Skip to Content

Colonial Cases

1858-1859 NZ



[Column damaged on left.]

An inquest was held near Howick, on Wednesday [........] ultimo, on the body of a child of about two years old, named Michael James Mullany. The mother deposed that, between four and five o'clock in the afternoon of the 29th, she went into a field with two of her children, deceased being one of them and that deceased strayed away from her without her knowledge for about [half an] hour, and missing the child she went to look for him and found his body floating in a a well.  A neighbour, named Ann Fitzpatrick, deposed that she heard screams and immediately ran to her neighbour, Mrs. Mully, where she found the deceased in her neighbour's arms.  Deceased was quite dead, although everything was done, by applying warmth, to restore animation, but without effect.  Verdict - "Accidentally drowned."

   Another inquest was held at the Odd Fellows' Arms, Chancery-street, on Thursday the 31st ultimo, on the body of an infant said to have been still-born.  It appeared, from the evidence, that the mother of the infant was a half caste, that she had been confined prematurely.  Dr. Stratford made a post mortem examination, and came to the conclusion that the infant had never breathed.  Verdict - "Still-born."


... made a second attempt on his life on Wednesday evening by opening with his fingers the wounds which he had inflicted on his throat. ...




On Dec. 21st, an Inquest was held at Whitewood's Hotel, by Dr. Buck, Coroner, in the Hutt, on the body of Wm. McCree.  From the evidence it appeared that he was working for Mr. Crowther, living beyond Lowry Bay, and on Dec. 20th he went out in a little boast to try to rescue some sheep which had been driven into the sea; when about 50 yards from land the boat upset, and he was thrown into the water; he sank, and was never seen to rise again.  Mr. Frederick Crowther went to his assistance, but before he could bring him ashore, life was extinct.  A verdict of Accidental death by drowning, was returned.

   On Dec. 24th, an inquest was held by Dr. Buck, at Blade's Hotel, Taita, on the body of Samuel Taylor, of the Hutt.  From the evidence it appeared that on Dec. 23rd, he was driving some cattle across the river near Stoke's Valley, and had brought them on to the road, one of them going back again, he rode through the river after it; his horse threw him into a deep hole, and he received a severe wound on the head either from the horse or a stump.  He was under water half an hour before he could be got out, when life was extinct.  A verdict of Accidental death from drowning was returned.

   On Dec. 30th, an Inquest was held by Dr. Buck, at Mr. Benge's house, Taitai, on the body of Alice Gardiner, a child under 2 years of age.  It appeared that on the afternoon of Dec. 29, it was playing with the other children about the place; it strayed away from the rest; it was not missed for a short time, and when search was made it was found in a stream, quite dead, into which it had fallen.  Verdict, Accidental death.




DEATH BY DROWNING. - On the 26th ult., a man named Donaghue, in the employment of Mr. Dolbell, was drowned in crossing the Ngarmoro after cattle.  At least it is so presumed, for he was seen to ride towards the river; his horse was afterwards found grazing on the bank, riderless.  The body has not been recovered.




On Tuesday last, an Inquest was summoned at Karori, before G. D. Monteith, Esq., Coroner for the District, on view of the body of William Forrester, who died on Sunday last in the Lunatic Asylum, Karori.

   The evidence of William McKelvey, Keeper of the Asylum, went to show that deceased had for some years been labouring under insanity; that for the last three years he had been an inmate of that Asylum; and that for some time past he had been gradually sinking.  On Dr. Knox being  called upon to give evidence, greatly to the astonishment of the Coroner and jury he refused to state anything; looking upon the enquiry as a slur upon his professional character, and notwithstanding the repeated and courteous remonstrances of the Coroner, he still persisted in such refusal, and the In quest was obliged to be adjourned till the following day; when Dr. Knox, reconsidering his former determination, attended and gave the necessary evidence, shewing clearly that the deceased had died from natural causes, - at the same time expressing his indignation that any Inquest should have been held where there was a Resident Medical Officer to the Asylum.

   We regret that any gentleman folding the responsible position Dr. Knox does, should by any conduct of his, have given any reason to a Coroner's jury to have added the rider they did on this occasion to their Verdict.  The finding of the Jury was as follows:-

   "We \find that the deceased, William Forrester died by the visitation of God from natural causes, at the same time the jury beg to express their strong reprehension of the conduct of Dr. Frederick John Knox, the Resident medical Attendant to the Lunatic Asylum, in not attending to give evidence when first called upon, and also of the language used by him, and trust the Coroner will report his conduct to the proper authorities to prevent a repetition of anything similar for the future."



THE LATE CASE OF DROWNING. - The bodies of John Wilson and James Leonard, two sea-faring men, who were drowned on Monday week last, whilst going off to the cutter Surprise, have been recovered.  The body of Wilson was found ion Friday last, but owing to the illness of the Coroner, no inquest was held.  A magisterial enquiry was held by the Resident magistrate into the circumstances attending the deceased's death, and the body, which was much decomposed was, by order of the magistrate, buried.  The body of Leonard was recovered yesterday.


COLONIST, 19 January 1858



January 15th, 1858.

I regret to inform you that a digger was found in the Slate River some days since.  It seems in a fit of delirium tremens he threw himself into the river and was drowned.  Another digger, a fine young fellow, left Washbourne's Flat in company with one of his mates a few Sunday's since; he had a small swag with him; he parted from his mate and did not reach home that evening; search was made but nothing was heard of him until a day or two since, when he also was found in the river in his shirt and boots.  I believe particulars have been sent to the coroner in both instances.





... The rapid rise of the flood induced the occupants of the several houses to make for the roof, and on the lower portions being carried away they were unfortunately drowned; the course of the river preventing any help being afforded to them.  One family named Stannaway, consisting of the man, woman, and five children were thus lost, the only survivor of the family being a young girl, living with Mrs. Roy in another part of the valley.  The other names we have heard are those of Mr. and Mrs. Price, Mrs. Hagan (daughter of Mr. Dew), and child, and three others whose names are unknown to us.


And a Coroner's Inquest is to sit at 2 o'clock this day the 20th, upon their bodies.  The following are the names given of those that are drowned.

   Mr. Stannaway, wife, and five children; Mrs. Charles Sillary, his wife and child; Mrs. Hagin, and her new-born infant, also, Mrs. Price, the nurse; ... [bodies found listed.]


