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Colonial Cases

1862-1863 NZ

COLONIST, 3 January 1862


A coroner's inquest was held on Wednesday, the 4th instant, on the body of Alexander Anderson, who was drowned whilst bathing in the Saltwater Creek, as noticed in our last.  The jury, after a careful investigation, returned a verdict of Death by Drowning. ...


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 3 January 1862

From information received from Gabriel's Gully last night, we have to record the discovery of the body of a man on the ranges, about nine miles from that place on the Waipori road.  He was found lying on his side, as if asleep, about 100 yards from the road, and as he was seen there the previous evening, in a state of drunkenness, and the night was a very inclement one, it is supposed that he died from exposure.  No marks of violence were found on the body.  In his pocket there was a miner's right in the name of John Wilson, and the sum of 7 Pounds 18s.  The body of the deceased was conveyed to the Camp, where it lies awaiting the inquest.  It has been identified by his mates as that of John Wilson.


On the 24th December an inquest was held in the township of Hawksbury West, before Captain Fraser the coroner for the district, on the body of Alexander Steele, who was killed by a fall from a dray, on the evening of the 23rd December.  The deceased was a valued servant of F. Jones, Esq.  The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 4 January 1862


Dec. 2. - The son of Mr. G. Rennie, farmer, on the Springs Track, was drowned whilst crossing the forks of the Rakaia on a flax raft.


OTAGO WITNESS, 4 January 1862

A boy was drowned at the Waipori on the afternoon of the 1st inst.  He was in the act of crossing the river with a dray, when the stream caught him and carried him away.  The lad's name was Robert Muntree.


PRESS, 4 January 1862


On Thursday an inquest was held by Dr. Coward, on Arthur Stanley Brittan, the son of J. Brittan, Esq.; who was drowned on the morning of New Year's Day.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased, with a younger brother, were bathing at an early hour, in the River Avon.  Not being a very expert swimmer, and liable to cramp, he seldom ventured out of his depth; on the present occasion, however, from causes not known, he was observed suddenly to miss his footing, and was carried away by the rapidity of the current.  His younger brother courageously made two attempts to save him by diving, but was unable to do so, though he once nearly succeeded in grasping him by the shoulder, but the strength of the stream was too great for him to retain his hold.  He immediately called assistance, but though his father made more than one attempt to save him, he did not succeed.  The body of the deceased was not found for some time afterwards; when Dr. Parkerson, who was in attendance, pronounced the hopelessness of any attempt to restore animation.  The jury, by their foreman, Mr. H. [E?] Alport, gave a verdict of "Accidental death, from drowning.' ...


COLONIST, 7 January 1862


AN inquest was held yesterday, at the house of Mr. William Ratt, Waimea South, before Thomas Connell, Esq., Coroner, on the body of William Ratt, between eleven and twelve years of age, who came by his death through falling from a bullock-dray on Friday evening last.

   From the evidence it appears that deceased was entrusted to take home a cart which belonged to Mr. Wallace, a lad named Arnold accompanying him.  This lad, after being questioned by the Coroner as to the nature of an oath, was sworn, and gave his testimony as follows:

   I knew W. Ratt, the younger, now deceased.  On Friday evening last I saw him driving a bullock c art; he was sitting in the c art with his legs hanging out in front at the near side.  I got into the cart with him.  In turning a comer of Mr. Curren's ground the near wheel struck against a stay of the fence, and the cart capsized; the side board of the cart struck deceased on his neck - it struck him while he was falling; he never called out at all.  Just before the accident he said 'Gee' to the bullocks, but he never spoke again that I heard.  I jumped out over the bullock's tail as the cart was going over.  I then ran for Mr. Coleman, and told him what had happened.  The bullocks were walking pretty fast, but not trotting; he was driving carefully, and not playing tricks.  I was in the cart when his father parted from us, after putting him round the corner.

   The doctor's evidence proved that death was caused by the base of the skull having been fractured, and the jury returned the following verdict: - "That the deceased died on the 3rd day of January from accident, having been killed by the accidental upsetting of a bullock cart which he was then driving."


An inquest was held at the house of Mr. Templeton, Boulder bank, on December 12th, on the body of Joseph Walker, a halfcaste, who was drowned in the Wairau river.  Verdict 'accidental death.' 


LYTTELTON TIMES, 8 January 1862


An inquest was held at Mount Four Peaks station (Messrs. Walker and Lance) by Dr. Rayner, the coroner, upon the body of John Boyd, who dropped down dead whilst engaged in cutting a piece of wood on Saturday December 21.  From the evidence given by Dr. Butler the surgeon, it appeared that the deceased had extensive disease of the heart, an aneurism of the aorta, which satisfactorily accounted for his sudden death.  The jury, under the direction of the coroner, returned a verdict accordingly.

   Another case of death has been reported to the coroner of a man who in attempting to swim across the river Waitangi was washed down and sunk, but the body has not yet been recovered; it is said the man had a considerable sum of money upon him.




A Coroner's inquest was held at Waimea-south, bon Monday last, by Thomas Connell, Esq., Coroner, and a jury, of whom Mr. Joshua Bird was elected foreman, on the body of William Ratt, aged eleven years, who had met his death in consequence of the upsetting of a bullock dray which he was driving.

   The Coroner and jury having viewed the body, the following evidence was received.

   Thomas Oldham, being sworn, said: I am member of the Royal College of Surgeons, and reside and practice at Wakefield.  I knew William Ratt the younger, whose body has just been viewed by the jury.  His age was between eleven and twelve years.  I was called to see him on Friday night last.  He was then dead in his father's arms.  I examined his body, and found an abrasion of the cuticle on the right side of the face, active hemorrhage from the left ear, and mucus, mixed with blood, oozing from the mouth.  The base of the skull had been fractured by a blow, and death caused thereby.

   William Ratt, bring sworn, said: I am father of the deceased.  About ten minutes before his death I saw him driving a bullock cart near my house.  I told him to be careful of the corners and bad places.  I put the cart round the first corner, and saw him in the straight road.  About twenty minutes afterwards I heard some one call out to one of my children, "George, your brother is dead."  I immediately ran across the field, and saw George Coleman, who had the deceased, holding him by the arms.  I believed that he was then still living.  I did not see the accident.

    George Coleman, being sworn, said: I saw the deceased driving a bullock cart.  There was a little boy named Arnold with him.  Shortly after they had passed me the little boy came and said that "Willy Ratt was killed."  I went at once to the place, and saw him lying on the ground between the cart and the wheel, the cart being capsized.  I picked him up and called for assistance.  The road is a wide one, nearly a chain wide, and is level, but there is a sharp turn where the cart was upset, and, to me, it appeared that, in turning this corner, the wheel had struck the spur at such an elevation as to upset the cart.

     James Arnold, the younger, being sworn, said: I was with deceased in the bullock cart on Friday evening last.  In turning the corner the near wheel struck a stay of Mr. Curren's fence, and the cart upset. The side-board struck the deceased on his neck as he was falling.  He did not call out.  I jumped over the bullock's tail as the cart was going over, and I ran for Mr. Coleman.

   The jury, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of "Accidental death."


COLONIST, 10 January 1862

We have more than the usual number of accidents this month. ... A somewhat similar accident, but attended with fatal consequences, happened to a young lad about twelve years of age, the dray having been upset and striking him on the neck.  A coroner's inquest was held, and a verdict of "accidental death" was retuned.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 10 January 1862

An inquest was held on Wednesday at the Police Station, West Taieri, before H. Howarth, Esq., Coroner, on the body of the man who was drowned there whilst bathing on the 31st ult.  The mates of the deceased having left the place since that time there was no evidence to show what the name of the deceased was, and a verdict of accidental death was returned on the evidence of the ferryman and others who witnessed the occurrence.




On Monday last, the 6th inst., an Inquest was held at the Waterloo Hotel, Kai Warra, by M. Kebbell, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and an intelligent Jury, on view of the body of Charles Radford, who was found dead on the Saturday evening previous.  From the evidence, it appeared that deceased had been missing for an hour or two on Saturday afternoon, and on search being made, he was found the same evening in an outhouse belonging to the hotel, with his throat cut across, having evidently committed suicide.  From the nature of the wound, death must have ensued almost immediately.  The deceased had been observed to be in a melancholy state of mind for some time previous, caused, it was thought, by his altered circumstances.  The jury, after mature consideration, returned a verdict of temporary insanity.


COLONIST, 21 January 1862


[Before His Honor Mr. Justice JOHNSTON.]



Joseph Ellis was placed in the dock, charged with the wilful murder of Esau Russ, on the 2nd of November last.

   The prisoner pleaded Not Guilty of wilfully doing it, and appeared very much affected.

   The following were the jury empanelled:- Daniel Moulder, Wm. M'Gowan, John M'Artney jun., George Merritt, Duncan M'Intosh, Robert Martin, Richard Maxwell, Wm. Meads, James Mann, Wm. Million, Robert Murray, Jonathan Meyers.

   [Evidence by Henry Lewis, Surveyor; James Wratten, labourer; Elizabeth Bolton, wife of Edward; Francis Bolton, aged 12; Jesse Redwood, farmer; Mary Ann Bolton; Henry Redwood; Charles Redwood.]

   F. A. Laking, sworn: Am a surgeon residing at Richmond, and am member of the Royal; College of Physicians  Remember being called on to attend a coroner's inquest on Monday, the 4th November at Mr. Redwood's.  Examined a body there - Esau Russ's; it was so decomposed that by the features I could not recognise it; but on examination found it to be that of Esau Russ; saw a lacerated wound in the throat above the right collar-bone; should say it was caused by a gun discharged about two feet from the body, in consequence of the back powder near the wound.  Examined and probed the wound - it must have caused instant death; the wound was slanting upwards.

   Cross-examined: It appeared to me that deceased must have been looking out at the door when he received the shot.

   [Witnesses for defence, George Walker, constable; John Palmer, innkeeper; John Thomas, farmer.]

   The Counsel for the Prosecution having briefly addressed the jury, and his Honor having carefully summed up, the jury retired at 25 minutes to 5, and returned at 10 minutes to 6 with the verdict of Manslaughter. [Ten years' penal servitude.]


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 21 January 1862


DEATH BY DROWNING. - It is our melancholy duty to record the death by drowning of Mr. William Stewart, who built, and who has since managed, the Wahaparata Mill on account of the Native proprietors.  He was last seen alive on Wednesday evening, by Mr. Moon, and on Thursday his body was found in the Ngaroro, where the unfortunate man had gone to bathe, and to which his footsteps were traced.  An inquest upon the body was held on Friday, at Clive, when the jury, after hearing the evidence, returned a verdict of "Found drowned."  The deceased was a native of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and was much respected by both races.


It has latterly been our task to record many deaths under very painful circumstances.  We have now another addition to the list.  Some numbers since we mentioned the disappearance of Mr. G. Imrie, formerly owner of a sheep station, but who had latterly sold it.  The body of the unfortunate man was found on Sunday morning by a native named Utiku, whose attention was attracted three days before by a disagreeable smell.  It was discovered in a small creek about 150 yards from the public road, and about 300 yards from Mr. I. McKain's.  The creek contained three feet of water, was covered with raupo and toi-toi, and considered highly dangerous.  Deceased was last seen alive by Mr. Elwyn at 9 p.m. on the 3rd inst.  He was then suffering from the effects of drink.  He said he wanted to go to Mr. F. McKain's, and Mr. Elwyn put him on the track.  He was not seen again alive, and had, no doubt, fallen into the creek on his way and perished.  An inquest on the body was held yesterday, at Petane, before T. Hitchings, Esq., coroner, and a jury.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 22 January 1862

An inquest was held before the Coroner, Mr. Howarth, on Monday, at the residence of Mr. John Jones, Manor Place, on the body of Isabel Caroline Fenwick.  From the evidence, it appeared that the deceased, a child five years of age, was the daughter of Fairfax Fenwick, stock owner of Otapopo.  On Saturday the deceased with two more of Mr. Fenwick's children and a nurse left the station in a bullock dray which was drawn by six bullocks, conveying Miss Mary Hobbs to Moeraki; as the dray was descending the hill on the banks of the Otapopo Rover, the dray went over a large flax bush, and the jolt threw Miss Hobbs back in the dray with one of the children in her arms.  The children screamed and the bullocks ran away, and the driver could not overtake the dray to stop them.  The clothes of the little boy caught the wheel of the dray, and he was dragged from the arms of Miss Hobbs who was almost unconscious, Miss Hobbs was then thrown out.  The driver ran back to pick up the little boy, leaving the bullocks to go on, and when he and Miss Hobbs got to the dray, they found that the deceased had fallen out and been  run over b y the near wheel of the dray.  The nurse-girl and the other child had held on to a box at the back of the dray and were unhurt.  Miss Hobbs went back to the station for assistance.  Dr. Nelson, of Dunedin, gave medical evidence, and the jury found a verdict of "Accidental Death."


   Owing to the absence of the Coroner at another inquest at the Taieri, the inquest on the body of the unfortunate man who committed suicide on Monday, has been postponed until to-day.






Matilda Eliza Haslam was indicted for having, on the 22nd October last, murdered her female child.

   Prisoner pleaded not guilty.

   [Evidence by Patrick O'Connor, labourer; Robert Shallcrass, Sergeant-Major of Police; Thomas Harley; Edwin Edwards, sergeant of police.]

   George Williams being sworn, said. I am a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, and reside at Nelson.  On the 2nd November last I examined the body of a female child which was in a shed at Winterburn's hotel.  It was lying on a table beside a narrow box.  The face was much decomposed, the right eye was gone, and the orbit filled with maggots.  I saw no external marks of violence upon the body.  Putrefaction has set in so that I could distinguish no external mark.  The brain was congested.  The right cavities of the heart and vessels leading from them were distended with blood; the lungs were also congested.  I saw no mucous froth in the trachea or lungs.  The stomach was empty.  I saw no internal marks of violence.  It was a robust child, and I fancied it, from the circumstance of its having two teeth in the centre of the lower jaw, to be from eight to twelve weeks old.  The child may have been some weeks younger.  It is my opinion that the child died from asphyxia from suffocation, caused by placing something over the moth and nostrils, or in the mouth and so into the passages.  I imagine that the child was suffocated, but I cannot say by what precise mode.  I had no means of telling whether the child had become suffocated by accident or had been wilfully suffocated by some person.  It had not died by an ordinary cause of death.

BY THE JUDGE: I do not think it possible from the post mortem appearances that the child died from alcoholic poisoning.  I cannot say whether the child had convulsions before death.  The administration of a table-spoonful, or even a less quantity to a struggling child while lying on its back would be very likely to suffocate it, because its efforts at breathing would draw the liquid into the trachea, and the irritation caused thereby would make the glottis close and so stop breathing.  Death would then occur within minutes.  I do not think that, in such a case, life would last for a quarter of an hour.  A table-spoonful of rum and peppermint, if the rum given were of full strength, I think, might have caused strangulation.  I do not think a child of that age could swallow such a quantity.  Such an irritating liquid as rum would bring on a cough directly. 

   Having before me all the symptoms I have ob served with regard to the child, and now hearing read a portion of the prisoner's statement, I think, from my medical experience, that it is consistent with the cause of the child's death, except that I do not think the child could have lived for a quarter of an hour.

   [Further evidence by Robert Shallcrass, John Sharp, clerk to Resident Magistrate; Mary Brigham, lodging-house keeper, Wellington; Richard Maney, boatman, Wellington.]

   James Williams being sworn, said: I am a surgeon residing at Wellington.  I attended the prisoner on the 2nd October last, at the house of Mrs. Brigham.  I went there between eight and nine in the morning, and prisoner had then been confined about twenty minutes.  I attended her up to about the 13th of October.  She had not a very good time, but decidedly did not lose her milk, nor did she complain about it.  I gave her no medicine that would take away her milk.  She did not complain about her child, which was healthy.  It was not a large child.

BY THE JUDGE: Prisoner paid me her account on the 14th October.  She said she was going to Nelson by the Wonga Wonga a few days after.  Mrs. Brigham saw me at her house on the last day I attended prisoner, that would be on the 11th of October.

Cross-examined: During the time I attended prisoner she had rheumatism, and I recommended a mustard plaister.  I gave her castor oil, and some anodyne medicine.  Anxiety of mind might affect a woman's milk, and make her child fretful.  All sorts of nostrums are given to children when fretful, but I do not think that spirits are. I do not know when prisoner left Mrs. Bingham's.

BY THE JUDGE; I may have told prisoner not to touch spirits, but I do not recollect.  I never allow my patients in such cases to take spirits.

   [Confusion on verdict.] - The jury then retired and remained absent for a very considerable time and, on their return, said they found the prisoner guilty of manslaughter through having administered an overdose of rum and peppermint.

   [Long address by Judge.] I shall therefore sentence you to imprisonment, with hard labour, for twelve calendar months. [Some dissent was here expressed by the auditory, ...]


OTAGO DAILY NEWS, 23 January 1862

An inquest was held on Tuesday, January 21st, at the Taieri Ferry, on the body of William Stamford, the man who was killed there on the 18th by the explosion of a gun.  John Gair, a miner, and mate of the deceased deposed that, about 7 o'clock on Saturday night, 18th January, he was standing beside the deceased's dray, which was standing about 200 yards from the Taieri Ferry Inn.  They were going to camp for the night, and the deceased was about to remove some swags off the dray.  A double-barrelled gun was lying on the top, and he took hold of the gun first.  The muzzle was pointed towards the fore part of the dray where the deceased was standing.  Deceased took hold of the gun by the muzzle, and when he was pulling it off the dray, the trigger must have caught in some-thing, for the gun went off and shot him.  The deceased had himself placed the gun on the top of the swags on the dray, but the witness Gair had not heard the man to whom it belonged, tell the deceased that it was loaded.  Before he died the deceased told Gair that he had asked the owner of the gun whether it was loaded or not, but had not heard the reply.  Stamford lived for about seven hours after the accident, and did not say that he attached blame to any body.  The owner of the gun went on with the rest to the diggings.  R. C. Petterson, who had witnessed the accident, confirmed Gair's account of it.  T. J. T. Williams, a duly qualified surgeon, and medical man, was examined as to the cause of death, and the jury found a verdict of accidental death."  The deceased man had been only a fortnight in Otago, and had come from Black Creek, near Maryborough, Victoria, where he has left a widow.  The witness, Gair, stated before the Coroner that he wished the widow to have the proceeds of the horse and cart.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 24 January 1862


To the Editor of the OTAGO DAILY TIMES.

SIR, - Have the bodies of the two unfortunate men who were lately drowned at the Molyneux Ferry been recovered?  If so, has there been a coroner's inquest?  I fancy the answer to the latter question will be a negative one. ....


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 25 January 1862


INQUEST AT WAIPUKURAU. - On Saturday last, the 18th inst., an inquest was held at Goodwin's Hotel, before Charles R. English, Esq., coroner for the district, on the body of Ebenezer Russell, who was accidentally drowned whilst bathing in a creek at Newlands, an out-station belonging to H. R. Russell, Esq.  A verdict was returned of "Accidentally drowned whilst bathing."


OTAGO WITNESS, 25 January 1862

The inquest on the body of the boy who was drowned on New Year's Day while attempting to cross the Waipori River, was (after several adjournments), concluded on Monday evening.  A large number of witnesses were examined, and from their evidence it was found that the boy's master, who was with him at the time, had been warned that the river was unsafe to cross, but after seeing a spare horse of his cross it, he ordered the boy to go on.  The deceased said "I may get drowned," and the master rejoined "do as you are told," and he was going to follow him with his teams, when the current upset the cart and the boy was carried down the river.  A great delay took place before the ferry-boat could be got to the spot, and where it was, there was only a batten and a part of an oar to work it with! the man who was in it admitted that he had never been in a boat before.  One of the witnesses said that if the men who were on the banks of the river had had the presence of mind to throw a rope, the deceased might have been saved.  The body of the deceased had been found about 5 miles below the ferry, after being 11 days in the water; it was in a very decomposed state, but it was identified by his uncle.  The boy's parents reside in Wellington.

   The Jury returned a verdict of "accidental death," coupled with the following presentment: - "On retuning a verdict of accidental death in this case, we cannot separate without expressing our conviction that the Ferry arrangements are in a very defective state, and would urge upon the authorities to take immediate steps to put them upon a proper and more satisfactory footing, and more especially that a proper boat under the management of a ferryman be at once placed upon the Waipori River.


James Scotias.  Location not at all clear>?>??





It will be remembered that the unfortunate man was tried before His Honor Mr. Justice Johnston at the Supreme Court, Wellington, on the 3rd day of December last, for the Wilful Murder of Ensign William Alexander of Her Majesty's 65th regiment, at Wanganui, and sentenced to death by hanging. ... After hanging the usual time, the body was cut down and placed in the coffin, to await the Coroner's inquest.


Yesterday afternoon, an inquest was held at the Wellington Gaol, before Mark Kebbell, Esq., the Coroner, and a respectable jury, on the body of James Collins, color-sergeant of the 65th Regiment who was convicted at the Wellington Assizes. ...


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 6 February 1862

COMMEND us to the Coroner of Dunedin, Mr. Howorth, for his logical and reasoning powers. ...

   The feeling was so strong in favor of an examination into the cause of the death of Mr. Isaac M'Culloch, whose decease, it was alleged, was accelerated, if not produced, by his being refused admission into the Hospital, that a petition was got up to the Coroner, requesting him to hold an inquest.  His reply we give at length in another column.  Its substance is to the effect that Dr. Wilson having certified that the immediate cause of death was inflammation of the brain, he considered he should be exceeding his duty were he to hold an inquest for the purpose of investigating matters not relevant to the cause of the death of the deceased. ...[Long editorial.]


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 7 February 1862






FATAL ACCIDENT. - A considerable gloom has been cast over the neighbourhood of Masterton by the death of young Mr. Gilbertson, of Te Ore Ore, from the effects of a pistol shot in the abdomen.  It appears that the deceased and Mr. R. Collins, J.P., were out on the evening of Saturday, the 1st instant, endeavouring to shoot as fowl with revolver pistol, and that after they had been firing about half an hour, Mr. Collins's pistol, which had previously hung fire, suddenly went off, and deceased exclaimed "Oh!" at the same time holding his hand to his left side, although Mr. Collins was at the time standing on his right, thus leading to the conclusion that the ball must have struck some object, and hit the deceased as it rebounded.  Before his death, deceased repeatedly said in the hearing of his attendants that no blame whatever was attached to Mr. Collins, it was entirely an accident.  Mr. Gilbertson was nephew to Mr. Northwood, of Wellington, and also to Mrs. Collins.  In the absence of a regularly appointed Coroner, an inquest upon the body was held before V. Smith, Esq., J.P.  The jury, of which W. H. Donald, Esq., was foreman, after a full enquiry, returned the unanimous verdict of "accidental death."


COLONIST, 11 February 1862

In Saturday, January 18, Pepene, a Maori, was charged with killing a Maori woman, his wife or concubine, on the 16th of September last, at the Buller on the West Coast. ... Murder: Guilty.


OTAGO WITNESS, 15 February 1862


A bullock driver, named Wm. Mason, who had been injured by a fall from a bullock dray at Tokomairiro some days previously, died on Saturday last, and an inquest was held on his body, at the Albion Hotel, Dunedin.  A verdict of accidental death was returned.

   A man named David Thompson, a seaman, who had arrived per Genevieve, died at the Queen's Arms Hotel on Sunday last.  An inquest was held on Monday, resulting in a verdict of death from natural causes.

   On Saturday last the coroner, Mr. Howorth, held an inquest at Port Chalmers on the body of Henry M'Intyre, who had committed suicide by cutting his throat with a carving knife. By the evidence it appeared that the deceased was suffering from delirium tremens, and the jury found a verdict accordingly.



An inquest was held on Friday, at Tuapeka, on the body of John Burton, who was found dead under rather strange circumstances.  A jury having been impanelled, Cornelius Egan deposed that he was a driver of the escort cart, and that he had known the deceased for two or three years in Geelong, Victoria.  He arrived at Dunedin on the 29th of October, per Frederic, from Geelong.  He had always known the deceased as a sober man, and believed that he had mates working at the Waitahuna diggings.  Did not think he had much money when he arrived at Otago.

   James Cullingford stated that he came from Geelong with the deceased, but had only known him on board ship by the name of "Jack."   Recollected seeing him about two days after arriving in Dunedin, but had not seen him since that time until he saw his dead body.  Always knew him to be a sober man.

   John Whyatt, baker, had, on Thursday morning, at about half-past 5, seen the deceased lying on his face in a stream of water, not 18 inches deep.  He was passing the place with his bread cart, and observed that, although the head of the deceased was covered with water, his back and feet were quite dry.  He did not touch the body or make any inquiry.

   Thomas Harrington visited the place where the body was lying, and found marks as though deceased had missed his footing.  There was a miner's tent about six yards from the place where the deceased was found.  Did not know the deceased.

   John Swain, constable, had, in consequence of information received, proceeded to the vicinity of the Junction, and there found the deceased lying on his face, in a small stream, of water, with his arms underneath him, and his hands tightly clenched.  The spot where he was found was about four yards from the crossing place, and an equal distance from a miner's tent.  Had gone to this tent, but could find no one in it.  On the person of the deceased he found a mole-skin purse, containing nine sovereigns, one 5 Pound note, two 1 Pound notes, and 2s. in silver.  In one of his pockets he also found a sovereign, 12s. in silver, and two deposit receipts on the Bank of New South Wales, one for 50 Pounds, and the other for 20 Pounds.  There were various other documents found on his person, including two bills of sale of horses, from Joseph Firly, of Geelong, to J. Burton, of the same place.  Had found the horses and brought them with the dray to the Junction.  Could not glean any further information, or find any one who had seen the deceased on the evening preceding his death.

   Richard Close deposed that he was a duly qualified medical practitioner, and had examined the body.  Could not find any marks of violence upon his person, and believed that deceased had met his death by drowning while in a state of intoxication.  On being asked how he came to this conclusion, he stated that on pressing the stomach a mucous forth appeared at the mouth, which smelt strongly of ardent spirits.  He had not made a post mortem.

   Major Croker then mentioned that as the evidence was very inconclusive, he should order a post mortem to be made on the body of the deceased, and in the meantime the police would endeavour to obtain further information.  Later in the evening he would again call the jury together.

   A little after 6 p.m. the jury met, when Dr. Close stated that he had opened the deceased, found his liver greatly enlarged, and other symptoms of disease engendered by previous habits of drinking.  He had no doubt but that deceased was drowned while in a state of intoxication.  A verdict was accordingly returned of accidental death by drowning.

   An inquest was held on Saturday, at the Royal Hotel, Port Chalmers, before the District Coroner, on the body of Henry M'Intyre, who had committed suicide in his lodging-house there by cutting his throat with a carving knife.  By the evidence it appeared that the deceased had been suffering from delirium tremens at the time he committed the rash act, and the jury returned a verdict in accordance with that fact.  M'Intyre was a stranger in the neighbourhood, having recently arrived from the diggings, and is supposed to have come to Otago from the province of Auckland.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 20 February 1862


An inquest into the circumstances attending the death of the seaman, who was found drowned at Port Chalmers on Monday, was held at the Hotel there, on Tuesday, by the District Coroner.  From the evidence it appeared, that the deceased, whose name was James Fleming, had expressed to his mates on board the Young American, lying at Port Chalmers, his intention of escaping from the ship, and showed one of them a life-buoy which he had manufactured out of cork and canvas, to enable him to swim ashore.  Subsequently he was missed from the ship.  Another attempted to escape, but he was seized with cramp in the legs, and was obliged to cut the clothes from his body and call out for assistance, which was given him by a boat putting off from the ship, and while that boat was returning they found the deceased floating on the water, with his back up and his head below the surface.  He exhibited no sign of life, and all the attempts made to restore animation were unsuccessful.  That his death was caused by the swag of clothes and belt with which he burthened himself was evident, and the jury returned the verdict of "Accidentally drowned."




We regret to hear that Mr. Newton, the importer of Towton into this province, was drowned in the Taieri river last week.  From what we can learn it appears that Mr. Newton had safely crossed the river, and lost his life in going to the assistance of Mr. Seal, who had been washed off his horse.  Mr. Seal escaped with his life. - LYTTELTON TIMES, January 25.


An accident which we regret to say, resulted in the death of Mrs. Caroline Slater (wife of Mr. W. Slater, and sister-in-law to Mr. F. Slater, Solicitor, Christchurch), occurred on Tuesday, the 21st instant.  At the inquest which was held on Tuesday last, before Dr. Coward, and a very respectable jury, the following particulars of this very melancholy event were taken:-

   William Slater, being sworn, said, I reside on the River Hinds; I took my wife for a drive to Alford Forest, on Tuesday, the 21st instant.  On returning home, my little daughter saw some flowers she wanted to gather in the Ashburton river bed.  I drew up for that purpose, and my daughter got down to gather them; as the steps of my carriage were rather high, I alighted myself to assist her up.  I left the reins on the dashing board; I was standing not more than two yards from the horse's head, with my back towards him; I heard my wife call our "Wo!" to the horse; I turned round and saw the horse had put his head down to his fire leg, and rubbed the top of the head stall partially off his ears, and was just galloping off; I sprang forward to get hold of the shaft, but missed my aim; I saw my wife drop into the bottom of the carriage; the horse then galloped the whole distance home, about two miles and a-half, and in attempting to turn the corner of the stock-yard, where there is a steep terrace, the step of the carriage caught the bank, when it turned over twice.  Two men who were in a hut close by, ran down, and carried my wife up to the garden; she was insensible at first, but shortly afterwards came to and asked for some water; I then came up myself, and she said she did not think she was much hurt, only bruised; she then got up, and with my assistance walked into the house, I placed her in an easy chair, and shortly afterwards at my wish she retired to bed.  The next day she appeared better; on the second day after the accident, she got worse; when I sent for Dr. Morris, he came immediately, and his opinion was, that she was not dangerously hurt; he gave her medicine, and remained the day; about one o'clock on the same day, I went into her room and found a great alteration; I immediately called Dr. Morris; he felt her pulse, and said there was a great change for the worse.  Mr. Moorhouse was then sent for, who arrived about nine o'clock, and conformed Dr. Morris's statement; my wife gradually sank, and died shortly after Mr. Moorhouse's arrival.  This being the whole of the evidence, Mr. Slater, who was deeply moved throughout, retired.  The Coroner and Jury expressed deep sympathy for Mr. Slater, in his bereavement, as do also the public at large.  The Jury shortly afterwards returned a verdict of "Accidental Death." - Standard, January 30.


OTAGO WITNESS, 22 February 1862



An inquest was held on Monday, at the West Taieri, on the body of a Frenchman, named Rigan, who had died at the back of Maungatua on Wednesday last, from the effects of eating tutu berries.

