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Colonial Cases

London Middlesex

Daily Journal, 14 July 1731
  On Thursday last an elderly Gentleman who taught French, and lodged at No. 24, in John's street, Westminster, cut his throat from Ear to Ear, and died soon after.  And,
 Yesterday in the Afternoon the Coroner's Inquest sate on the Body, and brought in their Verdict Lunacy.Cambrian, 19 January 1811

Early on Thursday se'nnight a sad accident happened in Clements's cow-yard, at Kingsland, Middlesex, owing to one of the bulls getting among the cows while the people were milking.  A woman who was far advanced in pregnancy, not being able to get out of the way in  time, was gored in a dreadful manner, and one of the horns of the furious animal penetrating the abdomen, she was literally ripped open.  The poor creature was instantly conveyed to the hospital, where she now ,lies in a most deplorable state, and little hope is entertained of her recovery.


St. James's Chronicle, 1 August 1769
  Yesterday Edward Dumfreville, Esq. Senior Coroner of the County of Middlesex, took an Inquisition on the Body of May Brannan of Oxford road, and bought in their Verdict Wilful Murder against James Brannan, her husband, and the Coroner sent his Warrant of Detainer to Newgate, charging the said James Brannan with Wilful Murder.


The Times, 5 July 1786
Election Advertisement by Wm. Gapper, in lieu of Umfreville, deceased; 19 June 1786
  As above, William Wilson, 17 June 1786.

The Times, 15 July 1786
  Yesterday came on at the Court-House in Clerkenwell-Green, the election of a Coroner for the county of Middlesex, in the room of Edward Umfreville, Esq., deceased, which the shew of hands appeared almost unanimously in favour of W,. Wilson, Esq., whom the Sheriff declared duly elected.  A very small shew of hands appearing on behalf of Mr. Gapper and Mr. Phillips, the former retired, but the latter demanding a poll, it was held immediately and on the close the numbers were -
For William Wilson, Esq.                             1013
        Mr. Phillips                                               27
The poll commences again this day at nine, and will finally close at four.


The Times, 29 September 1798
  On Thursday an Inquest was held at the Blue Lion, Gray's-inn-lane, before GEORGE HODGSON, sq. Coroner for the County of Middlesex, on view of the body of Henry Neale.
  Mr. Joseph Collier, Engraver., deposed, That on Wednesday morning, between nine and ten, he accompanied his daughter to the exercising ground belonging to the London and Westminster Light Horse Volunteers.  When their different evolutions were finished, he perceived them galloping at full speed along the horse course; but one of the horses galloped with infinitely more violence than the rest, and ran out of the course towards the wall which separates the ground from Gray's-inn-lane.  The horse came within six feet of him; and his daughter, apprehending danger, fainted away.  The deceased was standing very near the witness, when the horse ran furiously against him with his chest, and dashed him, some distance against the wall, where he lay with his face downwards.  The horse then made a spring over the wall, but did not clear it; he knocked down eight courses of bricks, and alighted on the other side, in Gray's-inn-lane, without injury either to himself or his rider.  The witness immediately ran up to the deceased, and perceived his skull was beat in, and the blood gushing from his ears and mouth; he expired instantly.  The witness understood that the gentleman who rode the horse was a Mr. Charles Hillyard; no blame was at all imputable to him; for he had lost all command of the horse, and was himself in most imminent danger.
  No further evidence was examined to the fact; but it appeared, from the conversation of several gentlemen of the corps who were present, that the horse was of a disposition considerably vicious; that but very lately he had nearly killed one of their serjeants, and that about half an hour before this unfortunate accident happened, he had rushed among four of the cavalry, and dismounted a Mr. Bedford, and another gentleman, who lay for some time on the ground apparently dead; besides this, he had thrown the Serjeant-Major, and nearly killed him.
  Mr. Hodgson informed the jury, that any oher evidence was unnecessary, as it was evident the deceased had come to his death by accident.  The only question for the consideration of the jury was, What was to be done with the horse?  By law, whatever was moving to the death of a man was a deodand, and forfeited to the King, or his Grantee, the Lord of the Manor. It rested entirely in their breasts whether it should be forfeited or not - if they conceived it ought, it was their duty to appreciate its value.
  It appeared the horse was worth 40 guineas.
  The Jury were of opinion so vicious an animal ought to be destroyed.  They should certainly find it a deodand, unless they had an assurance it would be immediately shot.
  The Serjeant-Major assured the jury that it was intended to destroy him; with which the Jury were satisfied, and returned their verdict Accidental Death.
  The deceased was a widower, in good circumstances, and had only one daughter grown up and provided for.


The Times, 29 September 1798
  On Thursday an Inquest was held at the Blue Lion, Gray's-inn-lane, before GEORGE HODGSON, sq. Coroner for the County of Middlesex, on view of the body of Henry Neale.
  Mr. Joseph Collier, Engraver., deposed, That on Wednesday morning, between nine and ten, he accompanied his daughter to the exercising ground belonging to the London and Westminster Light Horse Volunteers.  When their different evolutions were finished, he perceived them galloping at full speed along the horse course; but one of the horses galloped with infinitely more violence than the rest, and ran out of the course towards the wall which separates the ground from Gray's-inn-lane.  The horse came within six feet of him; and his daughter, apprehending danger, fainted away.  The deceased was standing very near the witness, when the horse ran furiously against him with his chest, and dashed him, some distance against the wall, where he lay with his face downwards.  The horse then made a spring over the wall, but did not clear it; he knocked down eight courses of bricks, and alighted on the other side, in Gray's-inn-lane, without injury either to himself or his rider.  The witness immediately ran up to the deceased, and perceived his skull was beat in, and the blood gushing from his ears and mouth; he expired instantly.  The witness understood that the gentleman who rode the horse was a Mr. Charles Hillyard; no blame was at all imputable to him; for he had lost all command of the horse, and was himself in most imminent danger.
  No further evidence was examined to the fact; but it appeared, from the conversation of several gentlemen of the corps who were present, that the horse was of a disposition considerably vicious; that but very lately he had nearly killed one of their serjeants, and that about half an hour before this unfortunate accident happened, he had rushed among four of the cavalry, and dismounted a Mr. Bedford, and another gentleman, who lay for some time on the ground apparently dead; besides this, he had thrown the Serjeant-Major, and nearly killed him.
  Mr. Hodgson informed the jury, that any oher evidence was unnecessary, as it was evident the deceased had come to his death by accident.  The only question for the consideration of the jury was, What was to be done with the horse?  By law, whatever was moving to the death of a man was a deodand, and forfeited to the King, or his Grantee, the Lord of the Manor. It rested entirely in their breasts whether it should be forfeited or not - if they conceived it ought, it was their duty to appreciate its value.
  It appeared the horse was worth 40 guineas.
  The Jury were of opinion so vicious an animal ought to be destroyed.  They should certainly find it a deodand, unless they had an assurance it would be immediately shot.
  The Serjeant-Major assured the jury that it was intended to destroy him; with which the Jury were satisfied, and returned their verdict Accidental Death.
  The deceased was a widower, in good circumstances, and had only one daughter grown up and provided for.


The Times, 13 March 1804
  As it was publicly known that a Coroner's Inquest was to be taken yesterday, on the body of this unfortunate Nobleman, and a number of persons, actuated merely out of curiosity, were expected to attend, it was deemed advisable to summon the Jurors to meet at an early hour, that the proceedings might not be attended with any confusion;  accordingly, at about half past seven o'clock, Mr. HODGSON, Coroner for Middlesex, and the Jury, having assembled at the White Lion Public-house, Kensington, where the inquest was to be held, they repaired immediately to Little Holland House, to take a view of the body, which being done, they returned to hear the evidence produced.
  James Sheers, Lord HOLLAND'S gardener, said, that he was digging in Holland House Garden, on Wednesday morning last, between the hours of seven and eight o'clock, along with another person, when he heard the report of a pistol.  He remarked to his companion, that the noise probably proceeded from a duel, and they ran down immediately to the paling, at the rear of the garden, to see what was the matter.  Witness saw from thence some smoke in th second field from Holland House, the distance of about ten yards from the hedge.  Not far from there, h observed the deceased lying on the ground, with his second supporting him.  As he was running to the place, he saw two Gentlemen coming from the deceased, who he found, on reaching the spot, was still supported by the same Gentleman he had seen with him at a distance, who desired his assistance in supporting t unfortunate Gentleman on the ground; but before the witness complied, he called to the man he let behind him, and others, to stop the Gentlemen who were making their escape, which they endeavoured to do, but without success.  The deceased then begged the witness to support him, the Gentleman who had hitherto done so having left him, and was running off.  The witness then sent one of his people for a Surgeon.  As soon as the man was gone, the deceased wished to know whom the witness was calling out to have stopped; on his saying t was the Gentlemen who were running off, he said he did not wish it, for he was the aggressor; that he freely forgave the Gentlemen, and hoped God would.  The witness then asked the deceased, if he knew the party who had short him? He replied he knew nothing; he was a dead man.
  Sheers obtained assistance as soon as he could, and had the Gentleman out into a chair, and taken to Mr. OTTY'S, Little Holland House.  On stripping off the deceased's neck-cloth, and opening his waistcoat, he found a wound between the right shoulder and breast.
  George Robinson, also a gardener at Holland House, deposed, that on Wednesday morning, about a quarter of an hour before eight o'clock, he saw four Gentlemen walking in the field before described, and  soon after heard the  report of a pistol, and, two or three seconds afterwards that of another; he then saw the deceased fall, and two of the Gentlemen go up to him, who, after remaining with him a short time, came away towards him (the witness), and desired that he would go and assist the Gentleman on the ground.  When witness came to the spot, he found Sheers supporting the Gentleman; he could see the deceased fire first at one of the Gentlemen who went away.  They stood off about 30 paces, or 29 yards, as well as he could judge of the distance from the marks of their feet in the dew, and from that place where the deceased lay.
  Mr. Nicholson, of Saville-street,  Surgeon, stated,  that he was called on Wednesday last, to a Gentleman at Mr. Otty's, who had been wounded by a shot from a pistol.,  The deceased complained of a severe pain shooting through his chest to his back, and also a pain in the lower extremities, from which circumstance, witness supposed that a pistol ball ad passed through the lungs, and had lodged in the spine.  The deceased never recovered the use of his lower extremities; he languished till 8 o'clock on Saturday evening, when he died.  On opening the body, Mr. Nicholson said he found that the ball had fractured the fifth rib, and passed through the right lobe of the lungs, and had lodged in the passage of the spinal marrow through the sixth vertebrae of the back, which had occasioned the death of the deceased.
  Mr. HODGSON having made some judicious observations to the jury on the nature of the case before them, they, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against persons unknown.
The Times, 7 April 1804
Notice of Election of Coroner for Middlesex, in the place of Edward Walter, deceased, on 26th April.

The Times, 16 April 1804
  An Inquest was held on Tuesday, before Mr. HODGSON, the Coroner, upon the body of Mr. HENRY O'HARA, a gentleman well known upon the turf for many years as a considerable bettor.  It appeared in evidence that he had just returned from Brighton, that he was on horseback conversing with a friend in Piccadilly, about here o'clock on Thursday afternoon, when a carriage driving with great violence, the pole became entangled with the horse's legs, and brought him to the ground.  Mr. O'HARA was thrown against the kirb stone, by which some of his ribs were fractured and driven into the body; and from the great tumefaction which took place shortly after, and other alarming symptoms, it was supposed that the lungs must have been perforated by a pat of the fractured bone.  The Surgeon who attended him deposed, to further circumstances, and expressed his positive opinion that the death of the deceased was occasioned by the injury which he had received.  The Jury returned a verdict, finding that the deceased had died in consequence of a carriage belonging to a person or persons unknown driving furiously against him.  The Coroner ordered a deodand of 20l. to be levied on the owner, when he should be found.

The Times, 21 December 1804
  Yesterday an inquisition was taken before G. W. UNWIN, Esq. one of the Coroners for Middlesex at the White Horse public-house, Wheeler-street, Shoreditch, on the body of Sarah Mitchell, a child of nine years of age, who was murdered by her father, Samuel Miles Mitchell, on Tuesday last.
  The first witness called to prove this horrid transaction was Kennedy, a Police-officer of Worship-street, who stated, that at half past twelve o'clock in Tuesday, in consequence of some information, he repaired to the lodgings of Mitchell, No., 22, Wheeler-street, in company with Armstrong, a brother officer, and on opening the room door, he discovered the deceased, quite dead, with her throat cut from ear toe ar.  The witness observed a razor lying by the door, very bloody, which he took with him in search of the murderer, and on finding him, not far distant from the spot, he confessed this horrid transaction, adding, "that he had inflicted the wound with a razor, but the poor child little thought what he was going to do."
  Wm. Godby stated, that he called at the house of his father-in-law about half past twelve at noon; not hearing the loom go as usual, he looked through the key-hole of the door, and perceived the deceased lying on the floor very bloody.
  Mary Nicholls stated, that she heard the prisoner ho up stairs about twelve o'clock.,  His wife was then at home, and she saw the daughter some in from school, in a few minutes after.  The prisoner was in and out of the house all the morning.  She heard the mother of the deceased go down stairs about a quarter past twelve o'clock, and she shortly after heard the footsteps of a man, which she supposed must be the father's.  She heard the deceased winding quills, during the interval of the mother and father quitting the room.
  William Byron stated, that he spoke to Mitchell on Tuesday, at twelve o'clock; he was then working at his loom, and he appeared to the witness somewhat in liquor.  The deceased was not then returned from school,
 The evidence being gone through, the Coroner remarked to the Jury, that it was their duty to find the prisoner Guilty of Wilful Murder.
  The Jury without hesitation, pronounced a verdict of - Wilful Murder against the Father.
No other reason can be assigned for this diabolical act, than that which the prisoner was heard to utter, viz. that she should never live to be brought up by the mother.  The offender and his wife had parted the day before; and the child, it appears, had slept the preceding night with her mother.  He voluntarily confessed the fact to the Magistrates on Wednesday; and, with tears in his eye, when desired to sign his confession, exclaimed, "Yes, I will., with the same hand that did the b----y deed!"  It is supposed he was seized with a sudden fit of insanity, as he was remarkably find of the child.


The Times, 2 September 1807
  Yesterday, J. W. UNWIN. Esq. one of the Coroners for the County of Middlesex, held an inquest at the prison of Cold Bath-fields, upon the body of John [Miles], who terminated his existence there on Sunday evening, by hanging himself.
  It appeared that the deceased had been transmitted to that prison on Thursday last by the sitting Magistrates at Guildhall, before whom he was brought, charged with an unnatural attempt, but it not being laid within the city of London the deceased was handed over to the jurisdiction of the Middlesex magistrate; and upon that charge he was to have been examined at Hatton-garden on Monday.  The deceased frequently, from the time of his committal, enquired of the attendants in the prison whether h was in danger of being hanged, to which they all answered in the negative.  A person, with whom he had some such conversation on Sunday morning, and who had brought him some refreshments, found him very cheerful, and confident of acquittal; bit on going to his cell on Sunday evening, between six and seven, to deliver a letter from the brother of the deceased, on entering the room, he found him suspended by the neck with a handkerchief from a wooden bar fixed across the cell.  He instantly loosened the handkerchief, which was tied in a noose, but the body fell lifeless on the bed.  It could not have been very long in suspension, as it was still warm.  Immediate intimation was given to Mr. Webb, the Surgeon of the Prison, who attended forthwith, but it was too late, for the vital spark was extinguished, and all attempts at resuscitation failed.
  The letter from the brother of the deceased, we
ho is a respectable tradesman in the City, was to console him in his situation, by an assurance that every necessary step was taken for his defence upon trial, and that no doubt was entertained of his acquittal.
  Several persons present who knew the deceased for very many years, bore testimony to the inoffensive simplicity of his character; but said they always considered him a person of very weak understanding.
  It appeared, that the information had been given to the prison-keepers, upon the committal of the deceased, by some of his friends, to pay him particular attention, as he was deranged in his mind; but no such attempt as this was ever suspected, and consequently not guarded against.
  The Coroner's Jury, without a minute's hesitation, found a verdict of Lunacy.


Cambrian, 30 May 1818

Dreadful Effects of a female Cleaning Windows. - Saturday evening an inquest was held at the Friend-in-hand, Colonnade, Bernard-street, Russel-square, London, before T. Stirling, Esq. on the

 body of Jane Gardener, aged 18, a servant in the family of J. Crisp, of No. 1, in that street, who met with her death by falling from the attic window which she was in the act of cleaning, being four stories high, into the area, by which she was killed on the spot.  In consequence of various reports that her mistress compelled her to go outside to clean the windows, several hundred persons gathered round the house, and broke the windows, threatening to demolish the house; Mr. Crisp thought it prudent to apply for the aid of the civil power, in consequence of which Wainwright and Edwards, two officers of the Hatton-garden police, were in attendance there during the whole of Friday night and Saturday.

   The Jury were very minute in their inquiries to ascertain if there was any blame attached to any of the family.  From the appearance of the window, it was evident, that the deceased had no occasion to get at the outside, as both sashes went up and down, from which they might be cleaned from the inside, Mrs. Crisp, the deceased's mistress, Mrs. Reid, wife of Mr. Reid, baker, of Bernard-street, Mrs. Cardner, the deceased's mother, a gentleman named Turner, who was passing at the time and saw the accident, and several other witnesses were examined, from whose evidence it appeared, that the deceased, who was in the habit of cleaning the windows in like manner, was desired to clean them by her mistress, who cautioned her not to go outside, and while in the act of stopping down, she fell down to the area; she fell first with great force on a clothes-horse, and broke her back, and falling on the stones, her head and face were dashed to pieces.  Mr. Turner made the alarm, got into the area, and took her into the house, quite dead.  Mrs. Reid, when the deceased used to go to her shop, often spoke to her on the impropriety and indecency of a female standing outside to clean the windows, and cautioned her frequently not to do it.  On which she would say, "Oh, it is nothing when a person is used to it."  The Jury, after a most minute investigation, which lasted some hours, were perfectly satisfied that no blame was any way attached to Mrs. Crisp, or any of the family, and returned a verdict of accidental death by a  fall from a window.

Fatal Vengeance. - J. Dennet, a green-grocer, in the Edgeware-road, was charged at Marlborough-street, with cutting and stabbing Jane Rogers. ... requested a few minutes conversation with her: and on her turning round, he seized a bill-hook and inflicted a severe wound on the back of her head.  He then with a razor cut her throat, and in her resistance her fingers were nearly cut off. ...  The Surgeon's certificate stated, that the sufferer could not survive long, and the prisoner was remanded.


The Observer, 1 January 1821


   On Wednesday, at three o'clock, an Inquisition was held at the Horns public-house, opposite St. Leonard's Church, Shoreditch, before J. W. Unwin and Thos. Stirling, esqrs. the county Coroners, on the body of Charles Taylor, the young man who was found dead under such extraordinary circumstances, in Rhodes's fields, Huxton.

   The learned Coroners, before commencing their inquiry, informed the jury that one of them (Mr. Stirling) had received an anonymous letter from a gentleman, who acknowledged himself to be the person who slew the deceased.  In consequence of this letter, which would be laid before them, surgeons had been employed anew during the morning in examining the body, to look for a ball, as the anonymous writer declared in his letter he had shot the deceased.

   After some further preliminaries, John Bird was called, who stated that he was a printer, and lived at No. 3, Castle-street, Shoreditch.  On Friday evening, between eight and nine o'clock, he and five or six of his fellow workmen were returning from their employ at Mr. Rutts, a painter, of Shacklewell, and in a field leading from Kingsland to Hoxton, which belongs to a cowkeeper named Rhodes, they discovered the deceased lying against the pathway railings; his head was on the ground and pointing towards Kingsland, and there was a great quantity of blood near him.  They examined the body and found a deep wound in the breast, from which blood was flowing, and his waistcoat and shirt were cut, as if with a sharp instrument.  Two heavy bludgeons were found near him on the ground, as also his hat.  Witness and his companions conveyed him to the sign of the Whitmore's Head, in the road, where Mr. Heath, a surgeon, examined him, and declared him to be dead.  When first found, the deceased was a little warm about the heart, but pulsation had ceased.  Except the sticks, no arms were found, nor did he (witness) either hear the sound of fire arms, or meet any one.

   Joseph Richards stated, that he worked with the last witness, and on Friday evening was returning home from Mr. Rutt's manufactory, when he discovered the deceas4d, whose head seemed tucked under his body; he thought at first he was drunk, and was proceeding onwards, when four of his fellow-workmen stopped to view him.  All were of opinion that he was labouring under the effects of liquor, and agreed to take him to a public-house.  James Seares, one of the men, examined his head, which was cut, and afterwards they took him to the Whitmore's Head.  Two large sticks were found near the deceased on the ground, one of which seemed grazed, as if the bark had been knocked off by a blow against something; the deceased had two white neckerchiefs round his neck, which they took off, and afterwards opened his waistcoat, when a wound was discovered on his breast which seemed to have been inflicted by a tuck stick, or some other similar instrument.  The body was taken to a room upstairs, and a surgeon was sent for, who arrived in a quarter of an hour, and made every endeavour to recover the man.  The sticks found were of a peculiar shape: one of them was rather long, and not unlike a quarter-staff; the other was short and heavy, and of a description well calculated for knocking a man down, and such as is generally used by footpads.

   Richard Tate stated, that on Friday evening, between seven and eight, as he was passing by Mr. Rhodes's fields, he met a man going in the direction where the deceased was found, with a stick in his hand.  He did not know the deceased, nor whether he was the man he met.

  Mr. Crockwell, a beadle of St. Leonard's, stated, that he had seen the deceased's brother, and the young woman whom he called his wife.  The latter told him that the deceased was by trade a brick-layer, but had been several months out of work, during which time they had lived upon property which she possessed. He had since discovered she was his own niece.  Her anguish on hearing of the deceased's death was so great that she committed suicide, and was now dead.

   James Kennedy, a police-officer of Worship-street, deposed to having seen the deceased frequently.  The witness was called to identify the body.  The deceased was an Englishman, and was thirty-four years old.

  Juryman: What opinion had you of that man?  If a footpad robbery had been committed in that neighbourhood, and you had heard of his being there, would you -

   Coroner: No, no, you cannot ask his opinion on that point.

   The witness added, that the deceased was married, and his wife now resided in Old Bethlehem, the woman with whom he lived was his wife's niece, and not deceased's.

   George Thomas Heath stated that he was a surgeon, and lived at Hoxton; about a quarter before nine on Friday night, he was sent for to view a man who was lying at the Whitmore's Head; he repaired there immediately, and found the deceased there; he was warm about the heart, but quite dead; there was a quantity of blood on his clothes, which induced witness to examine the body, and found a wound in the breast-bone, which appeared to be a stab; he probed it, and found the depth to be six inches, and the diameter something less than half an inch.  Had this day examined the body afresh, and having traced the wound, found a pistol-ball about the fifth or sixth rib, near the left side of the spine; the deceased must have died instantly.

   The following is a copy of the letter alluded to:-

TO -------- STIRLING, ESQ.

   Sir, - Having read in the newspapers various accounts respecting the unfortunate man who was found killed in Hoxton-fields on Friday evening last, I beg leave to state the following certain facts respecting him, for the consideration of yourself and the Jury who may hold the inquest:

   Passing through the above named fields on Friday last, about eight o'clock, I met the deceased, who ordered me to stop and deliver my money, which I refused.  He repeated, If you make the least noise I will blow your brains out.  I replied, if you touch me, I have pistols, and will shoot you.  Without speaking, he made a kind of thrust, or straightforward blow at me, which I parried off with my umbrella, and he again repeated he would "blow my brains out if I spoke a word."  I continued retreating backwards from the moment I met him, and he followed, shewing a determination to close upon me, notwithstanding I renewed my threat to shoot him.  The darkness of the night prevented my discovering what he was armed with, but I felt it was something rough which struck my umbrella, and concluded he had fire-arms, from his often repeated threat to blow my brains out.  Finding escape from apparently instant destruction impossible by any other means, I made a more sudden spring back, and fired at him, from the distance (as near as I can judge) of ten or twelve feet; he received the charge, a bullet) in his body, exclaiming, "Oh, I am killed!" leaning against the rails a few seconds, and then fell.

   Had I not been convinced that the wound was mortal, had there been the least hope of his recovery, In would have had the quickest possible assistance; but the aim, though made in a moment of the most painful agitation, had been too true.  I then left him, and from that time till I got out of the fields I met no human being.  The truth of this statement may be in a measure corroborated by a further search for the bullet, which no doubt will be found, unless it passed through him.

   The very peculiar and conflicting feelings of the moment, gratitude for my providential escape, and sorrow for the unhappy victim of his own attempted crime, operated powerfully on my mind, and together with the peremptory nature of my engagements in business, determined me to leave the discovery to chance.  I did not conceal it from any idea of danger to myself from the arm of justice.  Self-preservation, the first law if nature, and the dictates of my own conscience, justify the act by which the happiness of my wife and family are ore served.  Many reasons connected with business induce me to withhold my name, but the realities of the case may be as much relied on as if it were attested by the most unquestionable names in London; and I solemnly swear to the truth of it.  My object in writing to you is to prevent suspicion of his having been killed by robbers.  From his deliberate manner of attack, I believe him a practised footpad.  To account for my carrying pistols, it may be necessary to state, that this is the second assault I have met with within four months, in the first of which I was robbed of considerable property, and have since carried them for self-defence.

   Mr. Unwin said, that this letter could not be received in evidence, and therefore the jury were left to consider the case as it stood, with regard to the evidence before them.  It did appear that the deceased had come to his death by violent means, and in the absence of contradictory proof, the Jury were bound to find it Wilful Murder against some person or persons unknown.  One of the gentlemen of the jury commenced arguing against the  impropriety of such a mode of proceeding, when strangers were ordered to withdraw.

   The Jury, after a consultation of a quarter of an hour, returned the following verdict:- "The deceased came to his death by wound from a pistol-ball, inflicted on him in Rhodes's fields, Hoxton, under circumstances of which the jury have no means of judging.


Cambrian, 16 June 1821

Suspicion of Murder. - On Saturday evening a coroner's inquest was held at the Key tavern, Bell-street, Paddington, before T. Stirling, Esq. Coroner for Middlesex, on the body of Sarah Surmner, aged about 40 years.  There were 14 wiriness's examined, and the investigation, from the interest and alarm the case excited, last till two o'clock. 

   It appeared that the husband of the deceased had two other wives before her; that at Christmas last he occupied a house in Stephen's-buildings, Bull-street; he was a milkman, and kept one cow; he lived rather unhappily with the deceased, and begat her shockingly at Christmas.  On the Tuesday after Christmas-day she was missing, he gave out that she went to her friends in the country, to others he said she was buried by the parish, having died in the workhouse.  A man named Smith, whom he had make his confidant, he pretended to make his will, as he had no relations, and had considerable property in the funds.  He left his house, and took lodgings in Cato-street, Edgeware-road.  Smith called there to see a box of clothes he pretended to have, & found a young woman, whom he at first took for his daughter; but an explanation taking place, she said she had married him since the death of his last wife.  The people in the house next to the one he occupied, smelt some stench, and applied to the landlord to have some water, which inundated the kitchen, conveyed to the common sewer.  Thursday last a man was sent into the kitchen for that purpose, and in feeling with his spade, he found the body of the deceased in a most horrid state of putrefaction; her nose was entirely off, and there appeared to be a wound in the neck as if perforated by the prongs of a pitch-fork.  She had her clothes on, and a few pence in her pocket, and some pawnbroker's duplicates.  The husband was sent for, but he expressed no alarm, or emotion, and all his previous reports proved to be mere fiction.  Some of his children by a former wife were in attendance, but it seems that he had no children by the deceased. The Coroner summed up the evidence, and the jury had considerable difficulty to come to a decision; but at last they returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder" against the husband.  He was in the house, and was immediately taken into custody.


The Monmouthshire Merlin, 6 June 1829


INQUESTS. - The two following accidents will furnish a useful caution to mothers:- On Thursday week last an inquest was held before Mr. Stirling, one of the coroners for Middlesex, touching the death of John Alexander Mackenzie, aged 5 years.  Mr. M'Leod, surgeon, was called on to attend the deceased on Saturday week last, and was informed he had been playing near a window, and had fallen out into the street; the child was then insensible, and remained so for about ten minutes.  Witness dressed the bruises, and applied leeches to the head, and he seemed in a fair way of recovery, with the exception of one symptom - vomiting.  Witness discontinued his attendance, as Mr. Forbes, the medical attendant of a family, was called in.  Witness attended the deceased child on the day following the accident, and he lingered until seven o'clock on Wednesday morning, and then expired.

   Sarah Carruthers lives in the same house with the deceased child.  The mother was out at market, and there were three children left playing in the first floor room by themselves, and she was told by them that the deceased had been trying to reach a clothes line, which hung from the window, and overbalanced himself, and that they tried to pull him in again, but could not, and after hanging a short time by the clothes-line, he fell into the yard.  The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."

   On Saturday evening last a similar inquest was taken, touching the death of a fine little boy, named George Hanson, aged between two and three years.  Jane Hammerton, servant to the parents of deceased, deposed, "I was dressing the deceased about half-past one o'clock on Friday afternoon, in the front room on the first floor.  He stood on a chair close to the window; his sister, aged five years, was beside him.  I turned round for a moment to lay down a babe I had in my arms, when a fire-engine drove rapidly past the house.  It attracted the attention of the deceased, who, leaning out of the window, overreached himself, and fell head-foremost on the curb-stone.  The sister of deceased cried out, "George is out of the window," when I screamed, and Mr. Hanson ran down, and lifted up the deceased, carried him to a doctor's, who put him into a warm-bath, but said the case was perfectly hopeless.  The deceased expired in about two hours after the accident."  The jury censured the witness for not being more careful, and a verdict of Accidental death, was recorded.


The Monmouthshire Merlin, 20 June 1829


   Thursday morning a shocking act of suicide took place in Cobham-row, Clerkenwell.  A young man, about 24 years of age, named John East, a compositor, whilst sitting at breakfast, infused a quantity of arsenic in his tea, and drank it off.  His wife, who is as young as himself, observed him introduce the drug, but was unconscious of its being poison.  She, however, attempted to seize the cup, but before she could do so he had swallowed the contents.  The dreadful effects soon presented themselves, and the poor woman, in a state of distraction, ran into the street and gave an alarm.  The unhappy man was placed in a coach, and carried to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, where the stomach-pump and every other means were resorted to in vain, and he died shortly after his arrival.


Yesterday an inquisition was taken at the White Hart, at Williesden, before Thomas Stirling, Esq. coroner., touching the death of George Mason, a youth, aged 19, which took place under the following circumstances:- Mrs. Catherine Hallett, residing at Willesden, deposed that on Saturday last she saw the deceased lying in a field which nearly faces her house; his not quitting the situation for several hours excited her attention, and on going up to him, she was shocked at his emaciated deplorable appearance.  Compassionating his unhappy forlorn situation, the witness provided him with some warm coffee and bread and butter; the coffee he swallowed with avidity, but the latter he could not eat; witness subsequently endeavoured to get him a bed at the Green Man, but the landlord said he was full; her application at the Crown public-house was attended with the same success.  Towards evening, rather than he should be exposed to the night air, she had him removed to a barn attached to her premises; in the course of the night she gave him some gruel, but he was unable to retain it on his stomach.  About three on Sunday morning his breath became very bad.  Witness being of opinion that he was dying, sent for Mr. Sheppard, a medical man, who attended, and having procured him a lodging at this house, sent him medicine, with port wine and other strengthening cordials.  The poor lad, however, only survived till Tuesday.  The jury, after commenting upon the horror of the case, returned a verdict - "That the deceased died of starvation and cold."


Monmouthshire Merlin, 2 February 1833
  An inquest was held on Monday se'nnight, before Mr. Stirling, at the Hope public-house, Wilmot-street, Brunswick-square, on William Gutten, aged 40, a master farmer in that neighbourhood.  It appears that deceased died in consequence of having at the instigation of Jas. Yeomans, a hackney-coach master in Brunswick-mews, drunk off a pint of raw brandy, which brandy was purchased by Yeomans.  An attempt was made, on the part of Yeomans, to show that the affair was "a mere lark," but the jury returned a verdict of Manslaughter against him, and a warrant was made pout fort his commitment to Newgate.

The Times, 9 November 1833
  The Coroner for Middlesex having summoned an inquisition on the body of John Simpson, late of the Bromley Volunteers, who died in consequence of a wound he received by the bursting of a musket, the Jury met on Monday at the sign of the Hospital, in Whitechapel-road.     WILLIAM WHITE said he belonged to the Bromley Volunteers.  Last Thursday afternoon, witness and the deceased were together in the Bromley Corps of Volunteers; the corps went to Mr. STONEY'S fields for the purpose of firing blank cartridges; the deceased was in the  front  rank, and after five rounds had been fired, the piece of Mr. [SELl], who was in the rear, burst;  witness who was also in the rear rank, and, at the time of the explosion, received a violent blow on his arm, which benumbed it for a considerable time after. The deceased, who was on th left of the witness, fell at the moment the piece burst; he was immediately conveyed, much wounded, to his own house, and from thence to the London Hospital.
  The Beadle of the London Hospital stated, that the deceased was brought to the Hospital on Thursday evening, with his skull fractured and quite insensible; he underwent a surgical operation, and four splinters were extracted from the fractured part, by Surgeons BLIZARD and GREEN, (the bones were shown to the Jury): he did not recover his understanding, but expired on Friday night, every means being used for his recovery, without effect. - The Jury returned a verdict of - Accidental Death.

The Times, 10 November 1833
  Yesterday at one o'clock, Mr. HODGSON, one of the Coroners for Middlesex, proceeded to Hornsey Sluice-house, for the purpose of holding an inquest on the remains of the late Mr. DEWEY.
  The following Gentlemen being assembled and  sworn on the inquest, viz.
     Mr. J. Johnson, foreman; Mr. L. Davies, Mr. J. Kerle, Mr. W. Broughton, Mr. Thompson, Mr. J. Dower, Mr. Walters, Mr. Pither, Mr. Groves, Mr. Fryatt, Mr. Chalmers, Mr. Howard, Mr. Lacie, Mr., Burkett and Mr. Wilmot.
  They proceeded to the room where the deceased lay, for the purpose of examination, and after some time returned to their Jury Room.  The only person present who could give any testimony as to the circumstances of the fatal accident, was Mr. Surgeon LEESE, of Copthall-court, Throgmorton-street.  This Gentleman deposed, that he is a Surgeon to the 8th Regiment of Loyal London Volunteers, commanded by Colonel CANNING, in which the deceased was a private in the Light Infantry Company; that on Wednesday, the 2d instant, the Regiment went out to Hornsey Fields to exercise on a skirmishing party, in which one portion of the regiment was opposed to the other.  It was ordered that the Light Company should take post in ambush; after some time, the opposed divisions became very closely engaged.  A short time before ten in the morning, he heard the word Doctor! Doctor" vociferated through the ranks, and being on horseback, he rode as fat as he could towards the place from whence the call came, where he found the deceased lying on his side on the ground, surrounded by a number of other Volunteers; and being told that he was wounded by a shot in the side, he examined the part, and found an external wound, which bled much; he immediately applied some dry lint to the wound, which from its aspect he thought  dangerous, and ordered the deceased to be carried to the next house, which happened to be the Sluice House. There he attended the deceased, bled him, and ordered him to be put to bed, and immediately sent for Sir WILLIAM BLIZARD from town, to consult him on the case of the deceased.
  The deceased had vomited blood when he first lay wounded on the ground, and afterwards threw up blood from his lungs, and bled much from his wound.  About five in the evening, he was seized with symptoms of inflammatory fever, to mitigate which he was frequently blooded, and his fever much abated.  The witness and Sir W. BLIZARD sat up with him for several nights the whole night; attended him beside thrice some days, and not less than twice any day. In fact, h gave up his whole attention to him.  Every thing that could be done, surgically o medically, had been done, he was satisfied, to save the patient's life.  Witness departed from him on Monday morning between nine and ten o'clock; he was then in a dying state, and he understood that he died about twelve the same nigh.
  This day, the witness, in the presence of Sir WILLIAM BLIZARD, and another Surgeon, attended at the desire of the friends of the deceased, and opened the body, for the better ascertaining the cause of his death.  He found, on opening, that the substance which had made the wound, had fractured the seventh rib in his right side, and that the fractured rib beaten in had wounded the pleura, and much injured the right side of the lungs, and the upper part of the stomach.  He found in the cavity of the breast, a quantity of extravasated blood. The substance which caused the wound, and fractured the rib, did not ether the cavity, but took a direction upwards towards the shoulder-blade and am-pit.  It lacerated the nerves and larger blood-vessels near the latter, and the former he found fractured in two places, through its substance; in fact, it was blown to pieces.  Under the shoulder blade, he found a piece of paper, which he conceived to be that which had contained a cartridge.  This was the only extraneous substance he found, and he conceived it to be the substance which had inflicted the wounds and fractures as stated.  He knew nothing of the name of the person who fired the shot; and the deceased, previously to his death, had frequently declared he should not know the person, as he had only observed a slight shape of his face at the time of firing.
  The deceased was laid hold of, as taken prisoner at the moment, by a person whose face he knew, and instantly the shot was fired by some other.  Witness says, that neither the deceased nor any other person, ever imagined that the shot was fired with a wilful intent to do any injury, but was merely an accident in the ardour and hurry of the moment.
  Colonel CANNING then tendered his testimony, but, as he could say nothing of his own knowledge touching the precise fact, he was not sworn. He declared, however, his fullest conviction that the unfortunate event resulted merely from accident; that he knew the deceased, and believed he had not an enemy in the would; and that, on the morning when the corps assembled to march, not one of them, except four of the officers, knew where they were to go, what they were to do, or how they should be stationed.
  The evidence of Surgeon LEESE was then recapitulated by the Coroner.  The Jury, after a momentary deliberation, returned their verdict - Accidental Death.
  Mr. LEESE bore testimony to the human attention which had been paid to the deceased, during the whole of is afflicting illness, by the family of the house.
  The Sluice-House Tavern has been the scene of many melancholy investigations of this kind.  The proprietor declared, that a few years since he had no less than sixteen coroner's inquests held in his house within two months, upon the bodies of persons who were either the victims of suicide or accident.

Glamorgan Gazette, 30 November 1833
TRAGICAL OCCURRENCE.  On Thursday, the 14th inst. an inquest was held on the body of Miss Mary Watt, daughter of Mr. Watt, of Byfield House Academy, at Barnes.  On the Monday evening previous, after playing at chess with her father, she retired to rest between 10 and 11 o'clock, when shortly afterwards an appalling scream was heard to issue from her room.  Her parents ran to her assistance, when Miss Watt exclaimed, "There's a wretch behind the door with a razor going to murder me," and fell into a hysterical fit.  Mr. Watt found there M. Dumas, the French assistant, with a raor, who had occasioned the alarm.   M. Dumas was placed in custody, but refused to give any account of his conduct.
  Miss Watt, after a dreadful night, during which she twice took a draught of eau de Cologne, fell into a stupor and expired the next morning.  The verdict of the inquest assigned the death of the young lady to "drinking the eau de Cologne, being under a degree of nervous excitement at the time."  Mr. Dumas, who had been in custody till the verdict was returned, went, on the following Saturday, to the Crown Inn, at Croydon, when he retired to bed.  The next morning, not answering when called, the door of his room was burst open and he was discovered lying in bed weltering in his blood, which was then flowing from several dreadful gashes which he had inflicted on each arm with a razor.  The unhappy man had also swallowed five ounces of laudanum, but the excess of the dose had so excited the stomach as to cause the drug to be ejected. He received immediate surgical assistance, and was afterwards removed, with fair prospects of recovery, to the residence of a friend near London. He has since made a second attempt at self-destruction, by tearing off his bandages and ere-opening his wounds; but his endeavor was defeated.  He declares his intention of eventually committing suicide.


The Observer, 4 February 1839


Wakley's election address.


The Observer, 16 February 1839


 ... a FOREST OF HANDS WERE HELD UP FOR MR. Wakley, and only two for Mr. Adey. ...


