Inquests Taken Into Suspicious Or Unexplained Deaths
For the County of Devon
Articles taken from the Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette)
Printed at Tiverton, Devon
Transcribed by Lindsey Withers
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.
[Numbers in brackets indicate the number of times that name occurs.]
Names Included:- Baker; Bate; Bond; Brice; Cape; Carter; Chanter; Cheriton; Cole; Dally; Davey; Dunn; Easterbrook; Edwards; Flay; Flew; Follett; Forester; Gidley; Hansford; Harris; Howe; Huxtable; Kemp; Lethbridge; Mortimore; Parker(2); Perkins; Petherbridge; Pook; Prince; Redway; Roper; Rowsell; Smith; Steer; Towning; Vinnicombe.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 1 January 1889
EXETER - Evidence taken at an Inquest held at the Devon and Exeter Hospital on Monday, concerning the death of JOHN EASTERBROOK, labourer, of Thorverton, shewed that the deceased was employed by Mrs Cook, of Cann's Farm, Thorverton, and was 33 years of age. Whilst driving a wagon and horses from Exeter on Friday, he hitched his leg in the reins in getting off the shaft and the wheels went over him. He did not speak afterwards. Internal haemorrhage was the cause of death. The Jury found that the occurrence was Accidental.
NORTH MOLTON - The Fatal Fire At Northmolton. - We recorded last week the case of a fire at the Somerset Inn, Northmolton, in which a man named WALTER CHANTER, who formerly lived at Dulverton, was burned to death under peculiar circumstances. An Inquest was held at the Poltimore Arms, Northmolton, by Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner. The Rev. J. Ellis was Foreman of the Jury. The Inquiry lasted several hours, a number of witnesses being called. The circumstances as given in evidence were to the effect that on the previous Wednesday evening the deceased, who is a native of Bishopsnympton, called at the Somerset Inn, and asked the landlord, Mr Grimshire, to allow him to sleep in the outhouse, as he had no work to do. Mr Grimshire knew the man and was aware that he had slept before in a similar manner at his (Mr Grimshire's) father's place. He gave him permission and just after ten o'clock went with him to the tallett behind. Deceased then had a pipe in his hand, but before going up to the loft he put it into his pocket and on the landlord inquiring of him if he had any matches, he said he had not. The landlord saw him go in among the bundles of straw over the pig-sty, and he then left him. About half-past ten, a man called Thomas Crang, who was in his orchard, near the Inn, saw a strange light behind the Inn. He ran down and on his way called up a man, Lethbridge, and they then knocked up the landlord. They all went to the back of the premises and found the loft was on fire. The mare and a cart were taken out an alarm was raised, as the fire had taken firm hold of the premises. A messenger on horseback was dispatched to Southmolton for the fire engine, but on the road the horse shied and threw the man, and he returned to Northmolton without going for the engine, although it would have been of little use by the time it could have arrived. It soon struck Mr Grimshire about the man CHANTER, and on mentioning the fact that he had gone there to sleep, somebody informed him that a man had been seen running away from the direction of the fire. He therefore naturally thought that the man had set the place on fire and decamped. About half-past twelve, however, while the place was still burning, some bones were seen to drop down from the tallett into the pig-sty. Two men, named respectively Somerville and Loosemore, went up on the wall over the pig-sty and with a pole each poked down among the burning straw, when they lifted up the body of the deceased in a frightful state. They had to turn it round and let it drop into the pig-sty, from whence they recovered it. The greater part of one leg was gone and part of one of the arms. The condition of one of his hands led to the conclusion that he had been holding a pipe between his fingers. The premises were entirely burned to the ground, and a good deal of Mr Grimshire's furniture was destroyed. - The Coroner having made some remarks, the Jury deliberated and their verdict was "Accidentally Burnt to Death," and they added a rider that they considered it desirable that in all cases where tramps apply for a night's sleep in outhouses they should be searched to see if they have any matches. It transpired that the landlord's furniture and stock-in-trade had only recently been insured, and he was cross-examined at some length by Mr Cunningham, the agent of the Insurance Company. The property belonged to Lord Poltimore.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 8 January 1889
THORVERTON - A North Devon Farmer Found Drowned. - Mr H. W. Gould, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquest at the Dolphin Inn, Thorverton, on Friday, touching the death of WILLIAM HOWE, late of East Liscombe Farm, East Anstey, who had been missing from home since November 29th, and whose body was found in the Exe on Wednesday near Thorverton. - Mr F. G. Ross, Clerk to the Dulverton Highway Board, watched the proceedings on behalf of that body and Mr Francis Quick, London, an uncle of the deceased by marriage, was present. - MARY ANN HOWE, of East Liscombe, East Anstey, identified the body as that of her son. He was a single man, aged 27, and used to reside at home with her. She last saw him alive on the morning of Thursday, November 29th. The day previously deceased told her he thought he should go to a sale on the Thursday at Hawkwell, in Dulverton parish, about a mile from East Liscombe. He went after dinner, but witness did not see him after the morning. Before starting he promised to be back at five o'clock in time to take his sister and a friend to a concert at Dulverton. He did not return as he promised, but it was thought at first that he must have gone to Mr Buckingham's at Molland, where he had on previous occasions stayed the night. - The Deputy Coroner: Had he any trouble on his mind? - Not that I know of, and assuming that he had he would not take it very much to heart. - Mr John Burrows, Stationmaster at Dulverton, said he saw deceased at the Carnarvon Arms Hotel, close by the Station, on November 29th, between 7.30 and 8 p.m. He was seated in the bar, smoking, but witness did not see him drink anything. He asked when the train went to East Anstey and witness replied that it went at 7.59. Subsequently witness saw deceased come out of the Hotel, but did not notice which way he went. - By the Jury: Deceased had undoubtedly been drinking, but talked rationally. - By the Coroner: Could not say whether deceased came from East Anstey by the 7 p.m. train. (Mr Quick here stated that the East Anstey Stationmaster saw deceased enter the 6.40 p.m. train for Dulverton). - Mr W. Westcott, an uncle of the deceased, said he last saw his nephew alive on November 29th at Hawkwell Farm. There was a sale there. Witness had some conversation with him about a small business matter, but deceased did not say anything about going to Dulverton. - Frederick Pike, a railway packer, living at Thorverton, deposed to finding the body of deceased on Wednesday morning, about 11.15, underneath the railway bridge. - P.C. Dymond said that no evidence could be obtained as to how deceased got into the river. - Mr King-Lewis of Thorverton, Surgeon, deposed to examining the body, which presented the appearance of having been a month or more in the water, but at such a distance of time he could not say positively whether death was actually caused by drowning. - MRS HOWE, recalled, said that there was no occasion for deceased to have gone to Dulverton before returning from Hawkwell Farm. Between Dulverton Station and the town it was rather dangerous travelling for a part of the way after dark. - Mr Burrows, recalled, said it was a very rough night on November 29th, and the Barle, which joined the Exe near the railway, was much swollen. - The Deputy Coroner having summed up, suggested a verdict of "Found Dead," and the Jury, after a momentary consultation, returned their verdict accordingly. - A reward of £5 had been offered for the recovery of the body of the deceased, who, it is supposed, must have walked into the river Barle when the water was high during the floods in November. The body was found under the railway bridge near Thorverton Station, in a standing position, with one arm extended and the jacket pulled over the head. At the close of the Inquest Mr F. Quick, of London, uncle of the deceased, handed a cheque for £5 to Frederick Pyke, the packer who found the body.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 15 January 1889
MOREBATH - Suicide. - An Inquest was held at Hayne Farm, on Tuesday afternoon, before the Deputy Coroner, Mr H. Gould, touching the death of MISS SARAH KEMP, who has been for many years housekeeper for her nephew, MR W. J. D. KEMP, farmer, of Morebath. - MR KEMP stated in his evidence that his aunt was single and about 59 years of age. The last time he saw her alive was at 6 o'clock on Saturday morning, when she expressed a wish, if the weather was fine, to go out for a drive. His niece told him when he came home at 11.30 a.m. that deceased had gone out for a walk. In passing through the pound house he noticed a rope suspended from the cider-press and discovered his aunt in a lifeless condition, with the rope around her neck. He called for stimulants and sent a messenger for Dr Guinness of Bampton. The unfortunate lady was much depressed at times and was much worried lest she should suffer a long illness. - MISS SARAH KEMP, niece of deceased and Mary Leach, a domestic servant, gave corroborative evidence. - Dr. T. A. Guinness, stated that when he examined the body he saw a dark-coloured mark around the neck and was of opinion that life had been extinct for about a couple of hours. He attended MISS KEMP three years ago, and by his advice she was sent away for a change, as she was greatly depressed. He saw her last on Thursday and tried to cheer her up, as he knew such a state of melancholia was often followed by suicidal tendencies. - The Jury, of whom Mr Charles Hancock of Moor Farm, was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Suicide while in a State of Unsound Mind."
CULLOMPTON - On Tuesday afternoon, about half-past four, on Mr Charles Hawkins, dairyman, of Cullompton, going to a linhay in a field in his occupation, at the back of and near to the Railway Hotel, he saw the form of a man and spoke to it, but getting no answer he went over and found the dead body of MR JOHN PERKINS, resting against some hay with a gun between his legs. The unfortunate man appeared to have been sitting on a rail of a crib with the gun between his legs when it went off, and the contents entered under the chin and passed out at the back of the head. The body was taken to the Railway Hotel, where it awaited an Inquest. Deceased was a master carpenter, and leaves a widow and four or five children. The event has caused quite a sensation in the place. - The Inquest was held on Wednesday evening at the Railway Hotel, Cullompton, before Mr Frederic Burrow, Coroner. Mr Joseph Foster was Foreman of the Jury and Mr Alfred Burrow appeared to watch the proceedings on behalf of Mr F. C. Matthews, landlord of the Hotel, who lent the deceased the gun which caused his death. - Charles Hawkins, dairyman, deposed to hearing the report of a gun while he was working in a field in the vicinity. He took no particular notice as the occurrence was not uncommon. Deceased, whom he knew, had said to him several weeks ago, "If you see me down the orchard (behind the Hotel) trying to kill a bird or two don't say anything about it." Witness rented the orchard. Deceased was in the habit of amusing himself in and about the orchard by shooting small birds. He had never used any suspicious or desponding expressions in witness's hearing. About 4.45 witness went to milk his cows, and in his linhay he found a body, which he did not recognise at the time, it being dark. It was in an apparently sitting posture on rail of the cow crib, but leaning back, while the feet appeared to be touching some hay on the ground. Both hands were thrown back at the sides. Between the legs there rested a gun stock downwards and the lock towards the deceased. The body was cold and stiff. Witness was frightened. He covered the body over with hay without disturbing it, and after he had finished milking, which took about a quarter of an hour, he called at the Hotel and told Mr Matthews. - In cross-examination, the witness repeated that deceased had always appeared to be perfectly reasonable. - By the Coroner: Did not notice any difference in the report of the gun, as if it was discharged inside the linhay. Never noticed whether deceased handled a gun carelessly or clumsily. Deceased might have been waiting to fire at the birds from out of the linhay. Witness had known him do so. - The Coroner: Did it not strike you as a very improper thing to go on milking before you had given information? - By a Juryman: When I caught deceased by the leg, I thought at first he might have been asleep. - Mr Matthews, the landlord of the Hotel, said he knew deceased well and never heard him say anything to excite suspicion of his intentions. About 10.30 a.m. on Tuesday deceased called and borrowed witness's gun, as he had often done previously for the purpose of amusing himself by shooting small birds in the vicinity. About ten minutes later he returned, remarked that he felt cold, had three pennyworth of brandy, and then borrowed six cartridges. That was the last time witness saw him alive. At 5.30 Hawkins called and said deceased was in the linhay and he feared there had been an accident and that deceased was dead. They then went together and informed Supt. Collins. - By Mr Foster (one of the Jury): Witness must admit that the gun had not been in use for twelve years, and might not be quite safe. The right-hand barrel, which was one which killed deceased, used to go off easily, the sudden jarring of the stock on the ground might send it off, but about two years ago witness had the lock altered in consequence. He had known the gun to go off accidentally. Deceased was no sportsman in a proper sense of the term, and might not quite understand the handling of the gun. When he called in on Tuesday he seemed quite sober, and in his usual frame of mind. - Mr Collins, Superintendent of Police, deposed to being called to deceased by the previous witnesses. He at the same time sent for Dr Lloyd and Mr P. Plumpton, deceased's brother-in-law. Mr Collins went on to describe exactly the position of the body, which he illustrated by leaning back on a seat in a similar fashion. The body was quite cold when he saw it and he at once remarked that PERKINS must have been dead some hours. Mr Plumpton, at his request, examined the gun, and handed him a loaded cartridge from it and one that had been discharged. Witness's first impression was that there had been an accident, but he did not see how, if the gun had gone off accidentally, deceased could have fallen into such a position if he had been standing up when the gun went off, as the rail of the crib was too high for him to sit down upon without raising his feet from the ground. Witness had never known deceased other than as a steady, sober, respectable man. He was a good tradesman, a man whom witness had thought was doing well, and one of the very last men whom he would have thought at all likely to commit suicide. If witness had been in Mr Matthews's position he should not have hesitated for a moment to lend deceased the gun. - John Walter Stone, porter at the Cullompton Railway Station, said he had known deceased for some years. He last saw him alive about 11.25 a.m. on Tuesday near the linhay in the rear of the Railway Hotel. He had a gun in his hand and was looking up, as if at some birds, but he did not fire. witness was walking up the line at the time. He should not have thought him likely to shoot himself, nor had he any suspicion that way. - John Henry Stone, a man engaged at the Cullompton gas works, said he had known deceased well for some time, and last saw him alive on Monday evening, when they walked up the street together from Mr Rutley's shop. Deceased seemed the same as usual, and made no allusion to any trouble, nor did he say anything which led witness to think he might commit suicide. About 11.30 on Tuesday morning, while with another man in the purifying shed at the Gas Works, he heard the report of a gun and remarked that "something was dead," meaning a bird probably. - Mr Peter Plumpton, brother to deceased's widow, said he had known deceased over 20 years. He last saw him alive at a short distance off in Church-lane on Tuesday morning. He noticed nothing unusual about deceased, but was not near enough to speak. Witness gave other evidence of a corroborative character. Deceased had only recently left off paying into the Foresters. He was not insured. - Sergeant Baker, of Cullompton, deposed to searching deceased. In the left-hand coat pocket he found five loaded cartridges and in a right hand pocket an empty one. In other pockets there were three papers of no importance, some coins, a key, three carpenter's pencils, &c., all of which he now produced. Witness last saw deceased about 9.30 a.m. on Tuesday, passing along the street, apparently in his usual state. - Dr Lloyd, Cullompton, said he had attended deceased for about six years, but had never suspected his intentions. He went by request of Superintendent Collins and saw the body in the linhay in the position described. There was a very large rugged wound in the neck passing under it from right to left, which witness at once concluded was caused by the discharge of a gun. There was a slight blackening at the back of the left hand. Witness on re-examining the body that afternoon found that the skull was completely smashed in from the same cause. - By Mr A. Burrow: Deceased was an excitable man, but witness had never noticed any trace of insanity in him. - Several of the Jury commented adversely upon the conduct of the witness Hawkins, and the Coroner remarked that the evidence was very unsatisfactory. Mr A. Burrow said he trusted that the Jury did not consider that Mr Matthews was at all to blame in lending the gun. - The Jury intimated that they certainly did not. - The room was cleared, and after about 20 minutes' consultation, the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased was Found Dead through the discharge of a gun, but that there was no evidence to show how the discharge was occasioned.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 22 January 1889
