had been found, and on its being found by Mr Guillaume he assisted to place it in a boat.  The body was that of the man he had seen sitting on the bank the previous day.  Henry Guillaume, inlayer, deposed that the previous night he heard that a young man had been drowned, and searched the river from 5 a.m. until 7.30 that morning.  About 100 yards below the G.W. railway bridge he found the body in about seven feet of water.  P.C. Corney and Mr Guard rendered assistance.  Deceased had a gash in the side of his face, indicating that he had come into contact with a large stone when he went into the river.  P.C. Corney stated that deceased was fully clothed, and wearing kid gloves.  In his clothes deceased had various articles and 3s. 9d. in money.  Dr L. W. Evans, house surgeon at the North Devon Infirmary, expressed the opinion that death was due to drowning.  The accident in France might have greatly depressed deceased, leading to his committing suicide while temporarily insane.  Inspector Tucker produced the letter found by the witness Guard on the river bank.  Addressed to "Dear dad," it said:    "You may think I am not right, but I am right enough not to starve.  Now I will show the white feather; rather than linger and walk about hungry I would sooner lay quiet.  I can't get work anywhere."  The letter recalled efforts made to obtain work, and said deceased paid five guineas to learn how to drive a motor.  "Now I can't get work," he added, "and sooner than starve I'll lay quiet."  In the letter the deceased also referred to the visit he paid to his father's house early last Friday morning and said he took spirits of salts with the intention of poisoning himself.  He concluded - "If you want to know where I am, I am in the river out of it all."  Inspector Tucker said he found a somewhat similar letter in the deceased's portmanteau.  The Jury said this letter need not be read.  - The Inspector added that he found by deceased's savings bank book that on June 11th £35 was deposited, the whole of this sum having been withdrawn by September 3rd.  The deceased spoke to him some time prior to June about some money due to him from France.  The deceased gave him the impression that he was "off his head"; he was wandering at the time.  The Coroner having summed up the Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while suffering from Temporary Insanity".  The Coroner expressed sympathy with the father, and in this the Jury concurred.

KINGSBRIDGE - A verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" was returned at the Inquest at Kingsbridge on Saturday on CECIL WILLIAM COVELL, aged 20, of London, who dropped dead after swimming at Bantham on Thursday.