The Observer, 17 February 1839

The Election contest; subscription to pay Wakley's election costs.


The Observer, 17 February 1839


...  majority for Wakley, 1,084.


The Scotsman, 20 February 1839


Mr. Wakley. M.P., has been elected Coroner for Middlesex.


The Observer, 18 March 1839


   Saturday morning, at twelve o'clock, a jury, consisting of seventeen of the most respectable inhabitants of the parish of Hayes, among whom was Mr. Chadwick Jones, the Barrister, was empannelled before Mr. Wakley, M.P., in the parlour of the residence of the Rev. Mr. Sturmer, Wood-end-green, Hayes, to inquire into the circumstances attending the death of Mr. Joseph Alsop, the young gentleman whose death was occasioned as above stated.

   The Jury having been sworn, and Mr. Churchwarden Eve chosen as foreman, they accompanied the Coroner to an upstairs room, to view the body of the deceased.  No person but the Coroner and jury, and the medical gentlemen, were permitted to enter the room.  We understand the body, besides the fatal wound, exhibited marks of severe bruises on the left elbow and side of the head, and that it was opened in the presence of the Coroner.

   On the return of the Jury, the room being most inconveniently crowded, an adjournment took place to the Adam and Eve Inn, Uxbridge, which was soon much crowded.

   After the names of the jury had been called over -

   Nr. STAMMERS, a Barrister (who also attended at the examination before the Magistrates), said he appeared on behalf of the prisoner.

   The Coroner said that the court knew of no prisoner; they were not trying the case, but only to inquire into the cause of the death of the deceased.

   The following evidence was then adduced:-

   BENJAMIN CHADWICK examined: I am a surgeon at Hayes, a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, and a licentiate of the Apothecaries' Company.  I knew the deceased by sight previous to Saturday last.  On that day I was called to attend the deceased.  On examination I found the wound was situated on the left side, about an inch or so below the navel, and was about an inch and a half in length.  It was a transverse incision, and had clean cut edges.  The deceased asked me, "Is it mortal."  I told him "No, it was not."  I then examined, as far as superficial examination went, and saw at the bottom of the wound a glistening surface, which I knew to be the peritoneum, or lining of the belly.  I perceived that the greatest depth of the wound was on the left side, as if the blow had been given from the right to the left, and had entered as far to the left as it possibly could go.  Feeling in my own mind, or hoping, that it was superficial, I thought it advisable to put a router - that is, put a needle through the skin and muscle of the wound, thus drawing the top and bottom of the wound together.  I then applied plaster bandages and the outward bandage.  During this time Medhurst appeared extremely attentive and anxious in regard to the deceased, and the deceased and he appeared particularly  friendly.  When the wound was dressed Medhurst exclaimed, "Thank God, it is not worse," and each expressed sorrow at what had passed.  I helped the deceased off with his trousers, & having been there about three-quarters of an hour I left them, saying I would return in the afternoon.

   By the CORONER: When I first saw the deceased no person was in the room except Medhurst, and, as far as I can recollect, no person came into the room while I was there, except it was Mrs. Sturmer for some bandages.  As I went down stairs I saw Mr. and Mrs. Sturmer, and told them I thought it was only a superficial wound.

   By the CORONER:  Nothing was done to him medically except the router? - Witness: No, nothing was done except the router & bandages.

   By the CORONER: Of what was the router composed? - Witness: Of thread, which I had by me at the moment.

   By the CORONER: Was it a proper router needle? - Wiriness: No, it was a common straight needle, as my router needle had not been used for months.


The Scotsman, 10 April 1839

A SENSIBLE PROPOSITION. - Within the last few months several children have lost their lives by being run over whilst playing in the streets.  Mr. Wakley, at the termination of an inquest held a few days ago, on the body of a boy who was run over by the Duke of Brunswick's carriage and killed on the spot, addressed Tedman, Inspector of the D division, to whom he suggested the propriety of having a piece of ground allotted in each district suitable for the recreation of children, and requested him to make known his sentiment to the commissioners, and at the same time stating that, in the event of their exerting themselves in furtherance of the desired object, he would assist them to the full extent of his power. - Examiner.


The Observer, 21 April 1839


THE ALLEGED MURDER IN LISSON GROVE. - Yesterday a deputation waited upon the Marylebone Vestry with a memorial on the subject of the alleged murder, and the inquiry thereunto at present going on before Mr. Wakley, the Coroner, of Robert Horne. The memorial set forth, amongst other matters, "that a post mortem examination having been made on the body of the said Robert Horne, and evidence given on oath by the surgeon that he died from the effects of violence committed on him on the night of Tuesday, the 9th, or early in the morning of Wednesday, the 10th day of April instant, and that after a very patient investigation they are unable to come to any satisfactory conclusion for the want of a proper chain of evidence."  It went on to pray that the Vestry would offer a reward to any person who would afford such information as should lead to the conviction of the offending person or persons. - In answer to questions from Mr. Kensett, and other members of the Vestry, the deputation expressed a conviction that, in the event of a reward being offered, persons would be induced to come forward and state more than had at present been elicited; that they believed the police had been greatly wanting in vigilance, and that they wished, in the best manner possible, to sift the case to the very bottom.  Ultimately an amendment was carried to the effect, "That the application be referred to the Commissioners of police, accompanied with a recommendation of the Vestry."


The Scotsman, 10 July 1839


PAWNBROKERS' PROFITS. - At an inquest held on Saturday, on the body of an unknown infant that has been found dead at a pawn broker's shop in Tottenham Court Road, Mr. Wakley observed, ...


The Scotsman, 19 October 1839   At the Middlesex Sessions on Friday, a long and keen discussion took place relative to the manner in which Mr. Wakley has lately performed his duties as Coroner.  The feeling was general that several needless inquests had lately been holden, and that the fees in such cases should be withheld.  On the motion of Mr. Laurie, a committee was appointed to make inquiries on the subject and report at next meeting.


The Spectator, 3 October 1839 (3)

   Mr. Wakley, on consequence of injurious attacks upon him in his capacity of Coroner, made by some of the newspapers, has refused to give information to the reporters when and where inquests in his district are to be held.


Glamorgan Gazette, 29 February 1840


   On Wednesday week, an inquest was held before Mr. Wakley, M.P., at the Horse and groom, Heath Street, Hampstead, on the body of John Cobb, aged three months.  Maria Cobb, the ,other of the child said that on Sunday morning last she went out to work, leaving the child in the care of a neighbour.  When she returned in the evening she fetched her child, and was surprised to find it much quieter than usual, and unwilling to take the breast.  She put it to bed, and on taking it in the morning for the purpose of suckling it, found it dead.

   By the Corner - The neighbour told me that, the child being very cross, she put a little gin in its pap, to soothe it, and that the gin had had that effect.

   Coroner - Then she did the worst thing a mother could do, I know that old nurses are in the habit of mixing gin with the food of young children; but young mothers ought to be cautioned against the practu8ce, and if they knew how dangerous it was, they would, if they had common affection, rather bear with the cries and crossness of their children than allay them by  administering what was little better than poison.

   A Juror. - I have repeatedly seen mothers in public-houses give to children in arms the drainings of the glasses they have just drunk gin out of.

   Coroner. - I have heard of worse than that.  I have been told that at a certain public-house on Saffron Hill, the landlord, in order to accommodate his female customers, keeps baby gin glasses.  The mothers that require such accommodation deserve the  ingratitude and ill-treatment they afterwards experience at the hands of their children, whose infant palates they have accustomed to the taste of gin, and whom they have trained up in the worst of all ways - in drunkenness, that wide railroad to crime.  Verdict - Natural death.


Glamorgan Gazette, 30 May 1840

A MALTHUSIAN PARISH. - In the course of an inquest held on Tuesday week, in Marylebone, and the jury being somewhat tardy in assembling, Mr. Wakley, M.P., observed that he found less difficulty in getting a jury at the village of Perivale, Middlesex, though in that parish there were only 32 inhabitants, and not a sufficient number of inhabitant householders to constitute a jury.  In it there was neither public house nor beer shop, and in the reign of Charles I it contained 26 inhabitants, increasing only by six souls in the space of about 200 years.  Yet the parish was only seven miles from Oxford Street.


The Observer, 10 August 1840

   Saturday, an inquest was held before Mr. Wakley, at the Vernon Arms, on the body of George Bird, aged 13, who was drowned on Wednesday in the swimming baths, Queen's-row, Pentonville.  It appeared that the deceased, accompanied by another boy, entered the baths, but, after undressing, first amused himself by paddling about in a small boat; he then sent his companions for the corks, which he put on the wrong way and then plunged in; the corks swam away from him, and the deceased for some time swam without them, but suddenly disappeared; the other boy ran for assistance, and the deceased was got out in about four minutes, but life proved to be quite extinct.  The proprietor said he was called away to prepare a warm bath for a gentleman, and had cautioned the deceased not to go in the water before his return; he had kept the baths twenty years, and there had never been a fatal accident in them before; the depth of the bath varied from three to five feet.  The surgeons gave their opinion that the deceased died from a fit of apoplexy.  Verdict of - Died by drowning and suffocation.  The coroner considered the public health much benefitted by such establishments, but he thought that a person connected with the establishment should always be in attendance.


The Cambrian, 14 November 1840

UNION WORKHOUSES AND THE SICK [POOR. - On the course of an inquest held a few days ago, Mr. Wakley said:-

   In a case that recently occurred at the Greville-street Hospital I have been represented in one of the papers as having said, 'that persons might as  well put a halter round their necks as go into a workhouse.'  I said no such thing, as I am convinced that the sick poor are much better accommodated and attended to in union workhouses than under the old system, and if this were generally known I feel certain I would not be called upon to hold so many inquests on persons who have actually died for fear of going into a workhouse.


The Scotsman, 15 June 1842



   THE inquest was held on Thursday at the deceased nobleman's private residence at half-past two o'clock, before Mr. Wakley, the coroner, and a highly respectable jury.

   The jury, having been sworn, proceeded to view the body.  On their return,

   Isaac Manning, the valet of the deceased, was sworn, and gave the following evidence:- I reside in the house, and hold the situation of valet to the deceased.  I found his lordship hanging in his bedroom to the bedpost, by his cravat, yesterday morning, , at a few minutes after ten o'clock, ; and I went up to his room because he was unusually long in coming  down to his breakfast after having had the #hairdresser, and I was afraid something was the matter.  I immediately on seeing him ran down stairs and called Mr. Parnell, his lordship's eldest son, who was in the dining room.  He went up at once with me. We cut and pulled him down as well as we could; the neckerchief was broken. ...

   The jury retired for a short time, and on their return, the foreman delivered the following verdict: - That on the 8th of June, 1842, Henry Brooke, Baron Congleton, was found dead in the parish of St. Luke, Chelsea, and hanging by means of a certain kerchief, which was fastened around his neck, and attached to a certain bedpost, and that he so hung and so strangled himself, he being at the time in a state of temporary derangement.


DEATH OF A MISER. - A few days since, a Mr. R. H. Laurie, who is supposed to have been an officer in the army, died in the back room of the second floor of the house No. 21 High-street, St. Giles's, in a state of apparent destitution, so much so that it was deemed advisable to hold an inquest on his remains.  He had been missed some days by the people living in the house, and his room door being found fastened, it was broke open, and he was found a corpse.  At the inquest, held before Mr. Wakley, M.P., his death being found to arise from natural causes, a verdict accordingly was returned. 

   He had occupied the room, for which he paid 2s. 6d. per week, two years, during which time no person had called upon him.  He would never allow any one to enter his apartment.  The parochial authorities used all their endeavours to find out his relations, if he had any, and yesterday, no one having made any inquiry after him, Cole and Harvey, two of the beadles of the parish, attended by another person examined the room, and found bonds and documents relating to money in the funds, to nearly $1000.  At the inquest, the Coroner observed, tan the Queen's Remembrancer should be made acquainted with the amount of the deceased's property, if that was found to be considerable, and no claimant appeared. - Sun.


The Observer, 5 January 1845


DEATH OF A GENTLEMAN BY AN OVERDOSE OF PRUSSIC ACID. - An inquest was held on Tuesday, on Frederick Clissold, Esq., before Mr. Wakley, at the Holly Bush Tavern, Hampstead. Mr. Clissold belonged to one of the oldest and most opulent families in Suffolk.  His three brothers, the Rev. Augustus Clissold, Rector of Stoke Newington; the Rev. W. Clissold, Rector of Wrenton, Suffolk; and the Rev. Arthur Clissold, were present, with other relatives.  - George Higgs, waiter at the Holly Bush tavern, said that Mr. Clissold came to the tavern of Friday afternoon week, and ordered dinner, with which he had half a pint of port.  At seven he took tea, and directly after retired to bed, ordering him strictly not to call him.  He was quite sober on retiring.  At midday on Saturday witness went to his room, and found him in his bed, life being quite extinct. - The Rev. Augustus Clissold, brother to the deceased next said: During the last few months his brother had been residing at 21, Henrietta=street, Cavendish-square, and had been under the care of Dr. Copeland.  He had for a long time laboured under extreme mental depression, and has sought various remedies.  At one time he took tincture of digitalis, then he had recourse to tobacco and opium in its various forms.  Some time afterwards he dais to me, "I have found a medicine better than any I have yet used, and not I think I shall be well."  It was prussic acid, of which afterwards he took large quantities.  He was a man of very studious habits, and had for some years been engaged in a metaphysical work, which he expected to complete in about fifteen or sixteen years.  I most conscientiously think that my brother never took an overdose of poison with a view to the destruction of life; my belief amounts to a moral certainty; no man would sooner have revolted at the idea. - Mr. Herbert Evans, surgeon, of Hampstead, said he had no doubt that an overdose of prussic acid was the cause of death, a bottle of which, labelled "poison," was at his side.  The jury found a verdict accordingly.


   On Tuesday morning an inquest was held at the Friend in Hand public-house, Colonnade-mews, Russell-square, on the body of Mr. Philip Weynell Mayow, aged seventy-three, the late solicitor of Excise, No. 51, Guildford-street, whose death was generally understood to have been occasioned by nervous fright, produced by the late fire at Mr. Farey's, the civil engineer, in the same street. - Susan Guy, the deceased's housemaid, said that on Monday week her master caught a cold, and since then he had remained at home, attended by Dr. Latham.  On Friday evening, at nine o'clock, he was exceedingly cheerful, in his bedroom; on the following morning she entered his room to light the fire, when on his not speaking to her, she became alarmed, and on looking at him found him apparently dead, and she instantly sent for medical attendance.

   The deceased entered the Excise about the year 1801, and performed the duties of assistant solicitor up to the year 1829, when Mr. Carr, the chief solicitor, died, and Mr. Mayow was appointed his successor.  Up to this period the office had been held from the Crown, and the chief solicitor was paid by fees, but an alteration took place on Mr. Mayow's succession  to the appointment, and he resigned his patent and right to take fees, in consideration of which the Lords of the Treasury allowed him a yearly income of £2,000, with a distinct intimation to the Board of Excise that the  salary would be reduced fully one half on the discontinuance of Mr. Mayow's services by death or otherwise.

   Mr. Mayow married a lady with a private  fortune, who died only five months since.  He possessed large estates in Norfolk and Cumberland.  Two sons hold livings in the church, one of them being married to the daughter of the Bishop of Cork; the third is an officer of dragoons.


The Observer, 5 January 1845

THE MURDER AND SUICIDE AT ASHFORD. - Immediately after the verdict of felo-de-se was returned by the jury, Mr. Wakley handed to the constable his warrant for the interment of the deceased; that referring to the man specifying that he should be buried between the hours of 9 and 12 o'clock at night, without any funeral ceremony.  The woman was buried on Sunday afternoon, and her remains were followed to the grave by a vast concourse of persons.  The murderer was not buried until Monday night, about 10 o'clock, the place selected for the grave being a corner of the churchyard which has before been the receptacle of the remains of two persons who, some thirty years since, destroyed themselves, and against whom verdicts of felo-se-se were returned.  During the whole period that has since elapsed, there has not been a single suicide in the parish until the present.


The Observer, 6 January 1845


   An inquest was held on Tuesday before Mr. Wakley, at the king's Arms, Rawstone-street, Clerkenwell, on William Watts, aged 24, a cab driver, 4, Brewer-street, who lost his life by taking tartaric acid, dispensed to him by a chemist for salts.  The medicine was dispensed by Mr. Charles Watkins, brother and apprentice of Mr. Peter Watkins, druggist, of Myddleton-street. - Elizabeth Watts, widow of the deceased, said that her husband had complained of a cold, and after his dinner he went to Mr. Watkins's to purchase two ounces of Epsom salts, having leave from his master to stay that evening at home.  After he had purchased the Epsom salts he observed in the shop circular that there were tasteless salts, and asked the shopman to take back the Epsom and give him one ounce of the tasteless salts in lieu of it.  The shopman complied, as he imagined, and her husband returning home melted the salts in some warm water and f rank them.  His face immediately became as red as fire, and having exclaimed that he was poisoned he became speechless.  Witness tasted what was left in the cup, when her lips became excoriated.

   Mr. Brook, surgeon, Giaswell-street-road, was sent for, when it w as ascertained her husband had taken tartaric acid instead of salts; her husband subsequently recovered his speech, but though hitherto in robust health he never left his bed, and remained for nine days in excruciating agony till he died.  Mr. Broad, surgeon and licentiate of Bohn, stated that he tested the dregs left in the cup, and found that Watts had taken tartaric acid.  He applied every remedy except the stomach-pump, but without effect.  Mr. Wm. Gill, surgeon, White Lion-street, Islington, made a post mortem examination, and described the appearances indicative of poison.

   Mr. Watkins, sen., admitted that the tartaric acid was sold in his shop. 

   Mr. Watkins, jun.: I cannot deny having made the mistake.

   Coroner (addressing Mr. Watkins): You had better retire to consider what reparation you can make to the widow for the loss you have inflicted upon her.

   Messrs. Watkins retired, and after a shirt absence returned, when they said that their means would not allow them to do more than pay the medical expenses consequent upon the melancholy catastrophe.

   Coroner (very indignantly): Have you anything more to say?

   Mr. Watkins, sen., : No, sir.

   Mrs. Watts recalled.  She said that all she received from Mr. Watkins amounted to two shillings, which he gave her mother when she informed him of their poverty.  She obtained further assistance from the parish.

   The jury retired, and after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of manslaughter against Charles Watkins, jun., who seemed little prepared for such a result.  He was then conveyed to gaol.  The jury raised a subscription for the widow.


The  Observer, 2 February 1845


SUDDEN DEATH OF A CLERGYMAN. -  On Tuesday M. Wakley, M.P., held an inquest at the Devonshire Arms, Devonshire-street, St. Marylebone, on the body of the Rev, R. H. Chapman, aged 64, rector of Kirby Wick, Yorkshire, and incumbent of the Marylebone parish chapel.  The evidence of two of the deceased's female domestics, long in his service, and evidently much attached to him, provide that he was found dead in his bed at half-past seven on Sunday morning last, at his residence, 15, Beaumont-street, Portland-place.  He had been ailing for a considerable time, and had not left his room for three weeks or a month, and they believed his death had been perfectly natural.  Mr. R. Stocker, surgeon, of Baker-street, said he had attended deceased for the last six weeks, for disease of the heart and incipient  dropsy.  He fully expected he should die suddenly, and had prepared the family for such an event.  Some of the jury wishing to have Mrs. Chapman called as a witness, and a discussion arising on that point, the room was cleared of strangers.  In their absence the jury decided not to summon that lady before them, and then returned a verdict of Natural Death.

MYSTERIOUS DEATH IN THE REGENT'S CANAL.  - On Friday, an inquest was held before Mr. Wakley, at the Elephant and Castle, Camden Town, on Mr. Anthony Portington, aged 64, house and land agent, who was found drowned under suspicious circumstances in the Regent's canal.  It appeared that Mr. Portington, who was agent to the late Counsellor and the present Mr. Agar, left his residence on Monday evening last, for the purpose of taking to the latter gentleman some cottage rents he had been collecting.  The nearest road to the mansion of Mr. Agar from the deceased's residence in the King's-road was along the towing-oath of the regent's Canal, and shortly before six o'clock on Monday evening, at a place where a hole had been cut in the wall, leading into Mr. Agar's grounds, for the purpose of landing lime from the barges, Mr. Portington was seen by a labourer, named Roswell,  going towards the hole in question.  He said "good night," and then passed on , and the man Roswell saw him stand still for two or three minutes, and he then went on. 

   On the following morning (Tuesday last), at eight o'clock, the body of Mr. Portington was discovered in the canal, near the hole in question, and the whole of the money and other property he had with him when he left home was found upon his person, with the exception  of his hat, which has  not since been seen.  From the evidence of one person it was stated that he had been seen going in the direction of the canal bridge, near the workhouse.  The jury returned a verdict of Found Drowned, but how deceased came into the water there was no evidence to show.


The Observer, 16 February 1845


SUICIDE BY A BOY. - On Monday, Mr. Wakley, M.P., held an inquest at the Lion and Lamb, Drummond-street, Euston-square, on the body of Thomas Press, a boy aged thirteen, the son of a cowkeeper, who committed suicide.  James Press, the brother of deceased, said he resided with his parents at 43, Drummond-crescent.  The deceased went to school, and occasionally assisted in carrying out milk.  On Friday last, at dinner time, it was discovered that he had been playing truant, and had appropriated some money belonging to his parents to his own use, and spent it amongst some other boys.  This coming to his father's knowledge he boxed his ears, declared he should have no dinner, and threatened to beat him.  Shortly before two o'clock deceased's mother gave him some dinner, and then told him to wash himself, which he did.  About half-past three the same afternoon witness went into the yard, and observed the cow-shed open, and on entering he discovered the deceased hanging by his neckerchief from a beam.  Witness gave an alarm, and Mr. Lambert, a neighbour, and his mother, came and cut deceased down.  He was quite dead, and, in order to effect his object, must have got on one of the  rails placed to divide the cows, and then jumped off.  The jury returned a verdict - "That deceased destroyed himself by hanging, but in what state of mind he was in at the time there was no evidence to show."

CENSURE OF A MIDWIFE. - On Tuesday Mr. Wakley, M.P., coroner, resumed an inquiry which was opened on the 13th January last in the board room of Chelsea Workhouse, Arthur-street, King's-road, Chelsea, into the circumstances attending the death of the male infant child of Ann Nancy Lawrence, of No. 1, Oxford-place, Marlborough-road, Chelsea.  At the first sitting of the jury charges were alleged affecting the management of the Royal Belgrave Lying-in Institution, on account of which and the illness of the mother of the deceased child the inquiry was adjourned.  On Thursday the inquest room was crowded by most of the medical gentlemen of Chelsea.  It was stated by Lawrence, the husband of the woman, who had obtained a letter from the institution for the attendance of one of the midwives, that when his wife was taken in labour in the middle of the night, he went to the midwife's house, and that she refused to attend.  He afterwards applied to several surgeons unsuccessfully, and when he returned home his wife had been delivered without assistance.  He then went to the parish surgeon, whose assistant attended, but the child was then dead.

   Mrs. Miller, the midwife, denied that Lawrence had shown her the letter from the institution, for had he done so she would have gone immediately.  The jury returned the following verdict - "We find that the deceased child died from natural weakness, and we found that verdict upon the medical evidence given by Mr. Warder; and the jury think that the conduct of Mrs. Miller, the midwife of the Royal Belgrave Lying-in Institution, is highly reprehensible, and deserves to be visited by some severe mark of the censure of the jury." [See also 'ABRIDGED POLICE INTELLIGENCE,' 16 March.]


The Observer, 24 February 1845


[Long account] James De la Rue, professor of music.


He was quite dead, but still warm, and the blood was pouring from a frightful gash inflicted by some sharp instrument over the right eye and temple and from the back of the skull, which was literally dashed in, and caused the brains to protrude.



The inquest on the body of the deceased was commenced this morning at ten o'clock, and several witnesses were examined, but no important fact was elicited.  At twelve o'clock the Coroner (Mr. Wakley) ordered the room to be cleared, as he wished to have some conversation with the police as to the means to be adopted for the discovery of the perpetrators of the deed.  The inquest, it was understood, would be adjourned.


The Observer, 16 March 1845


   An inquest was held on Friday upon Mr. H. Cordwell, of No. 18, Tavistock-street, Bedford-square, before Mr. Wakley, at the Blue Boar Tavern, Great Russell-street, Bloomsbury.  The case created very great interest among the supporters of the homoeopathic system, and the medical world at large, it having appeared that the deceased, a young gentleman of scarcely thirty years of age, had been under a course of medical treatment on homoeopathic principles for some time previous to his death, which it was alleged resulted from that circumstance. The deceased had served a portion of his articles at Liverpool, and was completing them with the firm of Lyons, Barnes, and Ellis, of Spring-gardens. Amongst the members of the medical profession in attendance were Dr. Roots, Mr. Hancock, Dr. Epps, Mr. Headland, &c.

   Dr. Curie, under whose course of homoeopathic treatment the deceased had been for some time past, was present in court, attended by Mr. Clarkson, the barrister, instructed by Mr. J. Burra, solicitor.

   The first witness called was

   Jane Longstaff, nurse to the deceased, who stated that Dr, Curie was called in after Mr. Cordwell had been several days ill; he was then in a very low, weak, and feeble state.  Dr. Curie did not attend him every day, and subsequently, in the Sunday, Dr. Roots and Mr. Headland were called in.  On the Saturday there was a large discharge of blood in the bed.  The medicine prescribed by Dr. Curie was administered, one teaspoonful every four hours.  When I advised him to take some arrow-root, he said he should observe strictly Dr. Curie's orders.

   Mr. Wakley asked if Dr. Curie had any objection to state when he began his medical attendance upon the deceased.

   Dr. Curie: Not the slightest.  My first attendance on the deceased was on the 19th of October last.  Before that he used to call on me at my residence for advice, but the first time I ever visited him was on the 26th of Feb.  There was then only a servant in attendance upon him.

   Miss Jane Maguire, daughter of the landlady of the house, said that the deceased came to lodge there on the 26th of last October, from Putney, having, as he stated previously, come from Liverpool.  He took the lodgings as an invalid, and at first went himself to the doctor.  On the 18th of fernery he came home very ill, from business, and said he had been seized with a fainting fir.  Dr. Curie then visited the deceased.  He told me he never had a day's health in his life, but did not speak of being in danger till the Saturday before his death.  He had had two servants and six nurses in attendance upon him.  At first he took barley-water, figs, and grapes, which I procured him.  On one occasion deceased told me he would not take anything the doctor had not ordered him, desiring me at the same time not to interfere.

   Other female witnesses were examined, who all spoke to the fact that deceased had taken no sustenance for twelve days prior to his death except copious draughts of spring-water.

   Mrs. Catherine Sharp, a lady residing at No. 39, Torrington -square, said that she had known deceased fifteen years, the last two of which he had resided in London.  In consequence of his writing to her on his severe illness, she went to him, and he then told her that he had taken the medicine prescribed by Dr. Curie, and that immediately he had globulets of perspiration all over his body.  He added, that he wished to know from the doctor whether or not that was the effect to be produced.  He said that he had taken nothing but cold water since the 24th ult.  Dr. Curie told me that I need not be alarmed; the fever he had was simple and not infectious.  I asked Dr. Curie to let him have a [] in the water he drank, but he said it would only be feeding the fever.  I recommended him to take some food, but he said he was perfectly satisfied.  On the Sunday morning before he died I was told that Dr. Curie had ordered that no one should see him, but persons were going in and out of the room.  There was no control or coercion used.  He refused, when I offered to call in anybody, to have any other advice.

   Dr. Henry Shuckborough Roots, of No. 2, Russell-square, said he was called in to attend the patient on Sunday, the 2d of March.  I at the time thought him in the greatest possible danger, and held out scarcely a hope to his friends.  The deceased told me he had not taken food for ten days.  I ordered him nourishments; his recovery was hopeless.

   Mr. Headland, surgeon, corroborated the evidence of Dr. Roots.

   Dr. Henry Hancock, of 39, Harley-street, and teacher of surgery at the Charing-cross Hospital, had examined the body.  It was perfectly healthy, but the skin was so thin that I could see the muscles and tendons through it.  There was no disease, but entire exhaustion.

   Dr. Roots was here recalled: He considered the cause of death to have been exhaustion consequent upon haemorrhage from the bowels.

   Dr. Epps observed that Dr. Curie might wish to say a few words before the inquiry closed. - Dr. Curie said as no charge had been made he should not trouble the court with any remarks.

   Mr. Burra then objected that there were some medical men upon the jury,, but it was found there was only a chemist on the panel, and Mr. Wakley  said that if the whole panel were chemists it would be legal.

   After an hour and a quarter's deliberation, the jury returned into court. The Deputy Coroner then read the following as the verdict of the jury:

We find that Henry Cordwell died from exhaustion, caused by loss of blood from the intestinal canal, produced by natural disease.

After a momentary pause, Mr. Mills proceeded to read the following addendum to the verdict-

And while complying with what the jury conceive to be their bounden duty in returning this verdict, in strict accordance with the sworn evidence of the medical gentlemen who have been called as witnesses, the jury cannot refrain from expressing the strongest feelings of indignation and disgust at hearing it provide by the testimony of the nurses and other persons, that the afflicted gentleman had been cruelly exposed to a system of starvation, while in a state of the most extreme debility, during at least ten days previous to his death, he having during that long time been allowed nothing but plain cold water, under the express direction of his medical attendant.

Mr. Mills having finished reading the above, Mr. Wakley remarked, with considerable emphasis, if I were a juror, I have no hesitation in saying that I should most cordially agree with the observations just read.

   The proceedings then terminated.


The Observer, 24 March 1845


   Saturday afternoon a lengthened inquiry took place in the board-room of Chelsea Workhouse, before Mr. Wakley, M.P., on view of the body of Mary Ann Murray, aged 32, who destroyed herself by cutting her throat with a dessert knife whilst in a state of phrensy, having been detected in the act of shoplifting on the premises of Mr. Saunders, haberdasher, of No. 5 King's-road, Chelsea.  The case has excited a very painful interest in the neighbourhood, and during the proceedings the inquest room was crowded.

   Mr. William Saunders, haberdasher, of No. 5, King's-road, Chelsea, said that about six o'clock on Wednesday evening the deceased came to his shop and asked to look at some ribbons.  Witness handed her a drawer full, which she looked over, whilst he attended to some other customers.  He saw her secrete some rolls of ribbon in her bosom, and accused her of the robbery, which she denied, but was very much agitated, and said, "Fie, Mr. Saunders; you know I have been a good customer of your shop."  Witness threatened to send for the police, when the deceased said, "Pray don't, Mr. Saunders."  He then requested her to come up stairs to the drawing-room, where he should speak to her.  She followed witness into the passage and then ran down into the kitchen.  He followed, when deceased placed both her arms round his neck, saying, "Don't, don't, pray don't."

   Witness was rather alarmed at her frantic manner, and to appease her he said he would talk to his shopmen about the affair.  He extricated himself with difficulty from the deceased, and got into the area, which led into the street, immediately after which he heard his servant say the deceased had cut her throat with a knife.  On going again into the kitchen he saw the deceased on the floor, surrounded with blood.  Her throat was cut, and a knife was lying near her.  Mr. Neal, a surgeon, attended, but before his arrival she expired.

   By the Coroner:  The deceased had repeatedly been to my shop before, but I never had any suspicion of her dishonest intentions: her purchases amounted to about fourteen pence, and the ribbons she took were worth neatly £2.  I had no intention to give her into custody.  I thought the threat of sending for the police would make her confess the robbery.  On reaching the kitchen she threw the roll of ribbons she had taken on the floor; the knife she committed the act with is my property, and was under the window.  It was dark in the kitchen with the exception of the gas-lamp opposite the window.  I had great difficulty in getting away from the deceased in the kitchen.

   Mary Taverner, servant to Mr. Saunders, said she found the deceased laying on the floor surrounded with blood; witness s aid, "For God's sake, what is the matter?"  Deceased replied, "Oh, God forgive me, it will all soon be over."

   By the Jury: The knife was near the deceased covered with blood; no one was in the kitchen when I entered but the deceased.  My master was out on the area steps.

   By the Coroner: I have no doubt the deceased committed the act.

   Louisa Simpson said the deceased was cook in the service of Mr. Blenkins, of No.  4, Whitehead's-grove, Chelsea; she had been three years and seven months in that gentleman's service, and bore an excellent character.  Her connections were very respectable.

   The Coroner inquired if any of the deceased's relatives were present, and was answered by the beadle in the negative.

   Mr. Neal, the surgeon said the deceased did not live five minutes.

   Verdict - "Temporary insanity, from the dread of prosecution."


The Spectator, 8 July 1848 (6)

   Mr. Walter S. Badger, son of the Coroner for the West Riding of Yorkshire, has died from inhaling chloroform, in order to have six teeth extracted without pain.  Mr. Robinson, the dentist of London, who operated, advised against using the chloroform, but was overruled by his patient.  Mr. Badger inhaled the vapour for about a minute, and observed that it was not strong enough.  Mr. Robinson turned away to obtain a stronger dose, and instantly after found that Mr. Badger's head had sunk on his chest, and that he was dying; survival assistance was obtained immediately, but the patient was dead.  A post mortem examination showed that he had a diseased heart and liver; the liver was double the ordinate size, and its pressure upwards had impeded the action of the heart and lungs.  Dr. Walters stated at the inquest before Mr. Wakley, on Monday, that any excitement would have caused death, without the chloroform.  The Jury exonerated Mr. Robinson from blame and returned a verdict - "That the deceased died under the influence of chloroform acting on a diseased heart and enlarged liver."


The Observer, 14 July 1856


OF A FEMALE PRISONER. - An inquest has been recently held by Mr. Wakley, at the house of Detention, Clerkenwell, on Eliza Davies, alias Sullivan, about 41 years of age, who hung herself in her cell on Thursday morning week, at the House of Correction, Clerkenwell.  It appeared from the evidence that on Wednesday week the deceased was charged at the Thames police court with having burglariously entered the premises of  Mr. T. Rogers, gunmaker, Little Alie-street, Goodman's' Fields, and with stealing three Enfield-made Minie rifles.  It was proved by Police-Sergeant Egerton, of the 11 division, that he met the deceased early in the morning with a rifle, which was covered with a petticoat; as she gave no satisfactory account of her possession of the article she was taken to the station house.  The officer subsequently found that it had been taken from the premises of Mr. Rogers, and that two rifles were concealed ready to be removed.  The prisoner was remanded on the charge, and it was stated that it was not the first burglary she had attempted.  She was removed to the house of detention the same day.  The following morning, on the female warder going to the cell, she was found suspended from the opening through which the warders look after the prisoners.  Verdict - Temporary Insanity.


   An inquest was held on Monday, at the Grosvenor Arms, Holywell-street, Millbank, on the body of G. Pearce, Holywell-street, aged 36, a musical instrument maker, late in the employ of Messrs. Braidwood.   From the evidence it appeared that the deceased had on several occasions attempted suicide, for several years past having been subject to temporary aberration.  On the Friday previous he had contrived to possess himself of some essential oil of bitter almonds, which he swallowed during a short absence of his wife, and from the effects of which he shortly afterwards expired. - Mr. J. Pearse, of Regent-street, Westminster, surgeon, stated that it was entirely unnecessary that either prussic acid or the above mentioned poison should be vended so freely, as a preparation for culinary purposes, containing the flavour and odour, but entirely divested of the poisonous qualities, had recently been manufactured by Mr. Langdale, of Hatton-garden, and was on sale in the chemists''  shops generally.  - The coroner expressed his desire that so important a fact should be generally known to the public.  A verdict of temporary Insanity was returned.


The Observer, 20 July 1856



Henry Moss, aged 48


The Observer, 27 July 1856


FATAL SHOOTING AT HIGHGATE. - On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Wakley and a highly respectable jury assembled at the Woodman Tavern, Highgate, to inquire into the death of Henry Miller, farm servant, who fell a victim to the careless use of fire-arms at the hands of a young man named Isaac Spooner.  The son of the deceased deposed that he was at work with his father when he was injured on Monday week.  At the time, about ten minutes past two o'clock, he was at work on a hay-rick in an adjoining field to the Woodman.  He was at the time thatching a rick, and he was at work for Mr. Coulson.  He was perfectly sober.  Suddenly he exclaimed, at the report of a gun, "He has shot me; I am a dead man."  He was on the top of the rick at the time, kneeling on the ladder and leaning over.  He (witness) immediately called out "Murder," and exclaimed that his father was shot.  After the examination of several other witnesses, the Coroner left it to the jury to say whether Spooner was criminally culpable, or whether Miller's death had been the result of pyre accident.  The jury, after ten minutes' deliberation, returned a verdict of - Accidental Death.  This decision, in the face of the utmost carelessness on the part of Spooner, created marked sensation.


The Observer, 27 July 1856


DESPERATE SUICIDE WITH A LANCET. - On Wednesday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Admiral Napier, Kentish Town, on John Taylor Cumner, late cashier to Messrs. Chaplin and Horne, the extensive railway carriers, who committed self-destruction during a fit of delirium.  From the evidenced it appeared that, although the deceased had been closely watched, he managed to secrete a lancet under his pillow, and, in the absence of his attendant he drew the instrument across the #upper part of his arm.  Not succeeding in his first attempt, and before the desperate act could be prevented, the deceased bent his arm, and then made another frightful wound in the centre, cutting through the brachial artery, and other leading vessels of the arm.  A surgeon was immediately called in, but the wound was of so violent a character, and the flow of blood so great, that the poor man died in the course of five minutes. Verdict - Insanity.


The Observer, 27 July 1856


SINGULAR DEATH IN A STATION HOUSE. - On Wednesday, an inquest was held in the Clerkenwell workhouse, on Mr. James M'Nab, formerly surgeon of the 93rd Foot, who died on Tuesday morning whilst in the Bagnigge Wells station house, on a charge of being drunk, and breaking a window.  It appeared that he jihad married the "Circassian lady" who exhibited herself at Hales's, the Norfolk Giant in Drury-lane, and the "Circassian lady," Mrs. Jessie M'Nab, now deposed that she had married the deceased seven months ago, and he recently kept the Union Tavern, in Union-street, Blackfriars.  On Saturday last he  sold his intere4st in that tavern, and then resided in 12 Angel-Court, Strand.  Ashe last saw him alive on Thursday.  He was addicted to intemperance, and continually required brandy, and she blamed the police for not allowing him that stimulant at the station, as he required it to keep him alive.

   Mr. Wakley said it was impossible for the police to know that brandy was so necessary for him.  Wilson, G177, said that at two in the morning of Tuesday the deceased was given in charge for breaking a window at the Horse and Groom beer shop. Leather-lane, and he was drunk, and reeled as he walked to the station.  He was then locked up in a cell, and witness saw no more of him.  Sergeant Gum, G8, said that in a few minutes after the deceased had been locked up alone in the cell, he made a great noise at the door, and wanted to have some gin.  He was visited every half-hour by the gaoler.  Sergeant Fyfe, G12, said that at ten minutes to six deceased was alive, and sitting in the cell.  At six he was still sitting, but clenching his teeth and grasping his hand.  He sent for Dr. Lillwood, and placed deceased on a stretcher in the open air.  Dr. Lillwood saw the deceased a few minutes after six, and the deceased expired a few minutes after Dr. Sillwood's arrival.  Death was caused by congestion of the brain from excessive drinking of ardent spirits.  The jury found a verdict - "Died of congestion of the brain, caused by excessive indulgence in ardent spirits."  Deceased was thirty-six years of age, and nephew of Sir A. M'Nab, governor of Canada.


The Observer, 17 August 1856


   On Wednesday Mr. Wakley held an adjourned inquest at the Mitre Tavern, Hampton Court, on Lewis Solomon, aged 34, who had lately returned from Australia, and whose body was found in the Thames, off the old palace, with severe wounds as if from a dagger or some such weapon. ... [Further adjournment, fresh evidence.]


The Observer, 24 August 1856


   On Friday afternoon, Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Elephant and Castle, King's-road, Camden Town, on the remains of a child supposed to have been buried for a period of nearly forty years.