   George Wilson, also a native of France, deposed: That on the previous Wednesday he, two other men, and the deceased were on their way to the diggings by the West Taieri Road.  They camped that night on the face of Maungatua and after pitching the tent, witness and the deceased went down the side of the Hill and gathered some branches of the Tutu and brought them up to the tent where they all tasted them.  Witness and deceased then went up the hill, while their mates were preparing tea and eat heartily of the berries, picking them off the plants.  When the witness had eaten sufficient he returned to the tent leaving the deceased still eating the fruit.  He remained about five minutes after the witness, and shortly afterwards he complained of a swimming in his head. He tried to eat something, but   said he could not do it as everything appeared to be turning round.  He then lay down and in a few minutes afterwards fell into a fit.  Witness and his other mates thinking that he might be subject to fits threw cold water on his face, and did all they could to bring him too, not having any idea that the fit was the result of the Tutu that he had eaten.  

   In a few minutes the deceased came to, but almost immediately relapsed.  From this latter fit, he only partially recovered, when he looked very vacant, and soon after went off again.  Witness then ran up to a tent on the top of the hill to get assistance, and he mentioned to the men there, that they had all eaten of the Tutu, and the men told him that it was probably the cause of the illness.  The men in the tent then returned with him, and they found the deceased in strong convulsions, so strong that he had to be held down.  The witness himself was then taken ill, but was not so bad as the deceased, although he had two fits, and was insensible during the night.  He had vomited a great deal, but he did not think the deceased had done so at all.  When the doctor came next morning, the deceased was dead, and witness was nearly well.

   Daniel Soarez, another of the mates of the deceased, corroborated the statements of the previous witness, and stated that he had known the deceased, - who was a Frenchman - for about eight years.  He did not know the Christian name of the deceased, although he had been with him both in California and Australia.  In Sydney they had lodged in the house of a man named Lion, George-street, and whilst there, he had seen the deceased leave a pocket-book and some papers in the hands of the Italian Consul, whose name he did not know.  No one had ever told him that the Tutu was poisonous, or none of them would have eaten it.  He had not seen any posters warning parties.  They were all perfectly sober at the time.  The deceased did not vomit at all.  During the fits he foamed at the mouth.

   Dr. James Shirley said he had been called to the tent of the deceased on Thursday morning, but the deceased was dead when he arrived there.  There were no marks of violence on the body, and the eyeballs were dilated as if from the effects of a narcotic irritant poison.  He had not made a post mortem examination as it would be useless, unless the contents of the stomach could be analysed, and he believed there was not an analytic chemist in the province.  He knew the tutu to be poisonous.

   After hearing the foregoing evidence, the jury returned the following verdict:- "That the deceased died from the effects of eating the tutu plant;" the jury also requested the Coroner to present as petition to the government praying them to take such necessary steps as would warn strangers coming into the colony of the poisonous nature of the tutu plant, the berries of which have already caused serious illness to nine persons in the West Taieri district within the last nine weeks, one of which has proved fatal.

   An inquest was held at Port Chalmers on Tuesday on the body of James Fleming, the seaman who was drowned on the previous day, when attempting to swim ashore from the "Young American."  A verdict of accidental drowning was returned.




An inquest was held, yesterday, at the Wakatu Hotel, on the body of George Sherratt, who had died the preceding evening, in consequence of having ruptured a blood-vessel.  The jury, having heard the evidence of Dr. Sealey, Mrs. Sherratt, and Mr. Nesbitt, returned a verdict, that the deceased had met his death in consequence of the bursting of a blood-vessel.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 24 February 1862



An inquest was held at the Port Chalmers Hotel on Friday afternoon by Mr. Howorth, the Coroner, on the body of Alfred Harwood, a seaman belonging to the ship Young America.

   John Joyce deposed to finding the body on the beach at the heads, a little below high water mark, and slightly imbedded in the sand.  He found a pair of boots fastened to the belt round his waist.  He brought the body to Port Chalmers.

   Alonzo Merchant, second officer of the Young America, deposed that he knew the deceased, he was one of the seamen belonging to the Young America.  Shortly after the vessel had anchored at the heads, on the 12th inst. he missed some of the men, he had them mustered, and found three missing, the deceased was one of the missing ones.

   Robert Watts said he was a seaman belonging to the ship Young America.  On the night of the 12th inst., he was on deck with the deceased, he saw him step up on the rail to jump overboard, deceased told him he was going to swim ashore, he did not try to prevent him as he knew it was intention to desert from the ship, deceased had a pair of boots, two shirts, and a pair of drawers fastened to the belt round his waist, he told deceased he was afraid he would not reach the shore with that load, deceased replied "he could cut them adrift."

   The jury returned the following verdict, "that the deceased was accidentally drowned while endeavourng to desert from the ship Young America.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 26 February 1862



The inquest on the body of Edward Hull, who was drowned when coming on shore in a small boat from the steamer Sampson, was held at the Provincial Hotel yesterday, before the Coroner, Mr. Howorth.

   John Avery said he had been a fellow passenger with the deceased on board the Mary Scott, from Victoria to Otago, where they arrived on Tuesday last, and immediately proceeded to Dunedin on board the steamer Sampson.  It being low water at the time, the steamer was not able to get to the jetty, and several small boats came off to take the passengers on shore.  The witness waited until the last boat, as the others were all so heavily laden, and then  he with the deceased and seven other men got into the boat, taking with them their swags and several carpenters'' tool-chests.  The boat was laden to the gunwhale, and after leaving the steamer a heavy ground swell came on and the water rushed into her amidships.  The boatman tried to bail her out and threw the chests overboard, but she broached to and overturned.  The deceased, who was sitting beside witness, fell on the left side of the boat, and when in the water attempted to catch hold of a swag to support himself.  Not being able to do this, he sank.  Witness first supported himself by a swag and then got on to the boat.

   The boat contained 9 passengers, 2 boatmen, 18 swags, and 3 chests of tools, weighing about 3 cwt.  She was about 16 feet long, 4 feet 3 inches in the beam, and witness who was a shipwright, did not consider her capable of carrying more than six passengers, without luggage.

   There were over as hundred passengers on board the "Sampson," and the engineer of that vessel told witness that unless nineteen went on shore in the two boats, they would have to go back to Port Chalmers at their own risk on board the steamer.  The same boat the previous trip took about eleven, and it was the luggage which caused her to be overloaded.  There was about 12 cwt. On board - quite enough load without any passengers.  She was about half full of water when she came alongside the steamer.  The boatmen were not at all to blame, and they did all in their power to render assistance, and he had not objected to go in the boat, as he did not at the time think there was any danger.  It was the engineer of the "Sampson" who directed the loading of the boats.  The captain was on board, but he did not appear to have charge of the vessel after she anchored.  When the witness was landed at the jetty, he heard several people say one of the passengers was missing.  The accident happened about mid-day.

   Charles Thatcher, another of the passengers, said he had gone ashore from the "Sampson": in the fifth or sixth boat.  There was quite a rush to the first boats and he warned a female who was getting into one of them not to do so, as she might be drowned.  When there were about twelve persons in one of the boats, he got into it thinking that no others would do so, but the engineer of the "Sampson" said there was plenty of room and put in some heavy luggage and some more passengers into it.  Witness said to the engineer "You dare not put any more people into this boat," to which he replied, "If you do not go in this boat, there will not be any more boats to take you ashore."  Witness also cautioned the boatmen, and endeavoured to get out of the boat, but could not, as the boat was a little distance from the side of the vessel, and he was jammed in by boxes.  Water came into the boat before she left, and before she reached the jetty she was nearly swamped.  He did not see the last boat leave the vessel, but he knew the deceased who was a steerage passenger on board the Mary Scott from Melbourne.  He did not see the accident happen.

   F. L. C. Flint, the purser of the Mary Scott, also recognized the deceased as a passenger by that vessel.

   George Sondy, another passenger in the Mary Scott, related the particulars of the accident in much the same terms as the first witness, except that he said he did not hear the engineer say anything, but his hearing was rather defective.  The boat was laden to the gunwhale, but was not taking in water while alongside the Sampson.

   James Pie, the master of the Tamar, at present lying off Dunedin, said that about half-past two o'clock on Monday he saw a boat heavy laden with passengers.  He heard the passengers call out, and immediately afterwards she upset.  Witness immediately lowered his boat, and with three other man rowed to the spot, and picked up six men, whom he conveyed on shore, when finding that there were some missing, he returned and made search and found the body of the deceased.  From the appearance of it he judged from his nautical experience that the boat was too heavily laden.  The water where the accident occurred was 7 feet 6 inches or 8 feet deep.

   Thomas Farrel said he was a licensed waterman and owner of the boat "Slip." When he observed the "Sampson" coming up the harbor, he went off to her and brought off a load of passengers whom he landed safely and then returned for another load.  When he got back to the steamer she had gone about a hundred yards further out.  The engineer of the "Sampson" asked him if he could take off all the remainder of the passengers, some sixteen or seventeen.  Witness replied that he could not take more than ten, and another boat came up and took ten of them on board.  The remaining eight or nine then got into his boat with their swags; there were also three chests, one of which contained carpenters'' tools, and the owner of it told him that it weighed 2 cwt.  The other two were light, as if filled with clothes. 

   Witness said to the engineer that the boat was too heavily laden, and he replied, "Your boat is right enough, you will be able to get them ashore."  Witness then pushed off.  The gunwhale was about five inches above the level of the water; it it had been level with it, he could not have left.  It was blowing hard at the time, although it was calm under the lee of the steamer.  The tide was running out.  Witness did not think there was any danger provided the passengers sat still.  After leaving the steamer some 50 or 60 yards, a few light sprays came over the passengers.  They tried to avoid it, and went rather to one side, and the boat then shipped some water, the passengers then went to the other side, and she shipped water on that side also. 

   Witness then told his mate to bale her out, and asked the passengers to sit still.  At this time she had shipped about three bucketsfull of water.  The passengers tried to trim the boat, but as she continued to ship water, witness threw some of the luggage overboard.  Some of the passengers then jumped overboard, and their weight on the side overturned the boat.  They were only some 50 or 60 yards from the Jetty at the time and witness and his mate, turned the boat over three times to see that there was no one under her.  The boat was not more heavily laden on the second than on the first trip, and on former occasions he had carried fourteen passengers with their luggage in the same boat.  He received sixpence each for the passengers, and for the two trips the captain paid him for nineteen.  The luggage was paid for by private arrangement with the passengers.  He did not know what weight the boat was capable of carrying.  He heard two of the passengers say that they wished they had gone by the previous boat, as it was not so heavily laden.  There was no change in the weather.

   Sergeant Black said he had searched the clothes of the deceased, and found on him a purse containing 1 Pound 3 s., and a passenger receipt for ship Mary Scott, from Melbourne to Otago, a pocket book, and a key.  The passage receipt bore the name of Edward Hull.

    This concluded the evidence, and the jury returned a verdict of accidental death, accompanied by the following rider:-

   "Before separating, the jury express their opinion that it is necessary, in order to provide for the safety of passengers, that Government be urged immediately to adopt such effective measures as shall prevent licensed watermen from carrying more than a limited number of passengers.

   Also, to express their admiration of the zeal and prompt assistance rendered by John Pie, chief officer of the "Tamar," with his boat's crew, in rescuing the survivors." [See Editorial.]




On Saturday the body of a man was found on the beach at Porakaune Bay, about four miles from Otago Heads, and was brought up to Port Chalmers for identification and for the purpose of an inquest being held as to the probable cause of death.  The body, which was found by ex-pilot [R.] Driver, was much decomposed, great part of the face being gone, as well as the flesh on the hands and legs.  It bears no external marks of violence, and, from its general appearance, seems to be that of a seafaring man - probably of one of the unfortunate men who were drowned in attempting to desert from the ship "Young America," during her stay at Port Chalmers.  The body in the mean time lies at the Port Chalmers Hotel, awaiting the Coroner's inquest, which takes place to-day.  [See OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 4 March; not identified; Inquest verdict, "Found drowned."  [James Fleming, Alfred Harwood, this body; who is Grey? - see OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 11 April.


COLONIST, 4 March 1862


A miner named Martin Wilson, a native of Sweden, met his death a day or two ago while digging, by the falling in of a large quantity of earth in his claim.  In company with his mate, he had been engaged in what is termed 'stripping,' that is, partially undermining a portion of ground upon which a face has been made, and then by cutting a trench on the surface, at a distance from the edge, causing the mass to fall over.  Considerable care is required while the undermining is being carried on, as the mass is at all times liable to topple over.  On this occasion a trench had been dug about three feet from the edge of the face, and the party were busy undermining it, when a large portion fell over, burying Wilson, and partially covering his mate; the latter escaped with a few bruises, but the former on being dug out, was so terribly crushed, that death must have been almost instantaneous.  The deceased was a single man of somewhat dissipated habits.  The body lies at the Commercial Hotel, Junction, where an inquest will be held.





Yesterday, an inquest was held at the Resident Magistrate's Court, Lyttelton , before the Coroner, W. Donald, Esq., and a respectable jury, of whom Mr. Willcox was foreman, to inquire into the circumstances toughing the death of Thomas Shewry, aged 37, whose body was found floating in the water near Dampiers Bay, early the same morning.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased, who had lately commenced business in Lyttelton as a merchant, having arrived from England in the Sebastopol, had been unwell for some time, and was then suffering in his mind from the effects of intemperate habits. On the night previous to his deceased, he was staying at Gosnell's boarding house, and is supposed, at about 4 a.m., to have dropped from the window of his bedroom and gone down to the seaside.  The jury gave a verdict of "Found drowned, the deceased having been of unsound mind since the 28th of February, but how he got into the water there was no evidence to show."





An inquest was held on Tuesday, the 4th march at the Red Horse, Waimea-east, before Thomas Connell, Esq., the Coroner, on the body of Thomas Walker, who had been found lying dead in his whare in Aniseed valley.

   Mr. Richard Wallis having been elected as foreman, the jury proceeded to view the body.  The following are the more important particulars of the evidence which was received.

   William Aldridge, being sworn, said: I am a labourer, and live in Aniseed valley, Waimea-east.  I knew the deceased, and last saw him alive on Saturday week last.  He worked for Mr. Hackett, and was much addicted to drink.  I saw him dead in his whare on the 28th February last.  I did not see any marks of violence about him.

   Frederick Augustus Laking, being sworn,   said: I saw the body of deceased yesterday afternoon.  It was then much decomposed.  I saw no appearance of violence.  In my opinion, so far as I can form a judgment, the cause of death was apoplexy of the lungs, resulting from exhaustion, probably caused by intemperance.

   The jury returned a verdict, "That the deceased died on the 28th February, from apoplexy of the lungs, caused by intemperance."




'On Wednesday last, while the schooner Gipsy, M'Cann, master, was lying at anchor in the Buller river, the master went ashore in his boat to look for some passengers who were coming from nelson.  While his attention was called in another direction, a seaman named Philip Cuttins, who had assisted in rowing him ashore, took advantage of it, and, going to a tent, soon obtained a quantity of intoxicating liquor.  He returned to the boat drunk, whereupon the mater immediately ordered him into the head of the boat, where he sat until they arrived alongside the Gipsy.  When on board, the master ineffectually tried to persuade Cuttins to go below.  All hands were soon after very busy in heaving the anchor, and making ready for sea, and word was given to one of the seamen to go out and loose the jib; Cuttins refused to allow any one but himself to do this; he went out, and speedily an alarm was raised in consequence of hearing him fall into the river, which was then running at about four miles an hour.  The cry of "Man overboard" immediately caused some men on board to get into the Gipsy's dingy, but although it rowed about for some time, assisted also by a whale-boat from the Mary nothing was seem of the body.  The following morning both Captains M'Cann and M'Lean went in different directions along the beach without seeing any trace of the deceased.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 26 March 1862


An inquest was held on Mon day morning before Dr. Coward, coroner for Christchurch, on the body of William Henry Piper, a child of three and a-half years of age, who was drowned in the river Heathcote, near the Lime kilns at the back of the Rev. Mr. Wilson's.  The jury returned a verdict of accidental death, and at the same time desired that the attention of the authorities should be directed to the dangerous state of the road in this locality, which turns abruptly round a steep and unenclosed portion of the river.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 29 March 1862

There is a rumour of some one being drowned in one of the Waiiaki Lakes, but no name has transpired as yet.



Jan. 28. - A man named Moody was crossing the Waimakiriri, at Kaiapoi, in a boat, and whilst taking a strong pull one of his oars snapped in two, and precipitated him into the river.  The unfortunate man instantly sank and rose no more, leaving a widow and large family to mourn his loss.

Jan 29.  An inquest was held in Christchurch to enquire into the circumstances leading to the death of a carter named Hurrell, who was killed on the Lower Lincoln Road on a previous day.  It appears that the man was taking a load of bricks in a cart drawn by two horses, and had injudiciously taken a seat upon the shafts, from which he accidentally fell, and one of the wheels passed over the base of his skull, crushing his brains out.  Of course the ill-fated man died instantly.

Feb. 10. - Thomas McCoy, aged 26, a native of Glasgow, formerly a sailor, was killed on the Ferry toad, Christchurch, by a dray passing over his body, after he had been knocked down by an ox attached to another dray.



Accidents, more or less serious, proceeding from want of proper care on the part of men employed in excavating, have been of frequent occurrence lately.  A fatal accident to a man named William Glass, proceeding from this cause, took place on Thursday afternoon in the Cutting, at the top of Princes-street.  From the evidence adduced at the inquest held yesterday, before H. Howorth, Esq., coroner, it appears that the deceased was engaged in excavating a trench for the purpose of detaching a large block of earth from the embankment, when the mass, rendered rotten by the rain, fell upon him, inflicting such injuries as to cause instantaneous death.  The jury returned a verdict of - "Accidental death."


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 11 April 1862



An inquest on the body of John Cross, whose death, under suspicious circumstances, has already been reported in the Daily Times, was held yesterday, by the District Coroner, at the Court-house, Port Chalmers.  John Morris Grey, the young man charged with being concerned in the death of the deceased was present at the enquiry, in custody of the police.

   After the jury had been charged by the Coroner, who stated the law bearing upon the different degrees of homicide, the jury proceeded to take a view of the body where it lay in the shed adjoining the Port Chalmers Hotel, and on their return to the Court-house the following witnesses were called:-

   Thomas Emerson, seaman, said he had lately been engaged as an oysterman at Blueskin Bay, and had a share in a fishing boat which he used there, along with the deceased, John Cross.  On Sunday evening last, the deceased and he, with Alfred Warren, Thomas Reynolds, and the man present in court, who was a stranger to him, left Dickson's Half-Way House, on the Blueskin Road, for their tent on the opposite side of the Bay.  While they were on their way the boat got aground.  The deceased, along with the stranger, jumped out and tried to push her off, while those in the boat assisted them by shoving with the oars, but they did not succeed.  Immediately previous to this, a quarrel had arisen in the boat, and some words passed but no blows were exchanged.  The words which passed, were between Reynolds and Cross, about the one taking the steer oar out of the other's hand.  While they were quarrelling, Grey, the stranger, lifted a bottle of whisky which they had in the boat, and was in the act of striking Cross when the witness took it from him.  When this occurred, deceased said to Grey "Never you interfere with mates when they quarrel," and Grey said he was sorry if he had done anything wrong.  After the boat appeared to be thoroughly aground, Warren, Reynolds, and witness remained in it.  The deceased and Grey proceeded in the direction of the shore, and shortly after they left, perhaps about a quarter of an hour, he heard the deceased cry out, "Tommy Fixins, for God's sake come and save me; I am drowning."  He called to him, and told him he could not swim, so there was no use leaving the boat."Tommy Fixins" was a nickname of the witness, in Victoria.  By this time he heard some one coming towards the boat, it proved to be Grey, who came back wet all over, and without his cap.  Witness asked him if he had been swimming, and he replied that he had been over his head in the water, and had lost his cap. Witness gave him some whisky out of the bottle, and asked him, is he could swim, to go and save his mate.  Grey said he could swim, as he had escaped by swimming from the Young America, and, when he went over the side of the boat, witness lighted some matches to let them see where it lay.  Neither Grey nor the deceased ever returned, but, for about a quarter of an hour, he heard both deceased and Grey calling out to each other, and deceased continued to call for help.

   Afterwards the sounds ceased, and those in the boat thinking both of them had got ashore, lay down on a sail and a swag they had in the boat, and slept until she floated in the morning.  As soon as she floated, they steered her to the beach, went ashore, and proceeded to Dickson's house to get breakfast.  They enquired if the deceased had been there, and were told that he had not.  They had two or three drinks, and started again to return on foot to their camp, taking half a bottle of spirits with them.  When on their way along the beach, witness called the attention of the others to something lying on the sand, above low-water mark.  Before going to the spot, he called the attention of two persons who were travelling along the road, and those persons accompanied them to the object, when it turned out to be the body of the deceased.

   The body was lying with its face on the sand.  One of the strangers turned the body over, and he saw that there were two cuts beneath the eyes, and some blood about the face and on the front of his trousers.  He assisted to carry the body above high-water mark, and then proceeded to give information to the police.  He could not say exactly, but supposed the boy was found about 400 or 500 yards from where the boat had lain.  He did not think there was not, at high water, more than a depth of four feet in the space between the boat and the shore.  Deceased was a good swimmer, and was accustomed to wade in much deeper water than there was on the bank at the time he attempted to go ashore. To the best of witness's knowledge, deceased had not had more than three or four drinks during the day, and he was so sober as to persuade them to come away from the house, to carry a swag to the boat, and to steer her after they went afloat.  Grey had "shouted" for them in the inn, and had some drink from them in return, but he was not drunk.  He was the worse for liquor, but could walk down to the boat, and knew well enough what he was about.

By the Jury:

When the boat grounded, he thought the tide would be about half-ebb.  They did not see the body on their way to the inn, as it was high water.  When they returned it was about three in the afternoon, and was about dead low water.  With five of them in her their boat would draw about a foot of water.  He could not say exactly, but he thought there could not be more than eighteen inches of water where the deceased tried to get ashore.

By Inspector Weldon:

There was no quarrel between the deceased and Grey during the day.  He could not say whether they struck each other in the boat or not, at the time the bottle was lifted.  They might have struck each other without his seeing them.  The deceased and Grey had no words when leaving the boat.

By the Jury:

He (witness) was too drunk to go out into the water on a dark night to save a man who was sober and could swim.  On hearing the cries, he asked the prisoner who could swim to go.

   Thomas Reynolds, seaman, Port Chalmers, examined by Inspector Weldon, gave evidence similar to that of the previous witness.  The party had had drink in the accommodation house, but were sufficiently sober to know what they were doing, and to walk a mile and a half to the boat.  There was no altercation among them on shore.  When the boat was shoved off deceased asked the accused where he was going, and he answered that he wanted to go to Young's, as his blankets were there, and it would save him the trouble of going round the bay.  After they had made sail deceased came aft, and said "give me that oar; I'll steer the boat myself;" and witness gave the oar to him: when he continued to steer the boat until she got aground.  Witness and deceased had some words together when that happened and while they were speaking the prisoner lifted the bottle as if to strike, but last witness took it out of his hand.  Did not recollect if the prisoner said anything.  Afterwards deceased and witness ended their quarrel, and shook hands.

   About five minutes after the deceased and prisoner left the boat, heard the deceased cry out for help, as he was drowning, and he continued to call out for about ten minutes, when the prisoner returned to the boat.  When he came to the boat the first witness asked him if he could swim.  He said he could, and Emerson then asked him to take a drink out of the bottle, and go and save his mate as none in the boat could swim.  After the prisoner left the boat, the same cries continued, and some other noises which they could not understand.  This lasted about a quarter of an hour, when the noises ceased, so far as they could hear.  He did not think he heard more than one voice, and that was the voice of the deceased.  His impression was that both had got ashore.

   The cries were not such as those that would proceed from a man who was being ill-used.  It was about half-tide at the time, and there is not more than 3 ½ or 4 feet of water at the time of high water between the boat and the point of the shore where the deceased went.  The deceased, he supposed, went in the direction of the shore they had left, and the body was found in that direction.  Though the water was shallow, the mud along the shore is soft and deep.  When discovered there was a quantity of blood on the deceased's face, and on the ground where the face was lying.  There were footprints on the mud between the body and the bank where the boat had gone aground.

By the Jury:

When the deceased lefty the boat, the loom of the land was easily distinguishable.  When the prisoner came back to the boat he was walking, but had been over head in water, and not knowing where the deceased had got, and not being swimmers, they were afraid to trust themselves out of the boat.

By the Coroner:

When the prisoner lifted the bottle, the deceased did not strike him, but he said to him, "I have a good mind to throw you overboard.  You should not interfere when mates are quarrelling," and the accused said he was sorry if he had done wrong.

   Dr. Nelson, who was next called, stated that he had examined the body of the deceased.  The body was on its back, with the arms partially folded across the chest, and the hands and teeth clenched.  There were marks of blood on the face and neck, abrasions of the skin, small spots over the front part of the neck, and slight extravasation of blood round the neck and on the right cheek.  There were also two wounds on the face, one under each eye, dividing the under eye-lid and the integuments that cover the cheek-bone.  The wound under the left eye was about an inch and a quarter long, and a quarter of an inch deep; that on the right side was about an inch long and merely divided the cuticle.  The edges of the cartilages of the ears were denuded of cuticle and deroded.  Below both ears, on the sterno-mastoid process, were two circular abrasions of the skin, about half an inch in diameter.  Both eye-balls slightly protruded, the left especially so.  The skull was not fractured in any part.  The dura mater and ventricles of the brain were healthy, and the latter contained the usual amount of serum.  The base of the brain was also healthy.   On opening the thorax he found both lungs distended, and full of sero-mucous fluid.  He examined the trachea.  The cartilages showed no marks of violence, but its cavity was filled with frothy mucous, tinged with blood.  From the lips similar mucus e sc aped.  The heart was healthy.  The jugulars and carotids on both sides were entire, and indicated no marks of violence.  The cause of death was asphyxia.

By the Coroner:

The cuts under the eye were caused by a blunt instrument, certainly not by a sharp one.  There were no marks on the prominent part of the face, as would likely have happened had a man been washed over an oyster bed, and the marks under the eye could not easily have been caused by shells, or while the body was on the ground.  The death, in his opinion, was the result of suffocation in water.

By Inspector Weldon:

The wounds under the eye he believed to have been caused before death, but he did not think they could have been so by a razor, unless it was very blunt, neither were they sufficient to cause death.  Shown a razor found on the prisoner, he did not think the wounds could have been caused by it, unless it were used shut.  Without examining them by the microscope, he could not say that the marks on the handle were marks of blood.

   At this stage of the evidence, the inquest was adjourned until six o'clock, the jury having already sat for five hours.

   The report of the concluding proceedings did not reach us to the time of our going to press, but it was considered probable that a verdict of accidental death would be recorded, the evidence not tending to connect the accused with the death of the deceased.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 12 April 1862



On this inquest being resumed, at six o'clock on Thursday evening, at the Court-house, Port Chalmers ---

   Alfred Martin Warren, a cabinet-maker, recently from Victoria, and who has been working lately at his trade at Waikouaito, gave evidence corroborative of that given by the other two men in the boat with the deceased and the accused.  His description of the occurrences in the boat and of the finding of the body, was almost identical with that of the other witnesses.  They bay where the body was found, he stated, is full of crabs and sea-shells, and there was a number of crabs about the body when it was discovered.  There were some footprints about the body, but he could not say whether they were their own or not.  The boots of the deceased were found about two hundred yards from where the body was lying, but whether deceased had left the boat with these on or not, he could not say.

By the jury:

When deceased left the boat witness resolved not to go with him, for, on the previous night he was almost all night in the water with the deceased, and was nearly drowned.  In some parts, the ground was so soft that one might sink to his knees.

   Alexander Dodds, a settler at Blueskin, was next examined.  He stated that the accused had been engaged in dipping sheep with him for several days in the latter part of last week.  Witness was in bed, and hearing a pane of glass broken, he went outside to see who had done it, and found the accused, who admitted he had broken the window, and promised to pay the damage.  He subsequently seemed to become stupid, and denied having broken the pane.  He afterwards went away, but returned next morning, with nothing but his shirt on, carrying his wet clothes in his arms, and having his legs covered with mud.  On being questioned he stated he had slept all night in an empty house near at hand, and had also been at the bayside, looking for his boots, which he had lost.  Witness shortly afterwards found one of the boots near the window which had been broken, and the other at the back of the house.  Witness's wife gave him a shirt and a pair of trousers, and he left with her his other clothes, which she rinsed and dried.  They were quite wet, and had no marks of blood on them, or anything resembling it.  From the noise at the time he first came to the house, witness thought there was another person with him, but he said there was none.  He had a scar on his lip, which he stated he had got in the boat, where they were all fighting.  Witness asked him how he came to his house, and he stated that he had swam from the boat.  His clothes were quite wet when witness first saw him.

   Nicholas Coney, police constable, stated that when the accused was arrested, he denied any knowledge of the deceased, or of having seen him on the Sunday previous.  When asked any question he appeared to be stupid or ignorant.  On being searched at the lock-up a purse containing 14s. was found in his pocket, and in the leg of his boot a razor-case containing a razor, upon which there were what appeared to be some spots of blood.

By the prisoner:

Witness did not see him, when taking his blanket from the tent, at the time he was arrested, take also the razor and place it in his boot.

   James Burnes, sergeant of police, stated that after seeing the body of the deceased at Blueskin, he proceeded over the ranges, about five miles, and found the prisoner engaged in washing sheep.  On being asked where he had been on Sunday last, he said he had been at Dickson's public house, but her said he could not remember in whose company.  When asked if he had not been in a boat in the company of three men on the same evening, he said he had not.  He was also asked if he had heard of a body being found or of a person being drowned in the bay on Monday morning, and he stated he had heard so from a man who had passed by, but he said he knew nothing of the man that was drowned.  He was then taken into custody.

   The accused, on being asked if he had any statement to make, said - I went down to Dickson's last Sunday and got some drink.   Got three or four drinks, and treated the mates who were with me.  About six or seven in the evening Mr. Dickson was about to put us out of doors.  We told him we shouldn't go until we had some more drink.  He said we had had enough, but we persisted, and on promising to go he gave us another round.  After that we got a bottle off him, and I suppose we then went to the boat, but I don't remember getting into the boat at all. I remember getting into the water and "cocoey-ing," but that is all I remember, I have no remembrance of what happened in the boat.  I have nothing more to say.

   This closed the evidence.

   The Coroner having gone over those portions of evidence bearing particularly upon the probable cause of death, and also those parts which he considered to implicate the accused, the jury requested leave to consult, and the Court was accordingly cleared.  After a lengthy consultation, lasting for about three hours, they returned the following verdict:-

   "That the deceased, John Cross, was found drowned on the beach at Blueskin Bay, with certain marks of violence appearing on his face, but how or by what means those marks were inflicted there is no evidence to show."

   To this verdict the jury added the following rider:-

   "That the jury desire to express their indignation at the three men allowing their mate to perish within hailing distance without rendering any assistance, and excusing themselves by sending a mere lad to do that which common humanity required of themselves."