Thursday 30 September 1909

BIDEFORD - Bideford Sensation.  An Infant's Death.  The Inquest:  Verdict of "Wilful Murder."  -  At Bideford Town Hall  on Monday evening the North Devon Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) and a Jury of which Mr E. Cowie was Foreman, Inquired into the circumstances attending the death of the female infant child of SUSAN MOUNTJOY, a single woman, living with her mother at 16, New-street, Bideford.  The mother of the infant was not present, being confined to her bed.  The Inquiry was watched on behalf of the police by P.S. Newbery.  The Coroner said this was one of those cases which were, he was sorry to say, getting very common in this country  A single woman got into trouble and a child was born, and no care of any kind taken to see that it was brought into the world properly, or that it was kept alive after it was born.  This woman was aged somewhere over 30 years of age, and the Jury would hear that she had had no less than three illegitimate children before this one, so there could be no excuse that she was taken by surprise and did not know what to do.  Evidence would be given that the woman was in service at Ilfracombe, and came home to Bideford about September 1st obviously in a  pregnant condition.  He (the Coroner) understood that she had promised to go into the Union to be confined, but she did not go there.  On Sunday the child was found in a receptacle in the backyard of the house, dead, and the woman admitted afterwards that she had been confined.  It was a female child and the Jury would hear from Dr Thompson, who saw it directly afterwards and Dr Pearson, who was present at the post mortem examination, that it was well and fully developed.  MRS HELEN MOUNTJOY, widow, grandmother of the deceased child, said her daughter, SUSAN, the mother, was 34 or 35 years of age.  She had been in service for two years at Mrs Dixon's at Ilfracombe, and came home on September 1st.  After some time witness noticed her condition, and told her she was not to bring any trouble there.  She said she expected the child about the end of October, but she should not stay home, but should go into the Union, where she had had a child before.  She came down as usual about 9.30 on Sunday morning, and went on with the work.  About one o'clock witness was serving up dinner, and SUSAN was absent for from half to three-quarters of an hour.  She called to her sister AMY to give her a pair of scissors, which she did.  Witness had no idea what they were for. Afterwards witness became suspicious and sent for Mrs Rounsfille, the nurse.  Witness afterwards saw the body of a child in a receptacle in the court-yard.  Asked if it was living, she said she never heard it.  In reply to the Coroner witness said this was the fourth child her daughter had had.  One was living aged 12; one, which was attended by Dr Gooding, died in infancy; and one died in the Union between one and two years' old.  There had been no inquests on either of the previous children.  Witness further said that her daughter made no statement to her, but told the nurse it was her child.  The Foreman:  Would it be possible for the child to have cried without you hearing it?  Witness:  Certainly not.  AMY MOUNTJOY, a young woman, aunt of the deceased, said she knew of her elder sister SUSAN'S condition, lately.  She should think her sister was in the lavatory about half an hour before she put out her hand and asked for a pair of scissors, which witness passed to her.  Witness did not ask her what she wanted them for.  The Coroner:  Did you wonder?  -  Witness:  I did not take much notice.  Didn't you ask what was the matter?  -  No.  The Coroner:  I cannot conceive such a thing that your sister remained three quarters of an hour, and asked for a pair of scissors, and you never went to see what was the matter?  -  Witness:  No, sir.  Had you any idea what was going on?  -  No, sir.  And later, when she came out?  -  I don't know nothing, sir.  I was in the kitchen when she came out.  I did not go into the back court at all.  Did you suspect there was something wrong, then?  -  Yes. You did not before?  -  No, sir.  Did your sister make any communication to you?  -  No.  While your sister was there did you hear any voice at all?  -  No, nothing at all.  The Foreman:  Some of the Jury would like to know whether she complained of being unwell in the morning?  -  Witness:  No, not at all; she had been working.  The Coroner:  Did you see her afterwards?  -  No.  Then who did see her.  Did you all leave her severely alone?  -  After the nurse went up I went up and saw her in bed.  She did not say anything.    Mr Burton: If you had no idea what was the matter, for what reason did you send for the nurse?  -  Witness:  My mother went for the nurse.   Mrs Grace Rounsfille, monthly nurse, living opposite, said MRS MOUNTJOY came for her about quarter to three in the afternoon, and she went right in.  MRS MOUNTJOY pointed to the back door leading to the yard and she went to the yard.  She there saw her daughter SUSAN, standing in the yard, fully dressed.  Witness looked round and saw a utensil which was behind her.  She examined it, and then said "What?  Have you been confined?  This is a baby."  SUSAN MOUNTJOY replied:  "Yes."  Witness took the baby out, and said "The child is dead.  I can do nothing.  This is a doctor's case."  MRS MOUNTJOY had come out into the yard then and witness said to her:  "You must send for a doctor."  She replied:  "I have no money; who can I send for."  Witness said she had better send for the parish doctor, which she did.  Witness then said to the child's mother:  "You downstairs?  You ought to be in bed."  They gave witness something to wrap the child in, and the mother took it in her arms and carried it upstairs herself.  She was frightened and all of a flutter, and scarcely knew what she was saying.  She said the child dropped to the floor.  By the Jury:  The mother did not say how long the child had been born.  