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Colonial Cases

1840s NZ


Yesterday, the body of a man was found on the beach near Waihe.  We are informed that the Health Officer examined the body and also the pockets of the deceased, which were empty.

   Fatal Accident. - On Saturday, May 30, Thomas Elison and three men were unfortunately drowned by the upsetting of a whale boat opposite the Island of Mana.



   It becomes our painful task to record the most melancholy event which has happened since the formation of the settlement of Port Nicholson.  It is the loss by drowning of several of our most valuable and respectable fellow colonists.

As far as we have been able to collect them the following are the circumstances.  On Tuesday last several boats left Britannia for Petoni.  They were all under sail running before a strong south-east wind, which occasioned a heavy surf on the beach.  One of these boats, having twelve persons in it, when within one hundred yards off the beach, was upset, and though in less than seven feet of water, but three survive the accident.  Of the nine which have perished one is missing, two have been washes ashore, and six were rescued almost immediately by the united assistance of Native and European population.  Efforts were made to restore animation but were unattended with success.

   The natives showed their attachment to the colonists by the efforts they used to rescue them.  The following individuals were particularly active.  Ma Hau, E Wanga, E Pake, E Ware, and E Pouni; to these names of men we have to add the names of the three females who equally exerted themselves to save our fellow countrymen.  E Tut, E Wa, E Ui.  ...

   The following are the names of those who perished.  Mr. J. Pierce, Mr. W. Elsdon, Mr. R. Hight, Mr. Lancaster, Mr. Josias Tucker.

   Martin, a sailor belonging to the boat, and lately in the schooner "Jewess;"  Griffin, late steward of the Cuba;"  Rogers, a thatcher by trade; and a person known as "Colonel Bill, whose body has not yet been found. ...

   On Thursday night, an enquiry was instituted we believe by order of Mr. Shortland, but we have not been furnished as yet with the result of the enquiry.  [Funeral.] [Editorial.]



It was recently our painful task to record the death by drowning of several of our fellow colonists.  We have now to perform the melancholy duty of announcing the death, in a similar manner, of Edward Betts Hopper, Esq.  It appears that Mr. Hopper, Mr. Petre, and some workmen, had been engaged, on Thursday last, in getting timber, and were descending the River Hutt with a load, when the boat struck against an unseen snag, and Mr. Hopper, who was standing in the bow of the boat, was thrown into the eater.  Every exertion was made to save Mr. Hopper, but from the inability to aid himself, there is reason to believe he had been stunned in falling into the water; though oars and other things were thrown him, he made no attempt to catch hold of them.  The body was recovered after being in the water about fifteen minutes, and every effort to restore animation was resorted to, for several hours, but without any prospect of success.  Dr. Stokes was early in attendance, but the unfortunate gentleman was beyond the reach of human aid before taken from the water. [Biography.][Also, article on resuscitation by Mr. Monteith.]



Overloading boats and dangers; letter to The Editor from J.H.




On Monday the 11th instant, a fatal accident occurred on the road between Waimati and Kerikeri, which has plunged the family of the Revd. Mr. Taylor, of the Waimati, in deep distress.  Mr. Taylor's eldest son, a boy of 10 years of age was, with two youths in the Seminary, accompanying his father to meet his mother and sister, in their return from Tepuna - while riding gently along, a touch from the switch which he held in his hand caused the horse to start - he fell, and was dragged by the stirrup, the animal at full gallop, for more than a hundred yards, when his foot became disengaged.  His father was instantly with him, but he expired immediately in his arms.  The suddenly bereaved parent had to return home with the corpse of his son, borne by Natives, and a friend met the mother with the appalling intelligence.  [Funeral, etc.]

   We have to record a most melancholy event that occurred on Saturday last, and occasioned the death of Captain John Robertson.  His boat upset in a sudden squall and instantly disappeared. He was the seventh son of the Revd. William Robertson, of Friar's Hall, near Kelso, Roxburghshire. [Six older brothers also drowned.] [CORRESPONDENT.]




Another report of the deaths of Taylor boy, and Captain Robertson.



Dr. Davies, as Health Officer, almost drowned visiting a ship.



FATAL ACCIDENT. - We have this week to record a fatal and distressing accident, and as unhappily such occurrences may be expected from the unsettled, and, in many instances, uncomfortable condition of the immigrants, to become common; - and as they always form deep and lasting subjects of regret, to the parties immediately concerned, we insert a few particulars, and urge parents to renewed care in all their domestic concerns.

   The sufferer (a fine boy aged two and a half years, in the very best of health and a delight to all who saw him) was on Saturday, 30th ult., amusing himself at his mother's feet whilst she was preparing dinner for the family and lodgers, and which unfortunately she had to accomplish in the open air.  Mrs. B., with the most praiseworthy view of economy, in order to save the water, in which a leg of pork had just been boiled, emptied the fluid into a trough used for holding food for a pig; this had not been done more than a few seconds, when her darling sun unhappily - fairly sat down in the trough, then to the brim.

   A medical man was sent for in about an hour and a half after the accident; - he found the entire surface of the body or trunk nearly deprived of cuticle, with here and there larger vesications even upon the limbs.  The face of the child was anxious, pulse scarcely perceptible, limbs cold, thirst urgent, great restlessness.  The usual remedies were resorted to, but the poor sufferer died in about 12 hours after the accident.  [Editorial advice on treatment of scalds and burns.] - COMMUNICATED.



On Friday se'nnight, about 7 o'clock in the evening, a cutter belonging to Messrs. Ridgways, Guyon, and Earp, and in charge of Mr. Hill, late first officer of the London, and Mr. Emary, (son of the celebrated actor of that name,) who came passenger in the same ship, left the River Hutt, for Wellington, laden with a portion of the dwelling-house belonging to Mr. Boyton, and several other articles; since when the boat has not been heard of.  When they started, the wind was light from N.W., but later in the evening the wind freshened a little with occasional squalls.  At no period, however, during the night, that we can learn, was the wind so strong as to endanger the lives of persons in a craft similar to the one missing.  It is conjectured that having gone to leeward of Somes' island, and, perhaps, not being sufficiently acquainted with the harbour to know where they were during the night, they were driven out to sea, and there perished; as up to the time of our going to press, no tidings have been received of them, although the most diligent search has been made in the various bays round the port.  This is another melancholy instance of the imprudence of overloading vessels of this class; she was, to use the expressions of a man who assisted in loafing her at Petoni, "double loaded," and was borne down to the water's edge. ...

   Two accidents occurred on Saturday evening last.  One of the seamen belonging to the schooner Elizabeth fell overboard, and we regret to say, the poor fellow was drowned.  The body has not yet been recovered. ...

   We regret to have to announce that Mr. Harrison's eldest son on Sunday morning last was so severely burnt, from his clothes taking fire, that he died of the injury on the ensuing day.  The circumstances was rendered the more distressing, owing to the absence of Mr. Harrison, who was then on his way down from Wanganui, and did not arrive until a few hours after his son had expired.



On Wednesday afternoon last, a small cutter, recently the property of Mr. G. Young, was upset by a gust of wind.  There were several passengers on board, proceeding to Petoni.  Fortunately all the adults were saved; but two children, the one the infant child of Mrs. Hight, who had the misfortune to lose her husband by a similar occurrence a few months since, the other, also an infant, the child of Mrs. Baker, met a watery grave. ...




... She parted both her cables during the gale on Wednesday night; and after a vain attempt to keep her off with canvass, she was laid on her beam ends by a terrific squall.  Her masts went, and she righted, but we regret to state that Mr. G. Wade and a chief called ":Wide-Awake," who were clinging to the masts, were never seen again. ...



The dead body of a native was discovered by two Europeans on Te Aro Flat, on Thursday last.  Two medical gentlemen, after an examination of the body, expressed it to be their opinion that death had been occasioned by apoplexy.  The body was removed by the natives to Ki Warra Warra, and the people of the pah there had authorized Mr. Murphy to have the body opened to enable the medical gentlemen to give their opinion before a coroner's inquest.  This was about to be done, when Warepori appeared and addressed his fellow countrymen, endeavoring to persuade them that the dead man had been murdered by the white people.  This led to great excitement, and expressions to the effect, on the part of the natives, that they would have blood for blood, and certain payment to the tribe in satisfaction of the wrong they had suffered by the death of their countryman.  In consequence of these expressions and the excitement, Mr. Murphy sent round to a large number of the Colonists to hold themselves ready to preserve the public peace should any violence be attempted.  His call was responded to by an immediate muster of a large body of the settlers, who after showing the natives, by their being so quickly on the spot, the folly of attempting to avenge their supposed wrong, returned to their houses.



An accident, which we are sorry to say, was attended with loss of life, occurred in the bay on the night of Tuesday last.  Mr. Seed, shoemaker, a man named William Telford, and another whose name we have not learnt, were returning from Kia wara-wara in a canoe, when about opposite the Royal George Inn, they were upset.  It was dark at the time, and blowing nearly half-a-gale of wind from the N.W., their cries, however, fortunately, we heard from the beach, and two boats put off with lanterns, and succeeded in rescuing two of them from a watery grave.  Telford, unfortunately lost his life.  [Editorial comment].  The body of the unfortunate man Telford was found yesterday morning near the spot where he met his untimely fate.  Deceased had given his evidence on Tuesday morning, before the Court of Quarter Sessions.



An inquest was held on Friday last, at the Royal George Inn, before J. P. Fitzgerald, Esq., the Coroner for the District of Port Nicholson, and a respectable jury, on the body of William Telford, whose death by drowning we announced in our last.  The jury, after hearing the evidence, returned a verdict "that the deceased came to his death by the upsetting of a canoe."  A deodand of twenty shillings was levied on the canoe.



Some persons on Saturday last, (we understand Mauries,) visiting Robertson's Island, situated in Paroa Bay, within the Bay of Islands, discovered that the house of Mrs. Roberson was burnt to the ground, and the inmates - that lady, one of her children, a European man-servant, named Thomas Bull, and a child, the grandson of the native chief Rivers, - were murdered.  The body of Mrs. Robertson was horribly mangled and mutilated; the man-servant had been decapitated; and the remains of a child were found burnt in the ashes of the house.  Mrs. Robertson had two children, and as the body of one only has yet been found, it is hoped the other may have hid itself, or if carried away by the murderers, may escape the fate of its mother and the other victims.  Mrs. Robertson was well known and respected at the Bay of Islands, and her frightful fate has created there feelings of the deepest horror, and a universal sadness.  Her husband, the late Captain John Robertson, was drowned about 12 months ago, within view of his family, opposite to his own house, the scene of the above murders.  We have been informed, that two or three Europeans have been apprehended on suspicion of being the perpetrators of this most shocking and inhuman atrocity.

   A gentleman, who came in the Munford, informs us that the murderer was a Mauri, who had been provoked by a threat from Bull, that he should have little or no food unless he worked better for Mrs. Robertson, who had hired him.  He first killed Bull, creeping behind him with a tomahawk, and then Mrs. Robertson and the children.  He is in custody, and has made a full confession, not pretending to have received any other cause of offence than that mentioned.



In reference to the murder committed at the Bay of Islands, and noticed in our last, we learn that, by the praiseworthy exertions of Mr. W. Wilson and Mr. Thomas Spicer, aided by Rivers and other chiefs of Kororarika, the murderer had been apprehended.  The Government brig Victoria arrived at Auckland on the 28th November, having the murderer in custody, with full accounts of the coroner's inquest.  Great excitement, it is stated, prevailed at the Bay of Island, both among Europeans and natives.



On Saturday evening, the wind, which had been generally blowing from the north and west during the day, suddenly chopped round to the south-east, and came up a violent gale from that quarter.  We regret to state, that much damage is done to the shipping in Cook's Straits, and a boat with six persons was upset, between Petoni and Somes' Island, and all on board perished. ...

BOAT ACCIDENT, AND LOSS OF LIFE. - Cogan's boat, heavily laden with timber, with Mr. Dunn, a gentleman who had occasionally officiated here in the absence of an authorised minister of the Protestant Church, and four hands, left the River Hutt on Saturday afternoon for Wellington.  When about half-way across, she encountered a sudden squall from the S.E., and it was supposed, foundered.  Every search has been made for the bodies, but up to this time, without avail. ... We have not heard yet who the other parties were.



The gale continued with unabated violence the whole of Sunday; several attempts were made to communicate with the shore, but without effect; one poor fellow, was drowned in his efforts to reach the land.



In another part of our paper we have given a report of the proceedings at the inquest held by J. P. Fitzgerald, Esq., Coroner, on the body of Mr. Archibald Milne.  The whole affair is involved in mystery.  A white man has undergone an examination, but since discharged.  The native against whom, from the evidence, there is some suspicion, will be examined at the adjourned in quest, which will be held at 11 o'clock this day, at Petoni.  The deceased was interred last Friday, in the presence of a large concourse of friends and spectators.


The following evidence was adduced at the above investigation:--

   John Wright Child sworn. - I saw a boy on Wednesday, the 15th, who informed me he had seen a body lying in the water, about two miles from Petoni, along the beach.  I called on the head constable, and took a small boat, and went with him and picked up the body, which was lying on the beach, back upwards, the fingers just touching the ground within two or three yards of the beach, it being that time (four o'clock in the evening) about a quarter flood.  There were many large rocks where he lay, and a slight swell on the water.  The body had no clothes on, except a shirt, waistcoat, flannel drawers, and one stocking.  The shirt and waistcoat were washed over the shoulders, so as to leave the back exposed.  We then brought the body to Mr. Burcham's house.

   Examined by the Jury. - The water where he lay was about two feet six; did not examine the nature of the ground.

   By the Coroner. - The body was close along side of a large rock, but perfectly free, and moved with every undulation of the tide.

   By the Jury. - Did not think his shirt and waistcoat had been pulled over his head.  The waistcoat was unbuttoned.  A little foam ran from the nose when we moved the body, but not from the mouth.  There was a slight smearing of blood on the face.  Do not recollect seeing any hole in the shirt, when it was over the head.

   Jabez Allen sworn. - I came home from Wellington on Tuesday, about 7 o'clock.  Near Mr. Burcham's fence I met the deceased; he returned with me to my house, and we drank a glass of ale and ginger beet together.  He remained about a quarter of an hour; he had the appearance of having been drinking.  He stated when I met him, that he was going to Wellington.  Having left the room a few minutes, on my return I discovered that deceased had left the house.

   Examined by the Coroner. - Deceased was in a fit state to walk to Wellington, though he staggered a little in his walk when I met him.

   By the Jury. - I was not absent from the house above a few minutes.  We had a bottle of ale and a bottle of ginger beer.  Deceased had no quarrel with any one.  He seemed much affected by the death of Mr. Dunn.  When he left my house, he might have gone into Coghlan's, but I did not see him.  There was sufficient light to see from m y house to the Koro Koro.  It was about sunset.  Am decidedly of opinion he was perfectly capable of taking care of himself home.  He had a dog with him when he returned with me.

   Adrian Lowe sworn. - I live at Mr. Allen's occasionally.  I remember deceased coming to Mr. Allen's on Tuesday afternoon, about 5 or 6 o'clock.  He called for a pint of wine, with which I served him. Mr. Rush told me he had been there before, and had three glasses of porter.  I charged him for the porter along with the wine he had.  He went away about 7 o'clock; was not quite sober, but not drunk; he walked quite upright, talked a little thick; believed him to be capable to take care of himself; did not see him stagger; he was not what is called fresh; he would walk without assistance.  He left two full glasses of wine, and could not have drank much; was in good spirits; could not say he could have gone to Wellington had he taken more.  I met him in the afternoon between three and four o'clock crossing the swamp, and going up towards Mr. Garrod's.  He appeared to have been drinking then.  When he came the second time he could not have had any liquor besides the wine, without my knowledge.

   By the Jury. - He had no quarrel, while in Mr. Allen's, with any person; no person treated him to my knowledge.

   John Fowler sworn. - Was at Wellington on Tuesday; went down in the morning and returned in the afternoon; came lover with Wm. Leckie; we left Lodge's, at Kai Warra Warra, along with Baker and his wife, and overwalked him about a mile from Ngahuranga.  I do not recollect meeting with any one on the road.  We arrived at the Koro Koro about 8 o'clock; Leckie walked on; I went into Barrows and stayed about a quarter of an hour; when I came out I saw Baker and his wife; I did not speak but believed it to be them; I did not meet deceased on the road in the afternoon; I met him coming to Petoni in the forenoon, on the Petoni side of Warepouri's pah; he appeared to be in a deep study about something, or else in liquor; I did not speak to him.

   Richard Rush sworn. - I live at Mr. Allen's; I recollect Mr. Milne coming there on Tuesday, about 2 or 3 o'clock, but am not quite sure about the time.  He called for three glasses of porter, which I served him with; he drank one glass himself, and treated two other persons with the others; he stayed about half an hour; was quite sober.

   Examined by the Jury. - He did not appear dull or distressed; he had been hurrying round to overtake the Rev. Mr. M'Farlane.  He was not what is called fresh; I do not know who the other parties were to whom deceased gave the porter.

   Reverend John M'Farlane sworn. - I was in Water and Smith's store, on Monday; I saw deceased there; he said he was anxious to see Mrs. Dunn, and agreed to accompany me to see her next day.  I called at 11 o'clock, he was not ready, but said if I rode slowly he would overtake me; he did not do so.  I proceeded on to Mrs. Dunn's, and on my return about 4 o'clock, I found him at Mr. Allen's; he s aid if I would wait half an hour he would be back, and accompany me to Wellington.  I waited three quarters of an hour and he did not come back.  I then left to return homer.  He was quite capable to take care of himself; he appeared to have had a glass of wine, but was by no means intoxicated, and could converse rationally.

   By the Jury. - I am not aware if he had his watch with him.

   By the Coroner. - He had on a blue jacket, white moleskin trowsers, and a cap.  I am not aware if he had a dog with him.

   Henry Baker sworn. - I came from Wellington with my wife on Tuesday evening; we arrived about 8 o'clock; we met a man, with a maori following behind him, about half a mile on the Wellington side of the native bark house on the road; the maori called me E Baker; I asked him where he was going; he told me Mr. Allen "korero him to look out for the pakeha," and take him home; I said kapai, napenap; he then went on after the man; I should know the maori again; the white man passed me as quick as he could go; he was a dozen yards before the maori; he did not appear drunk, but was not sober; he staggered a little; I did not speak to him.  When I arrived at the Koro Koro, I met another maori going after him; I asked him where he was going; he said, "to the hill;" I told him napenap, te tapo haere mai; he answered, he did not care about the taipo; I did not observe a dog with the white man; he had his clothes on; I believe he had on a short jacket, but did not take much notice.

   By the Jury. - I did not notice whether the first maori had any stick or tomahawk, as his hands were under his blanket; the white man was walking fast, not running; it was neither dark nor light; I did not know him; I have seen the body, and think it was the person I saw that night; I know him by his sandy hair and  whiskers; I could recognize the native; he has been at my place many times; a dozen times I should say; I do not know where the native lives; I did not observe any body about the native house; the person I met was neither a tall man nor a little man; I could not see his features sufficiently that night to know him.

   Marion Baker, (wife of preceding witness) sworn. - Corroborated the evidence of her husband and added, - The person we met seemed quite in a fright.  I said to my husband "poor fellow, how he is hurrying." He was perspiring very much.  He had on a short round jacket, and was sandy complexioned.  He appeared a little in liquor, but could walk along very well.  The maori was following a few yards behind the white man.  After he had spoken to us he ran on after him, as hard as he could.  I think by the appearance he had something under his blanket; it appeared to be a short thing, not a spear.  I did not see a dog with the white man.  The second native that we met did not ask about any body; I think he knew us, but I did not know him.  I never saw the white man before.  I think I should know him again if he had on the same dress.  He was a slight young man.

   By the Jury. - I knew the maori long ago; I have seen him six months ago; I do not know his name; or where he lives.  I should know him again.  He was a young man about 21, not tatooed.

   The witness having seen the body said, "I am sure that deceased is the person we met."

   H. B. Relph sworn. - I am a surgeon.  I brought Mrs. Dunn to see a body that had been found on the beach, to see if it was the body of her husband; it was not.  I then examined it, and on examination was led to suppose that death had been caused by violence.  I found a severe cut on the occipital bon e, at the back of the head; it was about an inch in length; it was an incised wound, apparently inflicted with a sharp weapon, causing a depression on the outer table of the skull, over the lower part of the occipital bone on the left side.  The wound was directed upwards and backwards, as given from below.  On the face, there was an extensive laceration of the skin and muscles of the lower jaw; a great contusion of the lower lip, which was a little lacerated internally, caused by contact with the teeth.  The front teeth of the upper jaw were broken.  There was a slight triangular wound under the left ear; a slight wound under the chin, and various signs of contusions on the chest at the lower part of the thorax.  The wound on the back of the head was about a quarter of an inch through the scalp; it might have been caused by the corner of a small tomahawk, burl not by the whole face of it.

   By the Coroner. - It is not possible it could have been inflicted by falling on the rocks.  The wounds on the face might have been so.  I do not recollect seeing such a wound with a depression caused by a fall.  The wounds on the chin meet, and assume an irregular triangular shape.  The lower wound is a simple incised wound, the upper one I consider to be a lacerated one.  The blow on the back of the head might have knocked him down, and the upper wound might have been caused by falling on the rocks or some sharp surface.  I do not believe the wound under the left ear was inflicted by an instrument; in any other part such a wound might be occasioned by an instrument directed obliquely, but I do not think it was so caused in this instance.  All the appearances on the body could not be occasioned b y falling on the rocks.  The wound on the back of the head appears to have produced concussion, but I cannot say positively without further examination.

   By the Jury. - I could certainly give more definite and satisfactory information, whether the wound at the back of the head, would cause death, independent of the other wounds, by removing the occipital bone and outer table of the skull, and afterwards the bone itself.

   The witness was directed to examine more minutely as to the extent and effects of the wound.

   Jabez Allen re-examined. - I did not tell any maori to take charge of Mr. Milne on his way to Wellington, nor promised to pay them for so doing; I had no opportunity of doing so, as I was not aware of his departure until after he was gone; there were no natives at my house on Tuesday evening to my knowledge; no person in my house told any maori to take charge of him that I am aware of.

   William Cook sworn. - I live with my father at the Koro Koro; on Tuesday evening, about half past seven o'clock, I was standing inside my father's fence, close to the footpath.  I saw a man come forward and sit down at the bridge.  My father, I, and my two brothers went up to him; he rose up, and came forward and said, if we would take him across the bridge, he would give us a  glass of grog; I said I would give him my hand across; he did not take it, but turned about and went down  to the stream to the narrowest part below the bridge, and crossed over, and then walked along very fast; there was a maori standing at the flagstaff, about fifty yards from where we were at the fence; he came towards us at the fence, and said ":the wind was coming down from the hills," and that he  was going to Ngahuranga; he then turned away, crossed the bridge, and walked on; he said nothing about the white man; he was a young man, about 20 or 22, not tatooed; he had on a white blanket; I did not see him have anything in his hand; I only saw one hand, the other was under his blanket; I have known him for twelve months, and could recognize him; the white man appeared to be about three-parts drunk, and walked very fast; he was sensible enough; he had a dog with him; it was a dark brindled dog; its ears and tail were cut.