   Joseph Caves, 32, St. Pancras-place, St,. Pancras-road, said he was a wheelwright, and on Tuesday week he was digging for a post used in his business for the purpose of perfecting the tyres of wheels, and at the depth of about 1ft. 6 in. from the surface in the rear of his house he came upon a coffin, and on taking it up he found it had three lids, two of wood and the other lead.  On the lid of the leaden coffin was engraved the name of Jane Rayner.  On opening the leaden coffin he discovered the remains of a child, merely bones, in a shroud of flannel.  The remains were removed to the workhouse. The assistant surgeon of the workhouse examined the remains, and considered them to be those of a child, which was about three years old, and had been buried between thirty and forty years.

   Ann Hyde, an aged female, gave evidence that about thirty-tree or thirty-four years ago she lived two or three doors from the house in question, and there was a family named Rayner resided there.  Their elder daughter was musical, and the father was an eccentric.  She remembered the circumstance of a child being missed, and that the family left the place all of a sudden and were never heard of again.  This was all the information that could be obtained, and the jury returned a verdict that the remains supposed to be those of Jane Rayner were found buried in the ground at the rear of 32 St. Pancras-place, but under what circumstances they came there, there was no evidence to show.


The Observer, 7 September 1856


ON THE RIVER. - On Thursday morning, information was received by Thomas Wakley, Esq., the coroner for the western division of Middlesex, of the death, by drowning, of Mr. Benjamin Nicolls, glass merchant of the firm of Nicolls, Brothers, Glebe-[place, King's-road, Chelsea.  It appears the unfortunate gentleman, Mr. Stephen Fairn, Cadogan Arms, Chelsea, and Mr. Richard Farr, saddler, of Hortulan-place, went to Richmond in a boat belonging to the deceased, and on returning about nine o'clock in the evening of the 31st, fouled Putney bridge.  Mr. Farr and the deceased, in pushing it off, fell over.  Mr. Farr as rescued from a watery grave, but the deceased sunk instantly.  Next morning some fishermen picked up the body near Battersea bridge.


The Observer, 21 September 1856


OF A SURGEON. - Mr. Samuel Holmes, aged thirty, of 83, Upper Seymour-street, Somers Town, a surgeon dentist, committed suicide by taking oxalic acid.  The unfortunate man, who has lately been brought down by a reversal of fortune, was locked up the previous night for being disorderly, but was bailed out, and was ordered at the time to be at Clerkenwell police court one hour after he committed suicide.

OF A  SURGEON D ENTIST. - On Thursday, Mr. Wakley held an inquiry at the Seymour Arms,. Seymour-street, Euston-square, touching the death of Samuel Speed Holmes, lately practising as a surgeon dentist.  It appeared from the evidence of James Bacon, brother-in-law to deceased, that the unfortunate man was thirty-six years of age, and had for some years given way to drinking propensities.  He got so intoxicated t times that he did not know what he was about.  He had attempted to destroy himself by shooting, and by the means of poison, which he had kept about him since he was a boy, for the avowed purpose of taking his own life.  From further evidence ids appeared that deceased had been taken into custody on Saturday night for creating a disturbance in a low locality, and that he was admitted to bail to appear before the magistrate on Monday morning.  Before the time for hearing the case, he was found dying in his bed at a lodging in Seymour-street.  A bottle and glass, which had contained prussic acid, were lying by his side.  The evidence of Mr. Hazel, the surgeon, went clearly to show that the deceased died from the effect of the poison named, and that his brain was so diseased as to render him unaccountable for his acts.  The jury, notwithstanding the opposition of one of their number, who insisted that the poor man must have been sane, returned a verdict  in accordance with the medical testimony.


The Observer, 28 September 1856


At an inquest held by Mr. Wakley on a person who committed suicide, the coroner commented upon the awful increase in self-destruction in his particular district of the country, and Mr. David, the summoning officer of the parish of St. Pancras observed that in one week alone six Inquests had been held in that parish on persons who had committed suicide.


The Observer, 5 October 1856


AN OLD MAN CHOKED. - On Thursday, Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Lord Wellington, University-street. Tottenham Court-road, on Thomas Richards, aged 70, lately residing at 2 St. Pancras-place, who was choked while at dinner by a piece of beef lodging in his throat.  The jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.


The Observer, 13 October 1856


DEATH OF MR. WISHAW, CIVIL ENGINEEER. - On Thursday Mr. Wakley held an inquiry in the King's Arms, New-road, touching the death of Mr. Francis Wishaw, aged 52, civil engineer (late of Francis-place, Holloway), which took place under the following remarkable and melancholy67 circumstances:-  It appeared, from the evidence, that the deceased, who was a widower, left his residence of Sunday evening to attend a place of divine worship in Somers Town, and he was never heard of more until his deplorable end was made known to his disconsolate relatives.  The same night, it seemed, shortly before midnight, police constable 115S, who was on duty in the vicinity, observed the deceased on Primrose Hill, and his attention was further drawn to him by observing him suddenly to stagger and fall to the ground.  The constable promptly proceeded to the unfortunate gentleman's assistance, whom he discovered in a partially unconscious state, as if he had been falling about.  The officer immediately assisted the sufferer to the residence of Mr. Allen, a medical practitioner in the neighbourhood, who prescribed for the deceased, and did all that the case appeared to demand.  After that he was removed to the workhouse infirmary, where he gradually sank and expired soon after his admission.  The deceased told the policemen that after he had attended divine service at Somers Town, and left the sacred edifice, his senses seemed to leave him, and he knew nothing further until he found himself wandering on primrose hill.  There was found on his person £30 in loose cash, besides a gold watch, rings, &c.  The son said that his father had lately returned from Boulogne, and at times he complained of pains in his head. - Mt. Filter, surgeon, proved the immediate cause of death to be an attack of natural apoplexy.


The Observer, 19 October 1856


FATAL SCHOOLBOY QUARREL. - On Monday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Cheshire Cheese, Phillips's-buildings, Somers Town, on Wm. Jacob Debow, aged eleven years, who was alleged to have died from the effects of a kick received from a schoolfellow of about his own age, named Role.  It seemed that deceased returned home from school complaining of illness, and he was unable to go again.  A week afterwards to attributed his illness, which was confined to severe pains in his chest and bowels, to a kick he received from Role, but yet, notwithstanding this the mother never even examined that part of the child's person to see if there was any mark of violence, nor did she proceed to make inquiries into the matter.  The child got worse, and Dr. John Dudicum attended it, but all his treatment failed to produce a favourable result, and the deceased gradually sank and died.  The post mortem examination disclosed a great mass of disease, the immediate cause of death being from haemorrhage produced from the rupture of an aneurism of the aorta.  Role, on being called, denied wilfully kicking the deceased, and said that whatever took place was in play.  The jury returned an open verdict.


The Observer, 26 October 1856



   The coroner's inquest on the body of Arthur Staveley, aged 43, who hung himself in the padded room of the lunatic ward of St. Pancras Workhouse, was opened yesterday afternoon, at four o'clock, before Mr. Wakley, the coroner, and a jury of the inhabitants of Camden Town, at the Elephant and Castle, facing the workhouse, and excited great interest, several of the parochial authorities being present. ...

   The Coroner said the complaint made to him was that this man had lost his life through being placed under restraint, whereas the contrary was the fact.  He had really lost his life by being allowed his liberty too soon.  The Coroner said he did not consider that there was blame to be attributed to anyone, and ultimately the jury returned a verdict, "That the deceased died from the effects of suffocation by hanging himself whilst in an unsound state of mind."


The Observer, 10 November 1856


THROUGH A CUP OF TEA OVERTURNED. - On Wednesday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Cheshire Cheese, Phillips's-buildings, Somers Town, on a child named Chalker, who died owing to a cup of hot tea falling accidentally on its arm.  Mr. Wakley said it was astonishing what a little injury would produce death in a child.  Only a short time ago he held an inquest on a fine little boy, who died from the effects of a scald on the chest, not larger than a crown piece (sensation).  The jury then recorded a verdict of Accidental Death, acquitting the parents of all culpable negligence in the matter.


The Observer, 16 November 1856


BY ACONITE. - On Thursday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Cadogan Arms, King's Road, Chelsea, on W. Watson, aged 64, gardener. - Deceased's wife deposed that he had been invariably in good health.  On Saturday night he went to bed in his usual health and spirits, but at nine o'clock next morning he complained of pains in his stomach and sickness.  She gave him a hot water emetic, after which he retched violently.  She then sent for Mr. Hatfield, surgeon, to whom deceased said that he had eaten monkshood root out of his tobacco-box.  Deceased's life was not insured, nor was he connected with a burial or benefit club.  Witness is left destitute by his death.  Mrs. Hannah Boswell, who lived in the same house, said the deceased seemed in good health and spirits on the previous night.  He had lived on  good terms with his wife, who was a sober woman.  A police sergeant said that the last witness told him that deceased's wife had been intoxicated on the Saturday night, and she heard them quarrelling after she returned home.  He (the sergeant) went there on Sunday night, and found the body lying undressed on the bed, and the wife intoxicated (sensation).  He and another person had to lay out the body.  Mr. Hatfield, M.R.C.S.,  said the deceased told him that he had taken monkshood poison at eight o'clock on the morning of his death.  The tobacco-box, when Witness saw it, contained only tobacco. - The coroner said it was fortunate for the wife that the deceased had stated that he took the poison himself.  Verdict - "Died from the effects of aconite, but how or under what circumstances taken there is no evidence to prove."


The Observer, 23 November 1856


On Monday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Lord Wellington, University-street, Tottenham Court-road, on Caroline Hobbs, aged 18, who committed self-destruction under very determined and painful circumstances.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased had served in several highly respectable families as lady's maid, but both by her personal appearance and mental attainments she was much above her station in life, having been in fact educated for a governess.  At length, however, she was led from the paths of virtue by a young man named (Henry) Ward, who pretended to be paying his addresses to her with the object of finally marrying her, but after deluding the [poor creature, and thereby causing her ruin, he deserted her in a most scandalous manner.   ... discovered that she was enceinte.  This, together with her lover's faithless conduct, preyed on her mind so much, that at length, procuring a bottle of the essence of almonds, or ratafia,  ...

   On the recommendation of the coroner, the jury humanely recorded, instead of a verdict of "Felo de se," which the case appeared to call for in consequence of the great coolness and premeditation evinced in the determined act, an open one to the effect that the deceased committed suicide, but there was no evidence to prove the state of her mind at the time she committed the deed.


The Observer, 23 November 1856


OF A WOMAN THROUGH LOSS OF HER HUSBAND. - Mr. Wakley held an inquest, in the Middlesex Hospital, on Louisa Street, a married woman, aged twenty-five, who committed a very desperate act of self-destruction.  The deceased, whose husband is in the sea service and at the present time is abroad, resided with some friend in Great Tichfield-street, and latterly it had been observed that she was very melancholy.  No alarm, however, was caused by this, and no suspicion prevailed that she would destroy her own life until the very day she committed the frightful act, when she was found in the water-closet with a frightful gash in her throat, which nearly severed her head from her body.  A razor lay by her side, with which she committed the horrible deed, and the floor was  deluged with blood.  No cause but despondency, arising  from her husband's absence, could be assigned for the rash act, and the jury returned a verdict "That the deceased committed suicide, but there is no evidence to prove the state of her mind at the time."

   Mr. Wakley then held a second inquiry in the same parish on George Wade, a labourer, aged forty-five, who hung himself at his lofting in William-street, Lisson-grove, but no particular cause, unless great excitability, would be assigned for the painful occurrence.  Verdict - Insanity.


The Observer, 23 November 1856


On Tuesday, Mr. Wakley held an inquest in Marylebone Workhouse, on Elizabeth Mann, alias Franklin, who was last week found  dying with her four children, in a state of nudity, in a room in 7 Walmer-place, Crawford-street.  Several Poor-law guardians attended.

   Mr. Mr. Boyls, the summoning officer, said the four children were in the workhouse, but the surgeon thought it would endanger the elder girl's life if she were removed to give evidence.  The children were - Elizabeth, aged 13; Eliza, 12; Susan, 10; and James, 6 years. .... The sufferings of the children must, however, have been frightful in the extreme.  The jury ultimately returned a verdict of Natural Death.


The Observer, 30 November 1856


A communication was received from the Poor-law Board, enclosing the report of an inquest, held by Mr. Wakley, on the body of a boy named William Lacey, aged 12 years, which was extracted from the Morning Chronicler, of the 19th instant, and which bore the heading of "Another parochial Drama," and then went on to attribute neglect to the authorities in affording relief.

   Mr. Tubbs, the relieving officer, was called before the board to explain as to the truth of the report in question.  He denounced it as highly coloured, and  said, so far from imputing blame to the authorities, the coroner remarked that no blame attached to any one but the mother of the deceased herself.  He frequently had reason to complain of the highly coloured and unfair reports which were put into the papers to the prejudice of the parish and its officers. ...


The Observer, 1 December 1856


Fire. - On Wednesday Mr. Wakley held an inquest on the body of William Fillmore, about four years old, who met with a frightful death.  From the evidence it appeared that deceased's mother had gone out for a few minutes, leaving the child playing about the room.  Upon her return she found him in flames.  The poor child was immediately conveyed to University College Hospital, where death soon terminated his sufferings.  Verdict - Accidental Death.


The Observer, 14 December 1856


ON THE GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY. - On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Wakley, the coroner, held an inquest at the Queen's Arms, Caledonian-road, Islington, touching the death of a man named Thomas Billett, a labourer in the potatoe department of the goods station of the Great Northern Railway, at York-road, King's Cross, who died on Friday in the Great Northern Hospital, from the effects of injuries sustained by being jammed between the buffers of two goods trucks.  Verdict - Accidental Death.


The Observer, 21 December 1856


[ALLEGED] FROM MOTPHIA. - On Thursday Mr. Wakley held an adjourned inquest at the Australia Tavern, Milner-street, Chelsea, on William Watson, a smith, aged 41.  It appeared that on Tuesday, the 9th inst. he complained of severe [pain in the chest, and Mr. Smith, surgeon, prescribed four powders, consisting of mercury, chalk, and acetate of morphia.  The mixture is called the "grey powder."  There is less than a grain of morphia, and the dose varies from a quarter of a grain to a grain.  After taking the first powder, deceased complained of much pain.  After the second he felt great ease, but on the Friday, as his illness continued, he took the third power, which his wife described as having caused terribly agony, and he died shortly afterwards.  Mr. Ryers, professor of chemistry, St. George's School of medicine, said he made a post mortem examination, and found that deceased died of angine pectoris.  The medicine given was the proper medicine for that disease.  Verdict - Accidental Death.


The Observer, 21 December 1856


SUFFOCATION BY GAS. - Last week Nr. Wakley held an inquest at the bank of England public-house, Praed-street, on Wm. Brand, aged 15, apprentice to Mr. Short, gasfitter, Paddington.  It appeared that Mr. Short and the deceased were on the previous Tuesday employed by Mr. Lackland, of 15 Gloucester-street, Hyde Park, to connect the gas main pipe with the gas meter in the coal cellar of Mr. Lackland's house.  The pipe having been passed through a hole in the wall, the deceased, after taking off the cap at the end, was unable to unite it with the mater, which was on a shelf in the wine cellar.  The gas being on full pressure, escaped rapidly, and filled the cellar, on which Mr. Short, who was in the coal cellar adjoining, called out to the lad to be quick.  But at this moment he heard the lad  fall, and he ran into the cellar, but was so overpowered that he fell on the floor.  A female servant ran up with a lighted candle, but Mr. Short had just strength enough to exclaim, "No light, no light."  Assistance was procured, and the corpse of the boy found on the top of the wine bin, near the gas pipe, from which the gas was still rushing rapidly. Verdict - Accidental Death.


The Observer, 22 December 1856


   A young woman, a casual or tramp, named Ann Honora Lane, has died in one of the casual wards of St. Pancras Workhouse, and her death has created somewhat of a sensation in the parish, as, from the circumstances which have transpired, there is an impression that she has been subjected to much neglect. ...  The jury were summoned for seven o'clock on Wednesday morning, at the Elephant and Castle, and Professor Key, of University College, was chosen foreman, and having viewed the body, the coroner declined the responsibility of appointing the medical man who should make the post mortem examination.  He read a letter he had received from an inmate of the workhouse, which gave a highly coloured description of the alleged neglect and ill-treatment of the deceased in the casual ward of St.  Pancras Workhouse, and then called upon the jury to name the medical man to open the body.  The jury felt equally disinclined to incur the responsibility with the coroner, and, singular to relate, shifted it on to the shoulders of their fireman, Professor Key, who undertook the duty.  The inquiry was then formally adjourned till Wednesday next.


The Observer, 12 January 1857


ON A CASUAL PAUPER. - On Monday forenoon, as adjourned inquest was held before Mr. Wakley, at the Elephant and Castle, Camden Row, respecting the death of Anne Honora Lane, the female who died in the casual ward of St. Pancras Workhouse on the 26th ult.  The evidence of Dr. Sibson, one of the physicians of St. Mary's Hospital, who was specially directed to make the post mortem examination of the deceased, proved that death arose primarily from disease of the right lung, and immediately from a weakened and diseased condition of the heart.  He was of opinion that no treatment could have saved life, although more comfortable circumstances might have prolonged it.  The jury returned a verdict of natural Death, expressing an opinion that it had probably been accelerated by the discomforts of the place, a d recommending that a paid superintendent should be appointed, and steps immediately taken for the amelioration of the casual ward.


The Observer, 5 January 1857


On Tuesday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Bell and Horns, Brompton, on Mr. Wm. Mancooly, aged 36, a tailor, residing at 6 Brunswick-place Brompton, who died after taking a dose of what was supposed to be castor oil, bought at a neighbouring chemists', Mr. Budd. ...The inquest was then adjourned, and Mr. Budd's assistant was directed to attend.

The Observer, 11 January 1857


CARKLESS DISPENSING OF DT=RUGS. - Yesterday an adjourned inquest was held before Mr. Wakley, at the Bell and Horns, Brompton, respecting the death of Mr. William Mancooley, a master tailor, aged 36, lately carrying on business at 6 Brunswick-place, Brompton, and which resulted from a strong dose of prussic acid, having been supplied by mistake for castor oil, from the shop of Mr. Budd, a chemist residing in Brompton-row.  It appeared, from the evidence of Mr. Budd, and from the entries in his day book, that his assistant, Joseph Burrows, had, on the 27th ult. at the time the oil was applied for, dispensed a prescription for a lotion to a Mr. M'Carthy, containing, among other poisonous ingredients, 1 drachm of Scheele's prussic acid.  The deceased in swallowing the contents of the phial sent to him, immediately fell on the floor insensible, and in a few minutes expired.  The phial exhibited strong traces of prussic acid, which was also found in the stomach of the deceased upon a post mortem examination.  The evidence leaving no doubt that the assistant had by mistake mixed the acid with the castor oil supplied to the deceased, the jury returned a verdict of Manslaughter against Joseph Burrows, who was accordingly committed to Newgate to take his trial at the central Criminal Court.  The decision was accompanied with a severe censure upon Mr. Budd for the apathy he exhibited throughout the affair.


The Observer, 5 January 1857


BY TAKING STRYCHNINE. - Mr. Wakley, the coroner, concluded, on Wednesday, at the Elephant and Castle, Camden Town, an important adjourned inquiry respecting the death of Catherine Powell, a single woman, who poisoned herself by strychnine on Monday, the 22nd ultimo.  The deceased was servant in a  family residing in Harrington-square, and it appeared that on the day in question her mistress found her lying on her back in her bedroom, apparently insensible.  A medical man was immediately sent for, and upon his arrival he pronounced life to be quite extinct.  Mr. Hazel, a surgeon, described the body as being slightly discoloured, and that, contrary to the received impression, there was no tortuous rigidity in the muscles when he was called.  The body was still warn, and the limbs were as flexible as in ordinary cases after death.  The stomach was removed and the contents analysed, and it was ascertained that she had swallowed the enormous quantity of twenty grains of strychnine.  A bottle, found in deceased's box, with some of the poison remaining, was shown to the jury; it was labelled "John Phillips, chemist and druggist, Haverfordwest - strychnine - poison." - verdict, "Suicide by strychnine,  during a state of temporary insanity."


The Observer, 11 January 1857


OF A LITERARY MAN. - On Tuesday evening, Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, held an inquiry in the board room of the Holborn union Workhouse, Grey's Inn-lane, touching the death of Mr. John Duncan, aged 48, a literary gentleman, late editor of the Yorkshireman weekly paper, at York, and for several years connected with various metropolitan journals and periodicals as a reviewer, critic, &c.  Mr. Arthur Brough, residing at 6 Holborn-road, Broxton, a literary friend of the deceased, stated that he saw deceased last alive at six o'clock on Saturday evening.  He was then in his usual good health and spirits, and continued apparently so up to within five minutes of his death.  They were at the time  dining together at the Kent hotel, Brownlow-street, when suddenly he observed blood running from the deceased's nose and mouth, and at the same time he was  seized with a slight cough.  Immediately afterwards the deceased rose from the table and proceeded into the passage, where he fell on his knees, and finding that he was then insensible and apparently dying, Mr. Wren, a neighbouring medical gentleman was sent for, but upon that gentleman's arrival in a few minutes he pronounced life extinct.  Mr. Brough further said that during dinner deceased did not complain of the slightest indisposition, and further, he appeared in the best health.  He had met with no violence whatever, and he had left York only about six months.  He was a married man, but at the time of the melancholy occurrence his wife was in the country.  Mr. Erasmus Wren, M.R.C.S., proved making a post mortem examination, and said the immediate cause of death was asphyxia, resulting from haemorrhage of the lungs. The coroner observed in summing up, that the case appeared to be one of purely natural death; but had the deceased been struck shortly before his death, do doubt all would have concluded that his death arose from such violence.  The jury accordingly at once returned a verdict of natural Death.



The Observer, 1 February 1857


MYSTERIOUS CASE OF POISONING. - On Monday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Marylebone Workhouse, on Ann Davies, aged 66.  It appeared that she had lived in a lodging house in Gee's-court, and was observed to drink something out of a phial, after which she was seized with illness.  She was conveyed to the workhouse, and on analysing the contents of her stomach laudanum was discovered.  She speedily died.  Mr. Muchett, the workhouse surgeon, said death was caused by the joint effects of laudanum and effusion of the brain caused by diseased kidneys.  Mr. Wakley said that he understood that females in this country were much addicted to the use of laudanum.  He had lately heard of one female who was in the habit of taking six drachms of laudanum a day, and it was believed that in her lifetime she had taken hogsheads of the same narcotic poison, without its affecting her health in the least.  Mr. Muchett added that there was a woman then in the workhouse who could drink without the least injury to herself, if she could get it, two or three ounces of laudanum at a time, and this notwithstanding the ordinary dose was only one drachm.  The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.


The Observer, 1 February 1857

CORONERS' INQUESTS. - On Thursday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at Middlesex Hospital, on Mrs. Mary Stapleton, of 28 High-street, Manchester-square.  It appeared that she was subject to fits, and on the morning of her death, when walking past the shop of Mr. Lewis, grocer, No. 42 High-street, she was seized with a fit and fell against a gate (communicating with an underground store), which had been left unfastened.  The gate gave way, and she was precipitated head foremost to a depth of ten or twelve feet.  When extricated she was bleeding from  the ears, and  from a wound on the head.  She was conveyed to the hospital, and it was found that there was a severe fracture at the base of the skull.  She gradually sunk and died, having remained unconscious to the last.

   The coroner said that a similar accident had occurred very near the same spot.  He believed that the accident would not have happened if Mrs. Stapleton had not fallen into a fit, but still there was great danger to children or passengers if the gate was continually left open. - The deceased's husband said he did not blame any one.  Verdict - Accidental Death; but the coroner required Mr. Lewis to promise not to leave the gate unguarded, as a verdict of manslaughter would be returned, if a fatal accident should happen there hereafter.


The Observer, 1 February 1857


TWO CHILDREN. - On Thursday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at Middlesex Hospital on Adelaide Pratt, aged three years, daughter of a cab driver, 26 Victoria-terrace, Portland Town.  The child had been left for a few minutes by her mother, and commenced playing with the fire.  In lighting a piece of paper her clothes caught fire.  One of the lodgers promptly enveloped her in a carpet, but before the fire could be smothered, the child was so much burnt that she died shortly after arriving at the hospital.

   Another child died recently in the hospital under similar circumstances.

   Verdict, Accidental Death.



The Observer, 8 February 1857


On Wednesday Mr. Wakley concluded a lengthened inquest at the three jolly Gardeners, Hammersmith, on the death of Mrs. Catherine Blythe, aged 72, which took place under painful circumstances.  A post mortem examination had been made, and the jury viewed the body at deceased's late residence, Rose Cottage.  It was fearfully emaciated, and the back and sides covered with bed sores.  The coroner said he had never seen so sickening a sight. ...

   Mr. Wakley, after recapitulating some principal points, said: So far back as June., 1856, the deceased's husband was seeking for a certificate of the deceased's death, and yet, without her having any medical or any other kind of treatment, she lingered on until last January; the question, therefore, being how much longer she would have lived had she had proper medical assistance.  The deceased's husband does not see that she received this assistance, and literally speaking, the poor creature, with property to the amount of £5,000 in the bank, is allowed to lie and rot in her bed.  The jury would have to consider the cause of her death, and whether the wounds which accelerated her death had been caused by want of proper nursing and care.

   The jury returned a verdict - "That the Jury are unanimously of opinion that Catherine Blythe died from the mortal effects of a natural disease of the kidneys and brain, but that death was accelerated by the want of medical attention and proper nursing."  The inquiry then terminated.


The Observer, 15 February 1857


IIMPROPERLY BATHING AN INFANT. - On Tuesday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Prince of Wales, Hampstead-road, on a child, whose death took place under somewhat painful circumstances.  The deceased was found insensible in bed beside its parents, when the mother resorted to the novel remedy in such cases, by immersing the poor little creature in a warm bath.  Death immediately followed.  Mr. Waldgrave, surgeon, who performed the post mortem examination, proved that the direct fatal cause was a congestion of blood on the brain.  The coroner, in summing up, recommended parents in all such cases to obtain prompt medical assistance, and not trust to their own treatment.  The warm bath often proved fatal in such cases, and instead the face should be dashed with cold water. The jury then recorded a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

SUFFICATED IN  A DITCH AGT NOTTING HILL. - On Wednesday last a coroner's inquest was held by Mr. T. Wakley, at the Omnibus and Horses, Paddington-green, touching the death of James Miller, an old inhabitant of Notting Hill, who was found dead in a  ditch in Portobello-lane, leading from Notting Hill to Kensal Green, on Sunday morning last, with his mouth full of mud and water.  The jury returned a verdict of "Died in a fit from suffocation."  Several of the jury remarked that the footpath through Portobell0-lane was a disgrace top the parish, and that three cases of death had occurred there within four months from men getting into the  ditch and muddy road.  There were no lights from Notting Hill to Kensal Green. The coroner remarked that he had seen the lane in question, and quite agreed with the remarks made by the jury.  He was surprised that so rich a parish as Kensington should allow the road to remain in the state it was; but he promised the jury he would write to the parish authorities on the subject.



The Observer, 22  February 1857


   ... On Tuesday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Constitution, Great James-street, on the body of Sarah Balcon.  After a prolonged investigation, the jury returned the following verdict:- "The jury is of opinion that the deceased Sarah Balcon died from natural causes; and the jury are further of opinion that the evidence, as given by the witnesses, justified them in declaring that there was gross neglect of the part of Mr. Parnell, a want of feeling and an unjustifiable refusal to attend the deceased in his  capacity of medical officer; also, that his conduct displayed gross ignorance and inhumanity, and a want of judgment and discretion, more especially in reference to stating in the medical certificate that the cause of the poor woman's disease was laziness, and this at a time when she was actually dead."


The Observer, 22 February 1857



On Wednesday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Royal; York, Western-place, King's Cross, on Edward T. Limdsey, a butcher's assistant, aged 17.  It appeared that deceased had invariably enjoyed good health.  Om the day before his attack of illness, he had been out for a holiday, and returned next day in his usual health and spirits; but in the course of the morning he was taken ill, and died in 24 hours.  When taken ill, he complained of his head, and  said he had been eating some nuts, called "locust nuts."  The coroner said he had never before heard of locust nuts.  Some of the jurors said they were a species of   fruit like dried broad beans.  Great quantities are sold both in shops and in the streets; but their chief use is for feeing cattle.  They are very sweet, and being black, they resemble strips of compressed Cavendish tobacco.  Mr. P. Magennis, surgeon, who made the post mortem examination, said the appearances of disease to account for death were in the lungs, but it was stated that deceased, in his lifetime,  did not appear to suffer under such a complaint.  There were, however, appearances in the cardiac portion of the stomach which neither witness, nor Dr. Hillier, could account for.  The coroner  said it was an extraordinary case.  The symptoms were not those usual in inflammation, or disease of the lungs, and he never heard of so sudden a death from pneumonia.  Mr. George Rose (deceased's master) said he saw deceased eating the locusts, and deceased asked witness to  eat some, but witness refused, as they looked so nasty.  The coroner  said it was  important for the public welfare to ascertain whether this new importation was poisonous.  The inquest was then adjourned, in order to have a further analysis of the contents of  deceased's stomach, and also to analyse the qualities of the locust nuts.


The Observer, 22 February 1857



   On Wednesday Mr. Wakley concluded an inquest, at the Crown Tavern, New Oxford-street, on John Moriarty, aged four years, a cripple, who perished in a destructive fire in Green-street, Seven Dials.  It appeared that deceased's father and mother had mutually agreed to be separated, and the father was to allow the mother a weekly stipend for taking c are of the deceased.  On the day that the conflagration took place the mother called at the house in Green-street to remove the deceased to her lodging, but she could not do so, as the father was absent, and an elder boy, in whose charge deceased had been left, had gone out, leaving his brother in the room.  During the afternoon it was  discovered that the room was in flames.  The neighbours broke in the door, but the flames drove them back, and the whole house was speedily involved in the conflagration, and was completely destroyed.  The deceased's body was afterwards found in the ruins, having been awfully charred.  No culpability appeared attached to any.  The jury found a verdict accordingly.


The Observer, 8 March 1857


TO MR. HENRY BUCKLAND. - On Friday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Wheatsheaf public-house, Dorset-street, Gloucester-place, Portman-square, respecting the death of Mr. Henry Buckland, aged sixty-six years, brother of the late Dean of Westminster, which occurred through an unfortunate accident in the house of a friend, on the evening of Tuesday last.  It appeared from the statement of Mr. Francis Buckland, nephew of the deceased, that on the evening in question, the deceased, who was a strong, healthy man, had been dining with his friend Mr. Bainbridge, of 712 Gloucester-place, and was going to the water-closet previous to his departure, the door of which adjoined that leading down to the kitchen by a flight of stone steps.  The servants had most unfortunately put out the gas, and the deceased, opening the wrong door, stepped forward and fell to the bottom of the kitchen stairs.  He was taken up insensible and removed to the housekeeper's room, and medical assistance immediately summoned.  The post mortem examination showed death to have resulted from a fracture at the base of the skull, which produced concussion of the brain.  The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.



The Observer, 8 March 1857


OF DR. O'DWYER. -  On Tuesday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Lord Clive, Duke-0street, Manchester-square, on Dr. John O'Dwyer, aged 55, of Edward-street, Manchester-square, who had returned about two years ago from India, where he had distinguished himself in the Scinde and Punjab campaigns.  Hr. G. Hope, colonial broker, identified the body in the absence of Mrs. O'Dwyer, who was unable to attend on this trying occasion.  Dr. John Jackson, of 28 George-street, Hanover-square, was then sworn, and he deposed that he had been in India, and that he had known the deceased intimately.  On Tuesday morning he received a most pressing note from Mrs. O'Dwyer to go and see her husband, whom she described as being very ill.  He hurried to the deceased's residence, and found the sufferer lying on the bed, his countenance pale, his pulse feeble, and complaining of shooting pains on the right side, up towards the throat.  He was quite sensible, but appeared to be in much agony, and although he was able to speak, upon his (witness) entering the apartment, yet in less than five minutes, before anything could be prescribed, he gave utterance to the exclamation "Oh!" and almost immediately expired.  There was no peculiar smell at the mouth, and he was of opinion, in the absence of a post mortem examination, that death arose from an attack of angina pectoris, or spasms of the heart.  The witness further said that he had no reason to think but that the deceased died a natural death.  He had taken four different doses the night preceding his death. The jury returned a verdict of Natural Death.


The Observer, 12 April 1857


OF TWO DRUNKARDS. - Mr. Wakley held two inquests on the bodies of a man and a woman respectively, who had committed suicide after a drinking bout.  The man, who resided at Chelsea, after pawning all his working tools as a carpenter, and spending the money in drink, hanged himself, with the pawnbroker's duplicate, and his last penny, in his pocket.

   The woman was named Scrivens, and was the wife of a carman residing in Carter-street, Praed-street, Paddington.  She, too, had been drinking up to Saturday morning, and on the return of sobriety came remorse.  She went out to a chemist's and purchased two pennyworth of oil of vitriol, which she d rank, and died within an hour or so afterwards.  Her husband arrived in time to be informed, by signs, as she lay on the floor, what she had taken, as the dying women pointed to the remains of the poison in a jug.  She has spent what money her husband had entrusted to her, and had also pawned everything that could be turned into a few pence to satisfy her appetite for intoxicating  drink.



The Observer, 26 April 1857


FROM SWALLOWING A PIN. - On Friday Mr. Wakley held an inquest on the body of Mary Ann Simpson, aged twelve.  The deceased, a nursery-maid in the service of Mrs. Nash, Charlotte-terrace, Islington, had placed a pin between her teeth while dressing herself, and accidentally swallowed it.  She immediately felt a peculiar pain in the throat, as if the pin had lodged there, and she went to a neighbouring surgeon, who was unable to extract it.  She gradually sunk, and died  nine days after swallowing the pin.  The post mortem examination proved that she had died from an abscess in the throat, occasioned by the pin, but the pin itself could not be discovered, to that it was supposed to have passed from her system after occasioning g the fatal injury to the throat.  Verdict - Accidental Death.


The Observer, 27 April 1857


   On Thursday, Messrs. Wakley and Brent held an Inquest at the Wellesley Arms public-house, Robert-street, Chelsea, on the remains of Mrs. Dinah Heaton, aged 68 years, a lady of property.  The deceased was the widow of as Mr. Heaton, a horse-shoe nail manufacturer, who died about sixteen years ago, leaving her in comfortable circumstances.  For some time previous to her death she resided at 13 Wood-street, in the same locality, and was attended by a Mrs. Cutler, who lived with her as a kinds of nurse and companion.  She had other relatives, and was on very friendly terms with them, promising to leave them what she was possessed of on her demise.  About the second week in March last she was taken ill, and died on the night of the 22nd March.  The body was interred in the churchyard of St. Luke, Chelsea.  In the course of time, however, a will was produced, whereby everything was bequeathed to her friend and companion, Mrs. Cutler.

   Deceased's immediate relatives felt very much aggrieved at this, and memorialised Mr. Wakley to hold an inquest, and, after repeated applications, he had the remains disinterred, and summoned a jury.

   ... Some other evidence of a formal character was then given, and the coroner adjourned the inquest for the purpose of completing the chemical analysis.


The Observer, 27 April 1857


OF A COWKEEPER. - On Tuesday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Bedford Arms, North-street, Manchester-square, on Mr. Wm. Rawson, aged 45, cowkeeper, No. 44 in the same street.  The deceased had resided there for 20 years, his cowshed and dairy being in Manchester-news; but latterly he and his wife frequently quarrelled in consequence of his intimacy with a girl in the neighbourhood.  On Saturday last the usual quarrel occurred, and in the morning deceased left home for the mews, putting on his working smockfrock and apron, as though fully bent on business.  A length of time having elapsed without his return, he wife went in search of him, and found the outer door fastened.  At her request, a neighbour forced an entrance, and in a loft the deceased was found suspended by a rope tightly fastened round his neck, and tied separately to two iron rods which passed under the roof.  The jury returned a verdict that the deceased "Destroyed himself, but in what state of mind he was at the time there was no evidence to show."

   On Monday morning, his female acquaintance alluded to attempted self-destruction by throwing herself into the Serpentine, but,  being speedily rescued, she was resuscitated.

BY A MENDICIYTY OFFICFER. - On Wednesday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Fish, Fisher-street, Red Lion-square, on Henry Major, a Mendicity Society's officer, No. 48.  Mr. Spiller (deceased's landlord), and Henry Newman Brunell, a fellow officer, deposed that deceased had taken to intemperate habits, and behaved so brutally to his wife that she left him.  He was last seen alive on Wednesday morning, by Brunell, when he was rather intoxicated, and spoke despondingly about his family affairs and pecuniary embarrassments.  He was not seen afterwards till Monday, when his door was forced open. And he was found hanging.  A letter lay on the table addressed to his children, dated "15th April, 1857, 25 minutes past two p.m.," showing that he committed the dreadful act on that day. The letter showed his determination, for it spoke of the intended suicidal act.  Verdict - That deceased destroyed himself, leaving the state of deceased's mind an open question.


The Observer, 10 May 1857


[DETAILED ACCOUNT]   There can be no  doubt but that the whole matter will form a subject of rigid inquiry before Mr. Wakley, who has appointed Wednesday next for holding his inquest.

   The following is a list of the sufferers:-

   Frederick Byng (suffocated while in bed). - Dead. 

   Ann Briscoe (cook). - Dead.

   Richard Turner (carpenter). - Dead.

   George Keeble (labourer), still in the ruins. - Dead.

   Mr. Taylor, jun. (in University Hospital). - Deep lacerated contused wound on the inner and lower part of the left groin, fracture of another part, and contusions about the head. Not expected to survive.


The Observer, 18 May 1857


INQUEST ON THE SUFFERERS.  Inquest adjourned.


The Observer, 21 June 1857


AT THE CAMDEN TOWN STATION. - On Tuesday afternoon Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Lord Wellington, University College Hospital, touching the death of James Stock, aged seventy-one, an engine cleaner, who was killed at the cleaning shed of the station, on Saturday morning week.  It appeared from the evidence of Mr. Anderson, the foreman of the locomotive department, that the deceased had been in the employ of the Lon don and North Western Railway Company, as an engine cleaner, for the last eighteen years.  About half past seven o'clock on the morning of his death he was cleaning one of the engines in the main cleaning shed, and a few yards behind were two other engines.  Upon the hindmost engine was a fitter named Barkiss, and he was told by Nicholls, a "ganger," to remove the engine a little forward, for the purpose of getting at the machinery more effectually.  Barkiss did this, but it appears from the evidence he omitted to sound the whistle, as the distance was so short, being only five or six yards.  The consequence was that the engines being put in motion Stock was caught between the buffers of two of them, and so much injured that he died on the way to the hospital.  The jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased's death was accidental, and expressed a very strong opinion as to the gross negligence exhibited by Barkiss and Nicholls in moving the engine in direct contravention to the printed rules of the company.


The Observer, 22 June 1857


   An inquest was held at the Black Dog Tavern, Bedford, on Friday, to inquire into the deaths of two of the sufferers - John Greaves, aged 59, and Richard East, aged 28 - caused by the frightful explosion which occurred on Tuesday last, at the gunpowder mills of Messrs. Curtis and Harvey, in the Hounslow-road.  The other sufferer, John Walker, aged 54, died at his house, which was two or three miles from the mills.  The building, which was called a corning-shed, where the explosion took place was blown to pieces.  There were several barrels of gunpowder hurled to a great distance, and the trees in the vicinity bore evidence of the destructive nature of the explosion.  It appeared from the evidence of John Archer, a foreman employed in the mills, that when the explosion took place he was at breakfast.  He ran to the spot and found Walker leaning against a tree very much hurt, and East in the water adjoining the corning-shed which was blow up.  Walker said he was cleaning the rollers at the time with a copper chisel and a mallet.  This was the usual practice, and it took about 20 minutes to clean them.  East said several times that he saw sparks fly from walker's mallet while they were so engaged.  Greaves had been in the corning-house for 32 years and Walker 10.  There was 30 cwt of powder in the mills at the time.  Some of the powder was loose in barrels.  The evidence having been  gone through, the coroner (Mr. Wakley) said that in his opinion the explosion arose from the use of the mallet and chisel, and he trusted that some other mode would in future be adopted for the cleaning the rollers.  The jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death in each case.