WEST ANSTEY - Suicide. - On Friday week last a woman named MARY LETHBRIDGE, residing at West Anstey, committed suicide by drowning. - An Inquest was held by Mr J. F. Bromham, District Coroner, on Monday. The evidence of deceased's brother, JAMES ELWORTHY, was that deceased had been suffering in her mind owing to the death of her husband, and some time ago she tried to hang herself. She had been receiving parish pay, and had six children. On Friday last the Relieving Officer called and told her that her pay was stopped, and that she and the children would have to go into the Workhouse. The pay came from Bristol, where she was chargeable. The news affected her considerably. He was away on Friday and on reaching home in the evening he heard that deceased was missing, and, on searching for her, he found her in a stream near the house. She was quite dead. Medical evidence having been given, the Jury returned a verdict of Suicide while in a State of Temporary Insanity.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 29 January 1889
NORTH MOLTON - Sudden Death. - An Inquest was held at Little Rapscott Farm, Northmolton, by Mr J. F. Bromham, (County Coroner), on Saturday, on the body of THOMAS FOLLETT. - From the evidence of the widow, it appeared that the deceased, who was a farmer, and 69 years of age, had not been in good health lately and that she and her husband slept in separate rooms. On Thursday the deceased went to bed about 9 o'clock. When MRS FOLLETT went in to call him the next morning at 8 o'clock she noticed something was wrong and ran at once to a neighbour and called assistance. James Newton, a farmer, came in and found that FOLLETT was dead. He had been suffering from dropsy and had been medically attended. - Dr Kendall said he had attended the deceased for some time. He had examined the body of the deceased, and had no hesitation in saying that he died from syncope consequent on heart disease. He was not at all surprised to hear of the sudden death of FOLLETT. - A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 12 February 1889
HOLCOMBE ROGUS - Supposed Suicide AT Holcombe Rogus. - A carter named WILLIAM BRICE, in the employ of Mr J. H. Merson, was found drowned, on Sunday morning, in a pond on his master's farm. On Saturday morning he went to the farm and attended to the horses and harnessed them. His wife expected him home to breakfast, but as he did not come she carried his breakfast to his place of work, thinking he might be about something he could not leave. As nothing was known of his whereabouts a search was instituted. There are three pits on the farm and during the search for BRICE on Saturday, the water was let out of two of them and partly out of the third. On Sunday morning the remaining water was let out and the dead body of BRICE was found at the bottom of the pit. A man was drowned in the same pit 37 years ago last Wednesday. - At the Inquest held by Mr F. Burrow, LL.D. (District Coroner), several witnesses were called, but no cause could be assigned for suicide. In the end the Jury returned an Open Verdict.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 12 March 1889
EXETER - Suicide Of A Commercial Traveller. - Mr H. W. Gould, Deputy Coroner, on Friday held an Inquest at Exeter, on the body of GEOFFERY GOODRIDGE COLE, a commercial traveller (formerly a grocer of Tiverton). Mr George Robins was chosen Foreman of the Jury. - Mr F. R. D. Clutsom (Partridge and Cockram, Tiverton) was present to watch the case on behalf of the relatives of the deceased. - ELLEN MILFORD, a widow, and sister of the deceased's wife, residing in Fortescue-road, St. Thomas, identified the body as that of GEOFFERY GOODRIDGE COLE, a commercial traveller, aged about 28 years. Witness saw him on Tuesday at his residence. She was in his company on Sunday for a long time. He was very excited and seemed to have something on his mind. Witness's mother had heard from Mr C. E. Body, manager of the Tiverton Branch of the Devon and Cornwall Bank. Deceased did not divulge anything to witness, but on Tuesday she advised him to see Mr Body. She had never heard him threaten to commit suicide. - By the Foreman of the Jury: He seemed very excited and kept going from room to room holding his head, and saying "My head, my head." His eyes were swollen and he looked very strange. - SELINA COLE, widow of the deceased, who was very much affected, deposed that she last saw her husband alive on Tuesday evening about 7 o'clock. The last witness was then present. She did not know whether deceased expected to be arrested. She knew that Mr Body, the manager of the Tiverton Branch of the Devon and Cornwall Bank had communicated with the Police and she advised her husband to go and see him and arrange matters. In answer to witness's mother, deceased stoutly denied that there was anything wrong. He left the house on Tuesday morning, but he did not then say he would not go and see Mr Body. Witness did not see him after Tuesday night. She was informed that someone was watching the house, and as she was afraid that her husband would be arrested for something he had done in connection with the Devon and Cornwall Bank, she left the house that night. Deceased was not told that someone was watching the house. - By a Juror: She left the house because she was afraid her husband was going to arrested. That was the only cause. - By another Juror: - Her husband had not threatened her life. - By the Coroner: She had never heard him threaten to commit suicide. He was very excited when in drink. - In reply to the Foreman, witness said deceased seemed to have been in trouble for a long time; he never let her know his business. - Police-Sergeant Michael Egan deposed that on Wednesday afternoon he went to the deceased's residence for the purpose of arresting him on a charge of uttering three promissory notes, of the value of £30 each, on the Tiverton Branch of the Devon and Cornwall Bank. He found the doors of the house locked, having been bolted on the inside. He procured a ladder and entered a window at the back of the house, which led to a bedroom. The deceased was not there, but the bed was quite warm, and his boots and other articles of wearing apparel were on the floor. Witness then proceeded further until he came to a room, the door of which was locked on the inside. He looked through a chink in the door and saw the deceased lying on the floor, upon which there was a quantity of blood. Witness communicated with P.C. Rattenbury who was outside the house and he entered the window of the room, and opened the door for witness. On entering the room witness found the deceased in a half-sitting posture on the floor. He was dead. A six-chambered revolver was lying about six feet from the body. Dr Vlieland was sent for. Witness had searched the deceased's clothes, but had discovered nothing bearing on the cause of death. He also found a box of bullets in a downstair room. The box should have contained 50 bullets, but there were only 19 in it. Witness wished to say that on Tuesday, as far as the Police were concerned, they knew nothing about the house being watched. They did not receive instructions until Wednesday morning. - Dr Vlieland deposed to being called by P.C. Rattenbury to go to the deceased's residence on the afternoon of the day in question. On going there he found the deceased in the position stated by the Police-Sergeant. The body was quite warm, and witness should say that death had recently taken place. Blood was issuing from the mouth and nose, but there was no other signs of external violence. On examining the interior of the mouth he found a small wound, which went upwards into the base of the skull. There was a smell of powder in the mouth. He did not think, from the position of the wound, that it could have been inflicted otherwise than by the deceased himself. Death was instantaneous. - Police-Sergeant Egan, recalled, said that he only went to the house on Wednesday. P.C. Rattenbury watched the house for about half-an-hour while witness was absent. - The Jury, after a brief consultation, returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased Committed Suicide while Temporarily Insane.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 19 March 1889
NEWTON ST CYRES - Found Drowned Near Crediton. - An old man named JOHN POOK, who has lately been living with a person named Sims, at Hookway, near Crediton, was on Sunday found drowned in the river close by the railway station at Newton St. Cyres. It appears that POOK, who is about 70 years of age, left his lodgings on Friday morning about half-past eight, stating that he was going to Crediton to get shaved and should call at Mr Brook's at Fordton, on his way back. The deceased had been in a desponding state for some time, and finding he did not return inquiries were made, but it was not till Saturday evening that information was brought to the Police Station, too late for any search to be then instituted. Early on Sunday morning Sergeant Fursdon, accompanied by P.C. Kemp, proceeded to search the river downwards towards Newton St. Cyres, and about 100 yards from the Railway Inn at Newton, P.C. Kemp came across a man's hat hanging on the bushes about five feet above the water, and as the whole of the marshes had been inundated, the water running over the hedges, there was very little doubt that the hat had been washed down and caught in the bushes. The hat was found on the side of the river nearest Newton village. On going further down the Sergeant perceived the body of the deceased in the bend of the river near some cottages between the village and Newton Station. The deceased was on his back with arms outstretched and his feet entangled in the brambles, which prevented his bring carried further down the stream. - On Tuesday Mr Deputy Coroner, H. W. Gould held an Inquest at the Railway Hotel, Newton St Cyres, concerning the death of JOHN POOK. - Mr Thomas Ellis was chosen Foreman of the Jury. - JOHN THOMAS POOK was the first witness. He stated that he was a groom and gardener, residing at 6 Marine-parade, Dawlish, and he identified the body as that of his father, who was a labourer, aged 68. He resided at Hookway near Crediton, with Mr Sims, as a lodger. Witness last saw him alive on the 2nd of January last, but on the 2nd March he received a letter from him acknowledging the receipt of a postal order he had sent him. Witness was not aware that the deceased had any trouble, and there was nothing about his demeanour to lead witness to think he would commit suicide. - Ann Sims, wife of Robert Sims, a labourer, residing at Hookway, said that the deceased had lodged at her home for about six months. She last saw him alive on Wednesday night last, but she heard him in his room on Friday morning at about a quarter to 7 o'clock. She went to work before he came down. There was a little boy besides the deceased left in the house. There had been nothing amiss with POOK. He never made any complaint to her and he never spoke of suicide. - Elizabeth Haydon, wife of William Haydon, a miller, of Hookway, Crediton, said that deceased was her brother-in-law. He had been in the habit of coming to her house daily during the time he had lived with the last witness. He did so on Friday last at a quarter before 8 a.m. She asked him to have some breakfast, but he replied that he had had some and that he was going to meet the 9.30 train. He then left. He was much the same as usual on that occasion. At times the deceased fretted about the loss of his wife and son, but altogether she should call him a very reasonable man. She had never heard the deceased speak of suicide. - William Pethybridge, road contractor, of Smallbrook, Newton St. Cyres, said he knew the deceased, whom he last saw alive on Friday morning last, about 8.30. He was going down a lane leading to the railway-crossing at Dunscombe. He merely said "Good morning." Witness saw nothing more of the deceased. He did not notice anything amiss with him. - Charles Frost, porter, in the employ of the London and South Western Railway at Crediton, deposed that on Sunday afternoon, while out for a walk, he found the pipe, tobacco and box of matches (produced) by the line by Dunscombe-crossing. - Robert Henry Kemp, Police-Constable, stationed at Crediton, stated that on Sunday morning he commenced a search of the river for the deceased. When close to the Newton St. Cyres Station he found a hat (produced) on some bushes on the Newton side of the water. About 400 yards below he saw the body of the deceased on the opposite side of the river. With the assistance of Police-Sergeant Fursdon he recovered the body. He searched the deceased, but found nothing on him besides a pocket-handkerchief and a comb. - Mr John Augustus Edwards, Surgeon, of Crediton, said he had examined the deceased. There were no marks of violence. From the appearance of the body he was of opinion that death was the result of drowning. - The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 26 March 1889
HEMYOCK - Suicide At Hemyock. - An Inquest was held on Monday by Mr C. E. Cox, Deputy Coroner, at Tedburrow Dairy House, Hemyock, on the body of WILLIAM FLAY, dairyman, who committed suicide the previous Saturday. The deceased, who was in the employ of Mr Samuel Farrant, Westown, Hemyock, took away his life in a very peculiar way. He must have struggled severely to carry out his purpose. The distance from the beam to which he attached the rope, to the top of the straw on which his body was found, is only about two feet. He appears to have laid himself down and tied the rope to his neck. The effect caused a pressure on the trachea which resulted in death. The following were sworn on the Jury:- Messrs. G. Babb (Foreman), J. Lutley, E. Lutley, J. Hart, T. Chick, J. Lane, W. Hall, E. Clist, W. Hayball, J. Wide, G. White, and R. Dyer. Evidence was given as follows:- ELIZABETH FLAY, widow of the deceased, deposed that her husband was a dairyman in the employ of Mr S. Farrant, Westown, Hemyock. He was 62 years of age. He had been in low spirits lately on account of having to leave the dairy and not being suited with another. He had never said a word which would lead her to think he contemplated suicide. He got up between six and seven o'clock on Saturday morning and went out to serve the cows, as was his custom. He did not return as usual to have his basin of broth, but she was not alarmed, as she thought he was gone somewhere. She did not see him alive after he left the bedroom. On her going up into the tallet to look for some eggs, she saw the body of her husband lying on some straw, on his face and hands, attached to a rope hanging from a beam. She touched him with a stick, but he did not move and she then ran away. She sent to Westown for help. She did not return to the tallet the second time, being too much frightened. She did not attempt to cut the rope. - JAMES FLAY, son of deceased, said he was an agricultural labourer in the employ of Mr S. Farrant. His father had been in low spirits lately, owing to being in want of a situation. Witness had no idea his father was going to put an end to his life. He last saw his father alive on Saturday morning, when he remarked he thought it was going to rain or snow - it was looking so dark. He noticed nothing strange in his father's manner. About ten o'clock on Saturday morning his younger brother came down to Westown and spoke to his master. Mr Farrant told witness what had happened, and he went home as fast as he could. On going into the tallet he found his father lying on his face and hands on the straw. He saw a rope