   Marion Baker re-examined. - The second maori had on trowsers, a dark surtout coat, a  cap, and a shirt.

   At this period of the proceedings the inquest was adjourned, to procure if possible the evidence of the native who was seen following deceased.  [See 1 January 1842.]



An adjourned inquest on the body of Mr. Archibald Milne was held on Monday last, at Petoni.  The native against whom there was some suspicion, was examined through the medium of an interpreter.  All the witnesses identified him as the person last seen with deceased; but the native himself denied having been at Koro Koro at the time specified; he said it was the day previous when he was there.  The jury returned a verdict of "willful murder against some person or persons unknown."  We will publish the examination on Saturday.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 26 December 1856


To the Editor of the Southern Cross.

Sir, - Will you allow me through your journal to make a few remarks on a certain book, headed 'New Zealand - its emigration, and gold fields,' by G. Butler Earp, Esq., author of the 'Gold Colonies of Australia,' in contradiction of what is stated regarding the deed of the Native Maketu, who murdered 5 innocent souls, at the Bay of Islands, in the year 1842 - Thomas Bull, Mrs. Robinson and two children, and one child, the daughter of Captain Danby Brind, by a native woman of the name of Mowaka, a great chief's daughter of the Kewa.  ...


I will now state the whole circumstances to the best of my knowledge.  I think it was on a Saturday or Sunday morning.  There was a large smoke seen on Robinson's Island by several of the inhabitants of other parts of the Bay of Islands.  I went to Kororareka and was told of the melancholy occurrence.  We called a meeting to consider what was best to be done, and resolved that boats should be sent round to convey Dr. Davies, the coroner, with the jurymen and any other doctor we could get to accompany us.  The names of twelve persons were taken down to form a jury, of which I was one. ...


We proceeded to our business.  The first body examined was that of Thomas Bull, on the side of a rising ground, about twenty or thirty paces from where the house stood before being burnt.  He was lying on his side with his head half off.  It appeared to have been done at one blow, for as a blanket was lying by him, some part on him, he could never have moved after the blow was struck. We then went down to where the house had stood.  There we found the remains of three dead bodies; supposed to be of Mrs. Robinson, one of her children, and a half-caste daughter of Capt. Brind, who was down there on a visit, but it was impossible for any to swear to them, as they were so much burnt.  Then we consulted again about what was best to be done in trying to find the boy. ...


About an hour after, we were thinking about leaving the island, to go home, when a Native chief's son came to us with his tomahawk in his hand, and seemed to be in a great fury about something.  I asked him what was the matter.  The first thing he told me was that the boy was dead; he was drowned, and he (the chief's son) was going to cut the man's head off who had drowned him, for he had murdered his sister's child;  ...


When Mr. Beckham did arrive at Kororareka, and Maketu was given into his charge, he certainly did his duty in every way he could.  The first thing he did was to swear in most of the inhabitants as special constables; and the next thing was to call a Coroner's jury together, and like wise one of the Missionaries, as interpreter.

   The jury was sworn, and the business went on. Maketu was brought forward and told what he was taken and brought there for; ...

   ... Doctor Davies then told him that he was brought there on the charge of murdering five white people - naming Mrs. Robison, Thomas Bull, and three children - and asked, first, did you either murder or assist in murdering Thomas Bull?  Maketu bursted our crying, and asked again to speak to his father.  He was again refused.  ... At last he said in a very low voice, crying at the time, he killed Tommy Bull.  Being asked by me for what reason, he said he could not tell. ... He was asked again what he killed Bull for?  He said the Devil (using the Native name) had put it in his head.  He was cutting some wood for Mrs. Robinson, and he saw Bull lying down, and his blanket over him, and he went over to him and pulled the blanket off his head, and cut his head off with an axe.  The axe was shown him and a question put to him, "is this the axe?"
  "Yes." "Was this blood on the axe before you struck him?" "No." "Had you any other reason for killing Bull but what you have stated?"  He said he wanted Mrs. Robinson's watch, and gave another reason besides.

   The jury adjourned till next day, when Doctor Davies asked Maketu - "Did you kill Mrs. Robinson?" He said, he did, and the three children also. I asked him what made him kill Mrs. Robinson, who had so often given him something to eat, and the poor little children.  He said Mrs. Robinson called out to him, just as he struck Bull, "Oh, Maketu, Maketu, what have you done?"  He then went down to Mrs. Robinson and asked her for the watch; she was crying very hard, and he laid hold of her and tried to throw her down, but she was too strong for him and nearly mastered him, and if it had not been for s spade, standing by, she would have mastered him; but he managed to get from under Mrs. Robinson, and got the spade and struck her down with it.  He killed her and two of the children with the axe. ... When asked what he did after committing the murder? He said, "Laid Mrs. Robinson on the ground, and one child on each side of her, and set fire to the house." Now Maketu, you have told us about the three children being dead, only two are found; where is the boy?  He said the boy ran away, and after searching a long while he found him, and when he left the Island in his canoe he took him with him.  When he got about half way across to another island he was going to, he threw the boy overboard and struck him with his paddle, and drowned him.

   The above is written by Benj. E. Turner, knowing the facts, not like G. Butler Earp's statement, by hearsay.


"I have always been of opinion that Maketu ought not, under all circumstances, to have been executed, and I am of that opinion still; notwithstanding the barbarity of his crime.  Our authority in the island was scarcely of two year's standing, and after all, the customs of his own country, barbarous as they were, were in his favour.  He was too disdained to conceal the truth, and it was from his own lips that the first evidence of his crime came.  Had he held his peace, it would have been difficult to have convicted him, if not impossible; but he did not conceal a single item.  Had he only killed the man who sought to make him a butt whereon to exercise his brute strength, I do not believe that a single European on the island would have been in favour of his death.  And I have no doubt he spoke the entire truth when he told me that he would not have harmed Mrs. Robinson, but that her taunts worked him up to such a pitch of anger that he lost all self-control; a pardonable fault amiong demi-savages, and this was not taken into account at the trial." - Earp's New Zealand.




The adjourned inquest took place on Monday, at Petoni, as announced in Wednesday's paper, and the following additional evidence was brought forward:--

   William Finnimore sworn. - I knew the deceased; he was at my house on the day in question, about half past three; he appeared to have been drinking, but was quite steady; he left my house to go to see Mrs. Dunn, and returned in about ten minutes; he was at my house about an hour from first to last; he  proposed going up the river, but was recommended to go home, which he did, and we did not see any thing more of him; when he left us he was perfectly capable of going home, and was much better than when he came.

   A juryman (Mr. Garrod) said, that the deceased came into his house, on his road from Mr. Finnimore's, and had a glass of porter, which he drank off and went away; he was then quite sober.

   John Osborne sworn. - I came here as passenger in the Jane.  I knew the deceased intimately; we were on the most friendly terms ever since I have been in the Colony; we were like brothers.  The last time I saw him was on the Tuesday morning that he came to Petoni; he came to the house where we resided, at Mr. Lumsden's.  We never had any quarrel; he told me then he was going to Petoni with Mr. McFarlane, and I have not seen him since.  The only quarrel we ever had occurred a few days before that; he threw a mug at ne, but we were friends again the next morning.  The cause of our quarrel was, I was singing a song, and he wished me to leave off, and because I would not, he threw the mug at me.  If any body has said that I threatened him after that, it is not true.  I did not know him before we came here, but he was intimately acquainted with all my connections, and that led to the forming of our friendship; he left about 10 o'clock in the morning.  I did not accompany him any part of the way; I was not at Kai warra warra that day.  I went along the beach as far as the place where the schooner is building for Mr. Davis, about 12 o'clock, to see a person of the name of Peter Douglas; not finding him I went on to Mr. Larke's corner, where another vessel is building; not finding him there, I returned home.  After dinner I accompanied Mr. Western, at about half-past two or three, up to Mr. Lumsden's garden, on Te Aro Flat; about half-past five o'clock we went into Mr. Jenkins's, and there we parted; I went back again to the garden about six o'clock, from thence I went home; I remained there till about eight o'clock, when Mr. Lumsden and myself went to Barrett's Hotel, wherer we remained till between ten an d eleven o'clock; we then both went home, and I went to bed.

   Charles Elmslie sworn. P- I knew the deceased intimately; we came out in the same ship together; we have been frequently together since we came; we came from the same county, and excepting when he has taken a dram, he was an affectionate kind-hearted man.  I am not aware of his having had any quarrel with any body.  One night, about a fortnight ago, when I went up the beach with some cakes, it was very dark, I went into the house where the deceased lived; I sat there for some time; there had been some talking before I came in; Mr. Osborne proposed to have a boxing match with Mr. Milne, when I and Mrs. Lumsden got up to interfere; nothing more passed, and I went away; they were both a little groggy; I was never present at any quarrel between Mr. Osborne or Mr. Milne at any time; I recollect Mr. Osborne telling me that Mr. Milne had thrown a mug at him, but was prevented by the people then present; I have never  said any thing else respecting the story before; I have been told that Mr. Osborne had threatened Mr. Milne, but I never heard him do so; I do not know of any other quarrels between them, and, as far as I know, Osborne was always on good terms with the deceased.

   By the Jury. - When the deceased had had a little too much, he was apt to be a little bounceable.  I never saw him come to any blows with any body.  Mr. Osborne did not relate the cause of the quarrel referred to with any apparent ill feeling.

   By the Court. - I went up to Mr. Osborne's house either the day after, or soon after the murder; as soon as I got in, Mr. and Mrs. Lumsden left the room; Mr. Wilde and myself and Mr. Osborne were there; Mr. Osborne was in his bunk; he rose immediately on my going in, and challenged me for having made some remarks respecting this affair; I went to see if I could learn the cause of Mr. Milne's death; he d----d me for an old fool, for telling such stories about him, and that he would give me a knock on the head.  I believe the stories he accused me of, had reference to the death of Mr. Milne.  On my return from Te Aro Flat, I went into the barber's shop to get shaved, when Mr. Osborne came in and asked me to have a bottle of ginger beer, which we did, which I paid for; since that time we have had no conversation on the subject of Mr.  Milne's death; Mr. Milne and myself both came from the same place; he was a magistrate in his own county; he was in thr habit of drinking; I understood he had quarrelled with his father; I remember hearing him say he would leave the colony as soon as he could; he might have been in low spirits at times, but I have not remarked it; I have not been much in his company; never heard him express any opinion about dying, never heard him threaten to make away with himself.

    By the Jury. - I recollect heating that Mr. Milne had been murdered, and that it has been done by a maori, and I said I did not believe it was a maori; I do not recollect ever hearing Mr. Osborne named in connection with the report.

   By the Coroner.-  I may have mentioned his name in repeating what I had heard reported, but I do not recollect having  done so; I have no other reason for supposing it was not a maori, except that I thought the natives had too much dependence in the white people.

   Harriet Kidge sworn. - I recollect the deceased very well; he came to our house last Tuesday week, about behalf-past ten; he remained about a quarter of an hour; he was very tipsey and called for some spirits, but I refused to serve him, and he had two glasses of lemonade; he was alone.  I do not recollect seeing Mr. Osborne, that day; he might have passed by and me not seen him, but he could not have come into our house, and I not see him.  I am quite sure I never told anybody he had been there; I have no recollection of ever having said so.  If I said I should not like to go up before the Court, it had no reference to Mr. Osborne, but to Mr. Milne.  I do not know Mr. Osborne.

   Emma Lumsden sworn. - O know the deceased very intimately; the last time I saw him was Tuesday week; he was going to Petoni; that was about 10 o'clock; he appeared in a hurry, and sais he was going to the head of the bay, but afterwards asked Mr. Wilde to go for him, and pay some money to Wait and Tyser.  Mr. Osborne was present; I recollect Mr. Milne, Mr. Osborne, and Mr. Robson, being at our house the Saturday before Mr. Milne's death; they had been drinking; Mr. Milne begged Mr. Osborne to leave off singing, and said "for I want you to speechify," when Mr. Osborne refused, and mer. Milne said "I will send this mug at your head."  Mr. Osborne threatened to return the compliment, which b he did; they were very good friends the next say.  I have known the deceased very low spirited for three weeks before this happened, but never heard the reason of it; he was in very good spirits the morning he left for Petoni; we repeatedly asked him, what was the matter with him, but he never stated any cause for his low spirits; I recollect his saying, he should leave the Colony as soon as he could; I have heard him frequently regret the situation he was in; I think a very little spirits would take effect with him; he  said he thought his lungs were affected, and he must leave off taking brandy; he slept one night at out house with Osborne, about a fortnight ago, in consequence of not being able to get into the store where he lived; never recollect hearing anybody use any threatening language towards him; when I heard of his death, I had no just cause to suspect any person.

   Harry Robson sworn. - I was present one night at Mr. Lumsden's, when Mr. Milne threatened Mr. Osborne to throw a mug or bason at his head, if he did not leave off his singing; upon which he threw the mug, and it cut Mr. Osborne on the upper lip.  Mr. Osborne immediately jumped up and wanted to fight Mr. Milne, but he declined; Mr. Osborne; Mr. Osborne then said - "no man ever drew blood from him, but what he would have blood in return."  Mr. Milne was sitting on a sofa; I think Mr. Osborne had hold of Mr. Milne's collar; he was very violent, wanting to fight all in the room.  Mr. Milne said - "if Mr. Osborne did not leave go his hold, he would strike him."  Mrs. Lumsden came in, and she and I interfered; I endeavoured to calm Osborne, begging him to sit down and be quiet; deceased shortly after left the house; Mr. Osborne asked deceased to shake hands, but he refused.  I do not think it was a lark, because the next day when I remonstrated with deceased, saying he was in the wrong, he said - "he was not, that nobody had any right to sing in that house, if he did not like it, as it was his own house." I asked Osborne the next day how he was getting on with deceased, and he said - "I do not mean to let it pass over;" I do not recollect the day.

   By the Jury. - When I heard of his death, I had no suspicion of anybody; I have met Osborne and the deceased since the night of the quarrel together, and they appeared both good friends.

   Richard Gidding sworn. - I knew the deceased; the last time I saw him was at Mr. Elmslie's bake-house, about a fortnight ago; I have heard my master say, that there had been threats against him, but I never heard any body express any in my presence.

   Donald M'Lennan sworn. - I was at Wellington last Tuesday week; I returned home that evening; it was getting dark when I came past Matthew Cook's place; I recollect meeting a person this  side the same warre; I did not know him, but said good night, and we passed on; he was going very fast; he had on a  cap; I do not recollect meeting any body else; the maori who was at the warre was shaking his blanket when I came by him; the white man I met was about mu size, a little taller than me.

   By the Jury. - The maori at the warre s aid he had come down from the hill.

   Henry Baker  sworn. - I do not know a native called Peter; I never told him it was he that killed the white man.

   Mirah Baker sworn. - I do not know a maori boy by the name of Peter; I recollect a maori boy, and I asked him if he recollected meeting me on the beach, and saying he was going to the hill, and he said no, and went away; I never told any native that he had done it.

   Mathew Cook, jun. - I recollect seeing a maori crossing the river last Tuesday week in the evening; I asked him where he was going, he said to Nga-ranga; I told him there was a white man going to Wellington; he said if he went with him, the white man would bunga bunga him; on Monday last I saw him again; he was working in the maori gardens, on the native reserve, at the Koro Koro.  I am quite sure it was the same maori; I did not see him have any spear or weapon with him; it was about sunset when I saw him.

   William Cook s worn. - I have seen the same maori I saw on last Tuesday week, on Sunday last at the Pah; he then had on a mat above his blanket.  I am quite sure it is the same; when I asked him if he recollected seeing me, he said no; he asked me if I recollected the stones he had in his ears, I said I did not look at that.

   William Burton sworn. - I was working on the premises of Mr. Reid, at Wade's Town, last Friday week, (eight days,) between 11 and 12.  I saw a native come down the side of the ravine.  When he saw me, he stood for some moments looking at me, and then came down to the bottom of the ravine; he had a blanket swung over his shoulders, hanging down in front. After looking at me for some time, he returned to the top of the ravine; he then turned his back to me, when I saw he had on a blue jacket, white trowsers, and Scotch cap (blue,) nearly a new one.

   By the Jury. - The trowsers were neither duck, moleskin, canvass, or cloth.  The native was not tatooed, about 23 years of age; I think I should know him again.

   William Burton re-examined. - To the best of my knowledge, the native I had seen amongst the natives here was the same he had seen at the place described in my previous evidence, but from his change of dress I might be deceived, but my impression is that it is the same.  I think the trowsers he had on when I saw him before, were either fustian or moleskin.

   The native Awaho, examined. - He stated he had nothing to say; he never saw the deceased; he was not sitting at the Koro Koro on Tuesday week last; he knows Baker and wife; has been at their house a long time ago; he did not meet Baker or his wife near the native warre on the road to Pepitea; did not speak to the Baker's there; was lying at Petoni in a  canoe, when Baker said good night; this was some time ago; does not know whether Baker's wife was with him; he heard of the white man being found the next day; he was at Nga-ranga; he was here at Petoni, the night before he heard of the murder; he slept at Nga-ranga the day he saw Cook at the Koro Koro; where he had been collecting crackas, which hew out into a canoe, and took them to Nga-ranga, in company with eleven other maoris; he did not see Cook about a fortnight ago, about sunset; a native of Petoni came to Nga-ranga, and said a white man had been killed, (picked up dead;) it was when the sun was over the western hills; he was never told to take care of a white man, who was going to Pepitea; he never told anybody that he had been told to do so.

   William Cook re-examined. - I know the native mow present; he is the same native I saw at the Koro Koro, about sunset, and is the same I have referred to in my evidence here before; it is a fortnight ago to-morrow.

   By the maori. - Did you see me?  Yes.

  Henry Baker sworn. - I know the maori now present; I have seen him at my house; I met him going to Wellington, about a fortnight ago to-morrow, between 7 and 8 o'clock in the evening.  I know him by sight previous to that night, but do not know his name; I am quite sure it is the same maori who was following the white man; my wife was with me at the time.  He is the same maori whom I asked where he was going.

   By the maori. - Did you see me?  Yes.

   Mirah Baker sworn. - That is the same maori I met last Tuesday fortnight, in company with my husband; and to whom I referred in my former evidence.

   The Coroner, after summing up the evidence, and alluding to the appearance of the wounds and the manner in which they might have been produced, addressed the Jury as follows:

GENTLEMEN OF THE JURY: - This is a most melancholy case which has called you here for your decision and verdict.  It is most painful to me to think that such a circumstance should have occurred in this community.  It is a case which demands your most serious consideration; and it behooves you to consider well the evidence which has been adduced, before you return your verdict.  My reason for a adjourning the inquest the first day, was in order to procure the evidence of the native, who it was stated was seen last in company with the deceased. 

   At the adjourned Inquest, as you are aware, I was disappointed in not being able to obtain the evidence of the native; which circumstance I mainly attribute to the absence of our Interpreter, who was on duty, and to the Tribe's ignorance of the nature of our proceedings.  For you will recollect that this is the first time the natives have ever been made aware of the nature and proceedings of a Coroner's Court.  You see, Gentlemen, in other Courts how readily the natives come forward on all occasions when they are required; and I feel confident they will do so in this Court henceforward.

   Gentlemen, it requires extreme caution and prudence in bringing the natives to out sense of justice, and to an acquaintance with our laws; and at the same time to maintain that friendly intercourse between the races which has hitherto existed, and which is so desirable, nay, indispensable for the well-being of this Colony; and most particularly so for the safety of our fellow Colonists, who are located at distances in the bush.  Gentlemen, if once the two races were brought into collision by an imprudent or injudicious act of any individual in our community, melancholy and disastrous might be the result, not perhaps to us who are congregated together, but to those of our fellow-settlers who are scattered about in all directions. 

   How much more culpable then should I stand (holding the responsible situation with which I am intrusted) in the eyes of the world at large, if by the ill-judged and premature exercise of authority, I, by any act of mine, had placed the two races in hostility with each other; the result of which might be a serious and lamentable loss of life on both sides.  Never should I forgive myself, and justly would every well wisher to this Colony point me out as deserving the strongest censure. I am confident I should have placed the two races in the position I have described had I adopted any other course than the one I have pursued towards the natives.  It would have been unjust and unconstitutional in me to have had recourse to violence, when by mild means I could attain my object.

   As the native was not forthcoming at the adjourned Inquest, had I issued a warrant for his apprehension, in order to procure his evidence, without first explaining to the tribe, the nature of our proceedings, I fear the result might have been serious.  By adopting the course I have done, you see with what success it has been attended.  You had the native brought up before you this day by the Chief of his tribe, without any interruption of that harmony which has heretofore prevailed. It is the duty and interest of every individual in this community to assist in maintaining it; and I feel confident, by the cordial co-operation of all classes here, the authorities will be able at all times to bring forward the natives whenever it is necessary, without ever being obliged to have recourse to force.

   When I consider how many opportunities the natives here have had for committing crime in the early period of the formation of this Colony, which most of you can bear witness to, and when I contrast it with the friendly disposition the natives have at all times evinced, I confess it is difficult to believe they would a ct otherwise now.  Gentlemen, it is not exactly our duty to affix crime, if any crime you make it out, to either white man or native, unless the evidence appears sufficient to you.  We must leave that to higher authorities.

   Our duty is to determine the cause of death, whether it proceeded from violence or accidental causes.  That being done, your verdict and the depositions will be handed over to the proper authorities, and they will take such steps as they may deem prudent.  I feel sorry at having been obliged to bring some of you such a distance, and so often from your respective occupations, but I felt that I should not be discharging the responsible duty reposed in me by his Excellency, wither conscientiously or with benefit to the public at large, had I not adopted the course which I did; a duty which I shall always perform without favour or affection to either race.

The Jury then retired, and returned the following verdict: - "Wilful murder against some person or persons, as yet unknown."

   E. Halkswell, Esq., Protector of the Aborigines, attended to watch the proceedings on behalf of the native, and cross-examined several of the witnesses.




The Auckland Chronicle. Avowedly established as an independent paper, is evidently more subservient to the officials at Auckland than even the Herald, holding their contract for printing, and of which two of three Government folks are trustees, while all or nearly all of them are shareholders in the concern.  This paper has an article to show that the murderer of Mrs. Robertson, her family, and domestic, is worthy of sympathy.  [Continues.]



The result of the inquest which sought the cause if Mr. Milne's death is most unsatisfactory. ...




