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Colonial Cases

1850-1855 NZ


CORONER'S INQUEST. - An Inquest was held on Wednesday last at the Ship Hotel, Te Aro, before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, on the body of the late J. B. Selby, Esq.  The deceased had been for some time past living at Wairarapa, but being in a very bad state of health, had left that district in a whale-boat on Monday for the purpose of obtaining medical assistance.  Before the boat could reach Wellington, however, Mr. Selby expired.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Died by the Visitation of God."



ACCIDENT. - A little child about two years of age, named Hogan, living at the Motueka, got away from the house of its parents, and fell into a neighbouring well, on Monday, the 31st ult.  There was only eight inches of water in the well at the time, but as the child fell down head foremost, it is supposed that it was stunned, and the water was therefore sufficient to cause suffocation.  As the Coroner did not arrive to hold an inquest before Wednesday evening, the child had been buried, but the jury refused to be sworn unless the body was disinterred, which was accordingly done.  A verdict of accidental death was given.



WITHIN the last few days the community has been greatly excited by the discovery of a fearful murder committed on board the General Palmer, a vessel which has been lying for some months past in this harbour condemned as unseaworthy.  The unhappy victim of this dreadful crime was a lad of the name of Ellis about eighteen years old, formerly an apprentice on board the vessel, who from his previous good conduct had been left in charge as ship-keeper.  It seems probable that the murder was committed about Sunday the 17th instant, that day being the last one on which Ellis was seen alive.  During the subsequent week, the usual signals previously agreed upon having been made from the General Palmer, nothing occurred to excite suspicion, but from information received by Messrs. Bethune and Hunter, Agents for the vessel, on Tuesday Mr. Bethune went on board, when he found Ellis missing and a stranger in charge whom he gave in custody.  This man was brought before Mr. St. Hill, the Resident Magistrate on Tuesday and remanded for further examination on Saturday (this day). A subsequent search revealed the fearful fact that Ellis had been murdered under circumstances of peculiar atrocity.

   From an examination of the body it appeared that he had been shot, and struck several times on the head with an iron hammer, his throat was cut and his body was then forced into an old beef cask and put into one of the cabins on the poop of the vessel, and covered over with lumber.  When discovered the body was in an advanced stage of decomposition.  The principal facts connected with this dreadful crime will be found in the evidence given at the Coroner's Inquest, but it is to be remarked that the man Thompson, now in custody, must have slept for a week with Ellis's body at his feet, the body having been found in the next berth to that which he occupied.

   The men suspected of this crime are escaped convicts, and it seems to be the impression that Ellis was murdered by them because he knew too much of their plans and refused to join them.  It is remarkable that in his waistcoat pocket was found a small leather bag containing a sovereign, two shillings, and some smaller change.

   We refrain from making any further observations on the case in its present stage, but we may take occasion to remind our readers that the more serious crimes on this settlement, as shown by official returns, have been committed by runaway convicts, in order that they may be fully alive to the dangers from which they have been preserved by their unanimous rejection of Lord Grey's proposal to send convicts to this Colony, for if the few who have escaped hither from the neighbouring Colonies have been the occasion of so many crimes what would be the effect of introducing some shiploads of such characters into New Zealand.  [REWARD.][Also report of robbery at the store of Mr. Duncan, one of the jurymen.]


AN Inquest was held before Dr. Fitzgerald, the Coroner, to inquire into the circumstances connected with the death of John Ellis, ship-keeper of the General Palmer.  The Coroner and Jury proceeded on board the vessel on Wednesday to view the body, after which they returned to Barrett's Hotel, when the Inquest was adjourned to 5 o'clock the following evening, in order that a post mortem examination might be made.  The Jury accordingly re-assembled on Thursday evening at Barrett's Hotel, when the following evidence was given:-

   Kenneth Bethune. I am a merchant of Wellington, of the firm of Bethune & Hunter, Agents for the barque General Palmer, now laid up in our charge; I knew the deceased John Ellis, he was formerly a seaman on board the General Palmer, and latterly ship-keeper; in consequence of information I received on Monday last, the 25th instant, I had reason to suppose that there was something wrong on board the vessel, and accordingly on the following morning I went on board in the Custom-house boat, along with our ware-houseman, Edward Roe, jun.; on going on deck I saw a stranger at the gang-way; I asked for the lad Ellis, who alone had charge of the vessel; the man, who afterwards gave his name as John Thompson, replied that Ellis was not on board, and that he had  not been there for a week; I asked what had become of him, and what he (Thompson) was doing there; he said that yesterday week Ellis had requested him to take charge of the ship for a day or two as he was going to see some friends, and that he had remained on board since to do so; on asking him why he did not come on shore and report Ellis's absence for so long a time, he answered in a confused manner that it was his intention to do so; I inquired if any other person was on board, he replied no; I then told him to stand aside, and proceeded to search the cabin; I found a loaded pistol and a cutlass in the berth Thompson occupied; I then searched the hold; in the meantime a constable came on board, having previously been requested by me at the police station to do so, and I gave Thompson in custody; in the afternoon we sent two men to take charge of the vessel.

   By the Jury. - On Monday evening last Mr. Collins came to my house, accompanied by a young man in Capt. Rhodes's employ, and another man, and expressed his surprise at not having seen the lad Ellis for upwards of a week, as he was in the habit of calling about once a week on him (Collins); he usually called on Monday, when he received his wages; they suspected there was something wrong from his non-appearance; on the previous Saturday a black man, whom lives in Maori-row, asked me if I was Agent for the General Palmer, and said he thought there was something going on wrong about the ship; I thanked him for his information and observed I was under no apprehension as the signal "all right" had been hoisted as usual, but that I should take the earliest opportunity of going on board; Monday was a very boisterous day, and it was impossible to pull off from the shore, but I went on board the following morning.

   Basil Brown. - I keep a lodging house in Maori-row.  I knew deceased slightly.  I saw him last Saturday week, 16th March, he was coming round the corner of Mr. Loxley's store when I met him.  He was in company with two mien, named Good and Peter.  As they passed I heard Good ask Ellis for something, and Ellis put his hand in his pocket and gave Good what I supposed to be money.  I told Mr. Bethune I suspected something wrong as I had not seen Ellis on shore as usual. On Friday or Saturday last I saw Thompson landing at Mr. Firth's wharf; I asked him where Ellis was, he said he did not know but he had been seen a day or two since going into the country.  Taking hold of the coat on his arm I said you have got a new coat, he said it was one he had brought from Sydney with him; it was a pilot cloth coat which I had seen Ellis wear.

   Good, Peter and Thompson had been staying in my house, they left about two weeks ago, since that time I have known them to be living on board the General Palmer.  I have seen Good and Peter once, since I met them together with Ellis.  Peter and a man named Jones I have seen several times together, they treated me several times and Peter appeared to have money.  On Sunday, 17th March, Peter came to my house and asked for some dinner, after his dinner he said I owe you some money, I answered Yes, and I should like you to pay me as soon as you can.  He took some money from his waistcoat pocket which he put back again and said you'll hear something after a while.  On the following Monday I saw Peter at Pimble's, he asked me to have something to drink.  He threw down half a sovereign on the counter and took it up again and put down sixpence.  He repeated I should hear something after awhile.  I have not seen him since.

   Edward Roe, jun.. warehouseman. - I live in Wellington, and was acquainted with the deceased John Ellis; he was employed as shipkeeper by Capt. Seon of the barque General Palmer; the last time I saw Ellis alive was last Sunday fortnight; he was then in the boast going off to the ship; two men were placed on board the ship on Tuesday night, the 26th inst., by Mr. Bethune, and I promised to go off to them the following morning; I accordingly did so; on getting on board, I asked if any thing had transpired in the night, and whether all was right; they replied, yes; one of them then stated, that during the night he had been sensible of a horrible smell.  I asked him which of the cabins it arose from, and he pointed it out; I then asked him if he had attempted to find out what it arose from, he replied that he had not; he then said, we will look, and take all things out; we turned out all the old lumber in the cabin, and came to three casks, on one of the casks were two or  three old cabin doors; I called one of them to help me remove the doors; I then found in one of the casks a human body; I told the men to stop on board, and I went on shore to inform Mr. Bethune; I have seen the body since it was turned out of the cask; I believe it to be the body of John Ellis; I found some spots of blood on the door of the cabin in which the body was found which apparently were wiped over.

   George Dalrymple Monteith, surgeon. - I examined the body of the deceased yesterday; I found the body lying on the deck of the ship in the remains of a cask with a quantity of salt in it; decomposition had taken place to a considerable extent; the face, chest, and abdomen being very much swollen and discoloured, the eyes closed and swollen, tongue protruding enlarged and very black; there was a deep incised wound on the left side of the neck and front of the throat, the deep seated vessels together with the windpipe and gullet being completely divided; this wound appears ton have been made with a knife or an some other sharp and short instrument; there wass a small wound on the under and right side of the jaw with fracture of the bone; on the head there were four wounds, two upon the forehead, one over the right eye, and the other in the centre of the forehead about an inch from the first; the skull beneath was extensively fractured; there was a wound on the back and lower part of the head with corresponding fracture beneath; I have compared the hammer produced with the three last described wounds with the smaller end of which they exactly correspond; I have no doubt it would produce such wounds; immediately anterior to the left ear, and on the projecting part of the left cheek bone was a small wound, apparently caused by a ball or large shot, which took direction beneath the eye, making its exit at the bridge of the nose, and fracturing in its course the cheek and upper jaw gone; after laying bare the skull on the left side I found immediately above the last described wound a large extravasation of blood between it and the skull apparently caused by a blow from some blunt instrument; there was no laceration of the scalp in this part, but extensive fracture of the bones, greater than I think could be produced by a shot; I opened the head, the brain was too much decomposed to examine it; having well cleansed the inner part of the skull I found the fractures there corresponding with those externally; In have no doubt that death was caused by violence; there were no other wounds discernible.

   This being the whole of the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder against some person or persons unknown."



The Ellis murder; adjourned inquest. ...

We may state that the three men Good or Hill, Peter, and Jones, who were known to have lived on board the General Palmer, along with the prisoner in custody, John Thompson, were seen on Thursday in Wairarapa.  Police were despatched after them yesterday, and we heartily pray that before our next publication they may be captured.  Thompson undergoes an examination, this day, before the Police Magistrate. ...



Examination of John Thompson; remanded.  Further news and comment on the other suspects.



OTAGO. - The schooner Perseverance, Todd master, ... When a short distance from Otago, she experienced a most severe gale of wind from the S.W., which hove her on her beam ends, and she narrowly escaped going down.  In the height of the gale, when running under bare poles, one of the crew, named George Richards, unfortunately fell overboard and was drowned.  Such was the state of the weather and sea, that no attempt could possibly be made to save him. ...

ACCIDENT. - A Coroner's inquest was held at the Half-Way House, Porirua Road, on Monday the 25th instant, on the body of William Parker, who was killed by the accidental falling of a tree.  It appears that deceased had been for some time a sawyer, and lived at Porirua; on Saturday afternoon he requested his mate, a native named Taki Whati, to fall a tree whilst he (Parker) sharpened the saw, and having finished which, he went to his mate to caution him so soon as the tree gave indication of falling to jump from the platform that had been erected round the tree; and that while standing near the platform the tree commenced falling on the side that Parker was standing.  The native called loudly to him to run out of the way, but he delayed a moment to pick up the saw and then started, and unfortunately his foot caught in a supple-jack and fell, and before he could scramble out of the way the tree fell right on him and crushed him.  The poor fellow died instantaneously.  Verdict - Accidental death. - Independent, March 27.

   [Mention of Ellis and the suspects.]




Jury at inquest: Messrs. C. Mills (foreman), John M'Beth, James M'Beth, E. Roe, sen., W. Maxton, J. Torr, W. Luckford, O. Smith, J. Minifie, R. J. Duncan, J. Curtis, D. Conacher and W. Booth, ...



AN Inquest was held at the Gaol on Wednesday, before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner on the body of a man named Jackson, who has for some years been confined as a Lunatic, and who has lately been suffering from consumption of which disease he died.  The Jury returned a verdict of died by the visitation of God.



DEATH FROM DRUNKENNESS. - A man named Phipps died last evening, in consequence, it is said, of drinking brandy for a wager, against another man named Ellis, during the day.  As an inquest is about to be held on the body, we shall give no further publicity to the rumours of the manner in which the unfortunate man met his death, as we expect a searching enquiry into all the circumstances will be made by the Coroner.





SIR - As a juror in the melancholy case of Phipps, IO shall feel obliged if you will allow me, through the medium of your valuable paper, to make one or two observations relative to the verdict, and also the caution to publicans coupled with it.

   From the evidence brought before us, I (with several of the other jurors) had little doubt but that death was caused solely from the excessive quantity of neat spirits which deceased had drank in so short a time, but as the doctors threw out some doubts on the subject, we had no other alternative but to give a verdict in accordance with their statements.  ...  I told the Coroner before all that I was dissatisfied with the verdict; for some of us did think that the man who had serve the liquor to the deceased, ought at least to have been severely censured, and punished too.  [Continues.]  W. HOUGH.

   Another letter on this subject from OBSERVER.


NEW ZEALANDER, 27 April 1850

INQUEST YESTERDAY. - An Inquest was held yesterday before Dr. Davies, Coroner, on the body of JOHN WILLIAM WELLARD, who, as appeared clearly from the evidence, had thrown himself over the side of a vessel, while in the delirium produced by excessive drinking, and had so lost his life.  The verdict of the Jury was that "the deceased drowned himself while labouring under the effects of severe intoxication."



Summary of the Ellis murder.

INQUEST YESTERDAY. - An Inquest was held yesterday at the Clanricarde Hotel, by Dr. Davies, Coroner, on the body of THOMAS JOHNSON, aged nine years, who was killed on Saturday by the kick of a horse.  The nature of the case will be sufficiently apparently from the verdict at which, after a patient investigation of the facts, the Jury arrived:- "That THOMAS JOHNSON came to his death by a fracture of the skull from the kick of a horse running at large in the street of Auckland; m- and this Jury request that the Coroner do respectfully suggest to His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief the expediency of taking immediate steps tom prevent horses going at large in the streets of Auckland, thereby preventing similar occurrences from taking place."  [Editorial comment.]






Monday, June 3, 1850.

William Good alias William Hill, Peter M'Ausland, and John Jones were indicted for the wilful murder of John Ellis late ship-keeper on board the General Palmer, on the 16th day of March.


Nicholas Oxenham, private in the Armed Police; arrests.

Richard Barry, gaoler at Wellington.

George Scott, Armed Police.

Frederick John Tiffin.

Henry Martin, boatman.

Ann Guthrie, wife of Thomas Guthrie.

Robert Smith, sergeant of police.

Arthur Edward M'Donogh, Sub-Inspector of Police.

John Power Collins, shoemaker.

Basil Brown, labourer.

John Johnson, tinman.

Edward John Reid, barman.

Samuel Collins, son of J. P. Collins, aged 11 years.

Mary Ann Jackson.

Margaret Dockeray, washer-woman.

Christopher Egan, labourer.

Solomon Hook, seaman.

Stephen Ralph Matthew, cook & steward, coffee-house.

Jonas Woodward, clerk to Messrs. Bethune & Hunter, Agents.

Ann Whebby, daughter of Thomas Whebby, 14 years of age.

John Thompson, seaman.




An Inquest was held at the Ship Hotel, on Thursday last, before J. P. Fitzgerald, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a respectable Jury, on view of the body of Mr. Donald Drummond.

   Charles Luxford being sworn, states - I am a butcher, residing at Wellington; on Tuesday last, August 6th, I left Wellington in company with Mr. John Drummond and Mr. Donald Drummond, and a half-cast child about 2 years old, all for the purpose of going to Wairarapa; we arrived at the Wairarapa Lake on Wednesday; we made a signal for the canoes to come and take us across; we saw Mr. Ling come to the other side of the lake with a native, who went and got two maories; the canoe then came across; I got into it, but went out again; Brigade Major O'Connel then got in, and went across; the canoe had to wait nearly one hour before it could return in consequence of the wind; it then returned and took me over; when I got across, the canoe returned for the two Mr. Drummonds and the child; they got in, and were nearly half way across when a heavy squall from the S.E. set in, and the canoe filled; I saw the persons who were in the canoe rise beside it; I saw two natives leave the canoe and make for the shore; I then went to Turanganui, about 3 miles, for assistance; I returned with Mr. Ling and Mr. Murray; when we got back, one native had come on shore and had got his blanket on; he said he saw Mr. John Drummond, the child, and the other native go down; we looked about for some time, and saw the canoe a long way up the lake, with some objet on it;  Mr. Ling then gave me his horse to go to Tauranganui for some natives; I returned again with about 40 natives, and Mr. Ling told me the object had just disappeared from the canoe just as I had returned; we stopped till dark, when we saw the canoe coming in the direction of the shore; it was blowing very hard from the S.E., we searched the following day, but could not find the bodies; we then went to Mr. Russells's, who sent to Te Kopi for the boat, and then returned to Tauranganui to get some breakfast, and while there, some of the natives came to tell me they had found the body of Donald Drummond; on the Friday I left for Wellington; the Thursday before leaving Nicholas Cary and crew, with a boat, were searching for the remaining bodies, but had not found them.

   Re-examined by the Jury. - The place we crossed at is the regular ferry; I believe accidents have happened there before; I think if there had been a good ferry boat, any person could have crossed that night with safety.

   Recalled. - At the time the canoe filled and went down, there were in it the two Drummonds, as half-cast child, and two natives.

   Benjamin Ling being sworn, states - O am a settler residing at Tauranganui, Wairarapa; on Wednesday, August 7th, Mr. Luxford came to Tauranganui and told me the canoe had capsized with the two Drummonds in it; I immediately went down with Mr. Murray; when I got down I could not see any thing form some time; at last I saw an object on a canoe, at a long distance from the shore; I then gave my horse to Mr. Luxford to go for some natives; when he returnee, I saw the object disappear from the canoe; the next morning I searched for the bodies, but could not find them, and while I was at breakfast, some native came and said they had found then body of Mr. Donald Drummond.

   Re-examined by the Jury. - Accidents have occurred there before; in my opinion, from the want of a proper ferry boat; I have heard that applications have been made before for a ferry boat to be established there; I think, If there had been a proper ferry boat, she could cross with safety at all times; I believe the settlers would have established a ferry host themselves if they had not been prevented by the natives; the place to cross is about half-a-mile wide; I have had occasion to stop at the said spot for three days and two nights for want of a ferry boat.

   The verdict of the Jury was "Accidental Death by Drowning," with the following addenda:

That the Jury cannot separate without expressing the strong sense which they entertain of the negligence manifested by those whose duty it I to provide for the maintenance of ferries in this Province.  Accidents have before happened at the same place, and the attention of the Government has been called to the necessity of establishing a proper ferry there, as well as at the Waiwetu, Manawatu, and Wanganui rivers, but hitherto no steps have been taken for the establishment of a proper ferry over any of them; had due care been exercised by the Government in this particular, the Jury believe that the melancholy accident which has happened would never have occurred.  European ferrymen, with proper boats, ought, in the opinion of the Jury, to be employed in each of then above instances.  WILLIAM LYON, Foreman.



From William Lyon, correspondence relating to the Drummond drowning. [Also two letters from California touching on ferries.]




An Inquest was held before P. Wilson, Esq., M.D., Coroner, on the body of Eliza Bishop who met her death by drowning.  The Jury after a patient and mature investigation of the evidence brought before it, returned the following verdict:- That the deceased Eliza Bishop, came by her death by drowning, at the time of the shipwreck of the utter William & James, on board of which vessel she was a passenger.

  The Jury cannot abstain from appending its opinion, that the shipwreck of the aforesaid vessel, appears by every circumstances, to have resulted from the most reprehensible negligence on the part of its master, George Newnham; that the drowning of the deceased, Eliza Bishop, is mainly to be imputed to the haste of the said master to save his own life, and likewise the neglect of proper exertion on the part of both him and the sailor Charles Jones in  the use of means to save her's, ... [Continues.] ... Communicated.



Repeat of the Drummond case.



Letters from A TAX PAYER, Wellington; and A LOOKER ON, re the correspondence on the Drummond case.


NEW ZEALANDER, 21           September 1850

Another report on the Drummond case.



Repeat of the Drummond case, and:


I left Manukai, for New Plymouth, on the 31st July, at 4 o'clock, P.M., with the cutter 'William and James," having on board a general cargo, Mrs. Bishop a passenger, one man, a boy, and myself, wind N.E. and fair for my destination, ran 24 hours, when the wind increasing, weather thick and hazy, unable to make out any land, observed the Sugar Loaf about a mile to leeward.  Endeavoured to work the vessel off, but a heavy swell setting in from the S.E., and the wind falling light, could not effect my purpose; then tried to wear her and thus losing ground, the sea hove her upon the rocks, she struck heavily and foundered immediately.  I instantly called up Mrs. Bishop and threw her on to the rock, she unable to hold on, fell back between the vessel and the rook; I caught her again, pulled her inboard, and a second time assisted her on to the rook, but she missed her hold as before.  I was then compelled to jump on to the rocks to save my own life.  The man had succeeded in putting the boy on to the rocks, and he succeeded in ascending them, when the vessel was washed up into cavern some 20 fathoms in shore; the man then took to the mast and from thence by my assistance, gained the rocks.

   The vessel soon after went to pieces, and little if any of the cargo will be saved.            

GEORGE NEWNHAM, master of the 'William and James.'

New Plymouth, Aug. 3rd, 1850




An inquest was held on Saturday, the 21st inst., before J. P. Fitzgerald, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a respectable jury, on view of the body of Mr. John Drummond, who was unfortunately drowned in the Wairarapa Lake, the particulars of which melancholy accident have already appeared in the Independent.

   Thomas Brown, boatman.

   Verdict accidentally drowned while crossing the Wairarapa Lake in a canoe, on the 7th of August, 1850.


NEW ZEALANDER, 25 September 1850

Eliza Bishop.



On Sunday evening John Leverton, a settler in the Hutt distrit, was brought to Wellington, in custody, charged with shooting James M'Killop.  The following, we believe, are the particulars of this melancholy affair:-

   On Saturday evening Leverton and M'Killop were together at Buck's public house at the Taitai; Leverton shortly afterwards went to his own house, which is about half a mile from Buck's, where he left M'Killop.  The latter, who, during the last three month, had been in Leverton's employ attending him in his illness, went in the middle of the night to Leverton's house, and finding the door bolted inside, demanded admittance.  Leverton told him to go and sleep in the barn, as he would not get out of bed at that hour to open the door.  The other replied he could not sleep in the barn, as it was too cold, and on Leverton's persisting in his refusal to let him in, threatened to smash the door open with an axe, when Leverton said that if he did he would shoot him.  M'Killop immediately broke the door open, on which Leverton fired with a fowling piece, and shot M'Killop, the charge entering the lower part of his body.  The fowling piece, it seems, had been loaded a few days previous by M'Killop in Leverton's presence, according to M'Killop's statement, for the purpose of frightening some maories whom he suspected of having stolen a watch, but which was afterwards found, and the gun was left loaded.

   Leverton and M'Killop were brought over in the van from the Hutt by the constable, and M'Killop was removed to a small house adjoining the Colonial Hospital where his wound was carefully dressed by Dr. Monteith, by whom he was attended. His deposition on oath was then taken in the presence or the prisoner Leverton by H. St. Hill, Esq., Resident Magistrate, and A. R. M'Donogh, Esq., Sub-Inspector of Police.  Mr. Ross attended on the part of the prisoner, who was remanded for examination on Tuesday (yesterday).  We regret to add that M'Killop died yesterday morning of his wound in the Hospital.

   A Coroner's Inquest was held on the body yesterday, at the Thistle Inn, before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, which was adjourned to this day, for further evidence.  Leverton, who has expressed the deepest contrition for the consequences of his conduct, was brought before H. St. Hill, Esq., at the Resident Magistrate's Court, yesterday, and remanded for further examination on Thursday next.




AN Inquest was held on Tuesday, and by adjournment the following day, at the Thistle Inn, Thorndon, before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, on the body of James M'Killop, who was shot at the Taitai by John Leverton on Sunday morning last.

   From the evidence of G. G. Buck, who keeps the Traveller's Rest, confirmed by other witnesses, it appeared that on Saturday afternoon 26th instant, the deceased called at the house of witness between 5 and 6 o'clock in company with a man named Robinson on his way to the Hutt Bridge; witness went to the school where he remained till between nine and ten o'clock, and on his return found M'Killop and Leverton at his house; Leverton went away about ten; shortly after witness went into the tap to fetch the lamp and saw there M'Killop, Stephens, and two or three other persons; Stephens told M'Killop not to call at his house so often at night, as he had done lately, when M'Killop, using at the same time abusive language, took the heavy lamp from the table and flung it at Stephens, it missed him and struck the wall; finding that he had missed his aim, he stretched across the table and caught hold of Stephens striking him several times in the face; a struggle ensued and Stephens dragged M'Killop outside the house.  M'Killop returned, and near 11 o'clock witness was obliged to turn M'Killop, who was tipsy, out of the house; the following morning about four o'clock, witness was informed that M'Killop had been shot by Leverton, and he went in company with David Porter to Leverton's where he saw M'Killop with a blanket over him in a place under Leverton's bunk groaning very much; witness called a doctor who was staying at his house, and went with him to Leverton's.

   M'Killop was a violent man when in liquor, and was often tipsy, and in the habit of threatening persons when in that state; when at Leverton's witness noticed the nails of the ketch of the door drawn and an axe inside; Leverton was sober when he left witness's house.

--- E. M'Donagh, Sub-Inspector of Police, Wellington, deposed, that about 4 o'clock in the afternoon of Sunday the 27th instant, he received information that the deceased J. M'Killop of the Taitai in the Hutt district had been shot by John Leverton; he immediately prepared tom proceed thither, when shortly afterwards deceased and Leverton were brought down by T. Florence, constable; witness ordered Leverton to be taken to the station-house, and deceased was put into a house adjoining the Colonial Hospital.  Being informed by Dr. Monteith, who had examined the wound, that deceased could not possible live, witness took the deposition of deceased on oath, and shortly afterwards a more full statement on oath was taken by the Resident Magistrate and witness in the presence of the prisoner, which was to the following effect:

Deceased stated that he had been a servant to John Leverton for about three months, that on Saturday 26th instant he went down to the Hutt Bridge, and on his return met Leverton at Buck's public hood at the Taitai where he remained in his company several hours.  Leverton left Buck's and about the middle of the night he also went home and, finding the door fastened on the inside, he called to Leverton to let him in; he told him to go and sleep in the barn; deceased said it was too cold to sleep there; prisoner said he did not care he would not get up; deceased then threatened if he was not let in to smash the door open; Leverton replied if he did do he would shoot him; deceased took up a stick and broke open the door, and at the same time heard the report of s gun and found himself wounded in the lower part of the belly; Leverton then said oh, Jemmy, and began to cry; deceased staggered to his bunk and lay down; deceased said there was no ill feeling between him and the prisoner, that, on the contrary, he was always kind to him; that he (deceased) had loaded the fowling piece a few days before to frighten some maories; he loaded it in Leverton's presence; deceased said he was not sober when he went home.

   In answer to a question from prisoner's counsel, deceased, stated he did not say he would smash the door open with an axe, but that the axe was inside the house; he did not, to his knowledge, use any threats of violence towards the prisoner; deceased further said there was but one room in the house and two bunks, one over the other; prisoner slept in the upper one and deceased in the lower one.

   By the Jury - Deceased was quite collected when he gave his evidence; had known deceased for some years, he was a great drunkard, and when tipsy a very violent character; deceased stated that Leverton had a glass or two but was quite sober when he left Buck's.

   G. D. Monteith, Surgeon, deposed, that having been sent for he went to the Taitai where he saw the deceased at Leverton's house, on examining him he found a gun shot wound immediately below the navel with a large portion of the intestine protruding; witness found it impossible to return it without an operation, and caused deceased to be conveyed to Wellington to a house adjoining the Hospital where witness enlarged the wound and returned the intestine; he gradually sunk and died on Tuesday morning; on a post mortem examination witness found the intestines immediately under the wound pierced in several places by slugs and wadding; mortification had taken place which together with internal hemorrhage had caused death; had no doubt deceased died from the effects of the wound before described; Leverton appeared very anxious about deceased.

   The Jury returned a verdict of Manslaughter against Leverton, who has been committed to take his trial at the next criminal Sittings of the Supreme Court.





Wm. Hornbrook, being sworn, stated - I am a storekeeper in Wellington.  On Saturday last I was at the Taitai; I arrived about 8 o'clock in the evening at Buck's public house; I saw M'Killop and Leverton there; M'Killop was playing at cards with some one; Buck would not let him have any grog; Leverton had about three glasses; about half-past nine, Leverton went home; he told M'Killop to be home before 10 o'clock.  M'Killop brought a basket from the bridge.  Leverton told Buck not to let him have it or he would lose it.  After Leverton went away M'Killop began a regular row; he rook a candlestick from the table (it was a loaded one) and threw it at the head of a man called Colonel; it was a tin candlestick, the bottom of which was filled with sand; when the light was brought in he struck the Colonel, (his proper name is Stevens) on the cheek and drew blood, without any provocation; they had a struggle when Stevens knocked his head on the floor several times and got hold of one leg and dragged him outside the door, but he came in again and said it was all right he liked a spree of that kind.  He asked me to give him a glass of grog; I refused; he went away about half-past 10 intoxicated, swearing and abusing every body. 

   About half-past four on the Sunday morning a person came to Buck's house and said M'Killop was shot; Bick asked who shot him; the person (Harris) said Jack had shot him; he asked what Jack; the man answered, Jack Leverton.  We got up immediately; Buck went across by himself; it was about a quarter of a mile; Buck returned about half-past 5 or a quarter to 6 o'clock; Buck then said his bowels were out - he was shot below the navel; I saw M'Killop about 2 o'clock in the afternoon; he wanted some brandy; I told Harris not to give him any; he was sensible.

   By the Jury - I knew Leverton very well; I knew M'Killop to be in thr habit of getting drunk; Leverton was sober when he left; M'Killop was a very violent character.

   G. D. Monteith, M.D.

   Samuel Styles, being sworn, stated - I am a private in the Police; On Sunday night about half-past 9 o'clock I received instructions from Mr. M'Donough to proceed to the Taitai early on Monday morning; I went to Leverton's house; the first thing I did was to examine the door; I found, about 6 inches above the lock, an indentation, apparently made by an iron instrument; I found an axe on the ground outside the house; I placed it on the mark; it exactly corresponded; the indentation was of a rusty color, and was perfectly smooth; on the floor inside the house, about a yard from the bunk, I found two or three spots of blood; the top bunk had been knocked down by order of Dr. Monteith, to be able to get at the deceased.  (A gun was here produced by Styles.) I found this gun standing exactly at the head of the bunk; it appears to have been recently discharged.

   The Jury was then adjourned until Wednesday at 4 o'clock, for further evidence.

   Wednesday, 4 o'clock.

   The Jury having re-assembled,

   George Green Buck, Inn-keeper at the Taitai.

   Abraham Harris, sawyer.



NEW ZEALANDER, 2 November 1850

Editorial on the Drummond drowning case at Wairarapa Lake.




AN Inquest was held yesterday afternoon at the Freemasons' Tavern, before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, on the body of William Brown, private of the 65th regiment, servant of Quarter-Master Paul, who committed suicide by shooting himself with a musket.  The following witnesses were examined:-

  Charles Rathbone - I am a private soldier in the 65th regt., at present a servant to Lieut. Paul; I nave been acquainted with the deceased William Brown, who was a servant to Quarter-Master Paul; I saw him this day, Nov. 8, about a quarter to one o'clock, p.m., in Quarter-Master Paul's stable; he had a blue cap in his possession, and there was a shilling and a few coppers between him and me; he told me I could take the cap for the money he was indebted to me; I then went into the kitchen to clean the knaves and forks; after being in the kitchen  a few minutes I heard a shot, on which I ran out and looked through the stable window, and saw that my firelock was taken away; I then went into the kitchen and told Tracy, Mr. Paul's other servant, that the firelock was taken out of the stable; I then ran down to the back of the acre on the direction I heard the shot fired, and saw the deceased lying bleeding on the ground with his feet lying in a stream of water; he appeared to be quite dead; the firelock was lying by his left side with a cord, one end of which was tied to the trigger and the other end tied to a stick; my ball-cartridge box was opened and two rounds taken out; I noticed a large wound in the right cheek; the deceased said to the horse  this morning, poor fellow, this is the last time I will rub you down; he appeared since the first of the month to be a little disturbed in his mind; the deceased was of sober habits; for several days past I have heard him say on putting on his clothes, well I suppose this will be the last time I will put this on; he appeared to me to be quite wild at times; he never complained of being ill, and I know of no subject which appeared to prey on his mind; this morning I saw the blue cap with him, and I told him I would give him one shilling and sixpence for it; the answer he made me was, No: when I came back from parade I saw the cap on his bed; he said to me that I might take it; I then told him I had no money to pay for it, but that there was a shilling and a few coppers between us, and I supposed that would make us right; he replied, Yes: we have only been together about eight days for this long time, and have been always good friends.

   Thomas Paul, Quarter-Master of the 65th Regiment - Deceased, William Brown, was on fatigue with me; I never observed him to be of unsound mind; he did all my business this morning with the same regularity as usual;' he was of sober habits; I never saw him drunk in my life, nor have I ever heard him complain of anything, nor has he ever been in the regimental defaulter's book; I had always a great regard for him, and would have done anything for him in my power.

   Colonel Gould and the Adjutant both stated that the deceased bore an excellent character.

   The Jury returned the following verdict:- Deceased destroyed himself on Friday, 8th November, between the hours of twelve o'clock and half-past one, by shooting himself; but whether he was of sound or unsound mind at the time he committed the act sufficient evidence doth not appear to the jurors.




William Brown, as above.




M'Killop & Leverton.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 26 November 1850

A MOST afflicting calamity, - the consequence of the impunity with which wells and other equally deadly traps are suffered to be set for the lives of the inhabitants of this misgoverned town - occurred to a poor and unfortunate family on Saturday last.  On that day, the daughter of Owen, the poor, but well known, blind man, was sent by her father to receive from a charitable neighbour the sixpenny contribution which had been weekly allotted to the indigent blind.  From that fatal errand the doomed messenger never returned.  She perished in an open, unfenced, well, from which but a short month since, a boy was almost miraculously saved. -

   Were this the only unguarded well in Auckland, or, were this the first victim of such murderous negligence, ...

   An Inquest was held at the Union Hotel, Queen-street, yesterdat, before Wm. Davies, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a very respectable jury, on the body of Susannah Owen, a child of about 6 years of age.  It appeared by the evidence that the child had been sent on an errand on Saturday last, about noon.  That she had not returned home since, and that the mother had heard nothing of her until about 11 o'clock on Sunday, when the body was discovered down the well of a neighbouring house (in Durham-street).

   James Kellor said, that about church time, on Sunday, his attention was attracted to a number of women collected about the well of his house, and, on inquiring the cause, leant that they apprehended that the child Sarah Susannah Owen had fallen thereon.  After many fruitless attempts he succeeded with two hooks attached to a rope in pulling up the body, which proved to be that of the child in question.  About a month ago, his own child had fallen into the same well.

   James McLeod, blacksmith, in the course of his evidence, said, that he had himself saved two children from death by drowning in wells; and had also known two cases in which death had resulted from the same cause.

   The jury, after a short deliberation found, "That Sarah Susannah Owen came to her death by falling into a well in an exposed and dangerous position, and that this jury direct the Coroner to write a respectful letter to His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief, to take such steps as will for the future avoid such nuisances."


The M'Killop & Leverton case.


NEW ZEALANDER, 27 November 1850

Sarah Susannah Owen inquest.


NEW ZEALANDER, 7 December 1850

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An Inquest was held yesterday, at the Greyhound Inn, before Dr. Davies, Coroner, on the body of JOHN ADAIR, a man of colour, who had died in the Lock-up on Thursday.  It appeared from the evidence of two policemen that he had been found in a state of intoxication amounting to insensibility in Shortland-street on the preceding night, whence he had been conveyed to the Lock-up, where he died.  Dr. PHILSON, who had made a post mortem examination of the body, stated the direct cause of his death to be a rupture of a blood vessel in the left lung.  The jury returned the following verdict:- "Died by the rupture of a blood-vessel in the lung arising from natural causes. The jury are of opinion that although no imputation rests against the police or lock-up keeper in this case, the erection of a proper sleeping place or guard-bed in the lock-up would diminish the risk of injury to prisoners put into it in a state of intoxication." [Curious incident involving Mr. Beckham, the Resident Magistrate, and a Mr. BURN.]


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 10 December 1850

Inquest on John Dair (Adair), itinerant vendor of fruit, pastry, &c. [Also a detailed account of the Beckham and Burn matter.]



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An Inquest was held on Monday, at the Shop Hotel, Te Aro, before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, on the body of Edward Head, a settler living at Ohiro, who was killed under the following melancholy circumstances:

   Reuben Short, labourer, in the employ of the deceased deposed, that on Saturday evening last, about seven o'clock, he had just left deceased's house to get some water, when he saw the bullock dray, drawn by one bullock, coming along the road; Mr. Head's dog began to bark at the bullock, and the bullock bolted; Mr. Head jumped off the shaft to catch the bullock, when the wheel caught the heel of his shoe and threw him down and the wheel of the dray passed over him; he was about twenty yards from the dray when it capsized; Mrs. Head was thrown off and the dray fell on her; witness lifted the dray and pulled Mrs. Head from under it and placed her on the grass and then sent for a doctor.

   G. D. Monteith, Surgeon, deposed that he found the deceased complaining of a very great pain and suffering apparently from internal injuries; he said the wheel of the dray had passed over his chest; his side was much injured, but witness did not like to proceed with the examination as deceased was apparently dying; he died the following morning at five o'clock; the witness since ascertained that some of the ribs on the left side were fractured, which no doubt occasioned death.

   The Jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

   The deceased has left a widow and four children, one an infant at the breast; Mrs. Head, his widow, unfortunately received a severe compound fracture of the left leg from the dray falling on her.


NEW ZEALANDER, 11 December 1850



AN Inquest was held at noon yesterday at the Masonic Hotel, on the body of Francis McKewen, a private of H.M. 58th Regiment, who had died in the Military Hospital on Monday evening, from a stab received in the breast a few minutes before death, by the hands of Corporal Butcher of the same Regiment.  The following evidence was adduced before the jury, of which Mr. Hadlow was foreman:

   John Mulligan, private 58th Regiment deposed that between six and seven o'clock of Monday evening the deceased, Francis McKewen, was sitting at the table in the barrack room, and in the act of filling his pipe with tobacco, when Corporal Butcher came up and sat himself down beside McKewen, saying to him "You have betrayed me," and immediately struck him in the breast with a knife. (The witness identified Butcher, who was present at the proceedings in charge of a military escort).  As soon as he struck the deceased, witness grasped him round the body, and called on two other privates who were in the room to assist him to take the knife from the prisoner; the knife was taken from him; and privates Flanagan and Clements took him out of the room; as soon as McKewen was stabbed he leaped up off the seat and left the room; witness knew the knife with which Butcher stabbed deceased; it had two blades the longest of them was the one with which he stabbed him (witness identified the knife); knew the prisoner about eight months; he has borne a very good character in the Regiment; he was intoxicated when he struck the blow, so drunk that he could hardly walk; witness had never before seen him drunk, nor heard him speak a bad word to any man in the room; had not heard of any dispute between the prisoner and deceased before the blow was struck; did not see where the prisoner took the knife from - it was sometimes kept on the shelf in the barrack room; - prisoner sat down beside deceased and said "You have betrayed me" and raising his right hand struck him with the knife on the left breast; deceased sat on the left of the prisoner when the blow was struck.