attached to a cross-beam, the other end being round his father's neck. He could swear his father's head was resting on the straw, but there was a slight strain on the rope, which was quite tight round the neck. He did not loosen the rope around the deceased's neck because he thought his father was dead. He untied the rope from around the beam. He called "Father" to him, but he did not examine him to see if there was any life left. By the time he had untied the rope his master had arrived. - ELIZA FLAY, daughter of deceased, said she had never heard her father threaten to take away his life. Her mother on finding the body of her father came into the house and told her, her father had hung himself. They had a table knife in the house, but the thought of going to cut the rope never entered their minds. Her mother said she thought her father was quite dead. Her brother was then sent to Westown to tell her brother JAMES to come home. - The Coroner then told witness she could stand back, but he could not understand why they never thought of cutting the rope. - Mr Samuel Farrant, farmer, Westown, Hemyock, deposed that deceased had been in his employ as dairyman. He had given him notice to leave. They had not agreed together recently and he thought it was better they should separate. There was a report abroad that he wanted the deceased to send the milk to the factory, but that was quite wrong; in fact he had let the dairy to another man who was not going to send the milk to the factory. Deceased had told him he was losing money by the dairy, and he (witness) advised him to send the milk to the factory for his own benefit. There was one thing in particular that annoyed deceased, and that was he (Mr Farrant) had taken away his daily firkin of cider, but he paid him a fair price in money instead. He had treated all his workmen the same. He had never noticed anything strange in deceased. He last saw him alive on Friday afternoon. The son came to him on Saturday morning and said his father was dead in the tallet. Witness immediately sent JAMES FLAY home and followed himself. On going to the tallet he saw the body of deceased on the straw. He put his hand to the neck and felt the rope. Deceased was quite dead. He would like to mention that the deceased owed him a quarter's rent, but he had never pressed him for it. - Dr Ellis, Culmstock, said a message came on Saturday morning to his house saying a man was dead at Tedburrow. He was not at home at the time. On returning in the afternoon he met the Policeman who told him the facts of the case. Witness went at once to the dairy house and saw the body of deceased in a room. There were signs on the neck of hanging having recently taken place. The rope was in such a position as would produce a pressure on the trachea and result in asphyxia. - This concluded the evidence, and the Coroner, in a brief summing up to the Jury, said there was no doubt as to how death took place. He felt that they ought to comment strongly on the fact that no one attempted to cut the rope or loosen the rope round deceased's neck. Of course, he could understand the fright of the widow and son, but he thought they certainly ought to have cut the rope immediately after the discovery. Their reason why they had not done so was to his mind an insufficient one. Mr S. Farrant had behaved to deceased in a very liberal manner and had been exceedingly considerate. Mr Farrant had said that pecuniary matters he thought troubled deceased and he (the Coroner)( thought the Jury would agree with him that a man would not commit such an act in his right mind. He felt he must say he would not be discharging his duties without alluding to the fact that there was no attempt to cut the rope and he was sorry he had had to speak to the widow and son of deceased in the terms which he had used. - The Jury, after a few minutes' conversation, returned a verdict of Suicide while in a state of Temporary Insanity." The Jury gave their fees to the widow.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 9 April 1889
SOUTH MOLTON - Sudden Death. - An Inquest was held on Monday in Bidders Court, Southmolton, before Thomas Sanders, Esq., Borough Coroner, and a Jury, of whom Mr John Mills was Foreman, on the body of ELIZA HARRIS, an aged widow, who resided in a house in Bidders Court, Barnstaple-street, and who was found dead in bed the previous afternoon. The following evidence was given:- WILLIAM HARRIS, residing in North-street, said the deceased was his mother. He last saw her alive on Saturday evening when she was at work at Mr George Poole's in Broad-street. She then appeared in her usual health. Deceased was 76 years of age. - Henry Vanstone said he lived two doors from the deceased. On Sunday morning he saw her fetching some water from the tap. In the afternoon his attention was called by a neighbour to the deceased. The neighbour said she was afraid there was something wrong, the blinds of the windows being down. Witness procured a ladder and through one of the windows saw deceased lying on the bed apparently dead. Witness sent for Mr Furse, Surgeon and P.S. Leyman. The door was forced open and the deceased found lying on the bed. - Mr Edwin Furse, Surgeon, deposed to examining the body, on which there were no marks or bruises. Witness was of opinion that death resulted from syncope. She had probably been dead about six hours when he arrived. - The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 23 April 1889
EXETER - Fatal Accident Near Crediton. - On Tuesday morning an Inquest was held at the Devon and Exeter Hospital, by the City Coroner, touching the death of GEORGE STEER, labourer, aged 45, of Neopardy, in the parish of Crediton, who was employed by Mr Lee, of the same parish. - JANE STEER, wife of the deceased, identified the body. On the 6th April her husband went to his work about seven o'clock in the morning. He was then in his usual health, and his work was tilling potatoes that day. Witness was in the field working with him until five o'clock, when she went home. He had had nothing to drink. She next saw him in a cart when he was unconscious and taken to Yeoford Junction, being sent to the Devon and Exeter Hospital. - James Rendell, labourer, of Neopardy, was acquainted with the deceased, and was at work with him tilling potatoes on the 6th of April. Deceased left the field about five o'clock and he saw no more of him until he heard a cry. Deceased went on the shafts of a waggon to ride home. There were a few potatoes and empty bags in the waggon, which was bring driven down the hill in a field. When he heard the cry witness could not see the waggon, but he went to where it was, and found the deceased lying across the road, on his right side, with his left leg across the right one. The horse and the waggon had gone on. Deceased was able to speak and said "I'm torn to pieces." Blood was coming from the side of his face, and also from his leg. He did not say how it occurred then, but afterwards stated that he went to jump from the shafts when the waggon knocked him along. There were no reins. It was usual to put on the drag, when the waggon came down the hill, but owing to its being empty that was not done on the present occasion. - Reginald Martin, Assistant House Surgeon, at the Hospital, received the deceased on Saturday the 6th April at 7.30 p.m. He was suffering from a compound fracture of the left thigh and shock. He progressed favourably for the first two days, when he became worse and died on Sunday, the 14th, at 9.45 p.m. Death was due to the injuries. - The Coroner, addressing MRS STEER: I forgot to ask you one question just now. Was he a temperate man? - MRS STEER: What do you mean, Sir? - The Coroner: I mean what I say. - The witness not seeming to understand the question, the Coroner asked if he drank much, to which the wife replied: - A little. - The Coroner: Was he addicted to drink? - Witness: No. - A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.
NEWTON ABBOT - A shocking case of destitution has been revealed at an Inquest at Newton Abbot. MARY ANN ROPER, aged 60, who got her living by hawking flowers and watercresses, recently came from Torquay, and went to live with a man and wife named Jones, hawkers. ROPER had been unwell and in receipt of parish relief of 2s. a week. Jones took her in out of charity and gave her some straw to sleep on, sparing her what little food they could. She gradually got worse and died. When the Relieving Officer visited her she was lying on a heap of straw and covered with a mass of dirty rags, in a most distressing state. The Jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes, and the Coroner censured Jones for not applying to the Relieving Officer sooner.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 11 June 1889
BRADNINCH - A fatal accident happened at Bradninch on Wednesday. MR CHARLES MORTIMORE, 43, carpenter, was engaged taking down a piece of cob wall, which suddenly fell on him and although quickly extracted, he died in twenty minutes. At an Inquest at the White lion Inn the evidence of Dr Potter showed that deceased sustained a compound fracture of the left leg and internal haemorrhage. A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned, and the Jury gave their fees to the widow, who has seven children.
EAST ANSTEY - Sudden Death. - On Monday an Inquest was held at the Froude Arms, before Mr J. F. Bromham, County Coroner, on the body of KEZIA FLEW, housekeeper to the Rev. J. Owen, of East Anstey Rectory. - The first witness called was the Rev. J. Owen, the rector, who deposed that the deceased who was 46 years of age, had been his housekeeper for 19 years. About twelve years ago she had a very severe attack of rheumatic fever, accompanied by the gout, for which she was attended by Mr Robertson of Dulverton. It was the doctor's opinion that it would probably leave the heart affected. The first symptoms of heart affection were exhibited last year, when deceased had an attack in the roadway and was obliged to lie in the hedge until she recovered. Last Tuesday night she had another attack and she told witness on the following morning that the spasms were so severe that she had to get out of bed and go down on her hands and knees. On Friday evening whilst witness was in bed he heard a scream from the direction of deceased's bedroom. He rushed into the room and he found deceased on her hands and knees, writhing in pain. She said she was sure she was dying. Witness tried to pour some raw spirits down her throat, but her teeth were clenched. He ran off for Miss Hessey, the schoolmistress, who came, but deceased was then almost dead. Witness at once sent off to Dulverton for a doctor, and Mr Sydenham arrived in about an hour-and-a-half. Two of the deceased's relatives had died in a similar way. By the Jury: The deceased's husband was not at present living in witness's house. He originally lived there, but witness was obliged to dismiss him for drunkenness. Although he did not sleep in the house he worked about the garden during the day. The deceased had never complained of the separation, and in fact refused to have her husband in the same room. - Rosalie Hessey, schoolmistress, bore out a portion of the last witness's statement. - GEORGE FLEW, husband of the deceased, said he had worked as gardener for the Rev. J. Owen for many years. The deceased within the last few weeks had complained of illness. He was sent for about half-past eleven on Friday night, and on going to the Rectory, Miss Hessey told him his wife was dead. - Mr G. F. Sydenham, Surgeon, of Dulverton, gave evidence to the effect that death was due from heart disease. The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 2 July 1889
UFFCULME - A Child Drowned At Uffculme. - An Inquest was held before Mr C.E. Cox (Deputy Coroner for Honiton) at the George Hotel, on Tuesday, relative to the death of REGINALD PRINCE, aged five years, who was found drowned in the River Culm. The Jury consisted of Mr J. Wyatt, sen., (Foreman), Messrs. C. Studley, S. Brice, S. Curwood, Israel Owens, J. Welland, jun., J. Southey, W. Leach, H. Tapscott, W. Long, H. Marsh, W. Lemon, and J. B. Spencer. - JAMES PRINCE, drayman at the Uffculme Brewery, deposed that the deceased was his son, and was five years of age. He last saw his boy at breakfast time, about half-past seven, in his usual health. Deceased had been going to school for nearly two years, but Saturday was a holiday. He had arranged with Mrs Cork to look after the children, which she had done for the past three years. - The Coroner: I understand Mrs Cork was in charge of the children while their parents were at work? - PRINCE: Yes, Sir. - The Coroner: It's a great pity they should be let go in such places without older people to look after them. - The father, continuing, said he heard of the occurrence at Stenhill, after returning from a journey to Clysthydon. He had no fault to find with anyone, but considered that the deceased in walking across the two strips, forming part of the old fender, fell in. - The Coroner: Some responsible person should have been with him. - MR PRINCE: His other brother, aged seven, was with him at the time. - FREDDY PRINCE was next called and the Coroner asked him: Did you see the deceased fall in? - No answer. - Did you hear him cry? - No answer. - Did anyone push him in? - The boy shook his head. - Lena Spurway stated that she was at her grandmother's until 12 o'clock and afterwards while going to Mr Trott's hayfield with Alice Hines she saw the deceased in the water but he wasn't moving. She could see his head and collar. As soon as she saw the lad they ran home and told each of their grandmothers but said nothing to Miss downing and Miss Doble, who were coming through the park. - A Juryman: Was the boy floating or at the bottom? - Witness: At the bottom. - Alice Hines corroborated the last witness's evidence. - Clara Hellier said that she heard the neighbours say that a child has fallen in the river. She immediately proceeded thither. That was about half-past 12. She arrived there first. The boy appeared dead. The body was taken out by Mr Perkins. - A Juryman: In what position was the body lying? - Witness: Crossways of the fender. - Mrs cork stated that she had the care of the children, one of whom she had had for three years and the other for the past two years. - The Coroner: Why hadn't you looked after them? - Mrs Cork: I did, Sir. - The Coroner: It doesn't appear so. Were you with them at the time? - Mrs Cork: They generally came home all right together, Sir. - Several Jurymen: Children will go out to play together. - The Coroner: It's quite clear to my mind they should not go to this place without someone to look after them. Are you not supposed to look after them at any other time than at their meals? - Juryman: The father hadn't the means of paying for continual looking after them. - The Coroner: What I want to point out is that a responsible person should look after them in this playground. - A Juryman: They have no right there. - Mrs Cork, continuing, said: The deceased and his brother started to play about 10 o'clock, and she cautioned them not to go near the water. She was always very particular in telling them that. - The Coroner: Are you quite sure you cautioned them? - Yes, Sir. - The Coroner (who had the boy brought forward): Did you hear Mrs Cork or auntie tell you not to go near the water? - The boy, after a considerable pause, replied, "No." - The Coroner hoped the occurrence would be a warning to parents not to allow children to play at dangerous places without someone in charge of them. - Jurymen: Who is going to pay for it? - The Coroner: The parents should combine to do so. If not the children should be kept away. - A Juryman suggested that a notice-board should be placed up, as a public path ran close by. - Mr Curwood: It seems a mystery the packers so near hadn't heard. - The Coroner said if something were not done the present accident would not be the last at the same spot. - A Juryman considered that Messrs. Fox Bros. should use stricter precaution to keep the children away. - Samuel Perkins said he was having his dinner about a quarter to one, when he heard some shouting that a boy had fallen in the water. He ran to the spot and saw someone trying to pull the deceased out. The depth preventing them, he ran back to the railway station for a "coupling crook," by which means he got the lad out. He tried means of restoration, but without avail. The hands were quite blue. By the appearance of the flesh the lad seemed to have been in the water an hour. - Dr Dickinson stated that he was called in and found the child at its home quite dead. he should consider the body to have been in the water more than half an hour. - The Coroner: Wasn't thee a child that fell in at the same spot some few years since? - Mr Dickinson: Yes; some five years since. There was one mark on the head about the size of half-a-crown, which he considered due to falling against a stake. - The Constable said the water was 4ft. 6in. deep at the spot in question. The Coroner having summed up, the Jury, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned."