   It appeared that some palings adjoining the press-house, which contained a large quantity of gunpowder, were set on fire by an ignited barrel, which was thrown over from the exploded shed.  The destruction of the place was momentarily threatened, when J. Archer, reckless of the con sequences, immediately obtained several buckets of water and extinguished the flames.


The Observer, 5 July 1857


   Yesterday forenoon, at eleven o'clock, Mr. Wakley, the coroner held an inquest at the Coachmakers' Arms, Bentinck-street, Manchester-square, on the body of William Pole Tylney Long Wellesley, fourth Earl of Mornington, who expired suddenly on the evening of Wednesday last, in the [69]th year of his age. ...

   Edmund King, the deceased's valet and general servant, deposed that for some days the Earl had complained of severe indisposition and pains in his chest.  He was prescribed for by Mr. Probert, his medical adviser, and got better.  He dined about seven on Wednesday evening, and while sitting at dinner deceased suddenly exclaimed, "Good God, what can ail me," and his head dropped on his chest.  Witness raised an alarm, and Dr/. Probert was  sent for, but the Earl was dead in twenty minutes. ...

   Mr. J. Proctor, surgeon, of 62 New Cavendish-street, proved having examined the body, and that death had occurred from the rupture of the left ventricle of the heart, causing an extensive flow of blood into the "pericardium."

   The jury returned a verdict "That the deceased William Pole Tilney Long Wellesley, Earl of Mornington, died from a natural disease.


The Observer, 12 July 1857


A YOUNG LADY BURNBT TO DEATH. - On Friday, Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Bell and Crown, King-street, Camden Town, on Miss Phoebe Sarah Lawford, aged 15, daughter of Mr. Lawford, Postmaster at the House of Commons.  Mrs. Lawford, the deceased's mother, said that early on Saturday morning she was awoke by screams from the bedroom of deceased and her sister.  She ran thither, and found her daughter enveloped in flames, her night dress being in a blaze, and her daughter exclaimed in agony "Mother, shall I die?"  Witness at once tore off her daughter's night dress, but this could not be effected till the poor girl had been literally roasted alive.  Mr. Weather, surgeon, speedily arrived, but the case was hopeless, and the sufferer died in a few hours.  Miss Elizabeth Jane Lawford, deceased's sister, said that when she retired to rest she left deceased sitting and reading the Bible.  At half-past one in the morning witness was awoke and found deceased raising herself in the bed, her night dress being all on fire.  She exclaimed, "Oh Jenny," and witness  screamed, and her mother came.  A candlestick, with the candle burnt to the socket, was found standing near the bed,  from which, and  from a statement made by deceased before her death, it was presumed that after placing the candlestick on the floor she fell asleep, and the mattress became ignited, and the fire gradually burnt till it caught her dress.  Verdict - Accidental Death,


The Observer, 19July 1857


A PAUPER CHOKED. - On Thursday, Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Elephant and Castle, Camden Town, on William Roberts, aged 65, an inmate of St. Pancras Workhouse, who was choked while eating his dinner.  It appeared that on Sunday while at dinner, he began to swallow his allowance in very large pieces, and he was so voracious that he endeavoured top gorge several large pieces of meat, as well as potatoes at one time.  While so doing, he exhibited symptoms of suffocation, and part of the food was  taken out of his mouth, but he became insensible, and died before medical aid could arrive.  The verdict of the jury was Accidental Death.


The Observer, 19 July 1857


BY A CITY TRADESMAN AT HIGHGATE. - On Tuesday afternoon Mr Wakley held an inquest at the Angel Tavern, Highgate, on Mr. T. J. Dixon, aged 52, late proprietor of the Globe eating-house, Union-street East, Bishopsgate-street, who committed self-destruction in a field at Highgate.  The deceased had got into pecuniary embarrassments, which appeared to prey very much on his mind.  He left home several days before his body was found, and it was not known what had become of him until his lifeless remains to discovered hanging by means of a rope to a hayrick tarpaulin, in a field near the Cemetery at Highgate.  Sergeant J. Farr, 6S, explained that the act must have been purely suicidal; and after the examination of Mr. Hamworth, surgeon, the jury returned a verdict of Suicide, leaving the state of mind and open question.

IN THE REGENT'S PARK. - Mr. Wakley held an inquest on Tuesday afternoon at the Elephant and Castle, Camden Town, on a gentleman unknown, who committed self-destruction in the Regent's Park on Sunday morning last.  The attention of police-constable 240S, was aroused about half-past two o'clock in the morning by a report of fire-arms on the bank of the canal, near the Zoological Gardens, and he found deceased lying there with his face and head awfully disfigured by the discharge of a small pocket pistol which lay by his side.  Notwithstanding that his skull had been shattered and the left cheek and that side of his face had been blown away, he was alive, and, although perfectly unconscious, survived twenty minutes after the arrival of Dr. Goodchild, of Princess-terrace.  The deceased was well dressed, but only a Jersey halfpenny was found in his pockets, besides an enamelled address card with the name "C. H. Insert" upon it.  He appeared about 32 years of age.  Verdict - "That the deceased committed suicide, but there is not evidence as to the state of his mind at the time."



The Observer, 19 July 1857


Mr. Wakley has held two inquests on the bodies of persons who died suddenly by the rupture of blood-vessels near the heart.

   The first case was that of Mrs. Fielden, aged  [30], of Camden Town, who went to bed on Wednesday night in perfect health, and on the following morning her husband found her lying dead by his side without any previous symptom of illness.

   The second inquest was on the body of Mr. Alfred Domville, a commercial traveller, who fell down in Mortimer-street, and died shortly after he was taken to the Middlesex Hospital.


The Observer, 19 July 1857

TRAGICAL OCCURRENCE. - On Friday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Coach and Horses, High Holborn, on Frances Thomson, aged 25.  Mr. Francis Therrel, photographic artist, said he was employed at Mr. Robert Winter's photographic rooms, 83 High Holborn, and on Thursday last, whilst he was taking a portrait, deceased rushed into the room,  seized a basin containing a solution of cyanide of potassium and drank off a large quantity, exclaiming to her husband, who had just entered the room, "Now I have done it, Bob."  She immediately became insensible, and died.  She had been quarrelling with her husband, whom witness saw a short time before dragging her along the passage.  Mrs. Mary Lovell, of Kingsland-place, Portsmouth, who was having her daughter's portrait taken at the time, corroborated the above, and  said that on deceased exclaiming, "I have done it, Bob," her husband came up, saying, "Run for a doctor."  Mr. Steggal, surgeon, said that he found deceased insensible.  The case was hopeless.  Five grains would suffice to kill, but she had taken about 30 grains.  Had he been there at the moment, he should have administered solution of nitrate of silver.  Avery 121E deposed that on the day in question he was called to No. 83 Holborn, and found deceased's husband holding deceased, and insisting that witness should take her into custody, saying that she was his housekeeper.  Her dress was torn.  She said that she was his wife, and witness went away, as they had become quiet.  In three minutes afterwards a person followed him, and  said that deceased had poisoned herself.  Robert Winter deposed that he had lived nine years with deceased as her husband, but was not married.  She had been to Cremorne Gardens with another man, and he found that she had been robbing him of £5 or £8 a week for other parties, and a quarrel a rose, and he insisted on her leaving the place.  She consented, and went upstairs as he supposed, to prepare her departure; but on entering the room she drank the potion.  Verdict - "Suicide while in an unsound state of mind from excessive excitement.!


The Observer, 10 August 1857


OF A BOOTMAKER. - On Tuesday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at Gray's Inn-lane Workhouse, on Henry Wolstoncroft, boot-maker, aged forty-six.  It appeared that owing to intemperance he had lost his situation, and having quarrelled with a young woman to whom he had paid his addresses, he became desponding.  But there was nothing in his manner to indicate that he premeditated self-destruction, although it was stated that he had lightly alluded to such an act, but apparently not with any intent to commit it.  On the day of his committing the fatal act he entered his sweetheart's room in Castle-court, and complained of sickness.  He vomited a little and then exclaimed, "God bless you all."  The young woman then became alarmed, and Mr. Strange, surgeon, of Hatton-garden, was  sent for, who discovered that deceased had taken poison.  All aid proved unavailing, and he gradually sunk and died.  Mr. Stripling, the summoning officer, produced a paper marked "Poison," which was found on the deceased, and which had contained oxalic acid, from the effects of which death ensued.  It appeared that deceased must have taken the poison while in the street.  The jury returned a verdict that deceased had died from having taken poison, but there was not sufficient evidence as to the state of his mind at the time.


The Observer, 30 August 1857


THE MYSTERIOUS FIRE AT HOLBORN. - Mr. Wakley resumed for the fourth time, in the ward-room of St. Andrew's Workhouse, Gray's Inn-lane, the inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Mr. Wm. Chapple, aged 72, landlord of the premises 14 High Holborn, and John Thomas Rolfe, aged 16, an apprentice, who lost their lives in the disastrous conflagration on the morning of the 17th inst.  After hearing some further evidence, which, however, did not throw any further light on the origin of the fire, the coroner summed up, and recommended the jury to return an open verdict, unless they believed the fire was caused by any particular person, or was the result of accident.  The jury, however, required some further evidence, and the inquiry was again adjourned.


The Observer, 30 August 1857


ALLEGED SUICIDE FROM REFUSAL OF RELIEF. - On Friday, Mr. Wakley held an adjourned inquest on the body of a man unknown, who drowned himself after having been refused relief at St. Pancras Workhouse.  Witnesses were examined at great length, and the jury returned the following special verdict:-

                           "That the jury find the man was found dead in a certain pond in Agar Town Fields, the deceased having been identified as the same man who applied to St. Pancras Workhouse on Friday night for relief, but was refused, he being at the time in a destitute condition."

   The following recommendation was appended to the verdict:-

   "The jury cannot separate without strongly expressing a hope that the authorities of St. Pancras parish will in future adopt better regulations for relieving the wants of the casual poor, in order to prevent the recurrence of such a lamentable case."



The Observer, 21 September 1857

SUICIDE OF Mr. LEGREW,THE SCULPTOR. - On Saturday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the residence of the late Mr. James Legrew, aged 54, of St. Albans-road, Kensington, sculptor, who committed suicide by blowing his brains out with a large horse pistol.  Mrs. Jane Legrew, deceased's sister, who was deeply affected, said that deceased had for some months laboured under extraordinary delusions, and appeared quite an altered man.  On Wednesday she was fetched from her own residence in Victoria-road, and found that her brother had shot himself through the head.  The deceased was unmarried.  He was in affluent circumstances, and she knew of nothing that preyed on his mind.  He was in high estimation as a sculptor and artist [some of his productions might be seen in the Crystal Palace].  Several  servants spoke to the deceased's strange state of  mind for some months past, and Dr. Turner  said he found deceased lying on the floor of the drawing-room, quite dead, his had being shattered by the explosion of the pistol.  Death must have been almost instantly fatal.  Verdict - Temporary Insanity.


The Observer, 21 September 1857


Mary Ann Moody, husband John; question of coroner's jurisdiction; Wakley - exhumation?]



The Observer, 2 November 1857


OF A LADY IN LINCOLN'S INN-FIELDS. - Mr. Thomas Wakley held an inquest on Thursday, at the Grapes public-house, Duke-street, Lincoln's Inn-fields, touching the death of Mrs. Nancy Barraud, aged 64 years, of Duke-street, Lincoln's Inn-fields.   Mr. John Barraud deposed he was the husband of the deceased. Last Sunday evening witness and deceased left home in the full enjoyment of their health, and proceeded to Trinity Church, Little Queen-street, Holborn, and attended divine service.  On returning through Lincoln's Inn-fields, deceased said., "Oh! John, John!" and fell  down in a state of insensibility.  Witness procured medical assistance, but deceased expired before the surgeon arrived.  Mr. S. Lovett, surgeon, of Blackmoor-street, on making a post mortem examination, found that deceased died of a diseased heart.  Verdict - Natural Death.


The Observer, 8 November 1857


OF THE HOUSEKEEPER OC LERKENWELL POLICE COUYRT. - On Tuesday information was forwarded to Mr. Wakley, coroner, of the suicide of Mrs. Williams, late housekeeper of the Clerkenwell police court, which took place the previous forenoon in one of her apartments.  Just before the business of the court commenced a loud noise was heard to proceed from the lower part of the building.  At first it was supposed that the sounds came from a lunatic who was in the office, who was about to be passed to his parish; but shortly afterwards the officers of the court were much alarmed upon the daughter of Mrs. Williams informing them that her mother was suspended by a rope to a nail, and that she was apparently dead.  Mr. Campbell, second usher, promptly rushed down stairs, and immediately cut the rope by which she was hanging.  A surgeon was called in and tried the usual restoratives, but though the body was  warm he found that life was extinct.



The Observer, 19 November 1857


FROM LOCK-JAW. - On Monday night an inquest was held at the Brazen Head, Bell-street, Lisson-grove, before Mr. Wakley, coroner, touching the death of Mrs. Elizabeth Brady, aged 42.  It appeared from the evidence that on Friday week the deceased was alighting from a Paddington omnibus in the New-road, when she stumbled, and, falling heavily, fractured her left leg.  She was conveyed in a cab to her home in Bell-street, Lisson-grove, where a surgeon attended and set the limb; the deceased, however, gradually sank under the shock she had received, and on Saturday symptoms of lock-jaw, or tetanus, came on, which baffled the skill of her medical attendant, and she died on Sunday morning.  Verdict - Accidental Death.


The Observer, 29 November 1857


OF A BELGIAN PHYSICIAN. - Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Union, Oxford-street, on view of the remains of the late Dr. Edward Moritius, a Belgian physician, who died at his residence, 3 Somerset-place, Manchester-square, under the adjoined melancholy circumstances:- It appeared that Madame Moritius went on Thursday week on a visit to some friends in Brighton, leaving her husband in his usual health and spirits, but on the following (Friday) morning a heavy fall was heard in his room.  Subsequently, as no answer could be obtained to repeated knockings at his door, the apartment was forcibly entered, when the unfortunate gentleman was found lying dead on the floor, with his hands firmly clenched, and several utensils near him being filled with blood.  A telegraphic message was immediately sent to Madame Moritius, who arrived in town the following morning, and the poor lady's grief at the dreadful occurrence was very excessive.  The post mortem examination made by Dr. Allen and Mr. Squire proved that death arose from a very extensive aneurysm of the aorta, or great ventricle of the heart, the rupture extending to the length of nearly four inches.  The rupture of the principal blood vessel accounted at once for the excessive internal haemorrhage immediately preceding death.  A verdict of Natural Death, in accordance with the medical testimony, was recorded, and the inquiry terminated.


The Observer, 20 December 1857


   Mr. Wakley held an inquest at No. 2, Mortimer-street, Cavendish-square, on Mr. C. Brook Hunter, aged 28.  Deceased, who was a medical student, arrived in town from Norfolk in July last, for the purpose of pursuing his studies, instead of which he plunged into the follies and extravagances of the metropolis.  On Friday night he returned home partially inebriated, telling the servant to arouse him at six o'clock in the morning.  She did so, and he told her not again to disturb him, as he felt inclined to sleep.  He did not make his appearance during the day, but about five o'clock a friend called, and on going to his room he was discovered in bed dead and cold, with an empty phial, which had contained laudanum, by his side.  Verdict -"That deceased destroyed himself by tasking laudanum, but in what state of mind there was no evidence to show."


The Observer, 20 December 1857


   On the 3d of this month, a man and woman, of foreign appearance, supposed to be married, went to a coffee house and hotel, No. 38 Drummond-street, Euston-square ...

   ... Before her was placed the washhand basin, more than half full of blood, and over the basin her left hand was lying.  In her right hand, which was firmly clenched, she held a towel which was completely saturated with blood, as if she had endeavoured to prevent haemorrhage.  A chair, upon which she had evidently been sitting, had been thrown down, and was lying over the lower portion of her body.   ... The man was discovered kneeling upon his right knee, with his hip-bone resting upon his right heel, he left foot on the ground, and his left arm passed through (as if for the purpose of support) the back of a chair, and resting upon the rail.  In his right hand he firmly held an open razor, covered with blood.  His head was bent, and it was discovered that his throat was also cut.  The floor of the room was covered with coagulated blood. ...

   On Wednesday Mr. Wakley opened an inquest at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, Drummond-street., ... the inquest was then adjourned to the next Monday. ...


The Observer, 27 December 1857


Possible identification as I. OECHLER.

The Coroner: There is not a word about the woman. ...

   The jury, after a brief consultation, returned a verdict to the effect that the parties died from exhaustion through the effusion of blood proceeding from wounds in the throat and neck, but by whom, or under what circumstances, the wounds were inflicted there was no evidence to show.


The Observer, 27 December 1857


WITH VITRIOL. - on Wednesday a very determined act of self-destruction was brought under the notice of the coroner for West Middlesex.  It appears that the deceased, a woman named Margaret Bervil, aged about 60 years, resided at 1 Margaret-row, Marchmont-street, Brunswick-square.  Not having made her appearance at the usual hour on Tuesday morning, her room was entered, when she was found lying in bed a lifeless corpse.  A bottle, which had contained some oil of vitriol, was by her side, and her mouth and throat, on being examined by the medical man, fully testified to the fact that she had swallowed a quantity of that burning fluid which had destroyed the roof of her mouth.

THE DOMEESTIC TRAGEDY IN ST. PAN CRAS. - On Monday afternoon Mr. Wakley held an inquest at No. 5, Hardwick-place, Harrington-square, Hampstead-road, the residence of Mr. Frederick Macdonald, on the body of Mrs. Charlotte Augusta Macdonald, his wife, aged 34, who after having inflicted serious injuries upon him and her servants, with a razor, flung herself out of the second floor window, and was killed.  After hearing the evidence the jury returned a verdict "That the deceased committed the shocking act which led to her death whilst in a state of insanity."


The Observer, 3 January 1858


THROUGH EXCESSIVE INTEMPERANCE. - On Tuesday Mr. Wakley held an inquiry, at the Red Lion public-house, Gray's Inn-lane, into the death of Mr. Henry Adams, aged 31, gunmaker, of no. 54 in the same street.  The deceased, who was formerly much respected, had of late years indulged to excess in ardent spirits.  On Thursday, the 24th ult., he drank an enormous quantity; and in the evening, about half-past nine, just after he had swallowed some raw gin, he fell down in a fit and expired.  Mr. H. Cox, surgeon, of 4 Gray's Inn-lane, who had made a post mortem examination, stated that the immediate cause of death was extravasation of blood on the brain, caused by excessive drinking of ardent spirits.  The jury returned a verdict accordingly.


The Observer, 10 January 1858

SUFFOCATING INFANTS IN BED. - During the present season, and indeed every winter, Mr. Wakley, the coroner, holds a considerable number of inquests on infants who have died from suffocation whilst sleep in bed with the mother or nurse. ... [Editorial.]


The Observer, 10 January 1858


IN THE REGENT'S PARK. - On Wednesday a long inquiry took place at the Elephant and Castle, Camden Town, before Mr. Wakley, coroner, on the body of George Surridge, aged 43, lately employed on the Imperial Gas Works, St. Pancras.  It appeared from the evidence that on Monday last the body of the deceased was taken out of the Regent's canal with his throat cut from ear to ear.  A razor, covered with blood, was found about six feet from the banks of the canal.  The widow of deceased deposed that he had lately been in a very desponding state of minds, and had left home early on Monday to proceed to his work, but she never saw him again alive.  Verdict - Temporary Insanity.


The Observer, 24 January 1858


FROM SWILLING GIN IN THE STREET. - Mr. Wakley has held an Inquest on the body of a labouring man named Michael Fitzgibbon, aged 25 years.  The deceased, in company with two fellow-labourers, was passing through Coleman-street, in the City, when a puncheon of gin that was being lowered from a waggon broke away on its journey to the cellar, and was stove in against the kerb-stone, and the liquor began to "run like water" down  the gutters.  Such a chance of getting drunk for nothing was too precious to be lost by a man of the deceased's habits, and  seizing a pint pewter pot from the barrow of an adjacent costermonger he cowered down and commenced ladling the spirit into his stomach at a rapid rate.  Having got what he could by means of the pint pot, she went down on all fours and set-to lapping up the fluid in dog fashion.  Having drunk until he could drink no more, he rose, but was unable to stand.  He was taken home in a wheelbarrow, but died in half-an-hour afterwards.  Verdict - Died through Drinking Ardent Spirits.


The Observer, 31 January 1858


AT HAMPSTEAD. - An inquest was held at the Middlesex Hospital before Mr. Wakley, coroner, on view of the body of George Clutton, aged 26, in the service of Sir Alexander Cockburn, whose death occurred under the following circumstances- On Monday last the deceased was driving a phaeton from Hampstead to his lordship's town residence, Hertford-street, Park-lane.  In coming  down the hill, before reaching Kentish Town, the horse shied at some men who were breaking stones, and galloped off at a furious rate.  The deceased lost all control, and the phaeton was dashed against a lamp-post, and the deceased thrown off his box, his thigh fractured, also several of his ribs and collar-bone.  In a few days tetanus took place, and he died on Thursday.  None of the family were in the phaeton when the accident happened.  Verdict - Accidental Death.


The Observer, 7 February 1858


THROUGH DRUNKENENESS. - An inquest was held at the Grafton Arms tavern, Grafton-street, Fitzroy-square, before Mr. Wakley, coroner, on the body of Mrs. Catharine Speed, aged twenty-six, a maiden lady, lately residing at 17 Grafton-street East, Fitzroy-square, who committed suicide by swallowing a quantity of laudanum whilst in a state of intoxication, under circumstances of a very shocking and lamentable nature.  The jury, after hearing evidence, returned the following verdict:- That the deceased died from the effects of laudanum, taken whilst in a state of intoxication.


The Observer, 21 February 1858


OF A TAX COLLECTOR. - Mr. Wakley, coroner, held an inquiry at the late residence of the deceased, 10 Church-street, Paddington, touching the death of Mr. John Crowe, aged 44, architect and surveyor, and a Queen's-rate collector for the parish of Paddington, who committed self-destruction by cutting his throat with a razor on Tuesday last.  The wound had been widened by his forcing his fingers into the windpipe after making the incision, so determined was he to carry out his suicidal intentions.  The medical evidence went to show that deceased had been suffered from great nervous pain, arising out of a delusion that his duties as a collector were too onerous and responsible for him to fulfil.  A few days before his death he was persuaded to resign.  A verdict of Insanity was returned.


The Observer, 21 February 1858


BY FALLING FROM THE HOUSETOP. - An inquest was held on Thursday last at the Silver Cup, Cromer-street, before Mr. Wakley, coroner, on the body of Mr. William Hall, builder, who lost his life by falling from the roof of a house in Middleton-square, St. Pancras, on Tuesday morning last.  The evidence went to show that deceased (who was subject to giddiness in the head), whilst on the roof of the house in question, superintending repairs, from some unexpected cause, fell, and was precipitated into the front area, a height of more than fifty feet.  So severe were the injuries received, that he expired on the way to the hospital.  Verdict - Accidental Death.

BY FALLING FROM THE ROOF OF AN OMNIBUS. - On Tuesday last Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the bank of England Tavern, Praed-street, Paddington, on the body of Mr. James Seymour Lane, aged 42, landlord of the Star and garter Tavern, Reading.  It appears that on Friday evening, a few minutes before seven o'clock, an omnibus arrived to meet the train just starting for Reading.  The deceased, in attempting to get off the roof, appeared to miss the handrail, and fell over on to the pavement.  He was immediately picked up, and being  found quite insensible, he was conveyed at once to St. Mary's Hospital.  Mr. Rogers, house-surgeon at the hospital, stated that the deceased died the morning after his admission, evidently from extravasation of blood on the brain, as he had ascertained by a post mortem exanimation.  Verdict, Accidental Death.


The Observer, 14 March 1858


AT C AMDEN  TOWN. - A long inquiry took place at the Elephant and Castle, King's-road, Camden Town, on the body of John Fisher, aged 13, who was drowned in Regent's Canal.  It appeared from the evidence that the father of the deceased was a boatman, employed by the Regent's Park Canal Company, and the deceased was in the habit, under the direction of his father, of taking the horses to water.  About ten o'clock on the morning of the 27th ult. the deceased left Cooper's Wharf to take a horse to the stables, which laid along the banks of the canal.  The boy did not return.  The body of the horse was discovered in the canal the next morning, but the body of the deceased was not found until last Sunday.  The jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.


The Observer, 21 March 1858


AT THE LONDON AND NORTH WESTERN STATION. - On Tuesday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Adelaide tavern, Haverstock-hill, Hampstead, on a labourer in the employ of the London and North Western Railways Company,. named Edmonds, who lost his life under very horrifying circumstances.  It appears that he was at work, on the railway, near Chalk Farm, when a train, consisting of an engine, tender, and six trucks, was proceeding along; he foolishly attempted to cross the metals in front of the train, but before he could do so, the tender struck him, and he was knocked across the rails.  The train passed over him, literally cutting him almost to pieces, one of his arms being completely torn out.  Verdict - Accidental Death.


The Observer, 28 March 1858


Last evening Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Elephant and Castle, Camden Town, on the remains of Ellen Gertrude Bedford, the daughter of Mr. Bedford, of 37 Broadway-terrace.  A destructive fire broke out, from some unexplained cause, shortly after two o'clock on Tuesday afternoon, and on an alarm being raised no one could enter the second floor from room, where the deceased child was asleep, on account of the suffocating smoke.  In a few minutes after the whole of the upper part of the house was in flames.   [Criticism of parish Fire service.]  ... There being no evidence as to the origin of the fire, a verdict was returned that the deceased was destroyed by the fire, but how it originated there was no evidence before the jury.


The Observer, 28 March 1858

MURDER AND SUICIDE AT ISLINGTON. - On Sunday night a fearful tragedy was enacted in Islington.  At No. 15 Upper Pembroke-street, not far from the new Metropolitan cattle Market, have for some time past resided a married couple named Osborne.  The husband until recently has been employed at a gas factory in the neighbourhood, but, a short time since, he obtained a better appointment at a similar establishment at Bow.  Being a greater distance from his residence, and his employment necessitating a considerable amount of night work, Osborne obtained apartments at Bow, returning to his wife once a week - viz., on Saturday night.  In the same house in Upper Pembroke-street lived a man named East, employed on the Great Northern railway at the King's-cross terminus.  He was a widower, and at the time of his wife's death had one child, who was placed in the case of Mrs. Osborne.

   Rumours had reached Osborne's ears that an intimacy of an improper character was, during his absence at work, carried on between his wife and East, the father of the child above-mentioned. ...

   He ultimately ejected her with some little force, and at once returned, and struck his wife a blow on the head with the sharp end of the weapon.  It is assumed that she put up her hands to protect her head, and that the second blow injured them in the manner mentioned hereafter.  Believing he had killed his wife, the unfortunate man [Osborne]  took from the table the knife with which his wife had previously been cutting bread and butter, and with one cut he inflicted such a desperate wound in his throat that death must have been instantaneous. ...


   On Wednesday afternoon Mr. Wakley, coroner for the eastern division of Middlesex, opened an inquiry as to the cause of the death of the unhappy man Osborne. ...

   Mr. Richardson, surgeon, said he was called in about a quarter to seven o'clock, and found the man quite dead.  He had examined the body of the deceased, and found a wound about six inches in length, which included the carotid artery, and was quite sufficient to cause death. ...

   The coroner here stopped the case, and said that there was really no use in pushing the matter farther, as they were not trying a question of adultery, but whether the man was labouring under a delusion  respecting his wife's immorality, and it appeared he was labouring under no delusion at all, for the wife confessed it.  His mother had shown that he was affected in his head from early childhood, and was just such a man  as an affair of this kind would be likely to drive insane.  It was his opinion that the poor fellow had become irresponsible for his actions on account of the rumours he had heard about his wife, and her open declaration to him that she intended as soon as she could to leave him and go and live with East.  The woman, in an unblushing manner, acknowledged her guilt to him, thereby leaving no doubt at all about the matter.  Mary East had given her evidence fairly.  Considering the parties involved, and it appeared to him one of the clearest cases he ever knew.

   The jury immediately returned a verdict that the deceased had destroyed himself whilst in an unsound state of mind, and the proceedings terminated.


The Observer, 4 April 1858


   On Tuesday an inquest was held at No. 2 Duke-street, Bloomsbury, to inquire into the cause of death of fourteen out of the fifteen persons who perished in this awful conflagration.  Mr. Wakley conducted the inquiry. ...  Adjourned to 13 April.


The Observer, 4 April 1858


ON THE GREAT WESTERN. - On Thursday afternoon a long inquiry took place at the Black Lion Inn, Kilburn, before Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, on view of the body of Joseph Smith, aged 25, in the employ of the Hampstead Junction of the Great Western Railway, who was killed upon the line between Kilburn and Willesden, on Monday last.  It appeared from the examination of several witnesses that the deceased was employed as superintendant of the tip-waggons, which convey the clay or earth from one part of the line to another.  On Monday afternoon the deceased was on the tram rail, when, in adjusting some of the chains attached to the truck or waggon train, one of the horses took fright and galloped off at a furious rate, knocking the deceased down, when several of the waggons or trucks went over his body, mutilating him in the most dreadful manner.  The jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.


The Observer, 4 April 1858


Of a nursemaid. - Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Marylebone Workhouse on Caroline Cook, aged 33, late nursemaid at Mr. Tyler's, 29 Oxford-square, Hyde Park-gardens, who, while purchasing some artificial flowers at 79 Crawford-street, without uttering a word fell dead to the ground.  Disease of the heart was the immediate cause of death, and a verdict in accordance was returned.


The Observer, 4 April 1858


OF A SURGEON'S WIFE. - On Tuesday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Druid's Arms, East-street, Manchester-square, on Mrs. Anne Lewis, aged 64.  Mr. Wm. Lewis, medical student, residing with his father, Mr. Lewis, chemist, 21 Paddington-street, said he was deceased's stepson.  She was the widow of a surgeon.  On Friday night, at eleven o'clock, on going into the yard of his father's house, he found deceased lying on the stones insensible and bleeding, and he perceived that her skull had been severely fractured.  It was evident that she had flung herself out of the second-floor window, a height of 30 feet.  She had for the last thirty years laboured under a delusion that the whole place was impregnated with chloroform, and that she was poisoned by it; and for a long time she would not take food, fearing lest it might be poisoned.  Her delusion arose from a fear that persons sought her life to procure her property, although her property died with her, as she had only a life estate.  Mr. Galer, surgeon, said that he saw deceased on Sunday, and  she appeared lifeless, but rallied after a while, and he directed her to take some brandy, but she would not take it, as she feared that it was poisoned.  Everything ;possible was done for her, but in vain, as she refused to take food or medicine.  The coroner said it was a painful  case.  He added that three weeks ago a lady threw herself out of a window, under a delusion that her friends wanted to bury her alive.  Verdict - Insanity.


The Observer, 5 April 1858


   The most fatal fire that has occurred for many years past in the metropolis took place about three o'clock on Sun day morning, and was attended with the sacrifice of not fewer that fifteen human beings.   Adjourned to 13th April.


The Observer, 11 April 1858

Fatal accidents

In the new-road. - On Tuesday evening an inquest was held at the Lord Wellington, Gower-street, Bedford-square, before Mr. Wakley, the coroner for West Middlesex, on the body of Mr. W. Wicks, aged 53, whose death occurred under the following melancholy circumstances:-  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased was in a large way of business as a soda-water and ginger-beer manufacturer, in Bayham-street, Camden Town.  On the 27th ult., he was driving down the New-road, St. Pancras, when the horse took fight, running away.  The deceased was thrown out; he was taken up in an insensible and bleeding state, and conveyed to the hospital, when it was discovered that he had received a compound fracture of both legs.  Every care by medical skill was afforded him, but he sank and died on Monday.  Verdict - Accidental Death.

RUN OVER BY AN OMNIBUS.- On Tuesday evening an inquest was held before Mr. Wakley, on the body of Mr. William Grieg, aged 45, who was killed under the following circumstances:-  It appeared from the evidence that on the previous Friday deceased got upon an omnibus at Paddington for the purpose of proceeding home, when alighting near South Molton-street he was knocked down by the horses of another omnibus, and the wheels went over his body.  He was conveyed to the Middlesex Hospital, where he died the following morning.  A verdict of Accidental Death was returned.  The deceased has left a family.


The Observer, 11 April 1858


FROM SWALLOWING AN OYSTER. - On Monday an inquest was held before Mr. Wakley touching the death of William Fallow.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased, William Fallow, who was 17 years of age, had a situation at Dufferin-lodge, the residence of Lord Dufferin.  On Saturday night week, between eight and nine, the deceased was eating oysters, when one stuck in the thorax.  The unfortunate youth ran about in the greatest agony and at length fell.  Mr. Mangle, a surgeon, promptly arrived, but all human aid was unavailing.  On a post mortem examination the oyster was discovered in the air tubes, completely checking respiration and causing suffocation.  The jury returned a verdict  - Accidentally Suffocated.


The Observer, 18 April 1858


OF A TRADESMAN IN CLERKENWELL. - On Wednesday an inquest was held at the Golden Fleece, Northampton-square, Clerkenwell, by Mr. Wakley, on Wm. Hodge, aged 37, watch case maker.  It appeared in evidence that on Thursday week his wife discovered him hanging in his workshop.  He was cut down, and Mr. Goddard, surgeon, was sent for, who resorted to various means to restore him, as he showed signs of life.  Although it was supposed that he had been hanging nearly ten minutes, he lived thirty-three hours after he was cut down.  On post mortem examination it was discovered that he had swallowed laudanum, but no trace of such was discovered, owing to the restoratives which had been poured down his throat.  Verdict - That the deceased's death was caused by the combined effects of suspension  and laudanum, he, at the time of committing the acts, being in an unsound state of mind.

   Mr. Wakley held a second inquest at the Golden Fleece, John-street-road, Clerkenwell, on George Smith, aged 20, a compositor, who hung himself under the following circumstances:-

   The hapless deceased, who was an exceedingly religious individual, and constantly reading religious books and praying, had been for some time past seized with a belief that he was very wicked, and guilty of general sins, while at the same time he was an excellent son, and highly moral.  He lived with his mother and sisters at 38 Spencer-street, and although at times very silent and peculiar in his manner, they never thought he would commit sop rash an act.  On Sunday afternoon he returned  from church, and before tea he retired to his bedroom,.  As he was missing when tea-time arrived, his mother, who, while giving her evidence, appeared greatly distressed and almost heartbroken, went to his room, when her horror may be readily conceived at discovering her son hanging from the bedstead by means of a sheet.  Hr was quite dead.  The jury returned a verdict of Suicide, leaving the state of the deceased's mind an open question.


The Observer, 18 April 1858


   On Tuesday Mr. Wakley resumed the inquiry ... adjourned.


The Observer, 9 May 1858


OF A PERAMBULATOR MAKER - Last week Thomas Wakley, [line missing?] the death of Mr. Michael Carpenter, aged 46, perambulator maker, who resided in Clerkenwell-close, Clerkenwell, and who had committed self-destruction.  He went his wife out on an errand at breakfast time, and on her return a little favourite dog kept pulling her dress and running into the yard.  On her going there she discovered blood flowing from under the door of the water-closet.  She fetched an opposite neighbour, who found he had deliberately drawn a razor across his throat, inflicting a frightful gash, by which the windpipe and carotid arteries were divided.


The Observer, 17 May 1858


OF AN ENGINEER. - On Thursday afternoon Mr. Wakley, the coroner, received information of the death of Mr. John Tracey, Engineer, aged 26 years, who resided in Church-street, St. Luke's.  The deceased was of a cheerful disposition, and never showed the slightest tendency to commit a suicidal act; but his wife had lately given way to habits of intemperance, and distressed the home, which preyed upon his mind, and, in a fit of temporary insanity, he committed self-destruction by hanging himself to the side of a  window.  He was highly respected in the neighbourhood.  Verdict - temporary Insanity.

AT ISLINGTON. - On Wednesday Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, received information of the death of a man, whose name at present is unknown, who committed self-destruction in  the street.  As police-sergeant Busied was proceeding up Cross-street, Islington, he was horrified at seeing a man suspended to the iron bars of a burial ground in the before-mentioned locality.  He immediately raised an alarm and cut him down.  Medical assistance was sent for, who pronounced life to be  extinct.  A shell was procured, and the body taken to Islington dead-house to be owned, and an inquest held.


The Observer, 23 May 1858


   On Friday a frightful occurrence, arising out of the careless use of fire-arms, took place at Paddington.  It appears that at No. 8 Wellington-mews, Westbourne-grove, resides a family of the name of Handy, consisting of a father, mother, son, and daughter; the son being 13 years old, the daughter 16.  The family were about emigrating to New Zealand, and every preparation had been made for the voyage when the horrible affair suddenly took place.  The father, among other articles, had purchased a gun, which he had loaded, for the purpose, as is conjectured, of testing it, but he unfortunately left it within reach of his son, who took it up, and then carelessly carried it into another room, where his sister was engaged about some domestic duties.  Immediately afterwards an explosion of fire-arms was heard in the room.  Some persons rushed in to see what was the matter, and a pitiable spectacle met their view, as the sister lay on the floor, bathed in her blood, one side of her head having been entirely shattered, while her wretched brother stood with the discharged gun which had caused the frightful catastrophe in his hand.  The poor girl presented a truly appalling spectacle.  The right side of her face was ,literally blown away, leaving only the left eye and part of the left cheek, and a portion of the mouth on that side, discernable.  Strange to say, notwithstanding the horrible nature of the injury, the sufferer still breathed, but sensibility and all consciousness were gone.  The police having been summoned to the spot, the wounded girl was conveyed to St. Mary's Hospital, but before arriving at that institution she expired. - The brother was taken into custody, and, when charged with causing the death of his sister at the station-house, Paddington Green, he appeared deeply moved, as did also his wretched father.

   Yesterday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the bank of England's, Praed-street, on the body of the unfortunate girl Rebecca Handy. The inquiry was of a painful character, the principal witnesses being the deceased's father and her brother, who had been the cause of her death.  The former expressed his strong assurance that his son was not aware that the gun was loaded, and stated that the lad was on the most affectionate terms with his father.  The following is the version of the shocking affair given by the accused:-
   Philip Handy, the son, was next called, and the poor youth was crying during his examination.  He  said that he did not know the gun was loaded, and he took it up to show his sister, observing, as he entered the room, "Rebecca here's a nice gun."  He told his sister that if the gun  was loaded he would have tried it, and with that he put it to his shoulder, and pulling the trigger, it went off, and his sister fell.  Witness was here much distressed, and wept bitterly.  In reply to the coroner, the witness said he did not see that the gun had a cap on at the time, the cap being black.  His father did not see him take the gun out of the shop, as he (the father) was stooping, packing up some caps at the time with his back turned towards him.  He had not seen his father load the gun. - Mr. Coulson, house surgeon at St. Mary's Hospital, said that dreadful as were the nature of the injuries, she had breathed three or four time after admission.  The whole of the right side of the face appeared to have been carried away, as also the nose and jaw. - The coroner, in summing up, commented upon the melancholy nature of the case, and it having been clearly proved that the family lived  on the most affectionate terms, the jury recorded a verdict of - Death b y Misadventure, the coroner at the same time seriously warning the youth Philip Handy, as to his conduct in future.