A man named Osborne had a hearing on Monday, before M. Murphy, Esq., on suspicion of being concerned in the murder of the late Mr. Archibald Milne.  Osborne had taken his passage in the Gem, for Nelson; and his apprehension arose out of a coat and tale-cloth, the property of the deceased, having been found on him, and he had been committed for trial on a charge of stealing them.  The Magistrate considered the circumstantial evidence sufficient to justify his calling upon the prisoner to be bound over in his own recognizance of 80 Pounds, to answer any charge that, at a future day, might be brought against him.  Dr. Evans appeared for the prisoner, and designated the proceedings as "a case got up to screen the really guilty party."



An inquest was held on Saturday at the Lambton Tavern, before J. P. Fitzgerald, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a respectable jury, on the body of a man found drowned on Friday morning last.  From the evidence, it appeared that the deceased (Thomas Hawkins) was in the employ of Messrs. Kebbell.  He was well educated for his station in life, and had latterly laboured under depression of spirits, in consequence, as he alleged, of not having received letters from his friends in England.  Hawkins got up from his bed early on Friday morning, and his fellow workman said he thought the reason of his not returning was, that he was with a friend down the beach.  The jury, after some further unimportant evidence, returned a verdict of felo-de-se. - [This verdict, we are sure, will be looked upon with great regret by the unfortunate man's relatives and friends - for the legal consequences are very distressing.  Besides, there was no evidence to shew that Hawkins meditated self-destruction - the utmost that it went to prove was, that he had been unwell, and was low spirited at not hearing from his friends. - ED.]



Letter from 'ONE OF THE JURY' responding to critical remarks about the verdict of the inquest on Thomas Hawkins.



To the Editor of the "New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator."

Re the Editorial on the inquest of Thomas Hawkins; ONE OF THE JURY, Wellington, March 9, 1842, and further editorial comment.



Reprint of the Thomas Hawkins inquest report, above 2 March.



Wednesday, March 23, 1842

A sad accident occurred in this port on Sunday last.  Ten persons - Mr. Yates of the Gazette office, Captain King, late of the Lady Leigh; Captain Cannon, of the Look-in; Captain Tullet, of the Mary Ann Wade; with the mate, three seamen, and an apprentice belonging to her, and a little boy, went on board the Mary Ann Wade, to try her in a cruise about the harbour.  She was insufficiently ballasted, with large sails for so small a craft (only about 40 tons,) and her timbers having shrunk since her caulking, she let in a good deal of water.  The wind blew fresh but not with violence.  As they passed Evans's Bay on their return, the Captain reefed his topsail, but afterwards very imprudently let it out again.  The vessel heeled over to that the sails nearly touched the water, and the ballast having shifted, she could not recover, but went down with the next puff of wind.  As soon as the danger became imminent, one of the seamen (the carpenter,) jumped into the boat which was fortunately dragging astern, and unlashed her, holding on by a rope as such a distance as to prevent her being swallowed in the vortex, if the schooner went down.  In a few minutes she did go down.  Captain King and Mr. Yates, standing by the taffrail, were the last persons on board.  Yates asked "what he had best to do?"  King replied "leap for the boat," and he did leap far enough; but poor Yates was sucked into the whirlpool, went down with the schooner, and his body has not yet been seen.  All the others were picked up and into the boat - the apprentice just in time to save his life.  The child, a half-caste, floated on the water by the help of his petticoats.  Boats from the shore and the vessels in Port, immediately put off and took some of the people out of the schooner's little boat.  It is expected that Mr. Yates' body will be recovered; when an inquest will be held.  In the meantime we refrain from any remarks on the conduct of Captain Tulett, which must become the subject of enquiry.



DEATH FROM DROWNING. - We have to announce another of those unhappy accidents common to all sea port towns, but which invariable produce a feeling of the necessity of adopting some means, if not to prevent, at least in some measure to meet the misfortune.  The individual in this case was a fine stout young man, of the name of Brown, and employed as one of the hands in the Custom-house boat.  It would appear that Brown had had some friends on board the Henry (a small schooner which arrived on Thursday from Manawatu), and he, with two other men, had gone on board in the evening.  Upon their return to the shore, the boat was upset, and, unhappily, Brown was lost.  The accident occurred early in the evening - say about 9 or 10 o'clock - and the screams of Brown's wife (the couple have only been married one month) were most distressing.  We believe that the means and assistance, so essential in such cases for the recovery of the body, were not at hand, and, indeed, believe that, up to this hour, it had not been found.



The body of Browne, the unfortunate man who lost his life in consequence of the upsetting of a boat, on Thursday evening, when coming ashore from the schooner Henry, was found on Saturday morning, about a quarter to eleven o'clock.  The time which elapsed and the difficulty experienced in recovering the body was sufficiently curious; it was almost appear that the man had swam from the shore.  We believe a Coroner's Inquest was held on the body on Saturday, and shall put before our readers the Coroner's report.



DEATH FROM DROWNING. - We understand that one of the sawyers in the Hutt unhappily lost his life at Waiwatu, on Wednesday, the 20 current.  The man it would appear, was crossing the Hutt in a small boat, which was upset, from what cause remains to be explained.  Report states that he had been drinking!  The body we understand has been found, and the Coroner's inquest will or ought to elucidate full particulars, which we shall be mist happy to give publicity to. [Continues re Temperance.]



We regret to learn, that William Curling Young, Esquire, while attempting to cross the Wairoa river, in the neighbourhood of Nelson, was carried away by the current, and unfortunately drowned.




Yesterday, (Thursday September 1,) an Inquest was held at the South Sea Hotel, before J. Fitzgerald, M.D., Coroner, and a respectable Jury, on view of the body of William Cousens, late cook on board the Whaling Barque Lady Mary Pelham.  It appeared, that about twenty six miles off Cape Campbell, during a heavy gale of wind, and whilst shortening sail, the deceased fell overboard in getting a bucket of water.  Two boats were immediately lowered, but from the high sea running were unable to reach him for upwards of half an hour, during which time he was struggling hard for life; which was nearly extinct on his being hauled on board out of the boat.  Every effort was made by Captain Harper to restore animation, but without success, there being no surgeon on board.

   Verdict. - Died from exhaustion, con sequent on long immersion in the water.

   The Jury in returning their verdict, stated, that they could not separate without expressing their sincere thanks to the Captain and chief officer, as well as the men on board the Lady Mary Pelham, for the prompt assistance given, and strenuous efforts made to save the deceased William Cousens, at the same time recommending all vessels of her size to carry a medical man.

   During the evidence, it was shown that the greatest risk had been encountered by the men, who pulled off to their un fortunate seaman, one boat, from the tremendous sea running, being in the most imminent danger of swamping; and great praise is due to them for the alacrity and courage shown in their endeavours to extricate him from his oerilous situation.



Report on the Lady Mary Pelham, inclkuding a repeat of the Inquest.


Me. William Curling Young was drowned on the afternoon of Sunday last, the 14th August, in attempting, in company with Mr. Thomas Bradford Titchener, to ford the Wairoa river. ... Editorial and funeral. ...

INVESTIGATION AS TO THE DEATH OF W. C. YOUNG, Esq. - At an inquiry held on Monday last, at the Wakefield Arms, before Henry Augustus Thompson, Esq., P.M., and Arthur Wakefield, Esq., J.P., into the circumstances connected with the death of the late William Curling Young, Esq., the following evidence was taken:-

   Joseph Ford Wilson, surgeon, examined: - I have seen a body this evening, which I recognise at that of William Curling Young, Esq., whom I saw alive on Thursday morning last, the 11th August.  His body presents to appearance of his having died from drowning. He seems to have sunk almost immediately in deep water; the body being entirely free from abrasion, and affording no indication of his having either struggled long or drifted any distance.  I should judge that the body had lain in the water about twelve hours.

   Thomas Bradford Titchener, examined. - Yesterday evening, at about four o'clock, I accompanied the deceased across the Waimea river.  On coming to the Wairoa we attempted to ford it.  I was in advance of the deceased, and when in the middle of the rover was carried off my legs by the force of the stream.  I cried out to the deceased that I was carried away.  I was almost under water from the weight of my clothing.  I looked back and saw the deceased make two or three steps towards me.  I believe he got in to the same current as that by which I was carried away, and I saw him taken off his feet and carried down.  I threw myself forward and struggled to the bank, which might have been twelve yards from the middle of the stream.  I reached the bank from which we had started, and fell down exhausted, partly in the water and partly out.  I looked round before I had regained power to get on the bank, and saw the deceased in the middle of the current, lying in his back, drift past me.  I called out to him, telling him for God's sake to strike in for where I was.  He made a faint movement with his hands in the air; his eyes were closed and his lips compressed; he appeared to be quite lost.  I then got on my feet and rushed into the water to endeavour to reach him, but could not effect it, from the depth and swiftness of the stream.  I had great difficulty in regaining the shore.  I then observed a shallow about twenty yards below.  I ran for it, and stood in the middle of the stream, in the hope that he would drift down to me.  When there I saw the skirt of his coat just above the surface of the water; it disappeared almost immediately.  I then waded towards the spot where I saw him sink.

   I returned to the spot, and again tried to reach the spot in a different direction, but on both occasions found the water beyond my depth, and was obliged to abandon the attempt, being unable to swim.  Being satisfied that he would not be carried down to the ford where I stood, I ran to Mr. Cotterell's house for assistance. Ten minutes might have elapsed between the moment in which he was carried away and the time at which I left the place, I returned with about 14 men, in about twenty-five minutes from the time I left, and pointed out the spot where I had lost sight of him; the spot itself was found very deep, and the body could not be found; we searched till dark.  I have to-day seen the body, which I recognise to be that of William Curling Young.

   William Sinclair examined. - I was one of the party who searched for the deceased last night; we could not find him.  I returned to the spot this morning with eight others.  We dragged for him for about an hour.  I at length pulled him up and, with the assistance of others, took him out.  A man of the name of John Bathe dived, both last night and this morning, but could not see him.  The spot where I found him was about 12 feet deep.  The body I found was that of Mr. Curling Young, whom I had previously known.





   An inquest was held before J. Fitzgerald, Coroner, on the body of Henry Sutherland.

    It appears from the evidence of Richard Robinson and Edward Bowler, that the deceased met his death in the praiseworthy attempt to save a child belonging to a Mrs. Parker, which had accidentally fallen into the river Waiwetu.  Both Robinson and Bowler exerted themselves to the utmost, but on the body being drawn into the punt, life was extinct.  The child was saved.

   Verdict. - Death from drowning.




On Saturday last, the 1st instant, an Inquest was held at the Highlander Inn, Kai-warra-warra, before John Fitzgerald, M.D., Coroner, on the body of William Edwards, labourer, who was found dead on the Kao-warra-warra road.  It appeared from the evidence, that the body was discovered lying about three feet below high water mark, with the head partially buried in the sand.  It is supposed that the deceased, who had been previously drinking, had fallen down and was stunned, when suffocation ensued before he could recover himself.

   Verdict. - Found drowned, with no marks of violence.




SIR - I feel it my duty to call your attention to an occurrence which has been stated to me as a fact.  On Saturday last, a woman living with a man of the name of Lewis, in the upper part of Brook Street, was burnt so badly by her clothes catching fire, that she died during the following night.  ....



Re Lewis, death by burning; letter to Editor; A. MACSHANE; detailed account from a SUBSCRIBER:

... left his home to cut some towai, charging the unfortunate woman to have his tea ready in an hour.  The woman, it appears, in stooping down to the fire, ignited the bosom of her dress, and immediately ran out of doors to give the alarm.  Some neighbours were attracted by her screams, and went to her assistance, but before the fire could be extinguished, she was burnt in the most frightful manner, the flesh on her breast and arms being literally consumed, and the whole of her body in the most frightful state. ...



DISTRESSING ACCIDENT. - On Sunday evening last, a person by the name of Saunders, a policeman, living at Wade's Town, who was preparing to go on duty, and, in the act of lifting his pistol from off the table, it accidentally went off, when, sad to relate, the bullet with which it was loaded, passed through the breast of M'Carthy, his brother-in-law, who died almost instantly.

   A Coroner's inquest was held on the body, and a verdict of accidental death returned



M'Carthy, above,

The second is the death of a very interesting and intelligent little Native lad, the only son of Wirarapa, a Native Chief belonging to the Pah, Pipitea, who died the same evening, from the effects of eating thr Toot berries.  We visited the afflicted relations the morning after he died, when they described his sufferings to have been very acute from the strong convulsions which it appears is the sure effect upon all who incautiously eat of it, whether animals or human beinbg.  We noticed, however, a total absence of any outward indications of his having died of poison, which is generally exhibited by the swelling of the body.  What rendered the loss of this lad apparently more distressing, he was the last male descendant of his family, and the father and uncle were lamenting, that not they had no child to inherit their property, which they seem to lay great stress upon.




Yesterday, the 6th instant, an inquest was held at Fuller's Hotel, before John Fitzgerald, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a respectable Jury, on view of the body of Mary Cottel.  From the evidence, it appeared, that during a heavy gust of wind about 11 o'clock on the same day, the deceased was struck to the earth by a punt opposite Fuller's Hotel, such being the force of the wind that it was lifted off the ground, and after knocking down the deceased, was carried some distance beyond where the unfortunate woman lay.  She was instantly carried to Mr. Fuller's, and Medical assistance procured, but the poor woman died almost immediately from concussion of the brain.

   The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death, and ordered a deodand of one shilling to be levied on the punt, at the same time stating, "that this Jury cannot separate without requesting the Coroner will make a strong representation to the proper authorities, requesting them to direct the constables to see all boats, punts, and building materials of all kinds properly secured and in proper places, and not exposed in such situations as to endanger human life."



Report of the Mary Cottel inquest.



A murder was committed at Tiakiwai, a Pah on the beach between Pipitea and Kai Warra, on Monday last, by a Native named Kai Karoro.  It appears that the murdered man (E Wanga,) about four months'; since absconded with the wife of Kai Karoro, and since that period the injured husband and the deceased had not met.  On Monday, however, they did meet, and after upbraiding E Wanga, the husband went into a hut and fetched a double barreled gun loaded, with which he shot the unfortunate man twice, once in the leg, and the other through the body; E Wanga died instantly.  The murderer took to the bush, and has not since been discovered, but the relations of the deceased are after him.

   A Coroner's Inquest was held on the body yesterday, and after a lengthened investigations, the Jury returned a verdict of wilful murder, against Kai Karoro.




On Tuesday, the 21st instant, an inquest was held at the Highlander, before John Fitzgerald, M.D., Coroner, and a respectable Jury, on view of the body of "Parata Wanga," an Aboriginal native, who was reported to have been shot by a native named Rata, alias Kai Karoro, a native of Ohaua.

   The following is a translation of the evidence brought forward:-

   The information of E Kiri, an aboriginal native, in the district of Port Nicholson, taken and acknowledged on behalf of our Sovereign Lady the Queen, touching the death of Parata Wanga, an aboriginal native of New Zealand, at the house of Duncan Frazer, known by the sign  of the Highlander, in the district of Port Nicholson, on the 20th day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-three, before me, John Fitzgerald, M.D., Coroner for the  said district, on an inquisition then and there taken on view of the body of Parata Wanga, an aboriginal native of New Zealand, then and there lying dead.

   This informant on oath saith (Mr. George Clarke being  sworn Interpreter), I knew the deceased, his name was Parata Wanga, I am at present residing at Pakuao, the deceased was living at the Pah Tiakiwai; yesterday evening, shortly before sunset, Monday, the twentiweth of March instant, as I was at Pakuao Pah, a native named Ratia, alias Kai Karoro arrived from Ohaua, the deceased was also there; Kai Karoro complained to the deceased that he the deceased had cohabited with his wife Neke.  After arguing for some time, the matter, as I thought, was settled, they shook hands with each other and sat down; some time after, whilst the deceased was eating, I heard the report of a gun, which I saw afterwards was a double barrelled one, and I saw the deceased fall back on the ground; I looked round, and saw Kai Karoro discharge the contents of the second barrel at the deceased, the deceased did not speak, but died immediately; Kai Karoro then fled across the hills in the direction of Ohaua, I have not seen him since.

   Cross-examined. - The deceased was sitting down outside of the warre with Kai Karoro, at a little distance behind him at the time the gun was fired, I did not see him (Kai Karoro); I saw the smoke from Kai Karoro's gun immediately after it was discharged.

   By the Jury. - I did not notice Kai Karoro having a gun in his hand during the altercation between him and the deceased; after Kai Karoro ran away I saw him reload the gun as he was running.

   Thomas Barrow, Labourer. - Yesterday evening, the twentieth of March instant, between four and five o'clock, as I was at work in a brick yard a short distance  from the Pakuao  Pah, I heard the report of a gun; I looked in the direction of the pah from which the report proceeded, I saw a Maori with a gun in his hand, the gun was pointed to the ground, he made a jump and fired, and immediately ran up the hill; he had the gun in his left hand - I thought first It was a dog he had shot at, but seeing the natives kneeling down on the ground close to where the Maori had fired off the gun - I went down to Pakuao to see what he had shot, and found a Maori lying dead with a wound under his right breast.

   Cross-examined. - There was not time to have reloaded a gun between the reports.

   Margaret Reid, aged 9 years, also saw a Maori fire off a gun, and corroborated the preceding evidence.

   Poroa, a native, was then sworn. - Yesterday evening, Monday the 20th of March instant, I was sitting at the Pah Oakuao, by the side of the deceased, eating; it was a little before sunset; I heard the report of a gun; the deceased fell towards me; I started up, and before I had time to look round, I heard the report of another shot; when I looked round, I saw Kai Karoro running towards the hills with a gun in his hands.

   Cross-examined. - I am a resident at the Pah Pahuao; I went to Kai Warre Warre in the morning of the twentieth; I had just returned; I was not present at the altercation.

   Kaku and Ti, aboriginal native women, were present at the time the gun was fired.

   The Coroner then detailed to the Jury as follows:-   I examined the body of Parata Wanga, and found a small wound on the inside of the right thigh, about eight inches above the knee, like to a wound produced by a slug; I found another wound on the right side, about the fifth or sixth rib, similar to the last, also a wound over the right scapula or shoulder blade, and another on the left; I also found one or two, either slugs or small bullets, under the skin, about the chest.

   The Jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against Ratia, alias Kai Karoro.

   The extenuating circumstances of the case were left to a higher court for discussion.



Repeat report of the Parata Wanga inquest.



Report of the Mary Cottel inquest. See 7 March; and the Parata Wanga murder, 22 March.




(From the Nelson Examiner.)





An inquest was held on Thursday on the body of Mr. Timmings, tailor, of Nelson, who met his death under the following circumstances.  The deceased, in company with Mr. Triggs, left the Waimea for Nelson on Tuesday evening, about five o'clock, and, the night being dark and wet, they missed their way, and got involved in a flax swamp.  After undergoing considerable fatigue, the deceased expressed a desire to rest himself, and accordingly sat down, and, it is supposed, fell asleep.  His companion on a little time attempted to arouse him, but found that his head had fallen between his knees, and that he was dead.  The Jury gave a verdict of "Died from suffocation," believing that his head had fallen into the water in which he was at the time sitting.




On Thursday last, the 7th instant, an inquest was held at the NEW ZEALANDER, before John Fitzgerald, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a respectable Jury, on view of the body of Samuel Phelps.  From the evidence at appeared that the deceased had retired to rest, apparently in good health, between the hours of one and two o'clock on Thursday morning.  At about 8 o'clock, A.M., his wife called deceased as the milk-man was at the door.  He did not answer; on her turning round in bed she felt his hand quite cold.  She immediately sent for Dr. Hansard, who found life totally extinct.  The Jury after hearing medical evidence, returned a verdict of death caused from the effects of habitual intemperance.



LOSS OF LIFE. - Four persons have been drowned on Sunday last, by the upsetting of a boat belonging to the brig "Brigand."  This unhappy circumstance is the first of the kind which has occurred in our harbour, and has been the result of much carelessness on the part of those who sailed the boat.  The party consisted of seven in all, and three have been saved by means of the prompt assistance of the crew of the harbour master's boat.


DEAD BODY FOUND. - We understand that the body of a man, supposed to have been murdered, has been discovered at the Vow.   The body, it appears, was lightly covered with earth.  A Coroner's Inquest will doubtless be held soon, when the particulars may be ascertained.




An Inquest was held on Saturday last, at the Aurora Tavern, Mr. R. Davis, before J. Fitzgerald, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a respectable jury, on the body of Archibald Ross, a sailor, belonging to the schooner Ocean.

   It appeared that on Friday night, deceased in company with another sailor, took a boat on the beach the property of a man named Hewett, and pulled off to the vessel.  Ross' companion had got on board, and whilst he was doing so, he accidentally pushed the boat with his foot, and it drifted away from the schooner.  Deceased, who had been drinking, instantly jumped into the water after the boat, and shocking to relate never rose more, but met with a watery grave.

   The jury after a patient hearing of all particulars, returned a verdict of "Accidental death by drowning."

   Several jurymen expressed their strong disapprobation of the practice of sailors taking boats off the beach and then turning them adrift, to the injury of the owners, and in this instance occasioned the death of one of the parties concerned.




An inquest was held on Sunday morning last, at the "Thistle Inn," Mr. W. Couper, Mulgrave-street, Thorndon, before J. Fitzgerald, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a respectable Jury, on the body of Robert Franklin, a whaler, who died from the effect of a wound in his throat, inflicted by himself.

   \It appeared from the evidence of Mr. Blake, that deceased was in Mr. Richmond's garden, about 5 o'clock on Thursday morning, and that he was observed with a knife in his hand and his throat dreadfully cut.  Blake went towards the man, and strove to get near him to take the knife away and hold deceased, but Franklin rushed at him with awful gestures, and if the fence had not been between them would have stabbed him.  A person named Stewart then got over into the garden to seize deceased behind, but he heard him, and turned round and made rush at him with the knife, but stumbled and fell on the ground.

   Blake jumped over the fence, and ran to assist Stewart, and was within four or five yards of Franklin when he sprang up and aimed a blow at Blake's breast.  Blake, with great presence of mind, parried it, and threw him on the ground.  Deceased was then conveyed to Medical Hall, and all due attention paid to his wound; but he continued raving till within a couple of hours of his death, which took place on Saturday morning, at 9 o'clock, at the house of Mr. Jones, Coffee-house keeper, Lambton-quay.

   It also appeared that in company with another person deceased had been drinking in a Public House on the beach, on Wednesday morning, and from the quality of the liquor he then took he was driven to a state of madness.

   The owner of the house was not permitted on Saturday to cleanse the body, which was in a disgusting state, though before the jury were called on Sunday, the deceased was both washed and placed in a coffin.

   The jury returned a verdict "that Robert Franklin died from a wound in his throat, which he had cut whilst under the influence of temporary insanity."