The body was warm when witness arrived.  Dr C. S. Thompson said he was sent for just before 3 o'clock, and thinking the nurse had a difficult case, went at once.  He was shewn the body of the child, which was then on a table near the window in the same bedroom as the mother, who was in bed, and being attended to by the nurse.  He did not examine the mother otherwise than to ascertain that she did not require any services from him.  There was a general conversation, but he said as little as possible to her.  The child was dead, but still warm.  It was fully developed, and apparently a full time child, but the mother contradicted his statement and said she did not expect the birth until the end of November.  He examined the body and found there were marks on it.  Under the peculiar circumstances - and he could  get no assistance from the mother and family about what had happened; no one was present at the birth, he could give no certificate without bringing the matter to the Coroner's notice.  The Coroner:  What marks did you see on the child then?  Dr Thompson said what attracted his attention mostly at that time were two marks on the forehead, one on each frontal bone, and curious pressure marks on both collar bones encircling the neck in front, but not behind.  The face was dusky, and there were conditions which showed that it had not been a very sudden confinement.  The Coroner:  Any other marks?  Dr Thompson said those were the most striking marks.  The tongue was livid and slightly protruding.  Witness added that he had that day made a post mortem examination together with Dr Pearson.  The child was well nourished, weighed six pounds, and was the average weight and size of a full time child.  From the position and appearance of the lungs he formed the opinion that the child had breathed, and also that it died from suffocation.  He further examined the bruises on the scalp and found other bruises in addition to the ones on the front of the forehead.  The child had had a separate existence.  The Coroner:  Could all of these bruises have been caused by the child falling on the floor?    Witness:  In my opinion they could not have been caused by one fall.  The Foreman asked whether the doctor considered the fall of the child, as described, would be sufficient to cause its death.  Witness:  No, I do not think so.  The Foreman:  One of the Jurymen would like to know whether the witness can account for the marks on the collar bone.  What, in all probability would produce those marks?  The Coroner:  Could they have been caused by the hands of the person?  Witness:  That is my opinion, that they were caused by the hands of the person.  The Foreman asked if they were marks likely to be caused by assisting the birth of the child.  Witness said he asked the mother that, and on that point she told him she did not in any way handle or assist the birth of the child.  Mr T. Geen (a Juryman):  Do you think the bruises on the frontal bone were caused by the fall?  Witness:  I am unable to answer that quite directly.  I am of opinion that all the bruises on the head were not caused by one fall.  You are of opinion that the child did fall?  -  I have no opinion on that, only what the mother told me.    Dr Ellis Pearson said he assisted at the post mortem, and he quite agreed with Dr Thompson's evidence.  The mother's statement that the child was not expected until November was not consistent with the condition of the child.  The cause of death was suffocation.  The Foreman said one of the Jury wished to know whether witness held such a decided opinion as Dr Thompson, and had no shadow of doubt in his mind that the child had a separate existence?  Witness:  Yes, I am of opinion that the child had a separate existence.  Both medical witnesses went into minute particulars of their examinations, and gave exhaustive reasons for the opinions which they formed.  P.S. Newberry said from information he received he went to 16 New-street, in company with P.C. Potter, about 4 o'clock, and was handed the body of the child by the nurse and took it to the mortuary.  The Coroner, in summing up, said these cases were much too prevalent.  Apparently, some persons took no more interest in a child than some persons took in the drowning of a kitten.  It was only a short time ago that he dealt with a similar case, but this was the most glaring that had come before him for some time.  This was the fourth time this woman had been in trouble.  He severely criticised her actions.  He could not understand a mother and sister allowing a relative to stay for half to three quarters of an hour without seeing what was the matter.  There was no reason why this child, if it had had proper attention, should not have been living and well.  What they would have to consider was how were those marks on the throat caused, and did they cause suffocation?  #Did the child die from pressure of the mothers hands?  There was no doubt that the child did not die a natural death in a natural way.  Everything pointed to the contrary.  The Court was then cleared of all save the Coroner and Jury, and it was a considerable time before the witnesses and representatives of the press were re-admitted.  The Coroner then said:  The Jury have given very careful attention to the evidence given before them this day, and I think they have done quite right.  They have returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder" against SUSAN MOUNTJOY, that she did "wilfully, feloniously, and maliciously, of malice aforethought, ill and slay her infant child."    That being so I shall hand my warrant to the Sergeant, who will execute it when he thinks proper.  When Dr Thompson certifies that she is fit to be removed, she will be removed to the Police Infirmary at Exeter.  In the course of the Inquiry, the Coroner said the nurse acted quite rightly in the case; she could have taken no other course, and was bound to do what she did.