   During the progress of the investigation into the circumstances of this case the limited accommodation of the Port Chalmers Court-house was fully occupied by a crowd of persons curious to hear the evidence and know the result, although it was not until a very late hour that the verdict was returned, numbers waited in the vicinity of the Court until a verdict satisfactory to all the jury was agreed upon.  The jury consisted of fifteen persons, respectable residents of Port Chalmers, and out of the number two were dissentient from the verdict ultimately adopted.

   The accused, John Morris Grey, was yesterday brought up on remand before the Resident Magistrate, at Port Chalmers, when Mr. Tuckwell made application for a further remand until Wednesday next; the accused has, therefore, been, in the meantime, removed to the Dunedin gaol, the accommodation at at lock-up at Port Chalmers being of a very inferior description.  Should such evidence be obtained as to warrant the police in proceeding with a charge against him, it is held by the Magistrates that, irrespective of the evidence taken before the jury on the inquest, the circumstances of the case must be gone into afresh.  But though the police have taken the precautionary step of asking a remand for a short time, there is little probability of any further evidence being obtained, and, with the evidence already adduced, they do not consider they can adopt any course but to relinquish the case.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 17 April 1862



(Before T. A. Mansford, Esq., R.M.)


John Morris Grey, charged with the murder of John Cross, whose death was recently the subject of a Coroner's inquest at Port Chalmers, was brought up to-day on remand.

   On the case being called, Inspector Weldon said his Worship had heard all the evidence which had been adduced before the Coroner's jury, and any evidence additional to that the police had not been able to procure.

   His Worship said that in this case there had already been a very protracted enquiry.  Having been present during the whole time of the inquest, he had been able to hear all the evidence which had been adduced, and the opinion which he then formed remained unaltered. In the face of the verdict which the Coroner's jury had returned, he did not feel justified in discharging the prisoner, more especially as by the 12th sec. of the Coroner's Act is is provided that:-

"Whenever, upon the termination of any inquest held under this Act, a verdict of wilful murder shall have been returned, and in all other cases where it shall appear to the Coroner of Justice of the Peace holding the inquest, that it would be proper that a further investigation into the circumstances attending the matter giving occasion for such inquest, should take place, it shall be the duty of such coroner or justice of the peace to cause a copy of the evidence taken on such inquest to be forwarded forthwith to the nearest resident magistrate, who shall thereupon cause such an investigation as may appear to him to be proper or necessary, to be forthwith made."

He had therefore acquiesced in the application made to him by Mr. Tuckwell, the detective, for a further remand of the prisoner until opportunity should be allowed for obtaining any further evidence which might be procurable.  It seemed, however, that the coroner did not consider it necessary that there should be any further enquiry in the case, for not only had he not sent a copy of the evidence, but his Worship had received no information from him otherwise.  It appeared now that no further evidence was to be adduced, though the police, he assumed, had endeavoured to elicit if additional evidence were obtainable.

   Inspector Wilson interrupted his Worship to state that Sergeant Burns and a constable had been round the district where the circumstances forming the subject of enquiry had occurred, and had been unable to obtain further evidence of value in relation to the case.

   His Worship continued, that no magistrate is justified in committing a prisoner for trial without being convinced in his own mind that a prima facie case had been made out.  By the Act XI and XII Vic., cap. 42, which regulated the preliminary examination in such cases, it was stated that if, " in the opinion of the Justice or Justices hearing the case, such testimony and evidence shall be sufficient proof of the charge made against such accused party, such Justice of Justices shall therefore commit him to the common gaol," &c.

   In this case not only did he consider that no prima facie case had been made out, but he was of opinion that there was no evidence whatever, and he did not consider it right that the accused should be detained in custody any longer. 

   He would like to make one observation upon the rider which had been appended to the verdict, ... To the prisoner he would give one word of caution.  Very little was known of his antecedents, except what he had him self disclosed, and from his own statement he was one of the men who had deserted from the ship Young America, and had effected his escape by swimming ashore.  His Worship hoped he might learn from this in what position he might be placed by one false step.  He entreated him to take warning from what he had experienced, and go and endeavour to redeem his character.  He was now discharged.


COLONIST, 18 April 1862


An inquest was held by the coroner at Motueka, on Monday last, on the remains of William Bundy, the particulars of the discovery of which we gave a short time since.  The verdict was as follows:- "The remains of the said William Bundy were, on the 6th day of April instant, washed up by the sea on the beach at Mutueka, but by what means the said William Bundy came to his death there is no evidence to show."


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 24 April 1862



An inquest was held before Major Croker, on Tuesday, at the Washington Hotel, on the body of Dr. Louis M. Quinlan. From the evidence of Dr. Anderson, who had made the post mortem examination, it appeared that the deceased must have been suffering for a lengthened period from disease of the heart.  The liver was also greatly enlarged, and the rest of the organs in such a diseased state that death might have taken place without any previous warning. The deceased was found dead in bed, after having been left alone for a few minutes.  His arm was resting across his forehead, and he appeared to have died without a struggle.  The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

   The deceased, who was a medical man, had not been long in the province, having arrived since the gold discoveries.  He was well known in Victoria, having for a long time held the position of Coroner at Dunolly and Ingelwood, in that colony.


OTAGO WITNESS, 26 April 1862


On Saturday last, as William Smith, a bullock driver was bringing his bullocks down a rather steep hill near the river Maguire, he was observed to tumble and fall.  On his mate getting back to him he was quite dead.  The body was brought to Wetherstone's, in order that a post mortem examination might be made.  An inquest was held on the body on Monday, by Major Croker, and from the evidence of Dr. Anderson, it appears that the deceased had been suffering from disease of the heart, and that a fall or violent excitement was likely to cause death.

   The jury then found in accordance with the medical testimony, "That the deceased, William Smith, had died of disease of the heart."

   It is believed that Smith has a wife and family at Oamaru, and that the team of bullocks and dray he was driving were his own.


COLONIST, 6 May 1862


An inquest was held on the body of Theodore Lyman, who was found strangled in his tent, at Gabriel's Gully, on Tuesday, the 15th inst.

   Sergeant Thompson stated that, on visiting the tent of the deceased he found him lying on his back, quite dead, with the blankets of his bed smoothly folded over him.  Round his neck was a handkerchief, into which had been introduced a piece of wood, which had been used as a lever to effect strangulation.  There were no marks of violence on the person of the deceased, not any evidence of a struggle having taken place.

   The mates of the deceased gave evidence to the effect that they left him on Monday evening about 5 o'clock.  He was then perfectly sober but appeared to be low spirited.  Never seemed to be quite right in his head.  Had not been lucky in getting gold, but was making wages.  Dr. Close had examined the body of the deceased, and believed death to have been produced by strangulation.  It was quite possible for the deceased to have so tightened the handkerchief himself as to produce death.  He was advanced in years, and in anything but a healthy state.  It was his opinion that the deceased had met his death by his own hand.

   After some deliberation the jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased, Theodore Lyman, committed suicide while laboring under a fit of temporary insanity.

   From the evidence of G. R. Anderson, who had known Lyman, in Victoria, it was ascertained that the deceased was a native of Essex town, Clinton county Michigan, United States.  He was about 60 years of age, and had several sons and daughters married.

   He had been pretty lucky in Victoria, and on one occasion had saved as much as 150 oz., which he attempted to smuggle across the Victorian border into New South Wales.  He was detected, and the gold seized, and ever since that time he was not the same man, but moped and fretted continually.  When he left Victoria for Sydney, it was his intention to have taken a passage for the United States, then to rejoin the family from which he had been so long separated.  The attempt to save a few pounds in the shape of duty had produced this disastrous result, and had so preyed on the mind of the deceased as to cause him to commit suicide.




A very melancholy occurrence took place here on Saturday.  The wife of an old and well-known settler was picking up a log of firewood by the side of her house - a load having been carted to the top of the hill close by during the afternoon, which her son Henry was pitching into the yard, log by log.  One of them bounded and struck her, and next morning she died.  Mrs. Plummer was one of the early settlers, and leaves a large family, several of them grown up.

   The old man Dew, whom I mentioned the other day as father of the Mrs. Dew on whom an outrage was recently committed at the Hutt, met with his death on Saturday.  He was riding on a timber dray at the Upper Hutt, and pitched off by a sudden jerk; the hind-wheels went over his chest and killed him almost instantaneously.  ...




On Monday, April 21, Mr. B. S. H. Broughton, brother of the Principal of Nelson College, after taking part in a game of cricket at Picton, left in the evening, to return to his residence in the west arm of the Sound, in a small boat, with a lug-sail, the weather at the time being rather squally.  As the unfortunate gentleman did not reach home, his friends became uneasy about him, and a search was made for the boat, which was found bottom upwards, having, it is supposed, been capsized in a squall Mr. Broughton's body had not been found.


 We learn from the Southland News that the body of a man, named Fearns, a bullock driver, was found hanging to a tree at the halfway Bush on Sunday, May 4th.  The deceased had been to the Wakatip, but had latterly been suffering from the effects of drink.  An inquest was held, resulting in the verdict, "that the deceased hung himself when in a fit of temporary insanity."

   We are in receipt of news from Invercargill to May 10.  The principal matter of interest, is an inquest held upon the body of a man named Hawkins, a new arrival, who committed suicide, by cutting his throat, on the beach, where he was found dead and cold, on Saturday morning, May 3.  The man, it appeared, had, for some time been unwell, and had applied to be admitted into the hospital, but had been refused admission by the Provincial surgeon, who, however, had prescribed for his complaint.  The chief point of interest in this inquest, was the fact of the Provincial Surgeon, Dr. M'Clure, presiding in his capacity of coroner, and volunteering a statement to the jury.  The verdict is thus reported in the Southland News, of May 10:-

"That the deceased, William Hawkins, met his death by his own hand, by cutting his throat, but whether in a sound or unsound state of mind at the time, there is not sufficient evidence to show.

The Jury desire to attach the following rider to their verdict:-

They feel it their duty to express their un qualified disapproval of the course adopted by the Provincial Surgeon in refusing the deceased admission to the Hospital, it having been ascertained from the depositions of witnesses at this inquest that the deceased was a stranger in this town; that he was, before his death, laboring under a disease to such an extent as to render him a fit subject for in-door Hospital treatment; and, from the medical testimony adduced, they feel that, had the deceased been examined on making application at the Hospital, and received proper medical treatment, he might not have committed the act which deprived him of life."

   "They cannot separate without further expressing their opinion that the offices of Provincial Surgeon and Coroner should not be held by one person, it being in compatible with the effectual carrying our of the duties of the said offices."

The verdict itself having been entered by the Coroner and signed by the Jury, Dr. M'Clure said, -

"Gentlemen of the Jury, to your verdict you have added the rider I have just read in open Court with respect to my conduct as Provincial Surgeon.  Is it your wish that I should forward such rider with the verdict?"

   The Jury replied, "Yes; we should wish it to be forwarded to the proper authorities."

   The Coroner: "That will be to the Attorney-General.  It shall be done."





An inquest was held yesterday, at the Edinburgh Castle Hotel, before Henry Howorth, Esq., Coroner, touching the death of Wm. Robt. Chapman.  After the body of deceased had been viewed, the following evidence was taken:-

   Wm. Spencer, a storekeeper, deposed to having known the deceased.  He had taken luncheon with the deceased the day previous at 12 o'clock, and had gone to Dunedin.  On his return in about two hours, he came back and tried to open the front door of the store, and found it fastened; the back door was also fastened.  Witness then looked in at the window, and saw one of the legs of deceased suspended and the other resting on the table.  When he had obtained the assistance of Mr. Barnes, the door was burst open, and they found deceased hanging by a rope.  One end was fastened to the leg of the table, the other to one of the rafters of the building, and a turn of the rope passed round his neck.  After the deceased had be\en cut down, witness went for Dr. Wilson, who pronounced deceased to be quite dead.

   Deceased had for some years been a drinking man; he was always craving for it, and had often threatened to destroy himself, and witness had on  some occasions had to fetch a medical man to prevent deceased from carrying those threats into execution.  Deceased had been drinking hard on Tuesday night, but he appeared to be recovering from its effects when witness left him before going to Dunedin.  Deceased was in difficulties and witness believed that had preyed upon his mind.  Deceased was forty years of age and a married man.

   Robert Cotton deposed to having assisted Spencer to break open then door of the deceased's store. When they found him hanging, witness immediately jumped up and cut the rope just above deceased's neck; there was no knot tied in rope.  After they had cut deceased down, cold water was procured and sprinkled upon his temples, and Mr. Barber opened a vein in his left arm, the body was in a warm sweat, but he was quite dead.

   Richard Jenkins, an hotel keeper in Dunedin, deposed that he was at the house of deceased, and remained there, after Spencer had left for Dunedin about three-quarters of an hour.  Deceased drank about two glasses of brandy during that time.  They had some conversation respecting deceased's difficulties, and deceased said he had many to contend with.  When wittiness was going away deceased stated to him that he (deceased) would make the b----y house ring before Friday, and that witness would have to come back again before long.

   The jury, after hearing the evidence, returned the following verdict: - "That the deceased had committed suicide while in a state of temporary insanity."



A fatal accident occurred on the 9th at the East Taieri, a man named Moore being killed by falling from his dray.  This man is also understood to have been a Victorian.




An inquest was held on the 15th May, at the Royal Hotel, Blenheim, before S. L. Miller, Esq., coroner, on the body of a young man named Zachariah Bunn, who died rather suddenly on the night previously at the above-mentioned hotel.  It appears that the deceased, who arrived by the Tasmanian Maid on her last trip, had been thrown from a horse while in Nelson, and on his arrival here complained of pains in his hip, and was attended by Dr. Horne.  Low fever intervened, and, notwithstanding all care and attention, he died unexpectedly on Wednesday night.  The jury returned a verdict of "Natural death."  


 OTAGO WITNESS, 31 May 1862

... The rivers up country are all flooded, making travelling inland by no means safe.  One man trying to cross the Makerewa on horse back, some days ago, is supposed to be drowned.  The police have not as yet been able to find the body, although the river has been well dragged.



A coroner's inquest was held on the body of the patient Charles Fern, who died of concussion of the brain on the 5th May, the verdict being accidental death.  This man (Charles Fern) fell down an embankment at Hill-side when drunk, and never spoke after-wards.



Christchurch, May 21.

A melancholy accident has just been discovered - which happened under peculiarly painful circumstances.  On Good Friday last a young man named Stuart, who was engaged in surveying in the Rakaia country, left his party with the intention of proceeding to the station of Mr. Parkes, the head of the surveying staff, which was not far distant.  It seems that he must have lost his way, wither from a mist arising or the darkness misleading him, and wandered about till he fell over a precipice, and broke both his legs in the fall.  He appears to have lingered some time in this dreadful situation, far away from any help, without the least hope of being saved, and scarcely the chance of his body being found; and in this terrible state of mind and body, he employed himself in keeping a record of his feelings.  The fact that he was missing was not known for some considerable time, and when at last a search was instituted, they found nothing more but his poor mangled form and the sad record of his last moments.

   I have not heard any particulars of the inquest, which would be held by the Coroner of the Timaru district.

   A fatal accident happened on Thursday last in Christchurch.  Mr. Sutcliffe, an old settler in Canterbury, whither he came, I have been told, from Otago, was riding home from his farm at Papanui, when his horse getting restive threw him, and he was dragged a considerable distance by the stirrups, suffering injuries of which he expired in a few hours.  I regret to add that he leaves a large family.



On Saturday last a lamentable accident occurred on the North Taieri, resulting in the death of a boy, 12 years of age, the son of Mr. Wm. Fisher, Princes-street, Dunedin.  It appears that the deceased had approached too near a threshing machine which was at work on the premises of Mr. James Stevenson, and, by some means or other he had been drawn into the machinery.  The poor boy at first had his leg broken at the ancle, and a moment after, by another revolution of the machinery, his thigh was broken through.  As soon as possible messengers were dispatched to town to procure medical assistance, and to carry the painful tidings to the boy's parents.  We have learned no particulars further than that the unfortunate boy ultimately sunk under the fearful agonies he suffered, and died shortly after the accident.  Mr. Howorth, the Coroner, proceeded to North Taieri yesterday for the purpose of holding an inquest on the body.




An inquest was held on Monday at the house of Mr. James Stevenson, before H. Howorth, Esq., Coroner, upon the body of William Fisher, of Dunedin, aged twelve years, whose death was caused by his having got entangled in the machinery of a chaff-cutter, as reported in our issue of yesterday.  It appeared from the testimony of Mr. Stevenson, that the deceased had been driving for pleasure, the horses attached to the machine, and had fallen from the part of the machine on which he had been seated, and got his leg caught and twisted by the shaft.  Mr. Stevenson, who was by at the time of the accident, at once rushed to the boy's assistance, and after disengaging him from the machinery, carried him into the house.  Subsequently medical assistance was procured, and amputation was performed by Dr. M'Ewan, and Mr. Shirlan, surgeon, about four o'clock on the following morning, but the deceased expired during the afternoon.

   In accordance with the above particulars, the jury found a verdict of "Accidental Death."


OTAGO WITNESS, 7 June 1862

In reference to the recent death of the man Jeremiah O'Brien at the Woolshed diggings, it appears that the deceased had been drinking all Sunday, and on his return home about 11 p.m., he called at a refreshment tent kept by a man named Gibson.  Whilst there he made use of very abusive language, and Gibson being unwell, went to the tent of a man named Hambrow.  Deceased followed him, and Gibson being exasperated, either pushed or struck him, and the deceased fell down an embankment about ten feet in height into a paddock, containing seven feet of water.  An alarm was raised, and several miners rushed to the spot, and two of them plunged in to endeavour to rescue him.  Owing to the darkness of the night, and the fact of the deceased having sunk, fifteen minutes elapsed before the body was recovered.  Drs. Keen and Yule were promptly in attendance, and every exertion was made to restore animation, but without success.  An inquest was held on Wednesday, when the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter against John Gibson.  A full report of the inquest will be found in another column.  Deceased was a native of Clonmel, Ireland, and for some time previous to his arrival in this colony had resided at Ararat, Victoria.




A coroner's in quest was held yesterday at the Pier Hotel on the bodies of William Childs and Charles William Crowhurst, who had been drowned while out for the purpose of recovering a boat, the property of Mr. Johns.  The evidence was to the following effect:  Tamati, a native, while seeking, on the beach near Wakapuaka, for sticks with which to make fish-hooks, observed an oilskin coat lying near the water's edge, and a short distance beyond it a dead body. He fetched more natives, who examined the body, and at once knew it to be that of Childs.  Tamati then rode into town, and informed the police, and, on the following morning, he and several other natives divided themselves into two parties, ands walked along the beach in different directions to see if there were more bodies, and eventually they saw that of Crowhurst, which presented every appearance of his having attempted to undress himself, his braces and the lace of his right boot being loose; his trowsers were also unbuttoned and en tangled about the legs, and his flannel shirt pulled up from behind.

   The medical evidence proved that death must have occurred about a week since from drowning.  The jury returned a verdict "That death resulted from drowning by accident." ...

[see also next paragraph.]


COLONIST, 10 June 1862

Inquest on Childs and Crowhurst.

... Joshua Thomas Johns sworn: Knew Childs and Crowhurst.  The last time I saw them alive was on the 29th May, when I engaged them to get a seven-ton boat which had got adrift in the bay.  Saw them pulling out in a small boat.  Saw my boat under way about two hours and a half afterwards, which proved that they had got on board; it was blowing rather fresh at the time, and they took the direction of Astrolabe.  That was the last time I saw them.

   Evidence of Tamati.  ....


 COLONIST, 20 June 1862

A coroner's inquest was held at the Prince of Wales Hotel, Howick, on the 16th ult., on view of the body of Eliza Collins, wife of John Collins, laborer, who died in the agonies of suffocation occasioned by a piece of meat sticking in her throat on the 14th ult.  Deceased was in her usual state of health at the time of the accident, and was 44 years of age.  The verdict was 'choked by accident.'

   It is with great regret that we notice the death by drowning, of Mr. John M'Donald, of Waipu, who was lost overboard from the cutter Flora M'Donald, on the night of the 21st ult., when about five miles outside the North Head.  It was dark when the accident occurred, and as the vessel was running before the wind, it was some time before she could be put about, and all efforts to find the poor fellow were in vain.  It is supposed that he must by some accident have lost his balance in passing along the deck, as he was but a short time before sitting on the deck.  The deceased was a steady, industrious man, and was generally respected in the district in which he lived.

   On Friday, May 23rd, a young man of about 29 years of age, Charles Kendall by name, was accidentally drowned at Matakana.  With the particulars of this unfortunate accident we are not acquainted, but the fact itself has been communicated from a reliable source.




At an early hour yesterday morning a rumour was spread through the town that a man named Joseph Simmons, alias Seals about 8- years of age, who resided in the Watermen's house, Queen-street wharf, had fallen over the side of the wharf and been drowned.  Upon making enquiry we learned that deceased had been permitted to reside in the watermen's house for some time, on the understanding that he kept it clean.  The waterman on duty on Tuesday night was Wm. Noyer, and he slept in the house in company with deceased.  About half-past 1 o'clock on Wednesday morning Noyer was awoke by a cold wind blowing in at the door, and he rose for the purpose of closing it, when, turning round, he discovered that deceased was not in the room.  He then looked out to see if he could observe him on the wharf, but failed to do so.   In a short time afterwards, owing to the continued absence of Seals, Noyer again went to the door and called the deceased by name, but was not answered, and, fearing that something had happened, he immediately reported the circumstance to the police.

   Corporal Smith was promptly on the spot with the drags and necessary appliances, and proceeded to search for the body, being zealously aided by the watermen in their boats.  The search was continued until two o'clock yesterday afternoon, when the body was recovered by the sailors of the cutter 'Glance," who observed it floating past their vessel.  The 'Glance' was distant about 100 yards from the watermen's house.  It is imagined that deceased had arisen in the night in obedience to a call of nature, and had either missed his footing or fallen backwards over the wharf.  The deceased was a veteran man-of-war's man, and had seen much active service.  He was engaged under Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar, being one of the immortal "Victory's" crew.  The inquest on the body will be held this day before Dr. Philson, coroner.




An inquest on the body of Catherine Bourne, aged 64 years, was held on Saturday evening last, at the house of Mr. R. Stowe, the Freeman's Bay Hotel, before Dr. Philson, coroner, and a respectable jury - Mr. McLeod, foreman.  Three witnesses were examined, and their evidence went to prove that the deceased was a widow and resided in Drake-street, in a house unoccupied by any other person.  She was last seen alive by a neighbour, named Mrs. Dickenson, about seven o'clock on Friday night, and was at that time engaged in ironing clothes in her own house.  On Saturday morning, in consequence of deceased not making her customary appearance, Mrs. Dickenson looked through the window of deceased's house, and saw her lying on the bed, apparently dead.  An alarm was immediately given, and Mr. Dove, ironfounder, entered the room and found the deceased quite dead and cold.  A post mortem examination was made by Dr. Mathews, when he gave it as his opinion that death had resulted from disease of the heart.  The jury returned a verdict in accordance with these facts.





An in quest was held on Tuesday last, by Mr. J. Breece, Coroner, on the body of John Denny, who was found dead in his boat on the previous day.  From the evidence it appears that the deceased, who was an old man upwards of seventy, left the Tiki on Monday morning apparently in good health, intending to return to his home which is situated on one of the small islands opposite Kikowhakaerere; he was alone, his only companion being a large dog, during the afternoon the dingy drifted to the shore near Mr. White's place in Coromandel harbour; when the deceased was found he was leaning back in the boat and quite dead, from the position in which he was found, and one of the paddles, he appears to have fallen back suddenly in the act of rowing.  The deceased was well known in Coromandel, having resided here upwards of eight years, he lived the life of a hermit and supported himself by fishing and a little cultivation.


 A coroner's inquest was held at the "Settler's Hotel, Otahuhu, on Tuesday, 178th, on view of the body of William Mayhew, carpenter and joiner, in the employment of Mr. John McLeod.  Deceased was engaged with others in erecting a house for Mr. Daniel Lynch, at Mangarie, and was found dead, on the morning of Saturday last 14th inst.  He had been drinking with some persons living on the farm late ion Friday night, and was ordinary much addicted to drinking.  A post-mortem examine nation was performed by Mr. Meredith, surgeon, who discovered a large extravasation of fluid blood between the brain, and the dura mater, which must have occasioned a sudden and fatal apoplexy.  The jury found a verdict of "death by apoplexy caused by excessive drinking."  The deceased was a married man and was of about middle age.


A coroner's inquest was held at the "Royal George Inn," Newmarket, on view of the body of Private George Sexton, 65th regt., who early on the same day was found lying dead, amongst the rocks adjoining Hobson's bridge.  Late on the preceding night, a man (of whose identity with deceased there is no doubt) had been seen at Newmarket, in a half intoxicated state enquiring his way to town, and it is believed that the unfortunate man, while endeavouring in the dark to find the bridge, had stumbled over a precipitous ledge of rocks, in a direct line with the road, and was killed on the spot.  There was a pool of blood close to his head, and a fracture of the skull was discovered by Dr. Goldsboro.  The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death," and in doing so earnestly recommended that the attention of the authorities be called to the imperative necessity of building a stone fence on the verge of the above named precipice, in order to prevent a recurrence of so melancholy a catastrophe.


OTAGO WITNESS, 5 July 1862


Information was received by the police, on Sunday afternoon about 4 o'clock, that a man had hung himself in the bush, between Dunedin and Port Chalmers, about a quarter of a mile from the junction of the old and new roads.  Mr. Gillies, who had happened to be in the neighbourhood when the body was found, had at once ordered it to be cut down.  The way the body was found was somewhat singular.  It appears that a man was collecting a peculiar grass, to stuff a bed, and in an unfrequented spot, about a hundred yards off the road, a dog that accompanied him began barking, and on approaching he at once saw the body hanging about two feet off the ground.  The police had the body conveyed to the Albion Hotel for identification, and to await an inquest.  Beneath the tree to which the body was suspended a stone was found, upon which some words had been scratched.  The words was almost illegible.

   The body was that of a moderately tall man, about 5 feet 9 ½ inches high, and apparently thirty years of age, slightly built, with sandy whiskers all round his chin, long thin features, rather high cheek bones, small chin, no moustache.  Deceased was dressed in a brown monkey jacket, moleskin trowsers, flannel drawers and shirt (shirt apparently new), blue guernsey, drab billy-cock hat, blucher boots and worsted stockings.  On the body was found a small portmonnaie, containing one shilling and one penny, and a Miner's Right, dated Waipori, May 12, in favor of James Milligan, a small chamois bag, pipe, match box, and a portion of a letter with the name of Robert Lobenston, moulder, underneath which was written "I think that will be correct.  I will ask for that address."  But the police thought they made out that the deceased intended to say that his death was an atonement for something.  The stone was taken to the police station.


An inquest was held on Tuesday, at the Albion Hotel, before Henry Howorth, Esq., Coroner, touching then death of James Milligan.

   Lewis Davis deposed, that on Sunday last, the 29th June, he was going over the hill to a place in the bush, to get some scrub, when his attention was arrested by the loud barking of his dog, and he discovered the deceased hanging on a tree.  He hailed a man who was passing on horseback, and told him that there was a dead body hanging to a tree, and told him to hasten to town and report the circumstance to the police.  Witness went within two or three yards of the deceased, and saw that his hands were blue, and his limbs stiff, and he turned back to the road to fetch assistance.  On his return, Mr. Gillies, who was with them, ordered the body to be cut down.  Deceased was suspended by a leather belt, one end of which was buckled round his neck, and the other was tied to the two sleeves of his jumper, the jumper being first thrown over the branch of a tree.  The body was quite cold and stiff.  It was afterwards conveyed away in a cart.

   Mr. John Gillies, the Sheriff of Otago, deposed to having, in  consequence of information from the previous witness, proceeded in company with Mr. Gillies and the first witness to a tree in a gully near by, and seen the body of deceased hanging by a leather belt to the branch of the tree.  Witness ordered the body to be cut down, which was done.  The body had evidently been hanging for a considerable time.  On the ground near by lay the hat and coat of the deceased, and a stone on which was inscribed some writing traced by another stone, but as it was then nearly dark, witness could not make out the inscription.  The stone was delivered to the police.

   John Gerrard, residing at the Octagon, deposed to having seen the deceased, whose name, he believed, was John Milligan, a schoolfellow of witness in Scotland.  He knew him to be a shepherd in Scotland eleven years ago, and had not seen him since.  Witness received a letter from one William M'Adam, dated Gabriel's Gully, June 26, containing the following:

"Did you know Archibald Milligan, late of the Fingland Dairy? There was a son of his up here, although further than seeing him, he was a stranger to me.  He left about a week since, without informing his mates, and they cannot make out where he is gone.  He has been in a melancholy state of mind for some time, which makes them more afraid.  I think the police is on the look-out.  You, perhaps, know him; but, if you don't, I will give you his description, by which you will recognise him at once:-

   James Milligan is about 5 feet 9 1/2 inches in height; light hair and whiskers; followed by a little brown dog, and retains the Scotch accent to a great degree."

The deceased, in the opinion of the witness, answered that description, but he could not swear that the deceased was the same James Milligan, although he believed him to be so.

   Police Constable Forster deposed to having searched the deceased, and found on him a small portmonnaie, containing a shilling and a miner's right, bearing the name of James Milligan, and dated Tuepeka, 12th May, 1862.

   The jury returned the following verdict - "That the deceased, James Milligan, hung himself while laboring under temporary insanity."




A coroner's inquest was held at Onehunga last Wednesday by Dr. Philson, coroner, on the body of Thomas Wood, who was drowned on Monday night in a pond of water near his house.  It appeared that deceased was in a state of inebriety when the fatal accident occurred, and that he had been left lying on the road by his boon companion, Wm. Cotton, some distance from the place where he was found drowned.  The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the facts, and recommended the fencing of the crater shorings by the government to prevent other accidents accordingly.


YESTERDAY afternoon, at three o'clock, an inquest on the body of John Fahay, whose untimely death we noticed in our last, took place at the Royal Hotel, Official Bay, before Dr. Philson, coroner, and the following gentlemen empanelled on the jury - Jas. H. Campbell, foreman, Henry Napper, Alfred Edmonds, David Olphert, Henry Warne, Henry Hayward, B. C. Hayles, A. C. McPherson, Francis Sheppard, James Wall, John Wilson, Robert Singer. The first wiriness called was

   Henry Syms, sergeant-major of the armed police, Auckland, who said: I knew the deceased.  His name was John Fahay, and aged about 45 years.  He formerly belonged to the Artillery, but has lately been employed at the stores at the Barracks.  I have heard he was discharged from the Artillery in Auckland.  I last saw him alive about two o'clock yesterday morning. I saw him near the "Q.C.E." - Mr. James's public house, in company with a soldier.  He was coming down Shortland-street, and turned off towards Queen-street.  I noticed that he was sober, otherwise I should not have allowed him to go towards the wharf. So far as speech and walking went, both the deceased and his companion appeared to be sober.  I did not know the soldier.  He was dressed with a shako hat, and a great coat.  The deceased spoke to me first.  He said it was a beautiful morning, and I replied "Yes, it is a beautiful morning."  I have known the deceased some years.  I always considered him a very industrious man.