EXETER - Suicide Of A butler Through Betting. - On Thursday at the Exeter Guildhall, Mr Hooper (City Coroner) held an Inquest into the circumstances attending the death of GEORGE BOND, a butler, who was found dead with his throat cut in a temperance hotel in Goldsmith-street the preceding day. - MRS BOND, of Crediton, said the deceased was her husband. He had been a butler, but for some time past had been out of employment. His last place was with Lady Carmichael, where he stayed for about a month. He arrived at Crediton on the 23rd May, and remained there six weeks. He was 56 last birthday. Witness last saw him alive at Crediton on Monday. He left Crediton on Tuesday morning for Exeter, and she never saw him afterwards. He suffered a great deal from liver complaint and was under medical treatment while at Crediton. He had been very depressed and witness attributed it to losing money. - The Coroner: In what way? - Witness: It was certainly horse racing. He had no means except what he earned. - By a Juryman: She thought he was in a little better spirits on the night previous. He came originally from Cambridgeshire. - Samuel Staddon, a tailor, residing at Belmont-road, and carrying on business in Goldsmith-street, said that on Tuesday evening the deceased came into his shop and asked if witness would recommend him to a place where he could obtain a bed. Witness replied that he thought he could, and went with him to Miss Gitsham's house, next door, where he obtained a bed. On the following morning Miss Gitsham asked him if he knew the man he had recommended. Witness replied, "No, he was a stranger." Mr Gitsham said, "He requested to be called at seven o'clock this morning and we have been rattling and knocking at the door and can't make him hear." Witness looked at his watch and said, "It is very nearly twelve. If I were you I should have the door opened." Miss Gitsham then sent for the Police, and on two officers arriving witness went up with them. Whilst they were trying to open the door Miss Gitsham said, "There is something wrong, for his blood is coming through the ceiling." When the door was burst open he saw the man on the floor on his face and hands and lying in a very large pool of blood. He had only his shirt on. Witness did not see any knife or razor on the floor. - Miss Gitsham and other witnesses gave corroborative evidence. A programme of racing was found on deceased, and the following note:- "From A. B. W., Thursday. Lost Lord Lorne, 12s. 6d; Trayles, 8s. 3d; Rada, one or two, 6s. 3d.; Pioneer, 3s. 8d.; Amphion, 3s - £1 13s. 8d. Sir, will you please send it on and I shall wire each. G. BOND, Avery's-court, High-street, Crediton." - The Coroner, in summing up, said it was a very sad case. The deceased seemed to be a man of very good character, but on the day preceding the suicide he was evidently in a very depressed and nervous state. Whether his mind was off its balance or not was a question for the Jury to decide. It seemed that he had been mixed up in the recent betting transactions. The Inquiry in another Court had disclosed things which were not at all creditable, and showed that these commission agents were in the habit of draining money from people who were really unable to pay, and this, of course, led them into difficulties. - At this juncture the Chief-Constable stated that the initials "A. B. W." found on the paper in the deceased's pocket corresponded with a large number of transactions found in the books of one of the betting firms recently interfered with in Exeter. - The Jury unanimously returned a verdict of "Suicide while under the Influence of Temporary Insanity." It was mentioned that the deceased was to have been removed to an Asylum.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 9 July 1889
SWANSEA, WALES - An Uffculme Man Drowned. - Information has been received respecting the death from drowning at Swansea of MR ELI DUNN, a native of Uffculme, whose parents reside at College Court, Uffculme. The deceased, who was 28 years of age, appeared to have been in the habit of bathing in the sea after leaving work at Swansea, where he was employed as groom and gardener. Shortly after 6 o'clock on Friday evening he accompanied his master's sons for the purpose of teaching them swimming, he being an excellent swimmer. Deceased, who had gone out some distance beyond the young gentlemen, was swimming on his back, when he was noticed to throw up his arms. The lads with him, noticing the occurrence, screamed for help. Two men, it is said, were passing on the beach, but did not notice the call. The lads, shouting, made way to their home, alarming the town as they went. A crowd went to the spot and found the body had been carried by the tide to the beach. Deceased's wife, who was at home, was expecting her husband's return, and on going to the door saw a boy who told her "She wouldn't see MR DUNN any more - he was drowned." - The wife fell down and remained unconscious until late the next day. The deceased was subsequently carried home and at the Inquest held on Saturday the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" and gave the widow their fees. The funeral took place at Cocket Church, a distance of two miles from their residence, and was attended by a long train of sorrowing friends including the father and mother of the deceased and the gentleman for whom he worked. A large number of wreaths were sent. The oldest child of the deceased is about five years of age and the youngest two months. A correspondent writes:- Two remarkable occurrences happened to the unfortunate ELI DUNN when a lad. While sitting on the shaft of a roller in a cornfield belonging to Mr R. H. Clarke (Bridwell) he accidentally slipped under it. The whole weight of the roller passed over him, pressing him into the ground. He was picked up for dead and sent to the Devon and Exeter Hospital. Fortunately not a single bone was broken, and he was sent home in a day or two. Another time he was riding a horse belonging to the same gentleman, and when near Ivy Houses the horse, which was proceeding at full gallop, ran into a donkey and cart. One of the shafts penetrated the horses breast, killing it instantaneously, but the lad, thrown over the animal's head, escaped unhurt.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 16 July 1889
CREDITON - A Boy Drowned At Crediton. - Mr Gould, Deputy Coroner, held an Inquiry on Wednesday at The Parks, Crediton, touching the death of a lad PETER PARKER, who was drowned in the river Yeo on the previous Saturday. - The first witness was GEORGE PARKER, the father of the child, who said he was a labourer, living at The Parks. He last saw his son alive on Saturday, about one o'clock. He was then in the garden. he did not know that his son was in the habit of going bathing, nor did he know if he could swim or not. The boy was 10 years of age last birthday. He first heard of his son being drowned when in the field at work. When he came home the body had been recovered and was placed in bed. - Percy Moore, living in Park-street, Crediton, stated that on Saturday last he went into the Bull Marsh to bathe in the river Yeo. The deceased and several other boys were there when he arrived. He saw the deceased going into the river. He appeared to be washing off some mud and as he went near the pit slipped and fell on his side. After struggling a bit in the water, deceased sank. Witness then went towards him to try and save him, but when deceased came to the surface he was further away than when he went down. Before witness could get to him he sank again. Witness went into the water up to his neck, but when the deceased rose he was still further away, so witness could not reach him. Deceased sank a third time and he did not see anything more of him. Witness dressed and ran and gave information. Witness was 13 years of age and could not swim. - Walter Godsland, a little boy, eight years of age, stated that he was bathing in Bull Marsh with the deceased and several other boys. He saw the deceased sink three times and the boy Moore tried to rescue him. There was no one near him when he fell in the water. No one was near enough to push him. - James Gore said that on Saturday he was going towards Bull Marsh for the purpose of bathing when he met the last witness, who told him that PETER PARKER was drowned. He went straight to the place with the boy and when he came there John Tarr was trying to recover the body with a long rake, but could not succeed. Witness undressed and dived where the boys told him and brought the body up the first time. He should say there was seven or eight feet of water where the body was found. The lad was quite dead. - Dr Edwards stated that on Saturday last he went to The Parks and saw the deceased laying on a bed. He examined the body, which presented symptoms of drowning, and in his opinion the cause of death was drowning. - The Jury of which Mr E. Lane was Foreman, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death." - The Deputy Coroner made no reference to the Jury as to the unusual delay in holding the Inquiry.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 30 July 1889
TIVERTON - Inquests At Tiverton. - The Inquests on the two persons who met with their deaths in Tiverton on Saturday week were held at the Tiverton Infirmary on Monday afternoon, before Mr Lewis Mackenzie, Borough Coroner. The particulars appeared in our first edition of last week. Both bodies had been conveyed to the new mortuary attached to the Infirmary. The following formed the Jury:- Messrs G. Babbage, G. Thorne, G. Sayer, Timeon Radford, J. Musgrove, S. Grant, H. J. Lawless, A. Mold, S. Richards. G. Robinson, E. Beck. H. Perry, and V. Strawson. - Mr Mold was chosen Foreman, and after the Jury had viewed the bodies they proceeded to Inquire into the death of MARTHA PETHERBRIDGE. The following evidence was given:- Mary Ann Rooks, wife of Henry Rooks, said deceased was her sister, and was 24 years of age. She last saw her alive at half-past twelve on Saturday, when she seemed light-headed, and kept following witness. Deceased had lived in witness's house for the last two years, and had always seemed to enjoy good health. During the last two weeks she had seemed queer. Deceased complained of her back. She had not taken her food well during the last week. Her baby, five months old, disturbed her at night. The child was healthy. Deceased had been under the care of Mr Cullin for several days. Deceased said she would destroy herself. On Saturday her eyes looked strange. About one o'clock witness was in her back yard when she saw deceased run past the door into the back kitchen and back into the house again. Witness went in and when in the passage heard deceased fall. Witness called some neighbours and went in and found her lying in the fireplace with her throat cut. Deceased had not dressed properly all day. She was naturally of a cheerful disposition. - Bessie Boobier, wife of Samuel Boobier, a lace-hand, living in Chapel-street, said she had known the deceased for years. Witness was in Mrs Needs; on Saturday, and saw Mrs Rooks who called her in. Witness did not care to go at first, but afterwards put a nerve on and went into the room and saw deceased lying near the fireplace with her throat cut. Witness saw her on Friday evening when deceased said she was like it again and she would have to put an end to herself. - Elizabeth Gibbons said that on Friday evening last the deceased went up the street and witness went after her and took the baby from her and persuaded her to return home. She was walking up the street muttering that she would drown herself. That was about ten o'clock Friday night. Deceased told witness that she would drown herself. - P.S. Perry said he was called to the house of Mrs Rooks on Saturday about one o'clock. He saw the deceased lying on her back on the floor with her throat terribly cut, and the razor (produced) lying beside her. There was a good deal of blood about, but the room was not disordered. - Mr R. B. Cullin deposed to being called to see deceased, and finding her lying on her back with a gash in her throat about five and a half or six inches long. He had no doubt deceased committed suicide. He had seen her previously and thought she was suffering from disordered liver and kidneys. About half-past eleven on Saturday morning he saw her outside the house where she was living and took her in and talked to her a few minutes. She seemed a bit hazy but otherwise all right. Witness had made a post-mortem examination. He found no reason to suspect that she was enciente. Knowing deceased's family history he thought she was of unsound mind when she cut her throat. Her mother had been confined for being of unsound mind. - The Coroner briefly addressed the Jury, who immediately returned a verdict that deceased Committed Suicide while Temporarily of Unsound Mind.
TIVERTON - The Jury then Inquired into the death of ALBERT DAVEY. - HENRY JAMES DAVEY, a labourer, living at Loughborough, said the deceased, ALBERT DAVEY, was his grandson and was over three years old. When witness returned home on Saturday he was told that Mr Reddrop had taken his grandson out of the Leat. The child was fond of the water. He was not insured. The Leat ran close by the cottage where witness lived. There was no railings to prevent anyone falling in; and there had always been the danger of the child falling in. The water was two feet four inches deep close in to the bank, which rose two feet above the water. - Walter James Copp, a little boy about ten years old, said that on Saturday afternoon he went down to the leat to fish. He saw something floating on the water. Mr Reddrop was coming down the lane and witness called to him and said the baby was in the water. Mr Reddrop ran and jumped in and pulled the child out. He did not know how the child got there. - Mr Reddrop said that just after three o'clock on Saturday as he was walking to Washfield, his attention was called to a child lying in the water. The body was slowly floating down towards the mill, and was gravitating to the bottom. Witness ran and jumped into the water which was up over his chin and pulled the child out. There were no marks of violence on the child, which appeared to be very strong and healthy. Witness for more than an hour tried to restore animation but without success. - The coroner congratulated Mr Reddrop on his plucky efforts and wished they could have been successful. - The Jury immediately returned a verdict of "Found Drowned." - They subsequently commended Mr Reddrop for his plucky efforts to save the child. The Coroner, in endorsing this said it was well that people should keep cool and do the right thing when others were in danger. The last time he held an Inquest on a child which was drowned it seemed that everybody ran away and left the child in the water. Mr Reddrop deserved their highest commendation for what he had done. - Mr Reddrop: Thank you, gentlemen.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 6 August 1889
EXETER - The Inquest on the body of ELIZABETH REDWAY, the paramour of a carpenter, who was found dead at Exeter, on Thursday night under suspicious circumstances, was held on Saturday. After the body had been identified various neighbours deposed to hearing deceased fall and cries of murder. The doctors who made a post-mortem examination, were of opinion that death was due to concussion of the brain, caused by a blow on the head. A verdict of Manslaughter was returned, and Brealey, the man with whom deceased lived, was committed to take his trial at the next Assizes.