TORRINGTON - Inquest At Torrington.  Death From Lock-Jaw.  At the Torrington Town Hall, on Monday, Mr G. W.F. Brown held an Inquiry touching the death of ELIZABETH NORMAN, who died on Saturday from lock-jaw.  Mr T. Heywood was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  -  MR CHAS. NORMAN said his wife was 49 years of age.  On the 14th inst. she went out washing.  On the same day he went to Barnstaple Fair, returning the day following to find his wife in bed.  She remarked to him that she had fallen and cut her thumb.  Mrs H. Tavener said on the day in question deceased came to wash for her as she had done for 14 years past.  She seemed a little excited.  Leaving the house about 10.30 a.m., she went up the street and returned again about 11 a.m., had lunch and completed her washing about 1 p.m.  - Philip Drew said he was on the road near the Common about 2.30 on the day in question, when he saw deceased lying over the bank bleeding from the thumb and face, as if she had fallen on some broken glass.  Dr Watkins said on the following day he found deceased in bed with her left thumb bandaged.  At the same time she showed symptoms of lock-jaw, which was the cause of death.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

ILFRACOMBE - Fatal Fall At Ilfracombe.  -  An Inquest was held by Mr G. W. F. Brown on Tuesday afternoon on the body of MR JAMES WORMALL, aged 89, retired grocer, Beaufort House, Station-road, who died on Monday last.  Mr W. R. Foster was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  -  Miss Rachel Parry, sister-in-law, said that on the 22nd inst., she was upstairs and heard a fall lower down.  She found deceased had fallen down, and at once went to his help.  He was evidently hurt, but did not complain much.  Dr Kettlewell said he was called to see deceased about 5 p.m. on the day named, and found him on the couch; he had injured his right thigh by a fall.  It appeared to have given him a shock, and after getting weaker by degrees, he died on Monday from heart failure following on the shock.  The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death, in accordance with the medical evidence.

Thursday 7 October 1909

TORRINGTON - Torrington Child's Death.  Fatal Plums.  -  Mr G. W. F. Brown held an Inquest on Monday at Torrington on BEATRICE BLIGHT, aged 13 ½ years.  It appeared that on September 25th deceased purchased 1 lb. of plums from a hawker in the street.  She ate some, and gave her sister, mother and father the remainder.  The father was taken ill the same day, and was still very unwell.  On September 27th deceased was overcome by sickness, and attended by Dr Parsons.  Inflammation set in, and death ensued.  It was not known from whom the plums were purchased.  Dr Parsons and Dr Macindoe were of opinion that the plums were the cause of death.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence, and passed a rider that the Medical officer of Health should examine all fruit brought into the town and exposed for sale.  The funeral took place immediately after the inquest on Monday.  The service was conducted by the Rev. H. Harris (senior Curate) at the Torrington Cemetery.  The bearers were Messrs R. Eastmond, J. Bowden, B. Bennett, T. Bowden, S. Steer, A. Bowden, J. Gould, W. Eastmond, G. Walkey, and C. Bright.  The coffin was of polished oak, and bore the inscription:  "BEATRICE BLIGHT, aged 13 years, 1909"  The mourners were MRS A. BLIGHT (mother), MR R. BLIGHT (uncle), Mr T. Quick (uncle), Misses MAY and N. BLIGHT, (sisters), Mr and Mrs L. Palmer, Mrs H. Hearn, Miss F. Barrow, Mrs Cudmore, Mr Capel, Mrs Davies, Mrs Channing and Miss E. Norman.  There were a large number of floral tributes.