  The Coroner enquired whether the prisoner had any questions to put to the witness; he said he had none to put, that he knew nothing of what had passed.

   John Flanagan, private 58th Regt., deposed, that on Monday evening, the 9th instant, he was in his barrack room between six and seven o'clock, and he saw Corporal Butcher lying on his bed drunk; he got up from the bed and went to the table where private McKewen was sitting on a form, and struck him on the breast with his right hand, saying to deceased "You have betrayed me;" McKewen, as soon as he was struck, leaped from the table saying, "I am stabbed;" private Mulligan, then seized hold of Butcher, and called on witness to assist him to taker the knife away from the prisoner; witness laid hold of him by the right wrist, and took the knife out of his hand; there was blood upon it; witness and private Clements took the prisoner to the guard room, where they handcuffed him by order of Color Sergeant Simms; witness had known Butcher for better than twelve months; had never seen deceased and him quarrel; did not remember having ever seen him drunk before; had always hitherto believed that prisoner was as sober and quiet man; did not see the knife in his hand when he struck the blow, but saw it when his hand was coming away from giving the blows; witness thought that prisoner was not sensible when he was lying on his bed; he was more like a mad man than a wise man at the time; on taking him up to the guard room he said he would kill Frank McKewen if he was not dead; witness did not think prisoner was sensible when he expressed himself thus.

   Henry Goodram, private 58th Regiment, gave similar testimony as the foregoing witnesses as to the stabbing of the deceased by the prisoner; he had known Butcher two years, but had n o knowledge of any quarrel between the deceased and him; had only seen him drunk once before, had always considered him a sober, honest, quiet man; at the time he struck the blow he was not capable of knowing what he was doing; he was very drunk at the time; deceased was quite sober; from his knowledge of the prisoner he did not think he would have been guilty of the act had he not been in a state of intoxication.

   Dr. Thompson, surgeon of the 58th Regt., stated that he made a post mortem examination of the body of the deceased private McKewen; death was occasioned by a wound in the large blood vessel just as it issues out of the heart; there was a small external wound between the second and third rib in the left side of the body about an inch from the breast bone; the wound in the blood vessel was about three inches from the surface and communicated with the external wound; the wound was about half an inch in length and looked like a wound that would be made by the knife produced; about a year ago Corporal Butcher was in hospital with convulsions produced by drink; he was then insensible; had visited him last night about half an hour after he was taken into custody for stabbing McKewen, and found him in a state of temporary insanity, from the effects of drink and the excitement arising from having stabbed a man; witness had been called at about ten minutes before seven to attend the deceased at the hospital, and found him rolling about in the agonies of death; deceased looked at him steadily and said "I am dying, and Corporal Butcher has killed me."  Witness had hitherto considered the prisoner to have been a peaceable and quiet man; very little drink had a great effect upon him, and produced fits of convulsions.

   Lieut. Colonel Wynyard, commanding the 58th, said he had known the prisoner Corporal Butcher, about two years, under his immediate command, but that he had been four years and a half in the Regiment; he had always maintained a good character for sobriety and regularity, and there had only been one entry made against him during his whole service, that was for drunkenness, about a year and a half ago, on which occasion he had such violent fits that he (the Colonel) had to send him to the Hospital and get three or four men to hold him down to prevent him from injuring himself.  The prisoner was under arrest yesterday afternoon at the time he stabbed the deceased.

   The Jury, after half an hour's deliberation on the evidence brought before them, agreed to the following verdict:-

   "That Francis KcKewan, in the Barrack-room of the Albert Barracks, came to his death from a mortal wound inflicted on his left breast with a knife, which wound penetrated to the blood vessel leading from the heart, and of which wound he died, and that Corporal Francis Butcher, of Her Majesty's 58th regiment, in a Barrack-room of the Albert Barracks, between the hours of six and seven o'clock on the night of the 9th Dec., 1850, feloniously did kill and slay the said Francis McKewan whilst labouring under an attack of temporary madness, caused by drunkenness; and that Corp]oral Frances Butcher is guilty of manslaughter."


NEW ZEALANDER, 11 December 1850

Letter to Editor, re the Dair/Adair Inquest, from A.B. [The Beckham & Burn matter.]


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 13 December 1850

Francis McKewan inquest.



The Edward Head inquest.



Sarah Sudannah Owen in quest.


NEW ZEALANDER, 21 December 1850

CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Tuesday last an Inquest was held at the Caledonian Hotel, before Dr. Davies, Coroner, on the body of a man found in the water at Soldier's Point.  It was supposed to be that of the steward of the Emma, whose death by falling overboard, we reported lately; but it was in such a state, that it was impossible to identify it.  Verdict, - "Found drowned."


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 24 December 1850


An inquest was held at the "Caledonian Inn," Fort-street, on Tuesday last, on the body of a man found that morning in the harbour.  The body was so far changed by the long immersion in the water that it was not possible to indentify it.  It however was supposed to be that of the unfortunate man Francis Rouxel, steward of the brig "Emma," whose death by drowning was noticed in our issue of the 13th instant.  The jury returned a verdict "Found drowned."

   Another inquest was held yesterday morning at the "Greyhound" Inn, Queen-street, on the body of Anne Jameson, wife of Barr Jameson, brick-layer, who died suddenly in her bed on the night of Saturday last.  Verdict - "Died in a fir of apoplexy, unattended by any other cause."


NEW ZEALANDER, 25 December 1850

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An Inquest was held on Monday at the Greyhound Inn, Queen-street, on the body of Mrs. ANNE JAMIESON, who was found dead in her bed on Saturday night last.  The post mortem examination made by Dr. PHILSON left no doubt that the deceased had died of Apoplexy, and the Jury returned a verdict accordingly.



Brief report of the Frank McKewen murder.



Brief report of the Frank McKewen murder.

FATAL ACCIDENT. - We regret to learn that on the night of Monday last a man named Francois Rouxel, the steward of the brig Emma, now lying in harbour, met an untimely death by drowning.  It appears that all on board the vessel, with the exception of the unfortunate man, were below; that about 10 o'clock they were alarmed by a loud splash in the water and the barking of a dog on board.  On their hastening on deck, Rouxel, who had been seen by the Customs' officer but a few minutes before, was missing.  His cap was seen floating alongside, but there was no appearance of the body.  The deceased, who was much respected by Capt. Fox, and the crew, was a married man.  The body has not yet been recovered. - Southern Cross, December 10.


The Adair inquest and the Beckham/Burn matter. - NEW ZEALANDER, Dec. 7.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held at the Windsor Castle Inn, Parnell, yesterday afternoon, before Wm. Davies, Esq., Coroner, on the body of Mr. William Fellowes, late proprietor of a small school in that neighbourhood, who had died suddenly in the course of the preceding morning.  From the evidence of Dr. McGauran, who had made a post mortem  examination of the body, the jury were at once satisfied that the cause of death was apoplexy, and returned a verdict accordingly.


NEW ZEALANDER, 5 February 1851

CORONER'S INQUEST. - On the 14th ult. an inquest was held at Howick, before Captain McDONALD, on the body of a boy aged eleven years, named PETER PARKER, son of a Pensioner, who was drowned while bathing in a gully about a mile from Howick, on the preceding Sunday.  Verdict accordingly.


NEW ZEALANDER, 8 February 1851

FATAL ACCIDENT. - On Monday last a deaf and dumb labourer named PATRICK FINN was engaged with five other men in removing a large cask of oil from a cart at the top of Shortland-street.  The skidd unfortunately broke and the cask rolled upon poor FINN, inflicting injuries from the effect of which he died on Thursday, - the fatal result having most probably been hastened - in the judgment of Drs. MATTHEWS and DALLISTON, who paid the sufferer every attention from the occurrence of the accident - by some previously existing organic disease.  An inquest was held yesterday morning at the Crown and Anchor Inn, West Queen-street, before Dr. DAVIS, Coroner.  The facts having been given in evidence, the jury found a verdict of "Accidental Death."


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 25 February 1851

DEATH FROM APOPLEXY. - We regret to have to announce another case of awfully sodden death, which has occurred in town since our last publication.  Mr. John Thompson, a young gentleman of good connexions in Ireland, residing at Mr. Brigham's, on Friday evening was observed by Mr. Brigham and also Mr. Smith, his clerk, to pass through the store, and go up stairs to his bed room.  Later in the evening, Mr. Brigham's man, John Robinson, took the unfortunate young man his tea, and left him, apparently in good health.  On the following morning Robinson called him at his usual hour of rising, but receiving no answer, entered his room, and found him lying in bed - life quite extinct - with the clothes unruffled, thus indicating that he had died without a struggle. Dr. Philson was [sent] for, and at the urgent request of Mr. Brigham, attempted to draw blood, but without success, indeed Dr. Philson gave it as his opinion that life had left the body several hours.  An inquest was held at the Crown and Anchor, West Queen-street, on Saturday, before Dr. Davies, Coroner, when the above facts were adduced in the evidences of the several witnesses; and Dr. Dalliston, who had examined the head of the deceased, having given his opinion that the cause of death was "congestion of the brain producing apoplexy," the jury returned a verdict accordingly.

   An Inquest was held at Howick, on the 17th instant, before Captain Macdonald, Coroner, on the body of a boy, (the son of a pensioner) named John Roycroft, 5 years of age, who was accidentally drowned in a well near his father's house.  The jury returned a verdict to that effect accordingly.


NEW ZEALANDER, 26 February 1851

SUDDEN DEATH. - On Saturday morning last. Mr. JOHN THOMPSON, - a young gentleman of highly respectable connexions in the North of Irelands, who arrived in this colony by the Jane Catherine in 1849 - was found dead in his bed ... It being clear from the evidence of Dr. DALLISTON, who had made a post mortem examination, that death had resulted from Apoplexy, the Jury immediately returned a verdict to that effect.


NEW ZEALANDER, 1 March 1851


... The following is the List:- FRANCIS BUTCHER for the wilful murder of FRANCIS McKEOWN; --- HEKE, a Sandwich Islander, for the wilful murder of JACKY MATTARA, also a Native of the Sandwich Islands; ...




... The Attorney-General intimated to the Court that there was yet another bill to prefer (against Heki - Sandwich Islander - for murder, at the Bay of Islands), ...

Monday, February 3rd.

   Francis Butcher, a corporal in the 58th regiment, was placed at the bar, and indicted for the wilful murder of Francis McKeown, a private in the same regiment, on the 9th of December, 1850.

   Mr. Whitaker defended the prisoner.

   The facts, as adduced in the evidence at Court this day, were, in all material respects, the same as were placed before our readers on thr 13th of December last, in the report of the inquiry before the Coroner. ...

   The evidence of Captains Nugent and Parratt, Adjutant Cooper, and Sergeant Simms, (all of the 58th regiment) bore the strongest testimony as to the good character of the prisoner, and that of Mr. McIllwain, gaoler, who spoke as to the prisoner having been in such a state of despondency since his committal to the gaol as to necessitate his being strictly watched, having been added to that given before the coroner, and

   The Attorney-General having addressed the Jury for the Prosecution, -

   Mr. Whitaker addressed them in behalf of the prisoner, dwelling at length upon the excellent character he had received, and the peculiar state of delirium, or insanity, to which it had been shown in evidence he had been reduced by drink, and urgently appealing to the Jury, if they had any doubt in their own minds as to his having been, at the time of the commission of the fatal act, in such a state as to have been conscious of his act, to give the unfortunate man before them the benefit of that doubt.

   His Honor then summed up the evidence - the Jury retired, and after an absence of about three-quarters of an hour, returned with a verdict of "Manslaughter."


NEW ZEALANDER, 5 March 1851



The evidence of the facts given before the Court was in substance the same as that given at the Coroner's inquest on the day after the deed was committed, which was published in detail in the NEW ZEALANDER of the 11th December last.  The prisoner, Butcher, entered the barracks between four and five on the afternoon of the 9th December; the Sergeant of the guard on duty suspected that the prisoner was under the influence of drink, went through the military form in proving him, by putting him through his facings - this test satisfied the Sergeant that he was drunk, and by order of the Sergeant-Major the prisoner was placed under arrest, and ordered to his room; ...

   Heke, a Sandwich Islander, but lately of the Bay of Islands, was arraigned on an indictment charging him with the wilful murder of Jacky Maitara (also as native of the Sandwich Islands) at the Bay of Islands, on the 18th January last.

   The prisoner understood the Maori language, having been nearly four years among the natives at the Bay of Islands; and Mr. Meurant, acting as interpreter, read over the indictment to him, and the question being put to him "Guilty or Not Guilty?" the prisoner said he was guilty of having killed the deceased by the blow, but pleaded that he did not intend to kill him.

   The Chief Justice requested the Rev. Thomas Buddle, who was in court, to say what he understood by the prisoner's statement.

   Mr. Buddle said that he clearly understood the prisoner to day that he had killed Maitara, but that it was not in his heart to kill him at the time he struck the blow.

   His Honor said that was what he also understood the prisoner to say, which was a plea of not guilty.

   Mr. J. W. Bain, Consul at Auckland for His Hawaiian Majesty, applied to the Court for Counsel to defend the prisoner, who was destitute of the means to retain an advocate.

   His Honor requested Mr. Abraham, an English Barrister who has but recently arrived here, and who was the only practising member of the bar in court, to defend the prisoner.

   Mr. Abrahams promptly acceded to the request of the Court, and asked for a few minutes to read over the depositions before the trial should commence.

   After brief consideration the learned counsel returned to court, and enquired whether the Court considered a jury composed of Europeans the proper tribunal to try a prisoner who was a foreigner - or whether there should not be a portion of the jury composed of men belonging to the same nation as the prisoner especially in this instance, where a jury of Europeans could have no knowledge of the habits of those tribes of people to which the prisoner belonged.


   Te Kati, a native chief of the Bay of Islands district, was then swoon, and stated that he knew the prisoner and the deceased; he remembered seeing them at his settlement on the 18th January last; the deceased came first, and was sitting by the side of witness when prisoner came; deceased said to prisoner "Where have you been looking for me?" the prisoner made no answer but stood still; directly after, prisoner laid hold of an axe, and struck deceased on the forehead; the axe was a large one: this is the axe (identified it); it was with the head of it he struck him; witness asked prisoner what made him come there to kill the man on the top of him? and why did he not tell him that he had come there to kill some one? Prisoner said "I'll not speak to you lest you should save Jacky Maitaro;" he took the axe in the middle with both hands; when the deceased fell I saw he was still breathing, and I went at once to Mr. Woods and the chief Walker and told what had happened.

   Cross-examined by Mr. Abraham - About a quarter of an hour elapsed before the arrival of the deceased and the prisoner; it was after sun down - dusk, when they arrived; knew them both before - deceased belonged to a vessel; prisoner lived with witness; knew nothing of a money transaction between them; heard the prisoner say, on the same night, to Mr. Wood and Walker, that the deceased owed him six shillings, which he refused to pay him.

   By the Court - The blow was struck immediately after the deceased enquired where the prisoner had been looking for him; deceased came first to the settlement as the sun was dipping - the prisoner came at dusk.

   Paora Te Wera, father of the last witness, being sworn, stated that he belonged to the Bay of Islands; knew the prisoner and the deceased; they were at his settlement on the 18th January last; deceased came first and was there when prisoner arrived; deceased was sitting down; he said to prisoner "Where have you been? Prisoner said "eat;" an axe was lying on the ground behind deceased; prisoner caught hold of the axe and gave deceased a blow on the forehead; witness did not ask prisoner any questions, but Walker Nene did; Walker said "What did you beat the foreigner for?" the prisoner said "On account of my money;" Walker enquired "Howe much money?" prisoner replied "six shillings of my money;"  Walker said "Friend, was it for that sum you killed the man?" he said "Yes, it was for my money;" this conversation took place on the spot on the same evening.

   By the Foreman of the Jury - Has known the prisoner nearly four years; he was an old hand of his; does not know how long the money was owing, nor whether there had or had not been any ill feeling between them.

   By Mr. Abraham - Walker asked the prisoner twice why he had killed the man; to the first question he replied for six shillings; to the second he answered for my money.

   By the Court - There was food lying before the deceased when the prisoner said - "eat;" there was only one blow given - the prisoner was standing when he gave it.

   Samuel Hayward Ford stated that he was a surgeon residing at the Bay of Islands; he attended the deceased on Saturday the 18th January, after he received the blow; on examination he found a severe wound on the lower part of the forehead; it was a lacerated wound about one and a half inch in length and half an inch in width, extending inwards towards the bone; he remained at witnesses' house till the time of his death, which took place on the Thursday following; he was insensible during the greater part of the time, except when he first came; then he, deceased, thought he was in a dying state; on that night he stated that he had been wounded by a man named Heke; that he was a very bad man for knocking him on the head, and that he thought he would die of the blow; witness examined the body after death; the result of that examination led him to have no doubt that the man died from the effects of the wound on the forehead.

   This closed the case for the prosecution; there were no witnesses called for defence.

   The Attorney-General addressed the jury, followed by Mr. Abraham on behalf of the prisoner; the Chief Justice summed up the evidence, and the jury, after half an hour's absence, returned to Court with a verdict of "Guilty of Manslaughter."




An inquest was held at the Thistle Inn, Mulgrave-street, on Thursday, the 27th inst., before J. P. Fitzgerald, Esq., Coroner, and a respectable Jury, on view of the body of Thomas John Hawkins, (aged 34), second mate of the barque Emu, now lying at anchor in this port.

   Timothy Smith, being sworn, said - I am master of the ship Emu; the name of the deceased is Thomas John Hawkins; about half-past two o'clock yesterday (Wednesday) he was on the long boat, superintending the men at work in the fore rigging; in walking backwards several steps, he fell backwards into the hold of the vessel.  Mr. Pearce, an officer of H.M.S. Fly, then on board, was the first to go down the hold.  The deceased was senseless for the first 10 minutes.  Mr. Pearce and myself then went on board the Fly for Dr. Sleigh who came on board immediately.  The deceased died about half-past eight or nine o'clock; he died without a struggle.

   By a Juror - There was a person on the long-boat with him, but at some distance from him; there was nothing between them to cause the deceased to go backwards; I was about 12 feet from him.

   Augustus Sleigh, being sworn, said - I am Surgeon on board H.M.S. Fly; Yesterday (Wednesday) 26th March, about half-past two o'clock, I went on board the Emu to see a man reported to have fallen down the hatchway.  When I arrived he was lying on one of the hatches; I had him taken to a berth, undressed and placed in a bed; he was sensible at the time, and answered a question put to him.  I found a deep wound at the back part of the top of the head, and also one beneath the left eye; I sewed up both wounds, and applied lint with cold water.  I then gave directions that he should have a little aperient medicine, and kept perfectly quiet; his pulse was small, from 65 to 70.  I did not see him after this.

   By a Juror - I asked him a few questions, he complained of pain in his head; there was a little effusion of blood; I was surprised when I heard of his death; his death must have resulted from the fall.

   Captain Smith, re-examined said - his health was good; the fall was 17 or 18 feet; I gave him five grains of calomel by direction of Dr. Sleigh; he died at half-past eight or nine o'clock the same evening.

   Mr. Pearce, sworn, said I am an officer on board H.M.S. Fly; I was on board the Emu yesterday, I was in the cabin at the time the accident took place; I heard a man had fallen down the hold, I went down the after hatchway to where the deceased was lying, he was insensible when I saw him; he was bleeding at the back of the head; he was lying on the stone ballast; I then came on deck and accompanied Capt. Smith to the Fly for Dr. Sleigh, it was purely accidental.

   By a Juror to the Captain - The Doctor was on board about an hour; I was the only person who saw the accident.

   The Jury then retired, and after considerable deliberation desired that a post mortem examination of the body should take place, and at half-past 4 o'clock adjourned until Friday morning.

   Friday morning at 10 o'clock, the Jury re-assembled -

   Dr. Monteith, being sworn, said, I am a Surgeon in Wellington, I saw the deceased last night, and have made a post mortem examination, I found on the left side of the head a contused wound immediately above the temple.  I laid bare the skull and found an extensive fracture beginning at the temple bone along the base of the skull; I opened the skull, there was a great extravasation of blood between the covering of the brain and the skull, about four ounces.  I have no doubt the immediate cause of death was the extravasation of blood caused by the same violence that caused the fracture of the skull.  Dr. Monteith having answered several questions out to him by the Jury, and cited Dr. Abernethy's opinion on a similar case.

   The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.



Editorial comment:

We understand that at the Inquest held last week on the body of Mr. Hawkin, one of the jurymen suggested that the post mortem examination should be performed by Dr. Dorset, and that the Coroner, Dr. Fitzgerald objected in the grounds that Dr. Dorset would not be entitled to receive a fee for so doing, inasmuch as he had not qualified himself by producing to the Resident Magistrate his Diplomas or other qualification for a resident practitioner. [continues, referring to a dispute between Dorset and Fitzgerald.]



The following appointments have been made for the district of Canterbury, viz: ... William Donald, Esq., to be Coroner; ...


NEW ZEALANDER, 12 April 1851

Another quarrel between Drs. Featherstone and Dorset, and Dr. Fitzgerald, re an operation.

  Another report of the death of Thomas J. Hawkins.


NEW ZEALANDER  , 19 April 1851

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held yesterday, at Howick, before Captain MACDONALD, on the body of a pensioner named JAMES MORAN, who was accidentally killed at Waiheke, on Wednesday morning last, by the sudden falling of a tree that he was cutting down. - Verdict accordingly.



An Inquest was held on Wednesday morning at Mr. Tye's, Prince Albert Inn, Epsom Road, before Wm. Davies, Esq., Coroner, and a highly respectable jury (of whom Mr. John Russell was foreman), on the body of Alex. Geddes, Esq., of Waihihi, who had met his death on the evening of Monday last by a fall from his horse, in the immediate neighbourhood of that house.

   The principal evidence taken was that of Mr. John Bycroft, who, having been sworn, deposed, that, on the evening of the 28th, he was at Mr. Tye's with the deceased and Mr. Norman, between 7 and 8 o'clock, and saw them start together from the door about the latter hour; he set out also, at the same time, on foot.  After he had gone a few yards, he heard a horse go over a heap of stones, making a noise as though he were stumbling; he then heard Mr. Norman call out, mentioning the deceased's name.  Witness went up as soon as he could, and saw Mr. Norman trying to stop the horse of Mr. Geddes, who was not on it.  On going near the heap of stones, he kicked a hat, and, on turning round, saw the deceased lying on the ground on his face.  He took hold of his arm, but there seemed no life or stir in him.  Witness, Mr. Norman, and Mr. Tye (who had in answer to their cries come out), raised the deceased and carried him into the house.  They then sent for Dr. Warrington, who arrived in about half an hour.  The deceased did not speak or utter a groan.

   The Coroner. - In this place, as in all small communities, on anything happening - especially an accident to any one, there are always reports, more or less unfounded, in circulation; now, as there have been some in this case circulated in town, I would ask you do you think the deceased, when you were with him, was quite sober.

   The Witness. - Yes, sir, I do; he was quite fit for business - quite sober; we had been conversing for some time, and I can positively say he was quite sober.

   By a Juror. - It was a starlight night, but it was somewhat dark just going from the light.

  Mr. Tye gave evidence on the point of his going out, on hearing the calls of the last witness, and assisting the deceased into the house.  The deceased lived about five hours; he did not speak.  He had been in the house before starting about half-an-hour; witness was with him the whole time.  Deceased was perfectly sober when he left the house.

   Mr. Augustus Warrington said - I am a surgeon practising at Onehunga.  On Monday evening, the 28th inst., between 8 and 9 o'clock, I was summoned to attend Mr. Geddes; I immediately started for Mr. Tye's, where the messenger informed me he lay.  I found him in a state of insensibility.  For the satisfaction of those present, I opened a vein in the right arm; about half-an-ounce of congealed blood came.  I used the usual remedies in cases of the kind.  He died about 1 o'clock.  Dr. Philson came from Auckland, accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Purchas.  Dr. Philson agreed with me that all was done that could have been done for him.  The cause of death was compression of the brain, caused by extravasation of blood.

   The Jury returned a Verdict "That Alex. Geddes was accidentally killed by a fall from his horse, in consequence of the horse stumbling."



Another report of the Geddes inquest, emphasizing that he was sober.


NEW ZEALANDER, 10 May 1851

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An Inquest was held yesterday at the "Duke of Marlborough" Inn, Queen Street, before Dr. Davies, Coroner, on the body of a Maori child, aged one year and ten months, named WILMOT PANEHANINA.  It appeared that the child was missed for about an hour on Thursday, and then found dead by the mother in a well on premises in the rear of Chancery Street. - Verdict, Accidental Death.



DISEASED CATTLE - MELANCHOLY CIRCUMSTANCE. - If there had been any question as to the existence of the disease in cattle in the district of Windsor, the following circumstance will painfully confirm the fact.

   An inquest was held yesterday (Wednesday), by Mr. Dowe, the Coroner, at M'Quade's hotel, on the body of one John Glynes, commonly known as "Connaught Jack" then lying in the dead house.  The evidence was as follows:-

   Daniel Canning  deposed - that he was in the employ of Mr. George Rouse, at his boiling down establishment, South Creek; that last Monday week witness and the deceased were sent to draw a lot of pigs that had died from disease, to an adjoining paddock to be burnt; witness counted sixteen of them; they took them in a cart, dragging them into the cart with long iron hooks; some they dragged under the cart by fixing the hooks into their legs and fastening them to the axle-tree; they dragged them out of the cart in the same manner,  and having made a fire round and under them, returned together to the establishment.

   Deceased was not away from him all the time; neither of them handled the pigs, and witness did not hear or see anything of the bursting of one of the pigs; that the deceased had never been to the fire after that; (in answer to a question by a juror afterwards, witness said that deceased might have been there after that without his knowledge); that a week previous, about a hundred and fifty head of cattle were killed, which was not completed until Saturday evening; that the pigs, of which Mr. Rouse still had over a hundred, were all fed with blood and offal.

   The pigs began to die on Sunday morning.  The first one that was seen to have any thing the matter with it was observed by the deceased and witness.  Its throat was very much swollen, and it was making a noise very much like the barking of a dog.  Witness stated that the deceased had been employed in assisting to kill and gut the cattle, out of one of which a melt or spleen was taken at least a yard long, and as black as ink; witness believed that the cattle belonged to a Mr. Giles.  The pigs before they died were seized with a swelling in the neck, which extended over the body.  They generally died in twenty-four hours after the symptoms of the disease appeared.

   Deceased complained first on Friday morning last of a pain in his back.  On Saturday he was laid up, and when witness saw him next on Sunday morning his head and face were swollen, which swelling extended down to the shoulders.  Witness did not see him again till he saw him dead in Windsor.  Witness said that more pigs were expected to die.

   Henry Day, Esq., surgeon, deposed, that he saw the deceased on Monday, about mid-day, that he was then labouring under great difficulty of breathing and also under the effects of poison.  On the inner part of the right eyebrow there was a slight excoriation.  The right side of the heeds, chest, and neck were very much swollen.  The pulse was indicative of arterial depression; quick, small, and intermitting.  The deceased stated to witness that there was a slight excoriation on his brow caused by a cinder, and that it was whilst he was burning the pigs, that one of them burst, and that deceased being in a state of great perspiration, he rubbed it with his hand. 

   Witness stated that the symptoms in this case appeared to be the same as those which have occurred elsewhere in the county of Cumberland, but that this has been a prolonged case.  The absorption of animal matter in a diseased state would produce the same effects, and that it was identical with the disease which has been prevalent for some months back; that it would cause death, and is produced by the absorption of animal poison.

   In answer to a juror, who was very sceptical as to there being anything the matter with the pigs, witness positively swore that the death of the deceased was caused entirely by the absorption of animal poison.

   The jury returned a verdict, by a majority of eleven, that the aforesaid John Clynes' death was caused by the absorption of animal poison, supposed to have been accidentally communicated to him whilst engaged in burning diseased pigs, at Mr. George Rouse's boiling down establishment, South Creek.

   The twelfth juror refused to sign, and stated as his reason for not so doing so, he did not believe there was any disease either in cattle or pigs.




An Inquest was held yesterday (Tuesday) at the Te Aro Hotel, before J. P. Fitzgerald, Esq., Coroner, on view of the body of John Boyd, who was accidentally killed while falling a tree.

   The Jury having been sworn, viewed the body, which had undergone a post mortem examination by G. D. Monteith, M.D.

   John Scott, being sworn, said - I am a labourer; I knew the deceased, John Boyd; on Monday the 26th inst., we were at work all day till about 4 o'clock in the evening, cutting firewood for Mr. Fitchett at Ohiro; about 4 o'clock we had fallen a tree which lodged against another, and in wedging it off to disengage it, some of the branches caught the deceased and struck him down; he fell with his belly against an old stump; he walked home, to Mr. Wright's  lodging-house, Willis-street, it is about a mile; he died about half-past 6 o'clock this morning.

   G. D. Monteith, Esq., M.D., sworn, said -0 I am a Surgeon, praising in Wellington; yesterday (Monday) evening, May 26, I saw the deceased between the hours of 8 and 9 o'clock; I found him in bed; he complained of great pain in the stomach; the body was covered with profuse perspiration, denoting considerable pain in the abdominal viscera, with sickness, he was in a state of collapse at the time; I did not perceive the slightest chance of recovery; I gave him opium; this afternoon I made a post mortem examination; on opening the abdomen I found a considerable quantity of fluid, also a quantity of feculent matter; on closer examination, I saw an extensive bruise in the stomach on the anterior and lower part, and a large rupture in the transverse arch of the colon in the centre; I have no doubt his death was produced from that cause.

   By a juror to the first witness -0 there was no one with us at the time.

   Verdict - accidental death.


NEW ZEALANDER, 4 June 1851

CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Monday last an Inquest was held at the Duke of Marlborough Inn, before Dr. DAVIES, Coroner, on the body of Mr. JOHN FRODSHAM, Watchmaker, who was found dead in his bed on the morning of that day.  The Verdict of the Jury was "Died of Apoplexy, caused by excessive drinking."




An inquest was held on Tuesday, the 27th of May, (and thence adjourned and re-adjourned respectively to the evenings of the 2nd and 3rd inst.,) before WM. DONALD, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a Jury selected from the inhabitants of Lyttelton, to inquire into the manner in which Daniel Morrison, late master of the "William and John" cutter, met his death.  The patient investigation of evidence entered into by the Court elicited the following facts:-

   It appeared that Morrison's cutter entered Pigeon Bay on Sunday the 18th of May.  On the evening of the 19th he had supper with a party of ten or twelve persons, of whom several were called as witnesses.  The house where they assembled was described as being built of slabs, with a level flat of about 8 feet before the door, very slippery in wet weather; from the edge of this the bank sloped down top the beach at an angle of about 45 degrees, the perpendicular height being about 10 feet; a little to the side were steps, by which it was usual to ascend; below this was the beach, described as very rough, and covered with large boulder stones and angular pieces of rock.

   The evidence further shewed that the party were supplied with several bottles of whisky by the master of the "Old Man" schooner, then lying in the bay.  None of the party were quite sober.  Morrison had drunk freely, and, without any previous quarrelling between them, challenged a man named John Ball to fight; Ball refused, when Morrison struck him a violent blow and knocked him down; Ball was half stupified by drink and the blow, and was carried into the whare.  Shortly after, Morrison staggered out of the door; John Campbell, a sawyer living in the house, followed, to coax him in, and seeing nothing of him, called him by name, but received no answer; he then went down to the beach by the steps, and found Morrison lying at full length, a little on the left side, with his head lying on a piece of rock, and his feet about 4 feet from the foot of the bank.

   Campbell lifted him, and felt warm blood running in his arm; he called for assistance, and had Morrison carried into the house, where they washed him, but saw no wound at the time.  The night was dark and cloudy, although the moon was up.  In the night Morrison fell from the bunk, which was about 3 feet in height, and cut his face.  The next evening they were advised to take him to Port Lyttelton for medical aid; they could not get a boat that night, but hired one from the Maories the following morning, and brought Morrison to the hospital.

   From the evidence given by Mr. Hay, it further appeared, that there were three stumps of bushes in a line with the door, close to the edge of the bank; the stones had been pointed out to him where the head of the deceased had struck, he saw blood there, these stones were 10 feet from the foot of the bank, he thought it likely that Morrison might have stumbled at the stumps, and increased the force of the fall by striking the bank also in his descent, pitching forward on his head.  Mr. Hay described the nearest stone to be 17 inches by 12 inches in surface, with the edge towards the bank a little raised, this edge was rather round; the men at the whare were scarcely sober when he went there the day after the accident.

   The medical testimony of Mr. Earle, Surgeon, who had examined the injury, described it as a severe fracture of the base of the skull, evidently caused by a forcible blow with some instrument, blunt, but not absolutely round.

   Some apparent discrepancies in the former evidence were reconciled by the evidence of Mr. Hay - and the Jury, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of Accidental Death.



Inquest on D, Morrison; strange rumours are afloat, and I trust the inquest will be able to test the truth of the, [Biography.]


OTAGO WITNESS, 21 June 1851

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held at the Royal Hotel, Dunedin, on Monday, the 16th inst., by Mr. Coroner Williams and a highly respectable Jury, on the body of Robert Scott, who died suddenly on Sunday the 15th.  It appeared from the evidence of Mr. William McDonald, with whom the deceased lodged, that while engaged in brushing a boot, he fell down suddenly; that he never spoke afterwards, but groaned once or twice, and died in about ten minutes.  Medical aid was sent for, but was of no avail.  The Jury returned a verdict of 'Died by the visitation of God.'  The deceased was about 40 years of age, and came to this settlement in the 'Larkins,' ...



An inquest was held on Monday, (and adjourned till Tuesday,) on the body of the late Mr. Ward.  Upon the evidence, which was clear and conclusive, the jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death by Drowning."  [Funeral, E.R. Ward.]



It is with feelings of the deepest regret that we announce to total wreck of the barque Maria, 480 tons, Capt. Plank; and the loss of 29 lives out if 31 persons who were on board the vessel at the time the melancholy catastrophe took place.


The nine bodies found on the beach have been identified as those of Captain Plank, the 3rd mate, six seamen, and a stockman named Henry Saul, formerly in the employ of C. Clifford, Esq.  ...


OTAGO WITNESS, 2 August 1851

INQUEST. - About three weeks since an inquest was held at Waikouaiti, before Mr. Coroner Williams, on the body of a man who destroyed himself by tying the trigger of a gun to the stump of a tree, and discharging the contents into his heart.  The deceased was a Greek, and came out from England in the emigrant ship 'Larkins,' in which vessel he was a sailor.  Some time since he expressed a desire to return to his native country, and Capt. Cargill procured him a passage in the 'Phoebe Dunbar;' it appears, however, that he left the ship.  The Jury returned a verdict of temporary insanity.


OTAGO WITNESS, 16 August 1851


An inquest was held at the Royal Hotel before Mr. Coroner Williams, on the body of William Underhill, late of Rattray St., Dunedin, carpenter, who destroyed himself.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased was last seen at 9 o'clock on Tuesday evening, when he appeared rather duller than usual, but not so much as to attract attention.  He had been in the habit of getting intoxicated, and on such occasions lying in bed for days, so that his non-appearance at his work in the morning was not heeded; but his partner having occasion for some tools which he had taken home with him, endeavoured about 12 o'clock at noon to get into the house; but being unable to make himself heard, he removed a window at the back of the premises, when he saw the deceased suspended from the roof of the building.  Assistance was procured, an entrance effected, and the body cut down, but life was quite extinct, and the corpse quite cold.  The deceased seems to have committed the deed in a most determined manner - tying his legs and hands, and after placing the cord around his neck to have cast himself from off a carpenter's bench, apparently by moving a long plank (which was found projecting about two feet over the edge of the bench) until his weight overbalanced it, and thus causing it to act like a drop.

   No cause for the perpetration of the dreadful act could be ascertained, the deceased having saved some property, about 70 Pounds in cash being found in the house, which was also his own property.  Several witnesses deposed to the fact of his being almost deranged when he took stimulating liquors. He had stated when sober that drink drove him mad, and accounted for it from his having received an injury in the head.  So little does it appear that he had meditated the rash act, that he had on the previous night purchased meat for the next day's dinner.

   The Jury returned a verdict that the deceased destroyed himself whilst laboring under temporary insanity.

   He was about 26 years of age, and arrived in this colony by the "Victory" upwards of three years ago.  From his papers it is ascertained that he has a brother somewhere in the neighbourhood of Christchurch, in the Canterbury settlement.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 16 September 1851

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An Inquest was held, at Howick, on the 9th instant, before Captain Macdonald, on the body of a Pensioner named Thomas Sharpe, who was found dead in a stable at Howick the previous monring.  Verdict - "Died in a fit of Apoplexy."


NEW ZEALANDER, 27 September 1851

CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Wednesday last an Inquest was held at the Caledonian Hotel, before Dr. DAVIES, Coroner, to inquire into the cause of the death of DENIS McCARTHY, late of Queen-street, Butcher.  Several witnesses were examined.  It appeared from the evidence of DAVID SHEEHAN, proprietor of the Crown and Anchor Tavern in West Queen-street, that deceased had been drinking to excess for eight or nine days; that on Saturday he expressed a wish to him (    SHEEHAN) to leave the town that he might get away from the drink; and that he left for the North Shire on the afternoon of that day, taking two bottles of spirits with him .......

PATRICK DOWNS ands JOHN GLADHILL stated that deceased came to their sawing station on Saturday night, in a delirious state, in which he continued throughout Sunday and Sunday night; on Tuesday morning he expressed a desire to be taken to the opposite shore, that he might walk to Auckland to be with his family. They agreed that afternoon to procure a boat and bring him to town.  They applied for one at BLAKE'S place, but could not procure it until the tide had gone down too far to float a boat, and they were obliged to wait until next morning.  They started early, and had proceeded but a short distance when McCARTHY urged them to land him on the other shore.  Not wishing to leave him in that state, they determined to bring him to town.  He then leaped overboard in shallow water, and attempted to swim to the shore.  They backed water and dragged him back into the boat.  They touched at Hellyer's Creek, and afterwards called at FITZPATRICK'S station, where for the first time they perceived that life was nearly gone.  They took him into the house, (which was about fifty yards from the boat) rolled him in blankets, and placed him before the fire, but all their efforts to restore him proved fruitless.  DOWNS came to town and reported his death. .... Dr. MATHEWS had examined the body, and heard the evidence if the other witnesses.  In his opinion, apoplexy was the immediate cause of death; the exciting cause having been immersion in cold water while deceased was labouring under delirium tremens. After about an hour's deliberation, the Jury gave as their verdict - "Died from natural Causes."