COLONIST, 22 January 1858


On the 19th instant, an inquest was held at Preston, before Dr. Chandler, on the body of Bridget Agnew, a young married woman of 24 years of age, who committed suicide by drowning herself in a water-hole in a yard at Preston, on the 18th, having previously twined her two children.  The following were the principal depositions:-

   Samuel Jeffrey, a farmer, living at Irish-town, said: I knew the deceased, Bridget Agnew.  She was the wife of James Agnew, a carrier, living at Irishtown.  Yesterday, about two o'clock in the afternoon, I was passing through Mr. Agnew's premises, and saw some clothes floating in a water-hole.  I thought it very strange, and procured a stick and turned them over, when I saw a child's arm.  I lifted the child out.  I then went into the house of the deceased and called to her, but there was no answer.  I looked about and could see no one.  M\y son was standing at the back of my own house, and I called him up, and both of us looked in to the water again, we saw a second child, which we also took out.  After inquiring about the mother, and not learning anything of her, we supposed she might also be on the water-hole, which we accordingly, with assistance, and drew the body of deceased out.  The water-hole was round, about eight or ten feet in diameter, and with seven or eight feet of water in it.    It is covered with logs laid across it, with the exception of an open space left to get out the water.  When the bodies were taken out I observed no mark of violence on them.  Deceased was dressed, and had a bonnet on.  The husband of deceased was not at home when I found the bodies.  I believe he was carting hay about a mile from his house.  I cannot say how long the body of deceased had been in the water.  I saw the deceased the night before her death, between seven and eight o'clock.  I did not observe anything particular in her manner.  She seemed in good spirits, and was sober.  I have always seen the deceased on good terms with her husband.  I did not hear any high words or shrieks either that night or next morning early.  I have never seen the husbands either drunk or even the worse for liquor.  I have not heard that he was in the habit of beating his wife, and never saw anything of the kind.  The deceased was always cheerful.  I have no idea how she came by her death.  I was at home all d ay yesterday and the night before.  I saw no person about the house of deceased.  I saw no marks of struggling on the ground near the water-hole.  Neither I nor any of my family heard any shrieking of children yesterday morning or the night before.  The arms of the children were cold when I took them out of the water-hole.

   James Agnew, the husband, deposed as follows: - The deceased, Bridget Agnew, was my wife.  We had been married three years.  I had two children by her.  She was an Irishwoman, aged twenty-four.  We had been in this country about four years.  Last Thursday evening, the 17th instant, when returning from my work of carting hay, I called in at the Preston Arms, where there was a meeting, and remained there until the meeting broke up, about ten o'clock.  When I went home deceased scolded me for staying out so late.  High words passed between us.  Deceased did not threaten to commit suicide.  I went and lay down on another bed than the one I usually slept on; my wife slept on another bed, in another room.  In the morning I saw deceased.  She came and woke me up.  I asked her to make me some breakfast.  She said she could not, or would not.  I then went and had a glass of run, which I kept in the house, and went off to my work.  I went into my bed-room first, and washed, and saw my two children in bed, eating some bread and butter which deceased had given them.  I spoke to them and kissed them, and went away shortly after.  I told deceased I was going off to my work, and she did not say anything.  There was a coolness between us.  Deceased and I had had a few words occasionally, but never anything serious.  I only once saw deceased the worse for liquor, shortly after we were married.  I left a two-gallon keg of rum in the house when I went to work, but I could not say if any were missing when I came home.

   I was carting hay in Mr. Leonard's paddock yesterday morning until they came and told me of the death of deceased.  Deceased did not threaten suicide yesterday morning, nor had she ever done so before.  Deceased might have been jealous of me, though I never gave any cause for it.  She was perfectly sane, and not in the habit of drinking. The youngest child was eight months old.  I suspect that deceased was in the family-way at the time of her death.  I gave deceased a plush on Thursday night.  She annoyed me, and laid hold of me.  I might have hit her.  She did not f all.  I had had several glasses of liquor, and was rather the worse of it, but I was not drunk.  Deceased and I had n o quarrel about money.  Deceased said on Thursday night that she would take the children away.  I told her she might go if she liked, and leave the children.

   The jury came to a verdict on the two children, the eldest of whom was a year and eleven months old, to the effect that they had been wilfully murdered by their mother: and on the latter to the effect that she had committed suicide.



THOMAS HITCHINGS, ESQ., SURGEON, has been appointed Coroner for the District of Napier.


COLONIST, 29 January 1858


More on the Killey or Kelly or Kiely case.



Editorial and comment on the Bridget Agnew case, and conduct of the husband.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 30 January 1858


CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquisition was taken on Thursday last, at the farm of Mr. Fantham, Lower Lincoln Road, on the body of a young man named William Hunt, farm labourer, who was killed the previous evening under the following circumstances.  It appears that the man was driving a cart up a slight rise on the farm when the horse commenced trotting, and Hunt ran to catch it; by this the animal was startled and set off in a gallop; at the moment the fore-part of the cart struck Hunt on the back of the neck, by which he was thrown down.  One of the cart wheels passed over his head, and caused his instantaneous death.  After hearing the evidence, the jury at once returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."




An inquest was held at Mr. Robert Blade's, the Traveller's Rest Inn, Taita, in the Hutt, on Wednesday, Jan. 20th, by Dr. BUCK, Coroner, for the Hutt District, upon the bodies of Mrs. Hagan, and infant son, Mrs. Price, their nurse, Charles Sollars, Blacksmith, his wife and child and two children named Fanny and Jane Stannaway, residents of the Upper Hutt, who had been drowned by the flood, on January 18. ...

   An inquest was held at the same place on January 21st, on the body of Mrs. Stannaway which had been found on the evening of the previous day.  Verdict - "Accidental Death by Drowning."


 DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 5 February 1858

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest on the body of James Davis, was held, by Dr. Andrews, at the Redan Hotel, Onehunga, on the 30th ult., when evidence was adduced entirely in accordance with the verdict delivered "That the said James Davis by excessive drinking, and not from any other cause, to the knowledge of jurors, did die."


Reed's Creek, Sunday, 3rd January.

The Welcome inn, at Reed's Creek, has been burned to the ground.  Five dead bodies have been found, and one more life is known to have been lost.  It is believed that at least ten persons have fallen victims to the flames, but as no one can say how many were on the premises at the time the conflagration broke out, it is not unlikely that even more lives have been lost than at present is supposed to be the case.


The bodies which have been recovered are those of Mr. and Mrs. Newey and child, a splitter from Wooragay, and a musician.  There are, however, several places among the ashes where human bones can be seen, and it is feared that the loss of life has been terrible indeed.


The remnants of five bodies were recovered.  Mr. and Mrs. Newey (the daughter and son-in-law of Mr. Smyth) and their infant child; a musician, name unknown; and a tall athletic man, a splitter, from Wooragay, name unknown.  There are still five bodies not found; but in various parts of the ruins we could ourselves discover remains of what had undoubtedly been human bodies.

... An inquest on the bodies recovered will be held this day at twelve o'clock.


COLONIST, 9 February 1858

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Friday evening last, at the Crown and Anchor Hotel, Lambton Quay, before J. D. Monteith, Esq., Coroner, on the body of John Chalmers, of the Independent Office, there lying dead.  From the evidence of several witnesses who were examined, it appears that the deceased had been drinking for some days previously, and that upon the evening in question he had been taken suddenly unwell.  Thinking that the deceased was only suffering from the effects of drink, no particular notice appears to have been taken of him until a passer by ob served him lying on the ground and was attracted to his assistance.  Medical aid was quickly sent for, but life was extinct.  Dr. Johnson proved having been sent for on the previous evening, upon his arrival he found the deceased dead; he attempted to bleed him, but without effect; his opinion was decidedly the cause of death was congestion of the brain. - Independent.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Thursday, at Whitewood's Hotel, Hutt, on the body of Mr. T. Russell, recently found in the neighbourhood of Lowry Bay.  It appears that the deceased, who was labouring under mental derangement, left the Wairarapa three weeks ago with the intention of walking to the Hutt round the Coast.  He was last seen on the 2nd Inst., near the Waiwetu, and it is supposed must have been drowned while crossing that river.  There being no evidence to show the particular circumstances of his death, the jury found an open verdict of "found drowned."