SOUTH BRENT - The Late MR SPENCE BATE. - Plymouth papers record the death, after a short illness, of MR C. SPENCE BATE, F.R.S., of Plymouth and South Brent, and brother of MR J. ROGERS BATE, of Tiverton. MR SPENCE BATE, L.D.S., R.C.S. Eng., was a descendant of an old Cornish family. His father for many years carried on a successful practice as a dentist, to which MR SPENCE BATE succeeded. As a dentist he was almost unrivalled, both as an operator, and also, in his later years, as a dental mechanician. Nor was it only in dentistry that he became celebrated. he devoted a large amount of time to the investigation of the habits of shellfish, and, in conjunction with Mr Westwood, was the author of a work in three volumes, which soon became a standard authority on British Sessile-eyed Crustacea. Chiefly on the strength of its authorship, MR BATE was made a Fellow of the Royal Society, and thus was brought into companionship with some of the leading scientific men of the age. He was also author of many works on Dentistry some of which were published in the transactions of the Odontological Society, to the presidency of which he was elected in 1885. Two years previously he had been president of the British Dental Association. In 1881 MR SPENCE BATE was vice-chairman of a section of the Medical Congress; he was also on more than one occasion president of a department of the British Association. He was honorary surgeon of the Plymouth Dental Dispensary and honorary surgeon to the Devon and Cornwall Orphan Asylum. As a president during one year, and as a member of the council for many years, of the Devonshire Association for the promotion of literature, science and art, he distinguished himself by contributions to the transactions of that body. For many years he was a working member of the Plymouth Fine Art society, and the products of his pencil were frequently exhibited. He was a Freemason of over thirty years standing, and was widely known and much respected among his brethren in the Province of Devon. At the last election for P.G.M. he was unanimously recommended by his brethren in the province for the office of Prov. G.M.M.M. MR SPENCE BATE married MISS HELE, of Ashburton, and was a frequent visitor to that locality, where he had property, and interested himself in agricultural pursuits. He leaves a widow, a second wife, to whom he was married about two years ago, and two sons, one of them captain of the Royal Engineers, now holding an important position at Woolwich, and the other DR HELE BATE, of London, who was with his father throughout is last illness; and one daughter, MISS BATE, who has inherited much of her father's artistic taste. - An Inquest was held by direction of Mr Hacker, County Coroner. Evidence was given showing that the deceased had for three weeks been under medical treatment, and Dr Kingston said he was quite prepared to certify that he died of intestinal obstruction. The post-mortem examination confirmed this. The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes" an opinion being expressed that the Inquest was unnecessary.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 13 August 1889
SANDFORD - Sudden Death. - Mr Henry W. Gold held an Inquest on Friday at the Lamb Hotel, Sandford, touching the death of FRANK DALLY, a mason's labourer, who died suddenly on Wednesday last while walking through the street, having broken a blood-vessel. - Mrs E. Brewer, wife of James Brewer, identified the body as that of FRANK DALLY, a single man, who had lodged at her house about two months previous to his death. She had never heard him complain of illness until recently, when he spoke of pains in his chest. She had seen him frequently bring up blots of blood, but he went to work as usual on the day of his death. - JAMES DALLY said he was a brother of the deceased and last saw him alive on the day of his death. He was then engaged in cleaning out a well-pit at Sandford. Deceased had previously lodged with him, and during that time he had often heard him complain of pain in his chest. Deceased was about 45 years of age. - W. Acres said he worked with deceased on Wednesday last. They were engaged in cleaning out a well, and commenced work about 9 o'clock in the morning. At a quarter past 5 they were returning to Mr Norrish, of Town Barton, with a ladder which they had been using, when he observed a quantity of blood coming from the mouth of deceased and within a few seconds he was dead. - Mr Mounsdon also gave corroborative evidence, and Mr John A. Edwards, practising at Crediton, having stated that death was caused by the breaking of a large blood vessel, the Jury, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 20 August 1889
BARNSTAPLE - Suicide Of A Barnstaple Doctor. - DR HENRY FORESTER, a well-known physician residing at High-street, Barnstaple, committed suicide on Monday morning by hanging himself in his bedroom. The deceased, 61 years of age, had resided in the town for over 30 years, having commenced his professional career as the House Surgeon of the North Devon Infirmary. The Inquest was held at deceased's residence in the afternoon, before Mr R. Incledon Bencraft, Borough Coroner. - Miriam Smith, lady's maid, in the employ of MRS FORESTER, deposed that she went at about ten o'clock to DR FORESTER'S room to give him a cup of coffee, as was usual. He occupied a bedroom by himself on the first floor. She received no answer when she knocked at the door, and on entering the room she saw the doctor lying on the floor at the foot of the bed. She at once ran for her mistress. The deceased went to bed at half-past ten on Sunday night. Nothing happened during the day to upset him. - In answer to a Juror, the witness said deceased had not been drinking lately. He was perfectly sober when he went to bed on Sunday night. - MRS SUSANNAH MARSHALL FORESTER, widow of deceased, said the doctor had been very depressed lately and weak. His general health was not good. He made some unfortunate speculations and that depressed him. His daughter was married about a month ago and he felt her departure very much. While visiting a patient three or four months ago he fell over some steps and hurt his head. He had complained more or less ever since. Nothing had recently occurred to excite or upset him. She went to his room just before twelve o'clock on Sunday night and he was then sleeping comfortably. At ten o'clock that morning she was called by the first witness and on entering the room found her husband lying on the floor, while two handkerchiefs had been tied together, placed round his neck and passed over the head of one of the posts at the foot of the bed. She untied the handkerchiefs and attempted to restore animation, but without avail. Mr Bosson, solicitor, and Mr Harper, Surgeon, were on the spot in a few minutes. - Mr James Bosson, solicitor for the deceased, said he frequently saw DR FORESTER. For several months the doctor had been in a very depressed state, and had been twice seen by Dr Skerritt, of Bristol. He knew the affairs of the deceased well and could say that there was nothing really to trouble him. The doctor, however, had recently troubled himself about imaginary matters. He was with him on Sunday night for an hour, leaving him at five minutes to ten. He had not seen him for a week, as he (witness) had been away. He appointed to meet him at luncheon on the following day. Deceased was more than usually depressed, and said he knew he was worse than Dr Harper thought. When called to the house that morning, he found MRS FORESTER rubbing the deceased and attempting to restore animation. He assisted and Dr Harper arrived in a few minutes. He knew the deceased had been unable to sleep well for a long time. The doctor was not excited on Sunday night. - Mr Joseph Harper, Surgeon, deposed to visiting the deceased at midday on Sunday. DR FORESTER complained a good deal of depression of spirits, that he was feeling weak and feeble and that he had lost his appetite. He prescribed for him and advised change of air. The deceased said he had had a good deal of worry lately. When he was called in, life had been extinct for two hours. The cause of death was strangulation. He had no doubt that the deceased was of unsound mind when he committed the act. - The Jury at once returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased Committed Suicide whilst suffering from Temporary Insanity. They added a rider expressing their deep sympathy with the widow and relatives. The Jurors decided to give their fees to the Infirmary. - The sad event caused a painful sensation throughout the town, as the deceased was well known and highly respected.
HEMYOCK - Sad Death Of A Child At Hemyock. Mother And Grandmother Censured. - On Tuesday afternoon Mr C. E. Cox, of Honiton, Deputy Coroner for the district, resumed an Inquiry at the Star Inn, Hemyock, relative to the death of EMILY ROWSELL, aged about eight months, the illegitimate daughter of ELIZABETH ANN ROWSELL, domestic servant, at present living with her parents. Circumstances connected with the care of the deceased have been the subject of considerable remark in the locality; and as a consequence the Inquest had been protracted and voluminous evidence taken. The first sitting, held on July 30th, extended over seven hours-and-a-half; and Tuesday's Inquiry lasted another couple of hours. The following constituted the Jury:- Messrs. R. Hine (Foreman), G. Barton, J. Lane, R. Hookway, E. Wide, E. Clist, T. Morgan, J. Hart, W. Hall, G. Babb, R. Hill, J. Clist, and W. Thomas. - ELIZABETH ANN ROWSELL, mother of the deceased, stated (at the first hearing) that the child was born on January 19th, and at the time she was in service at the Culm Valley Inn. Deceased was weakly from birth. On April 14th witness carried her to Mr Ellis, of Culmstock, in order to have her vaccinated, but the doctor declined to operate because the child was so small. Witness was unable to suckle the child, who was fed on bread, water, milk and sugar, made into sop, and also with milk, water and sugar from the bottle. She consumed a pint of raw milk every day either in sop or from the bottle. On Friday morning, July 26th, between ten and eleven o'clock, the child had a fit, but recovered in a few minutes, and witness did not send for medical aid. On the following day the child had another fit, more severe, but ultimately recovered. This occurred about two o'clock in the afternoon. Afterwards the infant refused to take her food, and she died about six o'clock the same evening. Neither witness nor her mother sent for any assistance until after the child was dead, and the person who then went for the doctor was Mrs Manley, wife of William Manley, labourer. She (Mrs Manley) was sent for about half an hour after the child died. During the latter part of April witness took the deceased to Mr Ellis, as she did not appear to be getting on well, not being able to keep her food down. Mr Ellis told her to give the baby lime water, but she never did so. He also told her to feed the child on biscuits but did not say what sort. She told him biscuits would not agree with the babe, and he then told her to give her corn flour and oatmeal. She gave the child corn flour once or twice. When the deceased had the first fit witness gave her some spirits of wine - about a tea spoonful, and some sugar. She never gave her medicine of any kind, except some brandy, which she had two or three months ago when unwell. Witness admitted having on June 10th, on the occasion of the Hemyock Club-walk, left the child alone in the house for some hours, but she said she had at intervals gone in to feed her and see she was all right. She fed the deceased regularly three times a day with sop, and gave her milk, water and sugar from the bottle between those hours whenever she appeared to want them. She never used scald milk, but milk obtained from different places - some from Mrs Luxton, Mrs Mortimer and Mrs Hine, all of Hemyock. - HANNAH ROWSELL, mother of the last witness, and wife of SAMUEL ROWSELL, labourer, said that she could corroborate the evidence of her daughter in all respects, except as regarded the visits of Mr Ellis. Witness did not accompany her on those occasions, but persuaded her to go to him. After the doctor was seen the second time the child did not appear to get on, and witness repeatedly urged her daughter to again have medical advice, but she (the daughter) replied it was not much good, that the doctor could not do anything for the babe. She persuaded her daughter not to give the child any lime water, thinking it would do no good. Her daughter was unmarried. - Mrs Sarah Manley, wife of a labourer, said she several times saw the baby who always appeared to be unwell and crying. On the Saturday in question, JANE ROWSELL, sister of deceased's mother, came to her house and asked her "if she could come up and lay out LIZZIE'S baby." Witness asked "If it was dead?" and the girl answered "Yes." Shortly afterwards witness went to ROWSELL'S house and found the child dead and the body nearly cold. - Mr G. A. Slack, Surgeon, and a partner in the firm of Messrs. Morgan, Ellis and Slack, gave evidence of a post-mortem examination of the body he had made. It weighed, he said, exactly six lbs., and externally was extremely emaciated and shrivelled. There were no marks of violence, but there were indications of disease. He considered that probably the small size of the child arise from her inability to digest and assimilate food; and from appearances he did not think she could have lived very long with every attention. He considered the child ought to have been taken to Mr Ellis frequently subsequent to the time he last saw her. Death arose from atrophy from inability to assimilate food and directly from convulsions. - Evidence as to the supply of milk to ROWSELL'S family was given by Mrs Hannah Luxton, wife of a labourer; Mrs Mary Hine, wife of a dairyman; Mr Edmund James Mortimer, dairyman; Mrs Elizabeth Clist, farmer's wife; Eliza Doble; HENRY ROWSELL, aged ten years, uncle of deceased; and Mary Hines. - Mrs Elizabeth Mortimer denied having supplied JANE ROWSELL with milk. - Ann Clode, midwife, said that at birth the deceased appeared to be strong and healthy so far as she could judge. About two months later she did not seem so well, but to be pining away. She gave some boiled biscuit to the child once, and it was brought up again. - It was after the hearing of the above evidence that the Inquest was adjourned until Tuesday last, principally for the attendance of Mr Ellis, the only medical man who had seen the child alive and whose testimony the Jury desired to have. - The first witness called at the resumed Inquiry was Miss Hannah White, daughter of a retired farmer of Whitehall, whose statement went to corroborate the evidence of JANE ROWSELL as to the supply of milk. She said she knew the girl by sight and remembered serving her with milk once or twice during the absence of her sister (Mrs Mortimer) at the house of the latter. Witness could not fix the date of having thus served milk. She thought ROWSELL'S evidence on the point correct so far as she could recollect; the last occasion on which she let her have a pint of raw milk might have been a month ago. It must have been at least a week previously that she first let the woman have milk, but she could not recollect the date. - Before taking the evidence of Mr Ellis, the Coroner put it to the Jury whether they desired to have that of Mr Slack read over or not. He remarked that he was sure their wish was that the two medical gentlemen should form independent opinions on the case. - The Foreman intimated that it would be better to proceed at once with the evidence of Mr Ellis and other Jurors concurred. - The Coroner said it was only right he should afterwards read Mr Slack's report of the post-mortem examination, so that Mr Ellis if he desired it might modify any expression of opinion. - Mr Sidney Ellis, Surgeon, of Culmstock, and partner in the firm of Messrs. Morgan, Ellis and Slack, said he recollected having seen the deceased during her life - he could not say on how many occasions, it might be three or four times. It was in April he first saw the child, the mother having brought her to his surgery to be vaccinated. As deceased was such a very small and inferiorly-developed child he advised a postponement of the vaccination until October. That was his recollection of her appearance; he could not say any more, as he did not take particular notice. He did not form any opinion as to whether the child had been sufficiently nourished, being in attendance only as vaccinating officer. He declined to vaccinate deceased as she was extremely small and seemed weak. He again saw the child about the end of May or in June - he could not possibly fix the date, having no entries, as he did not prescribe for the child. It was not in April that he saw her, but some weeks after the first interview, and must have been in May or June. Then the mother brought the child to Culmstock, which was unusual (he having first seen her at the vaccinating-station at Hemyock). She said deceased did not seem to get on and was always bringing up her food. She asked him what to do and he advised her to give her lime water, instead of pure water with