An Inquest was held on Thursday last, at Mr. Couper's, the Thistle inn, Thorndon Flat, before J. Fitzgerald, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a respectable jury, on view of the body of Isaac Windsor, whose death was cause by a wound in his throat.

   It appeared that on Tuesday night the inmates of the Thistle Inn were alarmed by a peculiar noise coming from the bedroom of deceased, and on proceeding thither they found that he had cut his throat with a razor in a most shocking manner.

   After a patient investigation the jury returned a verdict "that Isaac Windsor destroyed himself by cutting his throat, whilst laboring under temporary insanity."



DEATH BY BURNING. - On Tuesday evening last, as a little boy of about four or five years of age, named Hancock, was playing with fire near Mr. Polhill's, his clothes accidentally caught, and when his cries had attracted a person to the spot, he was found dreadfully burnt, and his clothes one mass of flames.

   It appears that the mother of the child had left this place some two or three months since in the brigantine Hannah, and that the father who had been living with a man named Robert Ringrow, had sold most of his clothes, and eventually robbed Ringrow of the little articles of which he was possessed, and left this [place.  Ringrow having received notice to quit the house he had occupied, moved on the Monday prior to the accident up the valley by Mr. Polhill's, and he and the child were living without shelter.  When the fatal accident happened, Ringrow was absent collecting materials with which to erect a hut.  On returning and finding the child seriously injured he placed it in charge of two Maori women, and repaired to the residence of Dr. Knox for assistance, he being the only doctor he knew on the Flat.  Dr. Knox stated he could not go, and though repeatedly requested would not.  Ringrow then begged for advice as to how he should treat the child, and was told to sprinkle the wound with flour.  A baker living in Willis-street was inhuman enough to refuse flour for that purpose, but on application to Mr. Sellar, Ringrow was supplied with flour and a candle to keep burning for the night.  The child continued alive during the night in dreadful agony, attended by Ringrow.  Early in the morning Ringrow went to Dr. Fitzgerald, but that gentleman could not attend because he had to visit a Maori who was lying ill at Petoni.  Ringrow at last received an order from Colonel Wakefield to procure medical assistance from Dr. Dorset, but too late, for on Ringrow's return to the spot he found the child dead.  He then gave notice of the fact, through the chief constable, to Dr. Fitzgerald, thinking that an inquest ought to be held on the body, but the Coroner considered it unnecessary.  Ringrow then performed the last sad offices for his little friend by digging the grave, and the Reverend Mr. Cole read the funeral obsequies.

   The humane feelings exhibited by Robert Ringrow are exceedingly creditable to him.  Scarcely able to obtain a sufficiency of food for his own use, still he would not abandon the child of the man who robbed him.

   We call attention to the fact of the child having been buried without an Inquest, as it appears to us to have been an irregular proceeding.  In all such cases, we had thought an inquest necessary.  We cannot believe the poverty of the parties has led to neglect.



FATAL DUEL. - On Monday week last, a meeting took place, in Wellington, between W. V. Brewer, Esq., and H. Ross, Esq., both members of the legal profession.  The quarrel originated in some legal difference which arose in the County Court.  Upon the first exchange of shots Mr. Brewer was seriously wounded; he was immediately conveyed to a friend's house.  During the first few days it was hoped that his life was safe, but appearances afterwards became unfavourable, and on Monday last, about six in the evening, Mr. Brewer breathed his last.  A Coroner's Inquest was in consequence summoned yesterday, which, after hearing the evidence of several witnesses, was adjourned until to-morrow, ay one o'clock. - Gazette, March 6.



Repeat of FATAL DUEL.




A melancholy accident occurred at the Waimea, on Sunday last.  Mr. M. W. O'Burke, a gentleman who recently arrived in the Teresa, had just erected a house on his section, in Waimea East.  On Sunday afternoon he set out in company with three men, who were staying with him, to go to the village, on the opposite side of the rivers Wairoa and Waiiti.  On reaching the banks of the Wairoa, they found it much swollen from the great quantity of rain which had fallen on the two preceding days.  After two ineffectual attempts to cross, the party sat down for half-an-hour, when Mr. O'Burke, and a sailor named Jasper, made a third attempt.

   On reaching the middle of the river, Jasper solicited Mr. O'Burke to return, which the unfortunate gentleman said he was unable to do, and immediately afterwards both lost their footing, and were swept off the ford into deep water.  Jasper, with great difficulty, reached the opposite side, when he was drawn out by a man named Eves; but Mr. O'Burke was carried down the river, and, after a short struggle, disappeared.  A search was immediately made for the body, which was not found until the following morning, about eleven o'clock, when it was discovered on a dry shingle bed, where it had been left by the receding waters, about half a mile from the spot where the accident happened.  A coroner's inquest sat on the body the next day, when a verdict of "Accidental death" was returned.

   A sailor, named James Burns, belonging to the schooner Orotava, now lying in the harbour, was missed from on board that vessel on Thursday night last.  It was Burns's duty to keep the first watch; and, on the man who had to relieve him coming on deck, he was nowhere to be found.  It is supposed that he must have fallen overboard; but though search has been made for the body it has not yet been found.  He was an old man of steady, quiet habits.



MELANCHOLY DEATH. - A Coroner's Inquest was held on Monday last on the body of a woman of the name of Belcher, who it appears, came to her death by drowning in a bucket of water which was placed before her bed.  It is supposed that in a state of insensibility from apoplexy, or the effects of drink, her head had fallen off the bed into the eater, and she was unable to rescue herself.  This Inquest will afford an additional, and a very strong argument in favour of Total Abstinence.  How many of our fellow creatures thus prematurely and unprepared put an end to their existence!  It is awful to die under any circumstances; but it is still m ore so, when our own doings bring about the fearful change.




It is with great regret that we have to record the loss of two lives ion the Waimea river.  On Saturday last, Mr. W. F. Hippisley, a highly respectable farmer, residing on the western side of the river, Mr. J. Griffin, a young man who accompanied him out from England, and Mr. Bolton, another farmer residing in Waimea West, attempted to cross the river in a bullock cart, for the purpose of looking after some sheep belonging to them, which were running on the eastern plain.  The heavy rains which had fallen during the week had very considerably swollen the river; and the ford which they attempted was a very bad one; but to have crossed at a better would have taken them a mile and a half out of their way.  Previous to going into the river, Mr. Bolton expressed some fears, but Mr. Hippisley assured him he had crossed it when the water had been higher.  About the middle, they found the current very strong, and, when within five or six yards of the eastern bank, one of the bullocks got into a deep hole and drew the others after him, which immediately swamped the cart.  Mr. Bolton, with some difficulty, reached the shore, but saw nothing of his unfortunate companions, both of whom, he believes, went down immediately the cart filled, as neither of them could swim.  The bodies were not found until Wednesday, one about two, and the other three hundred yards from the spot where the accident occurred.  An inquest was held on the bodies on Thursday, and the jury, after returning their verdict of "accidental death," made the following report:-

"The jury cannot separate without strongly urging upon the coroner the necessity of his putting before the Government the great want of a bridge, where an extent of country of six miles, already thickly peopled, have no means of communication with the town of nelson in case of a flood; at the same time expressing their opinion that the immediate erection of a bridge would be the means of saving many valuable lives to the colony, several having already perished."

   A little girl named Crawford, about six years of age, was drowned in the Maitai river on Wednesday.  The manner in which the accident occurred is not known; but as she had been playing with another child in the water, who left her to go home, it is supposed she fell into deep water and was carried down stream.  The body was found the following morning, a short way below where it is believed the accident took place.  A jury sat on the body, and returned a verdict of "found drowned."



Another report of drowning Hippisley and Griffin; and Crawford.



DEATHS BY DROWNING. - On Friday morning, the bodies of two young men, named Charles Tandy and John Friend, were found in the River Hutt, between the Plough Inn and Aglionby Arms.  They were seen last, at 11 o'clock, on Thursday night, skylarking together, but whether they met their deaths by accidentally falling into the River, or not, we cannot say.  We shall give a full report of the Coroner's Inquest.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - A Coroner's Inquest was held at Petoni, on Monday last, before J. Fitzgerald, Esq., M.D., Coroner, on view of the bodies of John Friend and Charles Tandy, whose bodies were found in the River Hutt, as reported by us in last Saturday's paper.  There was no evidence brought forward of any moment, and the jury returned a verdict of accidental death by drowning.


NEW ZEALANDER, 2 August 1845


On Monday last an inquest was held, at the Hibernian Hotel, by Dr. Pollen, coroner, on the body of Charlotte M'Carthy, who died suddenly.  The jury after hearing evidence as to the circumstances attending her death, and her usual habits, brought in a verdict - that the deceased died from the effects of intemperance.

   On Tuesday another inquest was held on the remains of a child found on the shore in Cooper's Bay, of which no information could be obtained, and the jury returned a verdict accordingly.


NEW ZEALANDER, 23 August 1845

CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Wednesday last an inquest was held by the Coroner, Dr. Pollen, on the body of Thomas Commins, hair-dresser, who was found hanged in his house, about 10 o'clock, on that morning.  After hearing the evidence of the persons who first found the deceased, Dr. Davies was examined, and he stated that he thought Mr. Commins, the deceased had suffered much since the death of his neighbour, Mr. Stanhouse, whose sufferings were very severe and protracted; he considered that the deceased was much affected nervously, and, of late, altered in his spirits - The jury found a verdict - "Temporary Insanity."


NEW ZEALANDER, 13 September 1845

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Thursday morning, on the body of a soldier of the 96th Regiment, who died suddenly at the Victoria hotel on the previous day.  It appeared by the evidence that he went into the tap room very much intoxicated, with a comrade, and they both laid themselves down  to sleep.  Some little time afterwards one was awakened, but the other was found to be lifeless.  The Jury very properly returned their verdict - "Died from the effects of Intemperance."


NEW ZEALANDER, 20 December 1845


An Inquest was held at the Commercial Inn, on Thursday last, on the body of John M'Glathery, an American, who died at the stores of the American Consul, J. B. Williams, Esq.

   The jury, having selected Mr. Hart for their foreman, viewed the body.  Three persons - John Jones, Robert Derrick, and Henry M'Dermott, supposed to be implicated were brought before the jury, in custody of the police.

   From the mass of evidence detailed to the jury, the facts established were - that the deceased, in company with another American in the employ of Mr. Williams, had been to the Yew Tree Inn on the evening of the 29th November, and remained there from about eight o'clock until eleven, and then went to the bar of the Victoria Hotel, at which there were three or four persons drinking.  After being there about ten minutes, the whole left it, being time to close, shortly before midnight.  The evidence of the bar keeper to the Victoria was exceedingly clear and consistent.  He stated that the deceased, his companion, and the three persons in custody, with another man who went by the name of "Sails," but whose real name he did not know, all left the Victoria together, and the house was closed for the night.

   About five minutes after, he heard the cry of "Murder," and on running out he found the deceased lying on the ground, near the fence of Messrs. Williamson and Crummer's store; the deceased said he had been beaten by the men; the constables came and took the deceased to the watch-house.

   The evidence of Dr. Ford was very clear and conclusive that the deceased came by his death in consequence of the injuries he had received.  In Wednesday evening, the 3rd Dec. was called in to attend him; found him very much bruised about the head and face, with acute pain in the bowels; he rallied occasionally, but never lost the pain in his bowels; on Monday last, he became suddenly worse, and his pains increased, until his death on Thursday morning at six o'clock.  Had examined the body after death, and found the cause of death to have been acute inflammation, brought on by injuries he had received in the bowels.

   On the day previous to his death, the deceased identified Jones, and stated that ":Sails" who lived somewhere in Mechanics' Bay, was another man who had ill-used him while in the lock-up; that they had knocked him  down with their fists and then stamped upon him.  He was quite aware of his approaching dissolution, of which he had questioned Dr. Ford, and was perfectly collected when he made that statement about ten hours before his death.

   Edward Leary, Lock-up keeper, deposed that Jones, derrick, and a person named Waggett, alias "Sails," were brought to him after the deceased, by the constables, on the night of the 29th Nov.; that some time after they were locked up he was aroused by cries of "murder," and on going to the cell, the deceased complained that they were attempting to rob him of his jacket.  The evidence of this wiriness went to show that the deceased had cried "murder," twice; but he only went to the door of the cell and threatened them with irons if they did not keep quiet.

   After the Coroner had commented briefly on the evidence, the Jury retired, and soon afterwards through the foreman declared the following verdict:-

   "We find that the deceased John M'Glathery came by his death in consequence of a severe beating, he received from three men, John Jones, Robert derrick, and Thomas Waggett, alias Sails; and we find that the Lock-up keeper grossly neglected his duty in not properly interfering for the safety of his prisoners in the Lock-up, when he heard repeated cries of Murder issuing therefrom. -

The Jury avail themselves of this opportunity of drawing the attention of the Authorities to the harsh and brutal manner, in which the Constabulary, invariably, teat persons taken to the lock-up for drunkenness.  It cannot be unknown, to the Police Magistrate, that the Constables are in the habit of beating persons with their staves, and of affixing small cords upon their wrists. And, in that manner, dragging them through the streets, - a species of torture, as unnecessary as it is disgraceful to the Authorities who countenance it; and which is at utter variance, with the course, ordered by the Magistrates in England, to be adopted by the Constabulary there, in which so much of kindness, as is consistent with the public peace, has displaced police brutalities."                     



CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Monday last, an inquest was held, at the Thistle Inn, on view of the body of Sarah Fisher, who was found dead in her bed, at six o'clock in the morning.  I highly respectable jury having been empanelled, and James Crawford, Esq., being elected foreman, the Coroner, J. Fitzgerald, Esq., accompanied by the jury, proceeded to the house in which [diseased] had been found, to view the body.  There were some few bruises on the body, and the blood had flowed to the side on which the unfortunate creature had been lying, which presented a dark and disagreeable appearance.  The Coroner explained that the bruises appeared to be of an old date, and that there were no external marks to prove the deceased had met her death by violence.  The jury then returned to the Thistle Inn, and the following evidence was received:-

   Francis Gambling, a gunner's mate of the CALLIOPE, being sworn, states - that between six and seven this morning.  I went into a house where there were four men of the CALLIOPE, and two females of bad character.  I awoke one man of the name of Michael Moore.  I thought the woman who was alongside of him was dead from her look.  Moore got up and found the woman was dead.  Another woman said three men had broken into the house the preceding night.

   Michael Moore states - I am an able seaman on board the CALLIOPE.  Last night I went with two of our men named Goldsborough and Wells, to the house where deceased lived.  It was about a quarter past ten.  They broke the door and window in.  One of our men was inside.  I think a civilian was there also.  I asked for a light.  A women replied they had no candles nor matches.  I said I would go for a candle and light, and when in the act, I fell down the gully, and nearly broke my neck.  I did not know how many women were in the house.  I asked one to go with me.  Some [pan] inside would not allow any one to go out.  An artilleryman came up at the time, and went and fetched a light, with one of our men.  On the light being brought, I saw the woman that is dead, lying on the ground helpless.  I lifted her up, wiped her face and hands with my handkerchief, then laid her on the bed, and covered her with the bed clothes.  One if the men got a bottle of brandy.  I had about half a glass, the others had a glass.  I was sober.  I then laid down in my clothes, and fell asleep.  Some one, a civilian, came during the night and asked for his jacket, the other woman said she did not know w\here the jacket was.  The man came and had a glass of grog with Wells.  When Gambling awoke me, I found the woman was dead.  I gave the handkerchief to the woman, and told her to keep it till the Coroner's Inquest, to prove I had done no harm to her.  I believe no one there hurt the woman.

   Cross-examined. - The woman made a great alarm when the party first went in.  The woman was moaning when on the ground - she did not speak to me - I think she spoke to Goldsborough.  The two men Goldsborough and Wells were quarrelling.  I do not know whether the woman was drunk.

   Elizabeth Jackson, being sworn, states - I lived with the deceased Sarah Fisher, in a house on Thorndon Flat.  About 10 o'clock, there was a violent knock on the door, and the window was knocked in with a stick.  Some one asked to open the door, I could not distinguish the voice.  Deceased, myself, a man named Harry Hall, and a boatswain's mate of the CALLIOPE, were in the house at the time.  Deceased said she would not open the door.  The door was then broken in.  The boatswain's mate stood with a stool against the door to hinder it being broken in.  They got in and began making a row, and would not let us go out to get a light.  It was too dark to see if violence was used.

   Mrs. Fisher got out and was dragged in again.  She called out murder.  I heard her say to a tall man "for God's sake do not kill me."  The men were pushing and scrambling in the dark, and Mrs. Fisher was pushed or knocked down.  I was pushed over her, and fell on the ground.  I crawled under the bed.  A man brought a light.  When it came in, Mrs. Fisher was lying on the floor, and moaning as if she was hurt.  A man lifted her up and wiped her hands and face with his handkerchief, and put her on the bed.  The men then laid down.  I did not see Mrs. Fisher struck.  The deceased kept moaning and crying, and said "O my God."  The tall black man would not allow me to go out, though I was afraid something ailed her.  I wanted to go for a constable.  I durst not go near her, because of the black man.  Two sailors in the morning came in, and one said she was dead.  I ran out and fetched in a man of the name of Fagg.  I only heard a blow when the deceased was pushed or knocked down.  Deceased had been poorly for the last three days.  Deceased was sober yesterday, and last night.  I never knew her to have fits.  I have seen deceased often in a passion, and she then appeared similar to what she did last night.

   Dr. Featherstone being sworn, states - I have examined the deceased.  There are no external bruises except a few of a trifling nature upon the legs and thighs, and the majority of these were evidently of some standing.  There is not the slightest appearance of any bruise or mark upon the head externally, but upon examining the brain we found a large effusion of blood.  The clotted blood amounted to some ounces, and all the vessels of the head and membranes were very much conjested.  I believe the cause of her death to have been from apoplexy.  I did not discover any marks of violence.

   Dr. William Ross, of H.M. ship CALLIOPE, was present at the posit mortem examination, and corroborated the opinion of Dr. Featherstone.

   William Fagg, being sworn, stated - that on Sunday evening, he heard a violent noise, but could not swear to what words were used by the deceased when kneeling on the ground before the tall man.

   The jury returned a verdict of died of apoplexy.



The Sarah Fisher inquest, condensed version.





The town of Wellington was thrown into great excitement, on Friday morning, by the report that Mr. Andrew Gillespie, an intelligent and industrious settler, together with one of his children, a promising youth of thirteen years of age, had been found dead - murdered - the preceding evening, near his house, on the banks of the River Hutt, between the bridge and the encampment.  It appears that towards dusk, one of the militia men, who was returning home from the bush, heard groans as if from some person in great agony, in the direction of Gillespie's house.  On approaching the spot, he discovered to his horror and surprise the father and son, lying on the ground, brutally mutilated, and apparently quite dead.  He instantly gave the alarm, and a number of settlers speedily arriving, the bodies were conveyed into the house.  The lad merely uttered an exclamation of "my poor mother," and then expired.  The father though not quite dead, was utterly insensible to all around him.  The father and son were discovered, lying, one on each side of a tree which they were engaged in sawing when struck down by the murderers.

   On examination, it became evident that all the wounds were inflicted with tomahawks, similar to those in use among the natives.

   The son, Andrew Gillespie, junior, had no less than eleven wounds, principally on the head.

   The father had seven wounds, most of which were also on the head.

   We forbear shocking the feelings of humanity by relating the fiendish mangling of the bodies.

   On Friday, an inquest was held on the body of the son, before J. Fitzgerald, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a respectable jury of Hutt settlers.  The evidence received merely related to the fact of finding the body, and to the number and description of the wounds, and the jury returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder against some person or persons unknown."

   Saturday, April 4.  Te Rauparaha sent in a letter, by Mr. W. Couper, to the Rev. Mr. Hadfield, informing him that the murderers had been committed by some natives from Porirua, and that if the Governor would send five or six constables, he thought hew should be able to deliver up one of the murderers.  Acting on this letter Ensigns Cervantes and Symonds, Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. M'Donough, and four Constables, set out for Porirua.  On arriving at Jackson's, they apprehended two deserters of the 99th regiment, who were staying there.  The party stopped at Jackson's all night, and in the morning proceeded to Mr. Couper's.  An interview took place between Ensign Cervantes and Rauparaha, who informed him that Rangihaeaata would not give up the murderers without a struggle, and that he had espoused the cause of the Hutt intruders, heart and hand.

   Sunday. - A native arrived in Town bring dispatches to the Governor; containing this intelligence.,  Orders were instantly issued for H.M. steamer Driver, and H. M. S. Castor, to prepare for sailing, and 200 men of the 58th, 96th and 99th regiments were conveyed on board.

   At half-past five o'clock in the morning poor Gillespie, after lingering for two days and three nights, expired.  During the whole time, no word escaped his lips, and he appeared perfectly unconscious.  We trust he may have been unconscious both bodily as well as mentally.  The body of the son was brought over from the Hutt and placed in the Episcopalian church.

   Monday. - An inquest was held on the body of Andrew Gillespie, before J. Fitzgerald, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and another Jury of settlers empannelled for the occasion.  After receiving the evidence respecting the finding of the body, &c., the Jury returned a verdict of "wilful murder against some person or persons unknown."

   The Jury also gave the following letter.

I, on behalf of the Jury assembled on the body of Andrew Gillespie, do hereby state, that it is our opinion that every attention and possible care was paid to the unfortunate deceased, until the time of his death, by Dr. Turnbull, M.D., of the River Hutt, and all other persons about him.

On behalf of the Jury,

  1. LUDLAM, Foreman.

April 6, 1846.

To J. P. Fitzgerald, M.D.,

Coroner, Wellington.

   At 7 p.m., H.M. Steamer Diver, 6 guns, C.O. Hays with his Excellency captain Gray, and suite on board, and a body of the military departed for Porirua.  H.M.S. Castor was compelled to remain at anchor, owing to the unfavourable S.E. weather.

   Ensign Cervantes and party proceeded to Parramatta, the pah of Rauparaha.  He delivered an address to his followers, of three hours duration.  About one o'clock the steamer hove in sight, and on the anchor being dropped, Rauparaha went on board.  He stated to Captain Grey his determination of taking part with the white man, and that if Rangihaeata would not give up the murderers, he would instantly go against him.  Rauparaha also told his followers that if they fought against the Europeans, they would ultimately be entirely cut off.  It is further stated that from Wakinai to Manawatu, the entire native population are prepared to join Rauparaha.

   Rangihaeata has left Taupo, and thrown himself into a fortification lately built by the Ngatirangatahi, about four miles from the Bay.  We are informed that the position is admirably chosen for defence; however, we think the tiger will soon be driven from his lair.  His associates are murderers and robbers - determined and desperate men, and the sooner this hornet's nest is destroyed the better for Port Nicholson.  The Wairau murderers - the Hutt robbers - and subsequent murderers, - are amongst them.  And Captain Grey, we trust will hold no parley with these savages.