   I first heard of his being found between three and four o'clock yesterday afternoon.  He was found under the stern of the 'Osprey,' schooner, laying alongside the Queen-street wharf.  I recognised the body as that of deceased.  He was habited in the same clothes as when I saw him last alive, with the exception of having no hat on. The hat has not since been found.

    One of the police force searched the clothes, and in a small leather purse found a sovereign, 7/3 in silver, and 1/9 in copper coin; a silver watch and chain, brass match-box, and pipe were also found.  I observed a wound on the left eye; it was bleeding.  I have made every enquiry at both barracks; also, at the house he frequented, to discover the soldier in whose company he had been, but without success.  Deceased resided with Sergeant Stewart, of the Royal Artillery, in a small lane off Waterloo Quadrant.  I made enquiry at his residence immediately on finding the body, and learned that deceased had left on Wednesday evening, for the purpose of spending the night with Sergeant Fahay, of the 70th.

   By the Foreman: The water in the harbour was very calm in the morning he was found.

   Michael Fahay was next called, and deposed: I am a sergeant in the 70th regt., and have been in town since Wednesday last.  I have been acquainted with the deceased since Wednesday last.  I am not related to him - merely a name-sake.  I last saw him alive about half-past seven o'clock on the 2nd inst.  I separated from him outside the Aurora Hotel, in Victoria-street.  He paid for a nobbler of whiskey for me; but I cannot say whether he had any liquor or not.  I met him at the Trafalgar Inn about half-past five o'clock.  I did not see him drink anything on that occasion.  I was not with the deceased on the wharf at any time, and know nothing regarding the circumstances of his death.

   By the Foreman: When he left me he did not express any intention of seeing any other person.  He went towards Queen street.

   Murdoch Ross deposed: I am a shipwright and live in Upper Queen-street.  On Thursday afternoon, I was working on board the schooner 'Osprey' lying on the right hand side of the first T on the Queen-street Wharf, and whilst engaged near the rudder I saw the corner of an oil skin coat floating on the water.  I took hold of it and on pulling it up I saw the top of a man's head.  I lowered the body in the water again, and cried out that a man was drowned.  The mate then came, and with the assistance of a person who was working with me we made a rope fast to the body and tied it to the schooner.  We then called for a police-man and the deceased was removed in a boat to the dead house.  I did not know the deceased.  I noticed blood on the left eye.

   John Doyle, corporal of the 70th regt. said: I was in company with sergt. Fahay at the Trafalgar Inn when deceased came in.  This would be about half-past 5 o'clock.  We stayed there a very short time, but deceased had no liquor.  He paid for two nobblers of whiskey for Fahay and myself.  We afterwards went to the Aurora, and had two more glasses of whisky - the deceased having some ginger beer.  We parted when leaving the hotel.  I do not know where the deceased went on leaving us.

   Mr. Richard Mathews, surgeon, sworn, deposed: I have made an examination of the body of the deceased.  There is no signs of violence on the body, except those of post mortem.  There are two superficial wounds in the inner angle of each eye; caused I have no doubt by small crabs or marine animals.  The cuticle on the cheek is also slightly removed.  There is no fracture of the skull, nor broken limbs, no ecchymosis whatever.  I believe he came to his death by drowning.  The limbs are rigid.

   This being the whole of the evidence offered, the jury were directed to consider their verdict.

   After a short consultation, the following decision was arrived at: - "Found drowned in Auckland harbour, but how or by what means he became drowned no evidence doth appear to the jurors."


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 12 July 1862


Two privates of the 14th have died during the week.  The first, Michael Lawless, expired on Monday.  He left the Spur on Sunday night about the time of the bugle call, and, in running to get to the barracks in time, was observed soon after to fall to the ground.  On being raised, he was found to be speechless.  He is supposed to have come in contact with a stone, as the cause of death was pulmonary apoplexy, brought on by contusion of the chest.  Rumour days that the deceased had drunk a large quantity of spirits for a bet, but we cannot ascertain that the report has any good foundation.

    The second was named Fox, who died on Thursday, rather suddenly, from disease of the heart.

   Both were young and considered good men - the latter said to be a great favourite in his company.


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 19 July 1862


INQUEST. - An inquest into the painful circumstances attending the death of Mr. Wm. Johnson took place on Saturday last, before Brooke Taylor, Esq., Coroner for the Gaol and Hospital district, and a jury.  After the evidence of Dr. Hitchings had been taken as to the cause of death, the enquiry was adjourned till Tuesday for further evidence.  On that day the evidence of Mr. James Boyle, by whom deceased was brought to town, was taken, as well as that of Mr. Robjohn, Mr. Reynolds, and Mrs. Fougere.  The jury having been charged by the coroner, returned the following verdict:-

   "We find that the deceased, William Johnson, died from serous appoplexy, caused by a long course of intemperance; and from exposure to cold on his journey to the hospital

   The jury also think that publicans should take more care of persons who are in the habit of drinking intemperately; and that they should exercise more judgment and discretion in the supply of liquor to persons in that state."


OTAGO WITNESS, 19 July 1862



A body has been found in the Molyneux, which there is reason to suppose is that of the missing man, Andrew Wilson.  The only other particulars to hand are, that the head and face bear traces of being much cut about.

   Supposing this to be Andrew Wilson, the annals of crime scarcely supply an instance of a murder more opportunely or cleverly found out.  The person suspected of the murder, was on the eve of escape, in a few hours he would have sailed in the Gothenburg and once landed in Melbourne, it would have been almost impossible to have hunted him out.

   About two months ago Wilson left Dunedin, for the purpose of going to the Molyneux district to select land.  Fortunately, he left a friend behind him, in Mr. Richard Henry Larey, who, not hearing anything of Wilson for five weeks, started on his track.  With praiseworthy zeal and ingenuity, he traced him from Warepa to the Molyneux ferry, where he heard of him, in company with a man named Fratson.  Fortunately, he here placed the case in the hands of the Police, who at once set themselves on Fratson's track, and succeeded in arresting him just as he was leaving the colony by the Gothenburg. A remand was obtained and active measures were commenced for following up the affair.

   Up to this time it should be remembered, the police had nothing to work upon but the strong belief of Mr. Larey, that his fiend would not absent himself without sending him word.  Still, this coupled with the suspicious circumstance of Fratson's sudden departure, and Mrs. Fratson's allegations that she had never seen the missing man, whereas there was good reason to suppose he had been at her cottage, determined the police in the belief that a murder had been committed.  Detective Tuckwell was despatched to the spot, where he remained six days.  He succeeded in finding a hat believed to belong to the missing man, which has marks of having been cut with some sharp instrument, such as an axe.  He also elicited that on the night when Wilson left the Ferry with Fratson to go to the latter's hut, he (Fratson) had borrowed an axe from a neighbor which he had never returned.  He also found out that, on the same evening, Mrs. Fratson had gone to a neighbouring store, and said she wanted something nice for supper, as a stranger was at home. On board the Gothenburg, Mrs. Fratson denied having seen the missing man.  On the strength of this evidence, a further remand was obtained from the Police magistrate of the prisoner Fratson, and in the mean while the Molyneux has been dragged.  Yesterday the information came in of the finding of a body believed to be the one sought after, and on Friday, an inquest will be held at the Molyneux Ferry, before the newly appointed coroner, Mr. Edwin Rich.  [Editorial comment on police efforts.]  Fratson was on Thursday brought up and formally charged with the murder.  He was remanded until after the inquest.



... The coroner's duty is light, and how it is done may be best made known by naming two or three cases.  One occurred about two years \since: one morning a child was found dead by its living mother's side, a constable was sent to enquire, and the replies proving satisfactory, no inquest was held.

   Of the other two cases the first occurred at Okain's Bay: a child was burnt to death, and although immediate information was given, no inquest was held till three days had elapsed, in sultry weather.

   The other was a case of drowning, in Stoney Bay, and the body was rapidly decomposing when the inquest was held, four clear days having been allowed to elapse before the bereaved could inter their dead, giving lamentable discomfort by the delay. ... GEO. T. CATLING, Akaroa, July 15. 1862.  [See PRESS, 16 August.]


OTAGO WITNESS, 26 July 1862



INQUEST ON THE BODY. - It is our painful duty to record that all the suspicions that were entertained concerning the missing man, Andrew Wilson, having met with foul play, have been more than verified by the disclosures at the inquest on the body found in the Molyneux.  A murder of the most diabolical character is proved to have been committed; the whole annals of crime might be ransacked in vain for an instance of an equally atrocious deed.  The evidence of Dr. Nelson concerning the injuries received by the murdered man is almost sickening to peruse.  Six mortal wounds at least are known to have been inflicted, and, as if to defy identification, the face was smashed in, and battered out of the semblance of humanity.

   A short recapitulation of the previous circumstances may make the proceedings of the inquest more intelligible.




... The Molyneux was dragged for several days but without avail.  The way in which it was found would be deemed incredible if related in romance.  The Molyneux, which at Fratson's hut is 200 yards wide, with a swift current, became so low and placid and clear, that the police constable, who was in search of the deceased, was able to see from the boat, as if reflected in a glass, the body of the murdered man, together with the axe, two razors, and two long sticks, lying in the bed of the river, close to Fratson's hut. ...


The appearance of the body was shocking in the extreme.  Besides the decomposition of the body, resulting from the immersion in water, the face and neck were covered with wounds, any one of which was mortal. ... The pockets of the deceased were rifled, only one piece of written paper was left in them, but which alone, without other evidence, was sufficient to identify the remains as those of Andrew Wilson.  The axe bore marks of blood and hair on it.  There were also private marks in the shape f notches on it, which served to identify it as the one lent to Fratson on the night the deceased was known to be at his hut.


... The inquest was held before the newly appointed coroner, Mr. Edwin Rich, who it is only right to say acquitted himself singularly well, especially considering this was his first case.  Dr. Nelson's evidence was listened to with horror - his examination of the body disclosed the most frightful injuries.  There were three cuts in the back of the head cutting through the vertebrae and spine, each instantaneously mortal.

   The face, to use the Doctor's words, was beaten to pulp.  There was a stroke of the axe as if made when the deceased was lying on his back, cutting the nose right through perpendicularly, there were six distinct wounds on the face, some given with the sharp side, the others with the back of the axe.  Another wound is described as being above the right eye penetrating through the skull into the brain, fracturing the frontal and temporal bones, this wound was also stated to be instantaneously mortal.  ...

   Dr. Nelson stated that he had examined the body, which was far advanced in decomposition.  He found in the outer jacket of the deceased four cuts, the upper one being three inches long.  The second cut was the same length.  These two cuts were half an inch or so apart on the left side, and joined together on the right.  The third cut was three inches long justly at the junction of the collar and coat; the fourth cut was lower down, and of the same length.  All the cuts were transverse.

   On examining the neck he found three incised wounds; the first rather on the left side, sloping upwards three inches long, and dividing the integuments and muscles, penetrating and dividing the spinal cord.  This wound would alone have been mortal.  The second would was three and three-quarter inches long, going through the spinal marrow to the vertebral column.  This wound must also have been instantaneously mortal.  The third would was three inches long, penetrating skin and integuments, and cutting through the left spinous process of the third vertebrae.  This wound must also have caused instantaneous death. ... The features were completely battered in by a heavy blunt instrument after having been cut by a sharp one.  There ware six cuts and wounds penetrating through the skull into the brain, fracturing the frontal and temporal bones and must have been mortal.  The eye on one side was completely destroyed. One of the wounds cut perpendicularly through the nose dividing it exactly, and must have been given from behind the head when deceased was lying on his back.

   After hearing the evidence the jury found a verdict of wilful murder against John Fratson, ...



An inquest was held yesterday, at the Dunedin Hospital, on the body of James Wilson, whose death was chronicled in our issue of yesterday.  The coroner gave the necessary certificate for the burial of the deceased, but the inquest was adjourned for further evidence until the return of the s. s. Lord Worsley to the Port.  The jury were bound over for fourteen days to appear when called upon.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES. 4 August 1862


Cochran M'Donnell was charged on the information of James M'Connor, with having feloniously slain on the 1st inst. ----- M'Kenzie and ----- Walsh.  The prisoner pleaded "Not guilty."

   Mr. Sub-Inspector Weldon prayed for a remand to await the result of the Coroner's inquest, which he believed would be held at 11 o'clock that day (Saturday.) ...


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 7 August 1862



The inquest on the bodies of the two women, M'Kenzie and Welsh, killed by the overturning of "Hardy's Express" at Saddle Hill, on Friday last, was commenced on Monday at the Burgiddie Hotel, before Henry Howarth, Esq., Coroner, but in consequence of the very lengthy evidence, the inquest had to be adjourned to Tuesday, and then to Wednesday, on which day it was brought to a conclusion. The following is a condensed abstract of the evidence taken.  Cochran M'Fowell, the driver of the waggon, was present in custody:-

   [Evidence of John Geddes, carter; Augustus Poeppel, City Surveyor; Christian Julius Toxward, surveyor; Andrew Agnew, carter.]

   George Wilson, medical practitioner, sworn, stated .... The witness had that day (Monday, August 4th,) in conjunction with Dr. Hocken examined the body of Mrs. McKenzie. The face and neck were much congested, but it might have been post mortem congestion, there were no broken bones nor marks, except two slight abrasions on the front and back part of the chest.  On examining the body of Mrs. Welsh, the witness found a compound fracture of the collar bone; there were no other bones broken nor marks of violence, that he could detect.

   The witness had since made a post mortem examination of the bodies in conjunction with Dr. Hocken.  The witness examined the body of Mrs. McKenzie, and Dr. Hocken that of Mrs. Welsh, making observations conjointly as they proceeded.  In the case of Mrs. M'Kenzie there were violent and excessive congestion of the blood vessels of the scalp; on removing the skull a quantity of blood effused from the covering of the brain.  The brain itself was highly congested, and there was effusion of blood and serum in the ventricles; there was no fracture of the skull; the lungs were healthy, with the exception of being much congested with blood; the different parts of the abdomen were healthy; The witness believed the immediate cause of death to be congestion and effusion on the brain, and congestion of the lungs.  A heavy pressure preventing the expansion of the chest would cause death.

   In the case of Mrs. Welsh congestion of the brain was also found to a very great extent, and effusion of serum and blood in the ventricles; on the right clavicle there was a compound fracture, and four of the ribs were broken, some of which were driven into the lungs.  The witness believed the immediate cause of death to be congestion of the brain and injury done to the lungs.  It might have been done by heavy pressure from without.

   Thomas Morland Hocken, medical practitioner, who had made a post mortem examination of the two bodies in conjunction with Dr. Wilson, corroborated the previous witness's statement as to the state of the bodies and the cause of death in each case.

   [Further evidence by - Edward Musgrave, Resident Magistrate Tokomairiro;.]


   [Evidence by Peter M'Lachlan , landlord of Burgiddie Hotel; Samuel Wilson, servant at Burgiddie Hotel; David Russell, miner, employed at Burgiddie Hotel; James Kennedy, farmer, Green Island district; Allan Cameron, laborer; William Drisdale, laborer; Cochran M'Dowell, the driver; Ewen M'Coll, proprietor Diggers' Rest Hotel; Margaret M'Lachlan; Philip Horton, veterinary surgeon; John Morgan, landlord of Royal Hotel, Waitahuna; Samuel Moore, mounted constable.]

   [Aldo Wednesday (OTAGO WITNESS, 9 August) George M'Kenzie, constable; identified his wife, 28 years of age; John Welsh, carrier, identified wife, 24 years of age; James O'Connor, police constable.]

   The verdict of the jury was - That the deceased Mary M'Kenzie and Mary Welsh, came by their deaths by the upsetting of the conveyance known as Hardy's Express, in which they were travelling at the time of the accident.  The jury did not consider that there was sufficient evidence before them to prove that there was carelessness or culpability on the part of the driver at the time that the unfortunate and melancholy accident occurred.

    The Jury before parting, felt it to be their duty to request the coroner on their behalf to represent to the authorities the many dangerous portions of the road between Dunedin and Taieri, especially where the accident occurred, and trusted that the authorities would take immediate steps, both to widen and form those parts, so as to avoid similar unfortunate occurrences.


COLONIST, 8 August 1862


An inquest was held at Tuapeka, by Major Croker, R.M., on July 21, on the body of Edward Frederic Kelly, who died somewhat suddenly.  From the evidence of the mates of the deceased, it appears that he had been complaining for about week of general debility and palpitation of the heart, but that they did not anticipate anything serious.  He had been prescribing for himself, and had used a considerable quantity of homoeopathic medicine.  After death they had given information to the police. - A post mortem examination was made on the body by Dr. Burrows, who stated that he found the deceased had been suffering from disease of the lungs, but that the immediate cause of death was acute peritonitis.  This might have been caused by cold and exposure.  There were no marks of violence on the body, and death had been produced by natural causes.  [Question of payment for a coffin; friends and relatives, aged 29.]e had been prfescribing gor himself, and had used as considerfab le quantity of hjomoeopathicHeH



OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 9 August 1862





Invercargill, 2nd August, 1862.

 A most shocking tragedy, - for it cannot be called anything else - was enacted last week, on and in the vicinity of the Waimea Plains.  Captain Tibbets, who has for some time been considered of unsound mind, left the hut at the lower or southern end if Messrs. M'kellor's run, where he and his brother have been living lately, for Mr. Switzer's station on the east bank of the Mataura, armed with a revolver and double-barrelled gun, with the avowed intention of shooting all the men there; some word of his intention seems to have reached the station, and most of the men had decamped before his arrival.  He stopped that night at the hut on the station; and finding no one came, next morning sallied out in quest of them; his dog scented out an unfortunate German shepherd [Peter Green] concealed in some scrub, and Captain Tibbets shot him dead - firing twice at him with fatal precision.  It is reported that he shot at a woman, but missed her.  He then returned home - where his brother and Corporal Morton, of the Southland Police Force, had arrived.  Mr. Tibbets told his brother, the captain, to lay down his arms, otherwise he would be forced to shoot him, he (the captain) having already killed a man.

   Captain Tibbets immediately fired at his brother, missing him, and, while in the act of again firing at him with the gun (which was loaded with ball), his brother shot him dead, the ball having perforated the heart.  Mr. Tibbets then, being greatly excited, tried to destroy himself, but was fortunately prevented by Corporal Morton , the pistol going off without doing him any further injury, than slightly wounding his hand; he was brought down to Invercargill, in charge of a constable; the Coroner, Dr. M'Clure, proceeds on Monday, to hold an inquest on the body of Captain Tibbets.  The unfortunate shepherd's body is lying on the East bank of the Mataura, and consequently in your province.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 11 August 1862

The Captain Tibbets affair.


OTAGO WITNESS, 16 August 1862



We are in possession of further and more complete information respecting the Tibbets tragedy.  An inquest has been held by Edwin Rich, Esq., Coroner, at the Mataura, on the body of Peter Green, and a verdict of wilful murder has been recorded against Captain Tibbets.

     The inquest on the body of captain Tibbets was held by the Southland coroner, on the 6th August, the verdict being that his brother had shot him in self defence.



   [Evidence by William Farquharson; James Campbell, servant to Mr. Switzer; David M'Grigor; William Green, servant to Messrs. Tibbets.]


PRESS, 16 August 1862

[Connect with Lyttleton Times, 23 July, above.]


To this Mr. Castling replied in the 'LYTTELTON TIMES,' charging Mr. Watson with neglect of duty in several instances, but most especially with culpable delay in holding inquests.  The specific charges amounted to three in number, and as we have sought and obtained information relating to these charges which we believe to be trustworthy, we proceed to lay it before our readers.

   First, with reference to the statement relating to the child found dead by the side of its living mother.  No such case is known to have occurred, and no constable was ever sent to make inquiry about any case of the kind.

   Next , the inquest at Okain's Bay. Details and reasons for delay. ...  [See also PRESS, 30th August.]


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 16 August 1862



Tokomairiro, August, 13, 1862.

An inquest was held at the Lower Taieri ferry, on Monday, before J. Dewe, Esq., the lately appointed Coroner, on the body of a man named William Will, who had been drowned in a creek running out of the Waipori Lake on the previous Friday.  From the evidence adduced, it appeared that the deceased, accompanied by three other men, had left the ferry in a whale-boat, about 2 o'clock in the morning, for the purpose of bringing down a larger boat loaded with straw, which had been anchored in Waopori Lake the previous day.  On their return with this boat they entered a small creek, which formed a sort of short cut.  In this creek they stopped a few moments for one of the men to light his pipe.  Two of the men were on shore, and the deceased and the other man on board the large boat, which was moving slowly at the time.  It was a clear moonlight night, and one of the men observed deceased standing on the starboard gunwhale of the boat in the bow leaning against the straw.

   A moment afterwards, he heard a splash, and, turning round, he missed the deceased, but thought he saw a man's arm in the water.  He immediately sprang ion, and dived under the boat, coming up on the other side, but without seeing anything of the deceased.  They all searched for the body for some time, but without success.  The man who was on board could not see the place where the deceased was seen standing last, as the load of straw intervened and both the men on shore had their backs turned at the time they heard the splash.  They anchored the larger boat to mark the spot, and then returned to the ferry.  Mr. Dyer, of the ferry, got some drags made and then went in search of the body, which they recovered after about half an hour's search.  The night of the accident was frosty, and all the witnesses stated that the gun whale was in consequence, very slippery.  The men were all sober.

   The jury returned a verdict of accidental death by drowning, to which they appended a rider, requesting the Coroner to represent to the Government the necessity of having a set of proper drags always in readiness at the Ferry Police Station.

   The deceased was a sober steady man, and was well known, as he had charge of the Punt at the Ferry for a considerable time past.

   Another man [Robert Gardner] is missing, and is supposed to have been drowned lately in the neighbourhood of the Ferry.  It is stated that he lefty a store, a short distance below the Ferry one night a few weeks ago by himself, in a small cranky flat bottomed boat, with the intention of crossing the river; since then he has never been heard of, and a few days afterwards the boat was discovered bottom upwards, near the mouth of the river, and one of then oars was found above the Ferry.  I am informed that the river has not been dragged for the body.  ... [See OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 27 August.]


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 18 August 1862

On the 27th, a seaman [James Wilson] belonging to the Lord Worsley, was brought to Dunedin , and taken to the Hospital, suffering from serious injuries caused by the snapping of a rope, when the Lord Worsley was endeavouring to tow off the Shawnut, a ship lying stranded at the Bluff Harbour.  The man has since died.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 21 August 1862

A skeleton was found on Saturday last imbedded amongst the sand on the banks of the Molyneux, near its junction with the Tuapeka.  The persons who gave the information were out pig-hunting, and on discovery of the bones they gave the requisite notice to the police.  Dr. Samuels, the newly-appointed Coroner, will, I believe, hold an inquest on the remains tomorrow.


 OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 25 August 1862


An inquest has been held on the bones of a man found on the banks of the Molyneux near its junction with the Tuapeka, by the newly appointed coroner, Dr. Samuels.  The bones were entirely devoid of flesh; round the middle of the skeleton was a belt and a portion of a blue serge short, and on the feet a pair of Wellington boots.  Dr. Anderson had examined the bones, which he stated were those of a man, and that the body must have been in the water for over six months.  There were no marks of violence on any of the bones.  The only other evidence was that of the man who found the bones.  He stated that he was out pig hunting, and found the bones half imbedded in the sand on the edge of the river.  He immediately gave information to the police.  No other evidence being forthcoming, the jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 27 August 1862

The body of the man [Robert Gardner] whom I mentioned in my last as having been drowned about six weeks or two months ago in the neighbourhood of the Taieri ferry, and whose body had not then been found, has been found, and the Coroner proceeded to the ferry this morning to hold an inquest upon it.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 29 August 1862



August 28, 1862

The inquest on the body of the man named Robert Gardner, who was drowned about seven weeks ago, somewhere in the neighbourhood of the Taieri Ferry, was held at the Ferry on Monday, before J. Dewe, Esq., Coroner.  From the evidence adduced, it appeared that the deceased was last seen alive in Messrs. Saunders & Co.'s stores, below the Ferry.  He left the, saying to a man there, that he was going to cross the river in a boat in which he had come.  He was never seen again, but a few days afterwards the boat was picked up bottom-up some distance below the Ferry, and one of the oars above it.  The boat was a flat bottomed one, and according to the evidence, very unsafe.  On Sunday last some boys discovered the body floating in the river, a considerable way below the Ferry.  There were no marks of violence on the body, which was very much decomposed.  The jury returned a verdict of "Found drowned," but no evidence to show how deceased came into the water.




 Yesterday morning a startling case of sudden death occurred in Chapel street; the deceased being a middle-aged married woman, of the name of Mary Proctor, wife if Isaac proctor, of the military police, 70th regt.  It appears that deceased went out of her house about nine o'clock into the yard adjoining, and in about half an hour afterwards was found dead in the water-closer by a person named Johnston.  She was immediately removed into the house, and a messenger despatched for Dr. Franklyn, who was promptly in attendance, and administered the usual remedies to effect resuscitation.  Bleeding in the temples was also attempted, but proved of no avail - life being quite extinct.  Dr. O'Hara was also called in, and cordially coincided with Dr. Franklyn, in the attempts which had been made to restore animation.  An inquest will be held at eleven o'clock this (Friday) at the house of James Chapman, the Aurora Tavern, morning, before Thomas M. Philson, Esq., coroner, Victoria-street.





YESTERDAY morning an inquest on the body of Mary proctor, wife of Isaac Proctor, of the military police, 70th regt., was held at the Aurora Tavern, Victoria-street, before Dr. Philson, coroner, and a respectable jury, when the following evidence was adduced:-

   Edward Johnson being sworn, said: I am a draper, and reside in Chapel-street.  My place of business is in Queen-street.  My house is next door to where deceased lived, in Chapel-street.  I knew deceased by sight for the last five months.  She was the wife of Isaac Proctor, one of the military police belonging to the 70th regt.,  her age was between twenty and thirty years.  She was the mother of several children, the youngest is a month old. She appeared to me to be a healthy woman, and as far as I could judge, of sober habits.  I was not aware that deceased had been subject o fits, until informed to that effect by her husband yesterday, August 28th, subsequent to her death.

   I left my shop in Queen-street at eight o'clock yesterday morning, August 28th, to go to breakfast, from which I was called by my maidservant to go into the yard behind my house and two other houses.  I went into the yard and saw several women at a water-closet, situated in the yard; one of the females was present - viz., Mrs. King.  I went up to them and was told that deceased, Mrs. Proctor, had been in the closet an unusual times, and they were anxious to know if anything was the matter.  The door had been forced open to the extent of about three inches, and was prevented from being opened farther by the body of deceased, whose feet lay against the door, while her head and face were in the farthest corner of the closet.  I pushed to door sufficiently open to enable one of the women to enter the closet.  I then went in myself, and lifted up deceased's head.  I saw froth issuing from then mouth of deceased, the tongue was slightly protruded.  I could not perceive any signs of breathing; the body was warm; but when I saw her I believe she was dead.  I perceived a recent bruise on the bridge of the nose.

   With the assistance of the women I removed the body of deceased into the house, and laid it on her bed.  I then left her, and went to acquaint her husband, whom I found in Parnell, digging in a garden.  I called to him, and when he came to me I inquired whether his wife was subject to fits?  He said that she was; and that they frequently lasted two hours, causing insensibility.  I mentioned to him that his wife had had a fit, and fainted in the water-closet.  He did not seem alarmed, but said he had little doubt all would be right when he got home.  I accompanied him to the bedside of deceased.  On seeing that she was dead he was greatly affected, and said that he believed she could not have died had the fit occurred in the house, where help was at hand, but that she must have been  suffocated in the water-closet.  As far as I know the husband is a steady, sober man.  I never saw him intoxicated.  I never heard any noise of quarrelling in his house. Drs. Franklyn and O'Hara had been sent for by the woman.  They had not arrived when I left to acquaint the husband.

   Mary King, being sworn, said: I am the wife of Corporal King, of the 70th regiment, and reside in the same house with the deceased, in Chapel-street.  My husband is employed as a clerk, in the Commissariat office.  I have known deceased upwards of four years; I was with her in India two years.  She was a very healthy looking woman, but she was subject to fits, several attacks of which I have witnessed.  The last occasion on which I saw her seized with a fit was on our passage from India to Auckland; that was a very severe one.  She was attended by one of the surgeons of the regiment.  Deceased mentioned to me that she had had several attacks in Auckland.  Deceased might have occasionally taken a glass of ale, but I never saw her intoxicated.

   About half-past 6 a.m. on Thursday, 28th August instant, I saw deceased coming from the water-closet and returning to her bed.  She complained of a pain in her stomach, and had been vomiting.  In fifteen minutes afterwards she had occasion to go to the closet again; she returned in the space of five minutes, and dressed the children, and prepared the breakfast for them.  She sat down to breakfast and had taken some tea, when she was called to the closet again.  She had been absent three quarters of an hour, when, having occasion to go to the closet, I went, but could not get the door open, it was fastened inside.  On looking through a slit in the door, I saw part of her dress.  I could not tell in what position she was.  I called her by name, but received no answer.

   I then called the woman who lives in the next room, Mrs. Webb, who came with a third female.  With a hammer we broke the fastening, and on looking in below the door, I saw deceased lying on her face.  After some minutes Mr. Johnson came.  I can corroborate his evidence.  I went for Dr. O'Hara, who attended with Dr. Franklyn.  Two military medical men also arrived.  I do not know what was done for her.

   To a Juror - I remarked a slight bruise on deceased's nose after her death, there was no such mark previously.

   Henry Bowles Franklyn, being sworn, said: - I am a bachelor of Medicine, from Aberdeen University, and a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, England.  Between the hours of 8 and 9 o'clock, yesterday morning, August 29th instant, I was called to visit the deceased, whom I found in bed, in her house in Chapel-street.  Life was quite extinct.  I saw a slight contusion and abrasion on the nose.  The lips were livid, the face had a natural expression.  There was no froth at the mouth or nose.  I opened the temporal artery on the right side, but no blood flowed.  Dr. O'Hara attended with me.  I arrived first.

   I have just now, at the desire of the jury, made a post mortem examination of the body of deceased.  There are no outward marks of violence except the slight graze above referred to.  It was probably inflicted in consequence of falling against something hard.  I opened the skull and found great congestion in the vessels of the brain; much blood also issued from the nostrils, as also from the cut I made in the right temple.  I could not detect any rupture of blood vessels, or laceration of the substance of the brain.  I did not see any point of bone pressing on the brain.  I did not smell any alcohol in the ventricles of the brain.  I also examined the chest, lungs, and heart - natural.  The stomach was distended with flatus; it contained a little fluid of a brownish color; no trace of alcohol.  My belief is that deceased died from apoplexy, together with suffocation caused by the position in which she fell.  I have no reason for imputing any criminal conduct to any one.