"You are aware, gentlemen, that a case is to come before you in which the prisoner is charged, or rather supposed to be charged, by the verdict of the Coroner's Jury - with the murder of his wife.  The finding, I may observe, according to the report of it which I have seen, is defective, inasmuch as it is consistent with the accidental administering of poison by the husband; but this is now immaterial, and the important question for your consideration will be, whether upon the subsequent analysis of the contents of the stomach, you have satisfactory grounds for determining that the deceased died from poison at all.  Upon this inquiry I shall not attempt to influence you, further than to remind you of what I have already said, as to not trusting to mere remote probabilities, seeing it is no light calamity to any man, however innocent he may be, or sure of an acquittal, to be tried upon such a charge."  [The Pratt case.]




His Honour Mr. Justice Gresson took his seat on the bench this morning, at 10 o'clock.


James Pratt was indicted for the wilful murder of his late wife, Hannah Pratt.  Prisoner pleaded not guilty.

   The following jury were then sworn in:- Joel Drewitt, Laurence Dron, G. S. Fleming, Daniel Dickson, Robert Disher, Robert Eden, Thomas Doughty, Thomas Feary, Edward Everett, Charles Faulkner, Thomas Dodson, William Eyles.  Robert Disher was chosen foreman.

   The CROWN PROSECUTOR addressed the jury, setting forth the facts very temperately, and slightly touching upon the nature of the evidence he would produce.

   George Williams, sworn, said: I am a surgeon.  I am member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and licentiate of the Apothecaries' Company of London.  I attended Mrs. Pratt during her confinement.  She had a very good time, and was getting quite convalescent. She was confined on Monday, the 12th of October.  She continued to be convalescing for eleven days; on the eighth day I gave her a quinine mixture, and she appeared to go on as well as women in that state do, until the eleventh day.  I was then about leaving her, as she seemed so well.  On the morning of the eleventh day, Friday, the 23rd October, I was sent for by Mrs. Garner, who requested me to go and see Mrs. Pratt, as she had been taken suddenly worse that morning.  I went immediately and saw her.  A very great change had taken place in her.  She was looking extremely ghastly; her eyes sunken, cheeks hollow, and she appeared quite collapsed.  I never saw so great and sudden a case of collapse, except when caused by epidemic cholera.  She looked like a person who had laboured under disease for some months.  She lay partly over on her right side, vomiting a thick brownish-coloured fluid; complained of paroxysms of excruciating pain in the abdomen, intense thirst, vomiting, and purging.  These symptoms I had been told came on suddenly.  She was very restless and uneasy, and kept shifting about, and putting her hands over her head, and catching hold of a bar over the head-board of the bed.  She held by it during the paroxysms of pain.  I could not conceive what caused these symptoms; I asked her, and she said she did not know; she had only taken tea, gruel, broth, arrowroot, and such things as I had ordered.  I should say her pulse, which had been 75 the day I last saw her (the 21st), was then (on the 23rd) 136, very small and weak, and both intermittent and irregular, that showed that the heart, through the nervous system, had received some terrible shock.  Her tongue was clean and moist.  She had no fever, and her skin was cool and clammy.  She said these symptoms had occurred suddenly that morning.

   She had not left her bed, or exposed herself to cold, and had not taken anything but what I had ordered.  I do not know of any one disease, occurring idiopathically, that would account for all those symptoms; taking into account the suddenness of the symptoms, absence of fever, extreme and sudden collapse, frequency of pulse, together with its irregularity and intermittence, the peculiar nature of the vomit, and the diarrhoea, with her previous convalescence.  There are some diseases which simulate those symptoms, namely: epidemic cholera, gastritis, enteritis, gastro-enteritis, and peritonitis; but all these have important points of difference; epidemic cholera has blueness of the surface.

   Mr. TRAVERS asked the witness to state whether he meant Asiatic or English cholera?

   Mr. Williams: Asiatic or epidemic cholera.  In this disease there were severe cramps of the muscles of the calves and thighs, and the abdominal muscles were drawn up into knots, cold and lead-coloured tongue, breath quite cold as it issued from the mouth, and evacuations and vomit rice-coloured, without bile, and the surface of the body blue.  Idiopathic gastritis is one of the rarest of known diseases, and many pathologists deny its existence as a disease, and say it can only be caused by irritant poison.

    In this disease the matters taken into the stomach are immediately vomited, and constipation is one of its usual symptoms; but in Mrs. Pratt's case there was a constant vomiting of brown fluid, and diarrhoea.  In enteritis, diarrhoea is certainly not a usual symptom; it may be present, but constipation is the general rule.  Both gastritis and enteritis are accompanied by fever, Mrs. Pratt had no fever.  The same remark applies to the gastro-enteritis.  Mrs. Pratt's case most resembles the latter, but then this disease does not occur suddenly, but comes on gradually, and is generally attributable to some cause, as exposure to cold.  So, therefore, considering these things, I thought her symptoms did not arise from natural causes, but were occasioned b y some irritant substance which had been introduced in some way into her system. I did not think she was suffering from any idiopathic disease.

   When I saw Mrs. Pratt in the low state in which she was, I sent for her husband, and told him his wife was very ill, and I wished her to have some port wine, as I feared she would sink; he immediately fetched some.  Mrs. Pratt did not say anybody had given her anything that morning.  When the wine came, I mixed some with water, and it was given to her, I ordered her to be well fomented with hot flannels, and to take the wine and water whenever she pleased, as she complained of intense thirst, and I wished to rouse the action of the heart, and relieve her from the collapse; her danger then bring from dying from the shock her nervous system appeared to have received.  I then ordered that a nurse should be got for her, and went home, and thought the case well over for a long time, and could arrive at no other conclusion than one based on grave suspicion, as I thought some irritant had been by some means introduced into her system.  As the mucous membrane of the stomach and bowels was the part evidently affected from the purging and vomiting I addressed myself to that point, and sent her a dose of pills, comprised of grey powder and Dover's powder.  She then had antacids and aromatics administered.

   On Saturday the symptoms continued.  I saw her on that day three times, still administering the antacid medicine before mentioned, for the diarrhoea.  On Sunday she seemed relieved, and altogether somewhat easier; but her pulse was still of the same frequency and character. On Monday when I made my first visit I found her much worse.  All the symptoms had returned with great violence; she was constantly vomiting a large quantity of the same brownish thick fluids, mixed with mucus and streaked with blood; she had paroxysms of violent pain in the abdomen, and complained of intense thirst.  I was surprised to find her worse, and asked her what she had been doing, and she said nothing, that it came on after taking some wine and water, mixed with spice.  I asked who gave her the wine and water, and she said I think Mrs. Garner did.  I then said, are you sure, as I wish particularly to know; and she then said, after considering, oh, no, my husband mixed it and gave it to me.  I asked her how soon after taking the wine and water her sickness and the other violent symptoms occurred.  She said she could not tell to a few minutes, but that it was certainly within one hour.

   I then requested Mrs. Reardon, the nurse, (without telling her why) to be careful, and keep all the vomit in the slop pail, which was then standing in the room and contained a considerable quantity.  Her pulse was at this time 148, very weak, irregular, and intermittent; the abdominal pain was very violent, and she complained of a constant thirst.  I sent her in the evening four opium pills, each containing half a grain of powdered opium, in addition to her chalk mixture and pills of Dover's powder, which she had in the morning,.  I saw her four times on that day, and she continued in the same state during that day.  I also purchased an enamelled basin in the town, and in the evening took some of the vomit away in it.  I saw her the last time that night at half-past twelve.  She was then worse, and I determined on calling in Dr. Renwick.