The Observer, 30 May 1858


DESTITUTION AND DEATH. - On Tuesday evening a very lengthened inquiry took place at the Buffalo's Head Tavern, New-road, Marylebone, before Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, on the body of William Walters, aged 46.  A great quantity of evidence was brought forward, but the facts of the case may be stated as follows: - On Friday night week police-constable 350D was on duty in Marylebone-lane, when he observed the deceased huddled up against the wall.  The wretched man was in a state of exhaustion, and hardly able to answer the interrogatories put to him.  He was unable to stand upon his legs, and evidently sinking from starvation and illness.  The constable went to the station-house in Marylebone-lane, for the purpose of obtaining a stretcher to convey the poor man to the workhouse.  The acting-inspector (a sergeant in the force) refused the stretcher, telling the constable to get one at the workhouse.  The constable went there, but the stretcher was out of repair, useless.  In the meantime the deceased was lying on the pavement in the condition above described.  Ultimately the miserable man was conveyed to the workhouse upon a truck.  He got there about seven o'clock.  Nothing was given him, neither medicine nor stimulant.  He was stripped, scrubbed, and cleaned, being in a filthy condition.  Before this operation was over it was half-past eleven o'clock; still nothing was given the deceased.  Mr. Hodson, the assistant-surgeon, had seen him on his admission, and ordered nothing for him.  He died at a quarter before twelve o'clock.  The coroner and jury expressed their astonishment and indignation at the conduct the poor man received.  Mr. Luntell, the house-surgeon, said he died from exhaustion, con sequent upon diseased kidneys.  The jury returned a verdict accordingly, and expressed the deepest regret at the conduct of the police inspector, as also the assistant-surgeon of the workhouse in not administering stimulants to the deceased until a quarter of an hour before his death.


The Observer, 20 June 1858


BY HANGINBG. - Mr. Wakley, coroner, held an inquest at the hole in the Wall Tavern, Baldwin-gardens, Leather-lane, Holborn, touching the death of Henry Taylor, law-writer, who resided in Leopard's-place, Baldwin's-gardens.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased, during the absence of his wife, hung himself to the bedpost.  The jury returned a verdict of Temporary Insanity.


The Observer, 21 June 1858


   A woman, known as Mrs. Cooke, residing at No. 16 Park-road, Barnsbury-road, Islington, was murdered on Wednesday morning, by a man at present unknown, who afterwards committed suicide. The woman, who was recognised by some as Miss Phillips, was of the class termed "unfortunate."  She was about 32 years of age, of somewhat masculine appearance, nothing particularly prepossessing in feature, but dressed fashionable, and although, it is supposed, under the protection of one gentleman, she received the attention of others. ... In that small room, about 8 feet wide by 10 feet long, on the bed was discovered the body of a young man, fully dressed (with a revolver still having a charge in it), weltering in blood; and by his side the victim of his jealousy, dreadfully wounded and quite dead.  The top part of the bed and the floor presented a very dreadful appearance, both being covered with blood.  Mr. Judge at once sent off for medical assistance, and Mr. J. W. Wilson, surgeon, of 22 Brunswick-place, Barnsbury-road, arrived shortly after one o'clock, and proceeded to make an examination of the bodies.  Mr. Wilson found on the woman two pistol wounds above the left ear, each wound being about an inch from the other.  There was an effusion of blood under the left eyelid, which caused it to have the appearance of having received a severe blow, with rigidity of the body, showing that the deceased had been dead some hours, the body, however, at the time being a little warm. ... On examination of the body of the man ... examine the body for the mortal wound.  This was not a matter of much difficulty in spite of the great effusion of blood, a large pistol wound, with laceration of the integuments, being  found in the front of the forehead, the wound penetrating the skin.  The deceased must have placed the pistol direct to his forehead and discharged it, the ball passing into the skull and completely shattering the brains. ...


... Mr. [William] John Hodges ... He then informed Inspector Judge that the deceased man was only 23 years of age, that he was a clerk in a solicitor's office, that his name was Henry Robert Hodges, and that he resided with his parents at 2 Portland-place, New North-road, Islington.


   The inquest was held before Mr. Wakley, on Friday afternoon, at the King of Denmark Tavern, Park-road, Barnsbury-road. ...

   Mr. Clarke, surgeon, of Penton-street, who had made a post mortem examination of the bodies, stated that he found that two balls from the revolver pistol had entered the deceased woman's brain; death, in her case, must have been instantaneous.  The head of the deceased man was also shattered, and death had resulted immediately. ...

   The jury, after an absence of a few minutes, returned a verdict that Henry Robert Hodges murdered the female, Eliza Phillips, and afterwards murdered himself.  This verdict amounts top one of felo de se.   The proceedings then terminated.


The Observer, 21 June 1858


OF A BOY BY HIS MOTHER, AND SUICIDE. - A long inquiry has taken place at the Pakenham Arms, Lower Calthorpe-street, Gray's Inn-road, before Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex (assisted by Mr. Brent, the deputy coroner), to inquire into the deaths of Madame Mary Ann Brandwidska, aged 31, the widow of a Polish refugee general, and Julian Brandwidska, aged seven years, son of the former, who was murdered by her, after which she put a period to her own existence.  It appeared that the mother was a highly accomplished woman.  Her husband, who had been a general in the Polish service, died in London about four years ago, since which the unfortunate widow was left with an only child in a state of extreme penury, obtaining a scanty livi9ng by needlework.  The last few months the unfortunate lady and her little boy had resided at the house of Mr. Edward Bowie, baker, of No. 10 Gough-street, Gray's Inn-road, in a small room at the back of the house.  For some days the mother and child were missed, and at length Mr. Bowie caused the door of her room to be burst open, when the wretched woman and child were found dead on the floor in a putrid condition.  The poor creature had destroyed herself and child by means of a pan of charcoal, having  first shut all ingress of air, both to the door and windows.  The bodies were as black as soot.  A  bottle containing some laudanum was on a table in the room, but whether the wreathed mother had administered any to her child or taken any herself will never be ascertained, as the bodies were in too frightful a state of decomposition as to preclude the possibility of any post mortem examination being made.  The coroner observed  that in all his experience (20 years) he had never had so horrible a case.  He gave orders, for the instant interment of the bodies, to avoid any ill result to the neighbourhood.  The jury, from the evidence brought forward, considered it a deliberate act on the part of the mother, and returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against her, and Felo de se as applied to the destruction of her own life.


The Observer, 27 June 1858

DEATH FROM THE ADMINISTRATION OF CHLOROFORM. - A coroner's inquest, which did not terminate until a late hour on Tuesday night, was held before Mr. Wakley and a jury at the Elephant and Castle, King's-road, Camden Town, on the body of Mrs. Ann Farey, the wife of a respectable butcher in King-street, who died from the effects of chloroform administered to her in her confinement.  The inquiry excited great interest among the members of the medical profession, and Mr. Erickson, of University Hospital, Dr. Fraser, and other practitioners were present.  It appears that the deceased had engaged Mr. Adams, of Harrington-square, one of the district medical officers of St. Pancras, to attend her in her4 confinement.  On Saturday week Mrs. Farey was seized in labour prematurely, or at least five or six weeks before the time expected, and although the nurse was sent for, and attended, still the unfortunate woman was allowed to lay some five or six hours before any medical man was sent for.  Mr. Andrews, of Oakley-square, was first called in, and on inquiry as to whether any medical gentleman had been engaged, he was informed that Mr. Adams had been retained.  Finding the deceased in a very exhausted state, Mr. Adams, at the suggestion of Mr. Andrews, was at once sent for and arrived, and it was found that the deceased was too far exhausted for nature to do its work, and that no alternative remained but to give birth to the child whilst the mother was under the influence of chloroform. 

   The medical gentlemen applied the usual tests to ascertain whether the poor woman had any affection of the heart, and being  satisfied, the chloroform was administered, but whilst under its influence she ceased to exist.  Several medical men were examined, who proved that the course adopted by Mr. Adams and Mr. Andrews was perfectly a correct and professional mode of proceeding, and the jury and coroner having acquitted them of all blame, returned a verdict that the deceased died from the effects of chloroform on a diseased heart.


The Observer, 11 July 1858

LAMENTABLE REVERSE OF FORTUNE. - Yesterday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Strand Union workhouse, Cleveland-street, on the body of Mr. Hugh Pyke, aged 84.  The deceased was for more than 50 years the proprietor of the Law and Clerical Agency Establishment in Chancery-lane.  At one period he possessed wealth to the amount of between £30,000 and £40,000; but from the evidence of his son, Mr. H. H. Pyke, a barrister, he had been for some years engaged in ruinous litigation./  His son resided with his family in Norfolk, but the deceased resided in a miserable garret, suffering from a complication of disorders, the most severe of which was utter want and destitution, in whi9ch state, a few days before his death, he was received in to the Strand Union workhouse.  The union surgeon  deposed that the deceased died of exhaustion, consequent upon disease and old age, probably accelerated by his late destitute condition. - a Verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was recorded.


The Observer, 11 July 1858


THROUGH JEALOUSY. - On Wednesday evening an inquest was held at the Portman Arms, Broadley-terrace, Dorset-square, Marylebone, before Mr. Wakley, coroner, on the body of Mrs. Elizabeth Pritchard, aged 36, who committed suicide by nearly severing her head from her body with a table knife.  There was a great quantity of evidence brought forward respecting the melancholy occurrence, but the history of the case may be briefly stated as follows:-

   The deceased was the widow of a respectable tradesman, since whose deceased she had resided at No. 18 Broadley-terrace.  She had recently formed an attachment to a commercial traveller, and they were to be married in the course of a few weeks, for which the deceased had made every necessary preparation, but within the last week she had ascertained that her "intended" was "keeping company" with quite a young girl.  This, it would appear, threw her into such a distracted state of mind that the greatest dread was entertained that she would lay violent  hands upon herself., in consequence of which her children and connections watched her actions; but notwithstanding she contrived to cut her throat, from the effect of which she expired.  Verdict - Temporary Mental Derangement.


The Observer, 19 July 1858


OF A MEDICAL STUDENT. - A long inquiry has taken place at the Elephant and Castle Tavern, Camden Town, on view of the body of W. King James Lawson, aged twenty-one, a medical student, who committed suicide by poison.  It appeared that the deceased, since entering the medical profession, had been chiefly in the London Hospital.  He was of a very delicate constitution, added to which he was subject to epileptic fits.  He had lately returned to town from a visit to his family connections in Devonshire, but the fits continuing he was unable to attend to his studies, and, in consequence, he became in a low desponding state of mind.  On Wednesday last he left his apartments in Paul-street, Finsbury, and was not heard of again until he was discovered dead in  a field contiguous to Hampstead Heath.  On his person was found a letter, saying, that owing to his infirmities he intended to commit suicide.  A phial half filled with laudanum was found on his person.  Mr. Weatherall, surgeon, of Highgate,  said death resulted from extravasation of blood upon the brain, the result of the narcotic he had swallowed.  Verdict - Temporary Insanity.

   Of Cannon, the pugilist. - On Thursday afternoon an inquest was held at the Indian Queen, Strand-upon-the-Green, near Kew Bridge, before Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, on the body of Thomas Cannon, aged 64, a pugilist and once "ex champion of England" (under the name of the "Windsor Cannon"), who put a period to his existence by shooting himself.  At the time of his death he occupied alone a wretched room, near the house where the inquiry was held, and was known to be suffering from almost actual destitution; between Saturday night and Monday morning he shot himself through the head with a blunderbuss.  Death was instantaneous, the skull being blown to atoms.  The jury returned a verdict of insanity.


The Observer, 25 July 1858


A YOUNG MAN ACCIDENTALLY SHOT BY HIS BROTHER. -  On Wednesday information was received by Mr. Wakley, coroner, of the death of a young man named Thomas Monk, who was accidentally shot by his brother on the preceding day in a field near the Welsh Harp, Edgeware-road.  The deceased and his brother, to whom he was much attached, and whose father is a carpenter and undertaker in Paradise-street, Marylebone, left home in the afternoon for the purpose of shooting sparrows in a field in the neighbourhood of Edgeware-road.  They got to the field near the Welsh Harp.  They happened to be in opposite fields, when Thomas Monk called to his brother as he was in the act of passing through a thick set hedge, dragging his gun after, and while doing so the piece was discharged.  He proceeded in the direction where he had previously seen his brother, when, in searching for him, he found him lying on the grass struggling in the agonies of death.  He raised the unfortunate man, upon which he found that his head was most frightfully disfigured, it having been struck by several shots.  Assistance was called, and the young man was conveyed to the Welsh Harp; but, ere he reached there, life was extinct.  Ever since the tragical catastrophe the surviving brother has been in a most distressed state of mind.

 ACCIDENT TO A CAB DRIVER. - On Wednesday, an inquest was held by Mr. Wakley, at the Elephant and Castle, Camden Town, on Richard Edwards, a cab driver, badge 4,080, aged 40.  Emma Mousely, who lives near the canal at Agar Town, about midnight on Friday week heard a vehicle drive along the bride which crosses the canal, and upon looking out of the window she observed the deceased driving a Hansom cab.  He pulled up when he got to the middle of the bridge, and alighted.  He then lit his pipe, and resting his arms on the parapet of the bridge stood gazing into the water for some minutes.  After this he patted his horse and walked along the banks of the canal.  She did not see the unfortunate man afterwards, but after the can had stood on the bridge some time a policeman came along, to whom she told the circumstance, when, with another constable, he went and found the body in the canal, close to the shore.  From the evidence of the widow and other relatives, it seemed that the hapless man had been for a long time past in a very desponding state, owing to his being greatly reduced.  At one time he was an extensive cab proprietor, but pecuniary affairs went wrong with him, and his license had been lately stopped.  He had taken to drink for some months past, and his condition became most deplorable.  It appeared, however, that he never threatened or attempted suicide, and as he might have slipped down the bank of the canal, the coroner recommended the jury to record an open verdict of Found Drowned.  This course was agreed to, and the inquest terminated.


The Observer, 25 July 1858


BY ACONITE. - On Wednesday evening an inquiry took place at the Bank of England tavern, Paddington, before Mr. Wakley, coroner, respecting the death of Mr. James Edward Dubiggen, aged 58, who committed suicide by taking aconite, a narcotic poison, under circumstances of a very extraordinary and melancholy nature.  Mr. Arthur Lawrence, house surgeon of St. Marty's Hospital, said he fund the deceased in a state of collapse.  He was evidently suffering from the effects of a narcotic.  Everything was done that the nature of the case required, but notwithstanding, he rapidly sank and died.  On a post mortem examination it was ascertained that death resulted from, aconite, a poisonous root, very much resembling horseradish.  He (Mr. Lawrence) had arrived at the knowledge that the unfortunate decease4d has chewed the root in question, and  that to such an extent as speedily to terminate his existence.  Verdict - Insanity.


The Observer, 2 August 1858

COLLISION AT WILLESDEN STATION.- On Monday afternoon a collision took place at the Willesden junction of the London and North Western and North London Railways. ... Payne, the driver of the engine of the passenger train, had no means of preventing the collision, as, until the moment before reaching the points he had no idea that his train would be turned into the Kew ,line.  He was, however, in the act of shutting off the steam and reversing his engine when the collision took place, and he was killed on the spot, the front and back of his skull being completely cvruished.  On Thursday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Mitre Hotel, Wormwood Scrubs, on William Payne, aged 30, engine driver on the London and North Western Railway.


The Observer, 8 August 1858


   The adjourned investigation into the circumstances connected with the late fatal railway collision at the Willesden Junction of the London and North Western Railway was resumed last evening before Mr. Wakley, the coroner, and jury, at the Sussex Arms Tavern, Shepherd's Bush.

... The jury retired, and after an absence of half an hour, returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against Henry Lamb, and appended the following:- The jury recommend that an extra man should be appointed to work the points, and that the men should be confined to this work and nothing else; also, that the telegraph signal box should be placed just opposite the points.  The jury also attach great blame to the managers of the North London Railway in consequence of the irregularities that mark the time of starting their Kew trains.


The Observer, 15 August 1858


BY SWALLOWING OXALIC ACID. - On Wednesday evening an inquiry took place at the Bank of England Tavern, near the Great Western terminus, before Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, on the body of Mrs. Mary Ann Camplin, aged forty, who committed suicide by swallowing a quantity of oxalic acid.  Mr. William Camplin, of No. 27 Cambridge-terrace, Edgeware-road, Paddington, deposed that the deceased was his wife.  About four months since she lost a little girl six years old, to whom she was fondly attached, since which she had been in a low desponding state of mind.  On Saturday last she left home to purchase some articles of clothing for the children, as the family were going down to Gravesend.  She was absent the whole of the day, which caused witness much anxiety.  About eight o'clock in the evening a friend came to the house, saying that his wife was very ill.  On proceeding to the house he found his wife in an insensible state.  Mr. Lawson, surgeon of St. Mary's Hospital, was called in, when it was discovered that she had taken oxalic acid.  Verdict - Temporary Mental Derangement.


The Observer, 15 August 1858


A murder of a somewhat mysterious character, the circumstances connected with which have been much exaggerated in the reports which have appeared, has taken place at Acton.  The victim is a poor young man, named Edward John Gates, a plumber and painter, and not a  wealthy builder, of Great James-street, Lisson Grove, as has been erroneously described. ...

   No  suspicion was at this time aroused that foul play had been committed, not until Mr. Lingham proceeded to the dead-house to perform a post mortem examination of the body, prior to the coroner's inquest being held.  Upon closely examining the corpse Mr. Lingham, much to his surprise, detected a minute opening in the right side of the chest, which, upon probing, he found to extend so deeply down as to penetrate the heart.  Upon closer examination, both external and internal, Mr. Lingham traced the wound from between the third and fourth ribs, through the vessels at the bottom of the lung, on that side, and passing two inches into the heart.  The wound was evidently the cause of death, and that instantaneously, and from the nature of the wound it seems to have been inflicted by a very sharp-pointed instrument, such as a keen thin cane  sword. ...

   Mr. Wakley, the coroner, has opened an inquest on the body, and the Government yesterday offered a reward of £100 for the apprehension of the murderer or murderers, but there is no truth in the statement that the local authorities have offered a reward of £50.


The Observer, 15 August 1858


FROM AN INTERNAL RUPTURE. - An inquest was held at the Fish Tavern, Drake-street, Red Lion-square, before Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, on the body of Mr. Edward Banks, aged 53, of No. 2 in the above square, who fell down dead in Montague-place, Russell-square, on Monday night last.  On a post mortem examination it was ascertained that the suddenness of the death was owing to the rupture of a large vessel in the region of the heart.  The jury, after commenting upon the melancholy nature of the case, returned a verdict of Natural Death.


The Observer, 22 August 1858


   At Hammersmith police court, on Monday, upon Mr. Ingham taking his seat, precisely at two o'clock, Mr. Henry Augustus Chavering, aged 34, a gentleman residing at No. 61 Inverness-terrace, Bayswater, was placed in the dock, charged upon his own confession with causing the death of John gates, of No. 12 Great James-street, Lisson-grove, by stabbing him with a sword stick in self-defence, on the night of the 9th inst., in the Uxbridge-road, Action. ...


On Monday, Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, resumed the adjourned inquest on the body of the deceased. ...

   The jury retired at twenty minutes to eight o'clock, [p???] their return shortly before ten, the foreman  said they had [???] to the following verdict:-

   We, the jurors, consider that the death of John Gates was caused by a wound in his chest, which penetrated to his [???] and heart; but whether the said wound was inflicted [???] or was caused accidentally, there is not before the jury sufficient evidence to prove."   [Discussion of verdict follows, and letter from Chavering from The Times.]


The Observer, 22 August 1858


   On Wednesday afternoon Mr. Wakley, the coroner, and a jury held an inquest at Hampstead on the bodies of Mr. William Ashcombe, a surgeon, of No. 5 King-street, Cheapside, and of Mr. Edward Prior, a hosier, at 13 Finsbury-place North.  The deceased were in no way connected, but there was this coincidence between them that, being wholly unacquainted, they had gone to the suburban village and put an end to their existence within a few hours of each other, the one on the Heath, after the manner of the late John Sadleir, of swindling and forging notoriety, and the other at the house of a friend.

   The circumstances, as related in evidence, first with respect to Mr. Ashcombe, were that the deceased was about forty-three years of age, unmarried, and a surgeon practising at 5 King-street, Cheapside.  On Tuesday evening, about half-past seven, he called, as was his habit, on Mr. Frederick Mountford, a wine merchant, residing at Woodbine Cottage, in the Vale of Health, Hampstead, with whom he had been on terms of intimacy for several years.  Some conversation of an ordinary friendly character passed between them, and after this had gone on for about half an hour the deceased asked what time the last omnibus to town left.  On Mr. Mountford telling him half-past nine, he inquired what they were going to have to drink in the meantime.  Mr. Mountford produced a bottle of pale brandy and some cold water, of which they frank.  Half an hour afterwards the deceased, who, according to Mr. Mountford, lived freely, asked the time, and, on being told it,  said jokingly, there was enough time to finish the bottle, and he had another glass.  This over, Mr.  Mountford offered to accompany him to the omnibus, and has got so far as his front gate leading on to the road, when, perceiving that Mr. Ashcombe was not following, he returned into the house to inquire the cause, and found him sitting in an easy chair, retching and speechless.  Mr. Mountford untied his neckerchief and shirt collar, poured cold water on his head, and at the same time sent for the nearest surgeon, but he died in a few minutes, and before medical aid could be procured.  On the person of the deceased a bottle was afterwards found which had contained strong prussic acid together with nearly 30s. in money, a lancet, a pair of gloves, and a newspaper, and near to where he sat was a small packet of morphine unopened.  Dr. Brown, of Hampstead, who made a post mortem examination of the body on Wednesday morning, proved that death was unquestionably caused by a dose of prussic acid.  The deceased was cheerful while in Mr. Mountford's, and as he prepared to leave he made a joke about some parrots in the garden.  That was but a moment before he swallowed the fatal dose.

   He had told Mr. Mountford in the course of their interview that he apprehended there would be an execution in his house before he got home, adding that he would have to thank "the confounded lawyers" for that, who wanted to get another guinea out of him.  On a policeman going to his house in King-street to apprise the inmates of the death he found the sheriff's officer in possession for a debt of £31, and the apprehension of this circumstance had, no doubt, been preying on the mind of the unfortunate gentleman.  The deceased, who was a highly educated man, had no relatives in London, so that there were none present at the inquest, but he had two sisters residing in the vicinity of Oxford, to whom his melancholy  end has been made known.  According to his friend, Mr. Mountford, he was in the habit of taking small quantities of hydrocyanic acid, mixed with magnesia.  This, which he called his "dose," was compounded of ten grains of the latter ingredient and five drops of the former. - The jury found that the deceased poisoned himself, but that there was no  evidence to show in what state of mind he was at the time.

INQUEST ON MR. PRIOR. - The inquest on the body of Mr. Prior disclosed that he was forty years of age, unmarried, a hosier in Finsbury, and the son of very respectable parents residing at 22 Manchester-terrace, Liverpool-road, Islington.

   Mr. Edward Prior, the father of the deceased,  said that he last saw his son alive at his residence, No. 22 Manchester-terrace, Liverpool-road, Islington.  He was then poorly, and witness sent for a medical man.  On the Friday evening previously the mother of the deceased went to his house in Finsbury-place, and offered to mind his business, as was her custom on a Friday, when the deceased usually went out.  He declined to avail himself of his mother's services, and afterwards wrote her a letter, stating that he knew his family intended to betray him, and that he had at last discovered a way of putting an end to his miserable life.  He mentioned the name of a young lady, which the coroner very properly refused to make public.

   Policeman, 413S, deposed that he found the deceased gentleman on the heath, about two o'clock on Monday morning, near the Spaniard public-house, in a state of insensibility.  At first he thought he was intoxicated, but he immediately afterwards found that he was at the point of death.  He removed him to the work-house, but he was dead before he arrived there.  He took from the person of the deceased three half-sovereigns, eight shillings and eighteen pence in silver, thirteen pence halfpenny in coppers, a small bottle full of tincture of myrrh and a Testament, the ribbon of which pointed to the 6th chapter of St. Mark, and the 9th chapter of St. John.

   Dr. Winter said that when the deceased was brought to him he at once saw that his death had been occasioned by some narcotic poison.  He opened the body, but there was no smell of poison in the stomach.

   George Saunders, assistant to Mr. Allen, chemist, of Morgan's-place, Islington, proved that he sold the deceased eight drops of laudanum, on Sunday evening.  He  said he wanted an ounce for the toothache, but witness would only left him have the eight drops.

   The jury returned as their verdict that deceased destroyed himself by poison while in an unsound state of mind, and passed an eulogium upon the chemist's assistant for the discretion  he had exercised in refusing to serve the deceased with the large amount of laudanum applied for.



The Observer, 29 August 1858

SUICIDE OF DR. KING, of GREAT STANMORE. - Mr. Wakley held an inquest on the body of Dr. Francis King, aged 48, of Great Stanmore.  The deceased, who was a widower, and having only one daughter, had been in practice upwards of twenty years at Great Stanmore, and was formerly in affluence, but for some time past his circumstances have become much reduced, and the state of his mind in consequence has recently been a source of the utmost disquietude to his daughter and connections.  On Thursday morning the report of fire-arms was heard in the doctor's bed-chamber, and on the inmates going to it the door was found locked inside.  On the door being forced the unfortunate gentleman was found stretched on his bed, with the lower part of his face blown to atoms, and a discharged pistol clenched in his right hand.  It is needless to say that death was instantaneous.  Verdict - Temporary Insanity.


The Observer, 29 August 1858


   Within the last two or three days the absconded points man, Henry Lamb, to whose gross negligence or wilful  misconduct the late fatal collision which took place at the Willesden Junction of the London and North Western and Kew line of railways is attributable, has been apprehended, and is nor safely lodged, on the coroner's warrant, in Newgate, where he awaits his trial. ...


The Observer, 29 August 1858


MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF A LADY. - An inquiry was instituted by Mr. Wakley at the Clifton Arms, St. John's Wood, respecting the death of a Miss Caroline Smith, aged 45, the circumstances attending which were of a peculiarly mysterious character, the presumption being that the deceased had died from the effects of poison administered by herself.  The deceased, it appeared, was on a visit at Mr. Broderick's, at St. John's Wood.  A day or two before her death she was somewhat reserved, confining herself almost entirely to her own room, and not appearing, as she was in the habit of doing, at the morning family prayers.  This was considered strange, as the deceased was very religiously inclined.  The day before her death she went to Kilburn, paid for newspapers that had been sent her, and directed that no more should be forwarded.  Her excuse for not leaving her room was that she felt sick and unwell.  In the evening, about seven o'clock, upon the servant going to her room, she could get no answer; the door was found to be locked,  and a moaning was heard inside the room.  The room was entered from the window, and the deceased was found writhing in convulsions on the bed.  Mr. Daws, a surgeon, who was  sent for, applied the stomach pump, and a large quantity of frothy matter and mucous was discharged.  She died the following morning.  Mr. Daw's opinion at the time was that the deceased had died from the effects of some narcotic poison, and this was confirmed by the discovery of several letters found upon her, addressed to friends, to whom she bid "Good bye," concluding by taking leave of "this wicked world," in which she added, "she saw nothing but misery."  Mr. Saws  said, after the post mortem examination, that death arose from a congestion of blood on the brain, but it was impossible for him to say if this was occasioned by narcotic poison or not.  It was supposed that if the deceased had poisoned herself it had been during a fit of religious monomania.  The majority of the jury were of opinion that no further analysis of the contents of the stomach would be useful, and they returned an open verdict.


The Observer, 12 September 1858


IN THE HOUSE OF DETENTION. - On Friday, Mr. Wakley  held an inquest at the House of detention, on Guiseppe Frigerio, an Italian, who had destroyed himself on Tuesday might, in that prison, by hanging himself with worsted braiding torn from his coat.  He was in prison on remand for fraud.  Last month he went to Messrs. Bull and Wilson, sloth merchants. St. Martin's-lane, with a letter purporting to be from their correspondent at Turin, authorising them to advance to Ludwig Buzzi, and he reported himself to be that person.  The money was accordingly advanced to him, but subsequently it was found, by a communication fro m the correspondent at Turin, that the above letter was forged, and he was apprehended.  When locked up in his cell on Tuesday evening, at sic o'clock, he was apparently in cheerful spirits, and at seven next morning the officers found him dead, suspended from the "hopper" of the window.  A note was found upon him, addressed to the chaplain, requesting that a letter, which he had written in his own blood, should be forwarded to his father, "Jean Frigerio, Palais du Mont Pitie, Pavie, Lombardie, Italie."  The latter was translated, and was to the effect that he had brought disgrace upon his family, but that no idea  would be formed of the positron he was in, being in London without means, friends, or occupation.  He begged forgiveness and expressed repentance.  He wished a pistol which was at home, in Turin to be given to a friend whom he named, and after stating that he should destroy himself, proceeded to say, "I write this with my blood, to convey to you an idea of what I feel in my position."  The letter was actually written in blood.  It appeared that the prisoners are allowed the use of pen and ink when they require it, but the prisoner had written this letter with a piece of hard brass wire bound to a piece of wood, and the blood was extracted from punctures in his legs and under his left thumb-nail.  Dr. Smiles said that when he was called in deceased had been dead some time.  Witness saw nothing remarkable about him whilst in the prisoner.  His attention had not been directed to him.  Mr. Wakley summed up, and the jury returned a verdict - That deceased  died by his own act, and there was no evidence to show what was the state of his mind at the time.  he had been clerk to the Turin agent of Bull and Co., where he acquired a knowledge of his handwriting.


The Observer, 12 September 1858


OF A LIGHTERMAN AT HAMMERSMITH. - An inquest was held at the Cannon Tavern, near the new Suspension Bridge, Hammersmith, before Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, on view of the body of Henry Cumbers, aged 39, a lighterman, who was d row3ned in the river.  The case was one of a remarkable description, from the fact of the deceased perishing at low tide, in only four feet depth of water, and also the discovery of very extraordinary fossil remains, and some ancient  war weapon s in the bed of the river, whilst dragging for the body of the deceased.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased went into the river near the Suspension Bridge, Hammersmith,  at an early hour on Wednesday morning, and although an excellent swimmer, he was drowned.  The unfortunate man was seized with the cramp, and, although actually onl;y7 in four feet of water, assistance could not be  rendered him in time to save his life.  Verdict - Accidental Death.  The deceased has left a family.


The Observer, 12 September 1858


IN SOMERS TOWN. - On Thursday evening an inquest was held at the Elephant and Castle, King's-road, St. Pancras, before Mr. Wakley, on view of the body of Charles Munce, aged 28.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased was in the employ of Messrs. Knight and Co., soap boilers, of Old Gravel-lane.  On Tuesday morning the deceased and another man, named Burdon, left the establishment with a van loaded with soap, for the purpose of supplying the retail dealers.  In passing through Stanmore-street, Somers Town, the deceased, in removing some of the boxes of soap, fell from off the tail board, and pitching upon the stones, his skull was dreadfully fractured. He was picked up in an in sensible state, bleeding from his mouth and both ears.  The unfortunate man was conveyed to the surgery of Mr. Jackson, of the New-road, but so severe was the nature of the injuries he had received that he expired in less than half an hour after the accident occurred.  The deceased was quite sober at the time.  Verdict - Accidental Death.


The Observer, 19 September 1858


 OF TWO INFANTS IN HAMMERSMITH. - On Friday afternoon an investigation took place at the cannon Tavern, Hammersmith, before Mr. Wakley, on t5he bodies of two newborn infants (male and female). - Wm. Nichols, waterman, of Queen-street, Hammersmith, said: About eight o'clock on Wednesday morning I was rowing across the river in my boat, near the suspension Bridge, when I discovered a wooden box, about seven feet from the strand.  I got it into the boat, and was pulling a little further along the shore, when I noticed another box of a similar size and make.  I took them both ashore, and found them to contain the infants, the subjects of the present inquiry.  In the box which I first discovered was the male infant, wrapped in very fine linen.  There were considerable marks of violence apparent, particularly the mark of a ligature round the neck.  Other witnesses corroborat5ed the above evidence.  The police said that every inquiry had been made to trace the parties who were concerned with the affair, but hitherto without success.  Mr. Hunt,.  Surgeon, of Bridge-road, Hammersmith, said he had made a post mortem examination, and had no doubt they had been born alive, and destroyed.  Verdict - Wilful Murder against some person or persons unknown.

FOUND IN THE REGENT'S CANAL;. - Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, held an inquest at Camden Town, on Friday, on the body of a newly-born female child, whose lifeless remains were found floating in the Regent's Canal by a man named Dobie, who resides near the spot.  The poor little creature had, it was clarity shown, been brutally murdered, and the jury returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against some person or persons unknown.  This makes the third case of infanticide that has come under the notice of Mr. Wakley during the week.


The Observer, 3 October 1858


OF A LADY OF WESTBOURNE PARK-TERRACE. - On Friday evening an inquiry took place at the Stafford Hotel, Harrow-road, Paddington, before Mr. Wakley, coroner, on view of the body of Mrs. Susan Smith, aged sixty-one, the lady of George Smith, Esq., of No. 15 Westbourne park-terrace.  Mr. George Smith, the husband of the deceased, who was deeply affected whilst giving his evidence, deposed that on Tuesday last he arrived in town from his country residence at Dover, at which time she was in excellent health and spirits.  The family party sat down to dinner about six o'clock in the evening, when the deceased fell from off her chair in a state of insensibility.  Dr. Burrows was sent for, and promptly attended, but all human aid was unavailing, as life was quite extinct.  A post mortem examination showed that death resulted from the rupture of an important vessel in the region of the heart.  Verdict - Died by the Visitation of God.


The Observer, 3 October 1858


OVER-CROWDED ROOMS. - An inquest was held on Wednesday at Chelsea, by Mr. Wakley, on the body of a little boy named Frederick Meredith, aged five years, the son of a poor mechanic, Wm. Meredith, residing at 8 Chelsea-market, a narrow alley, consisting of some twenty houses, running from the lower part of Lower Sloane-street into Lower George-street, Sloane-square.  The father was a print block cutter for paper stainers and fabric printing.  There were six of them in family, and they all lived in the same room.  There were two other children ill in the same bed.  The room was measured, and the dimensions were twelve feet long by ten broad, and only seven feet nine inches from the floor to the ceiling.  Verdict "Death from scalatina, produced by a vitiated atmosphere in the dwelling.


The Observer, 3 October 1858



On Thursday, at an inquest held by Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, the coroner took occasion to comment upon the extraordinary system pursued by the magistrates with respect to the coroners in Surrey and other counties.  In that county the coroner, it would seem, had declined to hold inquests in cases of violent death, because the magistrates refused to pay his fees, and every attempt was being made to make the important office of coroner perfectly useless.  The magistrates had even gone so far in this county as to set aside coroners' juries, by granting a fee to the coroner for proceeding to the spot where a death had taken place, and reporting thereon without the aid of a jury.  Things had, indeed, got into such a state, that some legislative intervention was required, in order to protect the court.  The jury acquiesced most fully in Mr. Wakley's observations, at the same time warmly condemning the proceedings referred to.



The Observer, 1 November 1858


BY PHOTOGRAPHIC CHEMICALS. - Om Monday afternoon Mr. Wakley, the coroner for Middlesex, held an inquest at the Belvidere Tavern, Pentonville-hill, respecting the death of George Lewin, aged 29, lodging at 67 Hermes-street, Pentonville-road, who was found dead in his bedroom the effects of poison by photographic chemicals.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased was what is known as a draper's tallyman, and had only lodged in the house a few weeks.  On the morning in question the landlady went up to his room about eight o'clock to call him, but obtained no answer, and, upon an entranced into the room being effected, he was found to be dead.  A bottle labelled "poison" was found on the table, and beside it a tumbler which had evidently contained some of the contents of the bottle.  It appeared from the evidence of the medical gentleman that death had been produced by a chemical known as the cyanide of potassium, which is largely used by photographers, and hence easily procurable, and almost as dangerous as prussic acid itself.  There was sufficient disease in the head to account for a suicidal state of mind.  The jury returned a verdict that the deceased was of unsound mind.


The Observer, 7 November 1858


FRON LAUDANUM, TO PRODUCE STUPEFACTION.- On Friday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at Marylebone Workhouse, on Richard Vaughan, aged 66, late of 32 Saville-street, who died from the effects of laudanum taken for the purpose of alleviating pain.  It appeared that the deceased had been for some time past in great suffering through the formation of an ulcer in the socket of one eye.  To obtain relief he naturally took laudanum, which so far had the desired effect that it produced several hours' insensibility at a time.  The laudanum he frequently took two and three times a day, and he managed to procure a large quantity of laudanum by purchasing it in small doses and saving them up until they amounted to two or three ounces.   On the day before his death he took an excessive dose, which threw him into an apparently deep sleep, but his wife, at length becoming alarmed at his insensible condition, sent for Mr. Clapp, surgeon, of Titchfield-street.  Mr. Clapp found the unfortunate man in an unconscious state, and groaning very much.  He did everything in his power to save life, but after remain ion g in the same state of stupor for many hours afterwards, the hapless sufferer expired.  Death was clearly proved to have been occasioned by a  overdose of laudanum, and the jury, after the coroner had commented upon the distressing nature of the case, returned a verdict accordingly.  A bottle containing g some laudanum was found in the deceased's boot, and there appeared to be no doubt that the poor creature took very large quantities to procure stupefaction, so excruciating was the agony from the ulcer.


The Observer, 14 November 1858


SUFFOCATION OF A BANDMASTER. - On Tuesday evening a long inquiry took place at the Gloucester Hotel, Great Sloane-street, Chelsea, before Mr. Wakley,. Coroner for West Middlesex, in reference to the death of Mr. Adam Christian Frederick Wintermann, aged 67, a German, for more than forty years master of the band to the royal household.  The deceased served during the Crimean war under the Duke of Cambridge.  -  Mr. Frederick Wintermann, professor of music, of No. [100] Great Sloane-street, said the deceased was his father.  His residence was at Hampton, but when in town he either resided with him or lodged at the Gloucester Hotel.  He came to town last Friday, and put up there on the following day.  He was informed of his death, but could not speak as to the cause.  He had no idea that the deceased had committed suicide.  He had nothing to annoy his mind, and he was of very moral habits.  He had been in ill health for some time past, and had medical advice.  Mr. Boyce, the landlord of th e tavern, said he found the deceased in bed, with all the bedclothes covered over him.  Mr. Brown, surgeon, of Sloane-street, said he had no doubt the deceased was suffocated owing to the bedclothes being placed over his head.  On a post mortem examination, he found the heart greatly diseased.  There was no poison  in the stomach.  The jury returned a verdict "That the deceased died of suffocation, owing to placing the bedclothes over his head."


The Observer, 14 November 1858


OF A MASTER JEWELLER. - On Thursday Mr. T. Wakley, coroner, held an inquest at the Wheatsheaf Tavern, Rathbone-place, Oxford-street, on the body of Mr. Thomas Forster, jeweller, of Charlotte-street, Fitzroy-square,  who committed suicide by cutting his throat.  It appeared in evidence that deceased had recently had an attack of brain fever, and since then had been occasionally excitable and low spirited.  On Tuesday morning his wife, hearing a noise in the workshop, proceeded thither, but finding the door bolted within she raised an alarm, when it being forced open deceased was discovered in a sitting position, blood flowing from an extensive wound in his throat, and an open razor in a pail of water by his side.  He had frequently threatened to commit suicide, but on each occasion, when remonstrated with by his wife, said he would never do such a thing.  Mr. Wildbore, surgeon, said, that on being called in he found deceased sitting on a stool, before his bench, supported by his wife, who had wrapped a cloth round his neck.  The wound was of such a nature that he died in about two minutes after his arrival.  Verdict - Temporary Insanity.

BY SWALLOWING POISION. - On Tuesday Mr. Wakley received information of the determined suicide of Mr. James Moore, of 26 Little St. Andrew's-street, Seven Dials, aged forty-two years.  It appears that Mr. Moore went to Mr. Roberts's shop (the corner of Seven Dials) and purchased a large quantity of oxalic acid of  his assistant, Mr. John Jones. The deceased was found writhing in agony, and Dr. Weeks, surgeon, advised his removal to St. Giles's workhouse, where he gradually sank and expired.  The deceased two years ago set fire to his house in Little Earl-street, and served eighteen months' imprisonment with hard labour.  No cause is assigned for the rash act.


The Observer, 22 November 1858


At stoke Newington. - On Monday evening an inquest was held before Mr. Wakley, coroner, at the Howard Arms, Spence-road, Stoke Newington, upon the body of Thomas Jarman Taylor, aged 48, who died suddenly on Thursday morning week.  Mrs. Taylor said: On Wednesday evening last he complained of pain in his neck, and he had some arrowroot and rum, but becoming insensible, Dr. Homer, of 9 Spencer-road, Albert Town, was called in at half-past four on Thursday morning.  The deceased, however, was then perfectly insensible, and  died at ten.  Dr. Thomas Homer having given testimony that the deceased died from apoplexy, the jury found that deceased died from apoplexy caused by extravasation of blood in the head.  There was no cause for suspicion that deceased had committed suicide.