NEW ZEALANDER, 4 October 1851

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An Inquest was held yesterday afternoon, at the Masonic Hotel, before Dr. DAVIES, Coroner, on the body of SILAS MOODY, a private in the 58th Regt.  It appeared from the evidence that he had been drinking at the Masonic Hotel on Thursday afternoon, and was taken to his quarters and put to bed about half past five o'clock.  At half past eight he was found lying on the floor, just breathing; and in a few minutes after, he died.  Dr. THOMSON stated that he had been called on at nine o'clock, when he found the man dead; - he had made a post mortem examination of the body, and found that death had been produced by apoplexy; his stomach was distended with spirits ands water, and his brain smelt of spirits.  He considered the apoplexy to have been brought on by drinking.  The Jury, after a short consultation, returned as their Verdict, - Died of Apoplexy, produced by intemperance.



The Silas Moody inquest.


NEW ZEALANDER, 8 October 1851

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An Inquest was held yesterday, at the New Leith Inn, Onehunga, before Dr. DAVIES, Coroner, on the body of ALEXANDER DIXON, Esq.  It appeared that, on Monday evening, between eight and nine o'clock, while Mr. DIXON was riding homewards, he dropped from his horse on the road between Epsom and Onehunga, and was found there about ten o'clock by JAMES MAGEE, Ranger of the Hundred of Onehunga, who had him removed to the Leith Inn.  The last place at which he was seen alive was TYE'S, Albert Inn, Epsom.  Dr. WARRINGTON stated that he had made a post mortem examination, and that the cause of death was Apoplexy, in consequence of the rupture of a large vessel at the base of the brain.  The Jury returned their verdict accordingly.




It is with the deepest regret we have to report the swamping, during the heavy gale of Tuesday, of the Government Ferry Boat "Maori," on her passage from Onehunga to Wailuku.  By this deplorable event three unfortunate gentlemen have been consigned to as premature and watery grave, whilst the survivors only managed to escape with the utmost difficulty, and after the most arduous struggle.

   As in every similar circumstance, the conduct of the Natives has been exceedingly humane and praiseworthy; - one of the native passengers, after reaching the shore, he having nobly, but unavailingly, swam off again, in the hope of rescuing the unfortunate Mr. Geale.  The vessel, which was a small, decked, dandy rigged, cutter, of about five tons, lies sunk in the channel, her mast head being visible above water.  Every effort has been made to recover the bodies, but hitherto without effect.

   The following particulars have kindly been furnished us by Mr. William Cooper, one of the survivors:-

   We left Onehunga about ½ past 120, a.m., and the wind being contrary, were obliged to beat out, which we continued to do, making very fair progress. As soon as we rounded a point which is called Cape Horn, the wind became stronger, and blew in puffs; we then took a single reef in the mainsail, and lowered the foresail, which however, Captain Smale ordered up again in a few minutes. Mr. Geale and myself were sitting aft, talking to Captain Smale.  The ride was at this time nearly out.  We had almost passed the main channel, and in a few minutes would have rounded the sandspit in the Manukau, when, as we were going about, in the middle of a heavy puff of wind, the vessel lay over till the water touched her sails, when she immediately filled, but did not go down.

   Mr. Geale and I climbed up on the side of the vessel, and the next minute I found myself struggling in the water.  I managed to regain the vessel, and there found Mr. Geale, evidently in a very weak state, Mr. Donne, a man of the name of William Kew, and some of the natives, of whom we had about fifteen aboard.  Captain Smale I saw swimming about half way between the boat and the sandspit, which several of the natives had reached; I never saw him again.  Mr. Donne said to me, "Make for the shore, it is your only chance," and immediately sprang into the water; that was the last I saw o\f him; he never reached the sandspit.  I, having divested myself of all my clothes, but my shirt and cap, followed shortly after, and reached the sandspit in safety along with Kew.  When I arrived there, I found the native who was going into the interior along with Mr. Geale, on the sandspit, and he told me to call to Mr. Geale to  swim for the shore, and he would go and meet him, which I did; Mr. Geale immediately jumped and made for the shore, and the native met him about half-way, and  endeavoured to drag him ashore, but before he could accomplish this, he was dead, and the native was obliged to leave him, in order to save himself. 

   We were then obliged to start off as quickly as possible, for fear the tide should flow, and cut us off from reaching the main land.  However, with running, wading, and swimming, we contrived to reach the settlement of Mangere, where we were most hospitably entertained by the natives, who gave us clothes, food, and a passage in a canoe to Onehunga.  From thence I returned to Auckland.  To the best of my knowledge none of the natives were lost.

INQUEST. - Charles Dixon.


NEW ZEALANDER, 23 October 1851

FATAL BOAT ACCIDENT. - PRAISEWORTHY CONDUCT OF A NATIVE. - We regret to state that a fatal accident occurred on Tuesday evening, by the upsetting of a boat, in consequence of a squall, between the Watchman and Call's Bay.  Two men were in her, one of whom, a black man, was saved by the intrepid endeavours of an old Maori named KIRI WERA, in the service of Mr. GUNDRY, who immediately put out in a dinghy, which, however, was so small that when the individual he rescued was brought into it, it was in danger of sinking, and no aid could possibly be afforded to the other in time to save him.  The unfortunate man who was lost was the comrade of the black man, but he knew him only by the name of "NED."  His body has not been found. ...

CORONER'S INQUESTS. - An Inquest was held yesterday afternoon, at Onehunga, before Dr. DAVIES, Coroner, on the body of Captain DAVID SMALE, one of the three persons drowned in the Manakau on thr 7th inst., by the capsizing of the Government cutter Maori.  The evidence was limited to that of the Native who found the body at the Wahu creek, and that of a policeman, who received it from him and identified it.  All the parties who were saved on the occurrence of the melancholy accident are absent at the Waikato; consequently the particulars of the disaster could not be formally ascertained at the inquiry.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally drowned on the 7th instant," 

   On the 20th inst., an inquest was held on the body of PIERS GEALE, Esq., which was found on the morning of that day, and a similar verdict returned.



Fatal Boat Accident, and inquests in Geale and Smale.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 1 November 1851

Inquest William Underhill.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 22 November 1851

... Wee compelled this week to acknowledge our great inferiority, and to apologise for not having before acquainted our readers with the circumstances attending the loss of an immigrant on the plains, from exposure to the inclemency of the weather.  Wee now indebted to the Coroner for the following particulates.

   David Bishop came out from England in the "Duke of Portland."  A few days after landing he went over to Christchurch with some companions, and started in the evening to return to port.  The weather was then most inclement.  On his way back, along the Maori track, he felt much exhausted, and, notwithstanding the dissuasions of the rest of the party, sat down, declaring he could go no further.  They pursued their way, thinking he would exert himself to follow.  This was not far from Mr. Willock's homestead.  The poor man did not appear, as expected.  Diligent search was made for him, but in effectually.  About a month after, his body was accidentally discovered in an advanced stage of decomposition, by a lad who was driving some cows near the spot.  He had moved a short distance from the spot where he first lay down, but in a wrong direction.  An inquest was held upon the remains on the 31st October, the Jury returning an open verdict of "Found dead." The heel of the deceased's boot was pointed our by his wife as the place where his money would probably be found, which proved to be the case.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 3 January 1852

An inquest was held on Tuesday on the body of Alexander Baird, found drowned in this harbour.  The evidence of Messrs. Ashmore and George Taylor proved that the found the cloithes odf the deceased on the shore, and his body not far off in the water among the rocks.  The nurse at the hospital proved that deceased had for some time been an inmate there, and very weak in body. He had often been to bathe nbefore.  On the Monday he had spoken of going to Christchurch to seek for work, although very unfit for such a walk, and she had sat up at night expectuing him back.  It appeared probable that he had slipped off the rocks and been unable to rise.  There were only about four feet of water in the place where he was found.  The body appeared to have been bruised by contact with the rocks.  The Jury returned a verdict of "accidental drowning."



A melancholy accident occurred in our harbour on Thursday afternoon, which spread a general gloom over our town.  John Balmer, a well-built young man, about 20 years of age, belonging to the Band of the 65th Regt., by whom he was greatly respected, was bathing at the head of the Bay, after the musical performance had concluded on Te Aro, when an enormous shark, supposed by Capt. Allen of the Chieftain to be at least 15 feet long, attacked him, biting him on the thick part of the thigh and the calf of the leg; the poor fellow screamed out, and a boat which was about twenty yards from him at the time, went to his assistance, which as soon as he saw, he made a desperate leap into it, but in consequence of the femoral vessels being so dreadfully lacerated, he only survived a few minutes after reaching the boat.  On Friday morning, an inquest was held on the body of the unfortunate man at the Thistle Inn, when the above facts were elicited.

   Captain Allen deposed, that he was standing on the poop of the Chieftain at the time, about 150 yards from where the deceased was, and that at the time he heard the shriek he saw part of a fish which he supposed to be the tail of a shark; the water all around was colored with blood.  He immediately went to his assistance in his own boat, but on reaching that in which the body lay no signs of life was exhibited.  He took the boat in tow up the bay towards the Colonial Hospital, hailing as he passed the Midlothian to send on board the Calliope for the Surgeon.  The deceased at the time of the accident was about 200 yards from the shore.  Dr. Prendergast deposed as to the fatal character of the wounds, after which the jury brought in the following verdict, "That the deceased was killed by the bite of a shark while bathing." [NEW ZEALANDER, 25 February: The unfortunate man, being an expert swimmer, was in the habit of going out to a considerable distance from the shore, and had, on a previous occasion, been punished by extra drill for having, by venturing out too far, incurred danger by drowning through exhaustion.]




We have learnt, with very sincere regret, that an unhappy collision, resulting in the slaughter of five natives, took place last week at Hokianga.

   Repa, a chief of some celebrity in Heke's wars, having charged Papakakura and others with having taken improper liberties with one of his wives, demanded, according to native usage, a horse in satisfaction of the affront.  The justice of the accusation was however denied, and the delivery of the horse peremptorily refused.  From words the contending parties came to blows, Hone Ware, the brother of Repa, shooting Hoaia Rore dead, and being himself shot dead in return.  To avenge the death of his own brother, Repa threw himself upon Hohepa Pate, the brother of Rire, whom he speared; but this not sufficing to kill his antagonist, he despatched him with a couple of shots; Repa then shot Papkakura, and was himself subsequently slain. ...


On Wednesday last, an Inquest was held at the Osprey Inn, High-street, on the body of Michael Finnerty, a blacksmith.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased was in his usual state of health till about 1 o'clock on Tuesday last, when he went to the house of a person named Hamilton, in Vulcan Lane, asking permission to lie down, as he felt unwell.  Whilst there, he became rapidly worse, and before medical assistance could be obtained, expired.  Dr. Maiben, having made a post mortem examination of the body, stated the cause of death to be the rupture of a blood vessel on the lungs.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with Dr. Maiben's [Mabin] evidence.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 10 February 1852

INQUEST. - On Saturday evening last, at the Caledonian Hotel, an inquest was held, on the body of a Sandwich Islander named Kaumio, lately belonging to the American ship Anadir. From the evidence, it appeared that the deceased was seen on Wednesday on board the vessel, and on Thursday morning he was missing.  As no boat had been alongside, it was supposed that the deceased swam to a native vessel during the night.  On Saturday morning, a settler named Kelly, on the north shore, discovered a body on the beach, and gave information to the police.  Captain Swift of the Anadir identified the body.  There were no marks of violence; and the deceased man was tattoed on the left arm, he had a handkerchief tied tight around his neck with a two shilling piece and a one shilling piece in it, when found.  As the deceased was a good swimmer it was supposed that the water had tightened the neckerchief and had prevented him from breathing sufficiently, so as to exert his physical powers. - Verdict, Found Drowned.


NEW ZEALANDER, 11 February 1852

Inquest on Kaumio.

On Monday last another inquest was held at the "Leith Hotel," Onehunga, on the body of William Purtle, one of the Pensioners located at that village, who had died suddenly on the afternoon of the preceding day.  From the evidence of Dr. Mahon, who made a post mortem examination, it appeared that death had been produced by a rupture of the aorta, or great blood-vessel of the heart. - Verdict accordingly.


NEW ZEALANDER, 14 February 1852

DREADFUL SUICIDE. - It is our painful duty to record a frightful case of suicide which took place at Onehunga, about eleven o'clock on the night of Thursday last.  Francis Caffrey, one of the Pensioners of that Settlement, shot himself, behind the ear with his musket, the effect being to blow off the top of his skull and produce instantaneous death.  An Inquest on the body was held yesterday, at the Royal Hotel, Onehunga, before Dr. Davies, Coroner, when the Jury returned as their verdict that the deceased came by his death in consequence of a gunshot wound in the head, inflected by himself while labouring under temporary insanity.


NEW ZEALANDER, 25 February 1852



IT is seldom our duty to prefix such a painful heading as this to a report on an Inquest in Auckland, where crime of an aggravated character is happily of rare occurrence; and when it does occur is (as in this instance) generally to be traced to convicts from the adjoining Penal Colonies, who, when they can, naturally desire to be numbered amongst the population of a colony which like New Zealand, is free from thr taint of Transportation.  We have, however, to report that a man was killed in, perhaps the most public thoroughfare of our town on Monday night, under circumstances which will be sufficiently understood from the following summary of the facts sworn to at the Inquest yesterday.  We need only give the summary, as several of the witnesses repeated, almost without variation, the evidence already before the Inquest.

   Dr. Davis, coroner, presided.  The Jury was composed as follows: J. A. Gilfillan, Esq., J.P. (foreman), Messrs. James Burtt, John Commons, Edwin Davy, Morris Marks, High Coolahan, Thomas Kevan, John Brigham, Henry Hadlow, William Possenneskie, George Reynolds, Edward O'Brien, Aitcheson Oliver.

   The facts, as stated by a number of witnesses, were substantially these.  Some months since there had been a quarrel, issuing in a fight, between William Dixon, a blacksmith, the man who was killed on Monday night, and the accused person, who was known here by the name of Isaac French, or by the nickname of "Ikey the Carpenter," but who (as was sworn to by more than one witness who appeared to have had full knowledge of him in the previous stages of his history) was well known in former years as a prisoner of the Crown in Van Diemen's Land, under the name of Wm. Bowden.  Bowden (as we shall call him, dropping his assumed name here) had repeatedly declared that he "would take his revenge out of Dixon," for the result of this combat, in which Dixon had proved "the best man."

   On Monday evening, after some conversation in Graham's eating-house in Shortland-Crescent, which grew to be of a hostile character, Bowden and Dixon went out into the street to fight.  It appeared clearly that although both had taken some drink, neither of the parties was intoxicated to any extent that would interfere with his entire command of his conduct and accountability for it.  After some scuffling, Dixon cried out that Bowden had a knife, but Bowden stoutly denied this - (so far as anything could be denied in the struggle then going forward); shortly afterwards, Dixon was heard to cry "I am stabbed! I am an undone man!"  He ran back into Graham's house, where he soon sunk under the effects of the wounds he had received. 

   Medical aid was procured, but proved ineffectual, as may be inferred from the testimomny of Drs. Matthews and Lee, who, on a post mortem examination yesterday, found not only that the deceased's lungs had been penetrated by one of the wounds, but that the pulmonary artery had been pierced, and his heart literally punctured by one of the blows.

   A Knife was produced in Court which was identified as having been in the possession of Bowden, and was found yesterday morning, with a blood mark on it in the immediate vicinity of the tragical occurrence.

   The following was the Verdict arrived at after a very patient hearing odf evidence by the Coroner and the intelligent Jury above named.  That he died of wounds inflicted in his heart and chest, and which wounds were given by William Bowden alias Isaac French, and that the said William Bowden alias Isaac French did feloniously kill and murder the said William Dixon.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 27 February 1852

Inquest on William Dixon, lately a soldier in the 58th regiment; details of the quarrel.

TARANAKI, February 17th.

A girl aged 13 years, was drowned (Elizabeth Cran, daughter of Samuel Cran, of this settlement.)  She was drowned in one of our largest rivers, the Waiwakaiho, on the 3rd inst., but the body was not found till Monday the 10th inst.  A Coroner's Inquest sat on the 11th inst, and the verdict was, that she was drowned in the attempt to ford that river (the Waiwakaiho) at that time being both swollen and rapid.

   To the verdict the Jury appended as follows; and it is much to be hoped that the recommendation will be attended to: - The Jury beg to advert to the circumstance of the Waiwakaiho being imnprovided with a safe, or even available public means of transport for foot passengers, and that many instances of narrow escapes from fatal incident has within these last three or four years, happened ....  PETER WILSON, Coroner and Colonial Surgeon.





The Grand Jury found True Bills ... against William Bowden for murder.

   William Bowden was then arraigned of the murder lf John Dixon, to which he pleaded 'Not Guilty.'

   The Attorney-General opened the case with a statement of facts which will be found detailed in the subjoined evidence.

   Isaac Graham being sworn, stated - I keep a boarding-house in Shortland-street, nearly opposite the Exchange Hotel; I know the prisoner at the bar; I knew him in Van Diemen's Land, he was a prisoner of the Crown when I knew him; I knew the deceased, John Dixon; Both men met in my house on Monday evening last; That evening I went to the Exchange tap; William Bowden was there; it was about a quarter past 9; William Bowden followed me home; the deceased Dixon, asked him to sing a song; he said, how dare you speak to me like that; they had a few words, and they went out into the street; I did not hear any thing  said about a former quarrel, and making it up.

   (Were you examined before the inquest?) yes (after much difficulty, and being repeatedly cautioned by the Attorney-General) - the witness stated, - I think I heard a little more about making it up.  Afterwards Dixon asked the prisoner, what am I a scoundrel for?  Dixon said, if we owe each other any animosity, we will make it up; they had a few more words, which I do not recollect, and went out of doors; I recollect about a month ago there was a bit of a noise in our place; I heard the prisoner tell Dixon that he would have his revenge of Dixon; when they were having a few words, I heard the prisoner say, he would have his revenge some of these times.

   (The Attorney-General again cautioned the witness as to his evidence.)

   About six months ago I saw Dixon and the prisoner fighting in the street, for about a quarter of an hour; I did not stop at the window till it was finished; they had a few words after they got washed; the prisoner said he would put it in for him some time or other; I saw Dixon about five minutes after they went out, come into the house again; Dixon said, I am stabbed, and run through the house; the prisoner was near enough to hear, he said, Ikey had stabbed him; I knew he meant the prisoner, as he went by that name; the prisoner followed him in; we told prisoner he had stabbed the man; he went out and looked at him; he said, he is not stabbed; he has broken a blood vessel; I was along with Dixon till he died; he died about 20 minutes past 11 o'clock; the prisoner had had a little drink, but not much; I saw no knife on the prisoner; I saw nothing in his hand; I might have seen it if he had one; if it had been shut I could not have seen it.

   By the Court. - He said, he would have his revenge on him some time or other when the deceased offered to make the matter up.

   Did you hear the prisoner make any remarks?

   I never heard the prisoner offer to make it up; it was Dixon who said it.

   Graham's evidence before the Coroner's Jury was then read.

   William Bennet, being sworn, said - I am a labourer, and live in Kelly's Bay;' I recollect last Monday evening; I saw the prisoner and Dixon come out of Graham's house, in Shortland-street, about half past 9; they were followed by a man named Keen; Dixon said, come and stand before me; they then began fighting in the road; they fought a very few minutes; they appeared to be exchanging  blows; Dixon told the prisoner at the bar to take the knife away from his side; the prisoner denied having a knife, and put his hands on his side; I believe there were no words nor blows after that; I next heard the deceased cry out 'I'm stabbed;' it was about a minute after he spoke about the knife; deceased put his left hand to his left side, and ran into Graham's house; I followed the deceased and prisoner into Graham's house; I saw Dixon in the yard, he lay on his back, bleeding from the body, I could see b y his shirt; I told the people to send for the police and for a doctor; I went into the house, and asked the prisoner if he had anything in his possession; he said he had only money and tobacco; I told the prisoner he had stabbed Dixon; prisoner made no answer; the police came, and soon after he was apprehended; I knew the prisoner in Van Diemen's Land; he is a carpenter; he was a prisoner of the Crown; Dixon might have been drinking, but they were both sober.

   By the Court. - Dixon said, come and stand before me; I understood that to be a challenge to fight; I do not think they fought five minutes; it might be three or four minutes, but not more than five; the prisoner said he had no knife, and put his hands to his side.

   Henry Hardington, being sworn, stated: I am landlord of the Exchange Hotel; I recollect Monday evening last; I saw the prisoner at the bar and the deceased, John Dixon, about half past 9, or twenty minutes to ten; I saw two or three men run out of Graham's, and two or three following them;  I saw the prisoner and Dixon in the act of sparring at each other; I did not hear the sound of a blow; I heard the deceased Dixon say, he was stabbed, and he then ran into Graham's house.

   James Keen was then sworn, and said:- I am a mariner, boarding at Mr. Graham's house at present; on Monday evening, between 8 and 9, I went into the Exchange tap to have a glass of half-and-half; two or three minutes after the prisoner came in he had a glass of half-and-half; he was not drunk or sober; he would walk very well after that we came out, and Graham was standing at the bar in the tap, the prisoner took hold of Graham, and said he should have a glass with him; he at first refused, but afterwards went back with the prisoner; the prisoner  said, he would come over to the house; Graham said, he was not wanted there; the prisoner then came over to the house; we went in; Dixon was singing a song when I first went in, afterwards he was standing with his back to the kitchen-fire, the prisoner came into the kitchen; Dixon spoke to the prisoner, the prisoner answered, 'get out you wretch, don't speak to me;' Dixon said,







   On Thursday morning, the 11th Inst., an inquest was held at the Victoria Hotel, before J. P. Fitzgerald, Esq., Coroner, and a respectable Jury, on view of the body of Hannah Cracknell, a child aged 6 years, who was unfortunately killed by a kick from a horse.

   Isaac Earl Featherston, being sworn, stated - I am a Surgeon, practising in Wellington; about 4 o'clock on Wednesday, the 10th March, I saw the deceased child Hannah Cracknell; when I arrived she was insensible, and had been vomiting blood; the right shoulder was out, and her collar bone fractured; I have no doubt that her death was caused by some internal injury, the result of external violence; I was informed that the injury was inflicted by a kick from a horse.

   Mary Ann Cracknell, being  duly sworn, stated, - I am the mother of the deceased Hannah Cracknell; on Wednesday morning, March 10, about half past ten o'clock, I heard the deceased call out; I was in the house at the time; I immediately ran to her assistance, and found her lying on the ground, about 100 yards from the house; the deceased told me that a horse had kicked her on the shoulder; she was reaching and vomiting blood; Dr. Featherston saw her in the afternoon; she died at 12 o'clock the same night; the horse was the property of Mr. Hodder; there was no other horse; and I know the animal from once having been the property of Mr. Irons.

   Verdict. - That the deceased came to her death by a kick from a horse, received about 8 o'clock on Wednesday, the 10th March.

   The following addenda to the verdict, was handed to the Coroner.

   "That this Jury would call the attention of the Resident Magistrate to the number of cattle allowed to stray in the town, by which life is endangered; and would respectfully request that he would adopt some measure for the prevention of the same."



INQUEST. - Yesterday afternoon an Inquest was held at the Greyhound Inn, Queen-street, before Dr. Davies, Coroner, on the body of Wm. Adam Maiben, surgeon.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased had for the last few days, been labouring under the impression that some one would destroy him.  On being left alone a few minutes yesterday morning, he inflicted a severe wound, dividing all the principal vessels on the right side of the neck, causing almost instant death.  Verdict, Temporary Insanity.


NEW ZEALANDER, 17 March 1852

SUICIDE - CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Monday at the "Greyhound Inn," Queen-street, before Dr. Davies, Coroner, on the body of William Adam Maiben, Surgeon.  It appeared from the evidence that for some time, especially since Saturday, deceased had been labouring under the fancy that some one intended to destroy him, and other delusions.  On Monday morning he told Mrs. Maiben, that his head was so bad he wished her to write asking Dr. Thomson to visit him; but before she had time to do so, he committed the fatal act which terminated his existence.  The instrument was a razor, with which he made a wound on the right side of his neck about two inches and a quarter in length, and so deep (according to Dr. Dalliston's evidence) to cut through all the main vessels, and thus to produce almost instant death.  The Jury found a verdict of Temporary Insanity,


OTAGO WITNESS, 10 April 1852

A Coroner's Inquest was held at Port Chalmers before Mr. Coroner Williams and a highly respectable jury on the body of William Scott, the landlord of the Port Chalmers Hotel.  The deceased was of intemperate habits, and died suddenly while in a state of intoxication; it is presumed from apoplexy.  The jury retuned a verdict of "died by the visitation of God."



AN inquest was held on Thursday evening at the Royal Hotel by Dr. Fitzgerald, coroner, on the body of a man who had been found drowned at Okiwi.  It appears that the deceased, who is supposed to have been a discharged soldier, in company with two other persons, had been drinking at Brown's house at Okiwi on Sunday afternoon, and after a good deal of drunken disputing the three, according to Brown's statement, left the house together for Wellington; according to the evidence of the other two men the deceased was left behind by them at the point of the Bay beyond Brown's house while they went on together.  The body was discovered by Mr. Wilton on his return from Wairarapa, and he gave information to the authorities, who caused the body to be brought over to Wellington.  It is supposed that the deceased was drowned while in a state of intoxication in endeavouring to pass the point beyond Brown's House.  The inquest has been adjourned to eleven o'clock this day to allow a post mortem examination of the body to be made by Dr. Monteith.



Man drowned at Okiwi; another account; mentions Patrick Spolan and Ormond Eckoff.



CORONER'S INQUESTS. - An inquest was held at the Royal Hotel by Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, on Thursday, which was subsequently adjourned to Friday and Saturday, on the body of James Merry, formerly of the 65th Regiment.  From the evidence of W. Wilton it appeared that the witness, after leaving Brown's public house on Wednesday where he stayed to dine, at the rocky point about five hundred yards from Brown's discovered the body of a man lying on the beach amongst the rocks a little below high water mark, his bead turned downwards and buried in the sand; he returned to Brown's, and telling him what he had seen, they both went together and removed the body above high water mark; on raising the body they found the head much bruised.

  The evidence of Ormond Eckoff and Patrick Spolan, with whom the deceased had been in company, was contradictory to Brown's; they deposed that they had been all drinking together on Sunday, the 11th, at Brown's, when a quarrel ensued and Brown fought with the deceased, but Eckoff interfered and separated them.  They then went on leaving the deceased to follow them.

   The testimony of Ko Mare, an aboriginal native woman living with Brown as his wife, as interpreted by Mr. Deighton, was to the effect that the deceased, Eckoff, Spolan, and Brown had been drinking together, when Brown and Merry quarrelled; Brown seized a knife and threatened to cut Merry's throat; the other men interfered and took away the knife from Brown, and they began drinking together again.  Another quarrel arose when Brown took down his rifle and threatened to shoot Eckoff.  Eckoff and Spolan then left to go to Wellington, and the deceased and Brown sat down by the fire to smoke.  After this Brown and deceased went outside the house, [line missing?] and the latter took up a large piece of wood and struck Brown on the head and knocked him down.  Brown got the piece of wood from deceased and struck him across the back and hips, and that after this deceased went on to Wellington. 

   On her further examination through Mr. Kemp, the Native Secretary, she said Brown exclaimed to her he feared he had killed the soldier by the blows he had given him; after he had washed himself and began to recover, Brown frequently exclaimed he had killed the man, and in reply to her questions said he believed he was near the water side.

   The evidence of Dr. Monteith, who had made a post mortem examination of the body, went to shew that deceased had not been killed by violence, but had met his death from drowning.

   The Jury returned a verdict of manslaughter against Brown, who has been committed, under the Coroner's Warrant, to take his trial at the June Sittings of the Supreme Court.

   On Monday, April 19th, an inquest was held at the Nag's Head [Cuba-street], before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, and a respectable jury, on view of the body of Henry Perkins, who died rather suddenly on Saturday morning, April 17th.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased was in a low state of mind, and had been complaining of illness on the Friday previous to his death.  Dr. Monteith made a post mortem examination, and ascertained his death to have been caused by apoplexy, a clot of blood having been found on the brain.



Long and detailed account of the inquest on Berry, referred to here as MAINEY.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Thursday at the Gaol, by Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, on the body of H. Hopwood, formerly sergeant of the police force, but lately confined as a lunatic.  The evidence shewed that the deceased died from natural causes, and a verdict to that effect was returned accordingly.


An inquest was held to-day at the Heathcote Arms, at the Ferry, before Dr. Donald, the Coroner, and 13 Jurymen, on thr body of William Cone, who fell from his horse on Wednesday night on the roads between Mr. Rownsend's and the Ferry, and was killed on the spot, his neck being broken.  Mr. Packer and Mr. fairfield having given some evidence with regard to the melancholy event, the Coroner resapitulated the evidence., and the Jury returned a verdict of "accidental death," adding "it is to be desired that more efficient mrans should be taken to render the road safe and fot for travelling."






JUNE 3RD, 1852

William Brown was indicted for the wilful murder of James Meney, at Okiwi, on the 11th day of April last.  He had been committed to take his vtrialk on the CXoroner's warrant for manslaughter, but the Grand Jury foiund a tru bill for murder whixch had been preferred against him, and thereupon he eas tried.

   The Attorney-General conducted the prosecution, and Mr. King was engaged by the prisoner for the defence.

   Patrick Spolan. - I am a laboutrer, I live near Kaiwarra; I was at Okiwi on the 11th April, at the prisoner's house, about 10 in the morning; there was Lecky, Boiatswain, the prisoner, and the deceased James Meney; I called for some rum, the vremainder of the party gotb gin, I called for it; after this we each called for another round; during the time that we were drinking some words took place between the prisoner and deceased; the prisoner charged him with having saids something at the Hutt against Boatswain; prisoner challenged deceased to fight; he did not wish to do so; prisoner caught deceased by the breast of the jacket, pulling him with the intention of making deceased fight; they did not fight, I separated them;  there was another row between Boatswain and prisoner, in that row I saw Boatswain knock the prisoner dowen; deceeased had nothing to do with that row; after this rtow I saw a rifle in prisoner's jhand, I don't know how or where he got it; I can't tell what he was going to do with it, Biatswain took it away and took it outside the room; I saw it afterwards in the hands of the Maori woman, (who lived with prisoner,) this was about 4 or 5 minutes afterwards; I wanted to go on to Port Nicholson, and the Boastwain wanted to go as far as the HuttL I asked deceased to accompany me part of the wway, he did not; I and the Boatswain went on and when I went as far as James Lansdale's, Boatswain went on and I staid there; deceased was at prisoner's when I left the house; this was I think past 3 in the afternoon; for something more than a quarter of an hour befoire I left things appeared pretty peaceable; I saw no other quarrelling between prisoner and deceased than what I mentioned; after I quitted the house I saw no more of prisoner, he did not accompamny me, nor doid deceased; I did not see the prisoner throw any stick aty or neat men and Boatswain when we were going away; I never saw deceased after that time; deceased was sober enough when I left to walk withiut staggering; he appeared to be a man about 30 years of age; I know the place called the rock near prisoner's house; the rock is a bluff overhanging the beach; I went between the rock and the water well enough, stepping on the rocks in the water close enough to touch the rock; I think the tide had been going out better than an hour when I oassed; as soon as ever you pasas the rock the prisoner's house cannot be seen.

   By Mr. King. - I remained in the porisoner's house and about from 10 in the mornoing till about 3; I was sometimes  walking about the yard, sometimes smoking; deceased was at prsioner's befire me; we had been together before and were going thyere; I had to return for some dogs; it was three quarters of an hour after I left deceased before I saw him at prisoner's; after I was at prisoner's I went again for the dogs; I had to go better than half a mile from prisoner's to get themn; the prisoner's house consists of but one room somewhat bigger thsan the jury box; there was room for some 4 or 5 men at the other end of the room if we were hard up; we had to catch hold of the prisoner to pacify bhim; I understood that it was owing to deceased having  said something about Boatswain that the words took place between prisoner and deceased; sometimes it was peaceavle but more times there was quarrelling; I saw no quarrelling but between Boatswain, prisoner, and deceased; I drank only 4 glkasses at the hoiuse that day; I was away about three quarters of an hoiur looking foir the dogs; I did noit see the prisoner drink any liquor that day; he seemed excited, I can't say whether it was at all from drink; he did not seem excited till the quarrel with deceased; I heard no abusive words between prisoner and deceased, no further than the prisoner trying to make a querrel with deceased about some words the deceased had spoken about the Boatswain at the Hutt; I turned round after I left the house, looking for deceased; I did noit see deceased; I did not get wet by the ewater going round the rock; I got my boots wet; it would be hard to go round that rock without getting wet somewhere or other; when the Boatswain and I passed round the rock we did noit stop but went on; it was getting dark when we arrived at Lansdale's; to the best of my knowledge I told Mrs. Lansdale that there had been a row at the prisoner's; I don't know whether I had beenb first asked about it; I stopped at Lansdale's all night; I can't say whether I was agitated; I had no great covering over me all night; I fekt cold; at the time of the inquest I was sent to the Police Barracks, and locked up there one night; this was after I had been exaniner by the Coroner concerning Meney's death; it was the same evening as the inquest that I was sent to the barracks; the Boatswaoin was taken also to the Police Barracks the same evening after me; I cannot say when he canme there, whether it was dark; it was gettinbg dark whe I was examined before the Coroner; sometimnes, on reaching my foot frok one rock to another, I had to straddle a little further than usual; O have slipped off the stones before now, but did not get wet.

   Arthur Edward M'Donogh. - I am Inspector of Police; this is a plan of prisoner's house, taken from before the bhouse, (No. 1); this (No. 2) is a plan of the prisoner's house taken from a boat lying about midway between the house and the rock; this (No. 3) is similar to the last, but with the exact measurement of the distance between the prisoner's house and the Rocky Point as a person would ewalk; the distance between the two is about 350 yards, and about 100 yards round the point is where the body was found, which is about 35 feet below high-water-mark; these plans are accurate, and delineate correctly the several places indicated in them.

   (THe olans were prepared by R. Park, Esq., from actual measurement.0

   By Mr. King. - At high tide it would not be a safe passage round an hour after high-water; I think it would also be dangerous up to a state of half-tide; the place where the body was found was shown to me by the Coxswain of the Government boat, who brought the body away; I saw the porisoner was about where the inquest was sitting on the s econd day; information was given to the Police that the body was found by a person named Wilton I believe; the prisoner eas not in custody when I saw him there; the prisoner told me that if it was necessary for the woman that was living with him, or the little girl, to be examined he would send for them; this was on the s econd day of the inquest; on the third day of the inquest, and after it was over, I caused the prisoner to be apporehenfded; he was at the time waiting outside where theinquest was held.

   William Leckey. - I am a laboiurer; I live at WSairarapa; I was at the prisoner's house on the 11th April last; I was sawing timber for the prisoner; the 11th was on a Sunday; two men came to the house, one named Ju=im; I never saw him alive after that day, but saw him at the Coroner's Inqyesr dead; the other man was named Paddy (the man who has been exemined here as a witness to-day); these two did n ot come together, deceased came first, the other man came abiut ten minutes after; when they came there were at the house, - myself, the Boatswain of the Agra (George Brfown), the prisoner and his wife (a maori woman), and my daughter - a girl about eleven years old; deceased came in lkeading a goiat; he asked for a  glass of grog; he went out looking for Paddy; he saw Paddy on the beach and he caled him inl Paddy said he had no money but if prisoner would let him have it he would dtand treat for all round; after that was drunk the deceased called for another four glasses; then paddy called for another, and deceased shortly afterwards for another fourt; prisoner threatened to thrash deceadsed because he had insulted the Boatswian at the Hutt; hu=igh woirds passed; the deceased always wanted to make oeace; I saw no blows pass between them; priosponer challenged deceased several times out to fight; the prisoner swore a good d eal at deceased, but deceased paid no attention to him; I saw the Biatswain strike the prisoner; I don't know what caused it; I did not hear any words between them, it must have been part of the same quarrel that took place between the prisoner and deceased; I think the Boatswain was taking the deceased's part; I went to bed about 3 o'clock; they were then all outside the house, all were then quiet; I once kept the proisoner from striking the deceased by holding both his arms, so that he could not strike; prisoner frequently challenged the deceased to come out and fight; I saw the prisoner next day, he was all that day in bed; the body was found on the Wednesday; the orisoner had a cut on the top of his head; he caled me on the Monday ebenin g to cujt the hair off the wound; I saw no b,low given to the prisoner but by the Boiatswain; I saw a scrfatch on the cheek bone of the porisoner, as if oc casioned by a fall or a stone, or b y the nails of some person.

   By Mr. King. - Prisoner and deceased were not quarrellking all the time, they were quarrelling nearly an hour; it did not begin till they had had 4 or 5 glasses of grog each; did not see prisoner take hold of deceased; the Boatwwain struck the prisoner and I saw him fall; I can't say where he hit him, or whether he struck him more than once; the Boatswain struck me too; I fell; I felt it a little the next day; I had a cold an d sore throat, I can';t say whether it was from the blow; I remember the day the body was found; the prisoner called to me, saying, that there was a man lying down drwoned, and he thought it was Jim; I had been looking for the cows befotre the prisoner called me, and before I went for tjem I saw Wilton going to prisoner's house; it could no be above half an hour before prisoner called me, I went with the prisoner; the body was found just free of the bad rock; a person is sure to get wet if the tide is three hours out; it was blowing very hard from the South East on the Sundayu; it had been bloweing very hard from the North West up to the Saturday evening when it changed suddenly; when the wind has been blowing from one  wuarter and shifts round it occasions a very heavy swell, on such occasio9nbs very few people would be able to go round the rovk without getting wet up to the nwck; they would have to go over the rock; the deceased did not apprear the worse for lu=iquor the last time I saw him that day; I lent the deceased my jacket, as it was wet, and he was going to the Hutt; the room where the parties were drinking had been a three stalled stable 15 feet long by 10 wide.

   John Patrick Fitzgerald, - I am Colonial S urgeon and Coroner; these are the proceedings upon the inquest held touching the death of James Meney; this statement purporting to be signed with the mark of the peironser was freely and voluntarily made by him in my presence; it was read over to him, and he touched the pen in the usual way with marksman when he was called upon to sdoign that deposition; the prisoner was not summonbed before me, he canme with the body; being ptresent I called him in and examined him; I asked him questions, and examined him as other witnesses; he came poerfectly voluntarily; he made no objections to any of the questions; the signatire "J. P. Fitzgerald M.D., Coroner" subjoined to the prisoner's statement is in my handwriting.