   The next morning he and I went together to see her.  After leaving her, we went to my house, and examined the vomit, which I had taken away.  We both remarked the streaks of blood on it.  We arranged to test the vomit in the evening at Dr. Renwick's.  The apparatus was incomplete, and the tests of uncertain purity, and it was afterwards discovered, I believe, that one of our tests itself (Muriatic Acid) contained arsenic, and although therefore arsenic was found, we could not, and did not depend on the result of our tests. [Crease in line] What we most trusted were the patient's symptoms, which seemed to us to be of a very suspicious character.  Dr. Renwick and I again saw her on the Wednesday.  We did not then pursue any particular treatment, as she was evidently sinking, and the medicine she took appeared of no service.  She continued to vomit, and was very evidently sinking.  She then complained of a burning sensation in the mouth and throat, and attributed it to the medicine.  No medicine I had given her could have caused this, her thirst was more intense, and I think her nurse, or some one, had put wet cloths on her lips; her mouth, lips, and tongue were preternaturally red.  She was very restless and uneasy, as she had been all along; was quite sensible, and rational.  She was still vomiting, the slop pail was then almost full of this thick, peculiar brown vomit.  I saw her five times on that day, and again at one o'clock, a.m., on Thursday morning.  She was then dying.

   When I went down stairs, I saw Mr. Pratt, Mrs. Garner, M r. Newton, and I think Mrs. Nalder.  I told Pratt his wife was dying, and that it was my duty, as her medical attendant to tell her so, as all hope of recovery was over; to this Pratt objected, saying he "would not for the world she should be told she was going to die, it was so awful."  Miss Pratt persuaded him to allow me to tell her, and I went upstairs and told Mrs. Pratt she must prepare to leave this world; that I could give her no further hope.  She heard me quietly and calmly, and said she had many little things to say to her friends.  I then went down stairs again, and it was then suggested, either by Mr. Newton or Miss Pratt, that a clergyman should be sent for; to this Pratt also objected, saying "she did not require a clergyman, as she had always been such a good living woman."  Mrs. Pratt, in being asked, I believe, also desired to see a clergyman, and the Venerable Archdeacon Paul was sent for.

   I did not see Mrs. Pratt again alive; she died about half-past four that morning.  Dr. Renwick and I had arranged to meet that (Thursday) morning, at nine o'clock.  We called at the house, and saw the body.  We remarked that the fingers were bent; the tendons of the wrist were very tense; and the feet and toes contorted and bent inwards.  I do not think there was anything distinctive in this, although such appearances are unusual. Dr. Renwick and I talked the case over, and having serious doubts about the cause of death, thought a post-mortem examination of the body very necessary.  We sent for Pratt, and he came into the room; we then said we could not satisfactorily account in our own minds for his wife's death, and thought a post-mortem examination necessary.  This he positively refused to allow, and leaving us he went down stairs again.  On our descending we again asked his consent, and he then said he would speak to her friends, and if they consented he would.

   Dr. Renwick and I then left, and on going up Trafalgar-street we saw Mrs. Nalder coming hastily after us.  We waited until she overtook us, and after speaking to her, Dr. Renwick and I parted.  I did not see Pratt again until ten that night, when I met him and Garner in Trafalgar-street, as I was on my way to Mr. Nalder's, to speak with him about the post-mortem examination.  I stopped them, ands asked Pratt to consent to the post-mortem examination; this he refused, saying he would not have his wife "cut and maimed."  I asked him to go to Mr. Nalder's with me and talk it over.  He went to Nalder's with me; Nalder and Newton were there; they wanted the examination, but Pratt still refused, saying he was "perfectly satisfied;" she was now dead, and let her be buried.  I said if he was satisfied I was not; and that as Dr. Renwick and I both considered it necessary, I should certainly apply to the coroner, and lay the case before him.

   He then said that neither Dr. Renwick, nor I, nor any other man, should enter his house to touch his wife's body.  Seeing I was determined, he then said it was "the medicine she had taken which had killed her."  I said, "do you mean my medicine, because if you do, how can you feel satisfied?"  He said he did not say it was my medicine, but it was "medicine which she had taken which had done it." "The cause of her death was in his own breast, and it would all come out in court like black and white," as the same time drawing his fingers across the palm of his left hand.  He said he had also kept a portion of all the medicine I had sent his wife.
   I then said, "now more than ever, Mr. Pratt, I see the positive necessity of a full investigation."  He said, she shall never be opened; I would rather suffer death first.  I then said, "your consent is now no longer necessary, as I shall take the only course open to me, and lay the whole particulars before the coroner."  He still said she shall never be opened; adding, you could not tell what was the matter with her during life, therefore it is not likely that you can now she is dead.  I said, Pratt, nature will not deceive us; but I fear I know already but too well what caused your wife's death; but it was a disease beyond the reach of medicine.  Pratt made no reply, but turned his back towards me as he sat upon the edge of the table.  I then asked why he had thrown away the vomit.  I repeated this question two or three times, but he did not again speak.  I then left Nalder's house.  On the following morning Dr. Renwick and I applied to the coroner, and an inquest was the result, and a post-mortem examination was ordered.  This took place, and Dr. Renwick, Mr. Bush, and I, were present, and Dr. Thebing part of the time.  We drew up a report, which the three who had conducted the examination signed.

    The following was then put in: [as previously reported, see 1857.]


COLONIST, 19 February 1858

[Pratt] ...

The Jury retired at a quarter to six, and after being absent five minutes, returned into Court with a verdict of Not Guilty.


A melancholy accident occurred in this harbour on the afternoon of Friday last.  John Smith, boatswain of the Ashburton, was going ashore in a boat with five others to fetch water to the ship; about half-way between the Ashburton and Rhode's Bay he went to the fore part of the boat to do something to the sail, and when coming aft again, stepping over the casks, his foot slipped and he fell backwards overboard.  The men immediately threw him an oar, which, however, he did not seem to care about taking; they then threw out the second oar, which he refused likewise, although both went close to him.  In a few seconds he was heard to give a groan, and he then sank and was seen no more.  The boat remained on the spot for half-an-hour to three-quarters, and every exertion was made to recover him; the sail was taken down, the empty water casks were thrown out of the boat, and every one was on the watch.  The conclusion arrived at by nearly all is, that the unfortunate man was seized by a shark.  Smith was about thirty-two years of age, and was a great favourite with all hands. - LYTTELTON TIMES, Feb. 3.



Pratt Trial.


COLONIST, 23 February 1858

Letter to DS. P. Tucker re Pratt inquest.





On Thursday morning, February 18th, the whaling ship Alexander, of New Bedford, struck upon the reef off Cape Campbell, and carried away her rudder and sternpost - she began to fill, and fears were entertained that she would go down; the crew, with the exception of the captain, mate, and one of the hands, took to the boats, but afterwards returned. ...