the milk. He asked her on what she had been feeding the child and she said on milk and biscuits or soaked bread - he could not recollect exactly all that took place as it happened a long time ago - he knew if was some farinaceous food. He strongly urged her not to give the infant any farinaceous food, such as bread or biscuits, as it would produce the sickness, nor to give any kind of food except milk and lime water. He never told her to give the child biscuits, he was positive of that; no doctor in the land would order such a food. Whether he exactly mentioned biscuits he could not recollect, when advising her not to give the child farinaceous food: most probably he did, as mothers were apt to give their children biscuits and he imagined ROWSELL would not understand what he meant if he spoke merely of "farinaceous foods." The child when he saw her had about the same appearance as on the occasion of the first interview: her face was wizened and had an old kind of expression on it - in fact the typical face showing a congenital complaint. He thought this at the vaccinating time. He did not remember having seen the child on any other occasion. In conversation the mother told him that she could not suckle the child. He believed it was reported he had said that the child was neglected, but the least he could say of such a report was that it was an infamous falsehood: He had no grounds for saying such a thing. - The Foreman to witness: Did you ever tell the mother of the child that she was starving it? - Witness: Certainly not, nor anyone else. - A Juror: Did you ever tell her to take it home and give it some food at the time she brought it to have it vaccinated? - Witness: No, certainly not. - The Coroner remarked that it was just as well they had elicited evidence which would clear up any misapprehensions. - Mr Ellis replied that he had ceased to take notice of the stories without foundation which were constantly circulated about the place. - Replying to further questions from the Jury he denied having told Mrs Newberry, of Hemyock, that the child was starving, saying that he was not in the habit of talking about his patients. He did not remember speaking to Mrs Newberry about the child. He was startled at the appearance of the deceased at the vaccination station, as in a country parish one rarely saw a child suffering as the deceased was. Deceased did not look as if she was starving or suffering from inanition; and the vomiting was against that idea, but in favour of the opinion he formed. He never at any time had the impression that the child had not sufficient food. - The Coroner then read over the evidence given by deceased's mother and Mr Slack; and in conversation Mr Ellis said that probably the woman misunderstood his injunction not to give the child any farinaceous food. He had seen Mr Slack that morning, but his opinion was not affected in consequence: and he had no reason to modify it. When he saw the child at the vaccination station he had the impression that she would not be alive by the following October, knowing the fatal character of the complaint he had referred to. - It was stated amongst the Jury that Mrs Elizabeth Wood had repeated a statement she alleged to have been made by Mr Ellis that the child had not sufficient food; and it was suggested that she should be called. - One or two Jurors, however, remarked that her evidence would not be of much account. - The Foreman asked that SAMUEL ROWSELL, grandfather, might also be called to speak as to the treatment of the child. - The coroner said he would call anyone the Jury desired to clear up any doubt. - Mrs Wood, an elderly woman, was sent for, and on being sworn, she remarked that she was very deaf. Questioned by the Coroner she denied that Mr Ellis ever spoke to her about the deceased, but she said she had heard him say at the vaccination station "I cannot vaccinate it; take it home." - P.C. Bradford: She told me Dr Ellis said "Take the child home and give it something to eat." - Mrs Wood denied having made this statement, adding: He said "Take it home and give it something." - Mr Ellis, replying to the Coroner, said he did not remember making such a remark. - The Coroner observed that he did not consider it of any importance. - SAMUEL ROWSELL, labourer, father of ELIZABETH ROWSELL, stated that he did not know much about the matter, having been at work all day, from early morning to late at night. He denied having said that he hoped his daughter was to have a month if not more. All the time he was home the child had plenty of food, but when lifted up she brought up whatever she ate. He returned home about half-past five on the evening of the child's death, and he remarked that "her would not live much longer." He did not go for a doctor, but told "them" they should do so. (By the Coroner): He did not think the child was going to die so quick. - The Coroner told the witness that he ought to have gone for a doctor, and he considered he and the family were all to blame. - Witness said he could not leave his work; and others were old enough to go for the doctor. - The Coroner sternly told ROWSELL that it was his duty under the circumstances to see that a doctor was fetched. - By the Jury: Witness did not know of the child being left alone in the house for several hours on Whit-Monday. - This completed the evidence and the Coroner summing up pointed out the conclusive character of the medical testimony. He criticised the conduct of the ROWSELL family adversely. - The Jury deliberated in private for about half-an-hour, after which they returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes in accordance with the Medical Evidence"; adding, in a rider, their opinion that the child had been sadly neglected and the mother and grandmother should be severely censured. - The Coroner said he entirely agreed with the verdict; and reprimanding MRS ROWSELL and her daughter he told them they had run a great risk of bringing a criminal verdict upon themselves. - The Foreman added that it took the Jury a long time to consider which way the verdict should go. - The Coroner said that under the circumstances he would not allow either witness any expenses for attending.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 27 August 1889
EXMOUTH - Fatal Fire At Exmouth. - Early on Monday morning Exmouth was visited by a fatal fire. The third house from the corner of Fore-street, where the fire broke out, was occupied by MR W. J. GIDLEY, who carried on the business of poulterer and china dealer. On Sunday night the family, consisting of husband and wife and five children (girls) ranging in age from 9 years to five months, retired to bed as usual. Shortly after two o'clock Mr and Mrs Adams, poulterers, who live almost directly opposite, were aroused by cries of "Fire" and "Help." Without waiting to attire himself Mr Adams ran into the street and saw MR GIDLEY at the window of the third storey. He was calling piteously for help and was shouting that the house was on fire. At this time there was very little smoke visible, and Mr Adams, shouting to him some words of encouragement, quickly aroused the neighbourhood. Mrs Adams states that almost immediately after her husband had gone for assistance, MR GIDLEY left the window, but soon afterwards appeared with the baby in his arms. This he threw, a distance of at least 25 feet to Mrs Adams, who succeeded in catching it. Then, MRS GIDLEY, who had joined her husband, pushed the eldest girl through the window and dropped her into the street. She was too heavy for Mrs Adams to catch, but she contrived to break the fall by pushing her against the shutters of the shop, when a foot or two from the ground. From this time nothing further was seen of MRS GIDLEY; having passed out the eldest girl, she appeared to fall back exhausted. MR GIDLEY seemed by his actions to be in a dazed, half frantic condition, the smoke rising in dense volumes, and the heat evidently being intense. The lower sash of the window could not be opened sufficiently for him to get through. He accordingly reached the upper sash, and hanging half in and half out of the window, made piteous appeals for help, having, apparently, not sufficient strength to drag the whole of his body through the aperture. Eventually a ladder was procured a short distance from the scene of the fire, but it was too long and the narrowness of the street (five or six yards wide) prevented it being moved sufficiently to enable the upper part of it to be brought in contact with the window where MR GIDLEY remained standing. After a few minutes' horrible suspense another ladder was obtained, but that proved to be too short. The short ladder was placed as near the window as possible, and a fish hawker named Picketts pluckily ascended it and supported by Mr Adams and Mr Ferris, a licensed victualler, stood on the topmost rung. From that position Pickets was enabled to reach MR GIDLEY, whom the flames threatened to envelop every moment. For some seconds MR GIDLEY steadfastly refused to leave before his wife and the remainder of the children (all of whom there is reason to believe were suffocated by this time) were rescued. The floor of the room was burning and MR GIDLEY was himself fast losing consciousness. Picketts in the face of this grasped GIDLEY and managed to pull him from the room just as the floor gave way and thundered into the room below. MR GIDLEY was very much burnt about the body, and was speedily removed in an unconscious state to the Maud Hospital. MR GIDLEY evidently thought more of his wife and children than of himself, for his last coherent words while being taken from the burning room was an entreaty to his rescuers to try and save them. This was impossible! - As soon as possible an inspection was made of the ruined premises. It was found that the roof of MR GIDLEY'S house had fallen in, and carried the third floor and part of the second floor down to the basement. MRS GIDLEY was found lying burnt beyond recognition near the window through which her husband was rescued. One child lay on her, another underneath - while a third was discovered beneath an iron bedstead that had fallen from the third to the second floor. All of them were more or less terribly disfigured by the action of the flames. - MR GIDLEY succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday morning. On Tuesday an Inquest was opened and adjourned for a week.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 3 September 1889
EXMOUTH - The Exmouth fire Inquest terminated on Wednesday evening and after more than an hour's deliberation the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death." They added riders to the effect that more efficient appliances for extinguishing fire and saving life should be obtained; that the local authorities should have greater power for determining the materials that should be used in the interior of dwellings, and for dealing with houses altered or rebuilt; and that official inquiries into the causes of fire should be held.
CULLOMPTON - Fatal Accident At Cullompton. - Late last Sunday night an accident occurred to the occupants of a fly being driven from Bradninch to Cullompton, as a result of which PHILIP VINNICOMBE met with his death. A party had driven to Bradninch early in the day in a fly hired of Mr Luxton, Cullompton, and when returning down Waterstave the fore part of the vehicle came in contact with the horse's legs and the animal went off at a gallop. It became unmanageable, and the driver, and deceased, who were sitting in front were thrown into the road. The driver escaped with very little injury; but VINNICOMBE succumbed the following afternoon to injuries he received. An Inquest was held on Tuesday, before Mr Frederic Burrow, District Coroner, at the Rising Sun Inn, Cullompton. The Jury was comprised as follows:- Messrs. Moses Rutley, W. Poole, Thomas Loudwill, A. E. Putnam, J. H. Baker, J. Knight, James Harris, James Sansom, W. R. Mortimer, W. Denner, G. L. Nix, R. B. Walters, and W. Drewe. Mr Poole was chosen Foreman. The Jury viewed the body and then the following evidence was given. - HARRIET ALDRIDGE said deceased was her brother and lived with her. He was 45 years old and died at ten minutes to twelve on the previous night. On Sunday afternoon deceased went with witness to Bradninch, which place they left in a fly about half-past ten at night to return to Cullompton. Deceased rode outside the fly with the driver. Witness sat inside with her daughter, a boy, and Mr Chick. The driver's name was John Reynolds. As they were going down the hill, near Waterstave, the cab started off very fast. Witness thought something had happened and Mr Chick jumped out and stopped the horse. Afterwards witness went back some distance and found deceased lying near the hedge. He was insensible and did not speak. The others who rode in the carriage also went back and stayed with the deceased. Witness went back into Bradninch for assistance, her son accompanying her. When witness returned deceased was standing by the door of the cab and then was able to speak. He said one of his legs was broken. Witness assisted to get him inside the fly, which was driven to Cullompton, where it arrived about three o'clock on Monday morning. Dr Lloyd was sent for and he attended deceased, and again saw him twice on Monday. - Henry John Reynolds, a rural postman, of Cullompton, said on Sunday afternoon he was employed by Mr Luxton, cab proprietor, of Cullompton, to drive a fly to Bradninch and back. The last witness, deceased, Mr Chick, and a little boy were in the fly. They left Bradninch on the return journey about half-past ten in the evening. Mrs Chick also rode home with them. Witness drove the cab and deceased sat in front with him. At the top of the hill, before coming to Waterstave, witness put on the brake. The horse was then walking. Witness found the fly run forward a little, and then the horse bolted. Witness did not then know anything was broken not until after he was thrown out. Deceased and witness were both thrown out as they turned the corner directly after the horse bolted. The fly was then rocking like a cradle, and the horse was unmanageable. Witness jumped up directly he was thrown out and ran after the horse. He did not see deceased again until he went back with his light and then deceased was lying by the side of the road, and did not speak or move. Witness and Mr George Chick lifted deceased out of the hedge, into which he had fallen and asked him if he could walk. He said "No" and thought his legs were broken. Shortly afterwards he got up and stood all right. Witness led him to the fly, beside the door of which he stood for about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour, until P.C. Coppin arrived with Mrs Aldridge's son. Deceased was then lifted into the fly and driven on to Cullompton. The accident happened owing to the ring in the breeching seat having broken off and the front part of the fly running against the horse's legs, and causing the horse to bolt. Witness did not think anyone was to blame. Neither deceased nor witness was the worse for drink. - Henry George Chick, of Knowle, said he was a nephew of the deceased by marriage. He was with the deceased at Bradninch on Sunday afternoon. They left that place together in a fly at half-past ten in the evening. When they got halfway down Waterstave Hill the cab seemed to lift up and immediately the horse started at a very rapid rate. Both lamps were alight. At the bottom of the hill the fly swayed as though about to turn over. Witness thought there was something wrong, and opened the door and stood on the step. Witness then saw that neither the driver nor deceased were on the seat in front. He then made a spring and as soon as he could caught hold of the horse's head and brought it to a standstill. About two minutes afterwards Reynolds came up with blood all over him; and together they went in search of deceased. They found him about 200 yards from the place where the cab stopped, close to the hedge. Deceased could not speak at first. They afterwards proceeded to Cullompton, and on the way called at Mr Hills, who gave deceased some spirits. - Mr J. H. Lloyd, Surgeon, said he was called on Monday morning to see the deceased, and found him seated in a chair in his house. Witness examined him and found a jagged wound, from three to four inches long, on the left side of the skull. Witness ordered him immediately to bed. At ten o'clock the same morning witness again saw him when he was perfectly conscious, but complained of great pain in the region of the stomach. Witness examined his legs which were considerably bruised; but no bones were broken. He was suffering more from internal injuries than from injuries to the head. About nine o'clock on Monday night witness again saw him and found him in a state of collapse. Witness did not think he would live more than a few hours. His opinion was that deceased died from collapse, the result of internal injuries produced by the accident. The wound on the head was no doubt produced by the fall and witness thought he must have been dragged on the road. - The Coroner briefly summed up the evidence, and the Jury immediately returned a verdict to the effect that deceased met his Death by Accident.