   Yesterday morning, H.M.S. Castor, 36, Captain Graham, got under weigh and proceeded to Porirua.

   At one o'clock, the remains of the unfortunate Gillespie and son, were entered in the Public Cemetery.  The Rev. R. Cole performed the funeral service.  About one hundred and fifty of the inhabitants, paid their last tribute of respect, by following the funeral.

   From what we can learn, it appears that a party of natives, came down on the Hutt from Porirua, bent on sacrificing any unfortunate white man they might come across.  That three or four crossed the river, and perpetrated the cruel deed, we have above recorded, whilst the remainder covered the retreat of the murders to the bush.  Some blankets, and a few trifling articles were taken from the house.  The elder son of Gillespie, had been sent down to the bridge on a message.  Had he been present, there is every reason to believe, that he would also have been sacrificed by the monsters.  Gillespie has left a widow and one son to lament his untimely end.

   We are also informed that the natives visited a dwelling house lower down the river, but that fortunately for the owners they were absent at the time.

   The Government must now take energetic means to protect the out-settlers.


Since the murder, a body of natives have been observed hovering about the Hutt.  In consequence, we believe, orders have been issued for the troops stationed there, under the command of Capt. Armstrong, of the 99th, to fire upon any armed body of natives who may make their appearance.

   H.M. Streamer Driver, returned to port last night, and H.M.S. Castor, this morning.  Various rumours are afloat.  We believe a combined movement will shortly be made against Rangihaeata.  



Editorial on, and summary of, the Gillespie murders.



A letter from Wanganui, dated 30th March, states that the body of George Smith, who was unfortunately drowned by the upsetting of a boat on the occasion of the Governor's visit, was found by the natives on the 28th March, about four miles on the P. N. side of the heads, in a very extraordinary state of decomposition, so that it was almost impossible to identify the body.  That by direction of one of the Magistrates the remains were interred in the intended cemetery against the wishes of the friends and of a majority of the inhabitants; and the writer asks is it right to inter the body without an inquest being held.  From the importance of holding a prompt enquiry in the case of every one dying by violence or accident, as a means of securing evidence where unfair dealing may have happened, the law has given the Coroner no discretion in such cases.



SUICIDE. - On Wednesday last a native of Pipitea pa named Jackey, committed suicide by shooting himself.  The deceased was cohabiting with a native woman, and it is believed that the taunts of his fellow-countrymen on his course of conduct drove him to commit this rash act.  An inquest was held before Dr. Fitzgerald the Coroner, when the Jury returned a verdict of Felo-de-se.



MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT. - We are sorry to be obliged to record the death of a Sergeant of the New Police force, named Hicks, from the following melancholy accident.  On Monday last a party of the police were engaged in scouring the Hutt district in search of natives, and while marching through the bush in single file, the man immediately in his rear stumbled, and his piece going off, the contents were lodged in the body of Hicks, the ball passing through his cartouche box, and all the cartridges but two exploding.  Every assistance was rendered to the unfortunate man but medical aid was unavailing, he lingered till the next day when death put a period to his sufferings.

   On a post mortem examination of the body it was found that the ball had wounded the right kidney, passed through the liver and diaphragm, and had taken a direction towards the right shoulder fracturing the eighth rib in its passage.  Several pieces of lead and of the cartouche box were taken out of his chest and abdomen.  A Coroner's Inquest was held on the body before Dr. Fitzgerald, when a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  The deceased was an active, industrious settler, and was much respected by\ those who knew him.




Repeat of the Gillespie murders, as in WELLINGTON INDEPENDENT, 8 April.




... We are concerned to add that a ball struck Thomas Hoseman, Mr. Boulcott's servant, in the act of getting out of bed.  The ball passed through his body, inflicting a mortal wound, and lodged in his back, from which it was subsequently extracted by Dr. Galbraith of the 99th.


DIED, on the 21st inst., at the residence of J. Boulcott, Esq., Te Aro, to which he had been removed, THOMAS HOSEMAN, aged 25 years, of a musket shot wound received in the engagement on the Hutt on Saturday the 16th inst.  An inquest was held on the body before Dr. Fitzgerald coroner, when the Jury returned a verdict of "died from a gun shot wound."


NEW ZEALANDER, 13 June 1846

Repeat of the Hicks accident.


NEW ZEALANDER, 11 July 1846

CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Wednesday last, an inquest was held at the Exchange hotel, on the body of William Gamble, son of Mr. William Gamble, of Chancery Street, one of our earliest settlers.  The death of this young man is coupled with circumstances of a suspicious character, and surmises have been entertained of some horrible foul play.  It appeared that during Friday night, or early on Saturday morning last, deceased had been at the house of a person named Knight at Epsom, and that a scuffle took place between him and this individual.  From this period he was missing, and his protracted absence induced his friends to search the country about Epsom, but without success.  On Friday morning another party proceeded in quest of the missing man, and conjecturing the possibility of his having fallen into an open well behind the public house kept by Mr. Davies, they determined to search it.  Their fears were realized; the body of the unfortunate young man was discovered at the bottom of this well, which, though dry, is forty feet deep.  The Coroner immediately summoned a Jury, and proceeded with them to view the body, after which they adjourned to Auckland to prosecute the enquiry.  Suspicion having fallen on Knight and his wife, they were taken into custody.  The body exhibited the marks of wounds about the head, but whether inflicted by another, or occasioned by the fall, could not be positively ascertained.  The Jury consequently returned a verdict of "Found dead at the bottom of a well, but how the deceased came by his death is unknown."  The prisoners were accordingly discharged.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - Yesterday an inquest was held before Dr. Fitzgerald, the Coroner, at the Crown and Anchor, Lambton Quay, on the body of James Holmes, who was found drowned yesterday morning.  The deceased, who was one of the Hutt militia, had leave of absence from his company for a couple of days to come to Wellington, and it is supposed that being intoxicated he fell into the sea and was drowned.  The body was washed ashore opposite the Scotch Church, where it was found about two o'clock yesterday morning by two policemen.  The jury returned as verdict of "Accidentally Drowned."  The deceased has left a wife and four children.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Tuesday, an inquest was held, at the Lambton Tavern, before J. Fitzgerald, Esq., M.D., and a respectable Jury, on view of the body of James Holmes, of the River Hutt, who came by his death on the previous evening through accidentally falling into the water.  It appeared that the deceased was in liquor, and when in that state, owing to the darkness of the night, unfortunately fell into the \water near Clay point, and was unable to recover his footing.  His cries were heard by parties on shore, but unfortunately they could not ascertain from whence the cries proceeded.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death by drowning."  The unfortunate deceased has left a widow and five children totally unprovided for.



William Gamble inquest.




William Gamble inquest.



Strange story of murder/abduction of Matthew Obbman, aged 11, an orphan. [Hobman.]

MAN DROWNED. - On Thursday morning at a quarter past six the body of a seaman named Barton belonging to the Ralph Bernal, was found lying on the beach opposite the Thistle Inn.  The deceased was shipped at Wellington shortly after the arrival of the Ralph Bernal, and about a week ago, after having spent the evening on shore, he returned to the vessel rather the worse for liquor, and during the night fell overboard.  The body was discovered by G. Herbert fisherman, who with the assistance of two policemen conveyed it to the Thistle inn.  An inquest was held before Dr. Fitzgerald, the coroner, when a verdict was returned of "Accidentally Drowned."  The body was interred in the public cemetery the same day.



Another version of the story about Peter Hobman, aged 11. [See 12 December below.]

Report of the inquest on Henry Barton, picked up by Joe Herbert.




Letter re Inquest on Captain Gordon; natural causes; no examination of the body.


NEW ZEALANDER, 14 November 1846

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held by D. Pollen, Esq., M.D., On Monday last, at the Exchange hotel, on the body of Isabella Fling, the wife of a soldier of the 58th regt.  The deceased and her husband resided out of barracks, and on Saturday evening last, between the hours of 8 and 9 o'clock, the cries of "Murder," were heard to proceed from their dwelling in Field's Lane.  Several of the neighbours immediately rushed in to the house, where they found the deceased lying on the floor, with her head reclining on the breast of her husband, who was pressing his fingers upon a deep wound in her neck, as if to stop the flow of blood, which had already saturated her garments, and the clothing which he wore.  Medical assistance was called for immediately; but just as Dr. Ford arrived, the unfortunate woman had breathed her last.  A knife, covered with blood, was found in the adjoining apartment; and the husband was taken into custody under strong suspicion of having inflicted the wound.  The evidence, although somewhat obscure, left no doubts on the minds of the jury that such was the case, and they returned a verdict of "Manslaughter."



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held yesterday at the gaol before Dr. Fitzgerald, the Coroner, on the body of Rangiatea, the insane native, who was taken prisoner during the late military operations, and sentenced by the Court Martial to be imprisoned for life.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Died from a disease of the heart."


NEW ZEALANDER, 5 December 1846



Before His Honor Chief Justice MARTIN.


A true bill was found against John Fling, a private in H.M. 58th Regiment, for killing his wife, Isabella Fling, by stabbing her with a knife, on the evening of Saturday, 7th November last.

Evidence by:

Joseph Garrett, private Auckland police

Ann Pilkington, wife of barrack-sergeant

Anna Cox, lived opposite

Sarah Mosheim, lived opposite

James Smith, chief constable

Thomas Clark, mason

S. H. Ford, surgeon, examined: On Saturday night, 7th November last, he was called to the house of the prisoner, and got there about half-past nine; upon entering the room saw deceased lying on the floor, with her head leaning on the breast of her husband, and his hand  tightly pressed upon a wound in her neck, to keep it from bleeding; examined the wound, and found it to be an incised wound, about an inch from the outer clavicle, or collar-bone, an inch in length, and apparently penetrating very deeply; there was no bleeding from the wound at this time; saw some blood on the floor, about three feet from the head of the deceased; she was perfectly insensible, in fact nearly dead; she died about ten minutes after witness arrived; witness enquired of the prisoner how the wound had been inflicted; he replied that she had done it herself, that he was lying in bed at the time, and she was standing in the middle of the room, when he saw her suddenly stagger - and he jumped out of bed to support her. Witness observed that the front part of deceased's dress was saturated with blood, and also the shirt of the prisoner, and his right arm.  Witness made a post mortem examination, with Dr. Robertson, staff assistant surgeon, when he found that there was a small wound on the left side of the neck passing behind the collar-bone, and entering the cavity of the chest, between the first and second rib, passing obliquely inwards, and penetrating the superior lobe of the left lung, and passing completely through the upper third of the left lung.  The wound was about from six to seven inches deep; there was an immense extravasation of blood within the cavity of the pleura, amounting probably to from twelve to fifteen pounds of blood; the covering of the heart, as well as the heart itself, was uninjured. There were two bruises on the right arm, just above the elbow, as if arising from beinbg tightly grasped; did not examine the body till the Mon day following her death; thought that the deep incised wound was inflicted by the kniofe produced in Court; it was just the kind of instrument that would have inflicted it; the wound in the lungs was the cause of her death; she died from internal haemorrhage; it would certainly have required violence to produce the wound; it must have been a violent thrust; from the position of the wound, it was more probable that it was inflicted by another person , and not by herself.

   Cross-examined - It was barely possible, but highly improbable, that the woman could have inflicted the wound \herself.

   By a Juror. - The knife could not have been thrown by the woman to where it was found, if she had committed the deed herself.

   Henry Robertson, Assistant Surgeon, examined. - was present with Dr. Ford at the post mortem examination of Isabella Fling; agreed perfectly with the account given by the last witness; believed that death was caused by the wound of the lung; the wound was inflicted by a sharp instrument; and the knife produced in Court would have inflicted such a wound as he had examined; from the position of the wound, witness believed that it was more likely to have been inflicted by a second person than by the woman herself; it was possible that the woman could have done it, but exceedingly improbable.

Mary Carmichael, lived in same house.


The Jury retired for the space of twenty minutes' and returned to Court with a verdict of "manslaughter."  The prisoner was remanded for sentence till the following day.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2, 1846      .

The prisoner, John Fling, was brought before the Court this morning, and His Honor passed sentence as follows:-

   John Fling, you have been indicted for having feloniously and willfully murdered Isabella Fling.  On that charge the jury have acquitted you' but, at the same time, they have found you guilty of manslaughter.  You are freed from the Imputation of deliberate malice against the deceased: and your life is spared to you. - But it appears, that though malice or forethought  did not exist, yet, by your unlawful violence, the life of a human being has been destroyed :- not only so, - but the that of that one human being whom you, of all living men, were most especially and solemnly bound to cherish and protect.  It is scarcely possible for the crime of manslaughter to appear in a more fearful shape. - The sentence of the Court is, that you, John Fling, be transported beyond the seas to such place as His Excellency the Governor shall appoint, for the term of your natural life.

This closed the Session for Criminal cases.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Thursday an Inquest was held at the Cottage of Content, Thorndon Quay, before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, on the body of Matthew Hobmam.  The body of the unfortunate deceased had been discovered by the native woman living with Brown, on Tuesday last.  It had been placed under a large log in the small creek near Brown's house, and the rising of the water had removed the log and exposed a portion of the body to view.  There was a deep wound from a tomahawk on the back part of the head, and the body was otherwise mutilated.  The body was brought over to Wellington for the purpose of holding a Coroner's Inquest.  The Jury after a patient investigation returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder against Petomi."  There can be little doubt that Brown would also have fallen a victim, if his suspicions had not providentially been excited as to Petomi's intentions.

NEW ZEALANDER  , 23 January 1847

THE LATE BOAT ACCIDENT. - The body of the unfortunate young man, John Askew, was found by some Natives on the sands of the Waimea, on Tuesday last.  The deceased when last seen by his brother, was in the act of taking of his coat, and, as he was found with his arms only partly extricated from it, the probability is that he got them en tangled in making the attempt, and that his life was lost in consequence.  A Coroner's Inquest sat on the body, and returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

   The deceased belonged to the Royal Howard Lodge, of the Independent Order of odd fellows, Manchester Unity, and though, as we understand, he had not been a member the required time to be entitled to any assistance from the funds, yet his lodge, with the liberality characteristic of the order, voted the sum of [Pounds] 10 to the widow, the amount to which he would have been entitled had he been a full member.  Most of the brethren residing in the town, to the number of at least 100, followed the body to the grave, where an oration was delivered by C. S. Sullivan in a feeling and impressive manner.



An Inquest was held on March 17, before J. Fitzgerald, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a respectable jury, at the house of William Trotter, valley of the Hutt, on view of the body of William Cooke, who was found drowned in a part of the Okoutu or second river.  The evidence only went to prove that the deceased on the 10th March left his father's place in a canoe, alone, to go to Mr. Bruce's, a distance of about one mile by water; as he did not return the same night, his brother and Mr. Trotter's son went out the next morning to look for him; the found the canoe and his cap, but did not find the deceased; on the 14th March the body was found by Charles Hales and William Corbet close to where the canoe was found.  The river near that place was very deep, and it was supposed that the deceased fell over from the canoe, and not being able to swim was drowned.

   The jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned," but before separating signed the following paper, expressive of their thanks to Capt. O'Connell, 65th regt., and the men under his command:-

"The jury assembled at the inquest on the body of William Cooke cannot separate without expressing their thanks to Capt. O'Connell, of the 65th regt., and the men stationed at the Hutt, for the exertions in endeavouring to find the body of the deceased.

(Signed) WILLIAM TROTTER, Foreman of the jury."

   On March 19, an Inquest was held before J. Fitzgerald, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a respectable jury, on view of the body of Henry Briggs, a private in the 65th regt., who shot himself on the morning of the 17th March.  It appeared from the evidence of Dr. Galbraith that deceased had been labouring under melancholy for some time past; his toed his braces to the trigger of the musket, and in that way inflicted a gun shot wound extending from the angle of the mouth on the left side to the top of the ear, fracturing the bone; he was taken to the military hospital, where everything was done for him which skill and attention could effect, but from the nature of the wound it was impossible for him to recover.

   Verdict - "Deceased destroyed himself, being at the time of unsound mind."



William Cooke and Henry Briggs inquests.



During the excitement arising from this cause, an unfortunate event precipitated the settlement into war.  On the 16th of April, 1847, a midshipman of her Majesty's ship Calliope, accidentally shot a native through the cheek at Wanganui, which accident was magnified into a deliberate attempt at murder, and the NEW ZEALANDERs demanded blood for blood.  On the 28th, six natives attacked the house of Mr. Gilfillan, a solitary settler living six miles from Wanganui, and murdered his wife and four children.  Five of the murderers were seized next day by friendly natives and delivered over to Captain Laye, 58th Regiment, who commanded the troops at Wanganui.  They were tried by a court martial, after the coroner had returned a verdict of wilful murder against them, and found guilty.  Apparently none of the bitterness of death was tasted by any, when their fate was explained to them; and four, who were immediately executed, died as if death were nothing and nought after it, openly avowing the murders, and the manner in which they were perpetrated. ...




An accodent of a most melancholy nature occurred here on Thursday evening,  A bullock, intended for slaughter, had been driven into the town, but, from its wild state, could not be got into the railed enclosure adjoining Mr. Bird's shop, in Trafalgar Street, and was therefore driven into the open space in the rear of his premises.

   As the beast stood near Dr. Cooper's fence, a man named Morgan approached from the opposite corner, at the back of Mr. Fell's warehouse, for the purpose of shooting it, and while moving forward with the gun balanced in  his hand. The muzzle pointing rather towards the row of cottages running up from Bridge street, which bounds the open space on the east side, it suddenly went off, and lodged its contents in the lower part of the bowels of a young man named Sidebotham, who was crossing the space in an oblique direction from the cottages.  The poor fellow, when struck, gave a loud scream, and fell on his face.  He was immediately conveyed to his residence in Bridge Street, and was attended by most of the faculty in Nelson.  It was conjectured that the ball had passed through his intestines, and lodged beneath the skin behind.  After lingering in great pain until yesterday morning, he died about eleven o'clock.

THE INQUEST. - The Coroner held an inquest on the body last evening, at the Wakatu Hotel.  The evidence all went to show that the thing was purely accidental, though the witnesses differed as to the manner in which Morgan held the gun at the time it went off; two, out of the three who were examined, being of opinion that the muzzle was depressed.  One of these, Mr. Tomkies, thought the ball must have struck the ground within five yards of Morgan's feet.  The jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Shot," accompanied with the following remark:-

"The jury are desirous of reprobating in the strongest terms the practice of shooting cattle within the town, or otherwise killing them without the proper precautions against accidents."




The Gilfillan murders.




Editorial on the Sidebotham Inquest re Morgan.


NEW ZEALANDER, 15 May 1847


DEAR SIR, - The following is the detail, promised to you in my hurried note per Catharine Johnstone, of the melancholy occurrence therein referred to.

   On Friday forenoon, the 16th ultimo, the natives hereabouts were thrown into great excitement on hearing that one of their people had been shot by a pakeha (white man).  On inquiry it appeared that Nga Rangi, a minor chief, had been working for a young naval officer attached to the sun-boat stationed here under the command of Lieut. Holmes, and was within the apartment of that officer, receiving his wages, when a pistol, incautiously held by him, went off, and severely wounded Nga Rangi.  It was in vain to represent to the speedily assembled natives that it was an accident - their passions were aroused, and they called loudly for bloody utu (payment).  The young officer was immediately placed under restraint, and every thing else was said and done which seemed calculated to allay the excitement, but their chief wish was to obtain possession of the officer, and to take him as a responsible hostage to Putiki.

   Next day, 17th, the wounded man, Nga Rangi, was reported as going on favourably.  He was judicially examined, in the afternoon, by Captain Laye....

Follow-up accounts of the Gilfillan massacre.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held at Barrett's Hotel on Wednesday, before Dr. Fitzgerald, the coroner, on the body of Samuel Florence, who was drowned at Okiwi; the particulars of whose death were reported in our last number.  The body was recovered on Thursday by the boat belonging to the Calliope, sent by Capt. Stanley to search for the body.  A verdict was returned, of accidentally drowned.


NEW ZEALANDER, 13 October 1847

CORONER'S INQUESTS. - On Tuesday, the 3rd instant, two inquests were holden by Dr. Johnson, the coroner for Auckland.  One was on the body of a child found drowned, and a verdict was returned accordingly.  The other was on the remains of a married female, who it appeared died a few days after her confinement.  Some doubts were expressed previously to the inquest, as to the mode of treatment which was said to have been adopted in this case.  The verdict was to the effect that the deceased had come to her death from natural causes.


NEW ZEALANDER, 27 October 1847


AN Inquest was held on Monday last, at the Caledonian Hotel, before J. Johnson, Esq., M/D., Coroner, on the bodies of Lieutenant Robert Snow, Hannah Snow, his wife, and Mary Snow, his infant daughter, found on Saturday morning last, buried beneath the burnt ruins of their house on the North Shore.  The first witness called was

   Thomas Udder, who stated that he was signal man at the Signal Station, on Mount Victoria, which was near the house of the deceased; knew the deceased, Lieutenant Snow; had seen the body, and was able to identify it; some time ago, the deceased had a quarrel with natives about some raupo; did not know what tribe they belonged to, but they were the owners of the Lucidan schooner, and had come over to cut raupo; deceased had taken some of that which they had cut to his owe house, and they traced, and found it there; deceased refused to give it back, and they had threatened to burn his house; that occurrence took place eighteen months, or two years ago.

   Benjamin Baker stated that he was quartermaster of H. M. S. Dido; it was his middle watch on Saturday morning last; after going on his watch, he observed a small schooner working up the river; about one o'clock, he saw a light like that of a candle or lantern in the direction of deceased's house; shortly afterwards flames were seen to ascend, and the officer of the watch reported a house was on fire on shore; a boat was lowered and manner immediately, and rowed to the shore; just as she rounded the point to enter the bay, witness saw two canoes put off, which separated from each other, one of them going across, and the other down the river; it was moonlight, and he saw the canoes distinctly with a glass; they separated as soon as they were out of the mouth of the bay; he thought that one of them rounded the north head, and the other went right across the river; could not distinguish the number of people that were in them; they were nearly 400 yards from the ship; the schooner that he saw tacked near the ship, and worked up towards the town; saw no boat near her, nor leaving her; the canoes did not approach her, and he saw her coming to anchor near the town; he heard no noise, nor a sound of voices, until after the people from his ship had arrived on shore.