Thursday 14 October 1909

ABBOTSHAM - Sudden Death At Abbotsham.  - An Inquest was held at Abbotsham by Mr Pyke (Deputy Coroner) on Monday, on MRS JANE GLOVER, the village postmistress, who died suddenly on Saturday afternoon after dinner.  The deceased's daughter, MISS J. J. GLOVER, stated that deceased called to her to come quickly, as she was in great pain. Witness lifted her mother, who died in her arms.  Dr Toye said he had made a post mortem examination, and found that the cause of death was syncope, caused by the pressure of a dilated stomach upon the heart, which was affected by fatty degeneration.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

Thursday 21 October 1909

BISHOPS NYMPTON - Tragedy At Bishopsnympton.  -  At Windwhistle Farm, Bishopsnympton, on Tuesday, Mr G. W. F. Brown, the North Devon Coroner, held an Inquest on MRS MARTHA BENNETT, who was found hanging in her bedroom on Monday morning.  Mr C. G. P. Huxtable was Foreman of the Jury.  The Coroner stated that MRS MARTHA BENNETT, into whose death they were inquiring, had been suffering some months from cancer, and had been medically attended.  On Monday she was discovered by her daughter about 11 o'clock in the morning hanging in her bedroom.  MR DANIEL BENNETT, husband of the deceased, said his wife was 61 years of age.  She had been confined to her bed for some seven or eight months.  She had never threatened to take her life, and they had had no words.  MISS MARTHA SUSAN BENNETT (daughter) said she had been looking after her mother during her illness.  On Sunday evening she appeared very strange, and on Monday morning she complained of not having slept well, which was quite unusual.  Her father went for the doctor, and a few minutes before 11 a.m. she went to see her again, and found her hanging to the top of the door by a handkerchief.  She untied her, but found her quite dead.  Mrs Seatherton, who assisted the previous witness to take the body down, said a chair had been placed near the door.  Dr Seal stated that it was quite a hopeless case.  He had not seen her for several months until the previous day, when he was called in, and could only pronounce life extinct.  The Jury returned a verdict that deceased committed suicide by hanging herself whilst Temporarily Insane.  The Foreman, on behalf of the Jury, said all condoled with MR BENNETT and his daughter in their sad bereavement.

TORRINGTON - Fatal Accident Near Bideford.  Inquest.  -  An Inquest was held on Monday at Swans Farm, Horn's Cross, on the Bideford road to Clovelly, by the North Devon County Coroner (Mr G. W. F. Brown) and a Jury, touching the death of WILLIAM CREESE, of 6 Castle-street, Torrington, in the employ of Messrs. Stapleton, of Torrington, who was accidentally killed on the 15th inst., while acting as brakesman of some trucks drawn by a traction engine.  Mr W. Stapleton, of Torrington, who drove the engine, stated that deceased was riding on the trucks.  It was his duty to look after the brakes.  CREESE got off to apply the brakes, and at the bottom of the hill, near Horn's Cross, witness shouted to him to take them off.  He received no answer, and found deceased lying in the road.  In answer to the Foreman of the Jury as to whether it was customary to stop the engine while the man was getting off to attend to the brakes, witness replied it was not.  J. Passmore, who was on the engine, deposed going back to the deceased.  The latter told him he had slipped off the truck, and that he was dying.  Witness sent for Constable Townsend and Dr E. J. Toye.  P. C. Townsend testified to rendering what first aid he could and removing CREESE to Swans Farm.  Dr E. J. Toye stated that deceased's right thigh was completely crushed and the left leg fractured.  There was also a scalp wound.  The constable had rendered very efficient first aid.  Deceased died about half-an-hour after witness was called.  Death was due to injuries and shock.  In summing up, the Coroner stated no blame could be attached to anyone.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and also said that it would be a great improvement if a seat could be put on the back of the truck.  They also expressed their sympathy with deceased's family, to whom they gave their fees.  Deceased who was about 34 years of age, leaves a widow and two children.

Thursday 28 October 1909

WOOLSERY  -  MRS CHARLOTTE ROBINS, wife of MR JOHN ROBINS, farmer, Woolsery, was driving with her husband when she learnt of an accident to her son.  She was at once taken ill, and expired just after reaching home.  At the Inquest on Tuesday a verdict of "Death from Heart Failure" was returned.