The Observer, 26 November 1858

THE MURDER IN LONDON. - Yesterday Mr. Wakley, the coroner for Middlesex, commenced an inquest at the Harper's Arms, Theobald's Road, Bloomsbury, on view of the body of Charles Canty, who was murdered on Tuesday morning by a man named Tombs, at 17 Gloucester-0street.

   The witnesses called gave evidence similar to that taken before the police Magistrate on Tuesday.

   A Juror suggested that, under the circumstances, it was very important that they should have Tombs before them.  They ought certainly to know something of his state of mind.

   The Coroner said he had struggled for this privilege for fifteen years, and he thought now it should be left to the public.  They had a new Secretary in the Home department who was remarkable well disposed, and as ardent a lover of justice as was in Parliament.  Perhaps an application to him might have been successful.

   The Jury having consulted, requested the Coroner to allow the inquiry to be adjourned, in order that they might memorialise Mr. Walpole to cause Tombs to be brought before the Jury.

   The Coroner said that if such was the wish of the Jury, he had no objection; and the inquiry was adjourned.  [See MEETING OFD MIDDLESEX MAGISTRATES, 5 December, for discussion of this.]


The Observer, 19 December 1858


BY AN ELDERLY LADY. - On Monday Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, proceeded with an inquiry at Leighton Villas, Camden Town, touching the death of Mrs. Elizabeth Mary Denny, aged 56, who committed suicide.  The deceased, the wife of Commander Denny, R.N., it appeared, had suffered from mental aberration for some time before her melancholy end, and her relatives took every precaution to prevent so lamentable an event; for this purpose a special attendant was appointed to watch her.  She was very closely watched, but still her unfortunate malady was not such as to authorise her friends in having her removed to a lunatic asylum.  On the night before the lamentable act, and when last seen alive, the decreased seemed to be much calmer and better on the whole, and she was engaged a greater part of the evening in some crochet work.  Her attendant left her in bed, and then retired, owing to fatigue and indisposition,. To snatch for herself a few hours' repose.  Upon her proceeding, at an early hour the next morning, to the deceased's bedroom, she was horrified at discovering her mistress hanging behind the door, by means of a towel that was fastened tightly in a noose round the deceased's neck and the other end secured by a clothes peg on the other side of the door.  Life was extinct.  The jury returned a verdict of Insanity.

BY A FLOOR-CLOTH MANUFACTURER. - On Thursday Mr. Wakley, the coroner, proceeded with an inquiry at the Northampton Arms, Goswell-street, touching the death of Mr. George King, aged 49, floor-cloth maker, of Goswell-street.  It appeared from the evidence of several witnesses that the deceased was not in pecuniary difficulties, and on Sunday afternoon the family were alarmed by hearing the report of firearms.  They proceeded to the deceased's bedroom, and discovered him lying in bed, with blood issuing from his mouth, and a pistol by his side.  The father of the deceased had been of unsound mind, and the deceased was of excitable temper.  The jury decided that the deceased destroyed himself, and that he was of unsound mind at the time he committed suicide.


The Observer, 21 December 1858

DEATH FROM  FRIGHT, IN LONDON. - On Saturday an inquest was taken by Mr. Wakley, respecting the death of Sarah Davis, aged 32.  It appeared that the deceased reseeded at No. 19 Northumberland-street, and that on Monday last, in the evening, upon going out of the house she lived in, she saw a drove of bullocks before her.  At the sight of the animals she fell back in the arms of her husband, who was accompanying her.  A surgeon residing in the neighbourhood attended, and found her in a dying state.  It was his opinion that her death was the result of fright, from the sudden appearance of the bullocks, she at the time suffering under a disease of the heart. - Evening News.


The Observer, 26 December 1858


SUDDEN DEATH OF AN INDIAN OFFICER. - On Monday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Globe Tavern, Derby-0street, King's Cross, on Wm. Henry Wilbraham Pringle, aged 22, son of Colonel Pringle, and lieutenant in the 22d Bengal Native Infantry, who died in the Great Northern Railway Hotel.  Colonel Pringles, of 4 Bentinck-street, Cavendish-square, said his son had returned from India invalided from the effects of the sun, his health not permitting him to return.  He was strangely abstemious,  drinking nothing but water.  He came with witness from Cambridge on the 15th, and he and witness were staying at the Great Northern Railway Hotel.  On Friday morning week they had breakfast together, and the deceased left him to go to the water closet.  After a quarter of an hour's absence witness became alarmed, and., on the closet door being burst open, deceased was found lying on the floor with his head resting against the wall.  On being removed to an apartment he was found quite dead.  He had had a slight fit a fortnight before, but was not insensible more than a minute and a half.  He had not been wounded in service.  Mr. Spelding, surgeon, said he made a post mortem examination, and found extravasation of blood and congestion of the brain.  The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the evidence.


The Observer, 16 January 1859


   On Wednesday, at three o'clock, Mr. Wakley, the coroner for the western division of Middlesex, and a jury composed of the principal inhabitants of the neighbourhood, resumed the inquest into the circumstances connected with the death of Emma Pike, a child aged 10 years, daughter of Mr. William Pike, a hosier, residing at Newington-cause-way, who was killed on Monday, the 3d instant, by the falling of a staircase at the polytechnic Institution, as the audience in great numbers were leaving the building. ...[technical evidence on construction of building.] ...the inquiry was at this stage adjourned to Tuesday next, at ten o'clock.  [Also The Manchester Guardian, 20 January 1859.]


The Observer, 16 January 1859


BY MR. ACKERMAN, (LATE OF THE STRAND). - Much sensation has been occasioned at St. John's Wood, where the deceased resided, through its becoming known that Mr. Adolphus Ackerman, the well-known book and print publisher, lately carrying on business in the Strand, had committed suicide.  The deceased gentleman, since his retirement from business in the Strand some months ago, had lived with his family in lodgings, at 16 Blenheim-terrace, St. John's Wood.  His circumstances were unfortunately such as to cause apparently a great depression of spirits, and this would be no doubt greatly increased through his having a large family depending upon him.  Notwithstanding this, however, it does not seem that there was the slightest suspicion that he premeditated self-destruction; but on the morning of the distressing occurrence he was found lying partly undressed on his bed, in an apparently lifeless state.  Mr. Perry, surgeon, of Ampthill-terrace, was immediately called in, but the vital spark had fled.  A tumbler that had contained prussic acid was found near the deceased, from which he had drunk a quantity of that poison.  A letter was also discovered in the deceased's room, dated as far back as December, in which he spoke of committing suicide, and  said that he had previously taken laudanum, but failed in then carrying out his suicidal intention.  An inquest was held before Mr. Wakley, on Wednesday, at the Marlborough Tavern, Abbey-road, and a verdict of Suicide was returned, the state of the deceased's mind being left an open question.  The deceased was in his fiftieth year.


The Manchester Guardian, 21 January 1859


   On Wednesday, Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, and a highly respectable jury assembled at the Marlborough Tavern, Abbey Road, St. John's Wood, to inquire touching the death of Mrs. Mary Anne Finnis Herapath, the wife of Edwin John Herapath, Esq., barrister-at-law, which took place under the subjoined melancholy circumstances.

   Charles Flint said he was out, as groom, with his mistress, on Saturday afternoon, in Hyde Park; she was riding her favourite mare, and he was riding some yards behind her.  They arrived at Hyde Park Corner at a  quarter-past four o'clock, as he observed by the clock over the gateway lodge, and the deceased had just passed through the points or posts at the top of Rotten Row, when her horse went off at a canter, and immediately struck into a gallop.  The deceased beckoned with her hand to him to stop the animal, and he galloped after her, but his horse ran among the trees, and he was unable to come up with the deceased until after the accident had happened at Kensington Gate (about a mile distant).  Upon reaching Kensington Gate he found that his mistress had been thrown from her horse, and was much injured.  Upon this he left her in charge of some medical gentlemen and others, who happened to be on the spot at the time, and proceeded home to inform his master of what had occurred.

Thomas Tapp said that he was gatekeeper at Kensington Gate, Hyde Lodge, Hyde Park.  Hearing the deceased scream, he looked about and saw the deceased's horse galloping down the road towards the gate as fast as it could.  The animal passed straight through the gate, but then, instead of going on straight through the tollgate on the high road, it diverged to the right hand, and went up against the wall adjoining the picket-house.  The animal was thrown down by the violence with which it came against the wall, and the deceased was thrown violently to the ground.  She was picked up in an unconscious state, and conveyed to a private house, No. 13, opposite, where Mr. Hutchinson, a medical gentleman, who happened to be passing, attended to her until she was removed to her own residence.

   Mr. Charles Francis James Lord, surgeon, of College Crescent, St. John's Wood, gave testimony as to the nature of the injuries which the deceased had received, from which it was evident that nothing could avail to save her life.

   The Coroner commented upon the fearful nature of the injuries, remarking that all the medical assistance in the world could not have prevented fatal consequences.  The Coroner then briefly summed up; and the jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."


The Observer, 30 January 1859


   On Wednesday night, about eight o'clock, a shocking occurrence took place on the Hampstead-road.  Mr. John H. Burrow, the extensive hatter and clothier, whose premises occupy Nos. 14, 15 and 19 Adam's-row, Hampstead-road, facing the Reservoir, had been out in company with Mr. Thos. Plews, timber merchant, of 394 Euston-road, and old acquaintance or friend, who had called upon him to have a glass together at the Adam and Eve public-house, where it was observed that they both appeared a little the worse for liquor, Mr. Plews especially.  After talking a few minutes at the bar, they appeared to be getting  out of temper with each other, and left the house quarrelling.  It appears that they continued quarrelling, and Mr. Plews followed Mr. Burrow into his shop.  In a few minutes their altercation became very violent, and Mr. Plews, who is a tall and tremendously powerful man, being incensed at some observation Mr. Burrow made to him, struck him a blow.  Mr. Burrow fell forward, his forehead coming in contact with the handle of an old-fashioned chest of drawers.  He lay on the ground, and, apparently unable to rise, one of his shopmen rushed to his assistance, and, on finding him insensible, exclaimed to Mr. Plews, "You have killed Mr. Burrow."  Mr. Plews is represented to have replied, "A ----- good job too," and then walked out of the shop.

   Mr. John Collins, surgeon, of Mornington-place, and Mr. Harris, of Gower-street, promptly attended, and pronounced life to be extinct.

   At the Marlborough street police court, on Thursday, Mr. Plews, timber merchant, of 394 Euston-road, was charged before the magistrate with manslaughter of the deceased, when the following evidence was given:-

   Rosanna Friend, servant to the deceased, said: Last evening, about eight o'clock, the defendant and my master came in together, and they had angry words in the shop.  Heard my master say that Mr. Plews was a thief, and had robbed him.  I had at first tried to persuade my master to come from the shop into the parlour, but he did not do so.  Mr. Plews offered to fight him, and held his fist to my master's face; my master turned round to avoid the blow, and he was hit with great violence in the back, and he fell, his head coming against a drawer.  He died immediately afterwards.  He had been in good health before.

   Mr. Collins, of Mornington-place, surgeon, said: I found the deceased with a small scalp wound.  There were no other external marks of violence.  I think that death was caused by the rupture of a vessel in the brain, occasioned by the fall.

   Sergeant Beard, 23S, s aid:- On receiving information of the death, I went to Mr. Plews's residence at twelve at night, and found Mr. Plews lying on a sofa asleep.  He was undressed.  When I said he was charged with having caused to death of Mr. Burrow, he exclaimed, "My God, is he dead."  He was very much excited.  I have no doubt that he was the worse for drink.  He said that he had struck Mr. Burrow, and that he would strike any man who accused him of villainy.

   Mr. Long said the fatal blow was no doubt given under circumstances of great provocation, by the prisoner, in defence of his character.  It w as a most serious and lamentable affair.  He should remand the prisoner for a week.  Substantial bail would be required for his appearance.

   The inquest on the body of Mr. Burrow was opened on Friday, before Mr. Wakley, at the Prince of Wales, Frederick-place, Hampstead-road, and having heard the evidence of Mr. Julius Collins, of Mornington-place, the surgeon who was called in, and who had made a post mortem examination, and that of the housekeeper up to the point where she made a charge against Mr. Plews of striking her master, and causing him to fall, the coroner put it to the jury whether they desired to proceed further in the absence of the accused party.  The jury were unanimous in opinion that they ought to have Mr. Plews before them, and the inquiry was ultimately adjourned till Thursday next, Mr. Wakley undertaking to write to Mr. Walpole in the meantime to request the attendance of the accused at the adjourned inquiry.


The Observer, 31 January 1859



... The foreman said the verdict they had, with one dissentient only, agreed upon was "Accidental Death, caused by the falling of a stone staircase at the Polytechnic Institution, .....[recommendations.]


The Observer, 6 February 1859


OF A NUMBER TAKER AT THE CAMDEN GOODS STATION. - An inquest was held before Thomas Wakley, Esq., at the Elephant and Castle, King's-road, Camden Town, on the body of William Henry Beswick, whose death occurred on the London and North Western Railway on Wednesday last.  The deceased was a number taker at the Camden goods station on the London and North Western Railway.  Shortly before 7 o'clock on the Wednesday morning, he was on duty, in company with the fireman of the number takers, under the arch at the Chalk Farm station.  An engine was detached from some coal waggons, which having been shunted, ran back down the line.  The buffer of the front truck struck the deceased, who fell across the rail, and sic of the wheels passed over his body, killing him on the spot.  A verdict of accidental Death was returned.


The Observer, 13 February 1859


Yesterday a most deplorable event, which has taken place at Hanwell County Lunatic Asylum, was investigated by the local bench of magistrates, and subsequently by Mr. Wakley, the coroner.  On Thursdays morning a man named William Roberts and another man named John Brady were taken out as usual, with about 20 other patients, for the purpose of being employed, under the superintendence of James Birch, one of the gardeners, in spade husbandry.  Roberts, who is 28 years of age, has been in the asylum 14 years, and having three years ago made a sudden attack upon a fellow patient, he was considered a dangerous lunatic, and was therefore, while at work, kept w0 yards from any other inmate.  On Thursday morning Brady happened to be the next to Roberts, who was working with a large iron pronged fork.  Suddenly hearing a noise, Birch, the gardener, on turning round, saw poor Brady on the ground, and Roberts belabouring him about the head with the iron pronged fork, with all his might. ... Before the jury Mr. Begby, the surgeon, proved that the injuries were the cause of death, and that the accused was an epileptic patient, who became exceedingly violent before his fits, and that he was not responsible for his acts. ... The coroner, in summing up, expressed his conviction that it would be useless to put the county to the expense of sending the irresponsible being the jury had had before them for trial, as no jury in the world would convict him on the capital charge of wilful murder. - The jury concurred with the coroner, and returned a verdict of Misadventure, attaching thereto [recommendations.]


The Observer, 20 February 1859


LOVE AND SUICIDE. - On Monday Mr. Wakley held an inquest on Joseph William Jones, aged 22, late assistant to Mr. W. Emerson, surgeon, of 3 Lower York-place.  Mr. W. Emerson said the deceased had been his assistant for the last eight months.  On Friday morning deceased's door was found to be fastened inside, and no answer was given to repeated knockings.  It was broken open, and deceased was found lying dressed on the floor, at the foot of the bed, dead, and the body was cold.  A bottle lay by his side, labelled "Hydrocyanic acid, Scheele's" (the strongest prussic acid), and the bed was undisturbed, showing that he had not been in bed the night before.  Witness thinks that the suicide was a love affair, as a number of love letters lay near him, torn to pieces. - Harriet Ranson, to whom deceased was said to have been engaged to be married, said she resided in Bishopsgate-street.  She received the following letter from him on Friday morning:-

3, Lower York-place, Kentish Town.

Mr Dearest Harriet,

                                  My gold watch is for you, and please apply for it at 1, Hamilton-place, Highbury-park North, of Mr. Llewellyn, who will give it up to you, as you are the one I most love of all.  Therefore, accept my watch with my love.

Yours, most affectionately, Joseph Jones.

They parted as friendly as ever on the Sunday before, and he promised to see her again before the month was out.

   Edward Champion, errand boy to Mr. Emerson, said that on Thursday night deceased wrote two letters and sent them by post, and he w rote and tore up another letter.  He then went to the cupboard where poisons are kept, and then went up stairs.  As he was going up stairs he gave witness a parcel, containing a shirt that witness might keep if he liked.  Witness saw nothing unusual in his manner.  The jury returned a verdict of Suicide, leaving the state of mind of the deceased an open question.

IN THE STREET. - On Wednesday Mr. Wakley held an inquest in Paddington Workhouse, on Caroline Allen, aged 39, the widow of a soldier who fell in the Crimean war.  She had been reduced to destitution, being unable to procure any employment.  On the day of her death she left her lodgings at 21 Cirencester-street, saying that she purposed to take lodgings in an adjoining street.  Soon afterwards she was seen staggering, as if drunk, in the Harrow-road, and she sat down on the footpath retching violently.  She was conveyed to the workhouse opposite, and Dr. Norway attended her, but she died in half an hour.  A piece of paper was found in her pocket, labelled "Oxalic acid, poison."  The act was evidently caused by extreme poverty.  Her stomach was quite devoid of food, and she had only 2 ½ d in her pocket.  The jury returned a verdict of Suicide, leaving the state of her mind an open question.


The Observer, 21 February 1859


DEATH IN A WORKHOUSE. - On Tuesday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at St. Luke's workhouse, King's-road, Chelsea, on Elizabeth M'Carthy, aged 67, a destitute creature, who died from the alleged neglect of the workhouse authorities.  Policeman Murphy said that at two o'clock on Friday morning, the 28th ult., he found deceased lying against some rails in the Chelsea New bridge-road, and, in answer to questions, she stated that she was homeless and destitute.  He then took her to the workhouse, where she was admitted, being in a very exhausted condition.  Joseph Lamb, the night porter, said he received the deceased, and showed her into a room, in which was a bed, and then left her; and in the morning, about nine o'clock, on going into the room, he saw that she had not been in bed.  She was left alone in the room.  She had no refreshments offered to her, and there was no fire in the room.  The coroner and jury both expressed their great surprise that no kind of help or nourishment was offered to the deceased when admitted, as it had been shown that she was in an exhausted condition.  Mrs. Humphries, the nurse, said that she saw deceased in the morning, and offered her the breakfast allowed to the "casual paupers," consisting of half a pint of gruel and a slice of bread, but deceased was unable to take it.  It appeared from further evidence that the deceased had applied for an order of admission during the day, but Mr. Tubbs, the relieving officer, being engaged, she left without receiving it, and was consequently refused admission when she applied in the afternoon.  The evidence of the surgeon showed she had died from injury on the brain, caused probably by a fall.  The jury, after a long deliberation, returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony, but added £that great neglect had been shown by Mr. Tubbs, the relieving officer, and they hoped more caution would in future be used in the cases of casual paupers."


The Manchester Guardian, 24 February 1859


On Tuesday night, at half-past ten o'clock, Mr. William Baker, coroner for east Middlesex, died at his residence, after a few days' illness. ... was elected to the coronership in September, 1830, ... These duties, for a time, will be transferred to Mr. Wakley, coroner for the western division of the county.


The Observer, 6 March 1859


OF A PUBLICAN IN THE REGENT'S CANAL. - On Tuesday an inquest was taken by Mr. Wakley, at the Elephant and castle, King's-road, St. Pancras, on view lf the body of Mr. James Wright, aged forty-nine, who was found drowned in the regent's Canal;.  It appeared from the evidence that on the 28th ult., the deceased, who had formerly been in business at St. Pancras, and who was highly respected, attended the funeral of Mr. Joliff, landlord of the Prince Albert, Caledonian-road, and which took place at Kensal Green.  On his return from the funeral; he called at the Chalk Farm Tavern.  He left there rather excited, to go home, but was never afterwards seen alive.  His body was subsequently found in the Regent's canal.  A verdict of Found Dead was returned by the jury.


The Observer, 13 March 1859


The candidates and the contest.


The Observer, 13 March 1859

OF A TRADESMAN IN A FIT OF PASSION. - Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, held an inquest at the lord Wellington, University-street, Tottenham Court-road, on Mr. Joseph Simmons, aged 38, a tradesman, lately carrying on business at 2, New Royal Arcade, Oxford-street.  It appeared that the unfortunate deceased was subject to violent fits of tempest, and on the day of his death he was heard quarrelling with his wife, a very common circumstance, which therefore, although the high words attracted the attention of the neighbours, did not excite any alarm.  In the course of the squabble, a man named Henry Deane, who has charge fog the Arcade, heard the deceased exclaim that he would go and hang himself.  Almost immediately afterwards the wife rushed out of the shop, screaming, and exclaiming that her husband had hung himself.  Deane proceeded to the cellar and found him suspended.  He was cut down, and conveyed to the University College Hospital, where he remained speechless and insensible until his death the following day.  Deceased had frequently, in fits of passion, threatened to comity suicide.  The jury returned a perfect of Suicide, leaving the state of deceased's mind an open question.


The Observer, 13 March 1859


FROM CHOKING WHILE EATING. - Last week Mr. Wakley held an inquest, in the Middlesex Hospital, on Thomas Gardiner, aged 50.  The deceased, who was in the employ of Mr. Thirst, the sewers contractor, after receiving his wages, went to partake of some refreshment at a coffee-house, George-street, Tottenham Court-road.  He appeared to be at the time in the best of health and spirits, but immediately afterwards, when in the act of eating a chop, he fell from his seat a corpse.  Medical aid was called in, but death seemed to have been instantaneous.  A suspicion was aroused that he might have been choked, and such turned out to be the case; for, upon the windpipe being opened a large piece of meat, four inches long, which formed one end of the chop, was found so lodged that it completely blocked up the air passage, and thus produced immediate death.  Verdict - Accidental Death.


The Observer, 13 March 1859



The Observer, 14 March 1859

LIFE AND DEATH OF A FEMALE MISER. - On Saturday, Mr. Wakley, the coroner, received information respecting the death of Rebecca Nalpas, aged 42, who died in a miserable hovel at Bethnal Green.  It appears that the deceased had property to live upon, and the house where she had resided was well furnished, but very filthy and unwholesome.  She for some months past had been wandering about the streets of London, picking up rags and bones, and when discovered on Friday was in a dying and emaciated condition.  Mr. Shaw, the surgeon, of Cambridge Road, was promptly in attendance, but the deceased expired shortly afterwards.  Her body was covered with vermin, and she had died upon the floor in a state of nudity.  The deceased is reported to have died with a considerable sum, and had money in the bank.  The deceased has no relatives.  She was very much emaciated, and is fully believed to have died from exposure and starvation.


The Observer, 20 March 1859


OF A DRUNKARD. - An inquest has been taken by Mr. Wakley, coroner, at the Wellington Tavern, University-street, Tottenham Court-road, on view of the body of John Proctor,  aged 54, who committed suicide by cutting his throaty with a razor, at 7 Randolph-place, St. Pancras, under the following circumstances: - For some time past the deceased was much addicted to drinking, and from the effects of which he often approached to a state of insanity; and on the 27th ult., which day was the anniversary of his birth, a strange noise was heard in his room, when, upon one of the lodgers going in, he was found with his head over a wash-hand basin, and blood fast flowing from a wound he had inflicted across his throat.  He was conveyed to the University College Hospital, where he died.


The Observer, 20 March 1859


TO AN OFFICER. - During the last few days a painful excitement has been caused in the neighbourhood of Kensington, in con sequence of the lamentable death of Captain Marr Ward, of Her Majesty's 10th regiment of Foot, and formerly of the Ceylon Rifles, a son of the late Admiral Ward, under the following circumstances: - The deceased, who was about 34 years of age, had within the last few months returned from India, since which he had exchanged from the Ceylon Rifles into the 10th regiment of Foot.  He resided with his widowed mother and two sisters in a villa, Dover-place, Gloucester-road, Kensington.  On Friday morning week, about half-past six, he was discovered by a domestic at the bottom of the area steps of a house in the Victoria-road, Kensington; he was speechless, and bleeding from a severe wound on the head.  The police were informed of the circumstance, and Mr. Webster, a surgeon, promptly attended.  From a letter found upon his person, it was ascertained who he was, and his place of abode; he was removed home, but he never rallied or recovered his senses, and  died about one o'clock the same day.  On Wednesday evening a long inquiry took place before Mr. Wakley, the coroner, at the Gloucester Arms Tavern, Gloucester-road, when evidence was given as to the above facts; in addition to which it was proved that the deceased left the Wellington Club, of which he was a member, on Tuesday night, in his usual health and spirits, and quite sober.  Several friends of the deceased said they had no doubt the deceased had, from  the darkness of the road, mistake his residence and fell down the area.  A verdict of Accidental; Death was returned.


The Observer, 28 March 1859


FROM LOCK JAW. - Mr. Wakley went into an inquiry at the London Hospital as to the death of James Dorkins, aged thirteen years.  It appeared that the deceased was running with other boys at play, when he fell and injured his knee very slightly.  He was removed to the hospital, where the house surgeon discovered that the deceased was suffering from tetanus, or lock-jaw.  Mr. Gill, the medical officer, said the case was a very remarkable one, and the coroner concurred in this opinion,.  Verdict, Died from Tetanus.


The Observer, 17 April 1859


OF DR. GLOVER. - On Tuesday Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, attended at the Prince Albert tavern, Kensington Park-road, to investigate the circumstances attending the death of Dr. Robert Mortimer Glover, aged r42, late physician to the Royal Free Hospital, and the author of several able medical works and papers, which melancholy event took place through an overdose of chloroform.  Joseph Miller, on being examined, stated that he lived at 7 Tottenham-street.  He knew Dr. Glover well, and was with him when his death took place on the evening on the 9th inst., about half-past seven, at the deceased's late residence, 1 Kensington Park-road.  He had been with the deceased the whole of the day.  With the exception of saying "Yes" or "No" once or twice while friction was being applied, the deceased continued insensible up to his death. Dr. Hopton was in attendance upon him, and besides friction hot flannels were applied, and other remedies resorted to.  Mr. Walter M. Rochfort was the next witness called, who stated that he was a chemist, and lived at Kensington Park-road, where the deceased resided for the past twelve months.  On Friday evening he was called to the deceased by Mr. Gant, a friend of the unfortunate gentleman.  The deceased at that time was comatose - he could not speak.  He had known the deceased previously, from having taken large doses of opium, to be in a partially insensible state.  The deceased, on such occasions, said that he took the opium for attacks of dysentery and so forth.  He had also known the deceased take doses of chloroform or chloric ether; at least, he said that he did so.  The deceased was given to intemperate habits, but he had known him to be a month without being inebriated.  He dined with him (witness), and he  said he was obliged to take opium and stimulants, because of his having suffered severely from dysentery while in the East.  He never said anything about suicide, and he (witness) believed he was of a very different disposition than to commit suicide.  He was married about six weeks ago.  After his marriage he did not seem altered or depressed.  There was a separation between the deceased and his wife about a week after their marriage, and she was at present an inmate of Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum.  The evidence of Mr. Gant, one of the surgeons of the Royal Free Hospital, went to shew that deceased had taken an overdose of chloroform when only intending to take it as an anaesthetic.  The coroner concurred in this opinion, and the jury, after some deliberation, recorded that deceased died from the mortal effects of his taking an excessive quantity of chloroform as an intoxicating agent, and not with the view of destroying life, or doing himself personal injury.


The Observer, 18 April 1859


TO A PLATELAYER ON THE NORTH WESTERN. - An inquest has been held by Mr. Wakley on Joseph Langley, aged 45, a platelayer.  It appeared that the deceased and other platelayers were engaged at their usual avocation on the line near the Kew Junction (close to the spot where the fatal collision occurred a short time since), when the four o'clock p.m. down train approached.  The deceased at this period was picking out the ballast between the metals on which the down train was proceeding, and owing to the noises occasioned by two engines standing on the lines blowing off steam, he would not hear the signal given by the approaching train, and he was struck by the engine.  The shock sent him forward some distance, but being thrown off the down line the train did not go over him.  As it was, however, although his body was not mutilated, yet he was picked up in an insensible state, his skull having been driven in through the force with which the engine struck him, and he died a few minutes after the shocking event.  The coroner suggested that there should be  a ,large bell suspended at the junction, with a wire attached at some distance, which could be rung to apprise platelayers of the approach of trains.  A verdict of Accidental Death was recorded.


The Observer, 24 April 1859


DEATH FROM POISON. - On Monday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Prince Albert, Princes-road, St. John's Wood, on Mr. Richard P. Pritchard, of Albert-road.  It appeared that the deceased, who generally enjoyed good health, became afflicted with toothache, on Thursday night, when in his bedroom, he told Jane Morley, his servant, to pour some medicine from a bottle into a glass.  She could not find the bottle at first, but she afterwards found one on the mantelshelf, and deceased desired her to pour the contents into a glass.  She did so, and on swallowing the contents he lay down.  Afterwards, when she went to visit him, he was speechless, and she and the cook sent for a surgeon, but deceased did not recover.  Subsequently two phials were found, one containing an aperient, and the other (from which the glass had been filled) containing laudanum. - Mr. Britton, of Acacia-road, surgeon, deposed that death was caused by an over-dose of laudanum. The jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death, and that no blame attached to Jane Morley.


The Observer, 23 May 1859


On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Wakley, the coroner for West Middlesex, and the jury previously empanneled, assembled at the Prince Blucher, Twickenham, to conclude the inquest on the five unfortunate men who had been killed b y the explosion at the Hanworth or Hounslow gunpowder mills, belonging to Messrs. Curtis, Harvey, and Co.  [Technical evidence and verdict; no names.]


The Observer, 29 May 1859


OF A PROPRIETOR OF POTTERY WORKS AT FULHAM. - On Wednesday Mr. Wakley resumed an inquest, at the Golden lion, Fulham, on Mr. Chas. Edward White, aged 70, proprietor of extensive pottery works at Fulham. - It appeared that the deceased, who had been born in Fulham, where his father had carried on business before him, had latterly become very desponding, arising from his connection with a young woman, with whom he has cohabited for the last eight months.  He was last seen in her company on Friday night, the 13th inst., when high words passed between them. He was on the premises next sat as late as half-past five p.m.  At six o'clock, when the men were to be paid, the foreman went to the counting-house and found the door locked inside, and he saw through the window the deceased sitting in a chair, apparently insensible.  The door was broken open.  There was a strong smell, and the deceased, who was quite dead, appeared to have vomited.  Mr. Gillingham, surgeon, made a post mortem examination, but could not discover the cause of death. - The foreman said he found no bottle or paper in the counting-house, and the deceased's sister said she had not the least idea that he had poisoned himself. - The inquest was then adjourned for the analysis of the stomach. P- Mr. Gillingham now stated that Dr. Richardson made the analysis, and found corrosive sublimate in large quantities. - Mr. Bolton, the foreman, now said when the counting-house door was broken open, a wine glass was found in the window, where it has usually been.  On the Sunday morning he found a piece of paper in the stove marked "strong poison."  Witness did not like to mention this on the last occasion (when he distinctly said that he found no paper) because he did not wish to hurt the feelings of Miss White, who was present.

   The Coroner: You ought to have mentioned it, as it might have prevented the jury from attending today.  It releases any person from the charge of murder.

   Witness: I have given the paper to Miss White.

   Coroner: Bring it here.  While the witness was gone, the coroner observed that if this was a suicide it would make the sixth he had held since Monday - three on Tuesday and three that day.  It was extraordinary the number of suicides that took place in the neighbourhood of London, and it was really thought nothing of.  They happened more frequently in the hot months, and it was an error to suppose that they chiefly took place ion November.

   The witness here returned and handed a paper to the coroner, but he and the jury were unable to discover the words.  The fireman said the paper was scorched, but on putting the pieces together he could distinctly read the words "strong poison," some of the jury could only decypher the letters "s" and "n."  Mr. Gillingham said the deceased used to dose himself with medicine, and he might have taken poison by mistake.  A gentleman present said the deceased had been brought up as a chemist.  The foreman said he stood high as a manufacturer.  The jury then returned a verdict - Died from poison, but how administered there was no evidence to show.

BY A LADY AT ISLINGTON. - On Tuesday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Eagle Tavern, Seven Sisters'-road, Holloway, on Mrs. Sarah Gates, aged 40, who committed self-destruction at her residence, 23, Sussex-road. - Mr. Thomas Gates, deceased's husband, said that on Friday, the day of his wife's death, he was sent for to the City, and on arriving home he discovered the deceased to be dead, and leant that she had been found at the door of her bedroom, with a severe wound in the throat.  For some time past she had been a great sufferer, principally through disease in the legs, and she had had several of the first physicians and surgeons to attend her, without any good result. - Sophia Barnett, the nurse, corroborated the above. - Mr. Gates added that deceased's father died insane. - The coroner summed up, giving his opinion that long suffering had caused insanity. - The jury returned a verdict of insanity.


Guardian, 5 June 1859

THE ACCIDENT AT THE WESTMINSTER PALACE HOTEL. - On Thursday Me. Bedford renewed the inquest on the persons killed by the late accident at the Westminster palace hotel.  Mr. James Richardson, civil engineer, Duke-street, Grosvenor-square, said he had examined the building and the transoms, and he was of opinion that they had broken from being overweighted. ... The inquest was then adjourned till Thursday next to hear the evidence of Coleman and Woodley.

   Sergeant Ballantine: I feel delicate about calling witnesses whose testimony might criminate themselves.

   Mr. Wakley: Their testimony may throw some light on the subject, but they are not bound to criminate themselves.


Guardian, 5 June 1859


On Tuesday Mr. Wakley resumed an inquest, at the Castle public-house, Holloway, on John Andrew Cooper Huddleston, son of Mr. Huddleston, surgeon, of 16 Cornwall-terrace, Holloway. The deceased, it may be remembered, was found dead on the 16th ultimo, in a field off Holloway-road, between Claremont Cottages and the Great Northern Railway.  He had been brought up to the medical profession, and had been with Dr. Bainbridge.  He purchased half an ounce of prussic acid at Hooper's, Pall-mall East (where he was known through his connection with Dr. Bainbridge). Several letters were found upon him, one, addressed to the jury that should sit upon him, explaining the cause of his suicide, and accusing his father of negligence. - Mr. Close, of Pleasant-row, oilman, said that on the 11th of April he took the deceased in through charity.  He had seen him before, but not to speak to him.  He was with witness about a fortnight.  The father offered to pay his fare, through witness, if he would go to his mother at Dover, to see if she would do anything for him.  The father refused to speak to deceased, who complained of his father's treatment.  There was nothing strange in his manner or irregular in his habits.  He s aid there was nothing for him to wish to live for.  He had neither money nor friends, and his father had put him into a profession, but would not carry him through with it, and had deserted him.

   Mr. J. N. Huddleston, the father, said the deceased in January, 1858, ceased to reside with him in consequence of his having threatened to murder witness with a knife, and witness consulted Mr. Lewis (who now attended to watch the result) as to what steps he should take for his protection.  He went to the police court, where he was advised not to proceed, but, owing to the alarm, he could not receive deceased into his house.  He had, in April, to call in the police, and, on the `11th April, deceased stopped his carriage on the road.  On the 23rd April he threatened violence with a stick as deceased was passing   down the road, and, brandishing the stick, he exclaimed, "Now, will you not speak to me?" Witness said, "After what has happened keep your distance."  Witness then called a policeman and deceased went away.  Witness saw him no more alive.

   Cross-examined: It was two years since he threatened to use the knife.  Witness heard that he had been found in his stable.  He had not ordered his man to turn him our and refuse him admission even to the stable to sleep in.  At times he was very dissipated, and the first cause of their difference was his late hours and laxity of conduct.  He was very headstrong, and unruly in temper - so much so that his reason might be overbalanced.  When he stopped witness's horse  in April, he got out of the chaise, and left his servant and the police to get rid of him.  He received a letter from him on the 19th inst., referring to the letter addressed to the jury.

    A solicitor, who watched the case for the mother and some creditors of the deceased, asked: Did not deceased say, when he stopped the horse in April, that he was starving with hunger? Witness believed that some such expression was used.

   Mr. Huddleston's groom deposed to the deceased having threatened to use a knife to his father.  His (the groom's) mother gave deceased now and then a meal of victuals when he was starving.  He once lodged at his mother's.  Wiriness once found him in the stable.  He was not exactly ordered to turn him out, but to prevent his coming again.  Mr. Huddleston, as far as witness knew, behaved kindly to deceased till they quarrelled.

   A juror: Was that not in consequence of the son visiting his mother?

   Mr. Lewis objected to the question. -0 Mr. Wakley concurred in the objection.

   The juror: It has been rumoured that that was the cause, and if that be untrue, it ought to be denied. - Mr. Huddleton volunteered to answer, but was stopped by his solicitor.

   Mr. Close was not allowed to state his reasons for taking the deceased out of charity.  Among the papers found on the deceased was one apprising him of a situation at £40 a year, with board and lodging, which the coroner said would go to show that he still had some prospect when he committed the rash act, as the letter was dated but a few days before he took the poison.

   After a very lengthened inquiry twelve of the jury agreed to a verdict, "That the deceased  died from the effects of poison administered by his own hand, but that there was no evidence to satisfy them as to the state of his mind at the time."


Guardian, 17 June 1859

   THE MURDER AND SUICIDE AT ST. PANCRAS. - Yesterday morning, Mr. Thomas Wakley opened an inquiry into the circumstances attending the deaths of Elizabeth Croft and her two children, the children having been murdered by their mother, who afterwards committed suicide.  A jury proceeded to view the bodies, which presented a very distressing appearance.  On their return to the inquest room, the Coroner said he thought it would be very essential that the head of Mrs. Cruft should be carefully examined by a competent surgeon before they proceeded further with their inquiry into the lamentable and shocking case. - The Jury at once assented; and the proceedings were then adjourned until Saturday next.


The Observer, 19 June 1859


OF AN OFFICER OF THE 1ST WEST INDIA REGIMENT. - Mr. Wakley, coroner, last week proceeded with an inquiry, at the Rainbow tavern, Liverpool-road, Islington, touching the  death of captain William Arnold Wallinger, aged 34, late of the 1st West India regiment, and son of Mr. Sergeant Wallinger, who committed suicide under the following circumstances:-

   It appeared from the evidence that deceased had lodges at 61, Gibson-square, since Christmas past, and he was somewhat irregular and intemperate in his habits.  On the day of his death, his non-appearance at the usual hour excited suspicion, and the landlady entered his room, when she found him lying on the floor with a phial that had contained prussic acid by his side.  She immediately called assistance, and Mr. G. Harslip, a neighbouring surgeon, was sent for, but that gentleman, upon his arrival, pronounced life extinct.  There was a strong smell of prussic acid at the deceased's mouth, and the post mortem examination proved that he had drunk a large quantity of that deadly poison, causing, as it must have done, instantaneously fatal results.  The phial found by his side was an ounce bottle, and it seemed probable that he had drunk the whole of the contents.  A note written by the deceased was discovered on the table, addressed to his father, in which he spoke of his past life in terms of bitter self-reproach, said that it would be the last rime he would hear from him, and, in conclusion, begged his father to forgive him the trouble and annoyance that he had occasioned to his family.  The deceased had twice before attempted suicide. - The jury returned a verdict of Suicide, leaving the state of mind an open question.


Guardian, 20 June 1859

THE DOUBLE MURDER AND SUICIDE IN LONDON. On Saturday morning, the adjourned inquest on the bodies of Ann Cruft, aged 25, and her two children, was held at the King's Head, Swinton-street, St. Pancras, before Mr. Wakley.  It will be recollected that the unfortunate woman, after cutting the throats of her two children, committed suicide by cutting her own throat.  Evidence was  given that she had shown symptoms if insanity, and that her grandfather and uncles had been insane.  The Jury at once came to the conclusion that she was insane, and that she murdered her children whilst in a state of insanity.