TIVERTON - A Child Drowned At Tiverton. - About midday on Tuesday, Chapel-street, Tiverton was thrown into a state of excitement by the drowning of a child named JOHN BAKER, aged just three years, in the river Lowman. In one of two places in Chapel-street the Lowman is dangerously exposed to the large number of children who live in that locality, and in one of these places JOHN BAKER met with his death. Not far from the Elmore schools is a small lane which runs down to the Lowman. No fence of any kind exists to prevent children playing in the water, and although it may be said they have no business there, that lane and the water at the bottom of it, is one of the favourite playing grounds of the children in Chapel-street. Last Tuesday JOHN BAKER, who was the son of PHILIP BAKER, a whitesmith living in the neighbourhood, and another little fellow a few months older, named William Boobier, after they had had their dinner, wandered down the lane, across the bed of the river, which there at this time of the year is very shallow and out in the meadow beyond (belonging to Mr T. Ford, sen.). What they did there can only be conjectured; but just after school-time little Boobier ran home to his aunt crying and saying "JACKY BAKER" was in the water. The aunt immediately raised an alarm and with neighbours went out in the meadows and called for the missing child. No response, however, was made to their calls; doubtless JOHNNY BAKER was dead. There is a small weir a short distance up the river and several of the women (it was chiefly women who went out to search) went there to look for the body. Police-Sergeant Perry, who lives in the neighbourhood, was told by his wife that search was being made in the river for a child and he immediately joined the party. Near the footbridge which crosses the river close to the weir several women saw the body and called to others to run and help pull it out. Sergeant Perry hurried to the spot, and saw the child slowly floating down the stream just under the surface of the water, with his face downwards. Directly he saw the body, the Sergeant walked into the water, which was about three feet deep and carried it out. The child's lips were turning purple and life was quite extinct. Sergeant Perry carried the little fellow home and there it was ascertained beyond a doubt that he had been dead some time. Singularly enough, Tuesday was the deceased's third birthday. - An Inquest was held at six o'clock on Wednesday evening in the Elmore Schools, Chapel-street, before Mr Lewis Mackenzie, Borough Coroner. The following were the Jury:- Messrs. E. Clapp, J. B. Hooper, H. Early, W. C. Rowcliffe, W. Lockyer, G. Davis, E. J. Baker, W. Kingdon, T. Baker, E. Morrell, S. Shaw, W. Chilcott, and G. Cottrell. Mr E. Clapp was chosen Foreman. - The Coroner before viewing the body of the child, said their thanks were due to the School Board for allowing the Inquest to be held in the school. Had it been held as usual in the Town Hall they would have had a long walk to view the body. Jurors expressed their appreciation of the courtesy of the School Board. - After viewing the body, which was at the child's late home, the following evidence was taken:- PHILIP BAKER, father of the child, employed as a whitesmith at the factory, and living in Chapel-street, said he saw his son, JOHN BAKER, the last time on Tuesday at midday when he was home to dinner. Deceased was then in his usual state of health, which was very good. Witness did not see the child again till the evening when it was home, dead. The child was a very venturesome child and was frequently getting into mischief. His life was insured in the Prudential Insurance Company for £1 12s. 6d. Deceased knew his way to school and had attended the Elmore Schools for nearly twelve months. He had had his dinner before witness had his and when witness got home the deceased ran out to play. It was not time for him to go to school. - William Boobier, a little fellow just over three years old, was called. He entered the room with considerable reluctance and was too shy for some minutes to answer the questions put to him. He was not sworn. He said he did not know how old he was. On Tuesday he had to go to school, but before school time went down into the meadows across the Lowman with JACKY BAKER. He saw JACKY fall into the water and then began to cry. He didn't do anything else. Afterwards he ran to his aunt Lucy, and told her JACKY was in the water. He did not try to pull him out. His aunt Lucy shouted for JACKY, but he did not know what else she did. Somebody went down to the water and pulled JACKY out. He didn't know anything more about it; but saw the child fall in. - P.S. Perry said that on Tuesday at half-past two he heard an alarm raised that a child had fallen in the water. Witness "bolted" across from his house to where some women were standing, but could not see any sign of the child. He continued to search and presently some women went farther up the stream and they directly after shouted that they had found him. Witness ran some distance and then saw the body about in the middle of the river. It was just underneath the surface of the water and about fifty yards from the bridge. Deceased had all his clothes on except his hat. Witness jumped into the water and pulled him out. He was quite dead, and cold. Witness carried him home. Judging from the time the alarm was raised, to the time the body was found, witness thought deceased must have been in the water half an hour. - By the Coroner: Deceased certainly might have been in the water longer. There was nothing to enable one to fix the exact time he fell into the water. The meadows were private property and children got access to the from Chapel-street. There was a lane leading into the meadows, which crossed the Lowman. At the bottom of the lane the children turned round to the left and walked up along the edge of the water. When it was low, they could get across to the meadow without wetting their feet. The lane was a private way. There was no gate at the bottom of the lane. - A Juror: There is a gate farther up, but it is broken away. - Sergeant Perry replying to Mr Cottrell, said if there was a gate in the lane it would prevent children getting into the water. - Mr Rowcliffe: I think there ought to be a gate. - Mr Cottrell: It is a dangerous place and something ought to be done to prevent such occurrences. - The Foreman inquired whether there was a right of way there and whether anyone could be forced to put up a gate. - Mr Cottrell thought as the property belonged to Mr Ford it was his duty to put a gate there. - The Coroner, summing up, said it was one of those cases where the evidence was of the slenderest kind, and where there was no evidence to show how the deceased got into the water. There was not the slightest suspicion that the child was pushed into the water, or that anyone was responsible for its death. They would be perfectly justified in saying that the child was Accidentally Drowned. - After a short consultation a verdict to that effect was returned. - Mr Cottrell suggested that a rider should be added stating that the Jury were of the opinion that a gate should be placed so as to prevent children getting into the water. - The Coroner said he would undertake to write to the owner of the property suggesting that a gate should be put there. He thought it would be better to do that than to add a rider. The rider would perhaps be recorded in the local newspapers, but not on his (the Coroner's) official paper and so probably nothing would come of it. He would, if the Jury thought well of it, write to the owner of the property expressing their opinion of the matter. The Jury consented and the Inquiry terminated.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 10 September 1889
EXETER - A Fatal Kick At Crediton. - Mr Hooper, Exeter City Coroner, held an Inquest at the Devon and Exeter Hospital, on Wednesday morning, into the circumstances attending the death of a boy named FRANK EDWARDS, who died at the Hospital on the preceding day from the effects produced by a kick from a pony. - ELIZABETH EDWARDS, wife of GEORGE EDWARDS, mason, Langdon-place, Crediton, identified the body as that of her deceased son, FRANK, five years of age. Deceased met with the injury on the 4th of July last. He went out about five o'clock, witness sending him on an errand, and ten minutes after a boy named Harry Chamberlain came and told witness that her son had been kicked by a pony. Witness went out and saw the boy walking across the field towards her, and on coming a little nearer he said the pony had knocked him down. The pony was the property of Mr Bullen, of Crediton. Witness carried the boy home and sent for Dr Body who, with his assistant, attended to the injuries. Witness afterwards carried him to the Devon and Exeter Hospital for advice and he was detained there until Monday when he died. - Harry Chamberlain, a boy eight years of age, said he lived near MRS EDWARDS. He recollected the accident. He saw the deceased in the field running after the pony, when suddenly the pony kicked and struck the boy on the forehead, knocking him down. Witness went to MRS EDWARDS and told her of the occurrence. - By a Juryman: The gate had lost some of the bars (upright ones) and deceased could crawl in under, but witness could not. - Another Juryman said that it was a frequent occurrence. - Mr Martyn, Assistant House Surgeon at the Hospital, said the deceased was admitted on August 8th. He had a slight discharging wound on the inner side of the upper eyelid. Ten days after he was taken with convulsions and on account of this he underwent an operation. He went on favourably until the 2nd of September, when he had a second convulsion. At 9 o'clock in the evening it was thought proper to perform another operation, and the lad died the following morning from abscess of the brain, the result of the accident. - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death." - The Jurymen expressed their opinion that the farmer ought to be called upon to mend the gate.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 15 October 1889
SAMPFORD PEVERELL - On Tuesday afternoon an Inquest was held at the Globe Inn, Sampford Peverell, before F. Burrow, Esq., District Coroner, relative to the death of ROBERT HANSFORD, coachbuilder, aged about 40 years, whose body was on the previous Sunday found in the Canal. Mr W. Goring Benge was chosen Foreman of the Jury. Evidence was adduced as follows:- Mrs Fanny Dunn, wife of Frederick Dunn, landlord of the Hare and Hounds Inn, said she had known the deceased about two-and-a-half years, he having frequently visited her house. On the previous Saturday he called about eight o'clock in the morning and remained there ten minutes, having a pint of ale. He returned about three o'clock in the afternoon and had another pint of ale, staying on that occasion rather over an hour. She saw him again at seven o'clock when he paid her for what he had had during the week, and had two-pennyworth of bread and cheese and half-a-pint of ale. On that occasion he stayed about half-an-hour, and when he left he said he was going to his lodgings. About nine o'clock he again called and had a pint of ale and asked for half a sheet of writing paper and a pen and ink, which she gave him. She saw him write something, about half a dozen words, which he cut off with her husband's knife. He asked her for six penny-worth of whiskey in a bottle; and having tendered a florin he received 1s. 6d. change. Then he shook hands with her and her daughter, wishing her good-bye and saying he was going to Exeter, where he had some friends. He left about ten minutes to ten. There was something strange in his manner all day and she had observed some peculiarity about him for the past fortnight. There was no card laying that day in her house; deceased did not play. She heard nothing more of him until told that his body had been found in the canal. - Joseph Salter, dairyman, of Halberton, said he had known the deceased for the last two years. He saw him at the Hare and Hounds Inn on Saturday night, between nine and ten o'clock. Deceased left before he did and appeared quite sober. About 11.15 witness was walking along the canal bank and heard someone talking in Mr Perry's orchard on the opposite side. He called across, thinking it was the deceased, but received no answer. The place was not far from the spot where the body was found. When witness saw the deceased at the Hare and Hounds Inn, between nine and ten o'clock, he (deceased) was playing cards with Henry Webber, William Ware, and George Conybeare; and all were drinking together. He heard Webber say "This is five quarts, and I will toss up who pays for this." Webber lost and paid for one quart. Witness did not know who paid for the rest. He did not see any money pass. Whilst they were playing cards he heard Webber say to deceased "You would have drowned yourself this morning if I had not seen you." Ware said the water was too cold; and deceased remarked "I was there some time." When witness called across the canal and thought it was the deceased, he said "Are you going to drown yourself?" He believed deceased was saying his prayers at the time he saw him in the orchard. He had heard he was in the habit of talking to himself. - George Cottey, labourer, of Sampford Peverell, said he had known the deceased for about two years. About a quarter to eight on Sunday morning he saw a coat and a hat on the top of it, hung to an apple tree in Mr Perry's orchard. He was on the opposite bank of the canal and looking into the water he perceived the head and hand of some person. He called to Walter Arthurs, telling him there was a man drowned; and then the body was found to be that of the deceased. Witness did not see it removed, but at once went for a constable. Deceased appeared to be lying on his face and hands, the head being towards the bank near the orchard. - Edward Vickery, tailor, said he last saw the deceased alive at five o'clock on Saturday evening; and he helped to remove the body from the canal the following morning. It appeared to have been in the water some hours, and was removed a few minutes before the arrival of the Policeman. Deceased was wearing no coat, and witness noticed the garment hung up in the orchard close by. Some money and trinkets were found on deceased. - P.C. Holloway said he had known the deceased for about 2 ¼ years; and had noticed that latterly the man had taken to frequenting the Hare and Hounds Inn. On being informed of the body having been found on Sunday morning witness went to the canal bank, arriving there shortly after the removal of the deceased from the water. There was a scar on the left temple. Searching the pockets he found 4s. 2d. on the deceased. He examined the bottom of the canal and found the stone produced close by. The water was nine inches deep where the head had been and two feet deep where the feet had been. He also found on the body two papers produced, one being a notice to deceased to quite his lodgings and the other a scrap on which was written, "Good-bye, Nellie; from your loving BOB, good-bye." Followed by three crosses. The body was removed to the Globe Inn. - Mr W. W. Dickinson, Surgeon, gave evidence of having examined the body, which satisfied him that death had resulted from drowning. The scar on the forehead could have been caused by the stone produced by the Constable. - This concluded the evidence and the Coroner having summed up, the Jury returned a verdict that the deceased Committed Suicide whilst Temporarily Insane.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 29 October 1889
SOUTH MOLTON - Suicide At Southmolton. - A sad case of suicide occurred in South-street, Southmolton, between Wednesday evening and Thursday midday. MR WILLIAM HUXTABLE, a master tailor, was seen about his work as usual on Wednesday evening by the neighbours, and it was the last thought suggested to those who saw him, that he was about to commit suicide. On Thursday morning, however, MR HUXTABLE'S house was not opened at the usual time and neighbours began to wonder what could be the cause of his non-appearance. The house was locked and the blinds drawn down, but, suspecting nothing wrong, no attempt was made to enter until midday when MR HUXTABLE'S son tried to get in by the door. Failing in his effort he procured a ladder and entered by the bedroom window, when, to his horror, he found his father hanging, with a rope round his neck, from the bannister of the staircase. The body was quite cold and deceased's son, without waiting to cut it down, went for assistance. Dr Hind was called and he cut the body down and after examination, gave it as his opinion that life had been extinct some hours. Deceased was 66 years of age, and married, but his wife was away from home at the time of the sad occurrence, staying with her daughter at the Southmolton Railway-station. An Inquest was held yesterday (Friday) afternoon. - The Inquest. - An Inquest was held on the body of WILLIAM HUXTABLE, tailor, of South-street, at the Town Hall on Friday afternoon last, before Thomas Sanders, Esq., Coroner, and the following Jury:- Mr William Kingdon (Foreman), Messrs. J. Bullworthy, Charles Manning, John Mills, Tom Pady, George Hodge, Elisha Shave, John Cruwys, George Gibbett, William Brayley, William Cotty, and William Hawkes. - MR J. C. HUXTABLE, son of the deceased, who said he last saw his father alive on Tuesday evening between six and seven o'clock. He called in his (witness's) house and stayed a few minutes. He appeared as well as usual. Witness saw him on Monday evening, and he then seemed depressed at the contents of a letter he had received respecting his son in Australia. Deceased said his children in Australia and his late wife were always in his mind and he could not rest about them. He appeared excited and worried on Tuesday evening. On Thursday, Miss Hill, who lodged at deceased's house, came to witness and said she could not get indoors. She had tried the door several times and could get no answer. She asked witness to go down with her and he went. Witness entered the house through a bedroom window reached by a ladder and found deceased hanging in the stair case by the rope produced. The body was quite cold. Witness found the letter produced in the kitchen window. It was in deceased's handwriting. It read as follows:- "Please give this paper to my son, JOHN. Good-bye may God bless you all and may God forgive me for this rash deed." (This paper was pinned to a conveyance from a the Southmolton Burial Board of the piece of ground in the cemetery where deceased's first wife was buried.) - MARY ANN HUXTABLE, widow of the deceased, said she resided with her husband up to Tuesday evening last. On that evening she left her husband on account of a family difference. He seemed depressed at her leaving, but did not do or say anything which led her to believe that he would take his life. They did not part on the best of terms. Deceased had been drinking a little more than usual. Witness intended to return home again the same evening, but did not do so in consequence of a message deceased sent her. - Mrs Martha Bowden, wife of William H. Bowden, said she knew the deceased. On Wednesday last between two and three o'clock in the afternoon she passed the deceased's door. He called to her. Witness stopped and went to the door. He was smoking his pipe, but when witness stood at the door he took the pipe from his mouth, put it on the table, and began to cry. Witness said "I can't stand this tailor," and immediately left. Deceased was greatly depressed in spirits and seemed strange in his manner. - Mary Louisa Hill, said she lodged in the deceased's house with his wife. Witness got the deceased's breakfast on Wednesday morning and went to her duties at the infant school. She returned at twelve o'clock, and found the door locked. It was also locked at four o'clock and on neither occasion could she get in. She went to the Station, where the deceased's wife was staying and slept there the night. On Thursday, between twelve and one o'clock, witness again went to deceased's house and finding all the doors still locked, she thought there was something wrong and called the attention of the first witness to the fact. - Mr Albert Hind, Surgeon, said he was called to the residence of the deceased on Thursday at half-pat twelve. He found the deceased suspended by a cord (produced) from the railing of the staircase. The face was perfectly cold and deceased had evidently been dead some hours. There was a very slight feeling of warmth about the heart and waist which was not unusual in such cases several hours after death. The deceased's feet were about two inches from the stairs. From the position in which the body hung witness was of opinion that the deceased committed the act himself, and that death took place on the Thursday morning. Deceased when found was dressed in his working clothes, but he had neither coat nor boots on. - The Jury returned a verdict that the deceased Committed Suicide by Hanging Himself whilst in an Unsound State of Mind.