   By the Court. - The prisoner was not suspected at the time; he left the room when he was ecamoned, but not by my oirders, according to the best of my belief; I may have said that I had done with him, but I cannot be positive; I may have told him to leave.

   Mary Leckey. - I am 11 hyears of age; I live at Mr. Fowler's; in April I lived at prisoner's; I was there on Sunday 11th April; some strangers arrived there near dinner time; they came together, one I knew named Jim; prisoner and Mrs. Brown, and myself, and my father were there, also a man called the Boastwain; they were all in the room together; the door was shut; there was a great deal of quarrelling; there were high words between prisoner and Jim; this lasted a quasrter of an hour, they then went outside; there too they quarrelled; prisoner knocked Jim down three or four times; prisonber took a rifle from the bed-room and said he would shoot the Boatswain; prisoner quarrelled with Jom about somnething Jim had said to the Boastwain at the Hutt; the Boatswain and Paddy went away round the point; Jim staid behind about a quarter of an hour; then the prisoner took the handle of an axe and went after the Boatswain, and Jim went with him; prisoner went to the point, was not there two minutes, and then he came back; Jim went round the point; I looked and saw him; the oprisoner did not come back into the hoiuse, but lay down by the side of the creek, and fell asleep;  Mrs. Brown vcame out and tyook him to bed; he had a cut on his head; I saw it when I went to him to the creek; it eas bleeding; he had no cap on then; he had a cap when he went out with him.

   By the Court. - I never saw the axe handler again.

   Nan Brown,(a Native Woman). - I am married to the prisoner.

   By the Court. - I was married by a missionary about the time the Boy was killed, about 5, about 10 years ago; I don't know the missionary's name; I don't know whether there was any w riting given to me by any missionary to prove my marriage; there may be some.

   A quesrion was rfaised as to the admissibility of the evidence of this witness, and Mr. King examined the following witnesses to shew that the prisoner and witnress were man and wife according to common reputation, -

   Geirge Waters, storekeeper, Te Aro.  I know the prisoner, I have known him seven or eight years; Nan, (the woman just out into the box) was then living with him; I believed them to be regularly married to each other.

   William Luxfoird, Butcher.  I know the prisoner; have known him from eight to ten years; I have known this woman (Nan. Brown) for the last 4 years, since I have been going backward and foreward to the Wairarapa; I believed them to be man and wife; I understood so from what was thiught of them generally.

   Alexander Monk. I am a  slaughterer at the Hutt; I know Nan. Brown: I have always believed that they were man and wife, and that they were generally thought to be so.

   The Court overuled the objection, and the examinationb of the witness was resumed.

   Nan. Brown, re-called.   I remember the Sunday when the Boatswain and several other men came to prisoner's house; Lecky was there; I remember two men calling, one with a goat, the other a liuttle after; one of these men I have seen since dead, taken out of the water at Okiwi; they called for some rum; there were four of them; they stopped a short time and Brown gave a second round, and afterwards two other rounds of a glass each; they stopped in the house some time; I amnd Mary Lecky staid on the outside; the white men in the house were quarrelling; they shut the door on the inside; prisoner called to me to bring a hammer and nails to fasten up the door on the inside; there was quarrelling and swearing in the inside by the whole four; as they were leaving the house prisoner took the musket from wehere it was hanging inside the house and I went in to hide the powder; prisoner followed me, wehen the Boastwain took the musket from prisoner; the one who is dead took a koife which wsas lying on the table; prisonber took it from him and threw it away; Mary Leckey ran out of the house towards the Point; the man who is dead ran after her to bring her back; Brown was angry with him for taking hold of the child, and struck deceased several times and knokcked him down; he then quarrelled with the others; prisoner was going to shoot Boatswain with the gun; Boatswain then took it away from him; I then took it and broke it over a stone; after the fighting was over Boatswain and Paddy left the house, and soon after prisoner and deceased followed; prisoner had nothing in his hand, but deceased had a piece of wood belonging to the building called matopi, freshly cut; I saw deceased strike prisoner on the head with this wood; the blood flowed from it near the creek; Boatswain and Paddy were going from the house towards the Point and porisoner followed with the axe handle in his hand for the purpose of beating them; deceased was then left behind in the house with Leckey; as prisoner folloewed Biatswian and Paddy they turned back into the house; they went together toewards the Point, and they were then followed by the prisoner and deceased; prisoner then had nothing in hisn hand; I saw the deceased after heb had struvk prisoner; prisoner took the stick from him and struck him on the small of the bacvk, hia arms, legs and hips, and deceased cooied andf went toeards the rocks, where I saw Boatswain and Paddy take him by the hand and leafd him round the rocks leaving the prisoner lying down by the side of the creek; when prisoner returned to the warre he said he was afraid his companion was killed; he said "O killed one white man" (meaning the deceased;) the prisoner was crying, bith  from pain of body and with remorse at having killed the man; nwhen prisoner was lying beside the creek he was quite helpless; I thoiugh he was dead; Leckey was fast asleep at this time; I did not try to wake him, there was no necessiry for it, for I woke prisoner up and made him stand upon his legs and  walk into the house; porisoner did not say he was in pain, that was my own thought; prisoner got up ih his bed about the middle of Monday, but not out of it till Tuyesday; he could not; he was sore and ill, and it was raining.

    George Dalrymple Monteith. I am a surtgeon at Wellington; I examined the body of Jasmes Mener, deceased, on the 16th April, I think; it was on the Friday after it was found.  The face was livid and swollen, particularly about the upper part; there was the appearance of a bruise immediately over the left eye; the eyes were sunk in the sockets; the tongue protruded between the teeth; the humnidity (sic) of the skin extended to the throat immediatelty beneath the chin; the body was generally pale; the insides of the tips of the fingers were excoriated and lkacerated; the lacerations were jagged cuts, similar to those caused by broken bottles, or other irregular sharp pieces of rock or glass.  There were several small abrasions on the right thigh, and two much larger on the shins; on the left was much lkarger than that on the right; they extended from above to below about 4 inches, and 2 inches in breadth as near as I can state; I then examined the head; on reflecting the scalp, I noticed a bruise over the left eye; there was extravasated blood through the substance of the integument called the scalp; the bone beneath, as also to investing membrane, was uninjured;l I afterwards opnede th ehead; the brain was of a darker colour than usual; the vessels were tinged with blood, but there were no other marks of injury to the brain, its membranes, or the bone.

   I next examined the chest; the lungs were of a dark colour, and crepitant, and gave a creaking nouise like that of veal when blown out; I cut intoi the lungs, and on each of the lungs there exudeda frothy mucus; the left caviries of the heart were empty; the right contained a small portion of fluid blood.  The vessels leading  from the hgeart to the lungs were filled with black blood; the marks of the shins resembled those vcalled barking the shins, as if caused by friction against some hard substance - certainbly not by a blow; it was not an indenttation, but a mere abrasion; the bruise over the left eye might have been caused by a stroke from a piece of wood, such as an axe handle; drowning wa, in my opinion, the immediate cause of death; I think the bloe over the left eye must have been given whilst there was life, from the quantity of extravastion; the blow was not eniugh in my opinion to have caused death.

   William Wilton, butcher. - I found a dead body at Okiwi on the beach, a little below high water mark, lying on its face; it had a coat, two shirts, pair of dreawers, pair of btrowsers, and pair of boots; it was lying on the stones, the head between them touching against the sand; I found it at low water; the clothes were not dry; I went to ewithin fifty yards of prisoner's house; he was in front of it; I then ttold him there was a dead man lying on the beach; the Maori woman came out, and held her hand up and  said, "I see that;" prisoner must have heard her; he told her to go back into the house; I had dined at prisoner's before I found the body; he talked of the bad weather the few days before;b we went together towards the body; the prisoner was very much agitated and ran towards the body; he was saying something like ":God save us;" I cannot tell exactly what he said; he turned the body oiver to see the face, and in order to get it out of the water;v we lufted it up some diustance above high water mark; vI was ecamined as a witnesw the day after the discovery of the boidy at the Inquest; it was the same body.

   By Mr. King. - The prisoner did not desire me to give information, I told him I meant to do so.

   James Lansdale. - On Sunday evening trhe 11th Aoril, it was near dark when Paddy Spolan came with another man, who appeared to be a seaman, he went toiwards the Hutt and Paddy towards the house; he seemed very weak and trembling; he had a goat with him, I took the goat and put it up; I then went in; he seemed at first as of he had been drinking, but afterwards he seemed  sensibl;e; after he got his shirt off and dry, which wqas during the night, he seemed better; I told him to sitr near the fire; he seemed rather diffident; where he sat was awrm, thev trembling did not seem to leave him, as I hoped it would have done; I think I made a renark to him comncerning the prisoner; I said I thiught that his feelings were more tender than his external appeaerance; he said he was a w icked man; he spoke of theoir having had a quarrel; Paddy did not say hoiw he got wet, it was raining enough to have wet him, and hew saisd he hardly thought he would get over it; he complained of the rocks being bad, and saisd that he had some difficulty in getting round them.

   Mr. King for the prisoner addressed the Jury at consdierable length, dwelling on those points which were in his client's favour, and concluded by anticipating f rom them a verdict of acquitted.

   His Honor, oin  a very able address to the Jury of which we regret our limits will not allow us to give an outline, summed up the evidence, bringing  clearly befotre the Jury all the material points affecting the case.

   The Jury then retired and after an absenvce of three-quarter's of an hour returned a verdict of Not Guilty.

   The trial lasted until past eleven o'clock at night.  The Court, during the whole of the trial, was quite crowded.




Pre-trial report and discussion; argumenbt over the Inquest deposition of Brown.



Mr. King then rose and made an able speech in the prisoner's defence, which we are sorry to say we have not time to transcribe from our notes.  He felt confident thsat the prisoner could not have drowned the deceased in the manner laid down in the 3rd vount of the indoicytment, the only one bearing on the case, and he felt equally confident that the prisoner had no more hand in killing the deceaased, than the deceased had in killing the prisoner at the bar.

   The Judge summed up and shewed there was not as toittle of evidence againbst any one but Brown, and that if the deceased was murdered Browen must have been his murderer.  But then the deceased might have come by his death accidentally; the Judge examined mninutely and with severity the ehole of the facts bearing on both suppositions and then left it to the Jury to deciude whether or not the prisoner wass guilty of the crime laid to his charge.

   The jury then retired and after being absent about half an hour returnedf into court ton hear the evidence of the Maori woman and the little girl read over to them; which havibng been done they again retired, and after an absence of twenty minutes retutrned into court with a verdict of not guilty.

   The prisonwer was then arraigtned on the Cotoner's Inquisition for Mannslaughter to which the prisoner pleaded not guilty.  The Attorney-General stating he had no evodence to offer, he was acquitted.

   The Judge then addressed the prisoner, observing that he had been tried by a patient and merciful jury who had acquitted him.  He trusted he would let this charge  act as a caution to him, not to let his vicious temper inb future lead him to such rash ddeeds.  He had had a narrow escape, and was now discharged.


NEW ZEALANDER, 12 June 1852

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An Inquest was held, on Wednesday last, at the Royal Hotel, Onehunga, before cDr. Davies, Coroner, on the body of John Nolan, servant to Major Greenwood.  It apprared that on Saturday night lastm the decxeased, in company with a native named E. Ware, was attempting to pass in a small canoe from Mangarei to the Onehunga side of the Manukau, when,m during a squall, the canoe was  wamped.  The native made the most praisewirthy efforts to save the deceasaed (who was not able to swim), and supported him on his shoukders for about three houyrs.  At length deceasaed died from e xhaution, and the native with much difficulty swam to the shore, and  reported the occurrence.  The body was found on Wednesday, near Otahuhu.  The Jury found a verdict in accirdance with these facts.




Editorial re E. Ware and the d rowning of Nolan.



INQUEST. - On Wednesday morning last, an Inquest was held at the Royal George, Epsom Road, before W. Davies, Esq., on the body of Martin Stapleton.

   Samuel Mullens being swoern, stated that he and the deceased had been to Onehunga on Sunday last, and on their return went into the Prince Albert Inn, about half past 3 o'clock in the afternoon, where they had two glasses of gin and syrup, and then cantered towards the Halfway House; they rode by the house at a canter, when, on psssing some cattle, he called out to deceased to pull up; that, while doing so a calf ran against the horse's fore-legs, and the hotrse threw him, deceased falling over its head; he first caught the horse, then opicked up the deceased, and sat him by the side of the road; shortrly after, Major Nigent and Captain Travers came uo, when witness left to fetch a surgeon.

   Cross-examoined by a Juror:- We had nothing to drink except at Tye's; deceased was perfectly nsober; the calf caused the fall.

   Cross-examined by another Juror:- We had not been off our horses, neither the deceased nor I, from the time we left Tye's until the accident occurred; we cantered by the Halfway House; I am quite sure we did not gallop.

   Joseph Crisp, one of the Jury, being sworn, said:- Last Sunday afternoon I sawe the deceased and the last witness riding together near the Halfway House; I saw them stop and speak to a man and woman; one of them got off his horse, I cannot say which; immediatekly he got on his horse bagain, bith started off at a full gallop, at which I was much surprised, the drove of cattle being so near; I remarked to mr. Scitt w=hat fools the men were, as som accident must occur; they galloped into the herd of cattlke, Mullens calling out to pull up, trying to do so himserlf be=fore he got to the drove, I saw the man fall off, and saw something lying in the road, which I thougfht was a calf, as I saw a man go after the horse; the deceased was shorrtly after brought to the Halfway House.

   From the evidence of Dr. Pollen, who attended the deceased from the time of the accident till his death, (which tookn place on Tyesday morning, a little after 7 o'clock,) it appeared the deceased had had a very severe fall, inflicting a wound on the left temple, above the eye, 1 ½ inches long, and to the bone, and another nearly cutting the lower lip off.  Dr. Pollen thought that the deceased must have been going at a great pace at the time of the accident, which he considsered had caused concussion iof the brain, and subsequentlky death.

   The deceased was unconscious from the time of the accident till his death.

   The Jury returned a verdict, "That the deceased came to his death by an accidental fall from his horse, which caused concussion of the brain."


NEW ZEALANDER, 26 June 1852

Martin Stapleton inquest.



An Inquisitioin was taken on Monday before the Coroner and a Jury upon the body of George Shute, who was drowned on the 12th May.  It appeared from the evidence of two men who were in the Dinghy, that John Mc'kenzie, who was also drowned, was leaning on a tea-chest, when his elbow slipped, the boat lurched and filled, and the two men were seen no more.  Mrs. Shute and one man clung to the gunwhale.  A Maori canoe picked them up, and the otherv man swam ashore.  The unfortunate man was only  married a few days previous to the accident, and was returning to the head of the Bay when it occurred.  Verdict, "accidental death."


OTAGO WITNESS, 10 July 1852


An inquest was heldf at the Port Chalmers Hotel on Wednesday last, before Mr. Coroner Williams and a highly respectable Jury, on the body of John Murray, a boatman, residing at Port Chalmers.'  

   From the evidence of Jane Petulla, servant at the Port Chalmers Hotel, it appeared that the deceased was of intemperate habits, and had been scarcely sober for the last three months; he had not had any quantity of drink for three days before his death; he was ill with a cough; he was last seen alive by witness on Monday night, between 9 and 10 I'clock; he was found by her the next morning, about half-past eight, lying on the floor, in a cramped up posture; he was quite dead.

   From the evidence of Dr. Manning, who made a post mortem examination of the body, it appeared that the cause of death was pulmonary apo9plexy.

   The Jury returned a verdict "That the deceased died from aspo9plexy, brought on by excessive intemperance."



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Wednesday last, at the Royal Hotel, Onehunga, before Dr. Davies, Coroner, on the body of John Nolan.



INQUEST. - An inquest was held yesterday, at one o'clock, at the 'Prince of Wales,' Hobson-street, before Dr. Davies, Coroner, on the body of Martin Read.  From the evidence it appeared the deceased was well yesterday evening; and shortly after ten o'clock at night he complained of a pain in his side.  His wife called one of the neighbours, who went for a surgeon; before he arrived, Read was dead.  From the evidence of Drs. Philson and Matthews, who made a post mortem examination, it appears the cause of death was the rupture of a blood-vessel near the heart.  The jury returned a verdict accordingly.



DEATH BY DROWNING. - An inquest was held yesterday art the Aurora Tavern before Dr. Fizgerald, Coroner, on the body of George Falconer, mate of the schooner Wellington.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased on the preevious night had attempted to swim on shore from his vessel, and on reachingz the new embankment had got stuck in the mud from which he had been unable to extricate himserlf.  The body was found by Messrs. Hewett and Herbert in the morning with the hands and feet stuck in the mud.  A verdict was returned of Found Drowned.




Yesterday moirning an inquest was held at the Aurora Tavern, before the Coroner, Dr. Fitzgeralkd, and a respectable Jury, touching the death of William Faulkner, the mate of the schooner Wellington, whose body had been found that morning floating oin the bay opposite Mr. Lyoins's store, at a distance of about 50 feet from the shore.

   Joseph Herbert, deposed to the finding of the body at about 7 o';clock that morning.

   John Diddon, was called, who on being swoen stated, that he was a seaman on board the Wellington; he jnbew the deceased, and saw him last alive about 10 o'clock on Thursday night.  He was then down in the cabin, and was tipsy; he did nit see him after that, but between 11 and 12 o'clock he heard Capt. Ferguson and the deceased ralking; he could not say whether they were on deck of bekow, as he (the witrness) was in bed at the time in the firecastle.  He did not hear any more until Capt. Ferguson came forward about 120 minuytes or a quarter of an hour after he heard the two ralking, when he (the weitness) got up and went on deck; he then saw Captain Fergsuon and told him to go below as he was intoxicated, when they got below, a passenhger on biard asked him if he had seen Daulkner, which in learning that he had not, he immediately jumped up, and dressed himself, and they both went oin deck tio look for him, but niot being able toi find him, they shouted to a watchman on the shore to bring a boat off as they had missed a man, their boat being at that time ashore with one of the men who had received permission from Faulkner to take it.  The watchman answered, but never casme; they sat up until half-past two o'clock, when they conclufded, that the deceased had either swum ashore or else was drowned.  Captain Ferguson was not so drunk as not to know what he was doing.  But Faulkner was very drunk; he must have heard him if he had done to the bows.

   David Innes, a sheep farmer, was a passenger on biard the Wellington, bound to Port Coioper; he went on board about five I'clock on the preceding evening and remained in his own cabin uintil 8 o'clock; he then went into the main cabin, in which the deceased and Fergusonh were sitting, there were two or three maoties also nin the cabib at times from that time until 10 o'clock he was engaged in reading trhe Independent, after which he went to bed; Feruson and the deceased had been disputing about ship building, the latter was very drunk, and the former a little so.  About 12 o'clock the cook and Ferguson came down  into the cabin. 

   The remainder of this witness's evidence was similar to that of John Diddons's.  He never heard anything splash in the water; it was not on deck where he heard Ferguson and the deceased disputing.

   James Ferguson, master of the schooner Wellingtoin, knew the deceased who was the mate of his vessel; he thiought it was about 10 o'clock when he last saw the deceased alive; they were under orderes to sail, but were waiting foir a wind.  He was in the cabin with the deceased and the last witness, they had been talkijing together; he thought that the deceased had had a glass too much; he vhad refused to let him have any more grog, whehn the deceased went on decvk; as he did bot come back he (the witness) went on deck but could not find him, and he concluded he had either got another boat, or had swam on shore, as he was an expert swimmer, and had on former occasio9ns swam off to the vessel.  This was all he knew in reference ti the presaent enquiry.

   Verdict - Fou8nd drwoned.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 31 Julyv 1852

An Inquisition was taken on Thursday the 29th instant, on the body of Samuel Prosser, a lunatic, whose body vwas found floationg at about three boats lengths from the end of the Jetty on the previous evening. It appeared from the evidence that the inffortunate lad had strayed away from the housde where he was lodging, but no evidenvce of the means by which he came into the water was obtained.  The jury, therefore, returned an open verdict.

   After some discussion the Jury agreed to address a letter to the Coroner, through their fioreman, Mr. A. E. White, expressing a decided opinion that an asylum for lunatics with proper means of attention and treatment was inbdispensable.


OTAGO WITNESS, 14 August 1852


AN inquest  was held before Mr. Coroner Williams and a highly respectable jury at the Royal Hotel, Dunedin, yesterday, on the body of Catherine Murray, an infant, who was found dead on Thuyrsday morning.,  The deceased was about six months old, and was the daughter of John Murray, a boatman, who lately died from the effects of intemperance, and upon whoim an inquest was held a few weeks ago.

   The mother of the child died at its birth, and it was placed out to nurse with as Mrs. M'Phee.  A suspoicion had become current that the child had not met with its death from natural causes; consequently a number of witnesses were examined, chiefly females, and the neighbours of Mrs. M'Phee, but theirt evidence did not show ground for the suspicion.  Dr. Manning, who had been called in to make a post mortem examination of the body, proived that the child died of Morasma; and the bjury, after half an hout's deliberation, found a verdict accordingly.



SUDDEN DEATH. - The schooner Necromancer, which had sailed for Canterbury last week, put back on Wednesday, in consequence of the sudden death ofd one of bher crew, on Sunday afternoon, in the French Pass.  The deceased, who generally went by the name of Charteris, though his real name was George Croift, was the riudder about two o'clock on Sunday, when the schooner was beating up the Pass, and was observed to be unwell.  The master, who was on deck, took the rudder from him, and called on the only other man on board to assist Charteris to his beerth, which he did, and aboiut vtwo hoiurs afterwards, on goingb below to see whether he had recovered, he wasd foiund to be a corpse.  An inquest was held on the body on Thuyrsday, and a verdict returned of "died by the visitation of God."  The deceased was a hale hearyty looking man, and came out to the colony about three vyears since in the Kelso.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An Inquest was held yesterday morning, at Barrett's Hotel, by Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, on the body of Daniel M'Lean, late mate of the Eclair schooner.  The deceased, after his watch on Suynday night, went down below, and was found dead in his berth the next morning, having had an apo0plexctic fit.  The vessel, had left the harbour on Sunday afternoon, but put back inb consequence of the death of the mate.  A verdict turned of Died by apoplexy


LYTTELTON TIMNES, 11 S eptember 1852

Editorial on the inquest below, and public attitudes and behaviour.


An inquest was hekld at the Barracks on Saturday last befotre the Coroner and twelve Jurymen, to investigate the circumstances attending the deathb of Joseph denham, Nurseryman, of Lyttelton, who was found dead the preceding day on the Bridle path le\adingz to the ferry.  The proceedings were adjiourned to Tuyesday, and thence, owing to the absence of a witness, to Thursday.

   John Martin, sworn, said that on Thursday evening at about 8 o;clock, the cries of a man as if intoxicated were heard at my house; after some time I cooed to him, and he answered.  I then went with a man to his assistance and we lifted him up, one on each side, and he walked about three paces.  He said he wanted to get to my house, and we offered to help him, but he requested us to ket him lie down for half an hour.  He  smelt of brandy, and I considered him to be drunk, as he smiled like a dri=unken man when we lufted him up.  The spot is about half a miler from my house.  We left him as he desired between two stones to prevent his falling, and requested him to call out should he want assiatance.  The bext day at 2 o'clock, on going into Lyttleton, I looked at the place where we left him; he was not there, but I discovered him a short distance off; he was dead, lying on his back.  I asked Mr. Howard, who passed at six o'clock in the morning, and also another man about 9, if they had seen him, but they had not.  Some man passed my hoiuse after I left him the previous night, and I concludfed it was the man I had left - deceased made no cpmplainbts to me of his legs or anythging else.  I did not consider him in any danger or I should not bhave left him.

   Frank Slee, sworn, said I met the deceased on the top of the bridle-poath; he said he was tired, and had left a basket of seeds behibnd a rock, half way down the path; he appeared as if he had been drinking; it was aboutr five o'clock; he had not fallen, and  walked steadily; I judged him to be drunk froin his bering gayer than usual, and red in the face.

'   James Hare, sworn, sdaid in coming from Christchurch I met deceased who was leaning on a stick; he complainbed of the badness of the road, and of the difficulty of walking over the hill.  I thought him intoxicated as he spoke incioherentlky.  He remainedd stanbding till I list sigfht ofn him; abiout five minbutes after I heard him shout, but noit like a cry of pain.  I talked with him for dive minutes; he swayed to andf fro and spoke thivk; he did not a sk for assistance.

   Charles Martin, swien, met deceased at about 4 o'clock; he was proceeding towards the bridle path from his garden; he was quite reasonable and sober, abds was carrying a basket onb his shoiulders; his speech was quite clear and not thick at all.

   Henry Miller, constable, sworn, said on Thursday evening, at half-past eight, Froist told me there was a man lying on the other side of the bridle path in a dtying state. I reported it to Mr. Godley, who directed me to go with another Constable in search of the man.  I went with Kerridge, and we took a bull's-eye lantern; at the top of the bridle path we commenced searching, and shouted frequenrtly; we went considerable below the sharp angle, as far as where the shoirt cut joins the road again.  We left Lyttelton shortly after nine and returned aboutb vtwenty minutes to eleven.  I was sent to fetch the body, and it eas found onlkt a few feet from the road; if there had been any groaning we should have heard it.

   When going up the hill, we met Mr. Clement, who said he had seen a drunken man who called to him for help, but he only laughed as the man was so drunk, and from this we thought the man must have gone on,or would not have come away without him.

   William Frisy, sworen, said on Thursday evening I called at Martin's, who said there were cries of distress on the hill, and asked me to hurry up and give assistance.  I hurried on and met a man, and a sked him whon it was who shoiuted - he replied I neither know nor care.  A little further on I found a man lying down, who said he was done, and could not move his legs, and that a fit had come on him.  I placed him in an easy position, and promised to send assistance; he begged me to remain, but I told him that would do no good.  I met a policeman, near cthe Mitre, I told him there was a man lying on the other side of the bridle path, who had lost the use of his limbs, and wqas quite unable to assist himself; he promised assistance.  When I tried to assist him, he said it was quite uselkess.  The night ewas excessivley dark and rainy.  Martin did not accompany me.  I came into Port as quickly as I could.  I bthink it impossible the Police could have missed him.  I staid with deceased a quarter of an hour.

   Charles Clements, sworn, said on coming up the bridle path I heard a man groaning; I called to him, he answreed, but I did not comprehend his reply; it seemed an answer in anhger.  They told me at Martin';s there was a drunbken man on the path, and that they had tried to get him down but could not.  I met the poliuce this side the hill, near the rop. Who asked if I had seen a man in a  fit; I replied there was a man whom I thiught was drubnk, I had spoken to him but he only groaned in  reply.  The poluce went on.  The night was very dark, and I could not see the deceased.

   Thomnas McCheane, sworn, I am a medical practitioner, and made a post mortemexamination of the body.  I judge that the deceased having taken no food became exhausted after getting up ther hill, and, I suppose, fainted, and the weather prevented his recovery.  I feel condfident he had taken no spirits, and had been without food for some hours.  I bthink from the appearance of the body, andf from the evidence I have heard, that had he been taken tio a house and attended to, his klife might have been preserved.

   Jacob Barnett, sworn, said I was in companyv woith Martin when he went to look for deceased; he seemed very ill, and his legs useless, but we thiught him tipsy.  We got him on a little way, and he mentioned his name; we remained a quarter of an hour, and thinkihng him drunk, and that an hour or so would bring him to, we lewft him.  Two of us could not have got him down.  The next day I saw him dead a few yards from where we left him. I do not know whether Martin or I proposed leavinbg him; we left him together.

   George Kerridge, Policeman, corroborated his comraede, Miller's, evidence.  Two or three of the witnesses were re-exminaed, but nothing mjaterial was elicited.  The Coroner summed up, and the Jury returned a verdict that "Joseph denham by exposure to the inclemency of the weather languihsed and died in a natural way and not othwrwise, and added,

"We, the Jurors, wish to be attached to our verdict that we feel fully convinced the polivcfe on duty did not use due filigence on their search on being warned as to his situation."  On behalf of the Jury, (Signed) EDWARD GENET, Foreman.



An inbquisition was held on Thuyrsday, on the remains of a man found cast up on the shore of the Little bSandy Bay, next Rhodes' Bay, in this harbour.  From the advanced state of decomposition, it was at first thought recogtnition would be impoissible, but the boots, the remains of a pair nof trousers, and a leather belt, all that remained of his clothes, enabled James Mackenzie to idfentify the remainbs as those of his brotjer, John Mackenzie, who was drowned by the capsizing of a boat on his way to Governpor's Bay, in company with the unfortunate George Shute, who, our readers will recollect, was lost on his return from his wedding trip about ten weeks ago.  Verdict, Accidentally Drowned. - Lyttelton Toimes, July 31.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An Inquest was held on Monday at the Thistle Inn, before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, on the body of Mr. J. Mudford, sailmaker, who died suddenly the previous day.  Deceased complained of being unwell on Saturday night, and early on Sunday morning he woke the boy who was staying with him, and told him to go for his son as he felt very ill, and had been ill all the night.  The boiy set out oin his errabd, when he returnbed he found Mr. Mudford dead.  The Jury vreturned a verdict of "Died by the voisitation of God."


On the 12th instant, two men, one of whom had been recently employed on Mr. Lee;s station to the south of the Kai Koras, were returning to the Wairau, on attempoting to cross the Big bRiver, one of bthem was unfortunately drowned owing to the swollen state of the stream.

   A Frenchman who had come from Akaroa, and had been stopping for some days in a warre on the Douth Bank  waiting fore the vsteam toi subaside, not seeing anything of the two men, supposed they had gotn over in safety, and in attempting to cvross the river was unfortunately drowned also. [NZ Spectator, 20 October, Frenchman not drowned, walked banks, returtned later.]



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held at the Royal Hotel on Saturday before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coeoner, on the body of Henry Hall, late Barman of the NEW ZEALANDER, who was found dead at Evans's Bay that morning.  The following evidence was given:-

   Robert Jenkins, swoern - I am the proprietor of the NEW ZEALANDER, I have been acquainted with the deceased, Henry Hall, on whom this inquest is now sitting, for about twelve years; he was in my employmwent as barman; aboiut 1 o'clock yesterday, 1 October, I saw him last, he had been lying down for about five hoiurs, he had been away from the house repeatedly during the last fortnight day and night; after getting up he walked to the front doore, and I asked him what he was going to do, he replied going away for a shortv time to take a walk, I said you are looking very unwell, youb had better have some medical advice, he said no he was all right, I said you had better take care of yourseldf, I expect you will shortly have a firt if you carry on this way, he said oh, no; I reminded him that he was subject to epileptic fits, and recommended him to go to bed again, he truned round and said, I'm  off, I will see you againb bye-and-bye; he appeared ton me to bbe suffering from saomething like delirium tremens, I did nbot see anything more of him; his not vreturning last night made me s end round the town wo men to make enquiries, but they would hear notjhing of him; I have seen the body and recognize it to be that of Henry Hall.

   Witness being re-caled, sta\ted - The deeased has been in the habit of walking to my ciuntry place, round the nbeach, inbto Evans' Bay; it was aregular walk of his.  He has had several very serious fits during the time I have known him.

   Robert Henry Huntley, sworn - I am School Master attacxhed to the Catholic Mission of this place; as I was out walking this morning with some of my boys, round the beach on the opposite side of the harbour, near the point at Evans's Bay, about a quasrter before Eleven, one of the boys, George Gratehead, being a few yards in advance, cried out that there was a dead body on the beach, I went up to it and saw the body of a man lying on its face, the same body on which this inquest is now sitting; the body was lying between two large rocks, the face was resting on some sharp projections of rocks; the tide was leaving at the time; the feet were toewards the sea, and the head towards the land; the feetv were in the water; at high tide as far as I could tell, there would be about three feet of water, where the body was lying; the plkace where the body lay was off the pasth a liuttle; I could noit raise the body; I left the boys with it, and went to inform Mr. St. Hill.

   The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Dead."



Inquest on Henry Hall.



FATAL ACCIDENT. - It is our melancholy duty to record another fsatal accident caused by the upsetting of a boat, by which two natives and one European have lost their lives.  We are informed that five natives and a Mr. and Mrs. Wood left Waikouaiti on Wednesday morning last, with the intention of coming to Dunedin; the wind was bloweing strong from the North-0east, and there was a considerable surf on the bar at the entrance of the harbour.  The boat appears, however, to have crossed the bar, and then to have been struck with a sea and capsized. Three of thre natives and mr. Wood swam on shotre, but Mrs. Wood and two natives were droewned.  Mrs. Wood, whose maiden name was Jessie Crawford, came to the colony in the "Phillip Laing," and was married about twelbve months since. The boat was laden with bacon, manufactured aty Waikousito, and the luggage of Mr. Willians and of mr. Wood, the whole of which has been lost.  Three other boats vame dafely into the harbour on the same day; and it would appear that the accident was caused by the natives taking the wrong channel.  The tide weas ebbing at the time; and we have not heard that the boat or the bodies of rthe unfortunate people have been recovered.

  • IOTAGO WITNESS, September 4.



On Monday last an Inquest was held at the Colonial Hospital, before Dr. J. P. Fitzgerald, Coeroner, and a rewspectable jury, on the body opf Philip Riley, an assistant attendanet, who died suddenly.  It appeared from the ecidence that he was quite well on Saturday last, until towards evening, when he complained of being a little unwell.  On Sunday morning he was found in his bed in a state ofn insesibility and beyond all hopes of recoivery. Dr. Knox made a post mortem examination of the body, and found death was caused by serous effusion in the venbtricles of the brain.  The deceased was much regretted by both the officers and patients of the Institution on accoiunbt of his kind, obedient, and obliging manner.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 30 October 1852

The first serious accident connected with the building of the Church, occurred on Wednesday, when William Martin, who was en gaged in plkastering the Western entrance, was precipitated from the platform by a violent bgust of wind when handing a board to a fellow workman, and suffered a compound and cimminuted fracture of theb thigh, disclocation of the wrist, and severe internal injuries of the chest and abdomen.  The sufferer was promptyl conveyed to the hospital, and lingered till yesterday, when death out an end to his sufferings.  An inquest held on the body, resulted in a verdict of "accidental death."


LYTTELTON TIMES, 27 November 1852

An inquisition was taken on Monday, at Isis Farm, the residence of mr. Kent, before thre Coroner and a Jury of the neighbouring residents, on the body of Thomas Nicholls, who was drowned in attempting to cross the Heat5hycote, opposite Mr. Kent's house, on a log of wood rudely fashioned binto something like a boat or canoe.  The evidence shewed that mr. Kent had exptressly forbidden the deceased, who was his servant, to use the craft as it ewas excessivlety dangeroius to use, and he was notoriuously unskilled as a waterman.  The Coroner, in summing up,m explained to bthe Jury the law as regards culpable begligence, pointing out the exculpatory evidence as regarded deceased's Master.  The Jury, after sime diuscussion, retunred a verdict of "Accidental Death," and requesteed the Coroner to address at letter to Mr. Kent yrginbg him to destroy the vcraft, which Mr. Kent has engaged to do.


TARANAKI HERALD, 15 December 1852

On Friday, one of the Maotis employed on biard the cargo boat in unloading the St. Michael, died suddenly in the boat while alingside trhre barque.  There were fortunately other natives among the crew.  Ob Saturday the Coroner, P. Wilson, Esq., and a jury held an inquest onb the body, and after a post mortem exanminationb, returned the verdict "Died of congestio0n of the brain or apoplexy."


LYTTELTON TIMES, 25 December 1852

An Inquisition was taken before the Coroner and Jury at Lyttelton on Monday last on the body of a poor lad named Daniel Childs, who met his death by a singular accident on the previous afternoon.  Running along the h=ill side, just below the Summer-road, he oput his foot on a loose rock of consiuderable size, which rolled over, throwning hoim before it on his back, and passed over his bhead, causing extensive fracture of the skull, and, we believe, of the cervical vertebrae.  His companions, lads of about his own age, carried him up to the road, and Mr. Godley and Captain Simmeon coming up at the time, carried him at once to the hospital, where he was found to be quiute dead. - Verdict, Accidental Death.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 31 Devcember 1852

FATAL ACCIDWENT. - We regret to have to record the untimely death of an old and much respected COLONIST, Mr. Danuiel Lorrigan, who was unfortunately killed by a fall from his horse on Ruesdat afeternoon.  Mr. Lorrigan set out for his farm at the One Tree Hill, on the Otahuhu road, in the coyrse of the afternoon; and his horse having taken fright he wqas violently thrown.  Whether the animal kicked or trod upon the deceased is not known; but according to the testomony of Dr. Phildon, given at an inquest on Wednresday, several of the ribs on the left side were fractyred, and both the heart and the lungs weere severely injuyred.

   Poor Lorrigan was conveyed alive from the spoit where he received his death-0stroke to his bown residencxe, a distance of about three miles, and although he conversed freely with those who attended on him, he speedily sank after reaching home; indeed, in the opnion of ther medivcal witness, the inujury he had received, was considerably aggravated by the jolyting of the cart which conveyed him to his residence.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.  ...



INQUEST. - Yesterday, an inquest was held by Dr. Davies, Coroner, at the Russell Wine Vaults, Shortland-street, on the body of Alexander Walker, a pensioner belonging to the Onehunga Division.  It appeared that on Wednesday evening, about half past 5 o'clock, the deceased went into the market and fell down, when Mr. Cole, who has a stall in the market, placed him on a stool, on which he fell asleep.  In a short time Walker awoke, and wanted to borrow five shillings, which Cole declined to lend, as Walker was intoxicated.  When Mr. Cole quitted the market, he left Mr. Dickey with the deceased, who tried to wake him up; but not succeeding, he locked the market about 7 o'clock, and left it.  About 8, Dickey returned, and found the deceased still sitting, but his head was leaning over on the scantling; Dickey then lifted him outside, and went for a light; Mr. Stichbury returned with Dickey, when they discovered that walker wass dead, and immediately sent for Dr. Lee, who came: but in the interval, Dr. Dalliston, who was passing, examined the deceased, and, from the appearance of the body, was of opinion that venous apoplexy was the cause of death.  One of the Jurors stated that the deceased was on the race course drunk for two days, and that he had been drunk about the streets yesterday.  Verdict, "Died of Venous Apoplexy, whilst in a state of intoxication."



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held at the Nag's Head, Te Aro, on Wednesday last, before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, on view of the body of J. Cattell, aged a year and 8 months, the son of the landlord of that inn, who was found drowned in the stream at Te Aro, on the further side of the Pa.  From the evidence of his brother, a lad of 12 years old, it appeared the child was left by himself on the bank, and had fallen into the water, and was seen by a son of Q.M. Withers, who was passing at the time.  On being taken out of the water the child was found to be quite dead.  The Jury returned as verdict of Accidental Death.