      This was the whole of the evidence rendered, and the jury, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of "Death from Apoplexy."


COLONIST, 9 September 1862

 INQUEST.  -  An inquest was held on the 1st September, at Mr. Schafer's Hotel, Collingwood, touching the death of John Clark.  A verdict was returned 'Accidentally drowned in the river Rua Tamioha on the 25th August.' [Rider; and - "The late harbor master, William Williams, was recalled and publicly thanked by the coroner and jury for his praiseworthy exertions in endeavouring to find the body."] - Communicated  [A more detailed account in Nelson Examiner, 10 October.]


LYTTELTON  TIMES, 10 September 1862



In out last issue we noticed the fact that a farmer named Stubbs had been missing since Saturday, August 23.  We have now to record the fact of his body having been found, as was surmised, in the river Avon.  On Sunday last about noon a young man and boy were taking white-bait out of the river with a net, at a point near the Forester's Hall, when they perceived the body of a man lying at the bottom.  They instantly gave notice to the police, and on bringing the corpse to the shore it was identified as that of Abraham Stubbs.  A watch and some money were found in his pockets.

   Some information had reached the police which led them to take into custody a man named Groves, and detain him until an inquest was held over the remains of Stubbs.  That investigation was opened on Monday, by Dr. Coward, coroner; but the inquiry was made within a closed court, and our reporter not being allowed to be present, we can only state public rumours. From which we gather that Groves, who has generally been regarded as a decent man, is united to a woman who has for some time led an erratic life.  When the Otago gold fields were first discovered, Groves went there to try his luck.  During his absence, Mrs. Groves led a life of debauchery, and it it said that the deceased was too familiar with her.  On Groves' return, the knowledge of this fact reached him, and no doubt caused him considerable annoyance, and it is said that he has been heard several times to threaten that he would have revenge on Stubbs.

   We are not aware at present that any other circumstance has been discovered to connect groves in any way with the mysterious disappearance of Stubbs, beyond the slight fact that some time before the discovery of the body his cap was found in the river much nearer Groves's house than the place where the body lay; but as the cap would float down with the stream, and as Groves's house is below and not above the place where the corpse was discovered, there does not seem to be anything remarkable in the circumstance e. 

   Two or more wounds are said to have been found on the head of Stubbs, and a post-mortem examination is being held, to find out if he came by his death in any other way than by drowning, and the inquest is to be resumed on Friday next.  In the meantime, all sorts of surmises are afloat.  It seems pretty clear that Stubbs left the Royal Oak about half-past fib e on the day when last seen alive, and his watch seems to have stopped about two hours afterwards.  Where he was during that interval has yet to be learned.

   Editorial comment on the closed court, which concludes:

The coroner's court is not founded on any written law; it is simply an expression of the people's sentiment of justice; and that spirit which gave it existence also demands that it shall be open to the public to the fullest extent consistent with the [proper discharge of its function.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 10 September 1862

An inquest was held on Monday, the 8th instant, by Dr. Samuels, the Coroner of the goldfields, on the body of Ellen Mary Brown, who died in her tent on Friday last.  It appeared from the evidence of John White, Mrs. White, James Hargreaves, and a Mrs. Cooke, that the deceased had left her husband John Brown some six months ago, and lived with another man named Crisp or Christopher Bambridge, that she led a very intemperate life, and that on Monday morning, (25th August) she was found in a water-hole in a state of intoxication, where she lay all night.  She was then removed to her tent and remained in her wet clothes from that time until the following Thursday, (although there were no less than five or six other females living near, and around her,)  Dr. Samuels was then sent for and rendered her every assistance that lay in his power.  The unfortunate woman died on the following day, and lay in that state until the police got a coffin and had the body interred.

   Mrs. Cooke stated in her evidence that the deceased was in such a beastly state that she could not go near her.  It came out in the evidence on the inquest that the deceased's husband John Brown, had left the diggings to sell some property in Auckland or Wellington, and intended to go to England.  It also transpired that Christopher Bambridge and the deceased had been drinking very freely for some days previous to his going to the Dunstan diggings; and that she had a draft on the Bank of New Zealand for 40 Pounds, which could not be found after her death.  On enquiry at the Bank, it turned up that she had no money to get there. 

   Too much praise cannot be given to a few men living in Waitahuna, who had actually to put the body in the coffin in the same state and clothes that she died in.  Although there were three females within a few yards.

   The verdict which the jury came to was as follows:- "That the deceased Ellen Brown came to her death from wet and cold, through falling in a  water-hole on the night of the 24th, or morning of the 25th of August last, while in a state of intoxication."  The Coroner then discharged the jury, and thanked them for their attendance. - Communicated.


PRESS, 13 September 1862


The inquest upon the body of the unfortunate man Stubbs, who was found drowned in the Avon, is being conducted with closed doors. [Editorial comment.]



CORONER'S INQUEST. - A Coroner's Inquest was held on Friday, September 12, at the Forest Inn, Wakefield, touching the death of John Raymond Hunt, a child, two years old, son of Mr. Hunt, of the Forest Inn.  On Wednesday, September 10, the child having followed his father to the cellar, was desired by him to go back to his mother; this he did not do, and, as his mother very soon after inquired where the child was, Mr. Hunt assisted her to search for him.  Mrs. Hunt went to a small stream, which runs about 100 yards from the back of the housie, and, after looking about, saw her child's body lying in the stream near the log of a tree.  She called to her husband, who got the body out and conveyed it to their house, where every possible endeavour was used for more than two hours to restore animation, but without effect.  Dr. Dakers, who was speedily in attendance after the body of the child had been discovered, told the jury "that he believed the treatment adopted by the parents on the occasion was perfectly correct," though unavailing.  The jury returned a verdict of death from drowning by accident.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 22 September 1862

I regret to have to announce two fatal accidents as have occurred during the past week.  Mr. Charles Leech, overseer at Mr. W. Lee's station at Amuri, was killed by a dray load of timber being upset upon him; and Mr. J. Deal, of Papanui, fell from his dray while on his road to Christchurcvh this day week, and was so severely injured that he expired on Monday last.




An accident happened in the Wai-nui-o-matya, District last month, particulars of which have only just come to our knowledge.  A man named James Riddels, who came out in 1840 from Connaught, Ireland, in the ship Bengal Merchant, met with his death under the following circumstances.  He had been engaged some little while doing odd jobs for Mr. Hugh Sinclair, and appeared at times to be weak in his intellect.  On the morning of the 11th of August, he went out to work in the bush, and not returning in the afternoon, one of Mr. Sinclair's children went in search of him, when the unfortunate man was found dead, having been killed b y the falling of a tree.  The tree he had been cutting down had evidently been caught in the fork of another, and while the deceased was engaged in clearing it, it must have fallen before he was prepared, and so crushed him.  Dr. Boor, the Coroner for the Hutt, held an inquest next day, when a verdict of accidental death was returned.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 1 October 1862



On Friday, Sept. 12 at 2 p.m., the inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Abraham Stubbs, whose body was found in thje Avon on the previous Sunday, was resumed by the coroner, Dr. Coward, at the Police station.

   Thos. Stubbs, brother of deceased, was recalled, and said deceased had been at home all the week previous to the Saturday when last seen.

   Wm. Ashbolt, of Armagh street, smith said: On Sunday, Sept. 7, I was near the Forester's Hall betwixt 11 and 12 o'clock.  On going to the bank of the river I perceived the body of a man, and went at once to the police station to give notice.  I returned, and saw the body removed. I recognised it as that of Abraham Stubbs.  I know Groves, and saw him near the police station when we brought up the body.  The water appeared to have a depth of 6 or 8 feet where the body was found.  I saw Abraham Stubbs on the Riccarton road, on the 23rd ult.  When I saw the body ion the river it was face downwards, with the head lying towards the river mouth.

   Peter Pender, sergeant of police, said that at 11.30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 7, the last witness reported the discovery of a body in the river.  I went to the police with grappling irons, and near thr Forester's Hall, between that place and Mr. Harper's, saw the body lying on its belly, the face lying on the left jaw; the two hands seemed doubled on the body.  I could not well see the face, as there seemed to be some water-cress covering it.  The body was lying in about 8 feet of water, some distance from the bank.  I grappled it by the clothes and got it to the top, when the hook slipped and the body sank.  I again fastened on the hook to the clothes and brought up the body, and knew it to be that of Abraham Stubbs.  I had it removed to the police station, and sent for his brother to see the body searched.  We found a silver watch and chain.  The hands of the watch were stopped at 5 minutes past 7.  We found a handkerchief, knife, key, and a 2s. piece.  After searching the body I came outside, and saw Grover and Thos. Stubbs seated on some timber.  I said to Stubbs, in prisoner's hearing, "We must try to find out who saw your brother last."  Groves got up, commenced walking about the logs, and seemed very fidgety.  I called Stubbs aside, and asked who Groves was, and what he had been saying.  Stubbs replied that he had been talking about his brother; saying they had not been on good terms.  I remarked that groves got uneasy when I spoke about him.  Stubbs said Groves had invited him to dinner, but he did not know much of him. Shortly after, Groves left and went quietly up Armagh street: Stubbs followed.  They soon after returned together, and I said I had heard that a person named Reeves knew something about his brother.  They started to go to that person, and Groves followed, remaining in the street while the others spoke with Reeves.  They then went towards the Royal Oak.  I stayed there a short time and returned to the station, where I saw Stubbs and witness sitting outside.  From information received, I and Corporal Sutton arrested Groves at six o'clock the same evening, near the Foresters' Hall, as he was coming towards the town.

    Told him he was arrested on suspicion of murdering Abraham Stubbs, and he said, "Oh, when shall I be brought up?"  I warned him that anything he said would be given in evidence against him.  He said he was innocent, and that he had not seen deceased for long before.  Such things out to be found out, but it was hard for him to be made a prisoner; and that he had not been friendly with deceased since he had bought a gun from his wife, nor spoken to him for a long time.  On the 9th Sept., prisoner called me into the lock-up, saying he wished me to do something for him.  I told prisoner to send got Mr. Travers to help him and not say anything to me; but he pressed me to go to Banks and Kennedy, who must recollect what he was doing on the night Stubbs was missed, as he and some other men were there having a song and a dance at the Royal Oak, and that he took the room from Kennedy.  Witness complied with the request, and next morning prisoner asked me if I had seen the parties, to which I replied that they said it was not on the Saturday night that Stubbs was missed that the prisoner had been singing there.  Prisoner said he thought it was, but perhaps Thompson (a German residing in Groves's house) could recollect, as also a little fellow behind the bar at the Hart.  On the 11th inst., prisoner said he had found it out at last.  The butcher next the Fleece would be able to tell where he was on the Saturday; that he had bought some meat from him on that day, had then gone home, and did not go out again, as could be stated by Mrs. Thompson, who had tea with him that night.

   Arthur Smith, laborer, Immigration Barracks, said: I heard Groves say in the bagatelle room at the Royal Oak, on Tuesday or Wednesday fortnight, that his fiend was missing. (Prisoner explained that Stubbs was meant.)  On the day the cap was found I was talking at the Royal Oak, with the landlord and a person named Ramscar.  Groves used the words "They have found the b------'s cap down by my house; the body would not leave the river, it would be found down that way with tons of water-cress upon it."  I recollect taking the body of Barclay out of the river about 7 months ago; this was where Stubbs was found.  About six weeks after Barclay was taken from the river, prisoner came to me and said I might have let him know what was going on with his wife when he was at the diggings.  From what he had heard, Stubbs and another man had been making use of his place while he was away; that Barclay had gone in and caught them there, and told Groves's wife in the men's presence that he would tell Groves as soon as he returned, and from what he (prisoner) had heard, they had put Barclay away to prevent him saying anything about it.

   Janet Sutherland, wife of John Sutherland, Christchurch, deposed to finding deceased's hat, on Sunday fortnight, a little after 7 in the morning, floating on the water at the river side, about 20 yards from Groves's house, but on the opposite side of the river.  It was in still water, lying on the crown with no waiter in it, and the rim was quite dry.  About a week after, hearing that a man was missing, witness' husband brought the hat to the police station.

   ------ Cotter, corporal of police, corroborated the statement of Smith as to the place where Barclay's body was found, and stated that it was in that precise place where Stubbs' body was found.  In January last, witness arrested Groves' wife for absconding with her husband's property, and as he was bringing her he met Groves on the way, who spoke of certain parties who had seduced his wife, naming Stubbs, and taking off his hat, called on the Almighty to witness that if he lived, he would not rest until he had taken the lives of those men.

   Yesterday, he asked me to see Tommy, the barman at the White Hart, to see if he could find any clue to where he (Groves) was on the Saturday on which Stubbs was missing.  He said "That is the very thing that would hang me if I could not make it out where I was that night."  Witness was on night duty the time Stubbs was missing.  On that night or the night before, I saw prisoner at midnight near the Colombo bridge.  Hearing the voice of a man, my attention was arrested, thinking there might be two men talking.  There were several lights burning around, so that the bridge was well lighted, and I saw a man standing on the bridge and talking very loudly, using such words as "bloody," "revenge," and "satisfaction."  As I got closer to him, I went under the verandah of the old post-office, and the man, muttering to himself, came up and said, "Who is that?"  I answered, "It is me, Groves," and asked if he was getting crazy and advised him to go home.  He said he had no home since he had lost his Lizzy.  I came back with him a short distance, seeing he was much excited, and advised him to go home.  He had a bottle of gin, and he asked me to dink, which I declined.  He asked if I thought he could get into the Fleece; I said I thought not.  He went round the Fleece, and then went up Armagh street.

   (Prisoner stated that he had met witness as stated, but it was several nights before Stubbs was missed; and that it was a bottle of porter he had with him, which he had taken from a party at the Royal Oak, who was going to a house of ill-fame.)

    John Sutherland, a member of the police force, deposed to his wife telling him of finding a hat.  His wife kept the hat, until they heard of a man being missing, when it was brought by witness to the station. (Witness identified the hat.)

   Thomas Toppin, sergeant of police, deposed to having a conversation with the prisoner ion the gaol-yard, on the occasion of some cresses being brought in.  Prisoner pointed to them and said, "them are the damned things thst brought me here."  I asked him how? He said he was very fond of watercresses, and last Sunday morning unfortunately he went to pick cresses opposite the Foresters' Hall, and he believed some person saw him.  Stamping upon the ground, he said, "them are the damned things that will hang me."

   John Kennedy, barman, Royal Oak, deposed that on Saturday fortnight Stubbs was at the bar of the Royal Oak, between 5 and 6 o'clock.  I did not notice what time he left.  He was not sober, but I should think he was capable of walking home.  He was generally at the Royal Oak on a Saturday night.  Groves is also in the habit of visiting thje Royal Oak, - indeed almost every night, but I don't remember him dancing and singing that night.  He was there singing one night about the time, but I cannot speak to the precise date.  I believe it was on another Saturday night.

   Arthur Smith, recalled: The night Stubbs was supposed to have been drowned, between 8 and 9 I was in the Royal Oak.  There was no singing.  On the following Saturday I was also there, about the same time of the night, and heard singing.  I saw groves and others there.  The barman came in and sang.  I stayed till all the company left.

   Andrew Thompson (a Swede), carpenter, deposed that he had lived at Groves's house since he left Mr. Lee's station, three weeks ago.  On the Saturday after, groves came in to tea, about dusk.  I cannot say whether he went out again or not. - Examined by prisoner: I don't remember you giving me some fried liver that night.  You gave my wife some one morning.

   Prisoner stated that on the night Stubbs was missed, he (Groves) bought some meat of Coker and Ell's, about six o'clock; the meat consisted of some liver, a shin of beef and an ox-tail.  That when he got home he fried a portion of the liver and handed a small portion on a fork to Thompson, who declined it; but Mrs. Thompson said she liked it; and next morning he cooked a plateful for her.

   Georgina Harker, wife of Mr. Harker, cabinet-maker, Christchurch, said: The place where deceased was found is near to my house.  On the night Stubbs was missed, while in bed I heard a shriek and said to my husband "Hark I hear a shriek."  He told me I was mistaken, and told me to go to sleep.  I suppose it was between 8 and 9.  On Sunday last I saw the body taken out of the water.  Prisoner was in front of the crowd.  After seeing him in the crowd on Sunday, I spoke with Groves, and asked him if that was the body of the fisherman who used to come to his house.  He said "on that night or a night or two after I struck him on the nose for speaking to my wife," and he further said ""My wife has proved false to me for that b----r."  Groves then stamped on the ground and said he was mad.  An hour or two after I saw him walking past the place where the body was found.

   Edward Batt, surgeon, Christchurch, described the result of an examination of the body taken by him in conjunction with Dr. Prins.  The clothes were covered with mud and sand, and there were no marks of violence on them.  The discoloration and puffed appearance of the head, face, and neck were the result; and to which may be attributed the alteration of the pupils of the eye and the iris; the skin of the chest was much puffed and of a deep green hue.  That of the thighs and legs of a bluish color; the palms of the hands and soles of the feet had a white and shrivelled appearance, indicating that the body had been a considerable time in the water.  Outside and inside the hands there were mud and sand.  There were no marks of violence externally.

   We removed the upper part of the skull; we found the brain and its membranes congested; there was no extravasation of blood.  The external and internal surfaces of the skull were uninjured.  The lungs congested; on the middle and outer part of the left lung there was adhesion to the pleura.  There was blood in a semi-fluid state in the right ventricle of the heart, and larger vessels.  The stomach contained about a pint of fluid of the consistency of thin gruel.  Its coats were congested and putrefied.  The liver was enlarged and gorged with blood, with some marks of disease.  The kidneys were congested, with marks of disease in one of them.  The other viscera were healthy but congested.  He and Dr. Prins were satisfied that deceased died from asphyxia by drowning.

   This closed the evidence, and the jury were left to consider their verdict; but being not satisfied, they asked for a further adjournment, and it was determined to resume the inquiry on that day fortnight, that they might obtain the evidence of Mrs. Thompson, a woman residing in Groves' house, and whose delicate condition prevented her from being present that day.

   The prisoner begged that he might not be again locked up, assuring the Coroner and jury that he had no more to do with Stubbs' death than those present.  He was removed in custody, and afterwards confined in Lyttelton gaol.

   Reporters were desired not to publish any evidence until the case was completed, and the court adjourned.


   The inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Abraham Stubbs, was resumed before Dr. Coward, coroner, at the house of Mr. Rowland Davis, Canterbury Hotel, Christchurch, at 2 p.m. on Friday, the 26th of September.

   Serjeant Pender was the first witness examined: Yesterday I took the hat of the deceased, A. Stubbs, to the place where the body was found, and placed it on the water in trhe manner described to have been found.  I allowed it to float with the current down the river, and left it on the water for some time, to see if it would float down to the place where found, and saw it might do so.  The water did not come inside, nor was the rim wet.  I therefore infer that it might have stayed in the water all night without becoming wet inside.

   Alexander Matthews, grocer, Christchurch: I bought a house belonging to the prisoner the Wednesday before the body of Stubbs was found.  He said he was going down to the diggings, fore as his wife was gone he had nothing to bind him here, and he didn't know whether he should ever come back.  He wished to leave next day, if he could get his things disposed of, and get a place for his daughter.  I gave him 154 Pounds for the property.  He asked 160 Pounds.  The property consists of about ¼ acre free hold land, a brick house with 4 rooms, and a lean-to of wood with 2 rooms.  If I offered it for sale I should ask 250 Pounds for it.

   John Mummery, one of the jury, sworn, said: That two or three months ago he saw prisoner at the Golden Fleece showing the deed and plan of his house to the barman, and Groves said, "if you can get me 150 Pounds for it, I will give you a present of 5 Pounds."  Groves then said to witness, "I want to sell my house, as I am off to the Coromandel diggings."  After some conversation he brought the deed to witness, and said, "Mummery if you like you may have it for 145 Pounds cash, as I want to open a store at the diggings."

   By Serjeant Pender: On the night Stubbs was missed, Groves and Thompson were at my shop.  I did not see him, but my wife told me he had been for some sugar.

   Isabella Thompson, wife of Andrew Thompson, said, I went to live in the prisoner's house on a Thursday night.  The following Saturday Groves came home about dark with my husband, pulled off his boots, and then went away to his own part of the house, but whether he went out again I don't know.  I saw him next morning, by his own house.  When he and my husband came home they brought some sugar.  Next morning my husband went to fetch a pound of oatmeal.  I had had my candle alight about an hour the previous evening before I went to bed.  I don't recollect Groves bringing any meat that night.  He brought a shin of beef and an ox-tail one day in the following week.  Groves gave my husband some liver one day, but it was not the first Saturday after we lived there.

   Prisoner wished the Court to call Mr. Bargrove, who could prove when the shin of beef and liver were bought.

   Andrew Thompson, husband of last witness: The week after I went to live at Groves' house, I heard of Stubbs being searched for.  The Saturday evening previous I met groves as I was going to buy sugar, and he took me to Mummery's.  I met Groves on my way from then White Hart, near Mummery's.  I bought some sugar, and we went home about dark, he leading me, as it was dark, and I in liquor.  He helped me to bed, and I fell asleep directly, nor recollect anything that occurred at night.  Since then I have not entered into any conversation with groves.  I saw Groves about 10 next morning.  There seemed nothing unusual in his manner.  When I went out in the yard on the last occasion, I did not speak to Groves, nor see him in the yard.  I don't remember Groves giving me any liver.

   Jane Groves, daughter of prisoner: I remember the Thursday the Thomson's came to live in my father's lean-to.  Two days afterwards Mrs. Thompson came into our part of the house.  Nine o'clock is my usual bedtime, and I believe I went to bed.  My father's bedroom is under m one.  My father came home to tea about 5 o'clock, I think, but I am not sure, and I don't remember his going out again.  I did not see Thompson before I went to bed.  I think my father was in bed.  My father called me up next morning about 7 o'clock.  I got up and found my father had the fire lighted.  I knew Stubbs, but don't remember seeing him since mother left us.

   John Kennedy, barman at the Royal Oak: I don't remember ever witnessing a quarrel between Groves and Stubbs.  I never heard Groves use any threats to Stubbs.  I have heard Groves say he was afraid to go home, but did not hear him state the reason.  This, I think, was before Stubbs was missing.  I don't know that Arthur Smith was present when Groves said he was afraid to go by the river.

   Prisoner said he had been knocked down by some person twice, near the river, and that made him afraid.

   Grace Hall, Kilmore Street, Christchurch: Groves was a shipmate of mine.  He told me three weeks ago last night he was going to the diggings on the following Monday.  He never said a word about Stubbs.

   Joseph Bargrove: I am a salesman at Coker and Ell's.  I remember the Saturday Stubbs was missing.  About six that night prisoner bought some meat at our shop.  He bought a shin of beef and an ox-tail, and I gave him a sheep's liver.  That was on the 23rd of August.

   Michael Curran (groom at Mr. Charles Turner's): I know prisoner.  One night at the Royal Oak I saw Groves take a bottle of porter, saying, "it will be as well for me to have it as where it is going."  He did not remember when this was, but it was within a day or two of Mrs. Jones's apprehension.  This was on August 15.

   This completed the evidence, and after a short time the jury returned an open verdict, to the effect "that deceased was found drowned."

   The prisoner was set at large, but the same evening was again taken into custody, and was next day brought before the Resident Magistrate.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 2 October 1862

A case of death by drowning occurred at Waipori last week.  The deceased was a little girl of the name of Duncan, whose parents reside at Waipori.  Some delay took place in sending information of the accident to the police, and when the Coroner arrived, he found that the child had been buried.  He, therefore, held a magisterial enquiry on the subject of the child's death, which resulted in a verdict of "Accidental; death b y drowning."


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 6 October 1862



An inquest was held this day, 30th Sept., at the Miners' Arms Hotel, before Dr. Samuels, Coroner for the Gold Fields, on the remains of a human being, found the previous day by a party of men who had descended the gully for the purpose of getting some water.  The gully in which the deceased was found is about two miles from Waitahuna, and, being steep, it is supposed he slipped down, and was unable to rise owing to the severity of the weather.  A man answering the same description was lost in July last, while on his way from the Woolshed to Waitahuna.

   From the evidence of the witnesses - Harris, Lazarus, and others - it proved to be the same person.  This man is Louis Woolf, a native of Germany, but many years in England.  On his person was found 2 Pounds in notes, and about 5d. in silver, besides several letters having the address "Louis Woolf, Post office, Tokomairiro."  The body was very much decomposed, and hard to be recognised.  The verdict of the jury was - "Died from cold and exposure."




On Wednesday last, we published a short notice of an inquest held on the body of John Arnott, which was found drowned in the pond at Meers. Ring's saw mill; we now give a copy of the depositions taken at the inquisition on the 29th September, before James Preece, Esq., coroner.

   George Burns being sworn said: That John Arnott came into my house last night apparently sober; he complained of being poorly.  I gave him some pills.  I went out for about an hour, and when I came home he was in bed.  I then went to bed myself, and he came to me about ten o'clock the same evening, and said he wanted to speak to me.  I told him to go to bed and I would speak to him in the morning; about half an hour afterwards he commenced crying in his room and making a noise.  I told him to be quiet, and not to disturb all the house.  A few minutes afterwards he grew worse.  I then took the candle and went in to his room.  He was lying in bed rolling about, and said he was so bad that he thought he would die, and requested me to write to his friends if he should die before morning.  I told him to lay still and be quiet until the medicine would operate.  I told him he would get better.  I again left him and went to my room.  About ten minutes afterwards he again made such a noise that I had to go to him, he appeared like a man out of his mind.  I told him to be quiet and again left him.  He did not make so much noise afterwards, but kept talking to himself.  I then went to bed and went to sleep, and heard no more of him that night.

   When I got up in the morning about half pasty five, I said to Mr. Lindsay, "John is quiet now."  He said, "He is not in the house, he went out at about three o'clock and has not returned."  I searched all the houses and the bush for him, and could not find him.  I then went and dragged the Mill Dam and could not find him still; then I ran the water off and found him floating when the dam was half empty.

   By the Coroner: It was about six o'clock last night when he entered my house.  I think that the deceased had been drinking.  I have observed that he has seemed of late, as if his mind were affected.  There was about seven feet of water in the dam before it was let off.

   By the Foreman: He did complain of great pain when he was rolling about, it was for that reason that I gave him the medicine.

   By a Juryman: I think he was in a state of delirium tremens.

   Robert Lindsay being sworn said: During my short acquaintance of two weeks I have scarcely seen the deceased go to bed sober.  Yesterday, he had had some drunk, and as usual, commenced making a noise shortly after going to bed.  Yesterday evening he went to bed about eight, and when Mr. Burns, who had been out, returned home, he asked for and got some pills, which he came out of bed to swallow.  From about half past nine to ten o'clock, he commenced crying out like a man in delirium tremens, which cries he continued until he left the house about three o'clock this morning.  I saw no more of him until I saw his body dragged out of the mill dam into the dingey this morning about eight o'clock.

   By the Coroner: I am of opinion that he threw himself into the dam, in a fit of insanity.

   William Conolay being sworn said: I have slept in the same room with the deceased lately, and last night after eight o'clock, he was kicking up a great noise.  I told him several times to lay quiet, and he said "Oh William. Oh William, I am very bad."  I told him to keep himself quiet, and he would soon get better.  I heard him a while after making more of a noise, like as if he was strangling, I struck a match, it alarmed him.  He was quiet for some time after.  Afterwards I heard the same noise, and I struck a match which alarmed him again.  He then stopped, and jumped immediately out of bed, and said "Oh, Bill, I am very bad, I cannot stand it."  I told him to lay down in his bed, and he would soon get better.  He shortly after that went out of doors.  I did not see him again until I saw his body a few minutes ago.

   By the Coroner: I have frequently heard him say that he would put an end to himself, when I have not thought him under the influence of drink.

   George Chapman being sworn said: I saw deceased yesterday about twelve o'clock.  He came into my house.  I was lying in bed reading.  He seemed as rational as ever I have seen him.  He talked a few minutes and asked me if I could give him a sixpence.  I had not one, but gave him a shilling.  He then went away and I saw no more of him.  I awoke during the night and heard footsteps passing the house, and the dog barking.  I moved the latch and let the dog out as he seemed anxious to go.  I fancied I heard footsteps on Mr. Burns' platform.  I soon heard footsteps passing again.  I then got up and opened the door and looked out.  I heard a voice near the dam, the person appeared to be vomiting or in distress.  I remained about ten minutes at the door; the clock had struck three while I was watching the dam.

   By the Coroner: It did not strike my mind that it was necessary to see what was the matter.  I thought that some one was vomiting, and had goner there so as not to disturb anyone.

   Patrick Cahill, of the Armed police, being sworn said: About half past seven this morning, Robert Lindsay came to our place to enquire after deceased.  I told him we had not seen him.  He said that if he could not find him at the stores on the hill, he suspected that he must have committed suicide, as he had made two attempts during last night.  He told me that some of themselves were searching the dam for him.  Constable Richard Harnet and I went in search of him.  After searching some time, Constable Harnet called my attention to the body in the water.  We got a boat and he and myself took him up.

   By the Coroner: We found him in a bent position - face downwards.  I examined for marks of his footsteps but could find none.  I think that the place he was found was not where he went in.  He was in the same dress as he appears now.  I found in his right hand pocket twopence in copper, a piece of tobacco, a key, and seven buttons; and in his left a sixpence, and threepence in silver.  My reason for thinking that he did not go in where we found him, was that he had been drifted down by the current when the water was let off.

   Edward Wilson, being sworn, said: I have stopped deceased on two or three different occasions from committing suicide, by attempting to drown himself.

   A verdict, in accordance with the above facts, was returned. - "Daily Southern Cross," Oct.  4.




A Coroner's inquest was held, on Saturday night last, at the Bush tavern, on the body of Ellen Elizabeth M'Allister.

   The jury consisted of Mr. Henry Josey Goodman, foreman, Messrs. Nattrass, Packer, Johns, Howell, Hardy, Crooke, Blythe, Clarke, Wagg, M'Artney, senior, Graham, and Percival.

   The CORONER, Thomas Connell, Esq., addressing the jury, said he would simply observe that, for all the purposes of justice, he thought it would be better that the case should be developed by the evidence.  He was also induced to refrain from making observations, as it was possible that a serious criminal charge might arise from the evidence.  Their first duty would be to inspect the deceased's body, and, for that purpose, they would adjourn to the house where it was.  Such examination, he presumed, would be but a mere matter of form, not that he would even hint to the jurors that they could not make the fullest examination, yet, as death was alleged to have occurred from causes, about which gthe jury, without medical testimony, would be incapable of deciding, and, as a post mortem examination had been made, he presumed that they would not require to do more than simply view the body.  He would also inform them that, if they were not clearly satisfied with the medical testimony, it was competent for them to direct any other medical practitioner to make another examination of the body.