   Frederick William Gough. Stated that he  was a Lieutenant of H. M. S. Dido; he was on watch on Saturday  morning; between one and twp o'clock, the midshipman of the watch reported a house on fire; witness got up on the gangway ladder, and observing the direction of the fire, knew it to be Lieut. Snow's house; he then reported the circumstance to Captain Maxwell, who ordered him to man the cutter immediately, an d do everything in his power to extinguish the flames; he left the ship with the greatest possible speed, and on landing went up to the house with the men; found the house burnt down, and no one there; gave directions for water to be brought from the beach, and the men assisted him in extinguishing the flames; witness taking with him Mr. Peacock and two men , ran to the farm house inhabited b y Mr. Oliver, and knocked at the door, and enquired if Mr. Snow was there; Mr. Oliver answered, "This is not his house;" witness replied, "I am aware of it - but don't you know that his house is burned down.;"  Oliver expressed astonishment, and came out dressed; witness then ordered Mr. Peacock to proceed up to the signal post, and ascertain if Mr. Snow was there; he returned within five or six minutes, accompanied by the signal man and Oliver, and reported that Mr. Snow was not to be found anywhere; witness then enquired what part of the building the family was in, and on it bring pointed out, he commenced throwing water on that part as fast as it could be got from the beach, and with the assistance of a spade found about the house, his party soon discovered the body of a male, then that of a child, and then a female, all lying very near each other; the male was lying on his face, about a yard and a half from the others; there




Another report of the inquests on Snow family.


NEW ZEALANDER, 3 November 1847

It is satisfactory to know that the head chief of Waikato, Te Wherowhero, is, with other influential chiefs in the neighbourhood, exerting himself for the discovery of the murderers of the lamented Lieutenant Snow and family. ...

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest is to be holden at 11 a.m. to-day, at the Victoria Hotel, on view of the body of a female, the wife of a Pensioner, who died suddenly on yesterday morning.  At present, we abstain from entering into particulars.  The body lies at the Victoria, where it was yesterday inspected by the Coroner.


NEW ZEALANDER, 6 November 1847


On Wednesday last, an inquest was \held at the Victoria Hotel, Fort-street, before the Coroner, Dr. Johnson, and a Jury of twelve inhabitants, (Mr. D. Graham, foreman), on view of the body of Johanna Coleman, then and there lying dead.

   The inquest was convened at a few minutes after 11 o'clock in the forenoon.  William Coleman, the husband of the deceased, was in custody of the police, and present at the proceedings.  After viewing the body, which lay in an adjoining out-house, the jury re-assembled, ands the witnesses were successively called in and examined.

   John Reid sworn. - I am a midshipman, belonging to the ship Sir Robert Sale, now in this harbour.  On Saturday evening last, I was in charge of the ship's boat at Soldier's Point, for the purpose of bringing off the Pensioners who were on shore.  I knew the deceased by sight; I observed her and her husband coming down towards the beach; William Coleman was holding deceased by the arm; I did not much notice them at the time, as they appeared in liquor; I observed that her husband let go deceased's arm; she went on a few paces, and then fell over a rock about 4 feet high, on a more level part of the beach; she lay there 3 or 4 minutes; I saw her husband push her in to the water twice pr three times; the water was shallow; the second or third time he fell into the water himself; he then left her; I desired Conway, a pensioner, to go to her assistance; whether from the fall, or effects of drink, I can not say, she appeared insensible; she was assisted into the boat, and eventually carried on  board, and hoisted up in a chair; her husband was rather intoxicated; when he fell over her in to the  water, it was from a stumble, and not intentional.

   Francis Conway called in and sworn. - I am a private in the Royal New Zealand Fencibles.  On the evening of Saturday last, I went down toward Soldier's Point, to join the boat waiting there to carry us on board the Sir Robert Sale.  I saw the deceased, Johanna Coleman, lying on the beach; I heard her husband tell her several times to get up; she made some answer, which I did not distinctly hear; I saw her husband push her into the water, but very easily, after telling her she deserved to be ducked for getting drunk, or words to that effect; the water was quite shallow - not more than a few inches deep; I did not see her husband fall over her; nobody told me to pick her up.

   (Here the Coroner cautioned the witness to be careful, and describe in a true and straightforward manner what he saw, as if he found the witness prevaricating, it was in his power, and it would be his duty to commit him. The examination was then resumed.)
   I drew her out of the water with assistance; her husband came and pushed her in again; Henry Simms assisted me in lifting her out; she wass got in to the boat; when put in the boat, she fell on her back or side, I can not snot say which, it bring dark; I  did not hear her speak in the boat; I saw her afterwards on Monday night, in the hospital, on board the Sir Robert Sale; she complained to me that her husband had put his foot on her stomach; I said he did not; I never saw him put his foot on her; at the time of these transactions at Soldier's Point, it was rather dark, and objects could not be distinctly seen.

   Henry Simms. - I am the son of a pensioner.  I was at Soldier's Point on the evening of the 30th ult.; I saw deceased, who was intoxicated, fall from a rock a depth of four feet on to the beach, on her head violently, as I could hear the sound, although several yards off; she sat up, placed her hand under her chin, and began to cry; her husband jumped down and asked her whether she was coming on board, or what she intended to do; she said she would not go on board; he then caught her by the arm, and pushed her into the water; he was the worse of liquor; Conway lifted her out of the water, and placed her on the beach; a few minutes after Coleman returned, and asked her again if she would go on board; she said she would not; he then pushed her a second time into the water; Conway again got her out; I induced Coleman to go to the end of the wharf with me, saying I wanted to speak to him; he returned to where deceased was, and asked her again to go in to the boat she said, she would not for him or any other person; he then gave her a slight push with his foot, and asked her if she would go on board; she still refused; he then again pushed her into the water, and told her to stop there; Conway helped her up, and I went to her and asked her to go on board, which she consented to do for me; she then proceeded feebly to the boat, leaning between Conway and me, he husband following with her bonnet; she did not complain to me of any hurt, but only asked where her bonnet was; I called on a sailor, named O'Hara, to help us to get her into the boat, which he did; when in, she fell on her side of the edge of the boat, but not with violence;  I saw her hoisted up the ship's side in a chair; she was carried down to her berth; her clothes were very wet; I did not hear her complain of cold; the last time Coleman pushed her, her side face and shoulders were in the water; she cried out, "Oh!" I did not see her again alive.

   Michael Goss, called and examined. -0 I am hospital orderly on board the Sir Robert Sale.  On Sunday morning last, Johanna Coleman sent for me; she said she felt very ill, and I informed the surgeon.

   The Coroner said there was no use in calling evidence of this description.  What the last witness had to say, could be proved by the surgeon.  The only witnesses wanting were those who could speak to material facts, and what the deceased might have said respecting her injuries.

   Alexander McDonald. - I am Captain of the company of Royal N.Z. Fencibles on board the Sir Robert Sale.  On Monday evening last, the deceased sent for me.  I went to the Hospital where she was.  Before she spoke, I reproached her with having been drunk.  I told her I had heard her husband had ill used her, and that I had made a prisoner of him in consequence.  She besought me for the sake of Almighty God not to do anything to her husband, for he had not touched her, nor done her any hurt, and she begged of me to send for a Priest, as she found herself in a dying state, which request I complied with.  I have long known William Coleman, I consider him one of the best men in the company, and I selected him for trustworthy duties from his orderly habits.  His wife and he I always thought lived on good terms, and I have heard the same from others.

   John Dean Lancaster. - I am Surgeon superintendent of the Sir Robert Sale. From the report of Goss the hospital orderly, I visited the deceased on Monday morning.  I found her in the state of one who had been drunk over night.  I visited her afterwards and finding her extremely feeble I ordered her a stimulating draught which had the effect of somewhat reviving her.  I reproached her with having been intoxicated.  She said it was not so much that as that she had been illused.  This was before she saw the Priest.  Afterwards she became so seriously ill that I thought it advisable to call in Dr. McMahon of the Minerva.  When she found herself dying she told me that her husband had not illused her, but she had brought it all upon herself.  I was present at the post mortem examination.  There was no mark of external violence beyond a small contused mark on the left side of the chest, and a contusion of the lip.  The viscera were sound.  I am at a loss to what to attribute the immediate cause of death.  It may have been occasioned by elision of the spinal marrow, but from the absence of any material injury internally or externally, I cannot determine what was the cause of her decease.

   Dr. Ford. - I examined the body of the deceased Johanna Coleman - but could find no marks externally, nor any injuries internally to show that she had died from the effects of violence.  Here the case terminated.

   The Crooner summed up clearly and concisely, brining each of the material facts adduced in evidence under the notice of the Jury.

   There would see that there had been a sufficient prima facie case to warranty the detention of the husband of the deceased, but not in the evidence to connect him with the cause of her death.

   After about 10 minutes consultation with closed doors, on re-opening, the Jury pronounced their verdict that the deceased Johanna Coleman had come to her death from causes unknown.

   The Coroner then told the husband (William Coleman) that he was discharged, at the same time forcibly admonishing him that his inebriety had placed him in a very awkward position, and hoping that the present awful lesson would operate as a warning to him in future to regulate his conduct within the bounds of temperance.

   It is but justice to state that Coleman has borne an excellent character as testified by his commanding officer and other respectable persons



The Snow family inquest.



The Snow family inquest.



The Snow family/; summary.  One daughter, away at school, survived. Editorial.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An Inquest was held on Monday, at the Aglionby Arms near the Hutt Bridge, before Dr. Fitzgerald the Coroner, on the body of George Drake, a sawyer, who was found the previous morning burnt to death in a house about a mile and a half on this side the Taita.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased with some other companions had been spending Christmas Day in drinking; in the evening they went to sleep in a house belonging to Samuel Burnet about a mile and a half from Hughes' public house at the Taita.  Here the deceased lay down b y the side of the fire, which during the night communicated with his clothes, and occasioned his death.  The next morning at daybreak a person of the name of Betts on entering the house saw the body of deceased lying on the floor all burned his garments were all burned except a small portion which was still on fire and on which he threw a bucket of water.  He then woke the three companions of the deceased who were asleep in the house, (one of them in the same room) but who were not conscious of what had happened.  The body was examined by Dr. Taylor, who deposed that the injuries caused by fire which extended all over the surface of the body were sufficient to cause immediate death.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

SUICIDE. - The body of a native woman was found yesterday near the Waiwetu river; the deceased, who belongs to Pipitea pa, had been at work up the Hutt, and had been missing from her companions for some days.  Search had been made for her, and at length the body was found in a decomposing state and in such a position as to leave no doubt that the deceased had committed suicide.  Jealousy is supposed to have been the motive which impelled her to self-destruction.



On Sunday morning last, the remains of a man, who had been apparently burnt to death, were found in a warre, belonging to Samuel Burnett, at the Taita.  It appears that the deceased, whose name was George Drake, had been drinking over night, and had turned in to sleep at the warre, in company with three men, John Giles, Joseph Currans, and an American. .....



On Inquest was held, on the 5th inst., at the Victoria Hotel, upon the body of Thomas Quail, when a verdict of "Found drowned" wass returned by the Jury. - It appeared in the course of the investigation, that this unfortunate man, a shoemaker lately in the employment of Mr. Walker, had been drinking more or less [for] the last fortnight, from the effects of which his mind became deranged, or he was labouring under what drunkards usually and most appropriately call horrors, which state often induces suicide.  He was last seen alive on Monday morning, and his body was found next day, by some natives, in Oraki Bay, who informed the Police of the fact, and the body was removed to town. - The Coroner, in addressing the Jury, remarked, that out of the sixty-one inquests which have been held since the settlement of Auckland, he could trace the causes of death in two-thirds, to have arisen directly or indirectly from the fatal vice of drunkenness.



Registration of BDMs, and Coroners.



Registration Act continued (Inquests.)


NEW ZEALANDER, 2 February 1848


An inquest was held on Saturday last, at the "Prince Albert Inn," Queen-street, on view of the body of William Harris, the young man referred to in our last as having been drowned the previous evening, while attempting to swim ashore from a lime boat in Official Bay, when a verdict was returned accordingly.

   Another inquest was convened on Monday last, at the new Hospital, Military Barracks, on view of the body of Benjamin Stirling, a private soldier of the 58th regiment, then and there lying dead, before Mr. Johnson, Coroner, and a Jury of twelve householders.  Mr. G. Buckingham, foreman.  After swearing in the Jury, and inspecting the body of the deceased, the Coroner proceeded to call the following witnesses:-

   J. Donnelly, Lance Sergeant, 58th regiment, deposed that he was on piquet on Saturday evening and night last, with the deceased, who finally went off duty at about ten o'clock, and retired to bed apparently in as good health as any of the rest of the men, and the witness saw nothing more of him until he beheld him dead.

   James Sterling, a bugler of the same regiment, and brother of the deceased, aged about fifteen years, \deposed that at day break on Sunday morning, while he was on duty, preparing for the reveille, his brother came to him to the outer door of his barrack-room, in his watch-coat and socks, and said here's a knife and fork for you.  He was not drunk, nor had he the appearance of having been taking liquor.  He was usually a healthy young man.  He had promised witness the knife and fork before.

   Timothy Lynch, a private in the 58th, deposed that at about four o'clock on Sunday morning, he observed the deceased lying outside his bed, between witness' bed and his own.  He felt very cold, and witness drew some of the bed clothes over him.  A little before five o'clock, the witness again saw him in about the same position.  He had only drunk one glass of rum in addition to his allowance.

   Assistant Surgeon R. Bannatyne, of the 58th regiment, deposed that he visited the deceased on Sunday morning, and found him quite dead.  The body bore no mark whatever of external violence, but the blood vessels of the brain were greatly distended, sufficiently to produce compression on the brain.  The contents of the stomach smelled slightly of rum.

   The Coroner briefly summed up, and the Jury, without hesitation, returned a verdict of "Died by the visitation of God."



To the Editor of the New Zealand Spectator.

New Plymouth, 28th January, 1848.

SIR, - As this settlement is without a local newspaper I am induced to trouble you with a question of some interest as it appears to me.

   On Sunday or Monday last a blind native boy called Te Moku, (well known in Wellington) lost his life by falling over or through the wooden bridge at the Henui.  The river being very shallow at the time and the fall from the top of the bridge considerable, we imagine he was killed where he fell.  The body was discovered by some European on Tuesday morning, placed by him on the bank and covered over with branches of the fern tree; and afterwards on request, was removed to Puketapu by the natives to whom deceased was related.

   Now I am desirous to ask, knowing little of these matters beyond what I gather from a common sense view of the case, whether the deceased was not a fit subject for a Coroner's Inquest, though I now recollect an inquiry, in the absence of a Coroner, has always been the course adopted in this place by the Police Magistrate when Europeans have died out of the usual way.



NEW ZEALANDER, 19 February 1848


A runour reached town on Thursday evening last, that Mr. Charles Warne, a respectable farmer, who resides at Remuera, had put an end to his existence, which, unfortunately, has since proved to be the case.  Dr. Johnson, the coroner, accordingly convened an inquest yesterday, at the scene of the fatal occurrence, before a jury of twelve inhabitants, when the evidence of Mrs. Mary Warne, wife of the deceased was taken, together with that if two neighbours, and the constable who first viewed the body.  From their concurrent testimony the following were the facts elicited:-

   On Thursday afternoon about 3 o'clock, Mrs. Warne went out to give some directions to a shoemaker named Worrell, who lives close by, respecting some work which he was doing for her children.  While there, a report as of gunpowder going off was heard, but thought nothing of, as being supposed to come from the Maories; and Mrs. Warne went back homer, but was seen in a few minutes after, before her house wringing her hands, and in a state of great tribulation.  Worrell at once guessing something to be wrong, went over to Mrs. Warne, and learned that the deceased had shot himself.  Information was given immediately of the fatal event, at the Police Office in Auckland. 

   The body of the deceased was found stretched upon the back, on the floor of one of the rooms.  Blood was flowing copiously from the mouth.  A leaden bullet appeared to have pierced the right breast, come out at the back, and passed into the raupo partition of the room behind.  Life was extinct.

   Mrs. Warne, who appeared to be in deep distress of mind, stated that her husband had been for some time labouring under severe depression of spirits.  Some months ago he had drank a great deal, but lately took very little - certainly not above six glasses of spirits during the last five weeks.  About ten or twelve weeks since, he had made an attempt upon his life.  It was soon after breakfast one morning, shortly after he had laid down on pretence of taking some rest. She happened to visit the apartment in sufficient time to snatch from his hands a penknife, with which he had inflicted a deep wound in his throat.  She dressed the wound and apprised Mr. Ford, surgeon, who pronounced it not dangerous, and applied the necessary remedies.  Mrs. Warne further said that her deceased husband was lately subject to strange fancies.

   Soon after the Maori feast on New Year's Day last, he had told her that for writing home about the Government, respect the Maori war, the Government intended giving him up to the Maories to be tortured; that he would not visit the scene of the feast in consequence, and having failed to find him there, that they were now after him to catch him where they could.  He also said that he had a brother who was for many years an inmate of the Belfast Lunatic Asylum, and a sister deranged.  On Thursday morning he did not seem much more depressed than usual.  She wished to go to the shoemaker's; he said "yes Mary do, and I'll mind the child."  It appears that while Mrs. C. was away, he shut out the child from the room, and having loaded the barrel of a fowling piece detached from the stock, with a ball cartridge, by means of a lighted paper applied to the priming, and the barrel held in a sloping position, thus terminated his existence.

   A neighboring farmer deposed that he had occasionally spoken to the deceased, who seemed usually much depressed, but of late particularly so, about what he considered unfair treatment that he had received respecting the lease of his farm.

   Upon mature consideration of the whole of the facts adduced in evidence, the jury concurred in finding a verdict "that the deceased had terminated his existence while labouring under mental derangement."

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was also taken by the Coroner on Thursday last, at the gaol, on view of the body of a man of colour named Cook, who had been confined upon a charge of vagrancy - and died of a diseased liver.  A verdict was returned accordingly.



Registration of BDMs.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Wednesday, at Mr. Burcham's, River Hutt, before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, on the body of Joseph Udy, a child aged two years and four months, who was found drowned in the Awa Moutu, or third river, the previous day.  The deceased, it is supposed, had been playing by the side of the river, and falling in, had been drowned.  On being missed from home, search was made for him, when his body was found in the water.  Verdict, accidentally drowned.



An unfortunate man named Cottle, who for the last two or three months has been confined in the Lunatic Asylum, expired suddenly on Wednesday last. An inquest was held, on the following day at the gaol, on view of the body before J. Fitzgerald, Esq., Coroner, and a respectable jury, and after a patient investigation, a verdict of "Died by the visitation of God," was returned.  Deceased, who was a widower, has left two children, aged ten and twelve years, to lament his loss.


NEW ZEALANDER, 3 June 1848




CORONER'S INQUEST. - A Coroner's Inquest was held yesterday at the Cottage of Content, before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, on the body of T. O'Loughlin.  From the evidence of one of the witnesses it appeared that deceased left Mr. Rhodes's wharf for Okiwi, to which place he had recently removed, in a whaleboat in company with another man on Sunday afternoon; he appeared sober at the time.  His body was found the next day by a policeman, about two miles beyond Nga-hauranga, the boat was turned bottom upwards, and the rope of one of the sheets was found round his neck, the body lying as far from the boat as the rope would allow.  The body of the other man has not been found.  The jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."  The deceased has left a wife and four children.


NEW ZEALANDER, 9 August 1848

INQUEST. - Yesterday afternoon, a Jury was empanneled by the Coroner, Dr. Davies, at the Caledonian Hotel, Fort Street, to inquire into the cause of the death of William Hobbs, a fine young man, late a seaman of the City of Poonah.  From the evidence of Capt. Nelson, Henry Morris, a seaman, and Mr. Barr, the surgeon of the shop, it appeared that the deceased, whilst aloft with Morris, loosing the main topsail, had been precipitated on deck.  In letting fall the bunt of the sail, Morris observed the deceased leaning over the yard, and laying hold of the bunt-lines, and cautioned him to hold fast; to which the deceased replied, "All right."  "I let go the topsail," said Morris, "and away he went along with it.  He struck the forebrace, and I saw no more of him.  He was the only person on the yard besides myself; we were at either side of the tie.  Itv was about nine o'clock in the mormning, and he was perfectly sober."

   Mr. Barr, the surgeon, "was standing at the cuddy door, when he heard a heavy body fall upon the deck.  On looking round he perceived William Hobbs to be lying with his back across the cable, and his head on the combings of the hatchway.  He was taken into his cabin, and upon examination, it was discovered that the breast bone and several ribs on the right side had been fractured.  He was perfectly insensible, and labouring under symptoms of concussion of the brain.  I deemed it useless to make any attempt at recovery, as he survived the injuries he received but ten minutes."

   A verdict if Accidental Death was returned.  The Coroner's warrant for interment was issued - and he, who, at sunrise, had turned to the duties of life, "gay as a lark," was, ere that sun had set, turned into an insensate clod!  Oh that we were wise - that we would reflect, that "in the midst of life we are in death" - we might then profit by the holy warning - "Be ye also ready!"


NEW ZEALANDER, 23 August 1848


YESTERDAY an inquest was held by Dr. Davies, Coroner, at the Auckland Arms, to inquire into the death of Mathew Shaw, boot and shoe maker, Queen street, who had been discovered dead in bed that morning.  From the evidence of Thos. Shaw, son of the deceased, it appeared that his father had been spending the previous evening with Mr. Wilson, baker - that he had visited the Theatre; after which he had gone back to Wilson's, where he drank a glass of rum; returned home and went to bed about one o'clock.  Witness got up about sunrise, and unwilling to disturb his father, went out and took a walk.  When he called his father to come to breakfast, he received no reply.  Approached the bed and found him cold and dead.  His father was elevated, not very tipsy, when he retired to rest. - --- Wilson, baker, stated that deceased had been in his company nearly all the evening.  He appeared to be in his usual health.  Did not complain, although he observed him put his hand to his chest and have an ugly cough.  They had four glasses of hot whiskey toddy together.  He went to the theatre.  Did not see deceased there; but, when the play was over, he came to his, Wilson's house, where they had a glass of rum and some biscuit and jam.  Deceased was hearty, but by n o means drunk. -

   Mr. S. H. Ford, surgeon, was called upon to inspect the body.  From the general appearance, and the previous history of the case, had no doubt that the disease of the heart was the cause of death.  Deceased had come to Auckland for the benefit of his health.  He was about fifty-five years of age.  The Jury returned a verdict, "Died from natural causes."

   A previous inquest was held, last week, at Onehunga, on the body of Robert Prince Hill.  From the evidence adduced, it appeared that on Tuesday week, the deceased was steering the boat of S. Lawry, on her passage from Onehunga to Karangahape.  About midway, Lawry hailed the barque Flower of Kent, and the deceased was in the act of singing out to one of her men, "Beecham, ahoy" when, being on his legs, he lost his balance, and fell backwards overboard, carrying the tiller along with him.  The wind was very rough at the time, but Lawry hauled aft the mizen sheet, brought the boat's head to the wind, and launched his dinghy with great expedition.  Deceased laid hold of the dinghy, but after a short while relaxed his grasp.  Lawry then seized him and supported him, the Flower of Kent sending her boat, and towing Lawry and deceased to the shore.  Here they tried to get the water out of his body, after which they conveyed it on board the boat, stripping it and ribbing the breast and soles of the feet with brandy, and wrapping the body in blankets; but all in vain, deceased only uttering one or two faint moans.  It was about ten minutes ere the punt arrived within reach of deceased, and then he had just sufficient strength to lay hold of it.  Deceased was sober at the time of the accident.  Verdict - "Accidental death by drowning."