   On Friday, as one of her boats, containing eight or nine hands was coming from the wreck to the shore, it was upset in the surf and all hands thrown into the water; all were rescued but one, a Portuguese named José de Sosia, who after clinging to the line from the ship for several minutes, sunk and was seen no more until his body was washed ashore the next morning a few hundred yards from the spot where he sank.  He was a good swimmer, and it is supposed that he must have been stunned, probably by the boat striking him, as when he was found he had a cut across his nose, and his forehead was much bruised.  An inquest was held upon the body on Monday; the body which had been buried, being exhumed, when a verdict of accidentally drowned was returned.




Trial of Killey. ...

Thomas Brutton Kinderdine. - I am a surgeon residing at Wangarei and Coroner for the district.  I was called in on the evening of the                 17th December last.  Deceased was lying at Hay's house in a state of partial insensibility.  He knew when I touched him, but he could not answer any questions.  I examined him and found a wound on the right side of the head upper part, running diagonally over the right parietal bone\, above the head running down towards the side.  It was about an inch and a half long - it was not bleeding when I saw it, but had been.  It seemed as if it had not been inflicted by a sharp instrument.  It was not an incised wound.  I examined the patient, I was told he had been drinking.  I probed the wound with my finger.  The bone was not laid bare.  It was much contused.  I could not tell from what direction the blow had been given.  I did not find any dangerous symptoms.  The state of insensibility might have been produced by intoxication.  If the insensibility had proceeded from intoxication alone he would have been incapable of walking before falling asleep.  In my opinion the wound could not have been caused by a fall.  I know the ground round Hay's house, and the wound, in my opinion, could not have been inflicted on such a place.  I saw deceased next morning about 5 o'clock.  He was in hay's house.  He was then dead. 

   I held an inquest about 12 o'clock that day.  I made a post mortem examination on the morning of the 18th before the investigation commenced.  I have seen this billet of wood before.  It was placed under the head of deceased on the morning of the post mortem examination.  Such an instrument might have effected such a wound.  It was put up and left in custody of Mr. Rust.  It was in the same condition then as when opened this morning.

   I first examined deceased's chest, I found the left lung much diseased and gorged with blood; there was also air under the tissue covering the lung, and it was also gorged with blood; the right lung adhered to the side; that was the result of old inflammation; I found the coats of the stomach very soft; they were a good deal diseased; they were softened, and the stomach was empty; the heart was a little enlarged; from the appearances that I found, death would not have resulted in the way it did; I found in the head a good deal of blood extravasated around the external wound of the scalp; I then removed the skull cap, and detected a fracture; I could not detect that fracture prior to making the post mortem examination ; it was a simple fracture about an  inch long; on slicing away the brain I found a large quantity of blood in the substance of the brain at points corresponding to the external wound; the blood on the brain was in a semi fluid state; I observed no other peculiarity in the brain; the \vessels were rather full of blood; there was not sufficient cause in the state of the vessels to have occasioned death without other cause; in my opinion death was caused by external violence.

   The state of the brain produced by external violence was sufficient to have occasioned death; in my opinion the disease of the lungs would not have produced death though it is possible; without the wound in the head, or drinking, insensibility would not have arisen; the state of the brain did not necessarily indicate drunkenness; had the drunkenness been so intense the man could not have walked about half an hour previously.

   Cross-examined by Mr. Bartley. - I do not think a man could walk about to the last in a state of excessive intoxication; there was a slight enlargement, but no serious disease of the heart; the man might die independently of the appearances of the brain; the external wound did not appear to be of a very dangerous character.

   Re-examined by Mr. Merriman. - Very often when a man dies of intense drunkenness, on a post-mortem examination there is a strong smell of liquor on the stomach and brain; in this case I did not detect any at all; a fall would not have produced a wound in such a situation, even supposing deceased to have fallen on a billet of wood; death seldom occurs in that way from disease of the heart.

   By the Court. - It is possible that he might have been conscious of my appearance, even had he been labouring under intoxication only.

   This close the case for the prosecution.

   Mr. Merriman proceeded to address the jury. He said that it was no part of his duty as public prosecutor to strain for a conviction; his duty was simply to place before the jury the facts of the case as shewn in evidence leaving to the jury themselves to form a judgment thereon.  There were two questions upon which they would have to decide, the first whether the unfortunate deceased died by violence? And if so by whom was the death caused.  He was sure that after the evidence of Dr. Kinderdine the jury could come to no other conclusion than that the deceased died from violence and death would not have appeared in the form presented from natural causes.  The evidence of several witnesses had been brought forward to shew that the prisoner was in a state of intoxication on the day in question, but nothing had been adduced at all shewing that he was in such a state as not to know what he was doing.  On the contrary the evidence of Mr. Rush shewed that two hours before the deceased was struck the prisoner was in his Mr. Rust's house conversing with the deceased.  It would be inconsistent with the evidence of Dr. Kinderdine to come to any other conclusion that that the deceased died from the blow on the head.  The Doctor had stated most distinctly that such a wound could not have been occasioned from a fall.  The situation of the wound shewed that it could not have been inflicted in such a way.  They must now proceed to consider by whom was the blow inflicted, and he was sadly afraid that with the evidence before them the jury could come to no other conclusion than that the prisoner was the man. 

   It was quite clear from the evidence before them that a great deal of drinking had been going on on the day in question, but the matter for their consideration was whether the prisoner at the time this transaction took place was so utterly deprived of reason as not to be able to account for what took place, and whether Hay was in such a state as would preclude the possibility of his remembering what occurred.  No such evidence had been adduced.  It was quite possible that Hay in the state he was in ands the excitement of the occasion might not have a distinct recollection of everything that passed but there was nothing to shew that he was in such a condition as to render his evidence on the main facts at all untrustworthy.  The evidence of Hay tended to fix the crime on the prisoner.

   Was it not clear that when the prisoner following Hay up to Burnett's house threatened to "give him a bash too" that he referred to the unfortunate deceased, then again they had a conversation between prisoner and Hay distinctly referred to by three witnesses.  Harvey and Burnett did not indeed go so far as Bunting, but then Harvey in his evidence had said that more might have taken place.  St the time the conversation took place Burnett was attending the dying man and it was perfectly consistent with probability to suppose that his attention being pre-occupied he would not hear the conversation.  Bunting on the contrary was close to the prisoner and not being occupied in any manner had a far better opportunity of hearing what took place.  It was quite clear therefore that such a conversation did take place, and he would ask the jury what other conclusion could they come to than that the prisoner when he made use of these words "what could you say if I was to take a billet of wood and kill you you old  -----------" referred to a former transaction of the kind.

   It had been clearly proved that on three former occasions the prisoner had threatened the deceased.  He had threatened each time "to cook his goose" an expression will be understood as conveying an intention of doing some bodily injury.  Then again the witnesses all agreed as to the position of the body when found.  Mr. dent's evidence was clear on the subject and no doubt could exist about the place where the body was found was the spot where Mr. dent saw the man cast, the billet of wood on the ground.  It was true that no evidence had been adduced as to the identity of the person who threw the log with the prisoner at the same time there had been no attempt to shew that it was not the prisoner, and he thought that the fact of the prisoner being found on the spot immediately after the deceased was found and dressed precisely in the manner described by the witness Dent coupled with the threats that he had on different occasions made use of against the deceased were circumstances which brought home the crime to him.