ACCIDENT BY DROWNING. - On Wednesday evening last a child belonging to Mr. William Cattell of the Nag's Head Inn, Te Aro, was accidentally drowned in the stream near to Mr. Hoggard's Mill.  An inquest was held on the body by Dr. Fitzgerald the Coroner, and a verdict returned accordingly.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 15 January 1853

Through private letters from Auckland, ... We regret to learn the demise of the Rev. A. O. Cotton, chaplain of the William Hyde.  When here he wished very much to have taken the duty of the sheep stations, could it have been arranged.  Since he left in February, he has been taking the duty of a district five miles from Auckland, without stipend.  He went on a bush trip up the Waikato, got a chill bathing, and had a sunstroke upon it.  He was insensible during the last ten days of his illness, but an unfavourable issue was not anticipated. ...Lyttelton Tines, January 1.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held in the Hutt district by Dr. Fitzgerald, coroner, on the body of Henry James Edwards, a little boy who was killed by the fall of a tree.  It appeared that the deceased and another child were playing together on the 13th inst., near an old rotten tree which suddenly fell and struck deceased on the head, completely smashing his skull; the other child was also struck and was much injured.  Verdict, Accidental Death.

   An inquest was held at the Hutt on Monday the 24th instant, on the body of Frederick Smith, a lad aged ten years, who was drowned in the river on the previous Saturday.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased had gone with a man named B. Williams to drive some cows; when he got to the river below Mr. Burcham's deceased said he would bathe.  Williams tried to dissuade him but without success.  Williams then drove the cows further on, and returned to where he had left the boy Smith, whom he saw in the water in the act of sinking, but was unable ton save him.  He succeeded in procuring the assistance of a Maori, who dived for the boy, and got him out of the river, but he was found to be quite dead.  Verdict, Accidental Death.


   ON Friday last as a young man of the name of Russell, aged about 19, who was working with a relation on his farm near the Half-way House, on the Porirua Road, was cutting down a tree, the tree took a direction contrary to what was anticipated, and fell across his chest, killing him on the spot.  An inquest was held on the body when a verdict of Accidental Death was returned.




On January 13th, as two children, one named Henry James Edwards, the other the daughter of Jane M'Coy, were playing close to a rotten tree, the tree gave way, being blown down by the wind, and struck the two children to the ground.  One, Henry James Edwards, died on the spot, the skull having been crushed, and several pieces of the bone having been discovered on the ground.  The other child received such severe injury from concussion, that blood was flowing from the ears; probably caused from fracture of some of the bones internally.  Dr. Phillips was sent for, and was in attendance on the surviving child.  On Jan. 14th an inquest wass held on the deceased child by J. P. Fitzgerald, M.D., coroner, and a respectable Jury, when a verdict of Accidental Death was recorded.

   Also inquests on Robert Russell and Frederick Smith, aged 10 years.



SHOCKING ACCIDENT. - It is our melancholy duty this week to record a fatal accident which has occurred at Massacre Bay.  It appears that on the 8th instant Mr. H. Eliot, a gentleman well known to most of our fellow settlers, took his gun and went out for the purpose of pigeon shooting.  As he did not return that evening or the following morning, his wife became alarmed, and expressed her fears to a neighbour, Mr. J. Lovell, who, in company with Mr. Packard, immediately started out to look for the missing gentleman, but returned in the evening without finding him.  The search was continued on the two following day, in company with some Maories who had been engaged to assist, and at noon on the 11th one of the party returned with the tidings that the dead body of Mr. Eliot had been found about two miles away from his house.  It would seem that the deceased was climbing a rock, and had left his gun resting against the base of the rock, and that while in the act of reaching down to lift the gun after him, it exploded, the contents shattering the brain, and causing instant death.  A Court of enquiry was held yesterday at the Commercial Hotel, Nelson, by the Coroner, when several witnesses were examined, and the following verdict was returned: - "that Henry Eliot met with his death from an accidental discharge of his gun."

   The Coroner was requested by the jury to express their thanks to Mr. J. Lovell for his great and unwearied exertions in discovering the body, and his unremitting endeavours in clearing up the facts of the melancholy case, and that great praise is sue to him.


CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Thursday last, at the Commercial Hotel, on the body of Mrs. Jacobson, a German.  From the evidence of her husband it appears that on Wednesday evening the deceased was splitting a small piece of firewood, when she was suddenly taken ill and fell down.  Her husband took her into the house, whilst his son ran for assistance, but before his return she had expired.  The jury returned a verdict of "Died by a fit of Apoplexy."



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Wednesday last, at the Turf Hotel, Stoke, on the body of Susan Gibson, the wife of a stocking weaver, who left Nelson a few months ago for the Melbourne diggings.  It appeared from the evidence that the poor woman had been in a weak state of health for a considerable time past, and that she expired on Thursday night, while giving birth to an infant.  The deceased has left a family of five children, for whom we are happy to say that the local Government and a few philanthropic individuals have suitably provided.


TARANAKI HERALD, 23 February 1853

We regret to say that the body of JAMES BUCKLAND mentioned in our Obituary, and whose absence was spoken of in our last number, was discovered by a native in the waters of the Waitara, on Thursday last.  From the appearances of the body it had probably been many days in the water.

   An inquest was summoned for the evening of Saturday, but the party who discovered the body not being in attendance was adjourned till Monday evening, and the body was forthwith buried in the Church-yard at Te Henui, the Rev. ---- KINGDON officiating.  We mention this point because we learn it has been reported that the interment took place without any religious ceremonial.

   The adjourned Inquest met again on Monday, when evidence of the finding of the body was produced, and after some discussion a verdict of "found drowned" in the Waitara was returned.

[Editorial on several topics related to inquest: neglect by the police; conduct of the inquest; delay of the inquest; lack of medical evidence as to drowning; the verdict.]




An inquisition was taken on Thursday, the 24th February, on the banks of the river Kowai, before the Coroner and a Jury impannelled upon the spot, upon the body of a man named Thomas Vardy, but better known as Raupo Jack.

   The Hon. James Stuart Wortley deposed - the deceased was in my employ as a Shepherd; on Monday last I saw him about 1 o'clock; I told him to get the sheep across the river that night, to pack up the tent and all the things next morning to be ready to start on early; On Tuesday morning I found that the sheep had been crossed, but the man was not with them; I went to the hut and saw him lying in it; as he did not answer when I called, I alighted from my horse, went into the hut, and found him quite cold and rigid; he had apparently been some hours dead.

   Alfred Charles Barker deposed - that he had examined the body and found an ulcer in the stomach the size of a shilling, which had penetrated all the coats, and the food had escaped into the abdominal cavity.  He had also disease of the heart.  I consider that when the penetration occurred he fainted, and having diseased heart, never recovered from the fainting fit.  The peritoneum had not become inflamed, and the state of the limbs did not evince agony or struggling.  There was no Tutu in the stomach or abdomen.  Verdict - "Died by the visitation of God."

   Previous to the enquiry it was imagined the man had died from poisoning by Tutu, as some juice of the berries was found in the hut.



An inquest was held at Taranaki on the body of Mr. James Buckland of that place, who it appears left his home on the 1st of February, whilst under the influence of a severe nervous paroxysm, and was not discovered until the 18th instant, when he was found by a native in the eaters of the Waitara.  Verdict, found drowned.



AN INQUEST was held on Thursday, the 17th inst., at Reeves Inn, Johnstonville, by Dr. Fitzgerald, coroner, on the body  of Thomas Fairbrass, a settler of the Porirua road, who was found dead in the bush on Wednesday evening.  The principal witness examined was

   James Taylor, a settler on the Porirua road, who stated that hearing on Tuesday night, March 15th, Fairbrass was lost, he and J. Wilmshurst proposed to make a search for him; they arrived at Johnsonville at about 11 o'clock and saw Mr. Sim, and inquired if Mr. Fairbrass was found, he said no; a party had gone to Wellington to look for him; about two o'clock the party returned but could not hear anything of him at Wellington.  J. Wilmshurst, W. Taylor, J. Edwards and Taylor then went out; this side Mount Misery they met a man named Voller, who accompanied them.  J. Wilmshurst, Voller and taylor went down a gully close to Mount Misery; they discovered the treack of a man down the gulley; they lost the track and then took to another gulley, where they found the body about ten chains from the road side in some mud; his left elbow was close to the water and he appeared to have rolled off the side of the hill from the marks on the side.  The hill was very steep, he had nothing on him except a pair of trousers, his shirt and shoes were off, the latter were found about two rods from where he lay, the rest of his clothes have not yet been found.

   The deceased, who was suffering from Amaurosis, caused by disease of the brain, was last seen alive on the Porirua road on Monday evening.  Verdict -0 Found dead.


OTAGO WITNESS, 19 March 1853

INQUEST. - A Coroner's inquest was held on Tuesday last, and adjourned to Friday, on the body of To Au Wahine, a native woman, the wife of John Williams, better known as Black Bill, a man of colour.  The woman died on the 18th instant, and was buried at the native village at the Heads by the Natives.  Suspicion having got abroad that the deceased had been poisoned, the Coroner, accompanied by Dr. Manning, proceeded on Sunday last down the harbour, and on the following day exhumed the body, which was brought back to Dunedin and the inquest held.

   John Williams and a Mrs. Archibald with whom he is living were taken into custody by the police, and remained in prison until the verdict of the Jury was delivered.  The suspicion appears to have been founded on the statement of the deceased made to a native of Waitoto, known as New Zealand Jack, "that she had been physiced," which phrase is translated "poisoned."  The deceased had been at Mrs. Archibald's, and being in an ill state of health had taken some tea and spirits.  Dr. Manning made a post mortem examination of the stomach with the assistance of Dr. Richardson; and although the usual tests were applied, no traces of poison were discovered.  Dr. Manning's evidence proved that the deceased had died from natural causes.  The Jury returned a verdict accordingly.




On Wednesday last, an inquest was held on the body of William Neil, a private in the 58th regiment, at the 'Masons' Home,' in Official Bay, when the following evidence was elicited:-

   William Nunnington being sworn, stated, I am colour serjeant in the 68th regiment; last night, about half past 10 o'clock, Corporal Thompson came and reported that Private Wm. Nail was absent from his post, and that he required another man in his place; this morning (March 30) about a quarter past six, I sent a corporal down to the main guard to see if there was any account of the man, he returned and said there was none; in about a ¼ of an hour after, Corporal Thompson reported that William Neil was laying dead upon the beach; I then went down to the beach with a fatigue party, and brought the deceased into this house; I have only known him about seven weeks; he was addicted to drinking; he was confined on the 10th of this month for being drunk; he was sentry at the main gate of Britomart Barracks.

   Frederick Hales being swoern, stated, - I am serjeant in the 58th regiment; I was serjeant of the main guard last night; about 10 o'clock Corporal Thompson reported to me that William Nail was absent from his post; I sent Corporal Thompson to look round the ramparts for him; he reported to me that he could not see him anywhere; he was at his post at a quarter to 10, he was perfectly sober when he went on sentry at 8 o'clock; it was moonlight; when I saw him this morning on the beach; he was lying on his face; there was no mark on the body as if he had been wrestling.

   John Thompson being sworn, said, - I am corporal in the 58th regiment; I was corporal of the main guard yesterday; when  I thought it was about 10 o'clock last night, I went to see if the sentry was on his post; the s entry was missing, and his fire-lock was against the sentry-box; I got eh first man a could find and out him on  sentry, and then reported to the serjeant of the guard that the sentry was away from his post; I went all around the barracks and outhouses looking for him, but could not find him; he appeared to be very low-spirited yesterday, and very dull, and complained about the punishment he had had in the service.

   John Gowler, being sworn, deposed, - I am a private soldier in the 58th regiment; last night I  was sentry at the magazine, Britomart Barracks; I saw a person approaching my post about ten minutes before 10 o'clock; I challenged him, but received no answer;  he passed by me, and went towards the battery; he had on a loose coat; I could tell he was a soldier; I did not see him after he left the battery; during the day he (Neil) appeared some times in good spirits, some times dull.

   Henry Collin Balneavis, being sworn, stated, - I am adjutant of the 58th regiment; I have known the deceased William Nail about two months; he was much addicted to drinking; he has been brought up once in Auckland for drunkenness; he was brought up the day before yesterday for being slovenly on his post (punished by three days' drill and confinement to barracks); it was his regular guard.

   Arthur Thompson, being sworn, stated, - I am surgeon of the 58th regiment; I have examined the body of Wm. Neil, and find that the immediate cause of death was drowning; there are no external marks of violence on the body; there was no appearance of his having been wrestling; the body must have been in the water some hours; upon opening the stomach, there was no appearance of his having been intoxicated.

   William Goodwin, being swoern, stated, - I am a private soldier of the 58th regiment; I have known William Nail about 3 years; I saw him alive yesterday morning at half-past 9 o'clock; he appeared to be in good spirits at the time; I never knew him to be uneasy in his mind, but, on the contrary, he was a very pleasant man.

   Verdict, "found drowned."



MELANCHOLY CIRCUMSTANCE. - Mr. T. Smith, brewer, of nelson, has this week met his death under the following painful circumstance.  On Wednesday last, about four o'clock in the afternoon, Mr. Smith was in his hop garden, and the women engaged in hop-picking having threatened to put him in one of the bins, he laid himself down on the ground, when four of the woman lifted him into a bin, but while one of them was engaged in throwing some hops on his face, her companions tumbled her in upon Mr. Smith, and, falling upon him heavily, she struck him in the lower part of his stomach, and caused an internal  contusion.  The deceased then went home and sent for medical assistance, but deplorable to state, he died yesterday morning at half past nine o'clock.  An inquest sat last evening on the body, but no serious blame seems to be attached to any of the parties. 

   The serious turn which the accident took may in part be attributed to the stout full habit of the deceased.  Mr. Smith was a man much respected here, and was one of the most enterprising of our settlers.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Wednesday, April 20th, an inquest was held at the house of John Russell, Hutt, before J. P. Fitzgerald, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a respectable jury, on view of the body of Frances Russell, the mother of five children, who died in a cart on her way to the Hutt.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased left Wellington about half-past four o'clock on Tuesday afternoon, in a cart driven by a young man, about 19 years of age, in the employment of her husband.  She had her child, about 13 weeks old, with her.  She had two glasses of ale to drunk at Clarke's and Calders,' Public houses, and soon after leaving Calder's she appeared to lean her head to one side and lie down in the bottom of the cart with her child, she told the lad to look out as it was getting dusk; he, not supposing anything serious was the matter, drove on quick to get home.

   On  overtaking Mr. Peck, a neighbour, on the road, Mr. Peck exchanged horses and carts with the lad and took charge of the one in which deceased was in.  On speaking to the deceased Mr. Peck could get no answer; another man, named Maxton, from the Porirua road got into the cart and took the child while Mr. Peck supported deceased, but on arriving at Hales' Public house she was found to be dead.  She had only two glasses of ale, but was observed to have been shivering at Clarke's Public house; she was not the worse for liquor and her habits were always sober.

   Verdict died by the visitation of God.




It is our melancholy duty this week to record the death of the Hon. C. A. Dillon, by drowning, which occurred on Saturday evening last, in attempting to ford the Wairau river.  The circumstances which attended the lamented gentleman's death are as follows:-

   Mr. Dillon, accompanied by his son (a lad about ten years of age), N. G. Morse, Esq., and a young gentleman named Pasley, reached the Wairau river, opposite the Manuka Island, on Saturday evening at sundown, on their way to Nelson, the three gentlemen on horseback, and Master Dillon on a small Timor pony.  In order to enable the child to cross the river safely, Mr. Dillon placed his son on his own horse, and sent him across in company with Mr. Morse, and determined to ford the river on foot and lead the pony, but taking the precaution however of laying hold of Mr. Pasley's left stirrup iron.  To this arrangement Mr. Morse objected, and offered to return with Mr. Dillon's horse after taking over the boy, (as he had done before at the Branch river), but Mr. Dillon insisted on crossing as we have described, saying, that he had a change of clothes, and did not mind getting wet.

   After entering the river and walking a short distance, Mr. Dillon requested Mr. Pasley to stop while he put the bridle over the pony's neck to let him follow of his own accord, and then, on proceeding a little further, Mr. Dillon asked Mr. Pasley whether his horse was swimming, saying at the same time, that he was "off his legs."  On this the deceased seized the stirrup leather higher up, and attempted to rise himself, which caused the horse to become fidgetty, and as they had by this time incautiously approached the edge of the fall, and Mr. Pasley having slackened his reins in endeavouring to render Mr. Dillon assistance, the horse and both gentlemen were rolled over the fall together into deep water.  Mr. Pasley rose above the horse in the stream, and tried to teach the bank by swimming, but not succeeding, he was carried down to the horse, which he laid hold of, and was brought on shore by it.

   Mr. Dillon's arm was seen raised only once by Mr. Morse, who saw nothing of what was occurring until the unfortunate gentlemen were being precipitated over the fall, and although he ran down the bank of the river, such was the force of the stream that he could render no assistance, nor even see the slightest trace of the body.  Mr. Pasley was severely bruised.  The body of Mr. Dillon was found on Monday morning by G. Duppa, Esq., thrown on the shingle, nearly two miles from where the accident occurred.

   The body was conveyed to the Waimea, where an inquest was held upon it on Wednesday, in the house of Mr. Kerr.  The verdict given was, "that Constantine Augustus Dillon was accidentally drowned in attempting to cross the Wairau river on foot."

   On examining the body, it was found that the deceased had received a blow on the temple, and it is conjectured that he was struck by the horse and stunned when the animal first rolled over, for Mr. Dillon had improperly taken the river on the upper side of the horse. ... [Biography]



INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Monday last, on the body of James Livingstone, who died on the preceding evening from the injuries sustained from the accident recorded in our last week's paper.  The verdict given was that of "Accidental death."




Editorial comment.

We may preface our report of the proceedings at the Coroner's Inquest, by stating, that Mr. Rathbone, the person so inhumanely murdered, arrived in Auckland by the barque 'Sir Edward Paget,' about two years since.  Shortly afterwards, he purchased a property on the Cabbage Tree Swamp Road, in which he has ever since resided by himself; the day being spent by him in town, as an assistant to Mr. George, the baker, and his evenings having been passed in solitary loneliness at his dwelling house on the Cabbage Tree Swamp Road, about a mile and a half from Auckland.

   On Friday, Mr. Rathbone was absent from his usual employment; and although Mrs. Justin, the first witness examined, entered the outer room of his house on that morning, and found it full of smoke, it is to be regretted that not finding him there, and making no further search, she should have deemed it unnecessary to give any alarm until the next day.  Even when the body was, first discovered, no suspicion of foul play was entertained; since it was only after the police had been sent by order of the Coroner to convey the mutilated remains to town, that the details of the revolting tragedy were disclosed.

   A highly respectable Jury, (of which, Mr. Wells, of Wakefield-street, was Foreman,) having been convened at the Wheat Sheaf Inn, and duly sworn, they proceeded to view the remains of the victim then lying in an adjacent room.  Like the Foreman of the Jury, we must be permitted to express our surprise that the Jury were not called upon to inspect the remains and the premises where the murder was perpetrated.  If such be not the positive law of England, it is at least, an old and time honoured practice, - a practice, we may safely add, best calculated to lead such investigations to successfully practical results.  In reply to the Foreman's objections with reference to the removal in this case, the Coroner said that he had received no notice until late in the day, 12 o'clock; (Corporal Trafford of the Police subsequently swore it was ½ past 10,) but that, if necessary, the inquest could be adjourned until Monday, and the premises be then inspected.

   We are loth to make anything even wearing the aspect of severity in our comments upon such an appalling subject; but we cannot but consider that the observance which has been deemed essential by the English Medical Jurisprudence of so many centuries, should not be rashly departed from by any Colonial Coroner.  The premises and the condition of the body were, in our judgment, most essential for the ends of justice, to have been inspected prior to removal.  We have, since, narrowly investigated them.  We met with at least one of the Jury occupied in the like pursuit; and we can have no hesitation in saying that such an inspection would have most materially assisted the Jury in elucidating details partaking of all the obscurity of verbal description.

   They would have beheld the diabolical pains that had been taken to conceal the crime by the attempted burning of both the body and the house.  They would have seen it surrounded by inflammable materials, viz - three large chests of drawers, and a large box filled with oats, amidst fragments of burnt straw, and a nearly consumed hair mattress. They would have seen the flooring boards burnt through, (a fact not elicited in evidence) and they would, by such investigation, had doubt or difficulty arisen, have been in a much better position to have arrived at a just and well considered verdict.

   With these preliminary but very important observations, we proceed to the evidence of the various witnesses.


   Mary Justin sworn, states - I live on the Cabbage Tree Swamp Toad, opposite the late residence of the deceased.  Yesterday morning about daylight, I saw a large smoke issuing out of the lower part of the house, from door, chimney, and windows; I sent for a kindle to light my fire, and to see if Rathbone was up; could not find him anywhere.  I did not go myself until the evening, when I went to take some butter and milk to him.  I opened the door, and sent my child upstairs, but although there was a burnt smell, I could see him nowhere.  Next morning I went for Mr. Horne, and proceeded with him to Rathbone's.  Horne went into the bed-room on the ground floor, and I after him; Horne said - There he is, on the bed on his back, dead and burnt, and with one leg drawn up.  A great part of his body and all his clothes were burnt.  The bed and bed clothes were partly burnt, and there was blood about the foot of the bed.  I did not examine the body; the body was lying on the floor.  I saw him last alive on Thursday morning.  Deceased was in the practice of fastening his doors, having been robbed once or twice.

   The Foreman (Mr. Wells) here made the very pertinent observation, that this matter wore a very serious aspect; he therefore thought the jury should have seen the place where the affair had happened.

   The Coroner (Dr. Davies) said that it was 12 o'clock when intelligence of the occurrence reached town; but that he would adjourn the inquest until Monday if necessary, when the jury could go and examine the spot.

   Evidence resumed - Thomas Horne, labourer, sworn - Lives near deceased's house, on Cabbage Tree Swamp Road, about 500 yards distant.  This morning about seven o'clock Mrs. Justin came to my house, and said she wished some one would accompany her to Rathbone's for that she was afraid something had happened to him. I went with her.  I entered the house of the deceased; the front door was shut, but the hasp was on the staple.  I opened it and went into the kitchen.  I saw no one there.  I then called out, but could make no one hear.  I went up stairs, but only saw a bolster on the floor, and the framework of a bedstead, on which his bed used to lie; snuffers and tray by its side; no candle or candle stick.  Came down stairs again, and went into an inner room of the lower floor.  I said to Mrs. Justin - Here's all that remains of him, he is burnt from his middle downwards.  I did not then examine the body.  Deceased was a sober man.  I never saw him drink.  I then came into town, and informed the police. I accompanied the police back to Rathbone's.

   We examined the house, on taking charge of the body.  There was a large pool of blood at the foot of the bed, about three yards from it.  Examined a bill hook and dungfork; saw no blood on them.  There was an appearance of scuffling, as if some one had slipped and fallen at the foot of the bed.  I knew he had a cutlass, and searched the house for it, but could not find it.  It was a long cavalry sword.  I know that he was once robbed of a blanket.  Had there been violence used and he had made any outcry, I do not think he could have been heard by Justins.'

   John Trafford, corporal Auckland police, sworn - This morning at ½ past 10, I was ordered to go and examine the house of deceased.  On entering the front door, about three yards from it, I perceived blood, and traced it to the inside room close to deceased's feet, where there was a pool of blood.  I examined the inner room where deceased was lying, and found on the jamb of the door, a blow as if done with the head of an axe, and blood sprinkled on the jamb by the blow.  I went further into the room, and examined the place where his head lay, and found there a pool of blood on the floor.  I examined deceased's head, and found large cuts on the left side of the chin, as if inflicted by a sharp instrument.  There were three chests of drawers in the room.  As he lay on the floor, one was on his right, one of his left, and one at his head.  The body was very much burnt, a bed had been under him, but it was burnt.  The left leg was entirely burnt away, and the body was consumed from the middle downwards. There was an appearance of a scuffle where the blood was at the foot of the bed, and muddy marks as if of dirty feet; these were intermixed with the blood.  The chest of drawers on his right I examined; near the top I found a blow which hade knocked a piece off; the blow had been freshly done.  Found a bottle used by deceased as a candlestick in the kitchen.

   J. J. R. Dalliston, sworn - I am a surgeon practising in Auckland.  I have examined the body; I found a severe wound on the back of the head, on the left occipital region; the wound appeared as if it had been inflicted with a tomahawk, it was about 2 ½ inches long, ad cut a part (about the size of half a crown) of the plate of the skull off. I think a larger instrument would have broken into the skull.  There was another cut on the left jaw likely to have been caused by the same weapon; it was about 3 inches long, and had shattered the jaw into five or six pieces underneath, having first cut through the soft parts.  There was a stab immediately behind the right angle of the lower jaw, about an inch in length and an inch in depth.  This wound must have injured some of the external branches of the carotid artery; it must have bled very largely, and in my opinion, been the immediate cause of death.

   There were two stabs on the right arm, inflicted with a pointed instrument, and two on the left shoulder, behind the scapula, of a similar character, besides several severe bruises about the arms and shoulder, as if received in self defence.  All these wounds had been inflicted during life time.  The whole of the lower part of the body had been disorganized by fire.  The punctured wounds are very likely, I think, to have been inflicted with the point of a sword.

   James George, sworn - I am a baker, residing in Shortland street.  Deceased was in my employ for 7 months; I saw him alive last on Thursday evening about 7 o'clock.  He was then in perfect health.  He was a sober, steady man.  He made an appointment to come to his work the next morning.  I have seen the body this day, and recognize it as that of Richard Rathbone.  He told me about two weeks since he entertained apprehensions of being robbed.  I know he had a sword, and he told me he would defend himself to the last gasp.

   The Jury returned a verdict, that Richard Rathbone was brutally killed, and recorded Wilful Murder against some person or persons unknown to this jury.



DEATH OF A CHILD. [- An inquest was held at the Motueka, on the 28th ultimo, on the body of a child named Mary Jane [Holmes?], aged sixteen months.  The child had been left at the door of her parents'' cottage, and had fallen unperceived into a ditch, where she was drowned.  Verdict, "Accidental death."



INQUEST. - An inquest was held yesterday, at the Victoria Hotel, on the body of Thomas Cowley.  From the evidence it appeared that about eleven o'clock in the forenoon some boys, who were fishing on the Queen street Wharf, saw a man in the water; he however soon disappeared; when they called out to two men in a boat, who tried to find the body, but did not succeed; the body was afterwards discovered by a Native with a pole; his legs were tied together with a cotton handkerchief.  There was no evidence as to hoe the deceased came into the water; he had been seen and spoken to by one witness as late as between nine and ten o'clock in the forenoon, when he was sensible and sober.  The jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."




See New Zealand Spectator, 4 June, below.



Richard Rathbone murder; Government reward of Fifty pounds.

   A native chief of the name of Rangitaurekareka had submitted to the operation of amputation of the leg at the colonial Hospital at Auckland.  Previous to the operation cloforom was administered to the patient, who afterwards declared he had felt no pain or consciousness of what had been done.  We regret to add that he was subsequently attacked by diarrhoea, under which he sunk a week after the operation had been performed.



A distressing accident occurred this week by which a fine little boy of two and a half years old, named Thomas Bennington, lost his life.  The poor child, who had strayed a few yards from his father's door, fell into an open well on the premises, and before he was discovered life was quite extinct.  A Coroner's Inquest sat on the body on Wednesday, and a verdict of Accidental Death was returned.



YESTERDAY an Inquest was held before Dr. Fitzgerald, coroner, on the body of Sergeant Ellis, of the 65th regt., paymaster's sergeant, who had committed suicide by hanging himself.  The deceased was found in a stable near the Paymaster's office, suspended by his neckcloth which he had fastened to a gimblet he had previously  driven into a piece of timber.  The body was warm when discovered, but life was extinct.  The deceased was unmarried. - Verdict Temporary Insanity.



FATAL ACCIDENT. - It is our painful duty to record the death of JAMES FOREMAN, aged 24 years, a son of one of the earliest settlers of this place, by accidentally falling into the Mangituka on Sunday night last.

   An inquest was held on the body on Monday, but nothing was elicited to show that the deceased's death was otherwise than accidental; and a verdict of "found drowned" was returned.

[Editorial comment.] [Funeral.]





It is our painful duty to record one of the most distressing accidents that have occurred in this district, by which one valuable life is known to have been lost, and four others, - though the fact has not been ascertained by the same painfully certain evidence - can scarcely by any stretch of the most sanguineous hope be supposed to have escaped.

   The melancholy circumstances may be very briefly related.  On Friday last a party consisting of Lieutenant Charles Thomas Hutchinson, R.E., Staff Assistant Surgeon Matthews, Mr., G. B. W. Jackson, and two Sappers and Miners (Corporal Hawkins, and private Parsons,) went out on a please excursion in the direction of the North Shore.  Their boat was of the peculiar construction known as "a twin boat," consisting in fact of two bottoms united by one deck.  They were expected to return on Saturday, but did not arrive.  On that day, Mr. Carruth, of the North Shore, saw through a spyglass an object which he supposed to be a boat capsized, although he could not be quite sure that it was not a log.

   In consequence of his statement, a native woman named Anna, with her husband and two other natives, went on Sunday along the beach on the East side of the North Shore.  In going round Rocky point, about seven miles round the North Head, they found a body (afterwards identified as that of Lieutenant Hutchinson,) lying dead on the rocks; the body which was totally naked, lay upon the belly, with the head turned towards the sea, and the face bruised.  They also found at different adjacent places, a small boat or punt, two oars, a basket, candle, a cap, a waistcoat, a portrait of a female, and a pair of trowsers, in the pocket of which was a purse containing 18s. 6d. The natives immediately went back and informed Messrs. Poynton, Stewart, McCoy, and Powell, who, with an other native, came to the spot, and caused the body to be removed by four natives to the Roman Catholic College.

   On Monday the body was brought by the Police to Auckland, and an inquest was held at the Caledonian Hotel, before Dr. Davies, Coroner, at which the circumstances connected with the finding of the body, &c., were clearly detailed by the native woman; Anna (a very intelligent witness,) and others.  Dr. Thompson, of the 58th regiment, had made a post mortem examination, and was satisfied that the immediate cause of death was drowning.  The verdict of the Jury accordingly was "Found Drowned."

   In the course of Mr. Poynton's evidence he stated that on Sunday, about 2 o'clock, he saw a capsized boat out at sea, about half a mile, which he supposed was kept stationary by the mast.  On Monday, about one o'clock the boat was driven on shore, the mast having broken.  He had discovered nothing however that would throw any additional light on the catastrophe.  Yesterday a boat with a party of the Sappers and Miners went out to search for any information that could be obtained respecting it, but we have not yet learned whether their efforts have been of any avail.  [Extract from Brigade Order; Funeral.]



The brig has brought the melancholy intelligence of the deaths of Lieutenant Hutchinson, R.E., Dr. Mathew, Staff Assistant Surgeon, his brother-in-law, and two of the Sappers and Miners by drowning.  The particulars of this truly distressing accident will be found in today's paper. ...

   Inquest of Sergeant Ellis, 65th Regiment: "recently appointed paymaster's Sergeant," ... The Jury returned a verdict of Suicide Found hung.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Saturday last before J. P. Fitzgerald, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a respectable Jury, at Munn's Royal Hotel, on view of the body of a seaman named Benjamin March, who was found dead in the lock-up, on that morning.  Several witnesses were examined, and the case occupied nearly the whole of the day, as there was some suspicion as to the cause of deceased's death.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased had been drinking very freely, not only during the whole of the preceding evening, but also for some time previously, and that, while labouring under the effects of liquor, which had produced at times entire metal aberration, he had jumped out of one of the windows of a lodging house on Lambton-quay, kept by Mr. Boutel, a height of about fourteen of fifteen feet.  The injury received by the fall was not however severe or so great as to prevent the deceased from walking, for he immediately got up and walked into Mr. McKenzie's kitchen which was close by, where he was found by Mr. Boutel and a policeman, sitting by the fire, another policeman was informed of the circumstances, with a request that he would convey the intelligence to the Sergeant.  The deceased was some hours afterwards removed to the lock-up, and was found dead about 4 o'clock on the following morning.

   From the evidence of Dr. Monteith, it appeared that the deceased had been labouring under a fit of delirium tremens, but that the immediate cause of death was an overflowing of blood on the brain, and the Jury thereupon returned a verdict of death by apoplexy. [Funeral.]



A Seaman named Robert Perry, alias Walker, master of the "Emerald" schooner, was frowned in Pigeon Bay, on Monday last.  We have no particulars of this accident, but we understand it occurred in the evening when it was nearly dark, and that the deceased fell overboard.  A Coroner's inquest has not yet been held on the body.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Tuesday last an inquest was held at the Royal George Inn, Newmarket, Dr. Davies, coroner, on the body of Mr. James Magee.  It appeared from the evidence brought forward, that the deceased had left his home at Pukake on Saturday last, not intending to return till the next day or Monday; but owing to the fact of his horse being found alone near the Tanaki Cross Road, on Sunday morning, search wass instituted for Mr. Magee on the Monday by his son and Mr. M'Quoid, who found his body lying in a swamp near Mr. Farmer's farm, his face buried in the swamp, and his body saturated with water.  It also appeared that the deceased had received a wound in the head, and that his ankle was dislocated, his spur completely twisted round, and his cap missing, no doubt existing but that the unfortunate rider had been thrown from his horse and dragged for a considerable distance into the swamp, where the horse succeeded in breaking from him; but that, from the injuries received, the deceased was unable to extricate himself.  The jury returned a verdict of "Died from suffocation in a swamp, having been accidentally thrown from his horse."



On Monday, June 27th, an inquest was held at the Gaol, on view of the body of Dennis Quinty, a lunatic, who has been in custody since 1851.  The following verdict was returned by the jury: "That the said Dennis Quinty died this morning, June 17th, about 6 o'clock, a.m., by the visitation of God, but we consider that the Gaol, from the want of proper attendance, was a very unfit place to have him in."




Sir, - I beg to inform you that I held a coroner's inquest on the body of Mary Moore, yesterday, the wife of a pensioner.  The verdict given was that "she came to her death by wounds inflicted upon her person by her husband, William Moore, on the morning of the 25th of June, 1853, and of which wounds she died on the night of the 26th June 1853.  The pensioner in question is in confinement in the jail at Auckland, and it is supposed that he is in an unsound state of mind. I have the honour to be, &c., ALEX. MACDONALD, Coroner.



FATAL ACCIDENT. - On Monday week a young man named Wendleburn, a German, while riding furiously into town, was thrown from his horse in turning the corner on Nile Street West, at the foot of Trafalgar Square, and killed on the spot.  An inquest was held upon the body, the verdict of which was "Accidental death."

ANOTHER FATAL ACCIDENT. - On Tuesday week, the day of the elections in Wairau, two brothers, John and Michael Mears, left Godfrey's public house in the evening in company, to return home, but the younger brother, Michael, missed the elder one of the way.  Some time after he had arrived, his brother's horse came home without its rider, and with the loss of one of the stirrups.  A search was made the next morning for the missing young man, but at the time of our last intelligence no trace of him had been found.  It seems difficult to conjecture what could have happened to the unfortunate man, for although he had to cross the Wairau rover, the water at the time was unusually low.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 20 August 1853

An inquest was held yesterday on the body of William Cross, who expired suddenly at Little Akaloa, on Wednesday last.  The deceased was a sawyer and fell suddenly while at work, and before effectual assistance could be procured, died.  He was subject to fits of dizziness in the head, and on two previous occasions escaped death through falling on an axe or saw, by which he was wounded and blooded.  A verdict was returned of "Died by the visitation of God."


LYTTELTON TIMES, 27 August 1853


CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquisition was taken on Monday last on the body of Edward Storer, a child of three years old, who was accidentally drowned in a small well, close to his father's door. 

   The jury, after finding a verdict of Accidental death, handed to the coroner a paper signed by the foreman, urging the enclosing or covering in of the well.

   This is the second child drowned within a period of only four months, owing top the neglect of the simple precaution of fencing in or covering waterholes, and we urge on the public the danger incurred by such inadvertence.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 2 September 1853


Thursday, September 1, 1853.

...   His Honor said, ... Upon looking over the depositions, and the coroner's inquest, I do not find anything upon which I need offer any remarks.

   The Grand Jury having found a true bill against William Moore.

   William Moore was indicted for assaulting and stabbing, on the 25th June, at Howick, one Mary Moore, and for having, with malice aforethought, killed and murdered the said Mary Moore, she having died of her wounds on the 26th of June.

   The prisoner pleaded not guilty.

   William Moore (a boy about 10 years of age, the son of the prisoner) was here placed in the witness-box, when the Chief Justice stated to the Jury that he had examined the witness, and found that he understood the nature of an oath.  He was then sworn, and stated - The prisoner is my father.  I recollect the 25th June last; after breakfast, my mother and father and myself were in the house.  I was going out of the house when my father called me back and locked the door.  He then stabbed my mother twice, or more, with a shoemakers' knife; it was a knife like the one produced.  I unlocked the door and ran out.  I saw Mrs. Sheard.  My father was sober.  He took a knife to my mother three times before that; it was not the same day; it was a week before.

   The prisoner said that the boy was so young it grieved him much to ask him questions.  In answer, the witness said his father and mother were bad friends for some weeks past.

   By the Court. - I am quite sure my father said nothing when he struck my mother.  I cannot recollect whether any words were spoken before he stabbed my mother.

   Ann Sheard, sworn - I am the wife of John Sheard, pensioner, of Howick.  I know the prisoner at the bar.  I knew his wife; I live in the adjoining cottage to them.  I recollect that on Saturday morning, the 25th June last, I heard Mrs. Moore screech; I was in my own house.  I heard he say, Oh! William.  After that I heard her screech a second and a third time.  I saw her afterwards outside her own gate.  She put up her hands and cried out murder repeatedly.  She walked as well as she could towards my gate; she was in a stooping position.  She called me to her assistance, and said she was stabbed in the belly.

   By the prisoner. - I have heard words in your house, but never blows before that morning.  I heard you say the evening before, you wished to get into hospital for a month.  I have not anything to say against Mrs. Moore.  I never knew your wife wished to get you turned out of the place.

   Frances Organ, sworn, said, I am the wife of Richard Organ, a pensioner of Howick; I recollect Saturday morning, 25th June last; I saw the deceased, Mary Moore, about 8 o'clock, near Mrs. Sheard's gate; she was standing in a stooping position; I do not know how the prisoner and his wife agreed; Mrs. Sheard called me, and Mrs. Moore said she had been stabbed in the belly.  Moore came and took her by the hand, and said, come in doors; Mrs. Sheard said, you murdering villain, what have you done; he held up his finger, and said that Mrs. Moore's blood was own her head, and on his; he said, he had been brought up to do it; he said, look at those children, (pointing to his own boy, and Mrs. Sheard's) I wanted Mrs. Sheard to take her into her own house, but she was afraid Moore would murder them; I took her to my house, she sat down a few minutes, when she said she was in great pain, and asked me to lay her on the floor; she said she was bleeding to death.  After she was removed to her own house and undressed, she said she should not live.  Two wounds were found on her person; one on the right side, the other on the left.