NEW ZEALANDER, 12 September 1848


Yesterday an inquest was held, by Dr. Davies, at Wood's Hotel, on the body of [Tamarapa], an Aboriginal Native - lying dead at the Military Barracks.

   C. De Thierry, sworn. - I have known deceased for about a month.  I have seen him at the barracks visiting his friends there.  I always thought him to be very unwell, and he appeared to get worse.  He complained of severe pain in the side and of spitting blood.  I ordered him to leave the barracks.  He said he would go, but was only waiting a vessel for Tauranga.  The last time I saw him alive was the day before yesterday, in the morning.  He was rolled up in his blanket, very weak.  I heard yesterday from the natives on the works, about 2 or 3 o'clock that he had just expired.  Mr. Graham., clerk of works, instructed me to acquaint the Coroner of his decease.

   Whangi, a heathen Native, through the Interpreter, states - He knows the Native was sick for one month before his death.  Knows he used to spit blood.  He was in hospital, doesn't know when, not the reason of his leaving it.  Last Sunday he saw deceased vomit, and on asking him the cause he said he had done so in consequence of some bark he had taken from another native.  Did not expect he would have died so soon.  He had a bad cough and spat a good deal.

   Verdict- Died from natural causes.

   [The cause we believe to have been the pulmonary complaint to which the native race is so fatally subject, which the constant use of the blanket so fearfully aggravate - and which the utter want of shelter for them during their visits to our towns so painfully engenders. - ED.]


NEW ZEALANDER, 20 September 1848

INQUEST. - Yesterday an inquest was held by the Coroner, Dr. Davies, at the Blue Bell, Queen street, on view of the body of William Barr, a lunatic in the gaol of Auckland, when, after a lengthy and careful enquiry, the following verdict was recorded - "That the deceased, William Barr, died from convulsions, caused by disease of the brain, and that this jury recommend a greater degree of attention to such cases in future, on the part of the turnkeys of the gaol."




TRAGICAL OCCURRENCE. - A very sad calamity - one of those inscrutable dispensations of a mysterious providence, by which, in a twinkling, a hapless wife, is rendered a desolate widow, her helpless children sorrowful orphans - occurred at Mechanic's bay, on Thursday morning.

   It is known, no doubt, to most of our readers, that Mr. Nicol, the shipbuilder has been, for some time past, preparing the timbers of a vessel of about 280 tons, at his yard there.  Her keel had been laid the shears were rigged, and all hands hailing upon the tackle falls by means of which the stem, a piece of timber weighing above a ton and a half, was intended to be set up.  Unfortunately, the gear proved to be unequal to the strain; the strap of the leading block parted, and descending with terrific force, struck the unfortunate deceased, William Goryck, on the temple, hurrying him, on the instant, from time into eternity - no moan, no motion betraying that death had caused one pang.

   The other workmen were thrown down, by the parting of the tackle, and such was the violence of the surge, that the after guy, which the deceased had made fast to the stern post and stern frame, dragged those heavy timbers several; feet from the spot where they lay, and threw the shears completely off the perpendicular.  At the same instant, the ponderous stem came down by the run, and fell across the limbs of William Brown, another of Mr. Nicol's artisans - providentially, the ground was soft and hollow, and the timber lit upon a block, otherwise the consequences might have been disastrous.  As it was, although bruised and battered, Brown escaped with comparative impunity.

   Staff Surgeon Courtney and Dr. Ford were on the spot within a few minutes of the accident.

   It would be but iteration to give the details of the deplorable catastrophe, as elicited at the inquest, held yesterday, at the "Windsor Castle," by Dr. Davies, the Coroner.  Substantially, they are as we have stated.  The rope was sworn to by Mr. Robertson as an excellent one, and which had endured a much heavier strain, in laying the keel, the day before.

   From the evidence adduced, the jury could arrive at but one conclusion, which they declared in their verdict of "Accidental Death."

   Brown, we understand, has since been copiously bled, and may now be considered out of danger.


A melancholy accident, involving the loss of three lives, occurred during the passage of the Sisters from Hobart Town and Wellington to this port.  On the 3rd instant the schooner sailed from Port Nicholson, and having run down as far as the East Cape, ... The names of the persons thus called to their account are Robert Tholburn [a fisherman], James Clarke, and William Blackman.




... We regret to have to add to this destruction of property the loss of life.  Barrack Sergeant Lovel and his two children, who were passing down Farish-street from the Government store at the time were buried by a mass of falling wall, one of the children, a girl of eight years, was killed on the spot, the other, a boy about four years old, received so many severe injuries that he died about eleven o'clock last night.


AN Inquest was held this day at the "Ship Hotel," before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, on the bodies of the two children of Sergeant Lovel, to whose death we have previously alluded.  A verdict was returned of "Accidental Death."



LAST week a person of the name of Mitchell was examining a section of country land on the Porirua Road, when he discovered in the bush the remains of a human skeleton.  The clothes had all perished or disappeared, and the flesh had fallen from the bones which were quite bleached from exposure to the weather.  It will be recollected that about four years ago, a person of the name of Byron, a dyer, who was rather weak in his intellect, wandered into the bush on the Porirua Road during very stormy weather and no further tidings were ever heard of him, although at the time an ineffectual search was made for him.  It is supposed that the skeleton discovered by Mitchell must be the remains of poor Byron, who must have perished in the bush from the effects of cold and hunger.  Information of the circumstances was given by Mitchell to the police, and an inquest will be held by Dr. Fitzgerald the Coroner.



A FATAL accident occurred on Wednesday last to Mr. Ewen Cameron, who resided on the road to Kaiwarra.  On his return home about eight o'clock in the evening, in walking too near the edge of the steep ravine or gulley in front of his house, his foot unfortunately slipped, and he fell head foremost, and his head striking as projecting piece of rock he was killed on the spot.  The body was discovered by his family the next morning lying in the ravine.  An inquest was held on the body by Dr. Fitzgerald the Coroner, yesterday, when a verdict of Accidental Death was returned.  The deceased was very much and deservedly respected as an honest man and an industrious settler, and had brought up a very numerous family with great credit and propriety.



DEATH BY DROWNING. - On Friday evening last, a little boy about two years old, the son of James Taylor, who, lives on Mr. Boddington's farm at Fauahatanui, fell into the water near his father's house and was unfortunately drowned.  The water was so shallow that it is believed the child must have been stunned by the fall.  The body when discovered was quite cold.  An inquest was held on the body of Monday by Dr. Fitzgerald the Coroner, when a verdict of Accidental Death was returned.




FATAL ACCIDENT. - A fatal accident occurred on the new road at Mungaroa, occasioned by the slipping of a large mass of earth and stones, by which one of the natives belonging Mr. W. Swainson's road party, named Te Mahana, was killed on the spot, a large stone having struck him on the back of the neck.  The body was brought down to Petoni yesterday for the purpose of holding a Coroner's inquest.  This is, we believe, the first accident attending with loss of life which has occurred on the public roads since their commencement. - Spectator, Dec. 2.



NEW ZEALANDER, 3 January 1849

YESTERDAY afternoon an inquest was convened at the Masonic Hotel, Princes-street, by Dr. Davies, coroner, to inquire into the death of James Shanaghan, late Band-master of the 58th Regiment.  The jury having proceeded to the Albert Barracks to view the body of the deceased, the following evidence was adduced:-

   William Clifton, Colour Sergeant, 58th Regiment, sworn, saith - Last night I saw James Shanaghan, apparently asleep, sitting in the Sergeants; mess room.  I called upon his brother, John Shanaghan, to assist in taking him out of the room.  We helped deceased out of the room to the bed where he is now lying.  I did not see deceased afterwards until this morning, when he was dead.  Last night when we took him out of the room he was intoxicated.  When I left him on the bed I left his brother with him.  He was alive when I left him.  He had then a silk handkerchief on him.  He was placed as near as possible on his left side, his head lying on the pillow.  He had no military coat, but merely a slight jacket on him.  It was between the hours of 12 and 1 this morning.  He appeared to be insensible when taken to bed.  His position is slightly altered since I left him.  I think he was previously in a good state of health - I mean yesterday.

   John Shanaghan, sworn, saith - I am Drum Major of the 58th Regiment.  Deceased was my brother.  About half-past twelve this morning Colour-Sergeant Clifton asked me to assist him to carry deceased to his room.  I went, and he appeared to be sitting sleeping, and with Sergeant Clifton's assistance, I conveyed and laid him on the bed in the band room.  We placed him almost on his back, but a little on his left side.  He was insensible.  The room was in a state of darkness at the time.  I left him, in the charge of no one, immediately after raising his head on the pillow.  When I took him from the mess room, I considered he was under the influence of liquor.  I am aware that he has latterly been very fond of drink.

   Arthur S. Thomson, M.D., sworn, saith - I am surgeon 58th Regt.  Deceased has been in hospital twice during the course of the last year, labouring under delirium tremens, the effect of drink.  I have made a post mortem examination of the body, and found about four ounces of blood and water effused on the base of the brain, which was the immediate cause of death - and therefore I am certain that he died from apoplexy.  There are no external marks of injury about the body.

   Daniel Davis, sworn, saith - I am Corporal of the Band of 58th Regt.  I saw deceased last alive last night about twelve o'clock.  He was then in a state of intoxication.  I went into the band room this morning about four o'clock.  I then thought deceased was asleep, when Private Kearns told me that he was stiff.  I got out of bed, and finding he was dead, I gave the alarm.  Dr. Thomson was sent for, and came immediately.  He was turned partly on his right side.  His handkerchief was quite tight around his neck, and we removed it; his head and face were on the pillow.  He was more on his face than on his back.  Deceased was Band Sergeant of the 58th Regt.

   Verdict - Died of Apoplexy.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Thursday last an inquest was held at the Aglionby Arms, River Hutt before Dr. Fitzgerald, coroner, and a respectable jury, on view of the body of John Cavanagh, who was in the employment of Mr. Barton.  It appears that the deceased with two other men were employed in cutting down timber; they had cut down a large tree, which in falling tore up another of considerable size, and both fell against a large branch of a third tree; while they were engaged in cutting this branch it gave way sooner than was expected, and in falling struck the deceased on the head, causing a large wound and fracturing the skull.  The deceased lived one hour and a half after the accident.  The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."



On Monday, a fatal accident occurred at the Hutt, between the Gorge and Mungaroa, to a man named Cavanagh. - The poor fellow was engaged with another felling a tree, when the tree fell suddenly in the opposite direction to that which was anticipated, and a branch struck Cavanagh on the head, killing him on the spot.  The body was instantly conveyed to Burcham's, and an inquest sat on the body, the following day, J. Fitzgerald, Esq. Coroner, presiding, when the jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."


NEW ZEALANDER, 10 February 1849

Accident to John Cavanagh.


NEW ZEALANDER, 21 February 1849

ON Wednesday last, a coroner's inquest was held at Howick, by Dr. Davies, on the body of Alexander M'Ewen, a pensioner of Captain Smith's Company, who was found dead the previous night.  Captain Smith states that M'Ewen was a man who took an occasional glass, but was by no means habitually intemperate.  Dr. Bacot made a post mortem examination of the body, and, on the evidence adduced, the jury returned a verdict of DIED OF APPOLEXY.  And, yet, notwithstanding that verdict, the Rev. F. Fisher, of St. John's Collage, the officiating clergyman at Howick, peremptorily refused the rites of Christian burial, the funeral service being performed by Mr. White, Clerk of Petty Sessions!



HORRIBLE MURDER.  - A series of murders of the most dreadful and appalling nature was committed on Thursday night on the Porirua Road, which has created the deepest sensation of horror and astonishment throughout the community.  John Branks, who with his family have been the victims of this atrocious crime, resided about five or six hundred yards beyond the Church on the Porirua Road and about five miles from Wellington.

   The deceased came out among the original body of settlers, and was highly respected by his neighbours as a sober, honest, industrious man.  About eighteen months ago he had the misfortune to lose his wife, who died of lock jaw in consequence of injuries she had received from the fall of a tree, leaving him with three children, two boys and a girl.  The deceased had been lately working for Mr. Drake whom lives in the neighbourhood, about a quarter of a mile from Branks's house, and who finding he had not come to work yesterday morning between eight and nine o'clock as usual, went to his house.  On his arrival he found the door fastened, and suspecting that all was not right he called some of Branks's immediate neighbours, and they went together to the house, into which they forced an entrance, when dreadful to relate they found Branks and his children had been murdered.

   Branks was lying dead in a corner near the fireplace, he had received eight wounds upon his head, face, and the back of the neck, most of the wounds were of a desperate nature, three of them penetrating the skull and any of them sufficient to cause death.  The bodies of the children were found in bed, the eldest, William, was a fine boy about nine years old, the second, Katherine, was about five and a half years old, the youngest, John, was an infant about two and a half years old.  They all had deep wounds on the head penetrating the skull.  An axe with which the murders appeared to have been committed was found in the house covered with blood and hair.  The things in the house were found thrown about and in disorder as if they had been ransacked for the purpose of plunder.

   Mr. Drake immediately hastened to Wellington to inform the proper authorities of what had occurred.  Dr. Fitzgerald the coroner, at once proceeded to the scene of this fearful tragedy for the purpose of holding an inquest on the bodies.  The inquest lasted until the evening when it was adjourned to this day.

   From the way in which the bodies were found it would appear that the murders had been committed in the early part of the night, after the children had gone to bed, and before the father's usual hour of retiring to rest.  A maori who said he belonged to Horowhenua and came with a message from Mr. Yule, was the only native seen about Branks's house the day before the murders were committed.  In our next number we hope to be able to publish an account of the proceedings of the Inquest. A proclamation has been issued by his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor in Maori and English offering a reward of Fifty Pounds to whoever shall give such information as may lead to the apprehension and conviction of the perpetrators of this atrocious crime.

   Since the above was written we have been informed that a Maori was apprehended last night, between nine and ten o'clock, by the police in Polhill's Gulley, at Te Aro; he was a stranger to the natives living there, and had been there only an hour previous to his apprehension.  His blanket and drawers were marked with spots like stains of blood.  He had only been discharged last Wednesday from prison, where he had been committed for four months by Major Durie, the Police Magistrate at Waikanae, for a robbery at Wainui.




A CORONER'S INQUEST was held at the School House on the Porirua Road on Friday, the 23rd instant, before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, and a respectable Jury composed of the neighbours of the deceased, on the bodies of John Branks, and his three children, - William, Katherine, and John Branks, who were found that morning murdered in Branks's house.

   George Dalrymple Monteith, Surgeon, the first witness, had examined the bodies of the murdered persons, and described the nature of the wounds that had been inflicted.

   John Branks, the father, had received eight wounds on the face, head, and back of the neck, five of which were of so severe a nature as, any one of them, to be sufficient to cause immediate death.  The first wound examined extended from the left cheek to the right, dividing the nose; the second was three inches in length immediately above the right ear and entering the brain; the third wass of a similar nature to the former, passing to the crown of the head through the bone into the brain; the fourth wound passed from the right ear to the crown of the head, entering the brain; the fifth was a superficial; wound immediately below the last; the sixth and seventh were superficial wounds on the back of the head; the eighth wound was on the back of the upper part of the neck, and was three inches long and two inches deep.

   William Branks, the eldest boy, had received two wounds, the first extending from the left temple to the lower jaw, passing through the skull into the brain, and fracturing the lower jaw; the second wound being also on the temple, and entering the brain, both wounds were four inches in length.

   Katherine Branks had received two wounds on the left side from the back of the head to the temple; both wounds were close together; John Branks, the youngest child, had four wounds, three on the face, and one on the head; the wound on the head was of a semicircular shape, three inches in diameter, and passing through the bones.  The wounds appeared to have been inflicted by an axe or similar instrument.

   Mary Ann Seed, (eleven years old) deposed, that on Wednesday evening between six and seven o'clock, a native came to her uncle's house,  close to where Branks had formerly lived, and inquired for Branks's house, to which she directed him; he was dressed in a pair of trowsers, and a blanket, and had on an old soldier's cap; the number of the regiment was off, and it had no peak; he had no shoes on, neither was he tatooed; should know him again if she were to see him; should think he was an elderly man; he went down the road in the direction of Branks's; he said there was a soldier waiting for him; he also said there were two young cows at Kaiwarra which he was going to pay for and take to Pauatahanui where he lived.

   William Martin, a private in the Armed police, saw the bodies before they were removed; John Branks, the father, was lying in a corner of the room on the left hand side near the fire place; the children were on the bed on the tight hand side; the two eldest were at the head of the bed, the youngest was at the foot of the bed; on the floor near the father there was the print of a naked foot marked with blood; the axe now produced was lying near the fire place covered with blood and hair; the deceased had no watch about his person; outside the house were lying a razor, violin, and other things; one of the boxes near the deceased had been opened and its contents scattered about.

   Henry Taylor deposed, that about half-past ten o'clock the previous night he met a maori on the Porirua Road opposite Mr. Boddington's section going to Wellington; asked him where he had been at that time of night, when he replied that he had been to see that the cattle had not got into his potatoes; asked where his potatoes were, and he said on the road side; inquired if he was not frightened at that time of night, and he said no; it was very dark and witness could not see how the maori was dressed, he was on one side of the road and witness on the other.

   Thomas John Drake, lives on the Porirua Road about a quarter of a mile from the house of the deceased; the deceased was working for witness and informed him (witness) that a native from Horowhenua had been with him the previous night and told him that a person of the name of Yule had given him =five shillings for his sister to go and live with him; this morning between eight and nine o'clock witness went to his clearing and not finding deceased there nor looking after his cattle, he went on to his house; the door being fastened he looked in at the window, and thought he saw some one lying on the bed; no one answering he suspected something wrong, and went to Messrs. Nott and Bell and with some other neighbours went back to the house; witness waited until he heard the deceased and his children had been murdered and then went to Wellington and informed the Coroner.

   By the Jury - The deceased merely said that the maori staid very late at his house the previous night; did mot see any strange Europeans but young Prowse, who passed close to where they were talking about five o'clock and went on to Mr. Nott's; believes the deceased had no money; he had a watch; does not know that the deceased was on bad terms with any body; deceased did not mention the maori's name.

   James Barrow identified the axe produced as his property; he had left it on Wednesday night about five o'clock half a mile from his house; he missed it yesterday about one o'clock when he went to the place where he had left it; a part of the handle had been broken off; does not know by whom it was stolen; did not see any natives about in that direction.

   William Nott - resides a short distance from Mr. Drake on the Porirua road; about nine o'clock that morning Mr. Drake came to him and said he was very much alarmed at not finding Mr. Branks at his work; he then went to see if he was with the cattle, and not finding him there, witness went with Mr. Bell to Branks's house; the first thing they saw was a razor lying about a yard from the house, and a pool of blood near the chimney; witness called at each window and obtaining no answer burst open the door, which was locked; the first thing witness saw on entering were the three children in bed dead; found the deceased, the father, lying in the corner with several wounds about the head; there was an axe lying by him (that now produced) which was covered with blood and hair; deceased was lying in the left corner near the pool of blood near the chimney; there was a hole through which the blood had flowed to the outside; informed Mr. Drake when he went outside that the family were all murdered; saw no stranger but Prowse's son, who was going to Capt. Russell's, and did not notice any natives; deceased was liked by every body.  The house was very disordered, the things lying about in confusion; was careful not to touch anything in the house.  Young Prowse slept at witness's house last night; one of Prowse's brothers lived with witness.

   This being the whole of the evidence, the jury returned a verdict to the effect that John Branks, senr., and his three children had been barbarously murdered between the hours of five o'clock on Thursday evening, March 22nd, and nine o'clock on Friday morning the 23rd, by some person or persons unknown.

THE Maori who was arrested on Friday night was fully committed by H. St. Hill, Esq., the Resident Magistrate, on Saturday to take his trial for the murder of Branks and his family at the next criminal sittings of the Supreme Court.  The evidence, which is of a circumstantial nature, is very strong against the prisoner.  We understand the prisoner belongs to the Ngatikahunu tribe.  [Funeral, and slight biography.]



[Summary of the Branks case.] ...

At 11 o'clock, the same day, the Native prisoner, who is a Ngatikuni, named Maroro, was placed in the dock before the Resident Magistrate.  The prisoner was sworn to as the person who enquired for Branks on Wednesday night, and as the man who sold the unfortunate deceased's watch to a soldier named Tracy.  Maroro had on, at the time of investigation, a pair of drawers, the property of Branks, and a cap belonging to his eldest son. ... The natives have expressed the utmost concern and indignation at the commission of the atrocious deed.  Since Maroro's sojourn in gaol, he has, we are informed, attempted to commit suicide.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held at the Victoria Hotel, yesterday, on the body of David Peters, before Dr. Davies, Coroner, and a respectable jury, of whom Mr. Rout was foreman. - I had appeared that deceased, who was mate of the schooner Neptune, left the beach in company with the cook and others belonging to the vessel, intending to proceed on board.  The cook and deceased, who were both intoxicated, quarrelled, and commenced fighting in the boat; they then went on board to fight it out.  They fought one or two rounds, deceased made a rush at the cook, they closed, and, losing their balance,  fell overboard in a close grapple, the cook undermost.  Their shipmates on board immediately got into the boat.  The cook could swim - deceased could not.  Three men jumped into the boat to the rescue.  The cook was reached first, they pulled after deceased - he was just sinking - they caught him by the hair as he was going down, got him into the boat, and after having put the cook on board, proceeded immediately to the Victoria Hotel.  Medical aid was sent for.  Dr. Lee was soon in attendance, and shortly afterwards another medical gentleman arrived.  Every means at hand were employed to restore animation, but without success, the vital spark was extinct.  After some deliberation, the Jury found that David Peters was accidentally drowned by falling from the Neptune in a drunken quarrel. - The Cook who was in custody was discharged.


NEW ZEALANDER, 21 April 1849

Inquest on David Peters. ... Having put the cook, James Harris, on board the schooner, the boat pulled for the shore with Peters, whose body was most ignorantly placed upon its belly, with the head declining to facilitate the ejection of water from the stomach.  According to the evidence, the man was dead before reaching the Victoria Hotel, where Surgeon Lee and Dr. Phislon quickly arrived, and adopted the usual remedies, but in vain.  Mr. Lee opened the jugular vein, but to no purpose. Life had fled, but Mr. Lee was of opinion, that had the same facilities for the restoration of suspended animation, to be found in England, existed here, a chance of recovery in this case might have been hoped. ...