   The imputation against Bunting was unfair he had given his evidence in a proper manner and the fact that he had not been examined before the Coroner was no fault of his, he was in attendance and doubtless would have been called upon to give evidence had not the Coroner considered that he had already sufficient to justify him in committing the prisoner.   Mr. Merriman after a few more general remarks concluded an able address of which we have only been able to give a faint outline.

   Mr. Bartley addressed the jury in reply.  It was a part of their duty he said to see that the case was thoroughly proven before returning a verdict against the prisoner, every presumption of the innocence of the person charged should be duly weighed and given in his favour.  Was the present case proved?  He thought not; the evidence had been entirely circumstantial there had not been the slightest evidence of a blow having been struck.  He thought his friend assumed a great deal in saying that the case against the prisoner was clearly proved.  He Mr. Bartley did not say that the case was proved there were circumstances attaching suspicion to a certain individual but he did not agree with the crown prosecutor that it was for the prisoner to show that he was not the man, he thought it was rather for his learned friend to shew that the prisoner was the man.  Mr. Bartley proceeded to comment on the meagreness of the evidence as shewing that the wound which occasioned deceased's death was occasioned by a blow, there was nothing to shew that it might not have resulted from an accident, and he urged upon the jury the absolute necessity of their feeling that the evidence before them was overpowering before they returned a verdict which would deprive a fellow creature of life.  He did not look upon the case as proved.  It was one of suspicion certainly but nothing more, there had been no distinct proof of the identity of the prisoner with the man who was seen to raise the log.  Mr. Dent whose evidence had been given in such a manner as to bear conviction with it had told them that he saw a man with a red shirt but he couldn't identify the prisoner with that man.  If he Mr. Bartley said the man might be the prisoner that would be as far as he could go, and who would go further and say it must be?  They must not assume the prisoner was the man but must be satisfied thoroughly on the evidence that he was.  All they had before them was that a man with a red coat was seen to throw a billet of wood on the ground, and assumed that the billet of wood was thrown at deceased and also that the log produced was the one used he would caution the jury not to allow any feelings of horror that would naturally arise from its appearance saturated as it was with blood to influence their minds in the last degree.  He made that remark because he knew the effect which was often produced by the appearance in Court of deadly weapons which had been used in taking human life.

   He relied on a verdict in favour of the prisoner first because there was no distinct evidence that a blow had been given, and even if so that the prisoner was the man who gave it.  They must be extremely cautious in arriving at any conclusion against the prisoner unless they were satisfied that the evidence was of an overwhelming description.  Great stress had been laid upon certain words used by the prisoner which had been assumed to convey a threat.  What the words "cooking a goose" meant beyond the ordinary meaning they expressed he was at a loss to know.  It should be remembered that the expressions was made use of in Christmas times and it might only have been a friendly offer on the part of the prisoner to assist in preparing the Christmas dinner; at all events the expression did not necessarily imply mischief.  But even supposing such words were used in anger in a drunken fit were they to suppose that such expressions used at such a time justified the belief that the prisoner could days after they were used deliberately deprive a fellow creature of life.  Not the slightest reason had been shewn why the prisoner should kill the deceased true it had been proved that a great deal of drunkenness had been going on but were they on that account top form an opinion, for it could be nothing more, that the prisoner would do such an act more than others? 

   But supposing that the log had been hurled at the deceased what would have been the effect of that violence? Why every bone in the man's head would have been broken whereas they found that the injury inflicted was so slight in external appearance as to cause at first the serious apprehensions in the mind of the Doctor.  But he could now assume for the sake of argument that the prisoner did throw the log and that the log did strike the deceased was it not fair for them also to assume that the prisoner threw the log in a frolic that he was "poking fun" (that he believed was the expression) and that when he threw the log on the ground it recoiled and struck the unhappy man inflicting just such a wound as had been described?  He had no right to admit nor did he admit for one moment that the prisoner hurled the log but only assumed for the sake of argument that such was the case.  They might imply malice but he would remind them that there was such a thing as misadventure, and he must tell them, and he was certain that the learned judge would so direct them, that if the [log] were hurtled in frolic and not in malice the offence became manslaughter.  Extreme malice must be presumed to suppose the prisoner guilty of so atrocious ac crime. 

   He had no reason to suppose the prisoner guilty; nothing that he had heard from the prisoner could lead him to suppose so.  He did not ask for mercy at their hands; on the contrary, if the offence against the prisoner were proved, he (Mr. Bartley) would  say, let the axe fall; let justice take its courser; the man deserves to die.  But that a man could be guilty of so abominable a murder as this was not a thing they should suspect; such things, indeed, had been, but happily were of rare occurrence; it would be much more fair for them to assume some such circumstances as he had stated.  There was nothing certain known; if the presumption that the prisoner committed the crime was strong, so was the presumption that he did not.  If the evidence did not fully and completely satisfy them that the crime had been committed, and that the prisoner was the man, they must give the person accused the benefit of any doubt; and here, he must say, the doubt was very strong.

   In the second place, were they satisfied that the deceased's death was occasioned by the wound?  The Doctor's evidence did not shew that death must necessarily have ensued, it is only his opinion that it did nothing more.  Mr. Bartley referred to the wretched state if the deceased's body - his diseased lungs, stomach, and heart - and dwelt upon the possibility of any one of these causes occasioning death; and also upon the necessity of their being fully convinced that the wound was the approximate cause - that the man's death was accelerated by it - before coming to the conclusion that murder had been committed.  In reference to the expressions used by the prisoner towards Hay, he looked upon that as a great point in favour of Killey's innocence.  Was it not quite natural?  Would not he, or they, or any one there, indignantly and angrily repel (although in different language it might be hoped) such a charge as that of murder?  Mr. Bartley, after a few more general remarks, concluded by leaving the prisoner's case with the jury.

   His Honor then summed up, as so great a length as to preclude the possibility of our reporting it.  It was a masterly summing up; not a single point in the evidence was overlooked that could possibly favour a belief in the prisoner's innocence, although not strained at the expense of justice.

   The jury retired, and after an absence of one hour and five minutes returned into Court.

   A low murmur ran through the crowded Court, which was succeeded by a death-like silence.

   The jury, in reply to the usual question, said they were agreed upon their verdict; they found the prisoner GUILTY.

   His Honor - Guilty of manslaughter or murder?

    The foreman - Guilty of murder, on the evidence.

   The prisoner drew his breath convulsively on hearing the verdict, and grew deadly pale.  In reply to the Court, he said "I am innocent of the crime they've brought agin me."

   Proclamation for silence having been made, his Honor put on the black cap, and proceeded to pass sentence on the prisoner nearly as follows:

   You have been found guilty by a jury of your countrymen of the most awful c rime that can be committed against society, and I know not what other conclusion the jury could possibly have come to.  I fear you stand before us here this day a shocking spectacle - a miserable instance of the end of drunkenness.  I may, indeed, hope that when on examining the wound you had inflicted you exclaimed, "It is all right, it has missed the temples," you felt some compunction of conscience - some remorse for the fearful crime you had committed.  Whether, when you lifted that fearful piece of wood, you deliberately intended to carry out those threats which you had used against the unhappy man, or whether you were acting in a wild and reckless spirit, disregarding the consequences, I am unable to say; nut peaceable men must be protected from the reckless violence of men who, when under the influence of drink give free vent to their worst passions.