   By the prisoner. - I did not know that you and your wife were on bad terms.  You sent for my husband one Sunday morning, and asked him if you was in your right senses.  He told you he could see nothing the matter with you.  I never saw anything the matter with you.  I went to town once with you and your wife; I came up to pay Captain Salmon for a bag of flour; I recollect seeing Mrs. Moore carrying some leather; Mrs. R. Robinson asked her husband to carry it; you came out of the churchyard at Howick.

   John Thomas Watson Bacot, sworn. - I am surgeon attached to the pensioner force at Howick; I recollect being sent for on the 25th June last to see Mrs. Moore, about half-past eight in the morning; she was lying in a neighbour's cottage, on the bed; I had her removed in a sheet to her own house; I examined her body, and found two wounds, one each side of the naval; they appeared to be made by a very sharp weapon; the knife produced would have made such wounds; there was not much bleeding from the wounds; I attended her until her death; I saw her last on the Sunday evening; O believe she died on the Sunday night about eleven o'clock; I afterwards examined the body; the cavity of then belly had been pierced on both sides; on the lefty side, the small intestine had been wounded; the cause of death was internal bleeding from the wound in the small intestine.

   By the prisoner. - My wife sent for you several times.  I thought you showed symptoms of a tendency to insanity; I think she behaved in an extremely kind manner towards you.

   By the Attorney-General. - I believe the prisoner was perfectly aware at the time, that if he stabbed the woman he would hurt her, probably would kill her; I think he was able to distinguish right from wrong, and to manage his own affairs.  A delusion might exist upon one point (such as the prisoner fancying his wife wanted to injure him) and the mind might be apparently sound upon other matters.

   William Mason, sworn. - Stated, that four or five days before Mrs. Moore's death, about eight o'clock, he came to my house, and stated, that he wanted to place himself under my protection, as there was a conspiracy against him in Howick, and he said he had heard them read through the wall.  He said he was not guilty of any crime; and I recommended him to go home; from the manner he spoke, I thought he was not in a sound state of mind.

   By the Attorney General. - It was entirely from the manner of his statement; there might have been depositions read.  I intended to write to Captain McDonald, but being called from home, I neglected it; and since Mrs. Moore's death, I have regretted that I neglected to do so.

   The prisoner wished Mr. Patton, of Howick to be called, but he was not in Court.

   The prisoner stated in his defence, that he believed his wife gave him things to derange him; sometimes he was better, when he refused the tea and such things as she gave him.

   The Chief Justice having summed up; the Jury retired, and after an absence of about twenty minutes, returned a verdict of Guilty of Wilful Murder, but strongly recommended him to mercy.



INQUEST. - An inquest was held yesterday afternoon before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, at the Queen's Head, Thorndon, on the body of George Dixon, labourer, who was found dead in the gully between the Queen's Head and the Barracks.  The deceased had been drinking at the Queen's Head on Thursday night, and had left there rather the worse for liquor.  He was found on Friday morning in the gully lying on his side dead, but with no marks of violence on his person.  He had not long since been in the hospital under treatment for an asthmatic cough, and it is supposed he had laid down in the gully to sleep, and had thereby met with his death.

   The jury returned a verdict of "Found Dead," and added a recommendation that publicans should in future be bound to provide accommodation for such persons as were, from intoxication, unable to take care of themselves, instead of turning them out of their houses, or that they should send to the police station in order that such persons might be taken to their homes.



George Dixon inquest; mentions "the severity of the weather."



Letter to the Editor re George Dixon inquest, from J. Stevens; mentions other evidence.



AN Inquest was held at the Colonial Hospital, on Thursday, September 15th, before J. P. Fitzgerald, M.D., Coroner, and a respectable jury, on view of the body of John Butler, a prisoner in the Wellington Gaol.

   From the evidence it appeared that the deceased was committed for trial on Saturday, September 10th.  he was 60 years of age, and had an old pulmonic affection.  He walked from the Police Office on Saturday top the Gaol in apparent good health.  He made no complaint to the Gaoler, and on Monday, September 12th, the Colonial Surgeon having heard he was ailing visited him on Wednesday morning, September 14th.

   Verdict - died from Congestion of the Lungs.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 24 September 1853

An unfortunate occurrence happened on Thursday evening, by which a settler, named Bradley, lost his life.  With two companions he was pulling off to a vessel in the harbour, when, by a sudden squally, the boat capsised and Bradley was drowned. - We shall be able to give fuller particulars when an inquest has sat on the body.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Monday last on the body of Mr. R. Hunter, at his late residence in Waimea East.  In speaking of Mr. Hunter's death last week, we stated that it had been caused by a fall from a horse, but this was not the case.  The deceased and his wife had been across the river to the Waimea Village, and by the evidence given at the inquest, it was shown that Hunter had taken several glasses of brandy at Palmer's public house.  On his return home about five o'clock, he was left lying in his cart, in which he had fallen asleep.  The cart was put under a shed, and when the horse was taken from it, from the position in which the deceased was left lying, his head was lower than his body.  Mrs. Hunter went out to look at her husband in the course of the evening, but finding him, as she believed, still asleep, she did not disturb him; and when early the next morning she found that he had not come to his bed, she sent a lad to look after him, it was found that he was dead in the cart.  The jury returned the following verdict: - "Died by a stroke of apoplexy, brought on by the position in which he was left lying all night in a cart, with his head lower than the other part of his body, and his face downwards, he being in a state of intoxication."


LYTTELTON TIMES, 22 October 1853

An inquest was held last Saturday on the body of S. Bradley, whose death by drowning we recorded on the 24th September.  Verdict, Found Drowned.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 29 October 1853

To the Editor of the Lyttelton Tines.

SIR, - With regard to the finding of the Jury assembled to inquire into the manner of the death of Richard Anstruther Bradley, I beg to state that a rider was appended to their verdict to the effect that in their opinion great neglect was shown on the part of the Magistrates of Lyttelton by their allowing the only two persons, who could have given satisfactory evidence regarding his death, to leave the colony without taking their declarations.  So all events, if such declarations were taken, they were not produced at the Inquest, and the neglect is greater.

Lyttelton, Oct. 22, 1853.  ONE OF THE JURY.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 5 November 1853

An inquest was held on Friday on the body of William Gee, whose body was found on the hill side the previous day in an advanced stage of decomposition, he having been missing since Wednesday, 28th Sept.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased, who was of weak mind, came into Lyttelton to go into the Hospital, but for some unexplained cause returned up the Bridle-path, and when at the Saddle, half way up, went off the track, apparently in a state of excitement, and then lying down, perished from exhaustion.  A verdict in accordance with this evidence was returned.



IN the account given in our last number of the fatal accident by which Mr. Fowler was unfortunately killed, we were misinformed in some of the particulars.  The accident did not take place at Kaiwarra, but at the Hutt, about two hundred yards on this side Mr. Percy's mill.  Mrs. Fowler was in the cart at the time and was thrown out and received a severe sprain of the ancle.  An inquest was held on the body and a verdict of "Accidental death" returned.



FATAL ACCIDENT. - As Mr. Fowler, late of the Freemason's Tavern, was returning from the Hutt to his farm with a horse and cart, on Friday last, the horse bolted, and the unfortunate man in jumping from the cart and trying to stop him, was knocked down, and the near wheel passing over his head, sad to relate, killed him on the spot.  A Coroner's Inquest sat on his body, and a verdict of accidental death was returned.




AN Inquest was held yesterday at the Nag's Head Inn, Te Aro, before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, on the body of Peter Clarke, boatman, who had committed suicide that morning by shooting himself with a pistol.  The following witnesses were examined

   Timote - an aboriginal native - deposed, that between six and seven o'clock in the morning, as he was sitting in his warre in Te Aro Pa, he heard the report of a gun, and on going out to see what was the matter, he saw deceased in a sitting posture against the fence of Mr. Rhodes' stockyard, he was dead, and a pistol was close by his side..  Witness informed Mr. Watkin, the Wesleyan Minister, of the circumstance who told him to report it to the policeman on duty; witness accordingly informed the policeman and accompanied him top the spot where the body lay.

   James Hannah, policeman, confirmed the evidence of last witness, whom he accompanied to Mr. Rhodes' stock-yard where he found the body of Peter Clarke in a sitting posture against the fence facing Te Aro Pa, his hands were hanging down by his sides, a pistol was in his right hand, he was quite dead, the ball from the pistol had passed quite through his head.

   G. D. Monteith, surgeon, deposed to having examined the body of deceased; witness found a gun shot wound immediately above the right temple entering the skull passing through the brain and passing out on the opposite side immediately above the left temple; the bones were extensively fractured particularly on the left side of the temple, the wound was quite sufficient to cause death.

   The Jury returned the following verdict - "That the deceased shot himself through the head this morning, December 2nd, 1853, between the hours of six and eight a.m."



Peter Clarke inquest; Several papers at this stage of the proceedings were produced, when all persons except the jury were requested to withdraw.  The papers were, we understand, relative to private matters, and it is supposed family troubles were the cause of the rash act being committed.  We know nothing positive relative to the verdict of the jury, as the verdict was given with closed doors; but there can be no doubt the deceased committed the rash act while labouring under a fit of temporary insanity.



FOUND DROWNED. - The body of a man, supposed to be that of the second mate of the brig Kestrel, was found, on Sabbath morning, lying dead near the Wharf, and close to the stern of the schooner Border Maid.  There is no Coroner at present in Auckland, and there has been no inquest held, and yet we are informed the body has been interred.  Well may plain folk inquire - "Is this the Law?"


OTAGO WITNESS, 17 December 1853

FATAL ACCIDENT. - A melancholy accident occurred at Dunedin on the forenoon of Saturday last, by which Mary, the second daughter of Mr. E. M'Glashan, a fine little girl of eight years of age, lost her life.  It appears, from the evidence adduced before the Coroner at the inquest, that the deceased and her elder sister were riding in a cart loaded with timber.  When near the residence of Dr. Purdie, the road being wet and slippery, the cart wheel slipped into as rut on the lower side of the road, and caused the cart to overturn.  The elder girl, with considerable presence of mind, leaped out of the cart as it was overturning, and was uninjured; but the unfortunate deceased was buried beneath the cart and timber, and on being removed it was found that her neck was dislocated.  The body was immediately conveyed to the residence of Dr. Purdie, where every means was tried to sustain life, but to no effect, death had been instantaneous.  The jury found a verdict of "accidental death," and acquitted the driver (who was so much affected as to be almost unable to give his evidence) of any charge of negligence.


TARANAKI HERALD, 4 January 1854

FATAL ACCIDENT AT OMATA. - An accident attended unhappily with fatal consequences occurred on Friday evening last on the Omata road opposite the house of Mr. Sam. Julian.  The cart belonging to Mr. Steer was returning from New Plymouth, having in it Mr. Steer, Mrs. T. Lethbridge, (wife of Mr. T. Lethbridge of the Omata inn) and her son a child of 7 years old, and another female.  Unfortunately some children who were innocently playing in the road frightened the horse, and the child was thrown out of the cart, and so seriously injured about the head, as to occasion instantaneous death.  The animal proceeded in its career until it reached Mr. Greenwood's gate, when from some cause or other it fell, and after much struggling got clear of the cart.  The two females were thrown out when the horse fell but miraculously escaped injury.  An inquest was held on the body of the child on Saturday afternoon, and a verdict of accidental death returned.




   On Wednesday last, an inquest was held at the 'Prince of Wales' Inn, Hobson-street, before Dr. Davis, on the body of a woman named Jane Smith.  From the evidence of the medical witness, it appeared her death had been caused by an apoplectic fit. - Verdict accordingly.

   Another inquest was held on the same day, at the 'Crown and Anchor,' West Queen-street, before Dr. Davies, on the body of a man named John Drinkwater.  The deceased, it appeared, was a sawyer, and had only comer to Auckland on Monday.  On Wednesday morning hr was taken with cramp in the stomach, and before medical attendance arrived was dead. - Verdict, Died of English Cholera.




Yesterday morning an inquest was held at the Colonial Hospital, on the body of a female child named Mary Hughes, the daughter of a Pensioner of that name, who had been received into that establishment, fearfully burnt, on Friday afternoon, and who died there in the course of the following morning.  We subjoin the evidence relative to this melancholy catastrophe:-

   Thomas Jones, s worn, said, I am a rope-maker residing in Queen-street.  Between 5 and 6 o'clock on Friday evening last, as I was spinning, I heard an alarm of fire, and I ran towards the place where the cries appeared to come from.  I saw the deceased little girl run out of her father's house; her clothes were all in a flame; I caught hold of her and threw her down, and tore her clothes off as fast as possible.  Owing to their being tied tight, I could not get the clothes all off, as the wind was blowing fresh at the time.  I do not know how the child caught fire.  She said nothing, but kept crying out.  A woman named Mrs. Skinner, assisted me in extinguishing the flames; the police took charge of the child, and brought her to the hospital.  She has a father and mother.

   Elizabeth Skinner sworn, stated, I reside in Auckland.  I have lived about two doors from where the father and mother of the deceased live, about two months.  On Friday last, in the afternoon, I was ironing, and my little boy called out, mother there is a fire.  When I went out, I saw the deceased with her clothes on fire; I tried to put put the fire by pulling the clothes off; I was then assisted by Mr. Jones.  I had no water to extinguish the fire with.  I saw the father of the deceased run out with an empty bucket in his hand; he tried to lift the bucket over the child, and he fell down; he appeared very much intoxicated.  Dr. Lee then came, and immediately afterwards the police came and placed deceased on a stretcher to bring her to the hospital; I did not see the child's mother all the day.

   Cross-examined by a Juror. - I went to the parents' house when the child was taken away; I saw the deceased's mother lying on the floor, and a woman named Kelly lifted her outside the door, when the police took her to the lock-up; she was very tipsy; they took the child's father in charge at the same time.  If the child, when on fire, had gone near her mother for assistance, the mother must have been burnt to death, as she was so much intoxicated as to be utterly helpless.

   Henry John Andrews sworn, said, I am a surgeon and house surgeon to the Colonial Hospital; the deceased was brought to the hospital [ink blot] six o'clock on Friday evening last, by the police, on a stretcher; she was immediately put to bed, and I found her covered with a few oiled or wet rags, and fearfully burnt; she face and all parts of the body appeared to have suffered, the sight being destroyed; she kept constantly crying for cold water to drink, and for cold water to be thrown on her belly; I used every means in my power, to give her relief; she died about half past one on Sunday morning last; she lived about seven hours after being brought to the hospital; burning was the cause of death.

   Dr. Andrews re-examined. - The deceased told me she was on fire, and called her father and mother to assist her; but they could not, as they were both drunk.

   Verdict, Accidentally burnt, and this jury believe, that had not the father and mother of the deceased been fearfully drunk, the probability is, the child's life would have been saved.


TARANAKI HERALD, 11 January 1854

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held on the 8th ult., at Otara Grove, (Mr. E. Hickson's) before Captain Alexander Macdonald, Coroner, on the body of Margaret Mulloy, wife of a Pensioner.  It appeared that her death had resulted from apoplexy, and the jury found a verdict accordingly.



INQUEST. - An inquest has been held at Wakapuaka, on the infant child of Mrs. Blanchett.  The mother, who had been married only a few weeks, had been just confined of a fine boy, and the following morning the child was found dead in bed, with signs of suffocation.  There were circumstances which called for an inquest, but the jury found themselves unable to come to any other verdict than that the child had died of suffocation, but they had no evidence to show how produced.



INQUEST. - An inquest was held at the Victoria Hotel, on Saturday last, on the body of Hughman Hall.  From the evidence it appeared the deceased, who had been drinking, went on board a cutter on Friday night about 10 o'clock, with another man, and both lay down to sleep.  In the morning, the deceased was found alongside the vessel drowned; there were no marks of violence on his person.  Verdict - Found Drowned.  The deceased, who was a ship carpenter, has resided at Hokianga for the last 23 years.



MAN DROWNED. - On Saturday evening last, as James Stevenson, a seaman belonging to the Wellington, was going along Allington's Wharf, in order to get on board, he missed his footing and fell into the sea, and, notwithstanding every exertion was made to save him, was unfortunately drowned.  A Coroner's Inquest sat on his body and a verdict of "Found Drowned" was returned.  The deceased, we understand, was about 60 years of age.



DISCOVERY OF THE BODY OF MR. J. MAHER. - Our readers will recollect that in August last, a young man named Maher was missed in the Wairau, and that having one evening left the Wairau Hotel for his father's residence at the mouth of the Kaituna, he never reached home.  A diligent search for the deceased was prosecuted for some time, but no trace of him could be obtained.  A few days ago, the body was found by some Maories on the bank of the Wairau river, lodged against some bushes, where it is supposed it had been carried by the stream, and this proves what before was considered doubtful, that the young man had lost his life in crossing the river.  His clothes, and also his watch and purse which were safe in the pockets, enabled the body to be identified, which otherwise could not have been done.

FATAL ACCIDENT. - On the evening of yesterday week, the cutter Supply having left our harbour for Wellington, when abreast of the Magazine, and about three hundred yards from the shore, a young man named James Cawthorn, fell overboard from the bow of the cutter.  The master, who was at the helm at the time, heard Cawthorn call him by name, and threw a sweep to his assistance, and then immediately rounded the vessel and hailed the schooner Necromancer which was a few yards astern, but although a boat was launched, and a diligent search made by both vessels for the unfortunate man, no trace of him could be seen.  It is supposed that, being unable to swim, he could not seize the sweep, for had he been able to keep himself above water a few minutes he might have been saved, as the sea was smooth at the time, and the moon shining.



MELANCHOLY OCCURRENCE. - About ten days or a fortnight ago, Mrs. Rawlins, who with her husband were engaged in dairying near the mouth of the Wairau river, was left alone for a few hours by her husband while he went in search of cattle.  Being near her confinement, in his absence she was taken in labour, and when visited during the day by a neighbour, the poor woman was found at the point of death and to have given birth to a child.  Such assistance as was at hand was immediately procured, but it was unavailing, and death speedily ensued. 

   This occurrence, distressing as it was, has proved the cause of another, perhaps even more so.  A few months ago, a respectable man named Kemp, the shepherd of R. K. Newcome, Esq., in the Awatere, lost his life by being thrown out of his dray in crossing the river, and left a wife and large family.  Mrs. Kemp, who was well known in the district as a warm hearted woman, was so shocked on hearing of the death of Mrs. Rawlins, that she fell down and instantly expired.

   On the day preceding this latter calamity, the body of Kemp had been removed from the place where it had originally been interred to a piece of ground which has lately been set apart for a cemetery in the district; the presence of the Rev. T. D. Nicholson, Presbyterian minister, of which church Kemp was a member, having been considered favourable for the purpose, and this event had probably disturbed Mrs. Kemp's mind, and rendered her feelings more susceptible.

INQUEST. - An inquest has been held this week on the body of James Cawthorn, whose death by drowning we recorded last week.  The body was found washed up on the Rabbit Island, by a boatman named Porter.  Verdict - Accidental death.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 25 March 1854

A CORONER'S INQUEST was holden on Monday at Kaiapoi on the bodies of two men named Henry Wakefield, and John Summerland, who were drowned the previous Thursday in attempting to cross the river in a small punt.  It appeared in evidence that the men with three others took the punt without the owner's permission, and having to pass under the ferry rope all stooped together and overbalanced the punt.  The other three escaped to the shore.  It appears probably that Summerland, who was an excellent swimmer, lost his life in attempting to save the other.  There was a string fresh in the river, and the water was said to be unusually cold.  Verdict, "Accidental Death."  Summerland is said to have leaped from the deck of the "John Taylor," and swam ashore, a distance of more than a mile.



AN inquest was held yesterday at the Highlander, Kaiwarra, before Dr. Fitzgerald, Coroner, on the body of John Dunn, a Private in the 65th Regiment, who was found drowned on the beach between the Superintendent's house and the Highlander that morning.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased, in company with several other soldiers, had been drinking on Monday evening at Calder's public house at Kaiwarra; the deceased and some others then went on to the Highlander; it was near 9 o'clock, and the soldiers started to return to Thorndon Barracks; when they left the Highlander, the deceased was the worse for liquor; the night was very dark and rainy, and the deceased fell over from the road into the sea, and being high water at the time, it is supposed was drowned.  Next morning the body was found by a man, of the name of M'Clashlan, a little below high water mark, with the face buried in the sand.

   From the evidence of Dr. Prendergast, of the 65th Regt., it appeared there was a slight abrasion of the lower lid of the right eye, caused by coming in contact with some shell or stone, no other marks of violence were discernible, and the features presented the appearance as if death was caused by drowning.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."

   The deceased had been 17 years in the regiment, and bore a very good character.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An Inquest was held at the Highlander Inn, Kai-warra ..... [the remainder of this reported in WELLINGTON INDEPENDENT, 8 April 1854; names John Dogherty and Isaac Cole, details of search.]



CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Thursday, the 23rd March, an Inquest was held at Mr. G. Buck's, Traveller's Rest, Taitai, before J. P. Fitzgerald, Esq., Coroner, and a respectable jury, on view of the body of Martin Ridley, who was found drowned in the Mungaroa River.  From the evidence, it appeared that the deceased left Mr. W. Hodder's house, Pakarutahi, on Monday, the 20th March, for the Hutt, with a team of bullocks; that he remained at the Mungaroa until Tuesday, and was found drowned the same day in the Mungaroa river.  The jury, after mature consideration, returned a verdict of Accidentally drowned.



AN INQUEST was held on Monday last at Te Aro Hotel, before Dr. Fitzgerald, coroner, on the body of Roger Perkinson, who died on the Saturday previous.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased was very much addicted to drinking, he was in the habit of working occasionally for Mr. T. Brown, butcher, in Willis-street; on Thursday last he complained to Mr. Brown of being in great pain, and the latter advised him to have medical advice, the deceased accordingly went to Dr. Monteith who gave him medicine and told him to go to bed and be quiet.  Dr. Monteith found one of his ribs on the left side was fractured.  The deceased had been very drunk the previous Tuesday and the medical evidence went to show that his system was disorganised from the effects of intemperance.  The deceased got rapidly worse, and at length died late on Saturday night.  The jury returned a verdict of "Died from the effects of Intemperance."



Inquest on Rodger Parkinson; a more detailed account of the background.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 29 April 1854

On Saturday last, an inquest was held on the body of Edward Fisher, who died the previous morning on the beach at the head of the bay.  The inquest was continued till Monday, when a verdict of "Accidental Death," from exposure to wet and cold, was returned.  From the depositions it appeared that Fisher was persuaded to accompany Robert Harris, in a dingy, to the head of the bay, under the plea of assisting him in his employment.  Owing to both being in liquor, they did not reach the land till 11 o'clock, and Fisher was then in such a condition that he could not proceed to Harris's house.  It appears that Harris's boy, who accompanied them in the dingy, assisted by his sister, did all in his power to get Fisher along, and when Fisher laid down, exhausted, on the beach, he fetched straw, and some sacks, and a rug, to cover him, and remained with him till after his death, some four or five hours after they landed.

   On Thursday last, after a long illness, Mrs. Fisher died, so that the family of these unfortunate people are orphans and desolate.  It is to be hoped that some energetic measures will at once be adopted to rescue them from want and misery.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Wednesday afternoon, an inquest was held at the Crown and Anchor Inn, Lambton Quay, touching the death of Dugald M'Lachlan, who had been found lying dead on the sand above low-water mark, opposite the above Inn, about s even o'clock that morning by a native policeman.  From the evidence produced, which was very meager, it would appear that the deceased was seen to leave the Queen's Head, Thorndon, about half past nine o'clock, the preceding evening, and that he was the worse for liquor; and that the sentry on duty at the Colonial Treasury, about eleven o'clock, heard a person walk rapidly by the Government House Guard House, and straight down into the sea.  It was too dark for him to distinguish who it was and he supposed it to be some man; not having seen him return, he related the circumstance to a policeman, who obtained a lamp and proceeded to the spot, but found nothing.  There was no evidence to show that the person heard to go into the water was the deceased.  After some deliberation, the Jury returned a verdict to the effect, that the deceased was found lying dead on the beach that morning, apparently drowned; but how he came by his death there was no evidence before the jury to show.



We have to record another death from exposure to cold during the severe weather of the 15th instant - Mr. Peter Haylock, of Akaroa.  It appeared from the evidence before the Coroner's Inquest that the deceased left Barry's Bay, at the head of Akaroa harbour, about 1 o'clock, p.m., for Lucas's station, with the purpose of reaching it before dark; the weather being fine with no appearance of change.  It was not known until the following Sunday that he had not arrived at his destination.  Almost every man in Akaroa set out on the Monday to seek for him, and continued their search the following day; towards the evening, on their return, the body was found under the shelter of an angle of rock, lying on the face.  He had wandered from his right track, taking the range leading to Piriaki instead of that leading to his station, and probably not making out his whereabouts, had determined to wait for daylight.  His bridle and saddle were found a hundred yards distant, carefully packed up, and his horse grazing in the neighbourhood.  One of the witnesses deposed that at about the time he would reach the summit of the mountain chain, the hills were enveloped in fog, and much snow falling, with strong south-west wind, at which time he had doubtless lost his track.  From the position of the body it was inferred that he had fallen in attempting to rise, and cramp or stiffness preventing him, he had thus perished.  Verdict, "Accidental death from exposure to cold and the inclemency of the weather."  Deceased was universally esteemed in Akaroa, and his loss is severely felt.




On Wednesday last an inquest was held on the body of Mary Maria Newport, late wife of Samuel Newport of Brook Street, and who died the preceding day.  The deceased had been separated from her husband for about three weeks, and at the time of her death was an inmate of the hospital.  As the deceased had attributed her illness to bad usage received from her husband, the Coroner, on her death, proceeded to hold an inquest on the body; and the following were the jurors:- Messrs. Rich, Washbourne, Coates, Aitken, R. Burns, T. Askew, L. Devaney, Gorrie, G. Taylor, Hooper, Newman, M'Kenzie, and J. M'Artney, foreman.  The evidence taken was as follows:-

   John Macdonald sworn. - I am a Gardener, and am living in Nelson.  I am living near Mr. Newport, and have done so for eleven years.  About three or four months ago I heard a great noise, nearly opposite my house.  I went down to the brook, and found Newport had got his horse into it, as I expected.  About half an hour afterwards I heard screams of people on distress, which seemed to be females.  My wife wished me to go up to Newport's, but I would not do so.  The cries were "Murder; M'Donald."  I did not go that night.  Some time after that, it might be a week or two, O heard cries of murder again, and calling my name.  This might have been about eleven o'clock ay night.  I got out of bed, and ran down my garden to the road in my shirt.  When I got near the place, which was nearly half way to his house, I saw Newport kneeling on his wife as she was lying on her back in the road, and his dog was barking at her.  I got hold of Newport, and pulled him up from her, when she got up and appealed to me to protect her.  He wanted to take hold of her again, saying that he wished her to go home.  I prevented him from touching her.  I advised her to go home, and said that I would go home and put on my clothes and come back. She went home, but she told me that he would serve her as he had done before when he got her home, which was knocking her down and jumping upon her.

   I went about his house, but I heard no more noise or disturbance that night.  I have heard noises from his family frequently, but I have not gone to their assistance since that time.  About one or two months ago, I met Mrs. Newport in the road, and she told me that since that time when he had kneeled on her, she had felt something wrong in her inside, and her side was enlarged; she had no breath, and she was so weak that she could not  walk.  My house is about two hundred yards from Newport's.  I consider Newport by no means a sober man.  As far as my knowledge of the deceased goes, I believe her to have conducted herself as his wife correctly.  They have been married between three and four years.

   Thomas Blick, sworn. - I am a Farmer, and am living in Nelson.  I am living near Newport's house.  About two or three years ago Mrs. Newport came down to my house, and she told my wife and me that Newport had kneeled upon her, and that she had never been well since.  About three weeks ago she again told me that he had served her the same way two or three times since then. I cannot see Newport's house from mine; there is a hill between.  About a fortnight ago Mrs. Newport went to town in my cart to make some complaint at the Court House against her husband, which I believe was heard, but the matter was ended by her signing an agreement, in which she was to have 1 Pound a week, and they were to separate.  After this paper was signed she left Newport's house, and I took her to the hospital in my cart.  Mrs. Newport told us that Newport had knocked her down and kneeled upon her.  She lived about twelve days after she went to the Hospital.

   Jane Elizabeth Berry, sworn. - I am a Nurse at the Hospital.  I received Mrs. Newport into the Hospital on Friday, May 26.  She was very ill and very weak, and complained of shortness of breath and severe pain in her leg.  Her pain was across her waist, and great tightness.  She said the night before she died that her illness arose from her husband having knelt upon her.  Newport was sent for to see the deceased.  She said she hoped God would forgive them both.  Newport called again to see her just before she died.

   Thomas Renwick sworn. - I am a medical practitioner, residing in Nelson.  I have attended Mrs. Newport upwards of twelve months.  In August last she had an attack of severe rheumatism, from which she recovered, but some heart affection remained.  About three months ago I was called in to see her again, and found her suffering from disease of the heart, and particularly complaining of a pain behind the upper third of her right leg, which, on examination, I found to be an aneurism.  My attendance terminated when she went into the Hospital, about ten days ago.  She complained of a difficulty in breathing, which I looked upon as a symptom of her complaint.  During my attendance on deceased, she frequently complained to me of her husband's ill-treatment.  On one occasion she stated that her husband, shortly after her recovery from the rheumatic attack, dragged her out of the house, knelt upon her, and beat her, and, as she expressed, would have killed her had not her daughter come to her assistance and pulled him off her.  She stated that from that time she had felt pain over the region of the abdomen.  Her husband was never present when she made any of these remarks.

   Mr. Newport told me that he did not wish me to attend her, but if he thought it necessary, he would get some one else to do so.  I considered it was necessary, and told him that she was in a very dangerous state. 

   Having been requested by the Coroner to make a post mortem examination, I have done so, with the assistance of Dr. Williams, twenty-six hours after death, and found the following appearances:- The body generally and the extremities emaciated and pale; abdomen distended; oedema of the lower extremities, particularly the right leg, which was livid in the lower two-thirds, a diffused swelling occupying the posterior part of the upper third, which, upon examination, was found to be an aneurism of long standing, part of the tibia, with which it lay in contact, being partially absorbed.  I then proceeded to examine the cavity of the head; found the membranes natural in appearance, and a small quantity of fluid in the cavity when the brain was removed; brain healthy, and no fluid in the lateral ventricle.  I next opened the thorax, and found both the pleurae full of pale coloured serum, with a few old adhesions between the two surfaces at the upper and back part; the lungs very oedematous, but otherwise healthy in structure; the perineum free over its whole extent, and filled with pale coloured serum.  The heart very large, pale, and flabby; the right cavities much dilated, and somewhat thicker than natural, and full of dark fluid blood; the left cavities dilated, and walls very much hypertrophied, but easily breaking down under the fingers, and empty/

   The aortic valves were the seat of ragged ulceration, and thickly studded with numerous fibrinous deposits, so as to seriously impair their proper functions, and allowing the blood to regurgitate into the ventricle; the other valves were all healthy; the aortas dilated at its commencement for about two inches.

   I then proceeded to the cavity of the abdomen, and found the intestines fully distended with flatus; a considerable quantity of pale serum in the cavity of the abdomen.  On examining the perineum, I found the omentum destitute of fat, and firmly adherent to the bowels over its whole extent; stomach natural in appearance, containing about half a tea-cupful of oatmeal gruel and brownish mucus; pancreas natural; liver very much enlarged and mottled, presenting when cut, the appearance of a nutmeg, being congested with both bile and blood; gall-bladder healthy and full of bile; spleen larger than natural, and much congested; right kidney larger than natural, and pale; left kidney larger than natural, and pale, and having also an old cicatrix on the posterior lower third, shoeing that an abscess had at one time existed at that point, which had opened into the plvot of the kidney, as there was no corresponding cicatrix  on the investing membrane, which separated freely from it; bladder empty and healthy; uterus natural.

   I am of opinion that the affection of the heart has been caused by the enlargement of the liver obstructing the circulation, and the acute rheumatism, which frequently excites disease in the aortic valves.  I consider the state of the peritoneum to be independent of the affection of the liver.  Such a state of liver might have been caused by external violence, but it is more generally the result of the use of ardent spirits.  In this state, I have no doubt that external violence would accelerate death.

   George Williams, sworn. - I am a Surgeon living in Nelson.  I examined the body of the deceased, Mrs. Newport, and acquiesce in the evidence given by Dr. Renwick.

   The jury, after some deliberation, gave as their verdict (in which, however, one of the jurors, Mr. Coates, refused to join), "That Mary Maria Newport met with her death from the ill-treatment of her husband, Samuel Newport, and not otherwise."  On receiving the verdict, the Coroner issued his warrant for the apprehension of Newport on a charge of Manslaughter, and he has been committed to gaol to await his trial.



Editorial re Newport inquest, and summary of evidence ....

Now on this evidence - which we may say is all then evidence properly so called that was offered - the verdict is, "Met with her death from the ill-treatment of her husband, and not otherwise."  We deny in toto that this is a verdict according to the evidence.

   Hear Mr. Coates -

I will state how the verdict given was arrived at.  In the first instance, a verdict, proposed by myself, "that the deceased died from natural causes, hastened by the treatment of her husband," was unanimously agreed to by the jury; but when this was shown to the Coroner, and that officer was asked what would be the result of such a verdict, he replied, "Words, mere empty words.  I cannot touch the man on such a verdict as that." Some members of the jury then proposed that the verdict should be manslaughter, at which the Coroner expressed himself highly satisfied, and proceeded himself to write out the extraordinary verdict, which was then signed by all the jurors except myself.

Editorial continues at length, and concludes:

   This whole affair is every way disgraceful; - it is disgraceful to the jury, disgraceful to the hospital authorities, most disgraceful to the Coroner.


FATAL ACCIDENT. - On Monday last, a child about two years of age, of the name of Cummins, whose parents reside on the bank of then Wairoa river, in Waimea South, was found drowned in a pond a short distance from the house.




Letter to the Editor from G. Coates, the dissenting juror.

... had I not, on a former occasion, stood alone in a similar manner, in the case of a child sais to have died of sun-stroke, but which I maintained had occurred from poison, when, through my advice being disregarded both by jury and Coroner, that the body of the child should be examined, a second child in the dame family was lost within a week, and the cause of this second death being found to be by poison, left no doubt in the mind of any one as to the cause of the death of the first. ...



Another editorial on the Newport inquest, responding to a letter from the Jurors.



We have this week to record an instance of awfully sudden death.  Mrs. Mary Ann Philpot, of St. Alban's, near Christchurch, had just left her husband to go up stairs to bed, she had scarcely reached the upper room, when he heard a fall and running up found her quite dead.  At an inquisition held by the Coroner at her house, Dr. Gundry deposed that he had examined the body of deceased, and found that death had been caused by the rupture of an aneurismal sac into the pericardium.  Death must have been instantaneous.  Verdict, died by the Visitation of God.



We understand that the unfortunate man SIMON CRAWLEY, on whom an inquest was held on the 3rd instant, and a verdict returned of "Found Dead," escaped in a fit of delirium from the hospital by one of the windows during the preceding night, and is supposed to have been drowned in the attempt to ford the Henui river.  We learn that the Jury has recommended iron bars to be put to all the windows of the above institution so as to prevent a recurrence of such a catastrophe.



INQUEST. - On Saturday last, an Inquest was held at the Royal George, Onehunga, on the body of a pensioner named James Barrett, who had died suddenly on the previous day.  From the evidence it appeared that during the day the deceased had complained of acute internal pain, and that he had been taken to the Prince Albert Inn, near which he had been at work, and after partaking of some stimulant there, the pain became more severe; when deceased wished to be taken home, and was placed in a cart for the purpose; they had however not gone more than about 200 yards when it was discovered that he was quite dead.  A post mortem examination took place, from which it appeared that the immediate cause of death was rupture of the gall bladder.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 5 September 1854

SUDDEN DEATH. - Yesterday about 11 o'clock, a man named Timothy Hayes, who was evidently intoxicated, went to Mr. McGrath's house, Chancery-street, where he lodged, and laid down on the floor; Mrs. McGrath placed a pillow under his head, but a short time after some one going into the room, he was dead.  An inquest will be held on the body, at the Odd Fellows' Arms, this morning at 11 o'clock.



Refers to Dr. Fitzgerald (resigned) being replaced by Dr. Dorset.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 8 September 1854

CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Tuesday last, an Inquest was held at the Odd Fellow's Arms Inn, before Dr. Davies, Coroner, on the body of Timothy Hayes, the particulars of whose sudden death we reported in our last.  Dr. Matthews, who had made a post mortem examination, stated that death had been produced by Apoplexy brought on by intoxication.  The Jury returned a verdict accordingly.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 13 September 1854


DEATH BY DROWNING. - An Inquest was held on Monday at "The Travellers' Home," Riccarton, on the body of Sarah Day, who destroyed herself by drowning in the Avon on Friday last.  The evidence shewed that the deceased was subject to periodical attacks of headache and congestion, that she was at such times excessively irritable, and had frequently threatened self-destruction upon the slightest annoyance, even such as having to reprove her children.  On the day of her death, after some trifling altercation with her husband, she declared herself unable to live longer.  Where she drowned herself the water was only 18 inches deep.  Verdict - temporary insanity.  The jury expressed an opinion that no blame of any kind attached to the husband.



On Thursday a private of the 65th regiment, of the name of Boyd committed suicide by shooting himself at Thorndon barracks.  The deceased had been placed in arrest the previous day for drunkenness, and was about to be taken for examination before the commanding officer, when he committed suicide in the room in the guard house in which he was confined, by placing the muzzle of his piece under his chin, and pulling the trigger by means of a piece of flax attached to his foot.  The ball passed through his brain and lodged in the ceiling of the room; his death must have been instantaneous.  A Coroner's Inquest was held yesterday, and a verdict was retuned that the deceased had shot himself.



The following is an extract from a private letter from Taranaki, dated Sept. 16:- ...

A horrible murder was committed here on Thursday last, by a discharged soldier of the 65th, named Cassidy.  The victim being a widow named Rogers, with whom he cohabited.  The Coroner's Jury returned a verdict of wilful murder.  Jealousy is reported as the cause of it."


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 29 September 1854

INQUEST. - On Tuesday last, an inquest was held at the "Russell Wine Vaults," before Dr. Davies, on the body of Thomas Gavin, the particulars of whose death we gave in our last.  The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.



Newport Inquest again: letter from J. L. Bailey - "the verdict returned (which was acquiesced in by the Coroner) was manslaughter; while in the "correct report" of the Colonial Surgeon (who is also the Coroner), lately published in the Examiner, I find the cause of the death of the said Mary Newport to be entered as dropsy. ...