The Observer, 20 June 1859


   On Wednesday morning, shortly before eleven o'clock, the neighbourhood of the Clerkenwell police court was thrown into a state of great excitement, by the discovery that a dreadful murder had been committed at No. 52, Swinton-street, Gray's Inn-road.  It appeared, from inquiries made on the spot, that a jeweller of the name of Cruft has resided with his wife for some time in the front and back parlours.  About three months since his wife, Anne Cruft, was confined, and since then she has been in a very desponding state, in consequence of not being able, as she thought, to take proper care of her two children.  Mr. Selwood, surgeon, of Percy-street, has been attending her, but since Saturday he had not seen her, as it was understood that she was about paying a visit to some friends in the country.  On Wednesday morning the husband went to his employment at the usual hour, and the parties in the house not hearing the children cry, or Mrs. Cruft moving about, became somewhat alarmed.  After the lapse of some time they knocked at the door, and not obtaining any reply, a woman named Clarke procured a ladder to look in at the back parlour window.  She did so, and perceiving that the woman was lying in a very peculiar position, she at once communicated with the police, who effected an entrance.

   A most frightful sight presented itself.  On a French bedstead lay the lifeless bodies of Mrs. Croft and her two children, both of whom are females, one being of the age of three years and the other about three months.  Both their throats were cut from ear to ear, the incisions being very deep, and the blood still oozing  from the wounds.  The eldest child appears to have two wounds in the throat.  The mother, it is supposed, cut the throat of the eldest child first, and then the youngest.  After this she must have sat on the side of the bed and cut her throat with her right hand, and when she fell off the bed, with her left hand covered her face with the sheet.  The children were in their night clothes, the mother was fully dressed.  The razor with which she committed the dreadful act was found between her feet.  The unfortunate woman is  said to be very respectably connected, and is about twenty-five years of age.


   Yesterday forenoon, at none o'clock, Mr. Wakley, the coroner, resumed at the King's Head, Swinton-street, Gray's Inn-road, his inquiry as to the death of Anne Cruft and her two infant children, Grace Elizabeth, aged three years, and Eliza Louisa, aged three months, the latter having been murdered by their unfortunate parent, who subsequently cut her own throat.

   Susan Clarke was first examined: She said she resided at 76 Judd-street, and went out charing.  On Wednesday morning, while washing for deceased in the kitchen, the deceased's girl came to her and  said she could not get in to the parlour.  She went and knocked at the door very loud, but as she could get no answer, she went and asked a man to get a ladder.  She mounted the ladder against the back parlour window, and on looking over the shutter, she saw the mother (Mrs. Cruft) and the two children lying on the bed apparently lifeless.  The woman had something white over he head, and witness exclaimed, "Oh, she has done something  wrong."  She sent for a policeman, and one came and burst open the door, when the bodies of the mother and the children were found lying on the bed and weltering in their blood. The deceased woman was lying with her legs hanging over the side of the bed.

   By the Coroner: I had known the deceased about three months, having washed for her.  I saw her on the Tuesday; she then appeared very well.  She said I was late, as it w as about half-past twelve.  I asked her how she was, and she said she was gone; and I said, "What do you mean, don't say that," and she then sat down in a chair and dropped her hands by her side, and  said, "My head is quite gone."  Thought she looked very wild at me.  She used frequently when she came down  stairs, to talk to me.  Complained of being languid, and that she could not sleep at night.  She said she was with child, and that she frequently said preyed on her mind so soon after her other child's birth.

   Police constable 461 A  said: about ten minutes past eleven on Wednesday morning I was called to go to No. 52 Swinton-street, and found the door fastened, and was told that there was a ladder at the back-room window, and I then saw the bodies.  I burst open the room door, and found the mother and children lying on the bed with their throats cut.  Looked under the bed to see if there was any one under the bed.  The folding doors leading to the front parlour were open, but the front parlour door was locked.  Found the razor produced lying between the feet of the deceased.  There was a large pool of blood sunning from the bed to the back parlour window.  I only saw one pool of blood.

   The foreman remarked that he thought the mother must have taken each child in her lap to have cut their throats.

   Jane Thompson, a girl about 14 years of age,  said she lived as servant to Mrs. Cruft.  On Wednesday morning she went there about half-past nine.  Mrs. Cruft was then having her breakfast.  She told me to go and sweep the other room.  I was away from her about half an hour.  She then called me and sent me out to get some shoes for the children, and told me not to run, as it might hurt me.  I was gone about twenty minutes, and when I came back I could not get into the room.  Had been with Mrs. Cruft about two months.  Her treatment to the children was always very kind.  She appeared very strange at times, and  said she should die every minute.  Mr. Cruft used to go to his employment before I got there.  She appeared better on Tuesday than I had at other times seen her.  She had the doctor, and she said she was ill on Sunday morning, and wished the doctor fetched.  He came a few days before this happened.

   George Cruft, the husband of the deceased, said he resided at 52, Swinton-street, and he was a jeweller.  The deceased, Elizabeth Cruft, was his wife, aged 26, and the children were also his.  He left home about half-past eight o'clock on Monday morning, leaving his wife and children in bed.  He had but two or three words with her.  She appeared low in spirits, but tried to keep her troubles secret from him; but lately dropped some strange remarks.  She was suckling one child, but had no milk, and wished it to be put out.  She had told witness herself that some of her brothers had committed suicide.  She had not spoken of that lately.  She was very reserved in her manner, but was always very kind to the children.

   By the Coroner: I am not aware that she was labouring under any delusions.  I had not used the razor for two or three years, and I don't know where I put it.  She asked me on Sunday morning which was the best way to destroy herself.  I  replied, "Don't talk like that.  It is not as if I was out of work and could not keep you.  You will get better."

   By the Jury: On the morning of Wednesday I had no quarrel with her, but I awoke about seven, and asked her if she was going to get up, and I feel off to sleep; when I woke I found she had not got up, and I made this remark - "If I had known you was not going to get up, I should have got up myself."

   The father of the deceased female was then examined, and appeared to be labouring under the most painfully excited feelings.  He said he had no complaint to make against his daughter's husband, or any one else.

   In answer to questions from the Coroner, the witness said unfortunately this was not the only member of his family who had committed suicide whilst labouring under insanity.  His father, who was dead, had been in a lunatic asylum.

   Rebecca Freeman, a lodger in the same house, spoke to the mind of the deceased, which she said she thought was not quite right.  She frequently complained of her head, but was most kind to the children.

   Mr. J. H. Selwood said he resided at 31, Great Percy-street, Clerkenwell.  He attended the deceased woman in her confinement, and had attended her for the last three months.  He was sent for on Wednesday morning about a quarter past eleven, and found the bodies lying on the bed.  The deceased woman's throat was cut so that the head was nearly severed from the body, exposing the spinal cord.  It was a double cut.  In the throat of the elder child there were two deep wounds going into the vertebrae.  The throat of the younger child was also frightfully cut.  Had since examined the brain of the woman.  The membranes were much congested. The skull itself was thicker than ordinary.  Examined the other parts of the body, and found she was not, as she anticipated, enceinte.  The deceased had consulted me for weakness and sickness in the morning, and, having lost her milk, she became alarmed on that score.  Saw her on the previous Friday and advised her to go into the country, and she said she would on the following Friday (the previous day).

   By the Coroner: from the evidence I have heard, and taking all the circumstances into consideration, I come to the conclusion that she committed this dreadful act whilst in a state of insanity.

   The Coroner remarked that she was a kind-hearted, gentle creature, and such ferocious conduct was quite inconsistent with her nature.  It was clear that the horrible deeds she had committed were those of a maniac.

   The jury found that "Mrs. Cruft inflicted the wounds on her children and herself, not being in a sound state of mind at the time."

   The Coroner made some forcible observations on the imprudence and danger of young men contracting marriages with members of families where symptoms of lunacy had manifested themselves.  Madness was hereditary, and it would surely display itself.  Men invariably made misery for themselves by contracting such marriages.

   A Juror remarked that people did not generally think of such things.'

   The Coroner said it was not that people did not think of such things, but unfortunately other feelings too frequently overpowered the judgment.  The reasoning powers were not sufficient to overcome other feelings.

   The jury having signed the inquisition, the proceedings terminated.


The Observer, 8 August 1859

SUICIDE BY NICOTINE. - On Friday evening Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Bedford Hotel, Upper king-street, Bedford-square, on Mr. John Henry Herban, aged 42, wine-merchant and proprietor of a family hotel in that street.  From the evidence of the deceased's widow it appeared that the deceased had been in a very low desponding way for some months past, in consequence of severe losses in several railway and other speculations.  On Thursday morning he suddenly, whilst in his bedroom,  swallowed from a phial nicotine, or  essence of tobacco, a most deadly poison, and immediately  fell upon the floor lifeless, and was pronounced dead on the arrival of Mr.,. Berrington, a surgeon, who promptly attended.  It was stated that this was only the second instance of record of death from taking this deadly poison - the first being that of Mr. Witt, of the St. James's geological Museum in Jermyn-street, which occurred about eighteen months ago. Verdict - Temporary Insanity.


The Observer, 21 August 1859


THE STOKE NEWINGTON TRAGEDY. - On Wednesday the adjourned inquest was resumed before Mr. Wakley, the coroner, at the Mildmay Arms Tavern, Ball's Pond, on the body of Elizabeth Freshfield, who was supposed to have died from excessive haemorrhage, caused by an attempt to procure abortion.  The melancholy circumstances of the case are no doubt in the recollection of our readers.  There was no relative of Clement John Carnell present.  The evidence having concluded, the coroner  said they were all agreed that haemorrhage had been caused by the use of instruments, and that the instruments had been used by another party; and if the attempt had been made with intent to procure abortion, whether with the consent of the  female or not, no doubt it was murder.  No circumstance in the evidence showed that the deceased was not in a sound state of mind when he procured the abortion or until he had seen the corpse of the lady.  It was apparent from letters which had been read that the affair had been contemplated, and if the deceased lost her life in consequence of it, it was an act of wilful murder on the part of Carnell.  The jury returned a verdict to that effect.


The Observer, 28 August 1859


BY A MARRIED WOMAN THROUGH JEALOUSY. - On Friday last Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the university Hotel, Gower-street, on Mrs. Ann Susan Baggs, aged 32, wife of a wood carver, of 70 Charlton-street, Somers Town.  The room was crowded, and it was said that deceased's husband had already put up the banns of marriage for another wife. - Mary Ann Isles, aged 17, sister of the deceased, said she lived with deceased and her husband.  On Tuesday morning, at eight o'clock, she left deceased alone in order to go to her work, and deceased's husband, being a "Forester," had gone to the Foresters' fete at the Crystal palace.  Her sister, who had formerly been of a lively disposition, became latterly strange and taciturn in her manner, and complained of pains in her head, and she took poison a month ago but it did not take effect.  Deceased and her husband lived on good terms; but witness and deceased had heard that he kept company with a servant girl in Ampthill-square, St. Pancras.  Another sister died raving mad a year ago in Marylebone Infirmary. - Henry Bower, landlord of deceased's house, said that at a quarter to two o'clock on Tuesday he saw the deceased fall from the window of her room (the back attic) into the area.  She was immediately carried indoors, and conveyed quite unconscious to the hospital.  He afterwards found her rooms locked inside, and the window wide open.  Her behaviour was very strange lately.  There were in the room two portraits of a female, and letters from a female in Ampthill-square, addressed to deceased's husband.

   Mr. W. Winterbotham, surgeon of University Hospital, said the deceased was brought there suffering from concussion of the brain.  She was in great pain, had several ribs fractured, and she was otherwise injured. 

   William Baggs, deceased's husband, a man of short stature and not at all of prepossessing appearance, was then examined.  He said he had been married to deceased ten years but although they never quarrelled, for six months past, they had not lived in conjugal affection, his affection being severed from her in consequence of her telling his father that before their marriage, she had, for a certain disorder, been an inmate of St. Bartholomew's Hospital.  They had, consequently, agreed to part, she having taken an apartment which she was to have gone into last Monday, and the terms of their separation being that he was to find her clothes and allow her 6s. a week.  He knew that by putting up the banns to marry another female he was throwing himself under the lash of the law, but perhaps he should not have married her, but only have led her to believe so to gratify his own feelings.

   The jury expressed their disgust at the witness's statement, and begged to be relived of his presence.  The coroner ordered him out of the room.  The jury, after some consultation, returned a verdict - "That the deceased destroyed herself in a state of temporary insanity, which act of desperation was attributable to her husband's wicked and immoral conduct."

OF A SHOEMAKER'S WIFE. On Wednesday an investigation took place before Mr. Wakley, at the Dudley Arms Tavern, Harrow-road, Paddington, on the body of Mrs. Ann Brads, aged 44 years, the wife of a shoemaker, residing at 10 Capland-street, Lisson-grove.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased was found at six o'clock on Tuesday morning in the canal, Maida-hill West, by a boatman, and given into the custody of police constable 52 D, who removed it to the dead house.  The husband deposed that he last saw her alive about half-past four o'clock on Sunday morning, in  a state of almost helpless intoxication, in one of the rooms of his residence.  That she had been in the habit of drinking to excess for the past five years, and had attempted to commit suicide on two previous occasions by taking laudanum.  Verdict - Deceased died from drowning, but how she got into the water there was not sufficient evidence to show.


The Observer, 28 August 1859


DEATH OF AN OLD MAN BY CHOKING. - An inquest has been held before the deputy coroner for West Middlesex, Mr. Brent, in the board room of the Strand Union Workhouse, Cleveland-street, on John Wake, late an inmate of the workhouse, aged 63, who met with his death by choking.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased was very feeble, and that during the time he had been in the workhouse, some 13 or 14 weeks, he was almost entirely confined to bed.  At his meals he was ravenous, and he was frequently cautioned against swallowing too large pieces s of food.  On the day of his death he was sitting up in his bed eating his dinner, when the attention of the nurse, Frances Ballard, was attracted by a peculiar noise proceeding from the unfortunate man's throat, and on hurrying to his bedside she found him black in the face, and from the convulsive movements of his neck and chest, evidently choking.  Mr. Thorn, the master, immediately sent for medical aid, but when Dr. Lawson, of Howland-street, attended, the deceased was no more.  On making a post mortem examination, Dr. Lawson found a large piece of beef wedged tightly into the top of the windpipe, which must have caused almost instantaneous death by suffocation.  The jury recorded a verdict of Accidental Death.


The Observer, 28 August 1859


INFANTICIDE IN MARYLEBONE. - On Friday an inquest was held at the Marylebone workhouse, on the body of a newly born male child.  It appeared from the evidence that the body of the infant was found by a lad named Crabb, wrapped up in a coarse towel, and lying in a corner of a door step, No. 17, Devonshire-place, about twelve o'clock on Tuesday night.  He picked it up and delivered it to the police, and immediately afterwards he saw two women go away from the opposite side, who appeared to have been watching.  Two females had been previously seen loitering about the neighbourhood up to three minutes before the body was found.  Mr. Smith, a surgeon, said that upon a post mortem examination of the infant he found that it had been born alive, and was perfectly healthy.  The cause of death he attributed to neglect. The coroner (Mr. Wakley) said he believed where a mother endeavoured to conceal the birth of a child she desired its destruction, and if it died from the wilful neglect she was guilty of murder as much as if she cut its head off.  If jurymen would look upon this crime as one of wilful murder he had no doubt it would have the effect of terrifying and deterring women from committing it.  Verdict - Wilful murder by some person unknown.


The Observer, 28 August 1859

FATAL FRACAS IN A STATION-HOUSE. - On Monday afternoon Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, held a lengthened inquiry at Chelsea, touching the death of Thomas Randall, aged 20, a constable of the V division of police, who met with his death in a scuffle with another constable of the same division.  It seemed from the evidence, which was gone into at great length, that the deceased, on the afternoon of the melancholy occurrence, returned off duty and reported himself at the station-house in his apparent good health, there being at the trine nothing peculiar in his demeanour to attract attention.  This was at three o'clock, but almost immediately after entering the station-house he became suddenly very excited, abused in the most violent language the other constables present, and commenced throwing various things at them.  He then committed a number of assaults, and he made a special attack upon a fellow constable named Wright, who avoided him be getting into another room, but the deceased followed and again assaulted Wright.  The latter then rose in self-defence, and it seemed probable that blows passed between them before another man interfered to separate them.  As he did so, the deceased fell backwards on the floor, and expired shortly afterwards. - Dr. Gooderich stated that death was caused by congestion of the brain, and not violence. - The jury returned a verdict accordingly.


Guardian, 30 August 1859


An inquiry took place on Saturday before, Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, as to the death of Miss Elizabeth Gray, 36 years of age, which appeared to have taken place under the most frightful circumstances.  The deceased is the eldest daughter of Sir Charles Gray, late Supreme Judge of Calcullta, and it was alleged that she had been labouring under an aberration of the mind for the last ten years, and during the past three years and  a quarter had been placed under the care of Mr. Ballard, surgeon.  At half-past twelve o'clock on Friday morning last, her female attendant, who slept in the same room, was awoke by an unusual quantity of light, when she saw deceased standing in the middle of the room, with her nightdress enveloped in flames.  She immediately gave an alarm, which quickly brought Mr. Ballard to her assistance, who, with great difficulty, extinguished the flames.  The unfortunate lady lingered in great agony for two hours and a quarter, when she expired.  It is believed that she quietly stole out of bed to avoid being seen by her attendant, and reached a night light, which was supposed to have been placed away in proper security, and having put it on the floor, she stood over it till her dress was destroyed. - The Jury, after a lengthened examination, came to a determination, in accordance with the opinion of the Coroner, to adjourn the inquest, for the purpose of having a post-mortem examination.


Guardian, 2 September 1859


   The investigation as to the cause that induced Miss Elizabeth Gray to commit the horrible act of self-destruction by fire, the particulars of which have already appeared, was resumed on Wednesday, before Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex. The only additional testimony elicited was that she had attempted self-destruction in a similar manner on a former occasion, and shortly afterwards a large knife was found in her possession, which was suspected to have been secured for such an object.  Hiss Gray had been a lunatic since 1856, and her father stated that he had not seen her for 15 years, till the day previous to her death. - Verdict, Deceased destroyed herself by setting fire to het clothes while she was in an unsound state of mind.


The Observer, 5 September 1859


OF A GENTLEMAN. - An inquest has taken place at Middlesex Hospital, before Mr. Wakley, on the body of W. R. Flint, Esq., aged 68, resident at 111, Great Portland-street, Marylebone.  According to the evidence of the witnesses, including Mrs. Flint (his wife), it appeared that the deceased had been in very despondent spirits for some time past, without any assignable cause, and on Wednesday week the depression seemed to have manifested itself more than usual. At an early hour the following (Thursday) morning he left his bed and went downstairs, and as he did not return adder conquerable time hard elapsed, Mrs. Flint, becoming somewhat alarmed, instituted a search, and on arriving in the back kitchen her uneasiness was much increased when she beheld a man's feet and ankles protruding out of the water butt.  She instantly raised an alarm, and a young man who promptly came to her assistance discovered the dead body of her husband head foremost in the water butt, which contained a large quantity of water. The body was removed to Middlesex Hospital where a post mortem examination was performed by the house surgeon, who pronounced death to have been caused by drowning.  The state of his brain warranted him in stating that he must have been recently predisposed to insanity. After a short consultation the jury returned a verdict of temporary Insanity.


The Observer, 11 September 1859


OF A YOUNG WOMAN IN THE ORNAMENTAL WATER IN REGENT'S PARK. - On Wednesday Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, held an inquest at the St. Marylebone Workhouse, on view of the body of an unknown young female, apparently under 18 years of age, found in the ornamental water in Regent's Park.  On Sunday morning last, as a young man named John Turner was passing along the banks of the water, his attention was attracted to a female struggling in the water, about thirty yards from the shore, off the mound, or clump, a noted place for suicides, with her arms extended as if for help, and she sunk immediately after.  He directly gave an alarm to the park keepers, who, in about ten minutes, commenced dragging for the body, and in the course of half an hour from the time he


The Observer, 19 September 1859


AT HORNSEY. - Mr. Wakley presided on Wednesday at an inquest on the body of a man killed in the Southgate Tunnel, Hornsey, on the night of the 7th of September.  It appeared from the evidence that his name was Davis, and that he lived by selling sheep's "trotters," and that on the night in question he was brutally drunk.  He behaved in the most ruffianly manner to his fellow passengers, using the most filthy language, striking one passenger, and offering to fight others, and at Colney Hatch station was tipped out of the carriage, whether by porters of passengers did not very clearly appear.  In has drunken fit he ran after the train, got on the line, and was killed by a down train.  The jury said they considered it quite unnecessary to have any further adjournment, and unanimously returned a verdict of Accidental Death.


The Observer, 25 September 1859

SHOCKING DEATH OF A CONTRACTOR. - Yesterday, Mr. Wakley received information of the death of Mr. Catlin, builder and contractor, of Canonbury, which took place under the following circumstances: - The deceased has a son out in New Zealand, and he was erecting and arranging machinery at his premises in Dorset-street, Ball's Pond-road, for steam sawmills to send out to him.  On Friday afternoon Mr. Catlin was engaged with some of his men in raising from the ground a fly-wheel, weighing three tons, with the view of attaching it to the sawing engine, and imprudently went under the wheel at the side where it was raised.  He had no sooner done so than the tackle broke, and the wheel, falling upon him, crushed him to death.


The Observer, 25 September 1859

SUDDEN DEATH. - Mr. Wakley yesterday held an inquest at the Boot, Wells-street, Oxford-street, on Mrs. Maria Lloyd, a widow lady, aged 54.  Deceased came to 51 Wells-street, to pay a visit to her son-in-law, and on entering the house she fell forward in an insensible condition, without uttering a word. Medical aid was procured, but she died instantly.  A post mortem examination proved that she had at the moment suffered a rupture of the heart.  Verdict of the jury - Natural Death.


The Observer, 25 September 1859


OF A MARRIED FEMALE (ENCEINTE). - On Tuesday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at Mr. Whittaker's  ale-house, Cirencester-place, Fitzroy-square, on Mrs. Elizabeth Alliez.  Deceased's husband, a boot closer, of 10, Cirencester-place, said that on coming home on Saturday evening he found his room door locked, and thinking that his wife had gone to market, he went out expecting to meet her.  On returning, he found his five children playing in the street, where they said their mother had sent them, and he then found that his room door was locked with the key inside.  With assistance he forced the door open and found his wife with her throat fearfully cut, and a pail close beside her, over which she was supposed to have leant whilst committing the act.  He was slack of work and his wife had been very desponding for some time, being also in dread of her approaching confinement.  They had always lived on affectionate terms, and had no quarrel.  Mr. Lane, of Cleveland-street, surgeon, said he was called in and found deceased dead, caused by a severe cut in the throat, which divided the principal arteries.  By the husband's consent witness performed an operation to save the child, but it was quite dead.  The jury returned a verdict of Suicide in a state of temporary Insanity.


The Observer, 26 September 1859



   At the weekly meeting of the board of directors and guardians of the poor of St. Marylebone, held in the board room of the workhouse, Marylebone-road, Mr. Charles Beevor in the chair,

   Mr. POTTER called the attention of the board to a most important inquest held by Mr. Wakley on Monday last in connection with the mode of interment of stillborn children in St. Pancras.  At that inquest the coroner made some very extraordinary statements to the effect that the same practice prevailed in other parishes.  Mr. Wakley expressed his conviction that there were hundreds upon hundreds of children buried as "stillborn" in the cemeteries of the metropolis who had positively been murdered.  This was a most alarming statement and ought to beget the most rigid inquiry.  Mr. Potter therefore asked the assistant overseer, Mr. Tubbs, if he kept any record of the number of alleged stillborn children brought into the workhouse. [Continues.]


The Manchester Guardian, 27 September 1859

FLOGGING IN THE NAVY. - The following is an extract of a letter from Her Majesty's ship Lapwing, dated 40 miles from Malta, 22nd of August:-

   My dear Friend, - This is a very sad thing I am going to tell you, and likewise others.  One of our boys has cut his throat.  The boy's name was John Knight.  There was to be twenty-dozen served out on board the Lapwing, all among boys, and he was to have four dozen over the back, with a cane, whipped with wax ends; he had been flogged last month.  They kept the body till they got to Malta, and as soon as the anchor dropped they sent a boat to the hospital for a coffin, ands buried him without any court of inquiry.  The poor boy's back was black and blue from his former lashes.  There is another boy that was to have been flogged a second time, but the doctor said he could not stand it. - Daily News.


The Manchester Guardian, 27 September 1859'

WHOLESALE MURDER OF CHILDREN. - On Friday, at the weekly meeting of the Guardians of St. Marylebone, Mr. Potter called the attention of the Board to a statement made by Mr. Wakley, that, in consequence of the defective state of the law, and the facilities given by parishes for the interment of alleged still-born children, there were at that moment hundreds upon hundreds of murdered children lying in the cemeteries and graveyards of the metropolis.  Dr. Bachhoffen said this was a most important public question, and so far from Mr. Wakley having overstated the cases of child murder, he (Dr. Bachhoffen) believed he was under the mark. . . .


The Manchester Guardian, 30 September 1859


   On Wednesday evening, a public meeting was held at the Hall of Science, City Road, London, to adopt measures for the total and immediate abolition of flogging in the army and navy.

   The chair was occupied by Mr. J. P. Murrough, ex-member for Bridport, in the absence of Mr. T. Wakley, who had been announced to fill that position.  .  .  . 


The Observer, 2 October 1859


OF A POLISH GENTLEMAN. - On Thursday afternoon Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Elephant and Castle, Camden Town, on the body of Mr. Alexander Ludwig Leszinski, aged 38, an independent Polish gentleman, and formerly a missionary attached to the London City Mission, who was found drowned in a pond in the Gospel Oaks Fields, at Kentish Town, on the night of Tuesday last.  William Smith, a carman, said about eleven o'clock on Tuesday night he was going across Mr. Cooper's field, leading his horse home, and observed something floating in the pond in Mr. Cooper's field.  He thought, at first, it was a shawl, and threw his bridle across it to bring it to shore.  He found it sink, and then rose again; and, after some difficulty, he tried the depth of the pond, and went in up to his knees, and drew that which turned out to be the body of a man ashore, and seeing he appeared like a gentleman and had a gold chain on, he called for help, and the police came and found his gold watch, and money, and other property upon him. 

   In answer to questions, it was elicited that the field where this pond is situate is church land, belonging to the ecclesiastical authorities of St. Pancras, and that the direct path to Hampstead leads close by the  side of it in a most dangerous manner; and it was stated that the pond was in some parts seven feet deep.  Further evidence was given that the deceased had never exhibited any tendency to suicide.  After some strong comments on the dangerous character of the path, the jury returned a verdict, "That the deceased was found dead from suffocation in a pond by drowning; but whether he committed the act himself, or fell into the water accidentally, there was not sufficient evidence before the jury to determine."


The Observer, 3 October 1859


   This subject, which is one of the very highest importance to society at large, is, in consequence of the recent exposures which have been made in the court of the coroner for Middlesex, beginning to excite, as it ought to do, very general attention from boards of guardians, and others who are in any way connected with the management of the poor, or in the interment of the dead; and there is ample evidence at present obtained to justify legislative enactment, at the earliest possible period, in the next session of Parliament. .  .  .#

   Mr. Wakley, the coroner, is pursuing this subject with great vigour, and the guardians of the metropolis are taking the matter up.

   In St. Pancras, on Friday, at an inquest held by Mr. Wakley, the question was again mooted, and the fact that certificates are given on pieces of paper by medical men and midwives of children being still-born was fully established. .  .  .


The Observer, 10 October 1859

SUICIDE IN REGENT'S PARK. - On Saturday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at Marylebone workhouse on John Elchie, aged 61.  Deceased had been a park constable in the service of the Government department of Woods and Forests, but becoming afflicted with paralysis, which partially deprived him of the use of his hands, he lost his situation, and had nothing to fall back upon for subsistence but the scanty earnings of his wife as a charwoman, and their pecuniary difficulties and struggles for the common necessaries of life were known to have affected his mind very much.  He was at length suddenly missing, and not heard of till his body was found floating in the ornamental water of the Regent's Park, the scene of his former public duty.  Although there was no moral doubt of the sad reality, yet as no one witnessed the closing scenes, the law holds that the suicidal act was not proven, and an open verdict of Found Drowned was recorded.


The Observer, 16 October 1859


OF A TRADESMAN IN BERWICK STREET. - Mr. Wakley has held an inquest on the body of Mr. G. Clarke, tradesman, lately carrying on business in Berwick-street, Oxford-street.  The deceased, some years since, having shown symptoms of dangerous lunacy, was in consequence confined in the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum, and, after remaining there for some time, he appeared to have so far recovered that his wife deemed it advisable to remove him to their home, where he had remained up to the time of his death in the prosecution of his business.  About two weeks previous to his death he exhibited much restlessness and more than usual evidence of lunacy.  On Wednesday last he left his room and went to visit Mr. Bevan, his son-in-law, residing in Union-street, and while there in a room, in presence of his son-in-law, he deliberately placed in a cup and swallowed what he playfully alleged to be a dose of salts, but which proved to be a very large quantity of oxalic acid.  The dose was so great that it took immediate effect by throwing the unfortunate man in to excruciating agony.  He was removed immediately to the Middlesex Hospital, and the stomach-pump applied, but he died the following morning.  The jury returned a verdict, "That he committed the act while in an unsound state of mind."


The Observer, 24 October 1859

SINGULAR DEATH FROM CHOKING. - On Saturday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Prince of Wales, Great Barlow-street, Marylebone, on Wm. Cozens, aged 47. - Deceased was w ell known as a chairman, usually stationed at York Gate, Regent's Park.  Deceased was sitting down at supper, but he left the table to go out for the purpose of getting some beer, having food still in his mouth.  On reaching his street door, he was seen to stagger and fall, and on assistance arriving he was found unconscious.  Medical aid was procured, but the poor fellow was dead.  A post mortem examination disclosed the fact that the death had taken place from suffocation, through the fixture of a piece of meat in the glottis. Death in such cases is described as immediate.  Verdict - Accidental Death from Suffocation.


The Observer, 30 October 1859

LOVE, POVERTY, AND SUICIDE. - Yesterday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at Marylebone Workhouse, on Daniel Brookes, aged 27, a servant out of place, who hung himself at his lodgings, 39 North-street, Lisson-grove.  The deceased had, it appeared, endeavoured to renew an attachment which existed some five years since between him and a young woman, now in service at St. John's Wood.  He had sought an interview with this female, with a desire to induce her to renew their acquaintance, but as she had not seen him for four years, and was then induced by his intemperate habits to separate from him, she refused to permit a renewal of his attentions.  From that time he became so melancholy that he would sit at home for days together, and did not go out to s eek employment.  He was in the deepest poverty, as neither money nor food was to be found, and he was discovered hanging from a nail in the wall of his bedroom.  The jury returned a verdict of Suicide, leaving the question of deceased's sanity an open point.


The Observer, 13 November 1859


 TO A MASTER SKATER BY A FALL. - An inquest was held on Monday at the University Hospital, Gower-street, before Mr. Wakley, on the body of John Joyce, 64, master slater, who was killed by the breaking of a ladder, on which he was ascending to the roof of some houses in Howland-street, on Thursday morning week last.  The deceased was within a few rounds of the top of the ladder when it snapped short, and he was precipitated from a height of 40 feet to the ground with great violence.  He was immediately conveyed to the University Hospital, but, from the severe nature of the injuries, died within an hour of his admission.  The jury returnee a verdict of Accidental Death.


The Observer, 11 December 1859

A GENTLEMAN SHOT AT HAMPSTEAD. - Yesterday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Duke of Hamilton, New End, Hampstead, on the body of a man about 50 bears of age, of highly respectable appearance, found dead in a field at North End.  A policeman stated that about four o'clock on Wednesday afternoon two boys informed him there was a gentleman lying in a field at North End.  He went there and found deceased, who was lying on his face.  The body was warm, and blood was streaming from his right temple.  He sent for Mr. Rose, surgeon, who on arrival said he was dead, and found a pistol wound in his right temple, and could feel the bullet, which had passed direct through the head to the left temple.  A pistol recently discharged, together with the deceased's hat, was found a shirt distance from the body.  On searching deceased money was found in his pockets, and a card on which was the name "William Docker - Wick."   On the other side was written "Remember Talbot, iv. 14th.  I will meet you at the Chamber of horrors anon."  Deceased was attired in a plum colourer dress coat, black velvet waistcoat, and black trowsers, Wellington boots, a coloured comforter, with a red flower at the corner.  Verdict - "That deceased was found dead, with a pistol shot in his right  temple, inflected by his own hand, but in what state of mind he was at the time there was no evidence to show."


The Observer, 11 December 1859


OF A CHAIRMAKER. - On Friday Mr. Wakley, coroner, held an investigation at the Globe Tavern, Derby-street, Gray's Inn-road, as to the demise of Joseph Meek, aged sixty-five, lately residing at 6, Fifteen Foot-lane,  Bagnigge Wells-Road.  It appeared from the evidence of deceased's wife that he had formerly been a chairmaker, and latterly a cat's meat vendor.  On Wednesday morning, between nine and ten, as she entered their bedroom for the purpose of making the bed, to her horror she found her husband hanging by the neck from a corner of a cupboard, quite dead.  She at once gave an alarm, and a neighbour having cut him down, immediately procured medical assistance.  He was most intemperate, and generally in a state of intoxication daily.  When he was sober - which was not often -0 he was very strange in his manner, and unable to sleep at night, and had frequently attempted self-destruction by hanging during his sober moments, when he sometimes complained of pain in his head.  The coroner said this act of the deceased arose out of the state of his nervous system, and not exactly  from drunkenness.  If attention were called to the condition of the head, want of sleep, loss of appetite, and other indications of the bad state of the nervous system, and was attended to at an early period with medical aid, a large number of these suicides would not occur at all.  It was neglect of the nervous system that led to drunkenness.  Verdict - Temporary Insanity.


The Observer, 18 December 1859


OF AN ARTIST AND ENGRAVER. - Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Devonshire Castle Tavern, Grove-road, Upper Holloway, upon Mr. Joseph Watkins, aged 41, an artist and engraver, of 105, Devonshire -road, who committed suicide by hanging himself on Thursday morning week.  On Wednesday week he went with two friends to the Cattle Show, which he suddenly left, and got home rather late.  The next morning, when the servant took him up a cup of coffee, his manners were strange and unsettled, and he told her that  would be the last coffee she would ever bring him, making other remarks likewise that indicated a disordered mind.  Between that time and eleven o'clock the unfortunate man musty have hanged himself, inasmuch as on trying the door, and finding it locked, assistance was procured, when he was discovered suspended to the rail of the bedstead with a piece of new clothes line, and on being cut down life was found to be extinct.  His medical attendant, Mr. Kesteven, said that some time previously he had given him advice for delirium tremens, and it was stated that he had threatened suicide on more than one occasion; but Mr. Cutmore, of whom the deceased rented a second  floor as a studio, said that he never saw him intoxicated, and other witnesses, who denied that he was addicted to habits of drinking, gave it as their opinion that he was nervously deranged.  For the last eight weeks he had been unable to settle down to his work, owing to mental excitement, having bestowed much time and labour lately on a large-sized plate of the celebrated cavalry charge at Balaklava.  The coroner had no doubt that he was deranged when he committed the act.  He ought to have been put into a lunatic asylum some tine since, when this violence would not have been committed.  Verdict p- Mental Derangement.

OF A CLERGYMAN - Mr. Wakley, coroner, held an inquest on Thursday, at the Portobello Arms, Portobello-road, Notting Hill, on the body of the Rev. Thomas Blackburn, aged 39, of 28, Kensington Park-terrace North, a clergyman of the Church of England, who committed suicide on the night of Monday last.  Mr. Duckett, of 28, Somerset-street, Portman-square,  said the deceased gentleman was his brother-in-law; but witness had not seen him for at least nine days before his death.  He then complained of various things, and seemed to be labouring under a delusion that people were stopping up his chimney with bricks, and that he was followed about the streets.  He was largely engaged in literary pursuits, in addition to his clerical duties,  and was a writer on the Athenaeum, and it was evident that he had overworked his brain by too intensive study.  Since his death witness had learned that he had attempted suicide on a previous occasion: his brother commuted suicide some years since.

   The deceased had, on one or two occasions, expressed his fears to witness that his head was going; that was about a fortnight ago.  He was not an intemperate man in his habits. - Ellen Hunt, a servant in the house, stated that on the night in question her mistress called her up, not finding the deceased in bed, and they began to look for him, as he was known to be at home.  Witness found him in the front parlour, lying on the floor on a pool of blood: a razor was by his side.  The deceased had frequently complained to her of persons getting in at his window, and touching his papers.  The other servant was called up, and witnesses ran out of  doors for the police: a surgeon was afterwards sought for, and came.  It was then about two o'clock in the morning. - Mr. John Graham, a surgeon, said the deceased was quite dead when he came.  There was a large deep wound on the left side of the throat, the principal arteries being divided, and was quite sufficient to account for death. - The Rev. Mr. Gel, the incumbent of St. John's, Notting Hill, said the deceased read prayers at his church on Sunday morning, and he then complained to him of a number of imaginary grievances. - The coroner thought the evidence was unusually clear of the deceased gentleman having been in a state of unsound mind, and the jury returned a verdict of Insanity.



The Observer, 8 January 1860


THE LATE FIRE IN CLERKENWELL. - On Monday Mr. T. Wakley held an inquest at the Silver Cup Tavern, Cromer-street, St Pancras, upon Mr. John Thaine, aged 58, a draper and an old and much respected inhabitant of Clerkenwell, and Mr. Thomas Thobold, his assistant, aged 48, who died in the Royal Free Hospital in consequence of injuries received at the fire which took place on Mr. Thaine's premises on Christmas Eve.  The jury returned a verdict "That the deceased were accidentally burnt to death, resulting from a fire occasioned by carelessness in hanging the goods in the window."

   Mr. Samuel Coulson, of No. 34, Rochester-road, Camden Town, wished to state to the jury, with a view to its being noticed by the gentlemen of the press present, that the deceased, Thomas Theobold, although an old and faithful servant of Mr. Thaine, was only in receipt of a small weekly salary, and has left a widow and three children wholly destitute, on whose behalf he craved public sympathy.


The Observer, 15 January 1860


THE SUSPICIOUS DEATH AT MAIDA HILL. - The adjourned inquest in reference to the death of Mrs. Mary Pickering, of 16, Halton-street, Maida-hill, which was attended with circumstances of very grave suspicion, was held yesterday before Mr. Wakley, the coroner, and the jury empanelled on the former occasion, at Mr. J. Abbott's, the Lord Chancellor, North-street, Maida-hill.  The evidence taken on the first examination has already been fully reported.  That on the present occasion went to show that deceased had received frequent ill usage from her husband, who was represented to be a very sober man, in consequence of her dissipated habits, and that she met with her death from a rupture of the bladder, occasioned by a kick from her husband, who, it appeared, committed the act without any deliberate intention of doing her serious bodily harm,.  The coroner addressed the jury at considerable length.  He said that the case had assumed an important aspect from the first, and as there were two other medical gentlemen who had assisted Mr. Lerew in the post mortem examination, he therefore felt it his duty to say, that if the jury were desirous to hear their opinion, he (the coroner) was perfectly ready to adjourn the inquest to another day.

   The case, without doubt, was invoked in some difficulty.  There appeared to be no doubt that Pickering and his wife had not lived on the best of terms for a long time past, on account of the wife's drunken habits, which seemed to be the origin of their troubles and her violent death; and there appeared to be not the slightest doubt but that the death blow of deceased was  dealt by the man who stood accused before them with having killed his wife; but it was for the jury to determine whether deceased's death was caused by accident from misadventure or whether it was realty an act of manslaughter.  After a deliberation of one hour and a half, the jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death by misadventure."  In answer to the coroner, they had no remarks to make on the ill-treatment which, according to the evidence, deceased had been accustomed to receive from her husband.