   The jury then proceeded to view the body, and, on their return, the following evidence was received:-

   John M'Allister, being sworn, said: I am the husband of the deceased.  Her age was, I think, twenty-seven years.  She died on Thursday night last, October 9, as the clock struck twelve.  That was her body which the Coroner and jury have just viewed.  My wife had been confined, a fortnight preceding her death, of twin female children.  Mrs. Stewart, who lives on land adjoining mine, acted as midwife, and was present at my wife's delivery.  My wife was very ill after the second child had been born, and I wanted to get a medical man to see her, but Mrs. Stewart said there was no necessity, as she knew as well how to act as any medical man.  My wife had been in labour about two hours when I wanted to fetch a doctor.  My wife was bad a week before she was confined.  She had a child about two years and a-half since.

   During the day, I proposed several times to fetch Dr. Thebing, but Mrs. Stewart said I need not, for there was no danger.  At night, or early on the following (Friday) morning, I was awakened from sleep by hearing my wife scream out.  I think she said, "You are touching my very heart." "You are very cruel." "Oh, my John, come and save my life: Mrs. Stewart is killing me."  I was not quite awake, but I think that was what she said.  Mrs. Stewart said, "If my wife had a doctor, he would do the same," and that "my wife must let her do what was required."  Mrs. Stewart told me to go for a doctor, and to run quickly.  Both Mrs. Stewart and Mrs. Durrant told me to run for a doctor.  This was immediately after I had been awakened.

   I ran for Dr. Thebing, and he came: he followed immediately after me.  Dt. Thebing was at my house before daylight.  Mrs. Stewart was employed by my wife against my will.  Dr. Thebing did not remain long on that occasion: he left within an hour.  He did not attend again until last Monday, the 6th instant, when I again called upon him, because my wife was very ill.  On Tuesday, Dr. Thebing was not well, and Dr. Cusack attended for him.  On Wednesday, both Dr. Cusack and Dr. Thebing saw my wife, they came twice together.

   On the day of my wife's confinement, Mrs. Stewart sent me to a chemist's for some ergot for my wife.  I got it at Mr. Taylor's, in Bridge-street, and gave it to Mrs. Stewart, and I saw her mix some of it, but I did not see her administer it.  It was about noon on the day of my wife's confinement, that I fetched that medicine.

   Isabella Stewart, being sworn, said: I am the wife of Alexander Stewart, who was lately a police constable in Nelson.  I knew the deceased for some time.  I attended her in her last confinement, which occurred on the 25th September, and at which twin female children were born.  The delivery was complete at about 20 minutes past six o'clock on that morning.  I saw no peculiar circumstances attending her delivery.  Everything was perfectly natural.  Two months before her confinement she was seized with violent vomiting, and I attended her.  About 8 days before her confinement, I was again called because she was vomiting.  I think she must have then vomited three bucketsful.

   After her confinement, the placenta did not come away, and, having waited till the evening, I said it was time it should be removed, but she would not allow me to remove it.  I then sent her husband for Dr. Thebing.  I sent for him because he had attended her in a previous confinement.  Dr. Thebing came at once, that was about 3 o'clock on the Friday morning.  I did not remove the placenta; Dr. Thebing removed it.  I was present when he did so.  Mrs. Durrant was, at that time, in the outer room.

[Witness, having been cautioned that she need not answer, as her answer might be used in evidence against her, said:]

Before Dr. Thebing had arrived, I did nothing towards removing the placenta.  She would not let me touch her; she held my hand when I offered to do so.  I then, seeing she would not allow me to do what was necessary, called her husband and told him to go for a doctor.  After Dr. Thebing's visit, the deceased progressed favourably until Sunday, the eleventh day after her confinement.  I had seen her up, but not on that day. When I saw her up it was nine days after her confinement.  On Sunday, the eleventh day, her husband told me that his wife was "doing first rate."  On the Monday, the day following, I went into the house to wash the children.  I then saw Mrs. M'Allister in bed in a high fever.  She told me she had eaten some plum-pudding and drank some beer on the day preceding, and that she thought that she had partaken of it rather too freely.  I did not again see the deceased, for I thought the family seemed as though they did not like my going to the house.

By a Juror:

Before Dr. Thebing was called, I gave the deceased half a drachm of ergot, in two doses, at different times.  Dr. Thebing also gave her some.

   I produce my diploma in midwifery, which I received from the Edinburgh University.

   I am not aware whether Dr. Thebing knew I had administered ergot to the deceased.  I cannot say what time elapsed between the two doses which I gave her.  I gave it as I thought it was necessary.  Dr. Thebing administered ergot just after he was in the deceased's room.  Some time had then elapsed since she had my second dose.  I gave the ergot in the afternoon and evening of her confinement.

   Sarah Durrant, being sworn, said: I live near Mr. M'Allister's house, I attended Mrs. M'Allister after her twin babies were born.  I went there at about seven o'clock in the morning.  I was principally in the room adjoining Mrs. M'Allister's.  On the night of his wife's confinement, Mr. M'Allister was taking a nap on the sofa in the room where I was.  Mrs. Stewart was then in the bedroom with Mrs. M'Allister.  I heard Mrs. M'Allister scream out, "Oh! Mrs. Stewart, oh! Mrs. Stewart, you are killing of me."  She also cried out, "Oh! John, oh! my John, save my life."  These cries awakened Mr. M'Allister, and he said to me, "She is crying out against Mrs. Stewart; go and see what it is."  I walked into the bedroom, and leaned over the bed to Mrs. M'Allister, who then said, "Oh! Mrs. Stewart, you were very cruel; you touched my very heart."  I did not see Mrs. Stewart do anything.  She merely said, "Tut, woman, I did no such thing."  I had previously seen Mrs. Stewart sweep masses of blood in great quantity from the bed, congealed like liver.

   When I went into the room, I did not see Mrs. Stewart's right arm, because she turned it from me and held it down between her and the bed.  I was not on the same side of the bed.  I stayed in the room for a minute or two, and Mrs. Stewart then said, "Tell M'Allister to fetch a doctor; his wife will not let me do what is right, and it must be done at once."

By a Juror:

I remained in attendance on the deceased for one week.  I then left because her sister had arrived from England.  Her sister's arrival did not excite her.  Mrs. M'Allister was up on the Thursday after her confinement, but only for a short rime, while I made her bed.  She did not again get up, I think, till the following Sunday.  Mrs. M'Allister, till just preceding her death, frequently said, "Mrs. Stewart had nearly touched her heart." Mrs. M'Allister was very weak from the day of her confinement until her death.  She told me she had had a little plum pudding on Sunday.  She had no wine, beer, or spirits in the house; at least she said she "could not ask me to have any, as there was none in the house."  Mrs. M'Allister repeated several times before her death that Mrs. Stewart "had nearly touched her heart."

The CORONER: Was Mrs. Stewart then present?

Witness: No.

The CORONER: Then I cannot take such evidence down.  You see [addressing the jury] I cannot take down a statement that might criminate a person, unless that person was present when the statement was made, or unless it was made, with a full knowledge of impending death, in the presence of a magistrate.

   Theodore Bernhard Thebing, being sworn, said: I am a physician and surgeon.  I knew the deceased, Mrs. M'Allister.  I was called to see her on Friday, September 19, after her late confinement.  That was between two and three o'clock in the morning.  Her husband called me, and requested my immediate attendance.  When I arrived at the house, I found that Mrs. M'Allister had recently been delivered.  She was weak, pale, and agitated, and altogether in a state which showed that she must have lost a lot of blood.  I was informed that she had been constantly vomiting throughout the day, and that confirmed my opinion.  I gave her some Dover's powder to allay her irritability of nerves, and then examined her.  I found that the placenta had not been removed.  I at once, and easily, removed it in the usual way, and soon after that left her.  She was then weak, but in a fair way for recovery.  I did not then call again, as it was not my case, and as I had done all I was required to do.

   The week following I occasionally saw Mr. M'Allister and gave him twice some aperient pills for his wife.  I did not, on my first or subsequent visits, administer ergot.  When Mr. M'Allister called me on the 6th instant, he said "his wife had been up, had partaken of some rich food, and he thought it had disagreed with her."  He asked me for something to relieve her, and I gave him a powder of four grains of calomel.  He came again shortly and said his wife was worse.  I went to see her immediately and was much astonished at her appearance and the expression of deep suffering, which appeared by her features.  I at once dismissed all thought that such a change could have arisen from indigestion.  Her great prostration and quick pulse led me at once to fear that she had inflammation of the womb.  I ordered her some powders composed of one grain of calomel and one grain of opium, and an enema and then left for the night, but, on that same night, I proposed to Mr. M'Allister that, as the case involved great responsibility, I should wish to have another medical man with me on the following day. He consented, but, on the following day I was not myself well.  I, therefore, got Dr. Cusack to attend for me.  He saw Mrs. M'Allister three times that day, and, after each visit, came and consulted with me.  The following day both Dr. Cusack and I attended and held a consultation.  I saw her also again with Dr. Cusack and several times alone.  The last time I saw her was at eight o'clock, as she died at twelve.  I distinctly thought she was dying and dying from inflammation of the womb.

   After her death Dr. Cusack and I, with Mr. McAllister's consent made a post mortem examination.  On opening the abdomen we saw that the bowels were healthy but, on examining the lower parts, we saw slight signs of inflammation on the surface, on part of the womb.  On dividing this we saw that the veins of that organ were in a state of suppuration and that satisfied us as to the cause of death.  We could not say whether it resulted from external injury because out examination was made so long after the confinement.

By a Juror:

I did nit call again to repeat my visit which I made on the 26th September, because I was simply called to do what I then did, and, as Mrs. Stewart was in attendance on the case generally, I was not justified in again calling.  I found the placenta in the position in witch nature ordinarily places it, and removed it without difficulty.  Mrs. Stewart informed me that she had removed one placenta, but said she thought "this, the second one, had grown to Mrs. McAllister's side."  Ergot is usually administered to cause contraction of the womb.

   Mrs. Stewart recalled.  The evidence given by Dr. Thebing was read over to her.  Mrs. Stewart repeated that Dr. Thebing informed her he was giving her "a little ergot."

   Dr. Thebing: You must have dreamt it.

   Mrs. Stewart: No, doctor, I did not.  I have my position to maintain.  I am by some supposed to have caused this woman's death.  I maintain that that you said you were giving her "a little ergot."

   Dr. Thebing: I could not have said so.  I gave her simply Diver's powder.

   The CORONER: Mrs. Stewart, you say you did not remove a placenta.  Dr. Thebing says he removed but one, and that you said you had removed one.

   Mrs. Stewart: I did not remove one.

   Dr. Thebing: Then Mrs. M'Allister must have had but one child.

   Mrs. Stewart: No; the other placenta must have come away by itself.

   Samuel Athanasius Cusack, being sworn, said: I am a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and a Licentiate in Midwifery.  I have heard Dr. Thebing's evidence, and, so far as I was concerned in the case, I confirm the whole of his observations.

   I would explain what, perhaps, the jury may not clearly understand that the cause of uterine phlebitis, of which deceased died, could not, so many days after her confinement, be positively ascertain.  As a professional witness, I must speak partly as to facts, and partly from opinion.  As a matter of fact, there were no post mortem appearances to indicate how the inflammation was caused.  As a matter of opinion, I think inflammation of the uterus was likely to be cause by any forcible attempt to extract the placenta, and whether such had been the case in the present instance, the jury can form their own opinion.

The CORONER: I cannot take your opinion in evidence.  The inflammation may, I presume, have arisen from other causes.

Dr. CUSACK: It may have arisen from other causes, but, as an expert, I would merely give my opinion as to what I think caused it.  As a matter of opinion, I think the administration of ergot was immaterial, though I think no chemist is justified in selling, or a nurse in administering it, at any rate, without an order from a medical man.

The CORONER: That, of course, has nothing to do with this inquiry.

   Bridget Boulger, being sworn, said: I am sister of the deceased.  I arrived in Nelson from England last Thursday week.  I saw my sister on that day.  She was very weak, though getting better.  She was confined to her bed.  She was not excited at seeing me, as she had been prepared for it.  I remained in her house until her death.  She was up on the Sunday after I arrived.  She got up for half-an-hour and then went to bed again; got up again to dinner, and again returned to bed.  She had a small piece of fowl and plum-pudding for dinner.  My sister got up again for tea, and remained up till about eight o'clock.  At midnight she complained of sickness.  She had about half a glass of beer at three o'clock on that Sunday afternoon.

   The CORONER asked the jury of they thought they could decide on their verdict without requiring him to read over the evidence.

   Several jurors: yes.

   The jury then, after a few minutes' consultation, returned the following as their verdict: - "That the said Ellen Elizabeth M'Allister died on Thursday, the 9th of October, 1862, from inflammation of the womb, arising from natural causes, and not from any unskillful treatment."

   A Coroner's inquest was held on Saturday last, at Ranzau, on the body of Frank Win, aged three months, who appears to have been accidentally smothered while in bed with his parents.  The verdict of the jury was that the child "Died from suffocation by accident." [See Nelson Examiner, 18 October, for a letter from 'CIVIS' respecting certain aspects of this inquest.]


LYTTELTON TIMES, 22 October 1862


INQUEST AT KAIAPOI. - On Saturday last, an inquest was held at Kaiapoi by Charles Dudley, coroner for the district, on the body of Robert Goodlake Graham, who was found dead on the Wednesday previous near Glenmark.  From the evidence taken it appeared that the deceased arrived in the Mersey about three weeks ago, and in company with Mr. Smith, a shipmate, started on the 7th October from Christchurcvh to go to Mr. Lee's station at Highfield.  On arriving at Glenmark in the afternoon of the 9th they were directed to go to the Pass, a few miles distant, where there was an accommodation house, but after proceeding a short way the deceased said he was too tired to go further and should camp out; he lay down and went to sleep and his companions threw over him a great coat as the night was cold and windy, and they had no blankets; about three in the morning he awoke in a state of delirium, which continued till the afternoon, when he escaped from his companion who was gone to fetch some water for him from the river.  Search was made for some time for the missing man with no result till he was found on the following Wednesday by one of Mr. Moore's shepherds. 

   On the arrival of deceased in New Zealand he received a letter from home stating that his father was dead [who, we believe, was a solicitor of great respectability in Abingdon. Canterbury Standard; from COLONIST, 14 November.]; he was also disappointed in the non-arrival of some remittance which seemed to prey on his mind, and produced at times great depression.  The jury found that the cause of death was "from fatigue with exhaustion, and exposure to the weather."


TARANAKI HERALD, 25 October 1862



[THE Coroner is not required to furnish the public with particulars of inquests through the press.  The omission complained of by our correspondent is due to our reporter having neglected to attend the inquest.  The following was the verdict of the Jury:-

   "That the deceased, Robert Jones Madden, on the twenty-fourth day of September, 1862, came to his death by the taking of an overdose of narcotic poison by himself unintentionally, and not from any hurt, injury, or violence, done or committed to the said Robert Jones Madden, to the knowledge of the said Jurors. JOSIAH FLIGHT, J.P., Acting Coroner.  B. DRAYTON, Foreman of the Jury. .....}



Letter from David Jennings of Motueka, citing personal experience, in support of both Mrs. Stewart the midwife, and Dr. Thebing, in the M'Allister case.




The following is the evidence taken on the late drowning case at Coromandel, by the Coroner.  The deceased was named Thomas Murphy, and was drowned in the dam at Waiau saw mill.

   Reuben Fish being sworn, said: I am a bushman in the employ of Messrs. Firth Roe and Co.  I was with deceased last night.  When he crossed the boom he lost his balance and turned round, he could not reach the shire, but caught hold of some weeds or grass, which gave way, and he fell into the water, and he started to swim off into the creek.  I told him to swim towards the booms.  I went on the booms to help him up; he reached out his hand, but he was so far out that I could not reach it, and then he turned round, and went out into the middle of the creek.  When I called to my mates, who were behind me, he spoke to me, and told me he was drowning.  I ran up this way a few steps, and met my mates; when we got back he had got out of sight.  I then came down to the mill to get a light.  We went down and made a raft.  We went up the creek with the raft, and I showed them where I last saw him, which was not far from where they found him.

Examined by the Coroner:  We had been working in the bush that day; we had been down to Mrs. Tymmins's before we came home.  I believe that deceased was sober.  I do not consider the boom safe for people to cross.  It was dark when we were crossing.  We have frequently to cross the booms with heavy loads, and frequently in dark nights, without lights.

Examined by a Juryman: he did not say what he went back for.  We were drinking grog last night.  They got it down at Mrs. Tymmins's.  I could not say certainly, but one or two I think were the worse for liquor.  Neither I nor the man who was drowned were the worse for liquor.

Examined by another Juryman: I only saw deceased drink one glass.  I could not perceive that it took any effect on him.  There was nobody intoxicated when we left the house.  My mates were in a house getting a candle when deceased fell in.

   Frank Jaggar being sworn, said: I am a bushman, in the employ of Messrs. Firth, Roe and Co.  I was one of the party who went down with deceased to Mrs. Tymmins's.  We came back together to the mill, when Robert Gun, Arthur Albright, and myself stopped behind to get a light, while Reuben Fish and deceased went on.  We had just got the candle, and were lighting it, when we heard two "cooeyes" from the dam; and thinking all not right, we hurried to the booms, when we met Reuben Fish in search of us.  We proceeded to the spot where he had last seen him, but could see no signs of him; we then crossed the booms, and got two logs out, and made a raft of them, and then found the body near where Reuben Fish last saw him.

 Examined by the Coroner: There were about nine feet of water where the body was found.  We fished for him with poles.  It was Barbara Tymmins who supplied us with grog; we did not pay for it.  She did not say the price of it, and I did not ask her.

Examined by a Juryman: There was one a little inebriated, but the others were passable.  I do not think that deceased was intoxicated.  I did not ask the price of the grog; she did not say anything about payment, but I suppose she will expect it.  Mrs. Tymmins did once receive a trifle from me for liquor.  She never asked for payment, but I gave it.  I cannot swear that she sold liquor.  She asked me if I would have a nobbler.  I said I would have no objection.  She did not ask me if I had money.  I could only swear to deceased drinking one glass.  I cannot say whether any one else paid for it or not, I did not see them.

   Robert Gun being sworn, said: I am a bushman, in the employ of Messrs. Firth, Roe and Co.  I was one of the four who went down with deceased to Mrs. Tymmins.  We were there long before we came back, and walked up together until we came close to the mill.  Frank Jaggar, Arthur Albright and I stopped to get a light; while we were doing so, we heard two or three "cooeyes" from the dam.  Arthur Alb right said be quick, for he thought there was a man in the dam.  We had not gone far before we met Reuben Fish coming back; he came up to us and said, "Oh, my God, Tom is drowned."  I ran over and took my clothes off as we went along, and jumped into the water, but went on the wrong side of the booms.  Mr. McDonald came and asked him if he knew of any one who could dive; and I believe he said no.  We then went and got some more lights, and more men, and made a raft, and then found the body, and brought it over her to the mill.

Examined by the Coroner: We are not frequently in the habit of crossing the booms at night.  We do not often go to Mrs. Tymmins's for grog.  I have paid for grog there.

By a Juryman: We do go at times to Mrs. Tymmins's for grog.  We went down to get a letter.  I did not go for grog.  I came to get some things from the store, but did not get them.  She asked me if I would have a glass.  She did not ask for money, and I did not offer her any.

   Recommended by the Jury: That the proprietors of the mills be requested to improve the way across the booms, to prevent future accidents.


COLONIST, 14 November 1862


We have had a lamentable accident here to an old digger; he was blasting limestone at the mouth of the Para Para river, when the charge unexpectedly fired, killing him instantly.  He leaves a widow and small family; a sum of money has been raised on the spot by subscription for their immediate relief.  A coroner's inquest was held on the body, when a verdict of 'accidental death' was returned.  His name was James Freeman Miles, and he has worked for some time at the diggings.


OTAGO WITNESS, 15 November 1862


A very melancholy accident occurred on Thursday evening on board the baroque Time and Truth, now lying at Port Chalmers.  Alongside the vessel the steamers City of Hobart and Gothenburg, were moored for the purpose of receiving their  coal supply, and on that evening some of the fireman and coal trimmers belonging to the City of Hobart went to visit acquaintances on board the other steamer.  Among the number was George Morgan, a coal trimmer.  He was the last to leave his friends on board the Gothenburg, and, in crossing over the deck of the Time and truth, he must have fallen down the open hatchway, as at six o'clock next morning he was found lying beside the keelson almost on the point of death.  Immediately on the circumstance becoming known, Captain Darby proceeded ashore for Dr. Urquhart, who was at once in attendance, but the patient was by that time beyond all human skill, and he died without at all reviving in about an hour and a half after he was first found.

   The deceased was a man about thirty-two years of age, having a wife and three children in Victoria, and this was the first trip he had made in the City of Hobart, which he had joined at Melbourne.  He was a strictly temperate man, and one who was well esteemed by his companions.  The coroner's inquest has not yet been held to elicit the circumstances fully; but it would appear that he must have fallen into the hold of the vessel between 9 and 10 p.m., and that he must have been so stunned by the fall, as to be unable to give any alarm, for though the captains of the three vessels were on deck late in the evening, no sounds indicating suffering were heard.  Yet the poor man must have had sufficient strength left in him to creep about the hold, for his monkey jacket and cap were off in the morning, and his finger points chafed and scratched, his hands and face black with coal dust, while he was able to maintain a sitting position alongside the kelson.  The distance he fell was about 23 feet, and there were no coals in the vessel immediately under the hatchway, which had unfortunately been left open, though situated in front of the gangway of the vessels.  The body has since been brought ashore, and now awaits the holding of the Coroner's inquest.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 15 November 1862

As above, and:-


Yesterday forenoon a Coroner's inquest was held by Henry Howorth, Esq., in the Port Chalmers Hotel, on the body of George Morgan, who was killed at the Port on the previous day.

   Geo. Burton, fireman on board the Gothenburg, deposed that he knew the deceased.  The deceased was a coal trimmer on board the City of Hobart.  He came to the fireman's room of the Gothenburg, about half-past 9 o'clock, on Thursday, night, and witness remained with him five minutes, and then left.  Witness did not see him again till next morning, when he saw him speechless, on board the City of Hobart.  Deceased was quite sober when witness left him on board the Gothenburg.

   David Hannah, chief officer of the Time and Truth, was on duty on the same morning, about six o'clock, when he saw a pea jacket on the bilges on top of the hold.  Afterwards he saw deceased lying in the hold, and had him brought on deck.  Did not hear deceased speak.  The Time and Truth was lying between the Gothenburg and the City of Hobart; and the hatches were open all night, as it was expected they would have to coal the Gothenburg during the night.  There was plenty of room for a person to pass from the one steamer to the other.  A man kept watch on board the Time and Truth.

   Henry Hord, fireman, on board the Gothenburg, corroborated the testimony of the first witness.

   Dr. Urquhart gave evidence as to the state in which he found the deceased yesterday morning.  He had since made a post mortem examination, when he found that a sufficient number of vessels had been ruptured to cause oppression of the brain, which was the cause of death.

   After hearing the evidence the jury found the following verdict: - "That the deceased, George Morgan, was accidentally killed by falling down the hatchway of the Time and truth."




The body of William Butcher, a pensioner, had been discovered, on the 18th October, lying in a swamp.  The deceased, it appeared, had been missed since the 25th September.  An inquest upon the body was held by the Coroner, but no evidence satisfactorily accounting for death was elicited.  Though the appearance of the body was consistent with the supposition of death from suffocation or drowning, there was a severe scalp wound at the back of the head, which was accounted for, as the deceased, a short time before he reached the spot where his body was found, was known not to have been wounded, the jury returned an open verdict of "Found dead."


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 17 November 1862

Henry Howorth, Esq., coroner, held an inquest on Saturday morning, at the Victoria Hotel, Octagon, on the body of Stephen Breen, who (as stated on Saturday) died from injuries caused by a fall of earth, at the excavations in the Octagon.  Several witnesses were examined.  From their statements, it appeared that early on Thursday morning, the deceased was at work, undermining a block of soil, which was from seven feet to eight feet high, and about seven feet in width.  Chambers had been cut on each side, and the deceased had already completed the undermining, ready for the driving of the wedges from the surface, so as to topple over the mass from a depth of two feet.  One of the workers, James Henry, saw that the defendant, while getting out one of the pillars which had supported the block, was working in the wrong position, and called to him to turn his body.  He was in the act of doing so when the block fell.  Part of it struck him on the left leg, and knocked him down, and the upper portion, which had by this time fallen, rolled over his body.  He was immediately extricated, and taken to the hospital, close at hand.

   Dr. Yates, the resident-surgeon, said that, when admitted, the deceased was in a state of great depression.  He complained of pains in the back and side, and there was a large bruise on the lower part of his belly.  There were no limbs broken.  Stimulants were administered, but the deceased remained in the same state of suffering until he died, about eight o'clock on Friday morning.

   On a post-mortem examination, he (the witness) found that the bladder was ruptured, the bones of the pelvis fractured, and the intestines much bruised.  Death resulted from the shock to the system.  The jury returned a verdict of "accidental death."


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 17 November 1862


We regret we have to chronicle the occurrence of a fatal accident to Mr. Middlemas, of Drury, on Friday evening last.  From the few particulars we have been enabled to gather, we may state that Mr. Middlemas had visited Auckland on Friday last, and after the transaction of his business in this city, started homewards.  He had reached the Papakura bridge in safety, when by some means, at present unaccountable, he was pitched under the spring cart in which he had been riding, and the wheel passing over him killed him on the spot.  The body was subsequently removed to the Half-way House, Mr. Burton's, and an inquest is expected to be held this day at one o'clock, before T. B. Moore, Esq., coroner, and a jury to be summoned for the occasion. ...


LYTTELTON TIMES, 19 November 1862



It is our painful duty to publish a report of three inquests held before the same coroner and jury, at the Lyttleton Hotel, Christchurch, on Monday last.

   The first was on the body of a lady named Ellen Ellman, which was taken out of the river Avon, near the residence of Mr. Travers, on Saturday evening.  Mrs. Ellman was in her 30th year; she was the wife of a surveyor, with whom, and her mother, she arrived in this province a month ago, by the Queen of the Mersey.  Mrs. Ellman suffered severely from sea sickness; on landing, she was in a delicate state of health, and had been subsequently visited by Dr. Turnbull; but she exhibited no symptoms of aberration of mind until Friday last.  On that day, she left the house where she was residing, and went to see her mother, Mrs. Saxby, staying at present with the family of Mr. Stace, of Berwick farm.  Mrs. Saxby, who gave evidence at the inquest, said: On Friday, at eleven o'clock, my daughter came to me and said she didn't know what was the matter with her, but she could not stay alone, and she thought it was better to come and tell me, as she was afraid of something, she knew not what; but she wished to have somebody to look after her.  She stayed with me and Mrs. Stace till three o'clock.  Whilst with us she said she felt much better, and seemed very well, talking quite rationally.  I afterwards went home with her, and she wrote a short letter to a friend in England, in which she stated she did not feel sufficiently recovered from the effect of her voyage to write more; and after some general remarks, and an apology for the shortness of the epistle, she concluded with a promise to send a longer letter by next mail.  She took this letter to the post-office, and I accompanied her.

   In the evening her husband called in Dr. Turnbull, who said she would be better to-morrow or the next day.  She said she thought she ought to be in an asylum; but the doctor perceived no symptom of insanity in her.  Many years back, she had thought she would be insane.  I stayed all night with her; in the morning we saw Dr. Turnbull asgain, and she and I went to Mrs. Staces's, about 11 a.m.  She went to bed for about three hours; afterwards had some dinner, and then went into the garden to gather some gooseberries.  She had a walk with her husband, and afterwards started to go home.  She stopped on the way, and at her request he brought her back.  She sat down for half an hour, and then went up stairs to lie down, looking very cheerful as she went, and saying to Mrs. Stace, "I am going to lie down."  Half an hour after, we found she had left the room.  She could not have come down stairs without being seen.  On the same morning, she said to me, "Oh, mother, I am glad you have come with me; had I gone out alone, I should have thrown myself into the river." She was within a month of her confinement.  Her husband was very, very kind to her.  About nine years ago, she told me she felt she should go out of her mind, and something must be done for her.  I obtained medical advice for her, and she rallied.

   It seems that Mrs. Ellman got out of the chamber window unperceived, jumped from a verandah eleven feet high, and fled in the direction of the river.  As soon as she was missed, all the members of Mr. Stace's family, some of them on horseback, scoured the district round, as did also her husband, to find her.  The latter, whilst enquiring of a youth named Thomas Pepperell if he had met with her, had his attention directed to a female figure running along the Stanmore accommodation road, and recognised his wife.  He followed in swift pursuit, but she turned at an angle, and was lost to view.  It would seem that as soon as she reached the river bank she leaped in, for shortly afterwards Mr. Henry Travers, on proceeding home, saw her in the river, called to his father, and got her out.  Dr. Turn bull was on the spot almost at the same moment, and tried unavailingly to restore animation, but it was hopeless; the lady was dead. Her husband came up just as they were about to remove the body.

   The jury returned a verdict that the lady drowned herself whilst laboring under a fit of temporary insanity.


The next case was that of the drowning of a little boy, named Thos. Wm. Preston, aged 9 years, who fell into the river Avon, whilst playing near the Papanui Bridge, on the 5th November.  A long and persistent search had been made for the body, but without success, until the morning of Monday last, when it was discovered under a raft, by the new bridge in the line of Madras Street, by a youth named Alfred Cooper, employed at the time in clearing away water cresses from the piers of the bridge.  It was proved that the boy was accidentally drowned, and a verdict was returned accordingly. ...


The third inquiry was into the circumstances attending the death of Mr. Joseph Garland, aged 47, who was drowned in the Rakaia, about seven o'clock on Saturday evening.

   It appears that Mr. Garland had been up to the gorge of the Ashburton, and mustered some cattle to bring down home.  He was accompanied in his journeyings the whole of last week by Mr. Isaac Mawson, and on Friday evening stayed at Mr. Dowling's station, where they met some parties who were returning after a vain attempt to ford the Rakaia, which had been swollen by a fresh for several days.  These persons tried to advise Mr. Garland not to attempt crossing the river for some time, but he, anxious to be at home, determined to proceed, and next evening reached the southern fork of the stream, which he crossed in safety, as also the second fork. Up to this point he was accompanied by Mawson, who feared to cross the main stream and sought to persuade garland to return; but he appeared somewhat chagrined at this, said he had crossed cattle there before, and was determined to go on.  Mawson rode in up to the saddle-flap, and then backed out.