... he asserts that the "individual found dead," had come by his death under suspicious circumstances, and that the body "was necessarily interred without ever having been recognised," through Dr. Fitzgerald's neglect to hold an inquest'; the facts being that the person whose body was found on Sunday, the 13th August, was a seaman belonging to the Salopian, who was drowned by the upsetting of a boat in the open day, and therefore did not come by his death under suspicious circumstances, the body was recognized by the clothes it had on, and application was made, not to Dr. Fitzgerald, who had resigned the office of Coroner, but to Mr. Dorset, who directed the interment of the body. ...  Various letters on the subject of Coroner.




An inquest was held here, On Tuesday evening last, on view of the body of a man named Curtis, a private in the 65th Regiment, belonging to the detachment stationed here.  The deceased had been missing for nearly three weeks, and it was supposed that he had gone to Wellington, from which place he had lately arrived.  The body of the deceased was found floating down the river near the heads by the natives.  The jury, after mature consideration, returned a verdict of found drowned.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 21 October 1854

AKAROA. - We have to announce the lamentable suicide of Joseph Zillwood, formerly constable of Akaroa, and lately occupying the ferry house.  On Friday thr 13th inst., the unfortunate man escaped the vigilance of some persons watching him, and deliberately shot himself, discharging a small pistol, loaded with ball, in his mouth.  He lingered in great agony, although sensible, till Thursday last, about 11 o'clock in the morning.  An inquest will be held on the body this day.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 25 October 1854

AKAROA. - An Inquisition was taken on the body of Joseph Zillwood on Saturday last.  The evidence shewed an extraordinary amount of premeditation; the unfortunate man had carefully made up his accounts, and written letters to various parties some weeks before his suicide; he himself stated afterwards that he had determined on the act for three weeks previous.  The Jury, without hesitation, returned a verdict of felo de se.  After the inquest, the body was interred at night, without funeral rites, pursuant to the Coroner's Warrant.



Doesn't load, merely a series of lines, only end of report.

... Island, and, in consequence of the swollen state of the river from melted snow, we did not cross at the customary place opposite the island, but (with the exception of Dodson, whom we left looking for cattle) we came down to the point opposite Christie's wood shed, just above the junction of the river with the Branch, where, we had been informed, the Wairau river was easiest to cross.  In order to give confidence to Mr. Otterson, I had exchanged horses with him on starting, as he fancied mine was the strongest, and on reaching the  bank I entered first, and found the river very deep, but not, as I thought, dangerous.  The Maori followed, keeping higher up the stream, Mr. Wells between us.  Mr. Otterson came last, and, as far as I can judge, kept too near the fall, which ran like a race.  When I got within a few yards of the bank I looked behind and saw Mr. Otterson on the edge of the fall, on which I hastened to the shore, when, on again looking, Mr. Otterson and his horse were rolling over and over together.  On this I dismounted and ran to his assistance, and rushed into the middle of the current and seized Mr. Otterson by his coat, and succeeded in getting him very near the bank.  The horse was then lying on his side, and Mr. Otterson could not disengage himself, as he had his foot fast in the stirrup.  I struggled with my utmost to draw him on shire, but standing as I did up to the breast in the full force of the fall, I was powerless to do so, as I was bearing not only the weight of Mr. Otterson but also of his horse.

   Before Mr. Wells could get to my assistance the coat rent in my hand, and I was obliged to get to shore as best I could, quite exhausted with my effort.  Mr. Wells then tried to seize the horse, but the force of the stream carried him back to the other side, still dragging Mr. Otterson by the leg, as nearly as I could discern, and it appeared that the body became liberated at that time.  Mr. Wells then forded a branch stream and tried again to get to the body, but it disappeared in the water.  Mr. Wells, however, followed down the river for some distance to see if the body \had washed up, and I rode on to this station for assistance.  Mr. Pipe, with several hands, immediately went in search of the body, which was found about three miles below where the accident occurred.  I am, &c., C. ELLIOTT.

P.S. - The Maori was so paralyzed, that, although first on shore, he made no offer of assistance."

"I certify the above to be a correct statement as occurred.  W. WELLS."

   This being the whole of the evidence, the Jury returned the following verdict: - "That the said Francis Otterson was accidentally drowned while crossing the Wairau river, and not otherwise.  And the jury would wish to express their regret that one or more of the witnesses who were present at the accident did not return from the Wairau to give evidence on this inquest."


LYTTELTON TIMES, 28 October 1854


AKAROA. - We hear that the body of Mr. Magee, late of Akaroa, has been found.  The Coroner odf the district is now on his way to hold an inquest respecting the death.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 1 November 1854


AKAROA. - An inquest was held on Thursday last, at Akaroa, on the body of John Magee.  The evidence shewed that the deceased, after several days' drinking at Akaroa, started more than three weeks ago, in company with a man named Woodhams, for Long Bay, both drunk.  They took with them several bottles of spirits; they continued drinking all day and all night; the next day missed their way, and subsequently separated.  Woodhams, after another day, reached Magee's house, but Magee was not found until Monday, Oct. 23rd, when his body, in an advanced stage of decomposition, was found by Woodhams in a watercourse, which he appeared to have been following, when, overcome by intoxication, he slipped down and slept.  The weather at the time was severe, with snow and hail, and he perished from cold and exhaustion.  - Verdict Accidental Death.





Letter from Wm. Wells re the Otterson inquest.



SUDDEN DEATH. - On Wednesday last a person of the name of Jeremiah Slattery, when in the act of sitting down to dinner at his residence in Bridge Street, and while in the apparent enjoyment of perfect health, fell down suddenly and expired.  An inquest was held on the body the day following, and the verdict given by the jury was "Died by the visitation of God."

   Mr. Slattery was a stranger in Nelson, having arrived here only a short time ago from Melbourne, and we believe he had no relatives in New Zealand.


Trial of Samuel Newport adjourned to next session; witness (J. M'Donald) did not appear.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An Inquest was held on Tuesday, the 28th inst., at the NEW ZEALANDER inn, Manners-street, before John Dorset, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a respectable jury, on view of the body of James Dunnakin, a seaman belonging to the brig Onkaparinga, whose body was found floating in the harbour, between the Custom House and Tankersley's wharf.  The evidence simply went to show that the deceased had been missing since Thursday last, and a verdict was returned of "Found Drowned."


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 29 December 1854


On Wednesday last, an inquest was held at the Provincial Hospital, before Dr. Davis, on the body of James Wallis alias Hemi Tekopi, and aboriginal native of New Zealand.

   After the Jury had been sworn in, the Coroner wished the Jury to allow the Rev. Mr. Buddle, and the Rev. Mr. Buller to speak to the chiefs of the deceased's tribe, in order to obtain their consent to a post mortem examination being made; the Jury having consented, the Rev. Gentlemen endeavoured to persuade the chiefs to give their consent, telling them that if it was a white person be it whom it might, even if it was the Governor, or the Queen herself, such an examination would be made; because unless it were made, the Doctors could not state positively what had caused the death of the deceased.  To this the chiefs replied, what need is there to look; do not those who saw the occurrence tell you, that the white man struck the deceased over the head with a piece of wood, while he was standing in the street, and killed him, what need to look after that; do the white men wish to insult us by an inquiry.  After some time the chiefs retired, and the following witnesses were called:-

   Charles Oliver Davis having been s worn as interpreter.

   Hemi, an aboriginal native, having been sworn, said - On Monday evening, the 25th instant, I saw the deceased standing as I am now; a European came out of his own house, (the witness here identified Walter Huntley as the European,) and struck the deceased with a billet of firewood so thick as my firearm, he held the wood in his right hand.  The deceased had his back turned to the prisoner, who came behind him, and struck him unaware across the eye and temple, as soon as the deceased was struck he fell down, he did not speak after he was struck.  The deceased had not been interfering with the prisoner at all when the blow was struck.  The deceased was not intoxicated, there were ten natives in the party, and they only had one bottle of spirits between them, after they had drunk the spirits they came out of the house, and soon after the blow was struck.  He (deceased) was neither drunk or noisy when the blow was struck.  He was steady and sober.  The deceased had not been interfering with the prisoner, nor had he gone into his (prisoners) house.  There were several other native men there, but no native women, the deceased's wife was in her own house.  There were about ten natives in the street at the time.  A native named Matthew was previously talking with the prisoner peaceably; none of the natives were quarrelling with the prisoner.  I do know if any cause which could have induced the prisoner to strike any of the natives.  The house in which the natives were living was just opposite the prisoner's.

   Cross-examined by the prisoner, - I am quite sure the deceased did not strike you (prisoner) at all; the deceased never offered to strike you; I was in the street when the blow was struck; there were many other Maories in the street besides the ten I mentioned belonging to my party; after the blow was struck, a Maori sailor attempted to take the prisoner, who locked himself up in his house; the sailor broke the windows in order to take him.

   By the Court, - I am quite sure the prisoner was not interfered with by any of the natives before the blow was struck; some of the natives were drunk, but none belonging to my party.  I am no relation to the deceased.  The prisoner was sober when he struck the deceased; I was four years in the armed police; I never knew a native to die from drinking spirits, I have known Europeans die from that cause.  I think the blow was the cause of death.

   By the prisoner, - I am sure you struck the deceased with a piece of firewood.

   By a Juror, - The deceased was standing with his back to the prisoner, who came round in front of him before he struck the blow; I have seen the deceased lying dead; it is the left eye that is injured; it was there the blow was struck; there was only one blow given; the deceased fell immediately; it was about ½ past 7 in the evening; it was twilight; the prisoner did not strike a blow on the right temple; the mark on the right temple of the deceased was caused by his falling on a stone when the blow was struck.  The deceased fell upon his right shoulder, it was a stoney place where he fell; I did not see the deceased strike his right temple against a stone; I have known the deceased about four years; I have known the prisoner two or three weeks; from my knowledge of the deceased he was not addicted to drink; he was a peaceable and well disposed man.

   By the prisoner, - I was standing about 6 feet from the deceased when the blow was struck; it was sufficiently light for me to see what I have stated; I was standing on the left side of the deceased when this occurred.  After the deceased fell, the natives belonging to my party took off their shirts, not to fight, but in order to apprehend the prisoner; I am quite sure it was after the blow was struck; there were no drunken persons in the street near the deceased when the blow was given; immediately after the deceased fell a number of persons congregated; some of them were drunk.

   Henry Hardington, sworn, said, - I am the landlord of the Exchange Hotel, I remember the evening of the 25th inst., on that evening I heard a noise at the corner of Field's Lane and Chancery-street, I went there, I saw a native dressed in sailors clothes, in a very excited state, from drink or some other causes, come out of a house, and I heard a noise as if a window or door had been smashed, he put m=him self in a fighting attitude outside the prisoner's door, saying to the prisoner in broken English, "Why do you not come out and fight like an Englishman, and not use wood," the native appeared very much excited, I remained about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour.  A number of natives, perhaps 20 or 30, were there, some were tipsy.  After the excitement had subsided a little, I went into the house where the deceased was lying, and poured water over his head.  Sometimes he did not appear to breathe for five minutes, when he made a guttural noise in his throat.  I remained about half an hour, and then went in search of a medical man; not succeeding I sent the corporal of police for the Provincial Surgeon, who came soon after.  The Provincial Surgeon directed Sergeant Major Brown to smell the deceased's breath, he stated it had no smell of grog; he then ordered the deceased to be taken to the Hospital.

   I do not think the last witness (Hemi) was drunk on that night, two or three natives were very tipsy, two were lying on the floor quite drunk; I was not there before the native was struck.  When I went into the house he was lying on his back, three or four Maories were drying round him.  I directed them to pour water on the deceased's face.

   Cross-examined by Mr. Merriman, - The deceased's breath did not smell of liquor.

      Mr. Buddle returned into Court with two of the native chiefs, and informed the Court, that the whole of the native chiefs, had agreed that a post mortem examination should be made, with the exception of old Wesley, who would not consent.  Wesley upon being spoken to by Mr. Davis., the interpreter, gave his consent also.

   The Coroner at the request of the Jury then ordered a post mortem examination to be made.

   Wiremu Hunia, an aboriginal native, after being sworn, said, - I knew the deceased.  On the evening of the 25th inst., I saw the prisoner and his wife in their own house, in a street near the centre of the Town; the white man came out of his house, and struck the deceased with a piece of firewood about the length of my fore-arm and as thick as my wrist; I was standing close to the deceased; the white man asked "where is the native man who was drunk," and then struck the deceased; that is the white man I speak of (pointing to Huntley, the man in custody).

   The deceased's back was towards him when he came out of his house; as soon as the deceased was struck he fell; he never spoke after the blow was given; the deceased was sober at the time; there had  been no previous quarrel between the deceased and the person in custody; the deceased had not been in the street many minutes; I do not know of any quarrel having taken place between the white man and any other native; I saw no natives quarrelling or interfering with the white man's wife, or any other white woman; I was sober at the time, I had taken one glass of spirits at 7 o'clock that morning, I had none afterwards; the natives belonging to the deceased's party were sober, and were not interfering with any body; there were some native sailors in the street, they were not drunk, after the glow was struck one sailor rushed to the white man's house in order to take him; the sailor succeed in forcing the door open, and then invited the white man to come out and fight him.  After the deceased fell, I went for the police; when I returned I found some of the Maories in the street drunk; the white man held the piece of wood in his right hand.

   Cross-examined by Mr. Merriman, - I first saw Huntley in his own house; the Maories were standing quietly in the street; I am quite sure the deceased turned his face towards Huntley when he struck him on then temple; I saw no drunken natives in the street before I went for the police; if there had been any drunken Maories in the street I should have seen them; I was sober at the time; I did not ask Huntley to fight; the deceased did not speak to Huntley; there was no disturbance between the natives and the white people while I was in the street.

   Dr. Andrews sworn, stated, the deceased was brought into the Provincial Hospital about half-past ten o'clock, on the evening of the 25th inst., he was insensible, and breathing very heavily, the left eye was closed, and nearly black; on raising the lid, and bringing a lighted candle nearly close to the eye, I found the pupil would not contract, I at once supposed it was caused by pressure on the brain, but as I smelt spirits very strongly, and knowing how closely the symptoms produced by drunkenness resemble those resulting from pressure on the brain from mechanical causers (I mean blows) I at once requested the head nurse to smell the breath, he declared it smelt of grog.

   I, therefore, knowing little of the case, watched it closely through the night, as I felt that should the symptoms be principally the result of drunkenness, I might injure the patient by bleeding him, which would have relived him probably had there been simple concussion of the brain.  After watching him until about two o'clock on the morning of the 26th, and finding the symptoms of the same character, I feared serious injury to the brain, but considering that no treatment further than that of applying mustard poultices to the calves of the legs would be likely to avail, I adopted that treatment, and directed the head nurse not to leave him.  I saw him again about 3 o'clock a.m., he was then in the same state.  About ½ past 5 o'clock he died.

   I have made a post mortem examination on the body this morning, assisted by Dr. Thomson, and find a very large fracture of a large bone called the left parietal bone.  The fracture being large than a crown piece, of about two and a half inches in length by one and a half in width.  The bone was broken into several small pieces, which were generally pressing on the brain, having been driven in to the depth of from one-eighth to one-quarter of an inch, underneath the fractured portion of the brain.  The brain was much torn and a large coagulum of blood was found in this spot.  The pressure on the brain of the fractured bone was the immediate cause of death.

   Dr. Thomson swoern, said, I have heard the evidence of the last witness, respecting the post mortem examination, and entirely agree with his statement.  I wish to observe that there was no injury of the scalp outside over the fracture, nor did the brain smell of spirits, as if death had been caused by intoxication.  There was a slight effusion of blood between the scalp and the bone.  I believe the cause of death was the pressure on the brain of the fractured bone.  The injury might have been caused by a heavy stick, such as a policeman's baton.

   By a juror - I do not think it could have been caused by a blow from the fist.

   Utika, an aboriginal native, sworn.  The testimony of this witness merely corroborated the evidence given by the two previous native witnesses.

   Thomas Powley having been sworn, stated, I am a corporal of the armed police.  On Monday, the 25th inst., I was corporal of the police guard.  About 9 o'clock in the evening, I received information that a native had been severely struck by a man named Walter Huntley.  I went down to the house where the deceased was lying, and found him insensible.  I sent a policeman for Dr. Davies, who arrived shortly afterwards.  I asked the doctor if the man was in danger.  He told me there was great danger.  I then took Huntley into custody and conveyed him to the lock-up.  By order of Dr. Davies, the deceased was taken to the Provincial Hospital by a serjeant and four policemen.  Huntley was not drunk when I took him into custody.  There were two or three natives drunk in the house where deceased lay, one of them was insensible from the effects of drink.

   John Kent being sworn stated, I recollect Christmas day last, a disturbance took place in Chancery Lane on that day, just after dinner.  I was at my own house when I heard the disturbance between constable O'Hara and the natives.  I went to the assistance of the constable.  I know some of the natives who were engaged in that disturbance.  I do not know their names.  A man who had on a red shirt and was here to-day as a witness was one.  He chased me into my house.  He had on a red shirt at that time.  I could not swear to any other native who was there.  I do not know the deceased; if I saw the body I might recognise him.  I saw the maories outside of Huntley's house making a noise.  Huntley came out and asked them to go away quietly; his wife did also.  As soon as Huntley had shut the door, two maories endeavoured to burst it open.  I do not know what maories they were.  I saw one catch Huntley and the other struck his wife.  Huntley tried to put him out of the house.

   By the Court - I do not speak maori.  The native now produced in Court as the former witness is not the man I allude to.  Huntley was sober at the time.  I went away after the woman was struck.  It was between 8 and 9 o'clock in the evening.  I did not see the native struck by Huntley.  I do not know what the native struck Huntley's wife with, or how he struck her.  The natives who struck Huntley and his wife were tipsy.  None of the natives present were engaged in the row which took place at noon.  I think it was moonlight at the time of the last disturbance, I did not hear any native challenge Huntley to fight, neither could I have understood them if they had done so.

   Patrick O'Byrne sworn, states, I keep a shop in Chancery-street.  I know the deceased.  I saw him in the street several times on Christmas day.  I could see he had been drinking. I dare say I saw him five or six times during the day.  I saw a drunken maori go into a house in Chancery-street that I collect the rent of.  I asked the man, an Oahuman, who rents the house, why he allowed a drunken native in the house.  The Oahuman ordered the drunken maori out.  He would not go, and I turned him out.  He went up to the deceased and spoke to him, giving him a shove, from which deceased fell.  This was between five and six in the evening.  The deceased got up; a number of natives lifted him up.  He would walk.  About five or six o'clock I saw a lot of maories, near Dunn's forge, round O'Hara the policeman.  I did not see any thing after that.

   John Kent recalled and resworn, said, I have seen the body of the deceased.  I saw him on Christmas day about 2 o'clock, just after the row with O'Hara the policeman.  He was about half tipsy.

   Sarah Kent, being sworn, said, I am the wife of the last witness.  I was present in Chancery-street on the evening of Christmas day.  When I first went there were a number of natives present.  Two maories burst Huntley's door open; one knocked Mrs. Huntley down, and knocker her under the breast.  I then left.  I did not see Huntley.  I had not then heard of any maori being struck.  It was between 8 and 9 o'clock in the evening.  Afterwards I heard one had been hurt.

   Dr. Andrews re-examined.  I do not think a man who had received such an injury to the brain as I previously stated, could possibly have risen again and walked away.  A fall might have caused the abrasion of the skin under the right eye.  I have examined the wife of Huntley.  There is a bruise about the size of a shilling under the left breast.  This bruise might have been caused by a kick, on Monday evening.  The blow must have been given from the front or side.  Such an injury could not have been given from behind.

   This closed the evidence.

   Mr. Merriman then addressed the jury on behalf of Huntley, reading one or two extracts to show the jury that it wass only homicide that had been committed, and that Huntley had a right to kill any one who endeavoured to dispossess him of his house.

   The jury having retired for about a quarter of an hour, returned a verdict of manslaughter against Walter Huntley, who was then committed for trial.

   The same evening, an inquest was held at the Victoria Hotel, before Dr. Davies, on the body of John Beachlemer, who was found dead at the mouth of Elliot's Creek, on the morning of Sunday last.  There being no evidence how the deceased came in the water; the Jury returned a verdict of "found drowned."  



Letter to the Editor, Inquest on James Wallis alias Hemi Tekopi, re confusion of names, Rev. Buller having been named as Rev. Buddle in some reports.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - Yesterday, an inquest was held at Mr. London's Porirua, by J. Dorset, Esq., M.D., and a respectable jury, on view of the remains of John Kennedy and George Harris, who were unfortunately burnt to death on Monday last, when Mr. London's house was burnt down.  Several witnesses were examined, but none could tell how the fire originated.  Mary London was awoke by the smoke and heat about 3 o'clock on Monday morning, and observed the house to be on fire over the bar mantelpiece.  She immediately alarmed the inmates of the house, and rushed for some water to extinguish the flames; but the fire had then got such hold on the building, as to render all efforts to put it out abortive.  Edward London, son of Mr. London, made a desperate effort to save the two lads, but without success, and was dreadfully scorched in the attempt.  The jury expressed their high approval of the efforts of Edward London, feeble as they were, in his attempts to save the lives of deceased.  The jury returned the following verdict: - "That the deceased came to their death by fire; but that no evidence has been adduced to show how that fire originated."



John Henry Andrews, Esq., to be Coroner for the district of Auckland, vice Wm. Davies, Esq., resigned.



To the Editor of the Independent.


The last thing I would wish to notice is the natives.  I find in our Constitution Act a good round sum of money to be paid annually out of the revenue for their good, but nothing do we see at present done in this laudable intention to restrain their vices, or encourage their morality.  It is not more than four years ago, I saw, with several other Europeans, close by my own door, a native chief murder his sister's infant.  We all tried as much as possible to prevent him from committing the crime; we offered to clothe and feed the child, and to take it to ourselves, but all to no purpose, he said the child was a bastard by a native he did not like, consequently it must die - he threw it into the river and it was drowned. ... THOMAS BEVAN, a Manawatu Settler.



INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Wednesday last, at the "Crown & Anchor," West Queen-Street, before Dr. Andrews, on William Webb Pullman, who had been found dead in his bed.  After hearing the evidence, the Jury returned a verdict, "that death was caused by appoplexy."



INQUESTS. - On Monday last an inquest was held at the Prince Albert Hotel, Queen-street, before Dr. Andrews, on Joseph Hamilton, a Bandsman, who was found drowned on the morning of that day.  After hearing the evidence, by which it appeared he had thrown his cap in the water, and jumped in after it; after swimming about 100 yards, he sank; deceased was intoxicated at the time.  The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

   Yesterday an inquest was held at the Clanricarde Hotel, Albert-street, before Dr. Andrews, on Denis Donovan, who had died that morning; from the evidence it appeared that the deceased had been drinking for some time past, the medical witness, Dr. Stratford, stated that death had been caused by debility brought on by previous over stimulation.  The jury returned a verdict of died from natural causes.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 10 March 1855


A Coroner's inquest was held at Kaiapoi on Wednesday morning on the body of Albert Jeffs, a child of 8 years of age, drowned the previous Sunday in the Waimakiriri.  The only witness of the fatal occurrence, a boy of about nine years, upon examination, appeared so ignorant of the nature of an oath, that the Coroner refused to swear him.  The Jury therefore returned an open verdict of "Found Drowned."



INQUEST. - On Monday last, an inquest was held at the "Duke of Marlborough," Queen-street, before Dr. Andrews, on a man named Francis Canning, who was found dead on the morning of that day.  From the evidence of the medical witness, it appeared that the lungs were diseased, and that there was also an accumulation of fat about the heart.  The Jury returned a verdict of "died by the visitation of God."


SOUTHERN CROSS, 3 April 1855

An Inquest was held yesterday afternoon on the body of Robert Mowbray, who had dropped down dead in Albert Barracks between 10 & 11 o'clock in the morning.  The deceased was 55 years of age.  Verdict, "Died by Visitation of God."




THE REV. JOSEPH TWIGGER. - On Thursday evening, the 5th inst., the body of the Rev. J. Twigger, who has been missing since the 22nd ultimo, was found by a woerking man, named Stephen Brooker, in the River Avon, about a quarter of a mile below the spot where Mr. Twigger parted company with the person who went part of the way with him on the night on which he disappeared.

   A large number of people immediately assembled, and assisted in conveying the remains of the unfortunate gentleman to an out-house on his own premises, there to await the Coroner's inquest.

   An inquest was held on the body yesterday (Friday), and adjourned till Monday next, for the production of an important witness. - From a Correspondent.




An accident attended with loss of life to four young children occurred at Howick on the evening of Good Friday by the upsetting of a boat under the following circumstances.

   A party of pleasure seekers consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Hair, and two children, Mr. and Mrs. Trail, and two children and others, had come from Waiheke with the intention of passing the day at Howick.  About six o'clock in the evening a portion of the party, including the children who were droned with their mothers left the beach at Howick in a dingy with the intention of getting on board a cutter which was lying in the river.  A rather heavy sea was running at the time, and unfortunately a surf came over the bows of the dingy, instantly capsizing it.

   Mr. Hair and a man named Hudson who were of the party, and who had remained on shore with the intention of boarding the cutter on the return of the dingy, witnessed the accident and rendered all the assistance they were able.  Mrs. Hair managed to reach the shore with one of her children who unfortunately was dead before taken from the water.  Mrs. Trail also arrived with her infants one of whom was dead, the other died from exhaustion an hour after the lamentable occurrence in spite of every exertion to save it.  The ages of the children varied from seven years to six weeks.

   An inquest was held on the bodies on Saturday at Crew's Hotel, before A. Macdonald, Esq., Coroner, when the above facts were deposed to, and the jury returned a verdict of "death by accidental drowning."[Funeral.]


LYTTELTON TIMES, 11 April 1855


An Inquisition was taken by the Coroner and a jury of the inhabitants of Christchurch on Friday the 6th, and by adjournment on Monday the 9th, on the body of the Rev. J. Twigger, hose body was found on Thursday entangled in reeds near the cemetery bridge after having been missing over a fortnight.

   The evidence showed that the deceased who was unfortunately much given to intoxication, left the White Hart public house, on Wednesday the 21st March, about midnight, in company with a man named Thompson, who parted with him at the corner of Cashel and Durham street.  Thompson heard deceased splash into a puddle, and heard him exclaim, "I'm into it then." In answer to some observation of Thompson's, he said, "All right, my boy, God bless you."  A little further on, was another larger puddle extended across the road.  This one he was not heard to step into, but Thompson explained that from the nature of the ground.  He was then parted from deceased by a gully and rising ground.  On hearing next morning that deceased was missing, he examined the locality and arrived at the conclusion that in endeavouring to avoid the second puddle he had got on to the bank and gone over it.

   Dr. Barker who had examined the body externally, said, that the clothes of deceased were quite undisturbed, his shirt front and wrist bands buttoned, his waistcoat was buttoned with the exception of the lowest button, neck tie neatly tied, and with the exception of a slight bruise in the knee, no mark of violence whatever.

   The appearance of the body was that of one submerged about the period that had elapsed between the missing and the finding of Mr. Twigger, and although the stage of decomposition precluded a certain conclusion, the appearances were quite consistent with that of a body a fortnight drowned, and of one who had perished by drowning.

   Mr. Hart, landlord of the White Hart, s aid deceased was in the habit of taking as many as 20 glasses of spirits and water in a day at his house.  The day of his disappearance he had not had more than 5.  He had been very drunk the day before, and did not get up until late in the day.  Mr. H. remarked that he was soberer than he had seen him for many a day.

   Elizabeth Barnett said, that on the night of Mr. Twigger's disappearance she heard a noise as of some one suffocating in water.  As she had been much frightened by a drunken man on the previous night, she did not get up.  She heard no other noise.  On the evening previous to the finding of the body, on going down to the river side to draw water, she saw floating down the river an object, which she thought looked like a body.  She called to a passer by but he did not hear, and she was too alarmed to speak to any one on the subject.  This was nearly opposite the newspaper office.

   (This witness was called as an opinion had gained ground in Christchurch, that the river was too shallow at the island for the body to pass.  The difficulty was imaginary, which was confirmed by Barrett's testimony.)

   A witness was called to inquire about some noises heard about the time of the supposed drowning, but as some drunken men were known to be about, nothing was elicited of any importance.

   After hearing several witnesses more or less relevant to the inquiry, the Coroner summed up, explaining that where direct testimony was impossible, circumstantial evidence, if complete and consistent, must supply its place.  He shewed that the proceedings of the unfortunate gentleman were explained by direct testimony up to past midnight; that although some witnesses had said that deceased's knowledge of the road was so precise that he had described and named every inequality of the road, and in a state of complete intoxication had in dark nights reached home without accident, yet on the occasion in question he had, as direct evidence shewed, missed his way and gone into a puddle.  An examination of the spot had shewn that if he had endeavoured to avoid the next and larger puddle, he might easily have walked over the bank, as just at that spot the path was flush with the road, the raised footway terminating just at that place.

   Evidence, and their own examination had convinced them that the passage of a body over the shallows was quite easy, and at or about the time when a body might be expected to rise, the body had been found, and a witness had seen a similar object in transitu.   The body was without any external marks of violence, and the dress not at all.  He left it to the jury whether this train of circumstantial evidence was sufficient to warrant them in a verdict that the deceased accidentally fell into the river and was drowned.  Of not, they must leave the matter open by a verdict of Found drowned - a conclusion at all times unsatisfactory, as being in fact no result, but necessary when the evidence was insufficient for a more decided conclusion. 

   The jury, upon enquiry, were found to be about equally divided between the two opinions.  After some considerable time spent in explanation and reading the evidence over again, the jury were locked up.  Some two hours after, they agreed to a verdict of Accidental Death, to which by way of rider, the following presentment was added -

    "The undersigned being a Jury empannelled to inquire into the causes of the death of Joseph Twigger, present that the state of the bank of then river is imminently dangerous to the lives of persons travelling after dark, and desire to urge the attention of the authorities to the necessity of causing a railing, or some other protection, immediately to be erected, extending from Hereford Street to the bridge opposite the Royal Hotel."

   It was mentioned in the room that several accidents had occurred at or near the spot where the deceased was presumed to have met with the accident. - From a Correspondent.



INQUEST. - An inquest was held yesterday at the Aurora Tavern, before H. J. Andrews, Esq., Coroner, and a jury of 13, on the body of Daniel M'Shane, a very old resident in Auckland, who was found dead under the following circumstances:-  Deceased was seen alive at 7 P.M. on Sunday evening by Mr. Mitchelson, and was then in liquor on Tuesday morning, between 6 and 8 o'clock, his body was seen on the beach at the foot of Hobson-street by Thomas Green; it was lying on its face under high water marl; Mr. Green and Captain Pulham then informed the police and assisted in removing the body.  Dr. Lee deposed to no marks of external violence, as from a blow, being visible on the body; but there were marks of abrasion on the face, as from gliding over sand, and bruises as if from a fall.  One of the witnesses had observed marks on the face of the cliff at the foot of Hobson-street, as if caused by contact with a heavy body; and the evidence, as a whole, went to show that the unfortunate man, while under the influence of liquor, had fallen over this dangerous precipice.  This was the view taken by the jury, as the following verdict and rider will show; the verdict was recorded in so peculiar a form, in hopes of having some effect in checking the evils of drunkenness.

   Deceased came to his death by falling over a cliff whilst in a state of intoxication; they therefore record accidental death.  The jury, at the same time, feel it their duty to state that some efficient railing should be placed round this cliff as a future protection to the public.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 21 April 1855


An inquest was holden on Wednesday, in the hospital, on the body of Jemima Dean, a child aged 2 years, who died on Sunday last from violent convulsions.

   After some introductory observations from the Coroner, Dr. Dudley was examined, and stated that he went to Rhode's Bay on Saturday last to see the deceased, but found that she had been dead about 12 hours, after suffering for 36 hours.

   He had since made a post mortem examination of the body, when every portion of the child's stomach appeared healthy except a small contraction of the liver, and a little blood in the cavity of the heart.  He did not find traces of either vegetable or mineral poison in the stomach.  He found that 3 other children at the same place were suffering from similar symptoms to those which the deceased had been attacked with, which led him to believe that the child had not died from natural causes.  These children had been in the habit of eating mushrooms both cooked and raw, and also mussels.  He supposed this might be the cause of the child's death, especially as mussels are at times of a poisonous nature.  The child's death was evidently caused by eating something which produced congestion of the brain.

   The Coroner here explained that at times all fish were poisonous.

   The mother of the child was then examined, and stated that deceased was taken ill about mid-day on Friday; the first symptoms of illness she noticed was a general drowsiness; afterwards the child appeared to be suffering from great pain in the stomach.  About twelve o'clock she had a fit, which lasted a quarter of an hour, and another about an hour afterwards.  She vomited some green liquid.  Witness applied warm baths and other remedies till two o'clock on Sunday morning, when the child died.

   In answer to questions from the Coroner, witness stated that she was not aware of the child having eaten anything the night previous that would have disagreed with her, and that she did not believe that any poison was laid down in the hay to kill fogs.

   After a few observations from the Coroner, the Jury returned the following verdict: "That death was caused from congestion of the brain, but from what cause there is not sufficient evidence to prove."



INQUEST. - Yesterday, an Inquest was held at the Provincial Hospital before Dr. Andrews, on a pensioner belonging to the Onehunga Division, named George Pigon.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased had been drinking for some days previous to his death, and that his wife had left him, and lived with another man.  This preyed on the mind of the deceased, and was no doubt one of the causes that led him to destroy himself on Tuesday last.  The Jury returned the following verdict: "That the deceased destroyed himself during a fit of temporary insanity, by shooting himself through the head with a bullet.  They also think it right to record that they consider the misconduct of his wife in deserting him for another man, the cause of his so destroying himself."






In the case of Samuel Newport, who had been committed by the Coroner for the manslaughter of his wife, no bill was found by the Grand Jury.


John Macdonald appeared to show cause why the amount of his recognizance, which he had entered into before the Coroner to appear and give evidence at the sitting of the Court in November last, should not be levied.  His affidavit, which was read, stated that he had not received any notice of recognizance, and that he had been informed by the Coroner, the Crown Prosecutor, and the Clerk to the Court, that there was no occasion for him to attend until he received further notice.  These allegations were, however, denied by those gentlemen in their affidavits, and the service of recognizance was proved by the Sergeant-major of Police.

   The Judge ordered the defendant to be committed until the amount of his recognizance was paid.



INQUEST. - Yesterday an inquest was held at the Albert Barracks, before Dr. Andrews, on a private of the 58th regt., named Richard Patterson, who had met his death by falling down a well.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased and another man were drawing water; after the bucket was at the top and landed, by some means the deceased and the bucket both slipped into the well.  The jury returned a verdict of accidental death, recommending at the same time, that precautions should be taken to prevent any similar accidents in future.



On Sunday last, a lunatic, named Samuel Crawford, died in the Nelson gaol, and on the day following a coroner's jury, who sat upon the body, returned a verdict that the unfortunate man had "died from natural causes, and not otherwise."

   This occurrence may seem to be but one of but an ordinary character, and requiring no comment on the part of a journalist; but there are circumstances, we regret to day, on connection with the event which we cannot, in duty to ourselves, pass over silently.

   A moment's consideration tells us, in the first place, that a common gaol is not a fit place for the reception of lunatics at all; and when we come to learn the sort of gaol we possess, and the number and character of its inmates, out feelings of humanity are outraged at the contemplation of the horrible condition of its unhappy inmates. ....




MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT. - A gentleman named Bird lost his life in the Wairau river, on Monday last, opposite Manuka Island.  Mr. Bird was in company with Mr. F. Blundell, driving cattle, and, as far as the particulars have reached us, we believe, crossed over the river to the residence of Gould, to obtain some refreshment, and in returning, by taking a wrong ford, was swept down the river. The body was afterwards found, and has been brought up to the Waimea, where an inquest is being held upon it.



INQUEST ON THE LATE G. W. BIRD, ESQ. - An in quest was held on the body of this unfortunate gentleman, at the residence of captain Blundell, Waimea West, where it had been conveyed after it was found, about 500 yards below where the accident happened.  On the evidence of Mr. F. Blundell, it appeared that the deceased and himself had crossed the Wairau river in safety from the Upper Traverse to the Manuka Island, but finding the old house of accommodation empty, Mr. Bird re-crossed the river to the new house, which is on the left bank, to get refreshments, leaving Mr. Blundell to look after the cattle.  Not knowing the fords, he got into deep water, but nevertheless safely reached Gould's house; but in returning he appears to have got into a very dangerous place, for on the testimony of Mrs. Gould, who was attentively watching his progress through the river, when some way across, the horse suddenly disappeared, and when it rose again it was without its rider.  The proper position of the ford is marked by poles, but these the deceased appears to have disregarded/  Gould himself, whose duty it is to assist travellers in crossing the river, and to point out fords which are safe, was not at home when the accident happened.

   The jury, through its foreman, Dr. Monro, gave a verdict of "Accidentally drowned," which they accompanied with the following remarks -

   "The jury would further present, that it appears that the occupations of the man who keeps the house of accommodation, are such as to make it impossible that he can be constantly in attendance, as he ought to be, in order to render effectual assistance to travellers; and, finally, that the frequent recurrence of the deplorable accidents, and the increasing traffic upon the road, satisfy them that the only safety for persons going backwards and forwards, is to be sought in a bridge or a well-conducted ferry."




An inquest was held yesterday afternoon, at  the Victoria Hotel, Fort-street, before the Coroner, H. J. Andrews, Esq., M.D., on the body of James Bruce.

   Thomas Cubbins sworn: I am master of the ship Rock City, the deceased was steward on board; I saw him alive on Saturday evening last, about half-past 9 o'clock; at daylight on Sunday morning, I missed the long-boat from astern of the ship; the steward was also missed; I  concluded that he had gone away in the long-boat, which had been nearly full of water for several days previous; on Sunday I made search for the long-boat; in the evening I called at Captain Burgess (the Pilot's) house, and inquired if he had seen anything of a ship's long-boat; from information I received there, I accompanied Captain Burgess, about 9 o'clock on Sunday night, to the island of Rangitoto; after searching several creeks, we found the long-boat on the rocks; the deceased was lying  down in the boat; he was quite dead; there was no water at the fore part of the boat, where the deceased was lying, at time; we removed him to our boat, and brought him to Auckland; I know no reason why the steward should wish to leave the ship; there had been no quarrel with him; no one else was absent at the time; there were no oars in the boat; he always appeared satisfied with the ship.

   Isaac James Burgess sworn: I am Harbour-master of Auckland; on Sunday evening, about half-past 6 o'clock, Captain Cubbins, of the Rock City, called at my house and inquired if I had seen a ship's long-boat; my brother having seen something like a boat in the morning drifting towards Rangitoto, he thought it was a Maori canoe, as we  saw a man padding it; I went with Captain Cubbins to Rangitoto, where we found the boat; the deceased was in it; he was quite dead; we conveyed the body to Auckland.

   Major King having been sworn, stated: I am a waterman at Auckland; I knew the deceased, as steward of the Rock City; on Friday morning last, he requested me to come off for him that night at 12 o'clock, he said he had a brother at Onehunga, and he wished to go to him; I told him if he would get leave to go on shore I would take him.