ILFRACOMBE - Sudden Death At Ilfracombe.  -  Mr G. W. F. Brown (County Coroner) held an Inquest at the Tyrrell Cottage Hospital yesterday on the body of MISS MARY ROBERTS, aged 59, a Clifton lady.  MR WM. ROBERTS, solicitor, of Bristol, identified the deceased, and said he last saw her about three weeks ago.  She was in her usual health, but her family thought she had heart disease.  Miss Sarah Edwards, of Park-view, Chambercombe, Ilfracombe, stated that on the 25th inst., she went with deceased, who was staying with her, to the Alexandra Hall.  On the return journey MISS ROBERTS was taken suddenly ill, dying about half-an-hour after reaching Park-view.  Dr Toller said he made a post mortem examination of the body of the deceased, and found she had been suffering from a very old standing lung and liver complaint.  Death was due to heart failure, accelerated by a clot of blood interfering with the heart, and the complications caused by the lung and liver complaints.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

ILFRACOMBE - Fatal Fall At Ilfracombe.  -  On Friday Mr G. W. F. Brown, Coroner, held an Inquest at Sunnyside, Ilfracombe, on the body of MRS JULIA PATTON BETHUNE, aged 74, who had been staying in Ilfracombe for some weeks.  Mr W. M Tattam was elected Foreman of the Jury.  MAJOR BETHUNE identified the body as that of his mother, JULIA PATTON BETHUNE, widow of General DOUGLAS PATTON BETHUNE, aged 74.  Miss Pedder, landlady of Sunnyside, said on Saturday, October 16, deceased went into the yard to unpack some things in the stable.  When crossing the yard witness heard her call out, and saw deceased lying down on her side.  She was unable to move, and had to be carried indoors.  Dr Percy Gardner was sent for.  Deceased had not complained of being unwell or feeling giddy.  Emaline Treble, servant, corroborated, and added that deceased had sprained herself through slipping.  Dr Percy Gardner said he was called to see deceased on SAturday last, and, upon examination, found that she was suffering from fracture of the neck of the thigh bone.  He attended her until Wednesday night, when she died.  The cause of death  was syncope, brought on by over-weakness of the heart, caused by the severity of the accident.  In reply to the Jury, the witness said that he had since heard that deceased suffered from a weak heart for some time.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death.

Thursday 4 November 1909

BIDEFORD - Fatal Fall At Bideford.  -  Mr W. Pike, Deputy Coroner for the Bideford district, held an Inquest in the Music Hall, Bideford, on Tuesday evening, touching the death of MRS EMMA SHARP, of Bideford.  The deceased, who for many years had carried on a china business in Mill-street, had for some time past been laid up, her daughter attending her.  On Wednesday last, however, on the deceased coming downstairs, she fell and cut her head badly.  Despite every attention, she died on Sunday.  Mr A. Adams was chosen Foreman of the Jury.  Elizabeth Hosegood, daughter of the deceased, said her mother was 78 years of age.  On Wednesday morning, October 27th, she left her mother in bed, and went down to light the fire.  She went up to her mother several times after that, and on each occasion found her all right.  About 9.30 the same morning witness heard a noise, and her husband, who was in the house at the time, opened the stair door, and saw the deceased on the stairs.  He picked her up, and immediately sent for the doctor.  Deceased, after being put in a chair, said "You needn't send for a doctor; there is nothing the matter."  James Hosegood said when he picked the deceased up from the stairs he noticed she was bleeding on the forehead.  He sent for Dr Pearson, who came at once.  The deceased was quite conscious.  Dr Ellis Pearson said he was called to see the deceased on Wednesday, October 27th.  He found she had cut her head in two places, and had lost a lot of blood.  She gradually grew worse, and passed away on Sunday.  He considered that death was due to the fall and loss of blood.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