   At this time Mr. Garland was trying to head his cattle, 16 or 17 in number, which seemed averse to cross over, and continued going down the stream.  At one point the cattle turned back, and Mr. Garland strove to turn the horse to follow them, but his beast rolled over, and Mr. Garland disappeared.  Mawson rode down the bank cooeing and looking for him.  About half-a-mile below where he had sank, Mawson saw the body lying at the bottom of the river, and jumping in, pulled it out, but life was then quite extinct.  He was almost immediately joined by Mr. Charles Flowers, of the Accommodation House, who rendered every aid to restore animation, but without effect.  The latter crossed and re-crossed the river, and nearly lost his own life by doing so; he rode all night, and brought news of the accident to Christchurch by five o'clock on Sunday morning, and thence went forward to break the sad news to the deceased's family.

   The verdict in this case was, of course, that the deceased had been accidentally drowned. ...


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 19 November 1862


 WE subjoin a report of the evidence taken at the inquest on the body of the late Mr. Hugh Henry, of Titiranga, held on Monday last, before T. M. Philson, Esq., coroner, and a respectable jury, of whom John Bishop was foreman.

   George Paterson being sworn, said: I am a surveyor, and reside at the Tirirangi ranges.  I knew deceased, Hugh Henry.  He was a farmer and settler, and resided at the Tirirangi ranges.  I last saw him alive on the morning of Saturday, 15th November instant, about ten o'clock; at that time he was at Mr. Priestley's inn, called the "Whau Hotel." He was proceeding to Auckland on horseback.  He was about a quarter of an hour at the inn.  I did not see him take any drink; and he was perfectly sober.  I agreed to meet him at his own house in the evening, on his return from Auckland.  I went to his residence about five o'clock in the evening, and sat up until one o'clock on Sunday morning, November 16th instant, waiting for him.  Thinking that there was no likelihood of his returning that night I went to bed.  I was awoke in the morning, shortly after daylight, by Mrs. Henry, who asked me to go in search of her husband, thinking that he might have stopped at the Whau Inn.  I went immediately after taking a cup of tea, and had not proceeded more than a furlong from the house, when I saw about three chains from me, deceased's mare, apparently unharnessed, in a gully; I went up to her and found that she was attached to a spring cart, which had been turned upside down.

   On looking on the ground I saw part of the body of a man underneath the cart, and partially concealed by the foliage.  I noticed that the hind legs of the mare were in close proximity to the man's head.  My first object was to extricate the mare, I cut the reins by which she was attached, and let her go; I went immediately to the man, whom I had every reason to believe was Mr. Henry, and raised the cart from his body.  I then fully identified the man to be Mr. Henry.  He was still breathing; I called him by name, as I held the cart raised from his body, but he returned no answer.  He was evidently unconscious, and being unable to make anyone hear m y calls for help, I was obliged to let the weight of the cart down on his stomach again.

   I ran towards the house, shouting for help, and finding that my cries were heard, I returned to the body, and again lifted the cart, and held it free from the body, until assistance came.  In about five minutes a young man named Angus M'Isaac came to my assistance.  We were then enabled to throw the cart entirely off the body.  I immediately removed the body to a dry spot on the side of the road.  At this stage Mrs. Henry, the wife of deceased, came down.  I begged her to return to the house for some tea, but before she returned, which was within ten minutes, deceased had ceased to breathe; the trunk of the body was warm, but the hands were cold.  I only perceived a trifling smell of liquor about the body of deceased; the features were not livid.

   After the corpse was removed to the house, I went back to the ground; by this time there were two or three persons examining the spot.  One of them, Hibernia Smith, junior, showed me a black bottle, which he had found with the neck broken off, the bottle was half  full of rum or brandy - I cannot say which.  Subsequently I assisted in "laying out" the body.  I noticed a large patch of discoloration extending across the stomach, occasioned I believe by the edge of the cart where it rested; I saw no cuts or wounds, there was no appearance of blood.

   Angus M'Isaac being sworn, said: I am a labourer in the employment of Mr. John Bishop, and reside with him at Titirangi.  I knew deceased.  I was at the hill opposite his residence on Sunday morning, November 16th, about half-past six o'clock, and heard some one hollowing in the gully below Mr. Henry's house.  I could not make out what it was about.  Presently I heard Mrs. Henry, the wife of deceased, calling to me (whom she mistook for Mr. Bishop) to come down.  I ran down and met deceased's daughter on her way to Mr. Bishop's.  I then met Mrs. Henry, and we both went to the place whence the shouting proceeded.  We first met deceased's man coming up the road leading to the house.  We then saw the last witness in the act of lifting the shafts of a spring cart, which was overturned and rested on the body of a man.  I immediately recognised the body as that of Hugh Henry.  He still breathed faintly.  One leg was stiff and cold, owing to the damp and swampy nature of the ground where the body lay.  I assisted in extricating the body.  Breathing ceased in about five minutes.  I perceived a smell of liquor about the body.  Sometime afterwards, on going to the spot, a broken bottle was shewn to me, which contained, I believe, brandy.  One shaft of the cart was broken.

   Charles Priestley being sworn, said: I am part proprietor of the Whau Hotel, where I reside.  I knew deceased.  He came to the inn about nine o'clock on Saturday morning, November 15th instant.  He was riding on a mare.  He stopped a very short time at the inn.  He drank some ginger beer or syrup, but no alcoholic liquor.  He left the inn alone.  I saw him subsequently in Auckland on the same day.  He was d riving the mare above-mentioned in a small spring cart, which carried a few trifling things.  I drove my own horse and spring cart.  There was one passenger in my cart - none but himself on deceased's.  At the Northern Hotel we all three had a nobbler of brandy each.  This was between the hours of 5 and 6 o'clock p.m.

   It was about a quarter to 7 o'clock when we reached the Whau Hotel.  Deceased stayed there until half-past 9 p.m.  I served deceased with one glass of rum, and my brother said that he served him with two.  When he left I saw no signs of inebriation.  The night was very dark.  I wished to detain him on account of the darkness, but he said he was "all right," and started.  He took a pint and a half of rum with him in a black bottle.  After leaving my house he returned in about ten minutes, saying that he had broken the bottle of rum, and asked for another, which I gave him.  I heard no more of him until the next day (Sunday), Nov. 16, when I was informed of his death.  On leaving my house, deceased was accompanied by as young man, named William Glenn, who was quite sober.

   William Glenn, being sworn, said: I am a sawyer, and reside in Titirangi.  I knew deceased.  I met him at Mr. Priestley's inn, on Saturday evening last, November 15th instant, after dark.  I did not see deceased take any drink.  I left the Whau Hotel in deceased's cart, about 10 o'clock, on Saturday night.  He evidently had had a little liquor, but he knew what he was doing.  I was going home, and the last witness asked me to see him safe home.  Deceased took a bottle of spirits in his pocket, but happening to break it, he returned for an other.  I accompanied him for the distance of a mile and a half, and then left him at his own desire.  I did not see him d rink anything in the cart.  I considered him quite competent to reach his home in safety.  He drove the cart himself.

   The jury after a short consultation returned the following verdict: - That the deceased was killed by the accidental overturning of his own cart, on the night of Saturday, November 16, or morning of Sunday, November 17.


SOUTHLAND TIMES, 25 November 1862

An inquest wass held at Riverton on Saturday, 22nd instant, before Mr. Geo. McClure, M.D., coroner, on the body of Samuel Bradly, who was drowned on the 4th inst. by the upsetting of a boat whilst crossing the river; his body was found on the 20th, by a man named John Nicholson.  The evidence went to prove that all the men in the boat at the time of the accident (four in number) were more or less intoxicated.  The verdict returned was "Accidental Drowning."




CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Wednesday last, at Whitewood's Hotel, Hutt, before Leonard Boor, Esq., M.D. Coroner, and a respectable jury, on view of the body of Diana Pond, who died on Sunday the 16th inst. Several witnesses were examined, and the jury, after a patient investigation, found a verdict of "died from natural causes."


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 25 November 1862


On Sunday last the body of a man, supposed to be that of a person named McColl, who has been missing for about a fortnight, was found by a boat, near Keri Point, where it had been left by the tide.  Information was quickly given to the police, and on Sunday evening a boat was despatched to the place, when the body was removed to the Dead House, Official Bay.  The body is much decomposed.  An inquest will be held this morning, before Dr. Philson, coroner, at Mr. Palmer's, the Royal Hotel, and which is fixed to take place at 11 o'clock. 

   Respecting the missing young man, and who, as we before stated, was named McColl, a contemporary writes: - He lodged at Mr. Smith's, corner of Victory and Hobson streets.  On the night of Thursday, the 6th instant, he left his bed, and went out of the house without the knowledge of any of the inmates, and has not since been heard of, although active enquiries and search for him have been made by the police.  Having injured his leg the previous day, by falling from a ladder, he had the use of crutches, and could not have travelled far.  He was evidently, at times, deranged in his mind, and has once before attempted suicide.  He took a razor out of his case when he left.  He was seen going to the Wharf, at about 3 o'clock in the morning of Friday, and it is supposed he is drowned.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 1 December 1862

An inquest was held on Friday at the Newmarket Hotel, Dunedin, before Henry Howorth, Esq., coroner, on the body of Momford Wilks, who had died suddenly on the previous day.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased had for two days been suffering from a severe cold, and that on Thursday afternoon he went to bed about 3 o'clock, but rose again at 4, saying that he felt as if his throat was stopped up.  He objected to have a doctor called.  He continued about the same all the evening.  About half-past 2 in the morning he jumped out of bed making a great noise in his throat, and motioned to his wife to give him a little gin, which he tried to swallow, but could not.  Dr. Hocken was then sent for; but before he arrived the man was dead.  It appeared from the medical evidence of Dr. Hocken that the cause of death was suffocation, caused by closure of the orifice of the windpipe, consequent upon swelling, induced by inflammation.  The jury found that the deceased died from natural causes.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 4 December 1862

A somewhat mysterious case of death by drowning was discovered on Friday last.  It appears that a miner named James Barnes, was proceeding along his race for the purpose of turning the water into a dam constructed near the Coalpit Junction, when he observed a swag lying close to an old hole.  On examining the hole he found a man in it barely up to his chin in water.  On getting him out it was found he was quite dead, and information was at once given to Police Sergeant Cleary, who had the body removed to the vacant room of the hospital, and an inquest was held on it by the Coroner, Dr. Samuels, on the following day.  The deceased was not identified, and after evidence had been taken as to the finding of the body, together with the result of the post mortem made by Dr. Hally, the jury returned a verdict "that the deceased (unknown) was found drowned in a water hole at Tuapeka, ion the 28th November, 1862."

   The strange thing connected with this case is that the water in the hole was only a little over four feet in depth, and that a very little exertion would have enabled any one to get out of the shaft altogether.  Again, when found the water barely reached to his chin, yet there is no reasonable doubt but that the deceased met his death by drowning.  Only 2s. 1 ½ d. were found in his swag, which comprised a tent and clothes  The deceased has trhe appearance of as foreigner, is about five feet five inches in height, apparently about thirty years of age, and was dressed in a monkey jacket, moleskin trousers, and knee boots.


OTAGO WITNESS, 6 December 1862

A man known only by the name of "Fred" was drowned in the river Clutha, on the 23rd instant.  It appears that deceased and two mates, were engaged in bringing a boat up the river from the Dunstan township to the Kawarau; and when about three miles from the former place they encountered a rapid current, which upset the boat.  Deceased, who wass steering at the time, was seen carried away by the force of the current for a short distance and then sank.  Deceased was a native of Denmark, and had no friends in the country.  The body has not yet been discovered.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 20 December 1862



An inquest was held on Monday, the 15th instant, before Dr. Samuels, Coroner for the Gold Fields, on the remains of a man of the name of Joseph Whitehouse.  It appears from the evidence, that the deceased had lefty his mates on Tuesday, the 9th inst., for the purpose of purchasing tobacco for the party.  Finding that he did not return on the following Friday, one of his mates, named Butterfield, went in search of him.  After making enquiries at Wetherstones and Gabriel's Gully, Butterfield returned unsuccessful.  On arriving at the junction of the Beaumont and Molyneux Rivers, he enquired at a small store, kept by a man of the name of Williams, whether a person had been there answering the description of the deceased.  He was informed that a man called on Tuesday answering the description of the deceased, and purchased a pound of tobacco, for which he paid 8s. giving a sovereign, and receiving 12s. in change.  Williams pointed out to Butterfield the direction in which the missing man had gone.  Fears were at once entertained as to the probability of his having been drowned whilst attempting to cross the stream, or that he might have slipped in from the rocks on either side.  Search was at once made, but all that could be found was a plug of tobacco resting on a piece of rock. 

   On the following (Saturday) search was again made, and after using a pole, some 20 feet in length, they were successful in fishing up the body.  On the body were found 16s. in silver, and a nugget.  The body and the property were identified by the mates of the deceased.  One of the witnesses, Butterfield, had been acquainted with deceased for six years, having sailed from England with him in the Oliver Lang.  The deceased was a man about 34 years of age, and of very temperate habits.  He had lately arrived from Wellington.  Verdict of jury - "Found drowned."


A melancholy occurrence took place at the Junction, Tuapeka, on Monday, the 15th instant.  A child three years o age belonging to Mr. R. E. Field, Clerk to the Tuapeka Court, was found drowned in a hole, opposite to, and about one hundred yards from the parents house.  The child was seen alive and well not more than twenty minutes previous to the discovery of his death.  An inquest was held on the day following, at the Commercial Hotel, by the coroner, Dr. Samuels, when a verdict in accordance with the facts was returned. [Editorial comment.] - Communicated.


HAWKES' BAY HERALD, 23 December 1862


On the 9th inst., an inquest was held at the residence of Edward Collins, Esq., Tamumu, before Charles Robert English, Esq., coroner for the district, and a respectable jury, touching the death of Ruka, an aboriginal native of New Zealand, the discovery of whose body has been already reported in these columns.  The following evidence was elicited:-

    TIKUKU being sworn, saith - On Wednesday last, on my arrival at the Tamumu, I saw the deceased Ruka, who told me that Morena had been there, and had told him to arise and go away from there.

   He appeared to be in his usual health.  I left him, and saw him next on Saturday; I was bringing him some food, and when I got to the house I saw him lying naked on the ground in the doorway of the house.  His head was in the doorway and his body and legs in the outer part.  One eye was knocked out; it was quite gone.  I went and fetched some mats and garments, and took him away, and covered him over with earth.  One side of his face was blackened with powder and blood.  It was the black of gunpowder I believe.  The blood was fresh and warm; the limbs were pliable and the body was warm.  I handled it in many places.  There were no wounds on the body; there were wounds on the cheek and eye only; there was an abrasion of the skin over the eye that was gone.  I have mentioned what Morena had said to the deceased, to Hutana, before the death of the former.  What I state is of my own free will, and does not proceed from fear or of ill-will to anybody.  We have not been on good terms with Morena.

By a Juryman:

I could not say what the wounds were made with - whether a gun or a stick.

By the Coroner:

There were no fire arms or powder in the house in which deceased lived.  I don't know why Morena told deceased to go away from the place where he was living.  I know the nature of an oath.

By a Juryman:

It was not only I who suspected Morena of killing deceased, but many others.  Our suspicions were founded upon threats made by Morena against myself and Manihera.  Deceased was a relative of mine.  Morena had an ill feeling towards all of us.

By another:

Deceased told me that Morena had pointed a gun at him two or three times on the Wednesday above mentioned, when he told him to go.  I said it must have been a whip, but deceased persisted and said it was a gun.

   TE HUTANA, beinbg sworn, states, - On Wednesday last Tikuku came to my place at Mataweka, and told me that Ruka had said to him that Morena had been at Tamumu, and had told him tom go, and that he (Morena) had burnt Tikuku's house.  He had been there that same day.  Ruka had also told him that Morena had pointed a gun at him three times.  On Saturday at dinner time, by Mr. Russell's gong, Tikuku set off for Tamumu with some food for Ruka.  About this time of the day (6 p.m.) he returned and told me that Ruka was dead, and that he had been murdered.  He said there was a hole like a shot hole in the cheek, and one eye was gone.  On Sunday I came down to the Tamumu in company with Mr. H. Russell and others.

   We uncovered the corpse and Mr. Russell exclaimed that the wounds had been made with a tomahawk.  Nation then probed the wound in the cheek with a stick, and Mr. Russell then said it had been made by a ball.  We examined the back of the head to see if there was any place where a ball had passed through but found no wound.  I did not go near enough to form an opinion as to whether the wounds were caused by shots or otherwise; the face was blackened on one side like black off a pot.

   JAMES LAWRENCE, being sworn, saith, - On Sunday morning last, the 7th inst., I went to the Tamumu in company with Mr. Henry Russell and some natives.  We found the body of the deceased covered over with mats and earth.  It was uncovered and I saw wounds on the head.  The wound in the cheek was done by a tomahawk or some blunt instrument.  I believe decomposition had set in, and the wound, mouth and nose were full of maggots.  The left eye was completely out, the skinny part remaining, but all the contents gone.  There was a hole in the skin over the eye and the eyelid was broken.  It was about 11 a.m. on Sunday when I saw the corpse.  There was no appearance of powder on the face.  The skin was completely gone from the half of the forehead on the same side on which the eye had been destroyed.  The wound by the jaw was jagged, and Nation thrust a stick through from the socket of the eye, and out at the cheek wound.  I should say decidedly that the wounds in question had caused his death.

   THOMAS VENN, being sworn, saith, - I am a member of the Royal College of Surgeons.  I have made a post mortem examination of the deceased.  I examined the surface but could detect no mark of violence on any part of the body.  Decomposition had proceeded too far in the head, face, and upper part of the trunk, to allow of any opinion being arrived at as to the state of the soft parts.

   I opened the head and found all the bones entire; I could detect no fracture of any bone.  The bones of the face were also entire, with the exception of the lower jaw; many of the teeth were missing, some were very loose, the result of decay.  I found one tooth in the back part of the mouth.  The upper edge of the jaw very uneven, rather a deep indentation in front.  I attribute these appearances to natural causes, to natural absorption from extreme old age.  The bones of the upper part of the head were denuded from decomposition and the body being rapidly devoured by maggots.  I examined both orbits particularly, and found no fracture in either.  I examined the brain, it was quite fluid from decomposition.  The orbital plates of the frontal bones were quite perfect.  The hunours of both eyes had escaped. 

   I opened the chest and found the lungs perfectly healthy.  The heart wass much enlarged; the aorta was ossified; the semilunar valves had ossific matter deposited in them.  I found blood in all the cavities of the heart; this is generally the case in sudden death. There was no evidence of anything like strangulation.  The blood in the heart was partly fluid and partly coagulated - of a dark colour.  From the description of the wounds I do not think they would be sufficient to cause sudden death.  I am decidedly of opinion that a man might live from Wednesday to Saturdays with such a wound as I have heard described in the face of deceased.

By a Juryman:

I can form no opinion as to what might have caused death.  The diseased appearance of the heart that I observed might possibly have produced sudden death.  I do not think the wounds described would be more likely to cause death than the heart disease.  I am sure no wound could nave been made from the hole described in deceased's jaw through the eye without injuring a bone, unless it had been made under the skin.

   CHARLES NATION, being sworn, saith, - On Sunday last I left Waipukurau for the Tamumu with Mr. Russell.  On arriving at the Tamiumu I was shown the body of the deceased; I uncovered it, saw a hole in the right cheek, apparently a bullet wound.  I have seen such wounds before, and my impression is that this was one.  I probed with a stick from the cheek bone upwards to a distance of about six inches and found no opposition.  I did not notice any contusion.  There was a slight discolouration round the wound.  A part of skin about three inches square was taken off the top of the forehead; it was clean gone.  It appeared as if removed suddenly by violent concussion by some blunt instrument or a blow.  I saw no symptoms of blood or hair where the body had been lying.

   The jury, after hearing the evidence, returned the following verdict: - "That the deceased died from natural causes and not otherwise."


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 24 December 1862


On the 13th instant, H. Hanson Turton, Esq., coroner, held an inquest at Coromandel, touching the death of William Murray, a private in the armed police force of that place.

   The following evidence was taken:-

   Patrick Cahill sworn, deposed: I am a member of the armed police force at Coromandel, and lived with the deceased William Murray, another private in the force, at the time of his death.  On Monday last I complained to Corporal Hastie, of Murray's having been drinking, and the corporal went with me and Harnett up to the diggings, where we found him laying drunk in the ferns, with a bottle full of spirits by his side.  We took him home, and got him to bed.  On Tuesday he kept on drinking, and also on Wednesday, and so on till Thursday evening, at which time he appeared better.  Yesterday morning (Friday) he seemed to have got over it, when I left him and went to the bush, returning again about 2 o'clock p.m., in company with constable Harnett.  We soon asked the deceased to take dinner with us, when he replied that he had dined.  He was then preparing to go to serve subpoenas at Koputouaki, about six miles distant.  I told him which was the shortest way.  He then left apparently in good health, retuning about six o'clock.  He then threw himself on his bed appearing very much fatigued. He said the parties had left Koputauaki, and so he brought back the summonses with him.  After being on the bed a few minutes he asked me for a drink of water, which I gave him.  I then got supper ready for him, but he did not take any, and between 7 and 8 o'clock I left the station to visit the Diving Creek again.  I returned at half past ten o'clock, and found the door partly open, but no light in the house.  I struck a light, and found the deceased lying on the edge of the bed, exactly in the position in which the jury have viewed him.  The supper was as I had left it, except that he had taken the tea.  I found on the table a razor, pen and ink, and the Witten document now handed in.

Coromandel, 14th Dec. 1862.

   This is to let all hands know that I have heard Constable Cahill telling a person that there was a disgraceful charge to be preferred against me, and this is to let them know that I am not guilty of that charge.  There is no use in saying too much; but God will judge rightly; may he for Jesus Christ's sake forgive me for the crime I am about to commit, and all my other offences.  This is the testament and prayer of

                                      WILLIAM MURRAY.

I called a man named William James Cavanagh, who lives close by with his son, to come and see the body, which, on examination, we found to be quite cold.  The throat had been cut with a razor, and the razor was lying on the table, which was partially covered with blood.  There was also blood on the floor, and on the bed clothes and paper.

Examined b y the Jury:

 I do not know what deceased means by a disgraceful charge, unless it be the charge of drunkenness and neglect of duty.  I once told Harnett that he (Murray) on Wednesday acted shamefully, in not being sufficiently covered in the day time, and with the door open.  Yesterday morning I also asked Frederick Ohlson if Murray owed him any money, but I think he could not have heard this.

By the Coroner: 

About two months ago he took to drinking, and carried it on from a week to ten days at once, and made himself very stupid.  I can swear to the paper read being in his hand writing; there is a mistake of two days in the date; it ought to have been signed the 12th, and not the 14th.  When I reported his conduct to Corporal Hastie on the 8th, he seemed to suspect me of so doing.  It was my duty to report him for being drunk and neglecting his duty.  He had previously told me that he had sent in his resignation to the Commissioner of Police, and he was very anxious to receive a reply.  He seemed always out of his place in the police.  He had been a soldier in the 58th regt., and afterwards worked at the Hina as a bushman, and I think he greatly wished to go back again to his late employment.

   Wm. James Cavanagh deposed, sworn: Last night, at half past ten o'clock, by constable Cahill's watch, I was called in by him to go and see the deceased.  I did so, and found him lying on the bed apparently with his throat cut: his mouth and neck were clothed with blood.  There was a razor lying on the table with blood upon it, and also blood on thr table and on the floor.  I saw policeman Cahill touch his ear, who then said he was dead; I also stooped to hear him breathe, but could not; he was black about the eyes.  I never heard any particular noise about the place.  I did not know much about him.  On last evening I was in my tent close by during the whole time, and heard no sound from within the police barracks.

   James Spinks,  sworn, deposed: I am a miner working at the Driving Creek.  At about half past two o'clock yesterday, the deceased, William Murray, was seen by me and my mates coming up the creek towards pout claim.  On arrival, he presented me a subpoena to attend the Crown Commissioner's court.  He then left and went away, appearing very weak; he perspired greatly, and seemed much depressed in his spirits.

   John Charles Davis deposed: I am the son of Mr. Edward Davis, and reside at Kikowhakariri.  About four o'clock yesterday, I saw the deceased at Omura, the next bay on this side of Kopujtauaki.  He stopped and talked to me about the road, and at last determined to turn back.  He seemed to me to be weak and in very low spirits.

   George Hastie, sworn. Deposed: I am a corporal in the Armed Police Force at Coromandel.  On Monday last, the 8th instant, I came on duty up to the diggings, and called at the police station where the deceased and constable Cahill were residing.  I had a conversation with Murray, who seemed to be under the influence of liquor.  He asked me to lend him some money; he wanted 5 Pounds with which to purchase provisions.  I lent it to him.  In the evening Cahill came to the bush to look for him, but did not find him there. Shortly afterwards I followed to the diggings, and about half past ten p.m., we found him up there lying drunk in the fern with a bottle of liquor in his possession. For this offence I reported him to the Commissioner of Police.  I had previously reported him for a similar offence, and the deceased knew it, and was anxious about the reply.  About a month ago he sent ion his resignation to Mr. Naughton, but he received no reply that I am aware of.

   I can swear to the handwriting of the paper read as being that of the deceased.  I never saw him labouring under delirium tremens, or in any such state of excitement.  When he speaks of a disgraceful charge about to be preferred against him, I think he alludes to the charge above stated, which is considered disgraceful in the police force.  He wished very much to be allowed to retire from the force, and was very anxious for a reply to his resignation; that seemed to prey on his mind lest I should have written advising the Commissioner not to accept it.  One of his reasons as stated for retiring, was that he had bad health.   I have taken an inventory of property found on his person, which comprises two sovereigns, half-sovereign, half a crown, two shillings, and three sixpences, all contained in a purse; there is also other property belonging to him at the barracks, but of little value. When I asked Cahill yesterday in reference to William Murray, he said that he had got over the liquor on Wednesday, nor did Cahill ever say anything to injure Murray's character with me, except about drinking.  I would not have reported him unless I had seen him myself.

    Richard Harnett, sworn: I am a private in the police force.  I have resided with the deceased in the barracks, and know his writing well.  The document produced is both written and signed by him.  I have seen him in a state of drunkenness, but never in delirium tremens.  I saw him yesterday at 2 o'clock p.m., when he was quite sober.  He was pale and feeble, but not excited.  He has several times since he has been residing alone with Cahill told me that he was very comfortable.  I have not heard Cahill speak anything against the character of the deceased except on the subject of his drinking.

   The follolwing verdict was returned :- "That the aforesaid William Murray, a private in the armed police force, Coromandel, did on the evening of the 12th inst. Brytween i8 and 9 o'clock, at the p;olice station at Belleville, take away his own life by cutting his throat with a rzazor, whilst labouring un der a state of great mental deprfession."


LYTTELTON TIMES, 27 December 1862

THE INQUEST.   Editorial comment on retirement of Dr. Turnbull; re Inquest on Dr. Hilson.


 On Saturday we briefly noticed that an inquest had been held on the infant child of a woman named Bennett, and in all simplicity we said that every attention appeared to have been paid to the deceased, and that we failed to learn why an inquest had been deemed necessary.  We have received a letter, signed by the jury, stating that we seemed to have cast a reflection on the authorities for unnecessary interference.  This was not our wish: from the evidence we could not gather that there were any suspicious circumstances attending the illness and death of the child.  If we had been satisfied with common reports, we should have set the case down as one of manslaughter at the least, if not of murder.  We heard in various parts of the town that the child in question had been found dead without any apparent cause; another report said it had been suffocated; another that it had been c rushed to death.  At the inquest the witnesses all gave a straightforward statement.

   The mother's account that the child had been suffering from diarrhea, and had received no external injury, was borne out by a young woman living in the house; by a man named Edwards; and by a medical gentleman who had prescribed and administered medicine to the child, and who saw it when the symptoms became alarming, and twice while it was dying.  He was sure the child died from exhaustion incident to diarrhoea, and gave a certificate to that effect.

   To our minds the case was clear, and (it might be obtuseness in us) we  cannot for the life of us see why a coroner, three or four policemen, half-a-dozen witnesses, and twelve honest citizens, should be drawn from their usual avocations to hold an inquest upon it.  It is said in the letter that though there was only "a slight evidence of neglect in administering the medicine," yet there did appear sufficient grounds for suspicion to justify the inquiry."  Yes, there's the rub; but what grounds are there of suspicion?  All the witnesses declare that the mother was most affectionate to the child.  Between eight and ten in the morning, preceding its death, she found that its condition was serious from continued laxity of the bowels, and did what any kind and prudent mother would do - she sent for a doctor, who gave a bottle of mixture and two powders, with directions for a teaspoonful of the mixture, and a powder alternately, to be taken every two hours.  The first dose was shown to have been given; within two hours it became worse; the doctor saw it at 12 o'clock, and ordered the medicine to be persevered with.  The two powders were administered, and two teaspoonfuls of the mixture; before the time for administering another dose arrived the child was convulsed, and could not swallow. The doctor saw it at 8 p.m., ordered a little weak brandy and water, and warned the mother that the case was hopeless; but she still clung to hope, and she had the doctor fetched at 11.30 p.m.; the child was then dying, and it closed its little life about two hours afterwards.

   True, the mother was of that class justly branded with shame, but we contend that, as shown by the evidence, her child received every attention that affection could suggest or skill provide.  The medical man had properly discharged his duty, and the inquest was in some sort an unwarrantable reflection on him, and a waste of the time of the public.  An attempt was made to elicit from the witnesses that some night - either Saturday, or Sunday, or Monday, there had been a disturbance in the house where the child died on Wednesday morning; but at the most it was only shown that on Monday night there had been some high words between the mother of the deceased and a man named Edwards, but that the child was untouched, for the simple reason that it was not in the same room.


 In our obituary on Saturday we recorded the death on the previous day of Peter Brown Hilson, M.D.  On Saturday he was interred in the Christchurch cemetery, and his obsequies were attended by some of his old college friends and others of the highest respectability in the neighbourhood. 

   Before the dead was laid in his grave, mysterious hints were in circulation that in his last illness he had been neglected and, probably, unfairly treated.  Dark innuendos were whispered about, not distinctly averring anything against anybody, but seemingly pointed at one of our most eminent medical practitioners; a gentleman deservedly standing high in public estimation; the late partner of the deceased; his dearest friend, and, we believe, foster-brother.  Need we say that we mean Dr. Turnbull?

   How the slander originated, we cannot positively say; but that currency has been given to very foolish and mischievous falsehoods is clear.  The question - and it is impossible to over-rate its importance - of how far the police were justified in listening to mere rumours affecting vitally the character of a professional man has yet to be answered, and we cannot doubt that the public will require satisfactory answers before the matter is allowed to rest.  The evidence we publish below was taken at an inquest held at the Lyttelton Hotel, on Tuesday and Wednesday last, before Dr. Coward, coroner, and a jury of which Gros. Miles, Esq., was foreman.