   Walter lee sworn, s aid: I am a surgeon, practicing in Auckland; I have examined the body of the deceased; there are no external marks of violent sufficient to cause death; there can be no doubt that the immediate cause of death was drowning.

   The Jury then adjourned till five o'clock, to allow of two witnesses being sent for from on board the Rock City.  At five o'clock they re=assembled, and, after hearing the evidence of the two witnesses (which was similar to that of Captain Cubbins), the Jury returned the following verdict:-

   Verdict - Found dead in the long-boat of the Rock City; cause of death, exhaustion.



To the Editor of the Southern Cross.

James Bruce inquest; complaint from Jury Foreman about having to pay the boatman for fetching the two witnesses from the Rock City.  THOS. C. HALLAMORE, Foreman.



INQUEST. - An Inquest was held yesterday, at the Russell Wine Vaults, Shortland-street, before Dr. Andrews, on the body of a man, named unknown, which had been found yesterday morning by the natives on the North Shore; there being no evidence to show how the deceased came in the water, the Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."



INQUEST. - An inquest was held at Onehunga on Wednesday, 11th instant, before H. J. Andrews, Esq., Coroner, and a Jury, on the body of a man - name unknown.  The body was found on the 7th instant, by a native woman named Betty; it was lying on the beach, in Manuka Harbour, near Mangarei, and had evidently been there a considerable time, as the head, neck, chest and arms were entirely denuded of flesh, and the remainder of the body was in an advanced state of decomposition.  When discovered, it was clad in a shirt, moleskin trousers, and boots; and a leather belt was round his waist.

   A witness named Bourke professed to identify the body as that of a man named William Owen, who had been missing since the second of June; but his evidence was contradictory in the extreme, and he himself so much under the influence of drunkenness as to be unable to sign the deposition.  Independently of this the Coroner pronounced the body to have been a corpse for a much greater length of time that that which had intervened since the disappearance of Owen; and the evidence of Bourke was consequently regarded as unworthy of credit.  The Jury, under these circumstances, returned an open verdict.



The Coroner for Canterbury held an inquisition at Akaroa on Thursday last, on the body of Catharine David.  The evidence showed that the deceased who was much given to intoxication, obtainbed a half pint of spirits from two different public houses, drinking also a glass or two of brandy at each.  A few minutes after leaving the last house, she was found insensible with one bottle quite empty, the other containing only a spoonful; before she could be carried in to any house, she was quite dead.  Verdict, apoplexy, induced by drinking ardent spirits to excess.




INQUEST. - Yesterday morning, about 8 o'clock, some seamen on board the cutter Surprise saw a life-buoy floating in the water, and upon pulling towards it in a boat found the body of a man attached to it, which they conveyed to the William Denny Hotel, where an inquest was subsequently held.  It appeared from the evidence of the captain of the Cresswell, that the deceased, Henry Pearce, had been an apprentice on board the ship, and was missed from the vessel early that morning.  He concluded, from one of the ship's life-buoys being also missing, that the deceased had attempted to escape by it during the night, and upon going on shore to give information to the police, he heard that a body had been picked up attached to a life-buoy, and recognised it as that of the deceased.  The jury returned a verdict of "Drowned while attempting to escape from his ship."



INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Tuesday last, at the Mason's Home, upon the body of Elizabeth M'Bride, the wife of a private in the 58th regiment.  It appeared from the evidence of James Scott, who resided in the same house with deceased, that upon returning home from work on the previous evening he found her reaching violently, and her husband said that she told him she had taken arsenic with a seidlitz powder by mistake, and she did not wish him to go for medical assistance, saying that she had drunk some soap and water, and should soon get better. She continued very ill until about three o'clock in the morning, when deceased's husband called up witness and his wife; they remained with her while he went for medical assistance, but before he returned the deceased expired.

   She had kept a paper labelled arsenic in a drawer for some time past, and told her husband that it was to kill rats, but no evidence was adduced to lead to the susoicion that she had wilfully destroyed herself.  As the medical man in attendance was not prepared to ngive a decided opinioon as to the immediuate cause of death, the inquest was adjoiurned until Friday morning, to allow time for a post mortem examination.



INQUEST. - The adjourned inquest on the body of Elizabeth M'Bride, (the particulars of whose death appeared in our last,) was held on Friday, at the Mason's Home.  Dr. Philson, having subjected the stomach to chemical analysis, decided that deceased had died from the effects of arsenic.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Died poisoned by arsenic taken by herself by mistake."

   The verdict was accompanied by a censure upon the husband, and two other parties living in the house, for neglecting to procure medical assistance immediately after the accident occurred.



INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Thursday, the 17th instant, at the Royal Oak, Onehunga, before H. J. Andrews, Esq., Coroner, on the body of a pensioner named George Hotterway.  On the evening of Wednesday, deceased was seen well.  On Thursday morning he was found dead in bed by a Mrs. Duncan and other neighbours.  There was no reason to believe that his death arose from other than natural causes, and the jury returned a verdict of - Died by the visitation of God.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 11 September 1855

INQUEST. - An inquest was held yesterday, at the Osprey Inn, before H. J. Andrews, Esq., coroner, and a jury, on the body of a man named John Connor.  He was seen alive at 9 o'clock on the morning of Sunday, and was found dead in bed a few minutes afterwards.  He was a man advanced in years, and he had been drinking for some time.  The jury returned a verdict of Died if apoplexy, induced by intemperate habits.




FATAL ACCIDENT. - On Saturday night last, William Atkinson, a seaman belonging to the Sir Allan M'Nab, William Johnson, of the steamer Zingari, and Thomas Peterson, of the schooner Atalanta, got swamped in a small dingy, in which they were attempting to reach, from the shore, their respective vessels.  The three men had been drinking together, and Peterson was very much intoxicated, but it does not appear that the other two were much the worse for liquor.  Peterson got into the dingy first, and took hold of the sculls, the other men followed, and took their seats in the stern of the boat, which, being very small, was not equal to their weight, and before they had proceeded any great distance the boat filled at the stern and went down.  Peterson being able to swim, contrived to reach the shore, but Atkinson and Johnson were both drowned.  The bodies were recovered the following morning when the tide fell, lying above low-water mark.  An inquest was held on the bodies on Monday morning, and a verdict of "Accidental death" recorded.



INQUEST. - An Inquest was held on Friday last in the Windsor castle, before H. J. Andrews, Esq., Coroner, upon the body of one Patrick Knuckley.  It appeared in evidence that the deceased was seen alive during the night of Thursday, by a man who slept in the same room with him.  In the morning he was found in bed with his throat cut, his arm rigid and raised as though from the act of inflicting a wound, and two razors, covered with blood, by his side.  The wounds were five or six in number, one of which had severed the wind-pipe and touched the jugular vein.  When last seen alive, and for some time previously, deceased was in a state of delirium, from the effects of drinking, and was in the habit, when going about, of talking incoherently.  The jury returned a verdict that the deceased came to his death by cutting his throat with a razor while labouring under an attack of delirium Tremens or Temporary Insanity, produced by habits of intemperance.



AN INQUEST. - An inquest was held on the 2nd instant at Cole's Inn, Papakura road, before H. J. Andrews, Esq., Coroner, on the body of a man named John Kingdom, who had been found drowned in Oera Creek, near Papakura.  The deceased had been in the employ of Mr. Runciman, and had left on Thursday, to go up the creek in a canoe to another farm.  Not having returned, Mr. Runciman, accompanied by Mr. Young, set out in search of him on Monday morning.  They first found the canoe, and in its one of the boots of deceased.  A third of a mile further up, they found the body; it was lying on its back near high water mark.  The jury returned the following verdict: - \Found drowned in Oera Creek, near Papakura, and without any marks of violence appearing on the body; but how, or by what means he became drowned, no evidence thereof doth appear to the jury.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 7 November 1855

INQUEST AT KAIAPO. - An inquest was holden at Kaiapoi on Thursday last on the body of Jacob Nelson, which was taken out of the river at Baxter's ferry, on the previous Sunday.  It appeared that he had been missing for nearly a fortnight.  The last time he was seen he was leaving the Kaiapoi Hotel at its closing (10 p.m.) with his mates.  In a joking manner he said he would not go home, and started off with a run.  He was not seen alive afterwards.  Verdict - Found Drowned.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 13 November 1855


AN Inquest was held yesterday, at the Odd fellows' Arms, Chancery-street, before H. J. Andrews, Esq., on the body of a Native woman, named Kerara, lying dead at the Guard-room.  The Coroner remarked upon the unusually serious nature of the examination, and, in consequence of the threatening aspect of the maori population, solicited leave for the body to be at once removed.  The jury at once acquiesced in the propriety of this being done.

   Arthur Walton, a boy aged 10 years, was the first witness.  Having answered questions as to his knowledge of right and wrong to the satisfaction of the jury, he was duly sworn, and deposed - On Saturday last, before breakfast, I was at a place called Kokupaka, and saw a native woman lying dead, and an adze lying by the side of her head.  I was frightened and ran away to Mr. Prior's, who is a bullock driver, and who lives about a quarter of a mile from where I saw the body.  At Mr. Prior's I saw a Maori woman named Timata, who lives with Charles Marsden.  I told her that I had seen a dead native woman.  She cried, and sent me to get some Maories to go to the dead woman.  A man called Charles Wood, who is a sawyer, was present at the time, also a Maori named Tamati.  Two Maori men went, Tamati and Papahia.

   Marsden declined to put any question to the witness.

   By Jurymen - I went to the house where the dead woman was lying, to get some clothes.  The body was found in a house in which Charles Marsden and Timata lived, and in which I also lived.  I left Marsden's house on Saturday morning because the Maori woman Timata and myself were frightened by Marsden, who was going to kill her during Friday night.  The woman whom I saw dead came to the house on Friday last.  The woman Timata had left the house on Saturday morning.  I had been living at Marsden's house about a month. He and Timata quarrelled on Friday night; he was lying on the bed and she asked him to put the blankets on him; he then got up, rook a stool in his hand, and threatened to kill her with it.  The deceased was not in the house at this time, having left again on Friday night to where she lived, because she had no blankets.  There were no intoxicating drinks in the house.  Marsden was sober; he had been drinking about a week before that.  On Saturday morning, before breakfast, deceased returned to the house.  She came, on both occasions, to wash.  I heard no quarrelling between the dead woman and Charles Marsden.

   When deceased came to the house on Saturday morning, Marsden was lying on the bed.  There was an adze in the house at this time.  I remained in the house about an hour after deceased entered.  Marsden was awake all this time, but never spoke to deceased.  I then left the house, and returned in less than an hour.  I then saw the dead woman on the floor, inside the door; she was lying on her face, with her clothes on.  An adze was lying by the side of her head; it was bloody.  Charles Marsden was not in the house when I returned.  I saw him as I was going to Mr. Prior's; he was walking about near Henderson's mill.  There was a little bottle of intoxicating liquor in the house on Friday; I saw Charles Marsden drink it in the daytime.  William Swainson brought it. [The witness here recognized the adze, which was covered with blood.]

   By Charles Marsden.  You did not drink the whole of the spirits yourself.  I do not know who drank the remainder.

   Timata was the next witness, who having been s worn, gave her evidence through Mr. C. O. B. Davis, the Government Interpreter.  She deposed - I knew the deceased.  I saw her last alive on Saturday last.  She came to see me that morning at the house of a man named Long Bill or Prior.  I went to Prior's house the same morning, from fear.  I was afraid of the wickedness of Charles Marsden, with whom I had lived for about a month, in his own house.  Mt fear arose from his having gone in quest of an axe to kill            me, on Friday night last.  I consider that he was sober.  He had been good to me formerly.  He had left off drinking about a week previously to the time he threatened to kill me.

   By Jurymen: - I left the house early on Saturday morning, leaving Marsden in bed.  The deceased went on that morning from Prior's house to the house of Marsden, to wash some clothes.  That is it to say, deceased told me she left with that intention.  The boy Walton came on that morning to tell me of the death of deceased.  I first sent him and another boy to Marsden's house to see that all was right; and they came back in a very short time and told me that the woman was killed.  I sent them because I was afraid of the wickedness of Charles Marsden.  I was apprehensive of some mischief befalling the deceased, on account of Marsden having threatened to murder myself.

   Walton came to me crying, and said that Kerara was dead.  The boy Walton had been under my care for some time.  On the morning of Saturday, I wished the deceased not to go to wash.  She asked why, and I said that I was afraid of Charles Marsden's violence.  Deceased said, "I have no fear of him; he is a pleasant looking man, and will not injure me.  He threatened you only because you are his wife."  I replied, You do not know Charles Marsden, but I do.  I am very anxious that you should remain here, and not to go to wash the clothes.  I lived with him on a former occasion.  He was kind to me then, until he left me to go to the gold country.  My own life, on the late occasion, was saved because I concealed some edge tools from him on Friday night last.  I concealed an adze under a basket.  I could not swear to it if I saw it again.

   Marsden having declined to put any questions to this witness, the next called was -

   Charles Wood, who, having been sworn, deposed - I am a sawyer, and reside at Henderson's Mill.  I saw deceased alive on Saturday morning at 8 o'clock, in Marsden's house.  Charles Marsden was also there, whom I have known for 16 years.  He was lying in a bunk and awake.  Deceased was picking up some clothes, as though she was going to leave the house.  A native man, named Toro, was also present.  I remained in the house about half an hour.  Marsden told me that he felt very ill and weak, and he appeared to me to be so.  He did not appear to me to be in his senses; he seemed to be speaking incoherently.  He was not altogether a sober one, nor a drunken man - just like most other bushmen.  I have often seen him intoxicated, but much oftener in a sober state.  I have not seen him intoxicated within the last month.  His mind has been all correct, till last week, during which he was apparently insane.

   After leaving Marsden's house I went to breakfast, promising to return.  On my return I stopped at Prior's house, where I saw the first witness, Arthur Walton, saying something to Timata, which I thought meant that Charles Marsden had injured himself, for the boy spoke in maori, which I do not understand.  I then ran on towards Marsden's, but, before I reached, I met Marsden himself.  He was about twenty yards from his house.  He was standing quietly.  I asked him how he was.  He made answer, "I have killed that old Maori woman." I asked him why he did so.  He said that "if he had not killed her, she would have killed him."  He looked just as if nothing had happened.  I went into his house, and he followed me.  When I got to the house, I saw deceased on the floor, dead.  She was lying on her face; an adze was on the floor, within about two feet of her head; her brains and blood were all over the floor, and some had spouted into a tub of clothes that was standing by.  When I spoke to him on the subject, he said, "She is dead enough, and it can't be helped."  The web of the adze, about half way up, was covered with blood.  I could not swear to the adze.  Toro and the deceased had both left Marsden's house before I did, carrying some clothes with them, and, as I was going to breakfast, I saw Toro and the deceased at Prior's.

   By Jurymen - I first knew Marsden at the Bay of Islands.  I lost sight of him for 11 months; during which time I believe he was in California.  He came back in the Tartar.  I saw him intoxicated a day or two after that.

   [The Coroner here remarked that the arrival of the Tartar was in the winter of 1853.]

   After that he was stupid from drink.  When I saw him three or four months after, he was quite right.  I never saw any man under "delirium tremens" except Marsden.  On Monday last I noticed, for the first time, that there was something peculiar in his manner.  I never knew him to threaten to injure any one.

   Samuel John Stratford, Esq., having been sworn, deposed.  I am a surgeon and practise in Auckland.  I have examined the body of deceased, and found it so much decomposed that it would be impossible to examine it minutely.

   I found on the right side of the neck a terrible wound, extending from an inch in front of the outer angle of the lower jaw, nearly to one of the muscles of the back-bone.  The wound had divided the jaw about the angle, had passed deep into the muscles of the neck, and quite into the skull - dividing the carotid artery and all the large blood vessels.  The wound appeared of a character, as if made by an instrument like an adze, and took a direction as if inflected by a person standing at the head of the deceased while she was lying on the ground.  Such wound, I have no hesitation in declaring to have been the cause of death.  From the state of the body I could detect no other marks of violence.

   Charles Brown, sergeant major of police, having been sworn, deposed: - About half past two o'clock on Saturday afternoon, Charles Marsden was brought to the police guard room by Charles Wood and Benjamin Sawyer. They informed me that Charles Marsden had killed a Maori woman, at Henderson's Mill, about 18 miles from Auckland.  I took him into custody, and examined his clothes.  I found that the left leg of his trousers was covered with fresh blood.  He appeared to me, at that time, to be in his perfect senses.  I put him in the lock-up, and acquainted the Coroner with the circumstances of the death.  In the night I went to Henderson's mill in a boat, accompanied by four policemen, and taking also the shell of a coffin.  I arrived there about half past 6 on Sunday morning, and went to the house that had been occupied by Charles Marsden.  I opened the door and found the body of a native woman lying on the floor, on its face, with a great pool of blood and brains lying about.  There was also an adze lying near the head of the body, covered with blood.  I then put the body into the shell, and returned with it to Auckland.  The adze I now produce in court.  On arriving in Auckland, I placed the body in the police guard room, where it lay until to-day.  At 20 minutes to 12 last night, I had an interview with Marsden.  He then looked at the watch, and told the time; he has not shown the slightest symptom of derangement of mind since being in custody.  He acknowledged having killed the woman.

   This being the conclusion of the evidence, the Coroner summed up, and the jury, after a few minutes consideration, returned a verdict of wilful murder against Marsden.

   The prisoner was accordingly committed to take his trial at the ensuing criminal sessions.

   As most of our readers are aware, this case has caused great excitement on the part of the native population.


On Friday the 9th inst., an inquest was held at Mr. Bowe's house, near Onehunga, before H. J. Andrews, Esq., coroner, on the body of Bridget Pegan.  The principal witness was Thomas Pegan, the husband of the deceased, whose evidence was of the most revolting character.  He deposed that, on Wednesday, the 7th, at 4 o'clock, he last saw his wife alive.  He then went to Onehunga beach, distant about 1 ½ miles, bought a bottle of rum, and returned home.  His own words were, "When I returned home, I was drunk.  I did not see the deceased.  I could not see any one.  I entered my house at the window.  I do not know why I did not enter at the door, I was so drunk." The remainder of his evidence was in effect that he came home about 7 or 8 o'clock, and went to bed.  He got up about 5 next morning, and found his wife lying outside, quite dead, the bottle of rum, which he had left outside the previous night, lying close to her, and nearly empty.

   Dr. Mahon deposed to having examined the body.  The clothes of deceased were saturated with wet.  There were no marks of violence on the body, and his opinion was that death ensued from exposure to cold and wet, the night having been one of great severity.

   The jury, after hearing other evidence of less importance, returned the following verdict: - "That deceased came to her death from exposure to cold and wet, on the night of Wednesday, the 7th inst., after having laboured under intoxication.  The jury believe that the carelessness of deceased's husband is most reprehensible, and they cannot separate without expressing their abhorrence of the husband's cruel neglect,  want of feeling, and total indifference to the death of his wife, believing that, but for his neglect, deceased's life might have been saved."


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 20 November 1855

SUDDEN DEATH. - Yesterday afternoon, at ¼ past 3 o'clock, a pensioner, named Florence Driscoll, dropped down on the wharf, nearly opposite Captain Salmon's store, and immediately expired.  He had come from Howick in the morning, and, at the hour of his death, was waiting till the steamer would start on her return.  We understand that apoplexy was the cause of death; but an inquest will be held this forenoon at 12 o'clock.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 23 November 1855

Unrest of Maori, especially the tribe of Kerara (Charles Marsden) and various actions to reduce it.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 23 November 1855

INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Friday, in the William Denny Hotel, on the body of Florance Driscoll, whose sudden death we noticed in our last.  The evidence was that of Mr. Bain, who saw the deceased fall, and of Dr. Mathews, who was promptly in attendance.  The verdict was in effect that the deceased died of apoplexy.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 27 November 1855

INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Friday afternoon, at the Odd fellows' Arms, on the body of Emily Nicholas, a half-caste girl of seven or eight years of age.  The child resided with her parents in Field's lane, and was last seen alive by a Mrs. Scerrell, at about 11 or 12 o'clock on Thursday.  Between 2 and 3 o'clock, the same afternoon, she went to the well to draw a bucket of water, and, on looking down, saw the body of the child floating on the surface.  She gave the alarm, which was heard by a shoemaker, named Richard Donovan, who reached down and took the body out - the distance not having been more than about 3 feet.  For nearly an hour he was engaged in employing the usual means of resuscitation, but without avail.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Found drowned," and added a rider upon the unsafe condition of the well.


The Kerara murder.




The grand jury having found a true bill against Charles Marsden, for the wilful murder of a native woman, named Kerara, the prisoner was arraigned at the bar of the Court, and pleaded not guilty.

   Mr. Merriman intimated to the Court that he appeared for the defence, and, at the same time, made the following statement.  He had subpoened a witness for the defence, who had flung away the subpoena, and refused to attend.  As the matter was one of life and death, he (Mr. Merriman) thought it his duty to ask Court if it could compel the attendance of the witness in question.

   His Honor said that the Court had no power to compel the attendance of the witness.  All it could do, if the subpoena was duly served, would be to punish the person for contempt.  If Mr. Merriman would make an application to him in this matter, he (His Honor) would be prepared to hear the circumstances, and to act accordingly.

   The following petty jury was then empanelled.  Edward Gunning, James Hadden, John Hall, W. E. Hanlen, Thos. Hancock, Wm. Hancock, Edward Hammond, Robert Hampton, Samuel H. Hamilton, Frederick Hankin, John H. Hamlin, A. W. Hansard, (foreman.)

   The acting Attorney General having stated the case for the Crown, the first witness called was Arthur Walton, a boy of 10 years of age, whose evidence we have already published.  On being asked if he saw the prisoner in Court he said that he did not.  On Marsden being specially pointed out, the boy recognised him, but explained the difficulty he had experienced on doing so, by the fact that the prisoner had been shaved.  The difference in the appearance of Marsden was really very striking, and the boy's hesitation was not to be wondered at.

   The lad, who gave his evidence in a remarkably clear and straightforward manner, was cross-examined by Mr. Merriman, who, however, elicited little from him that he had not previously stated.  The boy proved that Marsden had been ill during the whole week - and had talked foollishly during that time - a fact, to arrive at which seemed to be the object of the learned gentleman.

   By the Attorney General.  Marsden had done no work during the week.  He had remained in the house during that time.  He had eaten bread and meat; drank tea, and had also drunken a little spirits.

   By Mr. Merriman. The spirits were in a little gin bottle, and were brought by a man named William Swanson.  The prisoner had been talking foolishly for, perhaps, four or five days before the liquor was brought to the house.

   Timata, having been sworn, repeated the evidence she gave at the Coroner's inquest.  She recognised, the prisoner.  An attempt was made to elicit further evidence by cross-examination, but the witness, as is usual with Maori witnesses, was very obtuse, and nothing further could be extracted from her.

   Charles Wood was the next witness examined, who also repeated the evidence he gave at the inquest.  On being cross-examined by Mr. Merriman, he deposed: When I saw Marsden during the preceding days of the week, he appeared to be out of his mind.  He was going about with a bible, reading, and talking to spirits.  He did not work during the week, nor act like a rational man.  On Friday, I saw a little liquor in the house - perhaps 3 or 4 glasses in a pint gin bottle.  After Marsden had perpetrated the deed, he did not attempt to escape.  It would have been quite easy, if he had wished, to have escaped into the bush and concealed himself.  During sixteen years that I have known him he has been a quiet, inoffensive man.  During the week, I had heard him mention the names of parties who, he said, had signed a league with the devil.

   By his Honor.  I don't know the persons he named, nor whether they were persons he had any ill-will against.

   Charles Brown, sergeant major of police, also repeated the evidence he had formerly given.  On bring cross-examined by Mr. Merriman, he deposed that he had seen the prisoner about six weeks before, but not during thr week that the woman was killed.

   Samuel John Stratford, Esq., surgeon, having been sworn, deposed to having made an examination of the body, and to the cause of death.  On cross-examination he deposed, -

   It may occur occasionally, in some varieties of madness, that insane persons have lucid intervals, during which they are perfectly sane and collected.  It is also the case, in some kinds of madness, that insane persons may appear perfectly sane, until some particular \subject is touched.  It is the case in one species of monomania that the patient fancies himself to be conversing with spirits.  Such a patient would sometimes rave about spirits, without any person touching upon the subject.  When a paroxysm is over such a patient would be perfectly collected.  During the time such persons are under the influence of the delusion, I believe that they are not capable of distinguishing right from wrong.  It is also possible that a monomaniac may have a fit of insanity at one time, on the introduction of the subject on which the patient is insane, and, on the same subject being mooted, at another time, not have it; but the question has nothing to do with the case.  I have heard the evidence in this case, and cannot see anything in it that denotes monomania.  I think that the symptoms which have been detailed are those of delirium tremens; and are inconsistent with insanity from any other cause.  There is, however, nothing inconsistent with its being a first attack of what may become monomania.

   This being the case for the prosecution, the Counsel for the defence called William Prior and William Swanson, the former of which did not appear.

   Wm. Swanson, having been s worn, deposed, - I live on what is called Henderson's claim - about five miles in a direct line from the mill.  I know the prisoner.  I was at Marsden's house, on the Thursday and Friday, prior to the day that Kerara met her death.  I saw her there on the Friday.  On Friday I was in his house with three other persons.  I asked him how he was, and he said he was very well, if it wasn't for these confounded spirits.  I asked him what harm they had done him.  He said that they had poisoned him three times.  He meant spirits in the air; he said he saw them cutting about.  He also said, it is a go with me this time; if you have anything to say, say it at once.  I asked him why, and he said the poison was fermenting in his breast, and that he was going to die.  He said he saw them put the poison in.  He said, in reply to a question from me, that he was fascinated, and couldn't help drinking it.  He didn't speak at all, except when spoken to.  On the Friday morning, I brought down a small gin bottle full - about a pint bottle, containing gin, and gave it to the boy.  Two or three hours after, I took a glass and a half of it; there appeared to be two or three glasses out of it before I went.  A man named Harrington took a glass at the same time.

   By the Attorney General - I had known prisoner a very short time.  On Thursday he was lying on the bed, perfectly sober, and quite still.  He seemed quite rational, except about the spirits.  I don't know what his complaint was.  In raking him gin, I did so to put him to rights.

   The Attorney-General then addressed the jury.  He said that two questions arose, first, by whom was the deed committed.  That the woman was murdered was undoubted, and the whole evidence went to show that the act was perpetrated by the prisoner.  He had also, on more than one occasion, admitted the commission of the crime.

   The next question was whether the prisoner's state of mind at the time of the commission of the deed was such as to exonerate him from responsibility.  That was the ground on which his defence rested.  But the law on this point was quite clear.  It was not sufficient that a man had strange fancies, that his intellect was occasionally wandering; it was necessary to prove that he was absolutely dispossessed of reason - that he was incapable of distinguishing right from wrong - that he was not aware, when he perpetrated the deed, that he was committing a crime against the laws of God and of man.  (The learned Counsel cited two cases in support of this position, one of which was the King v. Bellingham, Starkie, vol. 2 page 230)

   This was not to be presumed from circumstances, but it must be proved beyond doubt.  Nor was it sufficient to prove that the prisoner was insane a few days before the event, or a few days after.  Unless it could be shewn that, at the very time of committing the offence, the prisoner was in that state of mind, the evidence was not worth one tittle.  So far from there being any proof of his insanity wither before or after, the witness Wood had testified to his being a reasoning creature almost immediately afterwards - composedly using the words, "I have killed that old maori woman; she is dead enough and it can't be helped."  He had used these words, and yet the jury would be asked to believe that he was not a reasoning creature.  The idea was absurd.  The prisoner may have seen imaginary spirits, but that in no way exonerated him from the consequences of the act he had committed.  He (the Attorney-General) thought that the jury could not have the slightest difficulty in finding a verdict of guilty.

   Mr. Merriman, in addressing the jury for the defence, said that they had not to consider whether the prisoner had murdered the woman, for he had admitted that he was unfortunate enough to be the perpetrator of the deed, but whether, in the words of the indictment, he had done so feloniously, wilfully, and of malice prepense.  He believed that, on sifting the evidence, it would be found that this charge was not sustained, and that the jury would feel bound, either to return a verdict of acquittal, on the ground of insanity, or to find a lesser verdict of manslaughter, in the absence of any proof of malice.  It had been proved that the unfortunate prisoner had been in a state of delirium during the whole week preceding the act for which he was then being tried.  It was proved that he fancies he saw spirits, and indulged in incoherent ravings; yet the learned counsel for the Crown had not even attempted to prove a previous fit of intoxication.  The contrary, in fact, was clearly proved - that he was not intoxicated, or suffering from the effects of intoxication, but was labouring under a delusion.

   His learned friend had s aid that the prisoner was free from delusion immediately afterwards.  This he (Mr. Merriman) denied.  If the prisoner was not still labouring under delusion, why did he not attempt to escape?  Not only did he make no such attempt, but he said to Wood, in an off-hand manner, and as if quite unaware of the enormity of his crime - "I have killed that old maori woman; if I had not done so, she would have killed me." The boy had also proved that the prisoner and Kerara had exchanged no words, except good morning, clearly denoting the absence of all malice.  The evident truth was that the prisoner was labouring under a delusion, and that the woman, in consequence, was unfortunately killed.

   With regard to the quotations that had been made, he (Mr. Merriman) denied that because former verdicts of guilty had been returned, that, therefore, their verdict should be the same.  He had done his duty; theirs still remained.  They owed a duty, not only to the public, but to the unfortunate prisoner at the bar.  If there was any doubt in their minds they were bound to give him the benefit of that doubt.

   He would not so more than allude to the fact that numerous Maori Chiefs were watching the proceedings of the Court.  But the jury were bound by oath to find their verdict without fear.  Even if they were certain that, by returning a conscientious verdict, they would embroil the Colony in a native war; they were not to be deterred by that fear, but to do justice to the unfortunate prisoner at the bar.  It lay with them to decide whether a fellow-creature would be ushered into the presence of his maker, or be allowed time to repent of his crime; and, if they had any doubt of his guilt, it was their bounden duty to give him the benefit of that doubt.

   His Honor proceeded to sum up.  He cautioned the jury against being swayed in their decision by fear.  In arriving at a verdict they were not to regard human being nor human consequences.  If even they were certain, on leaving that box, of having their lives sacrificed, they were still solemnly bound to do their duty to God and man. 

   The learned judge then went into the consideration of the 3 points, whether Kerara met her death on the day named in the indictment, whether the prisoner at the bar was the means of her death, and whether the deed was feloniously done.  The first two points having been quickly decided, his Honor then went minutely into the state of the law with regard to the third point, and read long extracts in elucidation of the subject.  He then recapitulated the evidence of the witnesses, and concluded a charge if great length and ability, which we regret being unable to give, by instructing the jury to find their verdict on the points he had named, leaving the question of insanity, if they thought the prisoner was insane, to be dealt with afterwards by him.

   The jury then retired for the consideration of their verdict.  At the lapse of nearly two hours his Honor called the jury into the box, and asked the foreman of they had agreed upon their verdict. 

 Foreman - No, your Honor.

Judge - Is there any likelihood of your agreeing soon?

Foreman - Not the slightest, I am afraid.

Judge - I shall wait here one hour longer; if, at the expiry of that time, you have not agreed upon your verdict, I shall adjourn the Court till Monday at ten o'clock, and I shall order you to be locked up all that time.

   The jury having again retired, his Honor called out the foreman and said, - I cannot understand what cause you can have for such delay; but of course the matter is in your hands.  If you wish for any information, either as to the state of the law or the nature of any part of the evidence, I shall be happy to afford it to you.

   His Honor here intimated to the Maori Chiefs who were present - about fifteen in number, and who were seated in the box for the accommodation of the grand jury - that he wished to address them upon the mode of procedure in an English Court of Justice.

   This having been intimated to the Chiefs, through Mr. Davis, the interpreter, their spokesman (Wiremu Marsh) expressed a wish to hear the evidence in the case of Marsden.  His Honor, though Mr. Davis, promised that it should be published, and that they would be furnished with copies of it.

   The address, which was a statement adapted to the native comprehension, was read by his Honor, and interpreted to the Maories through Mr. Davis.  The following conversation then occurred:-

Judge (to chiefs.) Are you desirous of having a copy of this.

Marsh.  We are.  We are anxious to learn the principles of English law, but cannot comprehend them.

Judge.  I shall furnish you, from time to time, with written information for your guidance.

Marsh.  The common people amongst the Europeans are constantly breaking the law.

Judge.  They are liable to be punished, if brought up for any offence.

Marsh.  What amount of influence have the natives in the affairs of the State?

Judge.  I hope that, as soon as you know a little more, to see you fill the same offices as we do now - act as magistrates, &c.

   The colloquy was here interrupted by the return of the jury.  The eyes of the prisoner, which had frequently wandered in the direction of the room in which the jury consulted, were now fixed upon them with an expression of deep anxiety.  A breathless silence pervaded the court.

Registrar.  How say you, gentlemen of the jury, have you found a verdict.

Foreman.  We have.

Registrar. Do you find the prisoner guilty or not guilty.

Foreman.  Guilty, with a recommendation to mercy, on the ground of apparent weakness of intellect.

   Proclamation having been made in court, his Honor assumed the black cap, and thus addressed the prisoner:-

   Charles Marsden, you stand indicted for the wilful murder of an aboriginal native woman, named Kerara, of which, after a very patient and lengthened examination, the jury have g=found you guilty.  The learned counsel who defended you urged on your behalf that you were not in possession of your reason; and the jury have so far acted upon this as to recommend you to mercy on the ground of the apparent weakness of your intellect.  In this I can by no means concur, and it will receive no recommendation from me.

   It is therefore my duty to regard your case as one in which the extreme penalty of the law will have to be carried out.  Whatever might have prompted you to the degree of wanton brutality which you so lately exhibited, our duty in the matter is clear.  What were your motives in sacrificing this female, perhaps God only knows; or you yourself may know.  One thing is clear that you have cruelly sacrificed a female who never offended you; and, as a just punishment, you will now have to leave this world, and enter into the presence of that God into whose presence who have so lately sent your victim, without a moment's warning, and perhaps with all her sins un repented of.  Without the slightest provocation you did this, and the wanton brutality you have displayed mark you out as an individual whom it would not be safe to the community to permit to live.  The interests of the community require that you should be sent out of that world in which you have shown yourself unfit to live.  It would be dangerous to set you free, and your life must be sacrificed.

   The sentence I pass upon you exemplified the humanity of our laws.  You sent your victim out of the world without a moments' warning; you will have time given you to repent - a longer time, indeed, than would otherwise have been granted you, owing to the absence of the Governor. That brief time I hope you will employ in making suitable preparations for quitting this scene, for that you quit it is certain.  It would appear from the evidence as if existence had become insupportable to you.  Whether you had been drinking hard shortly before you committed the murder we know not, but that you had done so at a former period of your life, and that your apprehension of spirits was as a result of these courses seems to be certain.  In my own mind there is no doubt that it was your former drunkenness that brought the demons into your soul, and that the bitterness of these visitations had rendered life insupportable to you.  You would gladly have ended your own life, but you dreaded to be a self-murderer: and preferred to die by the hands of the executioner.  I have no doubt that this was your motive in the perpetration of the horrible deed.  You had no feeling of revenge against any one, and you thought that, as you must kill some one, it was better to destroy a Maori than one of your own countrymen.  If these were the circumstances, perhaps you are willing to die, but, willing or not, your life must come to a close.

   I trust you will immediately consult with some good clergyman, who will tell you where to find forgiveness, and instruct you in matters which concern the future state of existence into which you will rapidly enter.  You have passed beyond human forgiveness, but not beyond that of the Almighty.  It only remains for me to pass the sentence of the court, that you, Charles Marsden, be taken back to the place from whence you came, and thence, on such a day as his Excellency the Governor shall appoint, be taken to the place of execution, there to be hanged by the neck till you are dead, and till you are cold, and may the Lord have mercy on your soul.

[Comments on prisoner's behaviour and attitude.]



INQUEST. - An inquest was held before H. J. Andrews, Esq., coroner, on Saturday, the 1st inst., in the New Leith Inn, Onehunga, upon the body of a man named Alex. Macanley.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased and two other men named John McPoke and Henry Hill, were engaged in falling a tree, when, unfortunately, it fell in a contrary direction to that which they intended, and, in its fall, struck deceased on the right side of the chest.  The blow was a tremendous one, crushing the right ribs of deceased, and causing various other terrific injuries.  His death was instantaneous.  The two other men were also knocked down, Hill receiving a blow which rendered him unconscious for a few moments, but which did not fortunately injure him severely.  The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the circumstances.  The deceased was about 50 years of age, and unmarried.  On this accident having become known, a rumour prevailed that it was another murder.  The case however, was one that did not admit of the slightest suspicion.

ACCIDENT. - LOSS OF THREE LIVES. - On Sunday morning five men left Awawaroa, Waiheki, in a boat, bound to McLeod's public house.  The men's names were Thomas Webb, and his son, McGosling, O'Hara, and another.  The boat returned at 2 o'clock, with only two in it, - in a state of intoxication,- the other three, viz., the elder Webb, McGosling, and O'Hara having been drowned in the passage.  Webb's body was subsequently washed ashore; the other two have not yet been found.  Information of the occurrence was sent yesterday to the Inspector of Police, who lost no time in despatching one of the force to the spot, to make the requisite inquiries, and to take possession of the body.  An inquest on the body or bodies will be held immediately on the return of the constable.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Monday last, the 10th instant, at Wakapuaka, on the body of Mr. Charles McCall, who expired suddenly on Saturday last.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased was a man of intemperate habits, and that he had been unwell, and suffering from diarrhoea for several days, but refused to have medical assistance.  On Saturday he seemed rather worse, and his friends were about to send for medical advice, when he suddenly expired.  Evidence to the above effect having been given, the jury returned a verdict, "That the deceased Charles McCall's constitution was seriously injured by a course of intemperance, and the immediate cause of his death was from having slept upon damp grass."


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 21 December 1855

INQUEST. - An inquest was held yesterday, in the Aurora Tavern, on the body of Robert McGee, late carpenter, and an old resident bin Auckland.  He took ill early on Wednesday, and his daughter called on the neighbours for assistance.  A medical gentleman also shortly arrived, and remained during the day, but the patient expired at about 8 in the evening.  It would appear that the immediate cause of death was apoplexy, induced, there is reason to believe, by habits of intemperance.  The jury returned the usual verdict under such circumstances.



Another report of the Charles Marsden trial; emphasizes the alarm over possible Maori unrest.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 29 December 1855

A Coroner's inquest was holden yesterday on the body of Mr. William Morphew Browne, at the Universal Inn, Lyttelton.  The body was found on Thursday, at a short distance from the spot where he had been bathing, and brought round in the steamer "Alma."  The evidence showed the entire accidental nature of the circumstance, and a verdict was returned accordingly.  The most strenuous efforts for the saving of the unfortunate gentleman's life appear to have been made by all in the vicinity.

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