   The law only knows one remedy for the crime you have committed, that is a speedy one - death.  It is not my place to offer you that consolation which, doubtless will be afforded you by ministers of your religion.  My stern office is not to console but punish.  But I may implore you to fall ,low on your knees this night - nay within this hour - and in your cell pray to you're Almighty Father to grant you such a measure or mercy and grace as your awful condition required.

   His Honor then passed sentence of death in the usual words; but scarcely had the words "The Lord have mercy on your soul" passed the Judge's lips when the prisoner, whose countenance had greatly changed, fell down in a fainting fit.

   The Judge, who had been greatly agitated whilst passing sentence, was quite overcome at witnessing the effect of the unhappy man's overwrought feelings.  The prisoner was removed and the Court dissolved.


CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held, on Wednesday, by Dr. Philson, at the Royal Hotel, Howick, on the body of William Smith, who was found drowned, on the 26th ult.  It appeared that the deceased was one of the crew of a cutter belonging to John Crawford, and on the 22nd ult., whilst off Munga Munga Roa Creek, fell overboard.  In accordance with the evidence, a verdict of accidental death was returned.



   On Saturday, March 13th, a fire broke out in one of the pahs in Wairau-east, which was attended with fatal consequences.  The family, consisting of the father, mother, and two children, lived in a toi-toi warre.  On the night in question they retired to rest, leaving a candle burning, but, as the father stated, in a safe place.  About ten o'clock he awoke, and found the place in flames; he managed to get out, but was so confused he scarcely knew what he did or how he got out.  The wife also escaped, but received some severe burns.  By breaking through a portion of the toi-toi, the father got out one child, but the rapid progress of the flames prevented his rescuing the other.  It was heard to cry once, but was soon buried in the burning embers.  In the morning all that remained of it was a few bones, the flesh being entirely consumed.  The child was about two years old.

   On Thursday, intelligence of the accident having reached the Coroner, he proceeded to the spot and held an inquest, the jury being composed of Europeans and Maories.  The father (Te Mana), a very intelligent and respectable Maori, gave evidence in accordance with the foregoing statement.  He was of opinion that the rats had tried to carry off the candle and it had fallen against the sides of the warre and set it on fire.  The jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally burned," accompanied by a caution to the father about leaving candles alight in such a house.

   Te Mana said he had had quite enough of toi-toi warres, and he would not build another; his next house should be of mud.





On Saturday an inquest was held at Mr. Philip levy's Hotel, Queen-street, before Dr. Philson, one of the City Coroners, on the body of Thomas Smith who was found, on the previous evening, lying dead, in the Queen-street creek, with his throat cut.

   The discovery of the body occasioned considerable excitement, and as usual the most exaggerated stories were in circulation of foul play having been used towards the deceased.  The evidence, however, proved that the unfortunate man had been the destroyer of his own life.

   From the evidence of James Cavanagh, which was fully corroborated by that of Edward Murphy, it appeared that on the afternoon of the 17th March, he was in the deceased's company, drinking, at the British Hotel.  Both were the worse for liquor, but the witness himself was not so drunk as not to know what he was about.  The deceased, according to Cavanagh, was and was not dead drunk, but at all events so intoxicated as to be unable to stand on his legs.  Cavanagh and Murphy, accordingly, assisted the deceased home and put him on to his bed.  In order to prevent the deceased from leaving his room again that night, Cavanagh locked the door of his room and took the key away.  In the opinion of Cavanagh, deceased was suffering from delirium tremens; at least, he appeared to have been drinking so much previously that a glass or two appeared to "liven" the "old spirits" in him.  Cavanagh further stated that he had never been on bad terms with the deceased, and that he had on one occasion prevented him from carrying into effect a threat he had made of committing suicide. 

   In answer to the Coroner, Cavanagh said that he had not seen the deceased alive from the time he had locked him up in his room.  The fact of the deceased having got out of his room, although the door was locked on the out side, was accounted for from the fastening being a padlock, the staple of which was do insecure that a very moderate push would force it out of the woodwork.  The door was found open in the manner described.  In answer to a Juror, the witness stated that he had no reason to believe that any person had a desire to injure the deceased, and in reply to the Coroner, he identified the razor, found near the body, as one which he (witness) had given to the deceased some weeks back.

   Maria Nicklen, deposed that she was the wife of John Nicklen, shingler, residing in Durham-street.  Had known the deceased for 22 years.  The last time she saw him alive, he was being assisted home by Cavanagh and another man - that was on Wednesday evening.  On the following morning, about daylight, witness heard the deceased force open the door of his room, first having called out to Cavanagh to know whether he was awake.  Shortly afterwards, heard some one in the yard chopping or breaking firewood, and heard deceased distinctly day, "D--- my eyes, if I don't do it."  About 5 minutes afterwards, witness was alarmed by the sight of fire, and on going into the yard found the deceased's house was on fire on the outside, with a quantity of lighted brushwood piled against the door and close to it a roll of paper such as is used for papering rooms, and a lighted candle.  Witness was quite certain that the voice she heard was Smith's.  In answer to the Coroner, witness said she had, on several occasions heard the deceased threaten to cut his throat.  She could not say whether the deceased had money.

   Lewis Levy deposed to the finding of the body in the creek.  It appeared that Mr. Levy was in the habit periodically of clearing out that portion of the creek running immediately under the hotel, and was so occupied, on Friday afternoon, when he discovered the body lying in the creek, about half way between his father's premises and the British Hotel.  He at first did not think it was a human body, but on a subsequent occasion became convinced of the fact, and at once gave information to the police.  The witness had, on one or two former occasions, seen the deceased underneath the shore, and could only account for his going there on the supposition that he was looking after any trifles that might have been washed down the creek.

   Dr. McGauran deposed to having been called to see the body, on the previous day, and also to the wound in the throat being sufficient to cause death.  The deceased had, some months since, been a patient in the Provincial Hospital, for fever, and then he was f opinion that the man had a tendency to disease of the brain.  He had no reason to believe that the deceased was an habitual drunkard, although he thought, from his appearance, that he was addicted to drinking.

   Henry Sims, corporal in the armed police force, corroborated the evidence of Mr. Levy, as to the position in which the deceased was found.  He was lying straight up and down the creek, with his feet to the South and his head to the North.  The razor was about a foot and a half from him, and a large quantity of blood on the bank, which was about 2 feet above the water.  Taken as a general run, he considered the deceased a man of tolerably sober habits, although within the last twelve months he had shown himself more addicted to liquor.  The witness produced a pair of slippers which he picked up in the creek, about 18 paces from where the body was found.  These slippers were identified by Cavanagh as belonging to the deceased.

   This being the whole of the evidence, the Jury retired, and, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased committed suicide while suffering under temporary insanity, induced by over indulgence in ardent spirits.


On Saturday afternoon, while the men of the 58th were going through their usual parade drill, a collar serjeant of the Grenadier Company named David Connors dropped down dead.  Colonel Wynyard at once caused every assistance to be rendered to the unfortunate man, who expired in a few seconds after falling.  The Colonel immediately dismissed the men from parade.  An inquest was held on the body yesterday, when, in accordance with the evidence, the jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased died from a coup de soleil, his heart at the time being diseased.

   On the same afternoon deceased was borne to his grave, followed by upwards of a hundred civilians and almost every soldier in the garrison not on duty, including the full band of the regiment.  The Colonel himself attended, as did several other officers.  The deceased, who was greatly respected by all who knew him, has, we are sorry to say, left a wife and young family to lament his loss.