   The jury assembled at 4 p.m., and after being sworn in the usual manner, proceeded to view the body, which had been exhumed for that purpose on the coroner's warrant the corpse, which was in a loathsome state of putrefaction, lay at the police barracks.  On returning to the jury room, we found the Hon. J. Hall, R.M., in attendance, with several policemen under Inspector Guinness and Sergt. Major Pender.

   Inspector Guinness said that he wished the consideration of the case not to be further proceeded with at present, as the evidence, which was of a serious character, was not yet complete; and it might defeat the ends of justice if a portion of it were made public before the while had been laid before the jury.

   The Coroner was of opinion that such evidence as was now at command had better be given to see whether a post-mortem examination were necessary.

   The Resident Magistrate and Inspector Guinness took part in the conversation.  What was its nature did not transpire; but the result was the adjournment of the inquiry until 10 o'clock next morning, and Messrs. Earle and Prins, were ordered to make an examination on the body of the deceased.


On Wednesday, at the appointed hour, the jury re-assembled, and the evidence was taken.  The first witness called by Inspector Guinness, was

   Horatio Bunting, steward of the Christchurch hospital.  He said that he knew the deceased, and that he had been under medical treatment in the hospital.  Drs. Steadman and Turnbull were present when he was admitted.  He was brought in on Monday night, the 15th inst., and was conducted to the room occupied by the house surgeon, Mr. Dalgleish, and there vomited a quantity of fluid, said by Dr. Turnbull to be blood.  The patient was placed in Dr. Dalgleish's bed, and some arrowroot was prepared and with some sherry was given to him; after which he retched several times but did not vomit.

   Witness saw him next morning in mr. Dalgleish's sitting-room, reading a newspaper, and, in reply to a question as to hid health, said he was better.  Witness did not see him again that day; but on Wednesday mormning he saw him passing out of the bed-room into the sitting-room, and he appeared to be rather "trembly."  Soon after, he was spitting a good deal, and said he had something under his tongue.  In the evening we took him u=into one of the lower wards, at my suggestion.  My reason was, being afraid that if he became excited he might jump out of the window, and, on expressing this fear to Mr. Dalgleish, he replied something, but I do not remember the exact words, but the substance was that "it didn't matter a d-n if he did;" or, "it would be a d----d good job if he did."

   I thought it better he should be removed, as no nurses were admitted, noir could I see him without knocking at the door.  It is part of my duty to see each patient every day.  Deceased was left alone on Monday evening whilst Mr. Dalgleish went down to supper.   I believe he was left at breakfast time on Tuesday.  I am sure he was left during dinner time, and again in the evening whilst Mr. Dalgleish walked to the cricket ground.  On Wednesday morning I saw Dr. Turnbull in the room, Mr. Dalgleish then coming out.  I was told by Dr. Steadman that deceased was Dr. Turnbull's patient.  It is a new thing for a private medical man to prescribe for a patient in the hospital.

   Deceased was said to be suffering from delirium tremens, but I can't say what the matter with him was; no spirits were given to him, and only a little sherry.  He had had no stool up to Wednesday night, and Dr. Turnbull recommended an injection.  Deceased walked down with me, Mr. Dalgleish, and Dr. Turnbull; he broke from us and ran to the door, saying he wanted to go to the water-closet.  He went there three times, and subsequently used a night -stool. 

   About 10 p.m. he began to have delusions, fancying he saw figures on the wall; he laughed, and said "I shall have fine fun with these gentlemen tonight," meaning the figures presented to his imagination.  He took a large basin of arrowroot that night.  Next morning, when I went into the room occupied by deceased, I found him looking suspiciously under the pillow, and said to him, "Come, none of that; do you know what's the matter with you," to which he replied "Yes; it's a slight attack of delirium tremens."  On Friday morning Mr. Dalgleish asked me for a strait jacket; I gave him one, and helped him and a German attendant to place it on the deceased.  It did not seem to make him very uncomfortable, and he offered no opposition except saying "What do you mean by this?" Mr. Dalgleish soothed him him saying "it is intended for your good!"  He was lying on the bed when the waistcoat was placed on him.  I am not aware that he had exhibited any violence calling for such restraint.  He was not so bad as one of our patients (Wood) had been when no restraint was placed upon him.  Dr. Steadman was not present when the strait jacket was put on.  I overheard the doctor the previous day say to Mr. Dalgleish, "Mind what you are about;" and he began to tell of having read in a newspaper that a doctor who had put a strait jacket on had been prosecuted by the patient when he got better for false imprisonment.

   About six hours after the strait jacket was put on Dr. Hilson, I saw him dead, kneeling by the bedside. [Here witness knelt down, and showed the position in which he found the body; Dr. Hilson was on his knees upon the floor, his head resting on the bedside, and had got into that position to void his urine.] When I went in, I asked the German attendant how his patient was, and he replied that he was a little quieter.  I put my hand on deceased's shoulder and found he was dead.  His ears were black all round the outer parts; his feet were doubled under him, and of a bluish color. 

   The death was not registered by me.  I usually take the certificates to the registrar, but none was given me in this case.  I usually take charge of the property of patients; in this case I did not. I don't know, but I believe Dr. Dalgleish did.  I saw him take deceased's pocket-book.  I got his ring.  Dr. Hilson had been washing himself, and I took possession, to take care of it.  The body was removed on the night of death, and taken to Dr. Turnbull's.

--- A. C. Barker, Esq., Registrar, said, I received a verbal notice of the death of Peter Brown Hilson from the last witness, who asked whether he should allow the body to be removed from the hospital.  I replied that it was a matter he had nothing to do with.

   I could not fill up the register of death without a proper medical certificate.  I saw the Hospital physician, Dr. Steadman, on Saturday morning, and he said he would sign the necessary certificate if any one brought it to him.  There has been no registration of the death.

(The witness stated the law; one clause of the ordinance enacts that notice of death shall be given within a specified time, but there is no power conferred on the Registrar to enforce it.  There must, by another clause, be a registration of burial within two months of the occurrence under a penalty of 10 Pounds.)

   In cases of deaths at the Hospital I have always obtained a certificate; but in no instance has it been brought by Bunting; they have been handed in by the undertaker.

   Dr. Steadman deposed that he was physician to the Christchurch Hospital, and said, the deceased was brought to my house by Dr. Turnbull, on Monday evening, the 15th instant.  He was then insensible, and Dr. Turnbull told me he was recovering from a fit of convulsions.  Dr. Turnbull got up at the back of his dogcart, to hold Dr. Hilson, and I drove to the hospital.  The deceased was taken into Mr. Dalgleish's room, they being personal friends; and it was thought that that would be the quietest place for the patient.  Mr. Dalgleish asked my permission for him to be put there, to which of course I readily assented. 

   The deceased was then partially sensible, and was suffering from delirium tremens.  The convulsions ha had had were incident to the disease.  He was prescribed for by us jointly, and I left.  Next morning I saw him; he was better, and at that time quiet.  He continued better until evening, when he began to have delusions.  He thought there were leeches in his mouth, and tore his tongue, which had been bittern during his convulsions.  Dr. Turnbull saw him in conjunction with me that day.   We tried to dissuade him as to his delusions about the leeches, but he became irritated, and said in a passionate way: "James, I tell you there are." Next morning he was much the same.  I suggested the propriety of having a man to remain with him; and we removed him to another ward for greater convenience.  On Thursday morning he was worse, and I remarked to Mr. Dalgleish that if the patient did not sleep soon he would die.

   On Friday morning the porter came from the hospital and informed me that Dr. Hilson was dying.  I went immediately and found him dead.

[In reply to questions by Mr. Guinness and others, the witness stated what follows.]

   The corpse presented no unusual appearance.  Dr. Turnbull was deceased's intimate friend, and we were glad to have his assistance.  No remedies were applied without my sanction, and I considered myself responsible for the patient's treatment.  I saw nothing unusual about the body, nor was my attention directed to anything remarkable about it.  I turned down the sheet and saw the lower and upper parts of the body.  The strait waistcoat was applied by my direction.  I observed to Mr. Dalgleish that it could not be done without some legal risk; but we mujst brave that, to prevent the patient from hurting himself.  He was continually tearing his tongue.  We withheld spirits but gave wine.

   He died of delirium tremens, ands I should have stated that on the certificate had one been tendered to me to be filled up.  The discoloration of the body was natural under the circumstances.  The person in attendance on the deceased should not have allowed him to get up without assistance.  I had no hope during the last two days of his life that the patient would recover.

   Margaret Todd, of Kilmore Street, deposed, that she is at present employed in the Hospital as a special nurse, and said: I saw the deceased gentleman brought to the Hospital by Drs. Steadman and Turnbull.  On Monday evening, when Mr. Dalgleish was going down to supper, I asked if I might sit in the room with his friend until he came back.  I was asked to do so by Mr. Bunting.  Mr. Dalgleish said my services were not required.

   Deceased was then quiet, and thanked me for my offer.  I saw him on Tuesday evening in a recumbent position, reading a book, and in reply to my inquiries, he said he was tolerably well, made some remark about the weather, and said that in a day or two he hoped to be quite well.  I did not see him again till he was dead. (Witness described the position in which Mr. Hilson died.)

   With the assistance of the German, I turned him over; there was a little froth on his beard.  The impression on my mind was that the strait jacket was too tight, as his chest was much swelled, as were also the lower parts of the body, and the hands, the latter being of a dark colour.  The waistcoat appearing very tight, my first impression was that he died from suffocation.  Below the line of the waistcoat the body was discoloured.  When I saw him alive there was nothing to warrant the use of a strait waistcoat.  I have been a nurse in England, and have attended persons much more violent than deceased was.  I never heard that anything wads forced upon him against his wish.

   Ellen Penderbill, another nurse, said I saw the body of the deceased and helped to lay it out.  The ears were quite black, as was also the lower part of the back.  About seven o'clock, I heard the deceased speak.  Half an hour afterwards I heard he was dead.  Dr. Turnbull had not been long gon e; he had been to see the deceased just before I heard him talking.  A few days before - on Tuesday - he appeared quite sensible.  I saw him on Wednesday morning by himself, and I told Mr. Dalgleish, who said it was all right.

   J. S. Turnbull, M.D., was sworn, and said: On Monday, the 15th inst. about six in the evening, I received a note from Dr. Richards, of the Waimakariri, asking me to see Dr. Hilson.  Whilst reading the note, young Medings of the Panaui Hotel came on horseback in great haste, and asked me to go immediately to their house, to see Dr. Hilson who was alarmingly ill.  I went out at once in my dog-cart, and found deceased sitting in a small bedroom opening on to the verandah. On the floor was an ordinary utensil three parts filled with vitiated hood, fresh blood, bile, and general fluid.  He was in a general tremor and could not get warm.  He was sick in my presence, and threw up a similar vomit to that I have described.  I asked what he had been taking, and  was shewn a bottle containing medicine prescribed by Dr. Richards, of which deceased said he had taken three doses. I asked young Meddings, who had fetched the medicine, if he knew what it consisted of; he gave me the prescription (produced), and I said I was sorry he had taken it, as opium had never agreed with Dr. Hilson.

   I said to deceased, "you are very uncomfortable here, whilst so seriously ill, will you come home to my house?"  He at once said he would, and we lifted him into my dog-cart.  When we had gone about a mile, he had a severe convulsion.  This was the second or third attack of the kind.  He had one after taking the first dose of the medicine, which caused young Meddings to come for me; and I believe he had another whilst Meddings was away.  He rested his head on the iron bar of the dog-cart, pressed his feet against the splash board, and remained quite stiff for some time.  I had not strength to hold him; my groom stopped the cart, and we changed places.  Whilst driving to town, the deceased recovered sufficiently to sit up, but looked so wild and delirious that I determined to take him to Dr. Steadman's.  We did so, and he advised taking him to Hospital at once.

   We took him there, and I asked Mr. Dalgleish where he could put him.  He said he did not know; every ward was occupied.  I suggested that as Dr. Hilson was his most intimate friend, he might place him in his own bedroom for that night, and make his arrangements as quickly as possible for his future occupancy somewhere else, in case of delirium tremens coming on.  Dr. Dalgleish very carefully assisted him up to his own sitting room, where were Dr. Steadman, Dr. Morris, and myself. A consultation was held as to deceased's condition and treatment.  The patient was placed in bed, and urged frequently to vomit.  I told Dr. Dalgleish to prepare the medicine, and if any extras were required, at once to send to me for them.  The only thing sent for was a supply of oranges, which my groom obtained at Prince's, in my name.

   I saw the deceased next morning, at half-past ten, in company with Dr. Steadman, and found him much improved.  The sickness had ceased after the first dose of medicine had been administered.  He complained of pain and stiffness at the back of his neck, and of a deep laceration on the left side of his tongue, which he had bitten whilst he was convulsed.  He was so much composed, that I did not recommend any prescription, but was careful to urge them to supply as many oranges, jellies, soups, egg-flip, and wine as he could take. I saw him again at half-past six on Wednesday morning.  I had a note from Dr. Dalgleish, stating that Dr. Hilson was worse, and impatient to see me.  I was at the hospital soon after, and found Dr. Hilson sitting at the bedside, excited, perspiring profusely, and distressed about something.  He told me the cause of his distress was the obstinacy of a leech adhering to the left side of his tongue, but said "Fortunately I have just succeeded in removing it, and have thrown it away."  I looked into his mouth, and found a laceration caused by the bite, and an old scar raw and bleeding.  He suddenly jumped up in bed and swore another leech had lain hold in the same place, and opening his mouth, beseeched me to remove it.  I pretended to examine his mouth, and succeeded in making him believe that the sensation he now felt was from the bite of the (supposed) leech he had removed.  I then told Mr. Dalgleish that a very serious attack of delirium tremens was coming on, which I feared would be dangerous from the patient's long continued drunkenness.  I then wrote out a prescription and recommended Mr. Dalgleish to prepare and administer it.

    On my way home I called at the surgery of Drs. Parkerson and Steadman but found that the latter was out and the former not up.  I left a note for the firm stating the facts mentioned; my fears about the case; that I had temporarily quieted the patient, and prescribed as there stated, writing down the formula, and concluded by stating that I wished to see them at half-past ten.  I called again at that time and saw Dr. Parkerson.  We talked over the case.  He very decidedly approved of the treatment indicated; and I asked him to accompany Dr. Steadman and myself to the Hospital.  He declined, stating his reason for  doming so, that he did not agree with Dr. Steadman in the treatment of delirium tremens generally, and as deceased was a patient of Dr. Steadman's, his attendance was of no use; putting his finger on my prescription, he  said "this treatment is exactly my own ."  Dr. Steadman arrived, and we again talked over the case.  The resort to coercion was discussed, and Dr. Parkerson and I very decidedly deprecated the use of the strait jacket.  Dr. Steadman approved of the non-coercive treatment as a rule, but said instances might be quoted where restraint was desirable, to which I replied that I had never put a patient in delirium tremens under a strait-jacket.

   Dr. Steadman and I then proceeded to the Hospital.  He objected to my prescription. I had ordered an aperient, - four pills - each to contain one grain calomel, the third of a drop of croton oil, and four grains of colocynth, to be given periodically.  My reasons for exhibiting the purge were, the fact that the patient had not had his bowels open for three days, and my knowing from experience that he suffered from constipation.  This portion of the prescription Dr. Steadman approved, but objected to the main portion - a contra-stimulant - tartrate of antimony, digitalis, sugar, and water.  I strongly urged my treatment, but Dr. Steadman persisted, and I yielded to him as he was physician to the hospital, and the main responsibility of the case.  I did not prescribe again, and I stated to Mr. Dalgleish that though I would continue to assist in carrying out Dr. Steadman's treatment, I could not interfere further.  I left the hospital at 11 o'clock, promising to return at 2, but did not reach till nearly 5, and found Dr. Hilson impatient and excited for my arrival. 

   At this visit he was removed to a lower ward for greater convenience, at the suggestion of Mr. Dalgleish.  I gave authority to the steward to employ at my expense an attendant.  I did not engage one, nor interfere in any way except to express my approval of the man engaged by the steward: he was stated to be an old soldier and accustomed to the work.  At 10 p.m. I sent my groom to purchase oranges, and gave him instructions to take them to the hospital, and to bring me back word how the patient then was.  A note was sent by Dr. Dalgleish, saying he feared a bad night.  On Thursday I could not see him until afternoon; he was then worse.  I made no enquiry as to the medical treatment, but urged that careful attention should be paid to supporting the patient's strength, by administering soups, jellies, &c.

   On leaving the hospital I called at Dr. Steadman's, and conversed about the patient.  He agreed that such a state could not last, and said that he should persist in his treatment. I called at the hospital again that night, at ten o'clock, and found the patient very delirious and excited.  The steward, Dr. Dalgleish, and others were present.  I asked Dr. Dalgleish if he had given the medicine?:  He said he intended to wait a few moments until he got everything quiet, in the hope that the patient might have a continued sleep if he should doze over.  I expressed my approval and thought then that the chances as ten to one against recovery.  At 8 o'clock next morning I went to the Hospital again, and found the patient in bed, with a strait jacket on, rambling and talking continually.  I asked him if he knew me; he mentioned my name, but rambled immediately.

   I went to Dr. Dalgleish's bed room, passing the nurse, who said to me, "Your friend has passed a dreadful night; the poor women in the next ward have not slept a wink."  I expressed to Mr. Dalgleish my fear that nothing now would avert the patient's decease; but certainly I did not expect it so soon.  I intimated my intention to return early, and meant to do so, with a view of removing the strait jacket.  I went home, and whilst dressing, about eight o'clock, Captain McLean came in with Mr. Dalgleish and informed me that poor Hilson was dead.  We talked of his funeral.  I desired it might be on the Sunday.  We had first decided that the body should be quietly removed to my house that the feelings of the deceased's friends might be spared the pain the consciousness of the manner of his sad end would be sure to excite. 

   Capt. McLean was one of the deceased's earliest friends and he was anxious to pay the last tribute of respect by attending the funeral which he could not do if deferred beyond Saturday, he having on Monday to take possession of a run he had brought down south.  Having lived in warm climates where it is customary to bury people soon after death, the objection to an early interment did not present itself to my mind with that force which it might do to others familiar only with the habits of colder countries; and though anxious to do every honor to my deceased friend, I willingly conceded to C apt. McLean's wish that the funeral should take place on Saturday.  I went with Mr. Dalgleish to the dead house and saw the body; and observed that as we and others of Hilson's college friends very likely would wish to have a lock of his hair, I would take some for that purpose, and I did so.  I did not see the body again.

   I gave Mr. Johnston the whole management for the interment in the Christchurch cemetery.  Mt. Johnston said "What about the certificate?"  I replied that I could not give a certificate of a death occurring in the Hospital, but I would send to Dr. Steadman for one.  This I must charge myself with having neglected to do.

   This concluded Dr. Turnbull's evidence; but

   Inspector Guinness asked the witness if there were not circumstances in the deceased's case which called for an inquest, and whether a reason had not been shown for this inquiry.

   Dr. Turnbull: I am sure there was no necessity for an inquest.  The only reason I can assign for this inquiry is the over-officiousness of the police; the laxity of the commissioner in allowing an examination such as this to be managed by a subordinate and inexperienced officer of police; and perhaps malice on the part of the house steward of the hospital.

   Inspector Guinness wished Dr. Turnbull to name the officer of whom he had spoken in such strong terms.

   Dr. Turnbull thought the fact was patent enough - (Here the coroner said this was not evidence as to the death of P. B. Hilson; and he must therefore stop such remarks.)

   Inspector Guinness: After hearing Bunting's account of the position in which the deceased was found with his head upon the bed, don't you think his death might have been caused by suffocation?

   Dr. Turnbull: Certainly not.

   Inspector Guinness: Don't you think the deceased was neglected by his attendant?

   Dr. Turnbull: I have been very much pleased with the attentions that were paid to Dr. Hilson in the hospital, excepting in the one matter of putting on the strait waistcoat - The question was repeated in a more pointed form, and the doctor replied that during his brief visits to the hospital the attendant had been most assiduous, and he had reason to believe that he had been invariably so.

   The Coroner: When you found your friend got worse under a mode of treatment to which you object, why didn't you call in some other medical man?

   Dr. Turnbull: The treatment of Dr. Steadman is that taught in all our colleges (though I disapprove of it); he is a medical man of deserved eminence, and senior physician to the hospital, how then could another medical man in courtesy interfere with his patient?

   The Coroner: But you might have removed the patient to your own house, and have treated him according to your ideas, or have called in Dr. Prins or some other medical man in Christchurch.

   Dr. Turnbull: I have a high opinion of Dr. Prins as a general practitioner; but his want of experience in delirium tremens was an objection to his being called in in this case.  I should have considered it indecent to have treated the case, on my own responsibility, on principles ignored by Dr. Steadman; and Dr. Parker having declined to see the case, there was not another medical man in Christchurch whose opinion was worth having.

   The Coroner: You, Dr. Steadman and Dr. Parkerson have then a monopoly of medical talent?

   Dr. Turnbull: I say that in my opinion, with the exceptions I have named, there is no medical man in Christchurch whose opinion is of any value.  The doctor then made a few general remarks upon the whole subject, and observed that Dr. Hilson, despite his sad excesses, had left many friends to whom he was endeared by excellencies of which the world knew nothing.  They had been anxious to conceal his weaknesses, his recent terrible dissipation and its awful result, so as to leave undisturbed the affections cherished for him by relatives and friends at home.  That good wish would have been realised but for the foolish officiousness of busy-bodies, aided it might be by malice; the publication to the world of these shocking details had been secured, and idle curiosity had been satisfied.  But the matter would not rest here; he must be satisfied too, and that satisfaction he would seek in a high tribunal than the one he was then addressing.

   At the conclusion of Dr. Turnbull's remarks there was an adjournment for half an hour, and on resuming, the first witness called was

   Sergeant-Major Pender of the Canterbury Police.  He deposed as follows: - On the 22nd instant an inquest was held here, and as I was returning from viewing the body at the station, with the jury, one of them asked me if I had heard of the death of Dr. Hilson.  I said that I had.  He said, "I have just been speaking with another of the jury, and he agrees with me that there is far more necessity for an inquest in that case than in this."  He went on to say that there were some strange reports about the death of Dr. Hilson, and he wished me to make some inquiries.  I said I would.  Shortly after, I was called by a respectable man in this town, who said there were many curious reports about the death of Dr. Hilson - that he was not properly treated in the hospital.  He could not, or would not say who was blamed, but Dr. Dalgleish and Dr. Turnbull were spoken of as having buried the body suddenly.  I said if I were he, I should be cautious about bringing charges.  I made further inquires, and heard the first rumours confirmed.  Yesterday I got a warrant for the disinterment of the body, and had it taken up and removed to the Police Station, where a post mortem examination was made.  Mr. Guinness is Inspector of Police; I don't know what experience he has in these matters.  I know that Mr. Guinness acted in this case under the direction of Mr. Shearman, Commissioner of Police.

   Jas. Wm. Earle, M.R.C.S., deposed to making a post mortem examination of the body, in conjunction with Dr. Prins.  They found no visible external injury, save trifling marks of friction on both sides of the chest, and a slight bruise on the left hip.  Putrefaction was advancing rapidly in the head, neck, back of the chest, and scrotum.  The left lung was to some extent adherent to the pleura costalis, and both lungs were gorged with dark blood.  The air cells were very indistinct, and their structure obscured by infiltration of the serous part of the blood.  The texture of the heart was loose and flabby; nothing apparently was wrong either in the tricuspid or mitral valves.  About two ounces of brown fluid and mucous was found in the stomach, whose surface was sound, and no enlargement of the blood vessels.

   The liver was considerably enlarged, its texture loose, and - as in the case of the lungs - obscured by infiltration of the serous part of the blood.  The intestines were full of air, with nothing remarkable in their external aspect.  The kidneys were enlarged and gorged with dark blood. On opening the membranes to examine the brain, a little fluid escaped; the brain itself was too far advanced in putrefaction to shew anything; it was a mere pulp - a semi-fluid mass.  We saw nothing to suppose other than a natural death.  In the case of a person dying from drink there never is evidence in the morbid condition of the structures to show the cause of death.

   Dr. Prins concurred in the above statement.

   Mr. John Dalgleish, house surgeon at the hospital, corroborated the testimony of Drs. Turnbull and Steadman, as to the patient's condition and treatment.  In reference to that part of Bunting's evidence, where he says that Mr. Dalgleish observed that "it would be a d----d good job if Dr. Hilson jumped out of the window," he supposed he must have used some such observation, as Bunting had sworn that he had done so; but, if made at all, it was not said out of unkindness of feeling for Dr. Hilson, but  from a painful consciousness of what had been his career in the colony - his then wretched plight - and the little hope there was for him in the future if he rallied.

   The Coroner expressed his regret that the present inquiry had been rendered necessary, but no other course had been open to him.  The rumours which had been going through the neighbourhood as to criminal neglect on the part of some one in the treatment of the deceased, and hints of an even darker nature, could not be satisfactorily traced to their source.  No doubt the first report had been rolled along, and snow-ball like had gathered force.

   When the officer of police had presented his report, and asked for this inquiry, he (the Coroner) felt that the charges in themselves were nothing, but that it was desirable at once to hold such an investigation, that the slander might be checked whilst the circumstances were fresh.  With this view, he had brought the matter under the cognizance of the medical gentlemen concerned, and they concurred with him that an inquest should be held. 

   The jury could have no difficulty in this case.  It was quite clear that the deceased had died from delirium tremens; and as no one was accused, such a verdict as that deceased died from natural causes would silence the scandal that has been raised.

   The jury, after a few minutes deliberation, returned a verdict accordingly.


PRESS, 27 December 1862


Editorial, critical Dr. Coward, coroner re the inquest on Dr. Hilson, and also the McAllister case:

"A great abuse of official authority has been committed which the public will not at all like to see repeated."


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 27 December 1862


16th December.

Coroner's inquests have been held upon the remains of John Robson and Thomas Mills, whose bodies were found in the Molyneux River.  The inquiry spread over several hours in consequence of the jury having to be ferried over by fours to view the bodies.  The inquests commenced early in the morning, and terminated after 8 o'clock in the evening.  The verdict of the jury in each case was - Found drowned, and they added to their verdicts, riders - "that the small boats at present plying upon the river were unsafe, and that they considered it necessary Government should interfere for the due protection of human life."

   On the 17th another inquest was held on the body of Mathew Murray, also found in the Molyneix.  The same verdict of - Found drowned, was retuned.  The jury added a rider - "that they considered that the Government should establish proper ferries on the crossing places of the river and e specially where the traffic is so great as on the Kawarau Junction.:


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 31 December 1862


Yesterday morning, a melancholy accident occurred at the end of the Queen-street Wharf, by which an aged pensioner, named James Sullivan lost his life.  We append the particulars of the case, as gleaned at the inquest on the body, held in the afternoon, at the Waiemata Hotel, before Dr. Philson,  coroner:-

   Clarence Hooper, deposed: I am a doctor of medicine and a surgeon; residing at Mangawai.  I am at present in business; lodging in Auckland.  Happening this morning, December 10, to be near Queen-street Wharf, I was told by Mr. Falkner, that a person had fallen into the water from Queen-street Wharf.  I immediately went to the waterman's stairs, at the top of which I saw deceased, supported by several persons.  I tried to feel the pulse at the wrist, but was unable to feel any.  I then applied my ear to the chest, and imagined I heard one or two pulsations.  I then directed him to be removed into the waterman's house; I next removed the wet clothes, and put in practice Dr. Marshall Hall's directions for the treatment of persons apparently drowned, for about half-an-hour, but without effect.  It was evident that life had become extinct. There was an unusual quantity of forth issuing from the mouth and nostrils, which is a certain sign of death by drowning.  The body still retained some heat; and probably had been in the water fifteen or twenty minutes.  The age of deceased was between fifty and sixty years.  There was no smell of liquor about the body.

   Jeremiah Ryan, deposed: I am a laborer, residing in Auckland, I was well acquainted with deceased.  His name was James Sullivan; he was a laborer, and I believe a pensioner.  His age was between fifty and sixty years.  I have often seen him intoxicated.  I last saw him alive this morning, December 10, between the hours of eight and nine o'clock.  He was standing on the west wide of the Queen-street Wharf, near the stern of the barque 'Novelty,' fishing.  He appeared to me to be steady.  I did not speak to him, his back being turned to me.  There was no one in his company at the time of which I speak.  An hour afterwards I saw him lying dead in the waterman's house, and a number of persons a round him.  I never knew that deceased was subject to fits, but I have heard a statement to that effect, to wit; that he, deceased, had had a fit in his own house, no later than last night.

(To a juror.)

I have frequently seen deceased on the wharf fishing; but never knew him to be intoxicated on such occasions.

   Anne Sullivan, deposed: I am the widow of deceased, the late James Sullivan.  He was a laborer, and lived in Durham-street.  His age was above sixty years.  He was a pensioner, and belonged to Otahuhu.  He had not been in any regular employment for upwards of a year, and used to spend much of his time on the Queen-street wharf, fishing.  For the pace of five years past he had been subject to convulsive fits, recurring every fortnight.  He had a slight attack last night; it lasted about fifteen minutes.  He slept all night, and on getting up this morning he complained of a "lightness of the head."  He took his breakfast as usual this morning, and went out to fish about half-past seven o'clock.  I believe that he had not drunk any liquor for a week past.  About eight o'clock this morning, a boy (whose name I do not know), came to my house, and told me that my husband was drowned, and that his body was lying in the waterman's house.  I went down immediately, and saw him dead.  I never heard that he had been attacked with fits while on the wharf.  He used to drink occasionally, like many others.

   David Kells, deposed: I am a mariner, and reside in Auckland.  I happened to have business on the Queen-street Wharf, this morning, December 10, about eight o'clock., when I noticed a person coming from the lower part of the wharf and communicate with the people on board of the steamer 'Tasmanian Maid,' from which vessel I observed a boat to be lowered - in the boat I saw three men; they went to the lower part of the wharf, and took something out of the  water which they threw into the boat; and on the position of the boat changing, I saw a man's legs hanging over the side of the boat.  The boat was then taken to the steps.  I was obliged to go away immediately, and saw nothing further.  I have no doubt that it was deceased's body that I saw in the boat.

   The jury returned the verdict - "That Jas. Sullivan was found drowned in the harbour of Auckland, but as to how he came there, there is no evidence to show. - "Daily Southern Cross," Dec. 11.




An inquest was held on Monday last, the 29th December, at the Ferry Inn, Porirua, before F. J. Knox, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a respectable jury, on view of the body of a child named John Thomas, son of Mr. Henry Burgess, which was found drowned in a well near the parent's house, on the 27th December.  From the evidence it appears that the child was about 20 months old, and was last seen alive playing near his father's house.  The child being missed, instant search was made for him, and he was discovered in the well.  Every exertion was made to restore animation, but without success; life having become extinct.  The Jury, after a patient investigation, returned a verdict of "Accidental death by drowning."

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School