It is our painful duty to record another dreadful murder.  On Tuesday morning, a boy named Roach, going from Auckland to Panmure, on coming to the middle of that part of the road near Panmure known as the Scoria-road between eight and nine o'clock, perceived a human body laying across the road.  Meeting tow pensioners he informed them of the fact.  They hastened to the spot and discovered a body as the boy had told them, and that it was mangled in a shocking manner; the throat being cut and the body stabbed in several places.  They both recognised the body bas that of a brother pensioner of the name of Jones, a man of good repute, and sober habits, who carried in the trade of a butcher at Panmure, and was known to have left that village on Monday morning, with some money for the purpose of buying pigs in Auckland. The money was not found upon the body.  Deceased has left a wife and children to deplore his loss.

   A Native, and a European man and woman have been taken into custody.

   An inquest was held at the Panmure Inn on Wednesday.  The following is the evidence that was elicited:-

   Robert Briggs, a labourer living in Remuera, stated, that on Monday night, as he, with his son, were returning home from work, they met the deceased (who had with him a pig held by a string,) on the Panmure road, between Mr. Henry's fence and the Tea tree Bridge, about a quarter of an hour or 20 minutes after sun-down.  Deceased was then going towards Panmure.  He saw also a Maori, (who appeared quite a young man, of about 5 feet 8 inches height, and who had on a blanket with a red edge) on the left hand side of the road, about four perches before him.  He made some observation to deceased about the weather as he passed him, and he now calls to mind that the Maori on hearing him speak, turned his head, and seemed to quicken his pace.  The native and Jones did not appear to him to be in company when he met them, being on opposite sides of the road.  He could not distinguish if the native were tatooed or not.

   William Briggs, his son, gave similar evidence, except that it would seem he had taken more notice of the native, who, he said, it was light enough for him to see quite plain - and he was sure he was tatooed with a small tatoo.  The native in custody (who is not tatooed) being brought into the room, the witness said he was something like the native he had seen on Monday evening, but he was quite sure it was not him.

   Joseph Robinson, a pensioner, living at Howick, deposed, that as he and his comrade Lawrence Condon were going to their work between 9 and 10 o'clock on Tuesday morning, on coming on this side of Panmure, leaving the settlement and getting on the pathway to the scorian road, they were met by a boy named Roach, who told them there was a man lying on his face in the road in  front of them, much cut about the head, and that he did not know if he were dead or not.  They hastened on, and about a mile and a half from Mr. Henry's farm found the body laying on its face and hands, and much cut about the back of the head.  He left the body under the charge of his companion, and went to give the alarm, and on his return found that others had been there, and the body had been turned over - her then saw that the throat had been cut.  He remained with the body till a police man who had been sent for, arrived, and gave it over to his charge.  He had seen no native about that morning.

   Thomas Francis McGauran, Colonial Assistant Surgeon, had examined the body, and found one large extensive wound in the throat, communicating with the cavity of the mouth.  The external; carotid artery and jugular vein on the right side were not wounded.  The wound across the throat was an incised wound, apparently done with some sharp instrument.  There were several slight wounds on the right cheek, and one on the left cheek, and some stabs about the ears - one penetrating the left ear, traversed about 5 inches downwards and backwards.  A small circular splinter of the scull was detached under this wound, as though by a knife.  There were six wounds on the back of the head, some of them two inches in length, all incised wounds, apparently inflicted with a sharp instrument.  The long wound under the scalp, was more a punctured wound than an incised one.  There were four puncture wounds on the back, one penetrating into the cavity of the chest, wounding the right lung, and terminating in the pericardium - this was a very deep wound - as least six inches deep.  There were two lower down rather superficial, and the fourth was lower down - very large and of a triangular shape, as if inflicted by two stabs, and penetrated into the cavity of the abdomen, about an inch in length.  There was also one wound on the left hand, between the index finger and thumb, rather a slight wound.  The body had a very mutilated appearance. The wound penetrating through the lung into the pericardium, I think, the most likely to be that by which death was caused, though many of the wounds were, in themselves sufficient to cause death.  The body was nearly bloodless - there was no blood in the pericardium.  I should think that all the wounds were inflicted with a knife.  I do not think any heavy instrument was used.  The wounds must have been inflicted with a knife similar to a carving knife, or a butcher's knife.  It would have been impossible for the deceased to have inflicted the wounds himself.  The wounds were such as to warrant the belief that deceased had struggled much for life.  All the wounds could have been inflicted with the same instrument (a piece of a blade, apparently of a carving knife, was produced).  Such an instrument would have inflicted all the wounds.

   Laurence Conden, pensioner, Howick, corroborated John Robinson's evidence as to finding the body, and stated that whilst Robinson was gone to give the alarm, leaving him in charge of the body, he examined the ground thereabout (which was soft and in a state to nave received the impress of bare feet) to see if there were any tracks, but the only marks he could see were those of boots with nails and iron tips on the toes and heels, corresponding exactly with the boots on the deceased man.  There were small pieces of leather, such as fill up the soles of shoes, lying about; these could not have come from the deceased man's boots.  He felt convinced that the whole of the marks he could see, with the exception of those made by Robinson's boots and his own, were made by the boots the deceased wore.

   The evidence of Bridget Jones, widow of the deceased, went to show that he left home on Monday morning, about 8 o'clock, for the purpose of going to Auckland to buy pigs, taking with him  3 L(Pounds) 15s. in gold and silver, and having no other property but this money and his clothes about him; that he did not come home on Monday night, and that she heard next morning, about 8 o'clock, from a child, who said he had been told by a boy from the other settlement, of the body of her husband being found on the scoria road.  She said she did not know of any one with whom her late husband had quarrelled or was at enmity, and that he was himself a quiet and peaceable man.  She recognised a knife produced as one that had formerly belonged to Jones, and was used by him in his business, and said that she gave this knife to a Maori about 4 o'clock on Monday evening, to cut some raupoo; that when he came he asked where the pakeha had gone to, and she told him, to Auckland to buy a pig; he asked for money, and she gave him a 6d.; she did not notice which way he went; he did not return that night; her husband and this native had never had any quarrel.

   She was shown a broken blade which had been found, and did not know if it belonged ton her husband, but she recollected his breaking a knife some while since, while killing a sheep.  When she gave the money to her husband, the Maori was present, and he saw her give him it, but he could not have seen how much.

   The native in custody was brought in, and Mrs. Jones identified him as the Maori she had spoken of.  The inquest was then (1 ½ ) adjourned.


Coroner's Inquest on the body of Edward Jones, continued.

   Thomas McLaren, a carter in the Government employ, deposed as to his going with a cart to the wend of the scoria road to fetch the body to the Panmure Inn, that it was brought from where it was found to the cart by some pensioners on a hand-barrow made of sticks with some fern on it, and that it was placed in the cart, the bottom of which had been previously strewn with some tea-tree pulled by two policemen - that he left the body at the Panmure Inn, and that as he was emptying the tea tree out of the cart the next morning, he heard something rattle on the ground, and on searching, found the part of the blade now produced (the same as that produced yesterday) which had then a few stains of rust and a little dirt on it.

   Thomas Condon was re-examined, and said, that had there been a breakage in the heel of one of the boots, it must have made a peculiar impression, and that by the impression he noticed, neither of the heels appeared to have been broken.  That he only had an opportunity of examining one of the deceased's shoes, and that the heel of that was perfect.

   Henry Hare, (a juror) having stated that he  had a communication to make, was sworn, and said, that on going into the room to examine the body he had noticed that part of the heel on one of the deceased man's shoes were wanting.  He did not examine the boot minutely but it appeared to him that not only part of the iron, but also part of the heel was off.

   Thomas Finlay, a carpenter, deposed, that he was at work at the house on the corner of the Tamaki road on Monday evening last, saw a man whom he knew by the name of Dan, accompanied by a woman whom he did not know, between 3 and 4 o'clock, passed the house, and go in the direction of Epsom, along the Epsom road which leads also to Panmure, over the scoria.  He noticed that they were much the worse for drink, and rolling about the road.  The man in custody he positively identified as the man he had seen on Monday, but could not speak do positively as to the woman.  The woman he had seen, had a white bonnet on, - the woman he had now seen had none.  He did not notice that they had any scratches on their faces at the time they passed the house; the man had no stick in his hand, but carried a bundle in a red handkerchief. 

   Charles Durbridge, staff sergeant of the pensioner corps, remembered that the last persons he had seen passing through Panmure on Monday evening, were the man and woman now in custody.  He had seen them together last Sunday - the woman had then a bonnet on.  On the Monday evening between 6 and 7, he saw them at the bar of Mr. Green's Public House at Panmure - she had then no bonnet on.  On Wednesday he again saw them in Green's Public House, and observed that they were both scratched as if with finger nails.  The man commenced talking about having been followed by two soldiers dressed in blue frocks, from Auckland, as far as the end of the scoria road, and said, that he had got four Maories for protection, to whom he had given 3s. - that some Maories had collared him, and attempted to ill use the woman - and that her bonnet had been torn off in the struggle and thrown away.  That the man then went outside the door, and accused a Maori who was there of having attempted to take away the woman's bonnet, and wanted the woman to swear to it - which she refused to do.  They did not appear intoxicated whilst talking thus.  During the talk the man said Mr. Gray was not half deep enough last night.  They appeared to have plenty of money.

   Alexander Henderson, a private in the Auckland armed police, deposed as to seeing the body on Tuesday morning; and that yesterday (Wednesday) he went to Lieut. Gray's, and took a native into custody, and brought him to the inquest.  That from information received, he determined on taking into custody a man named Dan Reiden, and a woman named Mary Queenan - that hearing they had left Panmure, saying they were going to Howick, he dressed himself in plain clothes last night, and started for Howick - that when he arrived at the ferry, about half past ten, he enquired of the native ferry-man of he had seen a white man and a woman, and he was told that there was a man and a woman inside the house on the other side of the ferry - he then went into the house and found them both lying fast asleep - he found s bundle which the native said belonged to them, in which he found two shirts and as pair of moleskin trowsers, all quite new, which he examined, but found on them no marks of blood.  He then awoke the man, and pulled him out of bed, but allowed him to get in again; when he went in under the blankets, he again appeared as if he was talking to the woman, and pulling her about, and he heard the woman say, "if you attempt to out your hand on me I'll settle you."  They having been quiet for some time, he roused them up again, and he again began to pull her about; she then said, "I'll settle you, don't think you'll murder me.":  He then took them into charge; the man making considerable resistance, begging hard of the constable, and offering to give him L(Pounds) to let him go.  Witness had not told him on what charge he was taking him - but he loudly protested his innocence.  Witness supposes he imagined he wass being taken for bring drunk.  The woman said, "devil secure you, why did you not have less to say."

   On their way to the lock-up, they went, (on being called by Mrs. Durbridge, who lives there,) into Green's public house, and Mrs. Durbridge was allowed to speak to the woman alone; he then took them to the lock-up, and placed them in separate cells.  - On putting the man into the lock-up, witness searched him, and found money to the amount of L(Pounds) 2 1s. 7 ½ d. in silver, (principally half crowns,) and a piece of black and a piece of colored ribbon and a key.  He brought the man in custody from Panmure this morning, on his way he appeared very much disturbed in mind; on coming to the spot where the body was found, a halt was made, and he walked deliberately to and sat down upon a small heap of stones that had been place close by the spot - nom mention had been made of this bring the place where then body was found.  Witness was satisfied, from the expressions made use of by the prisoner on coming along this morning, that he knew the crime of which he was suspected.

   Lieutenant Owen Wynne Gray deposed to going with Mr. Falwasser to a raupoo hut, where they found some natives, one of whom was the man who had borrowed the knife from Mrs. Jones, and which knife, on being alluded to, he produced without any hesitation.

   The inquiry was then again adjourned (5 p.m.)


   We learn this morning that the native spoken of as having been in custody on suspicion, had been discharged, there being no evidence before the court to warrant his detention.

   The enquiry this day was continued till past 10 o'clock at night, when it was finally closed; little having transpired to throw any further light on the tragic affair. - The grounds of the suspicion attached to the parties, Daniel Reiden and Mary Queendon, appeared in the first instance to be slight, but were materially strengthened by some expressions made use of by the woman after her apprehension, - and as the greater part of this day's evidence related to these expressions, and the movements of the man and woman on the night of the murder - all of which in the end were satisfactorily explained - it would not be necessary, even if it were possible for us at so late an hour, further to notice this day's proceedings.

   At 10 o'clock, this protracted inquiry was closed by a verdict, in effect, of Wilful Murder against some person or persons unknown.

   It was clearly indicated by the fact that little or no blood was found near the body, and from other circumstances, that the foul deed was not perpetrated on the spot where the body was found, but that it had been allowed to bleed elsewhere, (for from the nature of the wounds, and the bloodless state in which it was found, it must have bled much,) after 3 day's most patient inquiry, this awful murder remains envelloped in the deepest mystery.

    The verdict being returned, the man and woman were of course immediately discharged.


NEW ZEALANDER, 23 June 1849

Summary of the case of James Jones; ...Mary Queenan, the wife of Francis Queenan, a pensioner resident at Howick, ...


NEW ZEALANDER, 7 July 1849

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was convened at the Royal Hotel, Howick, on the 26th ult., by Captain McDonald, the Coroner of the district, to inquire into the cause of the decease of a pensioner, named John Fagan, who expired suddenly at that hotel the previous day.  The Jury returned a Verdict - Died of Apoplexy, - not occasioned by drunkenness.





Ratea otherwise Kai Karoro an aboriginal native, was indicted for the murder of Parata Wanga another aboriginal native in the month of March 1843.  The Attorney-General conducted the prosecution, the prisoner was defended by Mr. Ross assisted by Mr. Kemp as interpreter.  Mr. Dighton was swoern as interpreter for the Crown.

   Mr. Ross applied to the Court for a mixed jury to be composed of Europeans and aboriginal natives, but his Honor refused the application, stating that the prisoner was clearly not entitled to the right as a foreigner, as he was now a British subject, and that the provisions of the Jury Amendment Ordinance by which the Governor and Executive Council might provide a list of natives to serve on mixed Juries had not yet been carried out.


Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner]

Te Kiri Karamu


Mr. Ross here objected that the Attorney General could not give evidence of the two shots, as there was only one count in the indictment, he must therefore be confined to one shot, and the Jury must be convinced that death was caused by that shot.

   His Honor held that the Attorney general must elect which shot he would prove but that he could not prove two.

   The Attorney General elected to go upon the first shot.


Ko Ti, wife of Te Kiri Karamu

Thomas Barrow, carter

George Crocker, police constable


Mr. Ross objected that the Attorney General had made out no case to go to the Jury, he had proved the shot, and that Parata Wanga fell; but he did not prove any of the wounds stated in the indictment, nor did he ask the witnesses any question as to such wounds, and he had not proved that the deceased was the man on whose body the inquest was held.

   His Honor considered that there was sufficient evidence of identity to go to the Jury.


   His Honor the Judge then explained to the Jury, that of they were not satisfied that the deceased died of at least one wound produced by the first shit, they must acquit the prisoner.  If they considered that the second shot only produced the mortal wound, or if they thought that death was the result of both shots together, they must acquit the prisoner.  If they considered that deceased received one mortal wound at the second shot, and one also at the first, they might convict; but if, on the whole, they had any doubt whether the first shot produced a mortal wound, the prisoner must have the benefit of the doubt.  The Jury retired, and the Court adjourned for twenty minutes.  On the return of the Jury into Court, the foreman declared the verdict to be "Not Guilty."




An inquest was held on Saturday at the Victoria Hotel, near the Te Aro barracks, before Dr. Fitzgerald, coroner, on the body of Serjeant Mangin of the 65th regiment, who had shot himself on the previous day.

   George Dalrymple Monteith, being sworn, stated; I am a Surgeon, practising in Wellington; on Friday morning last, the 16th of November, between the hours of 8 and 9 o'clock, a.m., I wass sent for to see Serjt. Mangin, of the 65th Regt., who was reported to have shot himself; I found him in one of the wards of the military hospital lying on a bed with a gun shot wound on the left breast, extending into the lungs, and a corresponding wound immediately above the left scapula; there was a large escape of blood and air with each expiration; he then told me that he had shot himself, and that he had done it through love; he was in a state of great collapse, from which he never rallied; I have no doubt that this wound was the cause of death.

   Richard Buckley Twyfort Thelwall, deposed; I am Acting Adjutant of the 65th regt., about 8 o'clock yesterday morning, it was reported tom me that Serjt. Mangin had short himself; I immediately proceeded to the barracks, and found the Serjeant lying on one of the beds in the hospital; about ten minutes afterwards he asked me to take his hand as he wanted to say something to me; he said - "God bless you, Mr. Thelwall, you have always been kind to me; tell the Colonel and officers that I respect them all, that I bear no enmity towards any person; but love for ------- has been the cause of it all;" I sent for the Rev. R. Cole; the man has always borne a good character in the Regiment; I had previously sent for Dr. Monteith, who has been acting for Dr. White in his absence; the deceased appeared to me to be perfectly collected when I was speaking tom him.

   William Alexander, deposed; I am a Serjeant in the 65th Regiment; I have been well acquainted with the deceased, Stephen Mangin; yesterday morning, the 16th Nov., I went out in company with deceased about half-past 7 o'clock; we took the direction of the upper gate of Lower Mount Cook; we wert round by the Magazine for the purpose of picking some water cress; he said to me as we were walking along, that he felt a very great depression of spirits this morning; I asked him if he felt it more this morning than at any other time, or if he felt in his head, or heart, or where; he said he could not describe, but he felt it all over him; we went to the water-cress bed, and he picked some; we then went home and went into the Serjeants' mess room; he left his cresses there and went out; I remained; it was near 8 o'clock when I saw him after this, they were carrying him to the Hospital; it was in my room where he shot himself.

   The man who went into the room after the act, gave me two letters through the window which he picked up, one of them was addressed tom me the other to Miss ------.  The contents of the one addressed to me are as follow:-

Note, No. 1.

November 16, 1849

DEAR ALICK, - Will you please deliver this note to ------.  Apply what I have got in the Bank and every other thing belonging to me to your own use if you please; write to my sister, Mrs. Ettingsall, 12 Merchants Quay, Dublin, and tell her of this proceeding.  I die in friends with every one, enmity to none, and love only to one individual, and that one -----------; the latter is the cause; don't neglect giving her the note.  Good bye, Alick; I die in the hopes of a better and happier world.  Farewell.


See me decently buried.

Note, No. 2.

Mount Cook Barracks,

16th November, 1849.

---------- This is my last epistle to you; all that I have previously told you will have been complete by the time you receive this note.  If I am considered unworthy of you, I consider myself unworthy to live.  Tell Ainsley what I have done for you, let him make a similar sacrifice.  I die in love with you.  The coldness of your manner towards me lately I considered rather wrong, and in fact deceitful on your part.  I could not after that (without being mean) call to see you, and not to do so would be to live in awful misery.  I could not apply myself to anything but the thought of you; you are the ideal being of which I dreamt long before I saw you; any one else would have been obnoxious to me; therefore I chose this proceeding rather than to live a life of misery the most awful that can be imagined; pure and undefiled love for you alone is the cause.  I die in the hopes of a better and happier world, and the hope of meeting my Redeemer.  As Christ died for mankind, I die for you.  Farewell, then, my beloved girl.  I never dreamt a dream these six months but you were the substance of.  I forgive your friends' hard-heartedness towards me.  Once more, my only love, good bye.  Farewell Isabella, and your father, mother, and all your little sisters and brothers.  Adieu for ever, my love.


George, good bye.

   John Frost, deposed; I am a Private in the 65th regt., yesterday morning I was sweeping out the room belonging to Colour-Serjt. Alexander; the deceased, Serjt. Mangin, came in and said he wanted to write some letters, which he could not do outside; I took notice of his being very low spirited; I asked him if he was sick, he told me he was not; I came out and left him inside; I saw him comer out of the room, and I saw him go to his box; he appeared to be regulating his things which were in his box; he then locked the box, and walked out of the room; while he was out I found a Bible and Prayer Book on the box; I asked him if they were his, and he said yes, and took them from me; he then went out and remained some time away; I saw nothing more of deceased till I heard the report of a gun in Serjt. Alexander's room; as soon as I heard it I ran into the room, and saw his cap lying on the floor, and the fusee dropping out of his hand; he appeared reclining against the bed, which was rolled up on the iron bedstead, but was just dropping down on the iron when I went in; hic coat was open, and his stock on the table; his shirt over the left breast was on fire, and his breast was bleeding; some of the other men came in, and I ran up to Serjt. Alexander and told him; I afterwards found the Bible, Prayer Book, and two letters, which latter were in his paper case; during this occurrence there was no one in the room, which is a small one belonging to Serjt. Alexander; the deceased appeared both this morning, and for some time previously, very low in spirits, and different from what he bused to be, which made me think he was sick.

   John Kennedy, deposed; I am as Colour-Serjt. of the 65th Regt.; the fusee I now produce was found in the room with the deceased, Serjt. Mangin; it was recently discharged, and the string which ids now tied round the trigger is the same that was on at the rime.

   The Jury returned a verdict that the "deceased shot himself while labouring under temporary insanity." [Military funeral.]

   An inquest was held on Monday at Porirua, before Dr. Fitzgerald, coroner, on the body of Thomas Woodman, labourer, who committed suicide by hanging himself. The deceased left homer early on Monday morning and was found shortly afterwards suspended from the branch of a tree.  After a patient investigation the Jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased had committed suicide by hanging himself, but whether he was at the time in a state of unsound mind or not there was not sufficient evidence for them to decide.  Deceased has left a widow and seven children.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 25 December 1849

CORONER'S INQUEST. - Yesterday an Inquest was held at the Masonic Hotel, before Wm. Davies, Esq., M.D., Coroner, to inquire into the cause of the death of William Millar, a gunner in the Royal Artillery. - From the evidence adduced it appeared that the deceased had gone out during the heat of the sun on the previous day to bathe, and, having received a coup de soleil, he suddenly sank to rise no more. - After a short inquiry, the evidence being very conclusive, the Jury returned a verdict:- "Died from drowning, having been struck by the sun whilst bathing."


NEW ZEALANDER, 26 December 1849

THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR had undertaken a journey southward, ...In the descent, they had to cross a nearly perpendicular face of the hill, down which hung a bed of frozen snow; and WIREMU HOETA, a native attendant, lost his footing, and fell down a precipice, pitching from one projecting ledge of rocks to another, to the bottom of the abyss - a depth of about sixteen hundred feet, where his dead body could be seen in a sort of ravine, but where it was impossible to get at it.


William Miller, Gunner, R.A. drowned at Point Britomart.

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