The Observer, 5 February 1860

ACCIDENTS ON RAILWAYS ON THE LONDON AND NORTH WESTERN. - An inquest has been held at the Elephant and Castle tavern, King's-road, St. Pancras, before Mr. Wakley, coroner, touching the death of Chas. Brown, aged 39, a labourer in the employ of the above railway company.  The deceased was engaged to pick up the road in that part situated ion Agar Town, not far from the station, on the up-line going to Poplar.  At this point, while he was at work, a goods train came along the up-line at the same time that a passenger train was coming from the opposite direction on the down-line.  Deceased had just time enough to get clear of the "goods" by stepping over to the down line, where he stood with his back turned towards the passenger train  and leaning on his shovel, apparently not noticing bits rapid approach, notwithstanding the driver of the "passenger" and guard of the "goods" whistled and signalled to him repeatedly.  Immediately afterwards the unfortunate man was knocked down by the engine, and the wheels of the train passed over his body, mutilating it in a most horrible manner.  As the evidence went to show that no blame was attached to any one, the jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.


The Observer, 12 February 1860


OF A YOUNG INDIAN OFFICER. -  - On Monday afternoon Mr. Wakley held an inquiry into the death of Captain Benjamin Thiselton Ash, aged twenty-eight, at his private residence, No., 2, Upper Gloucester-place, Regent's Park, where he committed self-destruction, in a most extraordinary manner, on the previous Friday. - Lieutenant Edward Ash said deceased was his brother and had recently returned from India, where he was attached to the 8th Light Native Infantry, and took an active part in suppressing the rebellion./  he had not been well, complaining of great pains in his head.  He went to Brighton on the Wednesday, for the benefit of his health, but only remained one night, as he was so ill.  On Thursday witness was with him very late; he was unwell, and witness did not leave him until two o'clock in the morning.  During the early part of Friday morning a cup of tea was  sent to deceased, but finding his door fastened, and there being no answer, it was thought he had gone to sleep, and it was determined not to awake him,.  Witness knocked at the door at about one o'clock, and receiving no reply became alarmed and the room having been forcible entered deceased was found lying on the floor in a pool of blood; he was quite dead, and there was a large wound in his left arm, and a razor lying near him.

   Mr. Henry Guy, M.R.C.S., said he was called in on Friday afternoon, about half-past one o'clock, and found deceased levying on the floor on his back, deluged in blood.  The wound was right across the left arm, dividing all the arteries and vessels to the biceps muscle.  It was only one perfect gash.  There was a slight wound across the wrist of the same arm.  On the chest of drawers, where he had evidently been standing, there was his banker's book, a blank check signed, and some written directions as to how his money was to be got from the Agra bank.  There were no signs if a struggle; the bed clothes were turned down as if he had suddenly got out of bed.  The body was cold.  He believed that's death had taken place from loss of blood from the wound in the left arm. Had known deceased from a boy.  He had distinguished himself very much in the Indian campaign; was just gazetted to the captaincy of his company, and, in addition, had an appointment waiting for him in India worth £1,200 a year.  The coroner having summed up the jury returned a verdict - that the deceased committed self destruction whilst in an unsound state of mind.


The Observer, 4 March 1860

   A movement, it is said, is now in progress for the purpose of offering as testimonial to Mr. Wakley, the coroner for the county of Middlesex, and originator of the Lancet newspaper, which has uniformly been conducted with great ability and independency.


The Observer, 11 March 1860


DISCOVERY OF A WOMAN'S BODY IN A CELLAR. An inquest was held on Monday before Mr. Wakley, coroner, at the King's Arms, Short[s-gardens, Endell-street, St. Giles's, touching the mysterious death of Ann Crooks, aged about 41m wife of Charles Crooks, a clock-case-maker, residing in Charles-street, Hatton-gardens.  It appeared from the evidence that, about half-past one o'clock on Friday afternoon week, a boy accidentally dropped his pegtop down a cellar of No. 18, Nottingham-court, the whole of which premises, except the basement floor, was occupied as a lodging-house; and, in passing through a kitchen, used as a dust-bin, to regain his top, the boy stumbled over the body of the woman, lying with her head in a corner and her body coiled up, partly buried in the dust.  The boy, in fright at this startling discovery, ran into the street, and, having given an alarm, the deceased was removed to St. Giles's Workhouse.  Mr. Bennett, the parochial medical officer, performed a post mortem examination.  He found no signs of violence upon her person.  She was in a fearfully emaciated and decomposed state, and her features so much altered as to be beyond all identification.  The body must have been lying there for at least five or six weeks, or longer.  In his opinion there was no doubt that death was occasioned by the combined causes of intemperance, want of food, and exposure.

   The husband of the deceased, a respectable-looking tradesman, was putrescent, and deposed to the identity of deceased as his wife by certain marks on her body.  She had been a very dissipated woman, and on the 13th of last May she left him, and neither he nor any of their fiends or relations ever heard of her afterwards, until seeing the case in the newspapers, on Saturday last, when he was induced to go to the workhouse, and there discovered the identity, as he had stated.  Some of the jury expressed their surprise that the body had remained undiscovered so long in a place accessible to so many persons; and, further, that such a large quantity of dust should be allowed to accumulate.  A verdict was returned in accordance with the medical testimony, and exonerating all parties concerned in the premises from any blame.


The Observer, 1 April 1860

DESPERATE SUICIDE OF A FEMALE. - Yesterday afternoon Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Elephant and Castle, Camden Town, on Martha Ann Crump, aged 38, a married woman, residing in Grenville-street, Somers Town.  She resided with her mother, having been separated from her husband four or five years.  Since that period she had been very intemperate.  On Wednesday morning, on her mother going into her bedroom, she found her daughter dead, weltering in blood, with a carving knife in one hand, and a whetstone, on which she hard sharpened it, in the other.  She had, in cutting her throat, also cut off part of her chin.  Verdict - Unsound mind.


The Observer, 1 April 1860

THE SOCIAL EVIL. - STARVATION AND DEATH. - Yesterday Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Elephant and Castle, Camden Town, on Francis Bennet, aged 36.  The evidence in this case was a painful exhibition of the career of an unfortunate.  The deceased, who was a native of Derby, of respectable parents, was found in a dying state in an unfurnished room in Wilstead-street, Somers Town, where she had managed to crawl for shelter; and the police being informed I of it, she was conveyed to St, Pancras Workhouse in a cab, but died in the course of being lifted out to be taken to the infirmary. - Evidence was given by the police, showing that in her earlier years she was a very handsome woman, kept by a baronet, and had a splendidly furnished house of her own in the vicinity of Euston-square.  She had, however, been discarded, and became gradually reduced to the most abject state. - Mr. Carter, surgeon, gave evidence that he had made a post mortem examination, and that the cause of death was disease, coupled with starvation and destitution. - Deceased, before she died, stated that no food had passed her lips for three days previously. - The jury returned a verdict of "Death from exhaustion, produced by disease and destitution."


The Observer, 1 April 1860


THROUGH DISAPPOINTED LOVE. - A coroner's inquest was held on Monday evening, by Mr. Wakley, at the Cooper's Arms, Hamden-street, Somers own, on view of the body of Mr. Charles William Warner, aged 21, manager of a drapery establishment, 29, Chapel-street, who committed suicide by shooting himself through the heart with a pistol, as stated in our last issue.  Deceased was a member of the South Middlesex Rifle Volunteers, and a very sober young man, with fine prospects, his uncle, who owned the business under his management, having held out a promise to present him with bit at an early day.  On Friday evening, the 23rd ult., he left the house attired in his uniform, and about ten the same night he returned, entered the house hurriedly and in a state of high excitement, and proceeded direct to his bedroom.  Immediately afterwards a servant girl, the only person in the house at the time, was alarmed at the report of fire-arms, and on proceeding to her master's bed-room she discovered him lying on the floor, his face covered with blood, and the discharged pistol lying near him.  Mr. Watts, uncle of the hapless young man, and medical assistance, were promptly sent for, when life was found to be extinct.  In his trousers pocket were found two scraps of paper, in the hand writing of the deceased, on which the following was written:

Dear Stephen: When you open this I shall be dead.  I want you to break it to Amelia and Henry as gently as you can, and tell them not to grieve for me, for I am  -------"

On the second scrap were these words:

Dear Henry: By the time you receive this I shall be no more; do not grieve for my sake, it is for the best.

   It transpired in evidence that the deceased had been recently troubled in mind from being disappointed in  love; and, in consequence, a short time ago he ignited some charcoal in his bed-room, for the purpose of committing suicide, but it only had the effect of slightly stupefying him.  Deceased afterwards said he did it in a state of excitement from being crossed in love.  Subsequently he was often seen musing and sitting alone in his parlour, looking for a long time with a vacant stare on some imaginary object, and then starting up in a frenzy of  excitement.  - The jury, after some division of opinion,  finally found a verdict of temporary Insanity.

FROM REDUCED CIRCUMSTANCES. - An investigation was held before Mr. Wakley, coroner, on Tuesday, at the Elephant and Castle, King's-road, St. Pancras,  touching the death of Mr. Morris Askoli, aged 46, late resident at 72A, Great College-street, Camden Town.  According to the evidence of various witnesses, it appeared that the deceased was formerly in good circumstances, but during the last three years he had become very much reduced, which preyed upon his mind, and in consequence he had frequently threatened to destroy himself.  On Monday week he was distained upon  for a half-year's rent, which appeared to have the effect of increasing despondency, and on the Saturday following he  swallowed a large quantity of cyanide of potassium, and expired from its effects ten minutes afterwards.  The case was represented to be a most distressing one, inasmuch as the widow, accustomed to affluence, was now left, with seven children, in extreme poverty.  The jury, after some deliberation,  found a verdict to the effect that the deceased died from poison administered by himself while in a state of mind unknown.


The Observer, 15 April 1860


DEATH OF AN INFANT FROM STARVATION. - An inquiry has been instituted by Mr. Wakley, the coroner, at the Elephant and Castle, King's-road, St. Pancras, as to the cause that led to the death of a child, aged six months.  It appeared from the evidence of Mr. Coster, the medical officer of St. Pancras workhouse, and other witnesses, that a young female with the deceased on her arms, was admitted into the workhouse on Monday morning last, between the hours of ten and eleven.  The child seemed to be in a dying state, and was at once taken to the infirmary, and placed under Mr. Coster's care, who on examining it  found it was in a starving contrition, the pulse being extremely feeble, and the body frightfully attenuated.  The mother, in answer  to Mr. Coster's inquiries, said she previously took deceased to the hospital, and was there told that the child had been starved.  Mr. Coster gave it a little wine and some thin gruel, but it died the same evening.

   The mother, who described herself as a servant girl, and gave her name as Wellesley, in lodgings at Clarendon-place,  said she had never been married, and was obliged to support the child herself by putting it out to nurse from its birth, to be brought up by hand.  The second day after the death of the child she took her discharge from the workhouse in a regular manner.  Subsequently it transpired that the mother had given a false address, and had not been heard of since.  The result of a post mortem examination proved that' death was caused from want of sufficient nourishment.  After the coroner had remarked that thousands of illegitimate children put out to nurse, as in this instance, were destroyed through neglect annually in this country, the jury  found a verdict of Death from Want of Sufficient Food.

MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF A FEMALE. - An investigation took place last week at the board-room of the Marylebone Workhouse, before Mr. Wakley and a respectable jury, relative to the death of an unknown female. - James Palmer was called, and deposed that he was captain of the steam tug employed to tow barges in the Regent's Cabal.  On Saturday morning week, between six and seven, he passed the body floating on the water.  He immediately had the engines stropped, and had the body secured.  Deceased was fully dressed, and had her bonnet on her head.  - Mr. H. T. Smith, assistant medical officer of the workhouse, deposed that he had perfumed a post mortem examination, and the immediate cause of death appeared to have been occasioned by suffocation from drowning.  There were external marks of violence on the frontal bone.  He imagined she was about 30 years of age.  He did not think that the bruises were sufficient to produce death; but death was really caused by drowning.  He could not form an opinion as to what station of life she belonged; the body was in good condition, and showed no sign of want.  The following verdict was recorded: - "That deceased was found dead in the Regent's Canal, but by what means she met with her death there was not sufficient evidence to show."


The Observer, 16 April 1860


   On Saturday a most important investigation was concluded before Mr. Wakley and a jury of inhabitants of Camden Town, at the Victoria Tavern, Mornington-road, as to the death of Mr. John Lewis, aged 34 years, which took place some weeks back, under circumstances of a most mysterious and suspicious character.

   The investigation had been several times previously adjourned, and in consequence of the very mysterious and truly suspicious nature of the circumstances connected with the deceased's death, not only had the coroner found it necessary to order a post mortem, but the contents of the deceased's stomach to be analysed, and also to place the matter in the hands of the detective police.

   The evidence taken at the several sittings of the jury was extremely voluminous, but the following will be found to be a correct summary:-

   It appeared that the deceased, Mr. John Lewis, had held a good position in the establishment of a highly respectable tailor's firm at the West End, and tan he occupied apartments at the house of a friend also ion the same line of business, Mr. James Keane, of 68, Arlington-street, Camden Town.  In January last the deceased was a bout to commence business on his own account in partnership with a Mr. Warren, in Tichborne-street, Haymarket.  In fact, the establishment was opened, and the partnership commenced, although the capital which deceased was to throw into the concern was not paid.  The money, about £100, all in notes, had, however, been seen by Mr. Warren in the deceased's possession, and on the evening before his death Mr. Warren, Mr. Carter, and some other friends had been in company together in Tichborne-street, and Mr. Carter deposed to having accompanied deceased on his way home, and to having parted with him at All Souls' Church, Langham-place, about a quarter past eleven o'clock.  He was then perfectly sober and in his usual heath and spirits.

   It would take about a quarter of an hour, or twenty minutes at the outside, to walk from All Souls' Church to reach his residence in Arlington-street, but nothing more was heard of him or could be traced until he reached home at twenty minutes to one o'clock, when he was able to open the street door with a latch key, which having done, he is represented as having fallen prostrate in the passage, in a state of insensibility, in which state he was found by Mr. Keane, the landlord, who, with his wife, Mrs. Keane, had been sitting up for deceased. Finding him in this insensible state, it appears that instead of taking him up to his own bed-room they took him down stairs into the kitchen, and a mattrass was brought down, on which deceased was laid.  He took nothing and uttered nothing, except faintly in answer to questions "It's all   right Jim" meaning, it is supposed, Mr. Keane, whose name is "James," and occasionally exclaiming "Oh my head."   In this state he was permitted to lie until he died, about six o'clock the same evening, (a period of nearly 18 hours), without any medic al assistance, when, after the repeated requests of the deceased's son, a boy about 11 years of age, who lived with him, a   surgeon was sent for, and Mr. M'Donagh, of 29, Albert-street, Regent's Park, attended and pronounced him dead.

   On the jury assembling, and these facts being elicited, a post mortem examination was made, and the contents of the stomach tested by Mr. M'Donagh and Mr. Rodgers, another medical gentleman.  There was a clot of blood found on the brain, and a sufficient quantity of morphia found in the contents of the stomach to kill the strongest man.  This, coupled with the circumstances that the lower part off the abdomen, the thighs, and other parts of the deceased's person, were lacerated and excoriated, and bleeding, evidently the result of being torn by the nails of human hands, showed that between the periods which elapsed between deceased's parting with his friend (Mr. carter) at All Souls' Church, and his reaching Arlington-street, the deceased had been subjected to the most foul and diabolical violence.   The notes had been seen in his possession, and it was his practice to carry a quantity of money about with him.  A god deal of the money he is known to have been possessed of could not be accounted for; but, strange to state, when he arrived home, he had still got his watch and  two or three pounds in his pocket.

   Mr. James Keane, the landlord, excused himself for not having sent for a medical man by stating that he was under a belief that his friend was intoxicated, and that after a few hours' sleep he thought he would be all right, and he left home expecting to see him down at business during the day.

   The detective police expressed their inability to throw any light upon the decrease's whereabouts between leaving Mr. Carter at All Souls' Church and his arrival home.

   The Coroner said there was a great deal of mystery hanging over that lapse of time, and no one could hear the evidence without coming to the conclusion that the deceased had met his death by foul play, and in that case the jury, if they considered so, could do no other than return a verdict of Wilful Murder.

   Mr. H. O. Nodes, the foreman, and the jury said they fully concurred with the coroner, and they unhesitatingly returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against some person or persons unknown.  The jury also begged to add the following remarks to the verdict:-

The jury feel. That they cannot separate without expressing strong opinion upon the folly of persons arriving at a conclusion that a man is drunk belays insensible, thereby practically preventing the access of any medical attendant.

   Mr. Keane was called before the coroner and jury, and the addenda to the verdict read over to him.

   The coroner having complimented the two medical gentlemen for the clear way in which they had given their evidence, and the pains they had taken  in elucidating the  case, the proceedings of this truly mysterious affair, so far as the inquest is  concerned, terminated.


The Observer, 16 April 1860


   Yesterday forenoon  Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the Elephant and Castle, King's-road, Camden Town, on the body of Christopher Crane, aged twenty-three, who committed suicide by shooting himself with a loaded pistol, at Highgate, on the afternoon of Thursday last.  The body lay in the dead-house of St. Pancras Workhouse, and could only be identified by his clothes and articles found upon his person.  The head was literally shattered to atoms, not a vestige of feature or any part but the back of the skull remaining.

   Wm. Nash said he resided in the Waterloo-road, and on Thursday afternoon last had just got off the omnibus at the foot of Highgate-hill, for the purpose of gaping up to Highgate, and a man pointed out to him, in answer to a question, the pathway up Staines-lane as being ht nearest.  He went in the direction pointed out, and had not gone many yards when he saw the body of  a man lying by the side of the path sideways, with the head nearly blown away.  The body was a little on its side, and was quite warm.  He saw a pistol (that produced) lying about a yard and a half from the body.  He was just in the act of running back to give an alarm, when two men came up and looked over the hedge and said their attention had been attracted by a loud report of fire-arms.  This was arbour twenty minutes past two o'clock.  He had not noticed any report of firearms himself.  Fragments of the skull, &c., were lying about, and the blood was scattered in all directions.  The body was placed in a hearse coming down from the cemetery, and brought to St. Pancras Workhouse.

   Mr. R. Crane said he was the proprietor of the Royal Oak Tavern, Lisson-grove, and deceased was his brother.  He identified the body by his clothes and articles found on his person.  Deceased's father kept the Gate House, at Highgate, and he was himself in the establishment of Messrs. Blockey & Co., of Jermyn-street, St. James's.  He had till lately, for the last twelvemonths been with witness, and there formed an attachment for a young female who was in his employ, and it since turned out that they had been cog=habiting together.  He saw him last alive on Sunday, when he appeared in his usual health and spirits.

   The young female referred to was brought before the court, and handed in a letter she had received from the deceased on Thursday afternoon by post.  She was not examined, but the brother identified the letter as being in the deceased's handwriting.  It was addressed to "Mrs. Crane, 3, Union-place, New-road, Sloane-street," and was as follows:-

  DEAREST LIZZIE: By the time you receive this note I shall be dead.  I am so wretched that I cannot love; and what makes me more so was to hear this morning at the corner where I met you last night, to hear a young man say to the one that was with you, "He will murder you if you don't mind:" which caused me to look round, and saw he was laughing at me.  I felt rather annoyed at it last night, but was too wretched to say anything about it.  I live you dearly, and cannot do what I should like to do to make us happy.  I have gone to Highgate to do the act.  I had the pistol loaded in my pocket last night. - Believe me to remain your affectionate lover, CHRISTOPHER.

May God forgive me.  Pray for me, dearest.

   Police-constable S241 produced the articles found on the body of the deceased, and also the pistol.  It was a strong, heavy weapon, with a very large bore, and part of the upper portion of the stock was shattered, which gave the appearance of the pistol having exploded.  The articles found in his pockets were bullets, powder, a razor, penknife, and four pawnbrokers'  duplicates, one for his watch, pledged on Monday, for £4;  two for other articles pledged in Tuesday and Wednesday, and the fourth for an article pledged for a shilling on the Thursday.  No money was found in his pockets.

   The coroner commented on the very determined character of the suicide, and the jury returned a verdict of temporary Mental Derangement.


The Observer, 7 May 1860


THE HEART PIERCED BY A  FISH BONE. - On Tuesday an investigation took place before Mr. Wakley, the coroner, at the University Hotel, Grafton-street, Tottenham Court-road, in reference to the death of an unknown female,,, about fifty years of age, under the subjoined very singular circumstances:-

About one o'clock non Saturday week, a house-painter, at work on the premises, No. 39, Woburn-place, Russell-square, noticed the deceased sitting on the door step of No. 38, with her head resting upon one hand, and a basket of lace by her side.  After the lapse of a quitter of an hour, he went to her, and, finding her place, unable to speak, and apparently dying, he sought for a policeman.  Within half an hour after the poor woman was first noticed to sit on the door step she had expired.  She was removed to University College Hospital, where a post mortem examination, to ascertain the cause of death, was performed by Mr. Andrews, the resident medical officer, who discovered the cause of death to be from the  piercing of a fish bone through the substance of the heart.  He had found eight wounds in the diaphragm and pericardium, though which, strange to say, the bone had passed before it reached the heart.  On a rigid search he discovered the blunt end of a fish bone, one inch and three quarters in length, as sharp as a needle, protruding through the stomach, piercing the heart.  The immediate cause of death was the loss of blood.  The coroner, having remarked upon the singular nature of the case, the jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.


The Observer, 7 May 1860.


ANOTHER FATAL PUGILISTIC ENCOUNTER. - On Tuesday Mr. Wakley held a lengthened inquiry at the Hope and Anchor, Hereford-street, Marylebone, as to the death of Charles Dickson, aged 53, who, it was alleged, met with his death by blows received in a pugilistic encounter with Thomas Woodgate, who, in consequence, was arrested, and stands remanded by the presiding magistrate of Marylebone police court to await the issue of the present inquiry, bail being refused.  From the testimony of a brother and son of the deceased it appeared that the deceased got hurt during a fight, on Tuesday, the 24th ult., and died the following Thursday at four o'clock.  Witnesses were called, who deposed that a quarrel took place between the deceased and the prisoner at the bar of the Green Man, corner of Ball-street, Edgware-road, on the Tuesday evening in question, and, on Dickson being struck, the two men went into the street ands fought several rounds.

   In the second round the man struck Dickson a heavy blow in the stomach, and knocked him down.  Another round was fought, and Dickson again fell, after which he entered the public-house, complaining of being hurt.  He was afterwards taken home.  Both the men appeared quite sober, but Dickson was first struck.  Mr. Robinson, surgeon, who was called in, said the deceased had but one external sign of violence.  The cavity of the abdomen, however, bore evidence of having received a severe blow; and the cause of death was inflammation of the bowels, caused by a rupture of one of the intestines, manifestly produced by external violence.  Woodgate was now at the House of detention on remand till Thursday week. The coroner said the inequity could not be proceeded with until the accused party was present, and, therefore adjourned the proceedings to Tuesday.


The Observer, 20 May 1860


ACCIDENT IN CONNECTION WITH THE METROPOLITAN UNDERGROUND RAILWAY. - On Thursday Mr. Wakley resumed an inquiry, adjourned from the previous Thursday, at the Lord Nelson Tavern, Duke's-row, Euston-road, on the body of Andrew  Lawford Wall, aged eight years, the son of a glazier, living at 51, Burton-street, Burton-crescent.  The investigation involved the conduct either of the directors or of Mr. Jay, the contractor for the works for constructing the Metropolitan Underground Railway, passing under the Euston-road to King's-cross.  It appears that loud complaints had been made by the inhabitants of the roads and pavements being blocked up by the immense mounds of clay and soil thrown out of the excavations for the new sewer connected with the works of the Metropolitan railway.

   On Tuesday, the 8th inst., the deceased with some children was on one of these mounds, and whilst stooping to pick up a piece of clay a portion of the mound slipped, and the Childs was pitched head foremost under the wheels of an omnibus passing at the moment, which went over his head, neck, and chest.  Strange to relate, the child after this jumped up, and ran several yards, and then fell dead into the arms of a man who rushed forward to rescue him.  No blame whatever was attributable to the omnibus driver, but the question arose as to whether, under the act of Parliament for constructing the railway, the mounds were legally placed, whether due care and precaution had been taken on the part of the contractor and engineer of the company regarding them, and therefore whether criminality attached to any party in the matter.  In order to ascertain these points the inquiry was adjourned, to enable the coroner to see the acts of Parliament and lay his opinion before the jury.  Mr. Jay, the contractor, was present, with Mr. Wallace, his solicitor.  The coroner having stated the result of his investigation, the jury returned the following verdict:-

  That Andrew Lawford Wall died from the effects of injuries of his head and chest, caused by their being crushed by a certain omnibus; and the jurors further say that the  said Andrew Lawford Wall fell from a heap of clay and subsoil which had been left in the Euston-road by the contractor of the Metropolitan railway Company. The jury further consider it to be their duty to state that the works where the accident happened have been executed in a careless, unguarded manner, and in a way calculated to endanger human life.  The jury further consider that the surveyor of the vestry has neglected to see that the provisions of the law have been carried into effect.

   Mr. Scott, who is referred to in the verdict, states that he received no intimation of the inquest, was not aware of its being held, and that if he had been present he could have proved to the satisfaction of the jury that the accident did not occur in consequence of any neglect on the part of any officer of the vestry.


The Observer, 3 June 1860

ROYAL FREE HOSPITAL. [Anniversary festival.]


The Observer, 4 June 1860


OF A PUBLICAN IN HORNSEY WOOD. - Mr. Wakley, coroner for West Middlesex, has received information of the death of Mr. Jacob Nash, licensed victualler, of the George, Little Somerset-street, Aldgate, who was found dead in Hornsey Woods, with his throat cut in a frightful manner.  Deceased had only been in the before-mentioned house about a month.


The Observer, 1 July 1860


FROM EXCESSIVE DRINK. - Mr. Wakley, coroner, instituted inquiries at the board-room of the Marylebone Workhouse into the circumstances attending the death of Mr. William Mitchell, fifty years of age, residing in lodgings at 6, John-street North, Marylebone.  The deceased had occupied his lodgings for the past six years, and during that time he was constantly under the influence of drink, and the latter portion of that time, in his sober moments, always complained of a severe pain in his head.  On Monday morning deceased was found in his bedroom in a dying state, and a letter lay open by his side, stating that he (Mitchell) was mad, and had taken laudanum to end his miserable existence.  Mr. Hatch, a medical gentleman, was called in, and while applying the usual remedies in cases of poisoning, deceased, who had been insensible from the first, expired.  The brain of the deceased was found to be in a diseased state, and a verdict was returned of "Suicide from poison while in a state of unsound mind."


The Observer, 15 July 1860


OF A WELL-KNOWN GOVERNMENT CONTRACTOR. - Mr. Wakley, the coroner for West Middlesex, held a long and painful inquiry at the private residence of Mr. James Weston, the celebrated Government contractor, and manufacturer of Roman and Portland cement and English and French plaster, carrying on one of the largest trades in London, at Millwall, Poplar, and St. Andrew's Wharf, Blackfriars.  The evidence taken was of a voluminous character, and considerable time was spent in ascertaining the cause of death, and the antecedents of this remarkable man, who was during his lifetime considered to be a millionaire.

   Some six or seven years since he removed from the neighbourhood of Blackfriars-road to Mecklenburg-square, Gray's Inn-road; but a clerk named Hookey was given in charge by him, about the 17th of April, for embezzling  something like £80 of his employer (the deceased).  He was remanded, and before committed for trial died.  This seems to have preyed upon the mind of Mr. Weston, and from that time there has been scarcely a day that he could be pronounced to be sober.  Acquaintances, of which he had many bin almost every part of the metropolis, were treated at his expense, in the first instance with common porter, but then before they left, no matter in what public-house they met together, he would insist upon paying for several pounds' worth of bottles of champagne, or any other expensive description of wines.  He was only 53 years of age, and, although such a free liver, was never considered as a man likely to destroy his life; but on Saturday morning week the housekeeper, upon going into his bed-room, found him in bed in a state approximating to articulo mortis.  Mr. Hill, a surgeon, who resided at 22, in the same square, was sent for, and he promptly attended, but the unfortunate gentleman expired, in spite of all that was done, including the application of the galvanic battery, in less than half an hour after the arrival of the surgeon.  The post mortem examination showed that he had taken a mixture of prussic acid and ammonia, which had caused his death.  The jury returned a verdict accordingly.


The Observer, 15 July 1860


THE ALLEGED MANSLAUGHTER IN MARYLEBONE. - On Wednesday evening an inquest was held by Mr. Wakley, in the board-room of Marylebone Workhouse, on view of the body of William Allansbay, thirty-six years of age, described as having been a steeplechase rider, and late a gentleman's touter at races.  The testimony elicited was in effect that the man had died from violence, evidently caused by blows.  It appeared that the first blow struck was in the Horse and Groom, Great Portland-street, on Monday night, by the deceased, apparently without reasonable cause, on a man named Field, who stands remanded for the offence of assaulting the deceased by the magistrate at the Marlborough-street police court, in the House of Detention.  On the present examination the fact was clearly established that at the time deceased left the Horse and Groom, which was some time after the encounter took place as above alluded to, there was nothing serious the matter with him.  At that time he wished the potman good night, and nothing more was positively known of him until twenty minutes to four, when he returned home with serious injuries, which he said he had received in a fight, and from which he expired in Marylebone Workhouse on the ensuing Wednesday.  Verdict - That deceased died from the effects of the fracture of the skull, but under what circumstances the fracture was produced there was not sufficient evidence to prove."  The jury exonerated Mr. Robert Norrish, the landlord of the Horse and Groom, from any blame, believing that he did his best to prevent a fight, and that the cause of death did not take place there. 

   At the early part of the proceedings the coroner pretested against a refusal of the Home Secretary to grant his request to permit the prisoner (Field) who was an accused party, to be present, and expressed his conviction that for some years past he had not been upheld as he ought to have been in his opposition to this course.


The Observer, 19 August 1860


SUSPECTED DEATH FROM POISON. - On Tuesday afternoon an inquest was opened by Mr. Wakley at the board-room of the Marylebone Workhouse, touching the death of John Conway, aged 45, a bootmaker, who resided in Marylebone-court, and which is suspected to have been caused by poison.  It appeared from the evidence of John Con ay, the deceased's son, that his father was a member of a burial club, from which the sum of £8 would be paid for the expenses of a funeral.  He died on Friday night, the 10th inst., after a sudden illness of less than twenty four hours' duration.  He had always been a very sober man.  Dr. Clapp, the parochial medical officer, stated that he attended the deceased two or three hours before his death.  In consequence of information which he had received he had felt it necessary to perform a post mortem examination of the body, which led him to the conclusion that death had been caused by acute peritonitis. He found a dark fluid and dark patches in the stomach of an unusual and suspicious character.  He had, however, made a pathological examination  simply, and not a chemical one, and he should ask for an opportunity of making then latter.  The coroner said the case was a most suspicious one, and it was very desirable that course should be adopted, and the inquiry was accordingly adjourned.


The Observer, 16 September 1860


OF MR. FRANCIS, THE THEATRICAL PRINTER. - On Monday evening Mr. Wakley held an inquest at the plough Tavern, Museum-street, Bloomsbury, on the body of Richard Stibston Francis, aged 53, the theatrical broadside printer, who committed suicide by hanging himself at his residence, 25, Museum-street, Bloomsbury.  The evidence set forth was that about half-past eight o'clock on Saturday morning Mrs. Franc is took up the water necessary for shaving to her husband's bedroom, and in a few minutes after she re-entered and found him hanging to the bedpost by a cord, and dressed only in his shirt, drawers, and stockings.  Mr. Priestley, a next door neighbour, was immediately called in, who held the deceased while Mrs. Francis severed the cord by which her unfortunate husband was suspended.  Mr. Thayn, a medical gentleman, attended, and found Mr. Priestley endeavouring to restore animation by rubbing the deceased.  He (Mr. Thayne), however, placed his hand upon the heart of the deceased, and found the vital current had ceased to flow.  He believed that dislocation of the neck was the cause of death, produced by hanging.

   Evidence was then produced that deceased had suffered extensive and serious losses in business that he said nothing but death would relieve him from his difficulties; that he was mentally affected, and felt an absence of sleep, leaving his bed to walk about the room.  The coroner commented upon the manners of the deceased, and said that if medical aid had been called in quietude of mind might have been restored, and the dreadful act avoided, but, unfortunately, affection of the head was the last attended to in such cases.  The coroner then remarked for the public benefit, and gave an instance of a gentleman who had hung himself, but, being resuscitated, lived thirty hours after the attempt.  He was visibly mentally affected, bur stated no cause to his friends.  On his temporary recovery, he said it ran in his mind that if he destroyed himself, he should subsequently become Lord Mayor.  Another reason why the coroner mentioned this circumstance was to show the fallacy of a jury judging and returning a verdict upon the state of mind of a person committing suicide, as it was impossible to tell the state of mind under which he may be labouring at the rime of commission of such an act.  The coroner understanding that the life of the deceased had been insured for the last eight years, said he not not believe that the present death would affect the policy. - The jury, after a bride consultation, returned a verdict "That deceased destroyed himself, but his state of mind at the time of the act was unknown."


The Observer, 16 September 1860


BY A FALL FROM THE AREA RAILS. - Mr. Wakley held an inquest on Thursday, at the Bank of England Tavern, Cambridge-street, Paddington, on the body of Mr. Henry James Knowsley, aged 46, a tradesman, residing at 47, Star-street.  It appeared that deceased for the past fourteen years was in the habit, wherever he remained out after his wife had retired for the night, to get over the area rails and tap at their bedroom window to be let into the house.  Notwithstanding he had often been cautioned of this dangerous practice, by being told  that it might one day cost him his life, he still persisted, and  always refused to take a key.  Upon his return home about two o'clock, last Tuesday morning he got up on the area rails, in accordance with his custom, and just as he tapped at the window, and called out the name of his wife, he missed his footing, and fell into the area on his head, and died a few hours afterwards.  Verdict - Accidental Death.

To a boy in leaning to carry a hod. - An inquest was held before Mr. Wakley, coroner, at the Bank of England Tavern, Cambridge-place, Paddington, touching the death of a boy named John Sullivan, aged 13, who was found, fatally injured, lying insensible in a new building in the course of completion in Upper Hyde Park-gardens, by Francis Emmett, one of the plasterers engaged on the premises, on the morning of last Tuesday week.  It appeared from the evidence that Emmett, whilst at breakfast on the scaffolding outside the building, was attracted by a moaning sound to the second flight of stairs, where he found the deceased, as described, perfectly insensible.  The unfortunate lad was promptly removed to St. Mary's Hospital, at which place he expired five days afterwards from the effect of a severe laceration of the brain.  The father of the deceased stated that he was a workman  on the premises, and his son expected to be engaged to carry a hod in the course of three weeks, and was then in training for the job.  His son must have accidentally fallen unseen from one of the scaffolds. Verdict - Accidental Death.


The Observer, 4 November 1860


   An explosion of a serious and fatal character took place on Thursday morning, at the works progressing for the Underground Railway, at King's-cross, by which two unfortunate men, named Wiggins and Tann, engine-driver and stoker, were killed on the spot; another man, named Church, a labourer, so severely injured, that there are no hopes of his recovery; as also a cabman and one or two other persons.

INQUEST ON THE SUFFERERS.  Yesterday an inquest was opened before Mr. Wakley, coroner for the western division of Middlesex, and a jury of moist respectable inhabitants of Islington, at the Victoria Hotel, King's-cross, to investigate the deaths of George Wiggins, engine driver, and Charles Tann, stoker of engine employed in drawing earth from the tunnel of the Underground railway on to the line of the Great Northern Railway, who were killed by the explosion of the engine employed on the works in question, on the morning of Thursday last.   .  .  .


The Observer, 24 November 1860

SINGULAR DEATH FROM A LOCK JAW. - On Thursday, Mr. Wakley, the coroner, held an inquest at the Rising Sun Tavern, Euston Road, London, on the body of Mrs. Francis Margate Moor, aged 42, housekeeper at the General Dispensary, 128, Euston Road, whose death took place on last Wednesday week, from lock jaw, under very remarkable circumstances.  Dr Semple, of Tavistock Square, on account of the singular and serious nature of the case, was specially called in to assist Mr. Turnbull, the resident surgeon of the Dispensary.  His deposition before the Coroner was to the effect that on Sunday, the 11th instant, he attended Mrs. Moore, who he found suffering from lock jaw.  She was very ill, and could only speak at intervals, and then with great difficulty.  He was informed in her presence, and to which she assented, that it was a lock jaw caused by an operation, apparently properly performed by a professional dentist two days previously, of snipping two molar teeth for the purpose of fixing artificial teeth, which she was in the habit of wearing.  The lock jaw continued until the Wednesday morning, when she died.  From the Sunday to the Wednesday she suffered severely, and during the greater part of that period she was kept under the influence of chloroform.  Witness had made an examination of the body, and found that no undue violence had been used.  The sole cause of death was unquestionably from lock jaw.  Other witnesses deposed that up to very recently she had been addicted to rather intemperate habits, and that every effort was exerted to save her life.  A verdict was that deceased died from lock jaw, occasioned from natural causes by the snapping of the crown of two teeth. - Daily News.


The Observer, 24 March 1861


ROYAL FREE HOSPITAL.  Twenty-third Anniversary.


The Observer, 28 April 1861




The Observer, 26 May 1861

Coroners' salary. - The ordinary meeting of the magistrates of Middlesex, for the consideration of the business of the county, was held on Thursday, at the Sessions House, Clerkenwell Green.  .  .  .

Mr. Maude, the deputy clerk of the peace, laid before the court an instrument or letter, under the hand and seal of the Secretary Sir G. C. Lewis, fixing the salary to be paid to Mr. Wakley, coroner for the western division of the county, at £1,800 a year (23 and 24 Vict. C.116), the court having upon an average of five years, fixed it at £1,707.


The Observer, 22 July 1861



The Observer, 8 September 1861



   Ion Wednesday, Mr. Humphreys (coroner) opened the inquest at the Elephant and Castle, Camden Town, assisted by Mr. Brent (deputy coroner), in the absence of Mr. Wakley.


The Observer, 16 November 1861


Mentions the 1834 Election, in which Thomas Wakley was a candidate.


The Observer, 1 December 1861


...  your committee recommend that such accounts be paid, viz:- Thomas Wakley, Esq., on holding 118 inquests from the 1st Oct. to Nov. 9,, £277 10s. 6d.


he Observer, 25 May 1862




The Observer, 8 June 1862

THE MIDDLESEX  CORONERSHIP. - Several gentlemen have declared themselves candidates for the office of coroner for the western division of the county of Middlesex, rendered vacant by the deceased of Mr. Wakley; ...


The Observer, 8 June 1862


   It is but a just tribute to the memory of the late Mr. Wakley to state that his extraordinary energy and indomitable perseverance, to his tact and ability, the members of the medical profession in this country are principally indebted for the great reforms that have been promoted in the medical corporations of the united Kingston, but more especially in England, and to those efforts of Mr. Wakley the public at large owe a deep obligation for the great services rendered by him to promote a more efficient system of medical education, thereby securing more competent practitioners, to whose care might be entrusted with greater safety the limbs and lives of Her Majesty's subjects.


The Observer, 8 June 1862

DEATH OF MR. WAKLEY. - Intelligence has been received of the death of Mr. Wakley, the coroner for Middlesex, which event is said to have taken place on his return from Madeira, where he had gone some months ago for the benefit of his health.  He was in the 67th year of his age.

   Originally trained for the medical profession, he settled in London, after having been admitted a surgeon, and is  said to have obtained a considerable amount of practice.  Turning his attention subsequently to politics, he started a newspaper called the Ballot, which did not, however, prove a  very successful speculation, and, in addition, took an active part in the reform movement, in recognition of which he was, after two rejections, ultimately chosen, in 1835, to represent the borough of Finsbury, for which he continued to sit till 1852, when he retired.

   His most profitable enterprise was the establishment of The Lancet, of which he was founder and proprietor, and which he continued to conduct until within a recent period.  He was chosen coroner for West Middlesex  during his parliamentary career, and derived large emoluments from that important office.


The Observer, 8 June 1862




16th ult., at Madeira,

 T. Wakley, Esq., M.R.C.S. Eng.

Coroner for Middlesex,

 in his 67th year.






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