TIVERTON - A Man Killed On The Railway. - Last Thursday night, a labourer, named JAMES CAPE, aged 53, for many years an inmate of the Tiverton Union Workhouse, was killed on the line near Horsdon, between Tiverton and the Junction. CAPE, who was suffering from a disease of the spine which incapacitated him from work, discharged himself from the Workhouse last Tuesday, telling the porter he was going out for a change and would be back again in a few days. He had previously left the House in the same way and had returned. It seems that deceased was of a melancholy disposition and very indolent, it being at times almost impossible to get him to undergo the exertion necessary to keep him in good health. After leaving the Workhouse on Tuesday, when he was in his usual state of health, he spent the remainder of the day and also Wednesday in walking about the town. On Thursday he passed the hours in much the same manner; the last that was seen of him was about six o'clock in the evening when he was walking past Old Blundell's towards the Station. Just before six o'clock on Friday morning before it was light, William Redwood, a young labourer, working for Mr W. W. Martin, at the Palmerston Hotel, and who lives at Halberton, was taking a short cut to his work along the line when almost opposite Horsdon House he stumbled over a mass of flesh which he supposed to be a dead bullock. To satisfy his curiosity he struck a match, when, to his horror, he found he had fallen over the dead and mangled corpse of a man. Without waiting to take more than a hurried glance at the mutilated body he started off as quickly as possible to Tiverton to raise the alarm. Failing to make anyone hear at the Railway Station he ran on to the Police Station and told P.S. Perry of what he had found. The Sergeant, with a stretcher, and with other assistance, went to the spot indicated by Redwood and there saw the body of a man with one leg off and other just hanging on to the body with a piece of skin. P.S. Perry examined the body and found the back of the head smashed in, and other injuries. The body was removed to the mortuary at the Infirmary and was there recognised as that of JAMES CAPE. It is obvious that deceased was run over by the last train from the Junction into Tiverton on Thursday night, blood, bone and flesh having been found on one of the wheel-guards of the engine. Neither the engine-driver nor the stoker, however, noticed any unusual circumstance during their journey. - The Inquest on the body of the deceased was held at the Tiverton Infirmary on Saturday afternoon before Lewis Mackenzie, Esq., Borough Coroner, and the following Jury:- Messrs. J. Harwood (Foreman), James Willis, P. H. Payn, T. W. Northam, C. H. Deeks, J. Bidgood, P. Arthurs, H. Commins, G. Chapple, A. Arthurs, A. Jarman, J. Towell and R. Thorne. - Police Superintendent Green represented the Great Western Railway Company and Superintendent Crabb the Borough Police. The Jury having viewed the body the following evidence was taken:- William Kingdon, porter at the Union Workhouse, said he had known deceased as an inmate of the Workhouse for the last four months. Deceased left the Workhouse last Tuesday morning, at a quarter past nine, on his own account. On Monday deceased said he meant to go out for a couple of days as he thought it would do him good. On Tuesday when he left the House deceased said he should be back again in about two days. Witness did not again see him alive. On Friday witness saw the body and recognised it as that of JAMES CAPE. Deceased was a single man, and was 53 years of age. He was disabled and so could not work; he was suffering from an injury to the spine caused by the kick of a horse. Deceased always seemed rational in all he said and did. - William Redwood, a labourer, working for Mr Martin at the Palmerston Hotel, said he left his home at Halberton to go to work just before six o'clock on Friday morning. He walked down the railway and when opposite Horsdon House stumbled over something. Witness thought it was a dead bullock, and struck a match to look at it. He then found that it was the body of a man. The legs were lying over the rails and his head towards the hedge. The body was on its left side. The right leg was cut off and was lying across the metals. Witness hurried off to the Tiverton Railway Station and shouted. Not making anyone hear he went to the Police Station and informed the Police of what he had found. He afterwards went back with the Police and the body was then lying in the same position as when he found it. He did not know deceased. - By Supt. Green: Witness did not go on to the platform of the Station to call for a porter. - P.S. Perry said he was called to go to the Railway near Horsdon on Friday morning. He there saw the body of a man lying on the right side of his back. His legs were across the line; and one leg was cut clean off, and the other was terribly mutilated. The back of his head was smashed. Witness examined the line for some distance on both sides of the body, and towards Tiverton found pieces of flesh and bone on one side of the rails, which showed that deceased must have been killed by the train running into Tiverton. Witness afterwards examined the engine and found on the guard rail a lot of hair. Witness searched deceased and found on him a pocket knife and pieces of rag and paper, but no money. There was nothing to show by what means deceased came by his death. His walking stick and hat were lying some distance from the body. Deceased was lying about 12 yards on the Tidcombe side of the level crossing. - By the Foreman: There was neither flesh nor blood on the buffer of the engine. - Charles Haynes, engine driver between Tiverton and Tiverton Junction, said he drove the last train between those two places on Thursday night. He did not notice anything unusual during the journey. It was a dark night but there was no fog. The lights of the engine threw a good light in front. Witness did not think he would be likely to see anything on the ails at the point where the body was found as he would be looking out for the signals which were just at that spot. He always opened his whistle just before getting to the level crossing. - By the Foreman: Witness did not think he would notice a jolt of the engine caused by anyone being knocked down. The guard would strike the head of the person laid on the rails, but witness did not see how, if a man laid his head on the rails, his legs could be cut off. - By the Coroner: It would be possible for a man to be knocked down by an engine and for his legs to be cut off and his head injured. - Dr Cullin said he was called on Friday to examine the body of the deceased. He found the whole of the back of the head pulverised, and had no doubt that something large and travelling very swiftly had hit it. The right leg was completely severed just below the knee and the bones of the left leg were crushed. The left leg only hung on to the body by the skin. There were two small cuts on deceased's face, over the right eye. The body itself was not injured. - Superintendent Green pointed out that there was no blood on the buffers of the engine. - Mr W. J. Penney, Master of the Tiverton Union Workhouse said he had known the deceased a long time as an inmate of the Workhouse. He did not know that there was anything the matter with deceased's head. He was of a melancholy disposition and had very little energy. Witness had heard since Friday morning from one of the warders, named Charles Mills, that on one occasion, when deceased left the House some years ago, he distributed several things he had in his possession among other inmates and said he was going out to "make a hole in the water." Witness had not heard that he had since threatened to take his life. No special precautions were taken with him. He was a quiet man and did not interfere with anybody or give trouble. - P.C. Sparkes, Coroner's Officer, said he could trace the movements of the deceased on Thursday up to six o'clock in the evening. He was then near the Tiverton Railway Station. He had some drink at the Prince Regent early in the day, but there was nothing in his manner which seemed unusual, or which aroused the thought in anyone's mind who saw him, that he was going to commit suicide. He was perfectly sober when last seen. - The Coroner briefly summed up, pointing out that there was no evidence to show how deceased got on the line or how he came by his death. He thought under all the circumstances of the case their best plan would be to return an open verdict. - Mr Commins inquired whether the morbid and melancholy state in which deceased was said to be by the Master of the Workhouse, was not a kind of insanity. - The Coroner pointed out that although the man was said to be melancholy, he was also said to be well behaved and he required no unusual attention. - The Jury consulted together in private and afterwards returned an Open Verdict of "Found Dead."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 5 November 1889
WINKLEIGH - Strange Death Of A Girl. - Considerable interest has been aroused in the little village of Winkleigh and neighbourhood by the death by drowning of MAUD MARY PARKER, aged 9 years, the daughter of a labourer. On Wednesday in last week she was missed from her home and after a search extending over six days she was found in the river Taw about 500 yards from her father's house. An Inquest was held last Wednesday before Mr H. W. Gould, Deputy Coroner, and a Jury, when JESSIE WARD (father of the deceased), Charles Sampson, P.C. Waldron, P.S. Mitchell (Chulmleigh), James Tippers and Mr J. Tucker (Surgeon, Chulmleigh) gave evidence. - Several of the witnesses spoke of the deceased having threatened to drown herself. There was no evidence to show how deceased got into the river and a verdict of "Found Drowned" was returned.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 3 December 1889
CREDITON - Fatal Accident At Crediton Station. - EDWARD TOWNING, an engine-driver, in the employ of the London and South Western Railway Company, met with a shocking accident at Crediton Station on Friday morning. It appears that TOWNING was a driver of a shunting engine, which leaves Exeter at an early hour in the morning for Yeoford Station for the purpose of shunting the goods trucks, and when this work was completed his task was to convey the 8.15 a.m. goods from Yeoford to Exeter, sometimes having occasion to stop at Crediton by signal. On Friday his work had been completed at Yeoford, and on nearing the Station at Crediton, steam was shut off with the intention of running through the Station at a slow pace. When near the signal-box, the deceased was seen to go on the footplate, which surrounds the engine, with an oil can for the purpose of oiling some parts of the works. As he was passing through the Station he fell from the footplate on to the platform, rolled underneath the train and the wheels of several trucks and the guard's van passed over both his legs and the lower part of his body. The train which was going very slowly, was at once stopped and assistance obtained, but the unfortunate man was dead. The lower part of the body was dreadfully mutilated and death must have been instantaneous. The body was removed to one of the porters' rooms and Dr Campbell and Police-Sergeant Fursdon were sent for. The deceased, who is about 36 years of age, had been in the service of the Company for many years, and was highly respected by the railway employees. He leaves a widow and five children. - The Inquest was held on Saturday afternoon at the Railway Hotel, Crediton, by the Deputy Coroner (Mr H. W. Gould). - Mr Henry John Foster, Inspector of Police on the London and South Western Railway, watched the proceedings on behalf of the employees. Mr Elias Browning was chosen Foreman of the Jury. - J. H. Higgs, Locomotive Inspector on the London and South Western Railway, identified the body. - John Percy, a fireman on the London and South Western Railway, residing at Heavitree, Exeter, said he went on duty on Friday, at 3 a.m., with the deceased. They took a goods train to Yeoford Junction, and at 8.30 a.m. started on their journey to Exeter. When nearing Crediton they observed that the "distant" signal was against them, and, on passing it, witness blew the whistle to get the "stop" signal (which was some distance in front of them) off. The signalman pulled it off and the deceased said "Right away," meaning by this that they were not to stop at Crediton Station. He continued, "I'll put a little drop of oil in," and taking up the oil can he went out on the foot railing of the engine. Witness, in the meantime, attended to his own duties, after which he looked out on both sides for the deceased. He, however, could not see him, but he noticed that the guard, who was stationed in the end van, was putting up his hands. He stopped the engine, and saw the deceased lying on the line on his face, with his head between the rails. TOWNING was a steady man and he had never known him to suffer from attacks of giddiness. At the time of the occurrence the train was proceeding at the rate of from 12 to 14 miles an hour. - By Mr Foster: TOWNING wore nails in his boots. - (Mr Foster to the Coroner): That might account for his slipping. William Pengelly, a signalman, employed at Crediton Station, who was in his box at the time of the accident, stated that just after passing the box he saw the deceased take the oil can in his right hand and grasp the handrail of the weather board with his left. He then put his left leg forward to leave the weather board for the purpose of getting on to the footplate in the front part of the engine. Letting go his grasp on the hand rail of the weather board, to catch hold of the hand rail of the boiler, he failed in his object, missed his footing and fell between the platform and rails. Witness at once signalled the train to stop, and left his box to go to the assistance of TOWNING, whom he found in the position described by the second witness. He was quite dead. - John Pook, a guard, corroborated. - Mr Walter Scott Campbell, Surgeon of Crediton, proved examining the body. The upper part of the right thigh was completely shattered, and the left thigh was also broken, but was not so much torn. There was also a scalp wound at the back of the head. - The Coroner, in summing up, observed that the occurrence was a very sad one and he was quite sure that the Jury would, as he did, extend their sympathies to the widow and the little ones, who had been left behind. - The Jury then returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette), Tuesday 10 December 1889
BROMSGROVE WORCESTERSHIRE - Sudden Death Of A Molland Woman. - An Inquest was held on Monday at Fockbury, Bromsgrove, by Mr A. H. Hobbert, Deputy Coroner for East Worcestershire), touching the death of MARY ANN CARTER, 28, a widow, from Molland, who was employed as a general servant by Mrs Tapp, of Fockbury Farm. From the evidence adduced it appeared that the woman went to bed on the previous Friday night, in her usual good health. About five o'clock the next morning, however, Mrs Tapp heard loud screams proceeding from deceased's bedroom, and on going to the room found the woman in a fit on the floor. Mrs Tapp bathed her head and administered brandy and a doctor was sent for. The woman recovered from the fit, but was soon seized by another and after coming round again, exclaimed to Mrs Tapp, "You looked after my father; you will look after me, won't you?" Deceased then died and when Dr Keep arrived he pronounced life extinct. The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from Natural Causes." It is a remarkable fact that the deceased was only married last summer and within a month her husband committed suicide at Molland by hanging himself.
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette),. Tuesday 17 December 1889
HEMYOCK - Mr Coroner Cox, of Honiton, held an Inquest here on the body of a lad named SMITH, employed by Mr Joseph Farmer of Newcott, Clayhidon. Deceased was sent with a horse and trap to the Hemyock Butter Factory, and in descending the road between Lemon's Hill and Five Bridges, the trap was upset. It is supposed that he must have been urging on the horse at a reckless pace or that the animal must have bolted. Mrs T. Lowman saw the horse and trap travelling at a furious pace and just after they were out of sight she heard a smash. Hurrying with all speed to the spot she found the trap upside down and a part of it across the lad's stomach. SMITH groaned once after her arrival, but she had not strength to lift the trap off him and before she could fetch help he was dead. The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."
Tiverton Gazette (Mid Devon Gazette),. Tuesday 24 December 1889
EXETER - Some days ago a boy named WILLIAM CHERITON, aged 13, of St. Thomas, Exeter, was at Whitstone, where a bull got loose from a shed. A labourer named Arnold and the deceased tried to catch the animal, but as it got angry Arnold said, "BILL, we had better give it up." CHERITON continued, however, to chase the bull and it turned on him. Seeing the bull close up to him, he fell on the ground. The animal caught him up with its horns and carried him several yards. Arnold went to his assistance and the bull knocked him down also. It again turned on the boy and Arnold went for his employer, Mr White, who drove the bull away. The lad subsequently died in the Devon and Exeter Hospital and at an Inquest the Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death." It was stated that the deceased had teased the animal several times.