Thursday 18 November 1909

BARNSTAPLE - Inquiry On A Barnstaple Infant.  Inquest Adjourned.  -  An Inquest was opened on Thursday evening at Barnstaple Guildhall by the Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft) and a Jury, over which Mr Dan Moxham was chosen Foreman, on the body of the newly-born infant male child of NELLIE FOXLOW, barmaid, who has been employed at the Mermaid Hotel, Barnstaple.  In opening, the Coroner said they were met together to Inquire into the circumstances regarding the death of - if they found that there was a death - the infant child of NELLIE FOXLOW.,  He found by the medical evidence that the mother was not well enough to be present at that Inquiry  He thought it desirable that she should attend, and hear the evidence, and, if necessary, be represented by Counsel.  He therefore proposed to adjourn the Inquest after he had called Dr Ware, who would only give evidence as to the condition of the mother, until Monday week at four o'clock.  Dr G. S. Ware deposed that the body the Jury had viewed was the body of the male child of NELLIE FOXLOW, which was born on Tuesday the 9th inst.  He saw the child close on 7 o'clock in the evening, it having been born about twenty minutes to half an hour before.  He had tended the mother since, and in his opinion it would have been unwise for her to attend the Inquest that day.  He thought she would be well enough by Monday week.  The Inquest was therefore adjourned until Monday next at 4 o'clock.

Thursday 25 November 1909

BIDEFORD - Infant's Death At Bideford.  - Mr G. W. F. Brown, County Coroner, held an Inquest in the Town Hall, Bideford, on Monday, touching the death of MARJORIE LANGWASSER, aged three months, daughter of MR and MRS LANGWASSER, of Waterloo-terrace, Bideford.  JACOB LANGWASSER, the father, said up to the time of death, the child had always been well.  ANNIE LANGWASSER, mother of the child, said she fed the child about 4 a.m. on Saturday, and it was then apparently quite well.  Witness did not wake up again until 7 a.m., when her husband, who was sleeping in another bed, called to her and said "the baby's dead."  The child was warm, and was lying on its left side.  Dr J. J. Tate said he was called in about 8.30 a.m. on Saturday. He found the child lying on its back dead, with foam at the mouth.  From post mortem examination he found the stomach was practically empty, containing only a drop of milk.  The ribs were not fractured but bent.  He considered the cause of death was suffocation, due to overlying.  - The Coroner, in summing up, said the case showed what a great mistake it was for parents to sleep with their children.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.

BARNSTAPLE - Inquest At Barnstaple.  -  On Monday afternoon at Barnstaple Guildhall, the Borough Coroner (Mr T. A. R. Bencraft) resumed the Inquest on the body of the newly-born male child of NELLIE FOXLOW, a barmaid, lately employed at the Mermaid Hotel, Barnstaple.  Mr Dan Moxham was Foreman of the Jury.  Mr R. S. Eddy, Chief Constable, watched the proceedings on behalf of the police.  The Coroner, in re-opening the Inquiry, said an adjournment was made to enable the mother of the child to be present.  The Coroner then went on to give a short resume of the evidence which he proposed to call.  The mother of the child was unmarried, and apparently had not disclosed the state of her health to anyone.  She had been barmaid at the Mermaid Hotel for some three or four months, and he thought the explanation which would present itself to the minds of the Jury was that the child was prematurely born.  Lily Isaac, who had been acting as charwoman and assistant for some months at the Mermaid Hotel, and resides at Castle Cottages, Barnstaple was the first witness.  She had worked at the Mermaid Hotel for four years, but left about a fortnight ago, before the child was born.  She was there all the time MISS FOXLOW worked at the Mermaid Hotel, and witness frequently helped her.  MISS FOXLOW had never said anything to witness regarding her condition, although one day she told witness she was not feeling very well, and she (witness) advised her to see a doctor.  This occurred on a Wednesday about three weeks ago.  Mrs Matilda Dennis, wife of the present license holder of the Mermaid Hotel, said she went into the Hotel a fortnight ago last Thursday.  MISS FOXLOW had been in the employ of the previous tenant, and gave every satisfaction, so much so that they arranged that if they took another licensed house they were going to have MISS FOXLOW as assistant again.  Witness had not noticed anything in MISS FOXLOW'S condition.  On November 9th she said she felt a little unwell, and witness, thinking she was tired and done up, sent for Dr Ware.    NELLIE FOXLOW, the mother, was next called.  At the outset the Coroner explained to her that she need not answer any question that he put, unless she wished to do so.  MISS FOXLOW then said sh