OTAGO WITNESS, 3 April 1858


Trial of Crawford for Manslaughter of Abbinett.



INQUEST. - An inquest was held yesterday morning, before Dr. Philson, coroner, at the Greyhound Inn, on the body of Thomas Pagram.  From the evidence of dr. Curtis, who, in conjunction with Dr. Shiel, had made a post mortem examination, the jury returned the following verdict:- "Died from excessive drinking of ardent spirits/"  Deceased had been 18 years in the 86th Regiment, and, for the last few months, had been addicted to intemperance.




BOATING ACCIDENT. - On Wednesday last, as one of those dangerous bits of wood and iron denominated flat-bottomed dingies, was proceeding from a small sailing cutter moored in Official Bay to the Wynyard Pier, it capsized, and its occupants, three in number, were left struggling in the water.  One of them, Corporal Marden, late of the light company of the 58th regiment, although a good swimmer, was, we are sorry to say, unfortunately drowned, the poor fellow it is supposed having been seized with cramp and thereby incapacitated from saving himself.  The other men struck out for the cutter they had left, one being rescued by his comrade as he was sinking to a watery grave.  At an inquest on the body of Marden held on Thursday a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned. - Weekly Register, April 19.




An inquest was held on Monday at the house of Mr. Stokes, Harewood Road, near Papanui, on the body of his son, John Stokes, who met his end on Sunday morning by falling when in a fit into the river Purarekanui.  It appears that the unfortunate young man, who arrived with the first settlers here, had been soon after struck by a sun-stroke, which had caused severe illness.  Though he recovered from this attack, he was always subject to fits and aberrations of intellect, and, it appeared, had fallen into the river while endeavouring to wash himself.  He once before nearly lost his life in a similar way.





An inquest was held on Friday, the 7th instant, before Joseph Ford Wilson, Esq., at the Swan Inn, Motueka, to inquire into the death of Ellen Lund, a child of three years old.  It appeared by the evidence that the deceased had taken a lighted stick from the fire into a field opposite the dwelling-house, with the supposed intention of setting fire to some dry rubbish, when her clothes ignited, and she died from the effects thereof.  The jury returned a verdict of "accidental death."

   We have to record the following melancholy intelligence: - Mr. Grooby, senior, a venerable old patriarch residing at Panga Totara, has for several days been missing from his home.  The increasing infirmities of old age have for some time rendered him somewhat childish, and it is feared he must have wandered and died.  Several parties are in search, but have yet discovered no trace of him.




An inquest was held on Tuesday, before Dr. Donald, coroner, on board the ship Westminster, on the body of William Francis Marks, a colored man, cook of that vessel, who was found dead in his berth on the previous morning.  The evidence of the second mate, boatswain, and carpenter, was brought to show that the deceased had gone to rest on Sunday evening in good health and spirits; that no symptoms of anything the matter had occurred during the night; and that he had been found cold and stiff at half-past five in the morning, when called to get up.  It was also proved that he had been subject to epileptic fits.  The verdict was accordingly, "Died by the visitation of God."




FATAL OCCURRENCE. - Information was forwarded to the Resident Magistrate's Office, Nelson, on Wednesday last, to the effect that a Maori woman had been tomahawked at the pah at Wakaopuaka, and requesting a constable and a surgeon to be sent there.  The provincial Surgeon at once started for the spot, accompanied by a constable, and found on arriving at the pah, that the information was correct, and that the unfortunate woman was in a dying state.  It appeared that the natives were assembling for morning prayers, when they were startled by dreadful shrieks, which they soon ascertained to proceed from a woman named Victoria, the sister of the chief Emanu, and wife of Watene.  This man, Watene, has lately been at the diggings, and has been subject to fits of delirium tremens, and given other traces of insanity; and on this occasion, in what is supposed to be a fit of jealousy, he commenced chopping his wife's head with a tomahawk, and had inflicted several immense gashes, besides cutting off the fingers of the hand which the poor creature had put up to defend herself, before he was overpowered.  Dr. Wilson rendered all the assistance he could, although he felt assured that it would be of no avail, and the woman died yesterday morning.  The murderer has been taken into custody, and the coroner held an inquest on the body of the deceased at the Black Horse, Wakapuaka, yesterday, but the result of the inquiry was not known when we went to press.


COLONIST, 25 May 1858


An inquest was held on Friday last, the 21st instant, at the Black Horse, Whapapuaka, before J. F. Wilson, Esq., Coroner, on the body of Kahiwa, a native woman, who died the same day, in consequence of wounds she received upon her head on Wednesday last, inflicted by her husband with a tomahawk, notice of which appeared in our last issue.

   The following jury were empanelled:- Alexander Wragg, foreman; Alexander Stewart, Henry Martin, William Small, John Waterhouse, Henry Gill, Samuel Camper, Dennis Frost, William Dyson, Arthur Collins, Wiremu Katene te Manu, Pitama, Matenga.

   Matenga, sworn, saith: - On Wednesday morning last, at 7 a.m., while we were at morning prayers, I heard deceased call to her brother, saying - "E Wi, I am being killed."  I hastened to her whare, and saw her on the ground, with her face downward; she was rolling about as if in great agony.  Her husband (the prisoner) was standing over her in the act of covering her with a blanket.  A tomahawk was lying on the ground near to the prisoner, covered with blood.  The weapon now produced is the same I saw on the ground.  I was the first person who entered the whare after the deceased called out.  I did not speak to the prisoner; I merely took up the tomahawk and carried it away.  I had every reason to believe that the prisoner committed the deed, as no other person was near; and I was on the spot immediately after the deceased called out.  I have no doubt that the prisoner was the person who struck the blow which caused the woman's death.  I heard three blows very distinctly just before the woman called out; the sound was that of an axe striking wood.

   Wiremu Katene te Manu, sworn, saith: - I am brother to the deceased.  The murder was committed on Wednesday morning at 7 o'clock; I was dressing at the time.  I heard my sister call to me, and say - "E Wi! I am being killed."  I hastened to the whare of my sister, when I heard some one say - "Kahiwa is killed." I then went into the house, and saw my sister lying on the ground; prisoner was lying beside her with his arm across her body.  I told the prisoner to go away from her; he arose and went to the other side of the room.  Fearing that the prisoner might attack some of us, I told Pitama to secure him; we then tied his hands.  We led him out of the house and kept him in safe custody.  He has not said anything to us from the time the deed was committed.  We did not question him on the matter, because we knew he was insane, and would not answer us.  I put the tomahawk into the fire to destroy the blood with which it was covered.  I was much alarmed when I saw the quantity of blood on the ground and on the weapon.  The weapon now produced is the same that I put into the fire.  The prisoner has frequently quarrelled with his wife since he returned from the diggings in December last.  We were all together at the diggings, and we returned together.  The prisoner was very kind to his wife up to the time of his going to the diggings.  He was a sober man.  I never saw him the worse for liquor until we were together at the Aorere diggings.  We went together to s Mr. Forrester at the diggings, to demand the wife of one of our friends, whom Forrester had seduced.  He promised to deliver the woman to us in three days, but had broken his promise.  We met him at the public-house of Mr. Myres.  He ordered four glasses of beer for myself, the prisoner, and two others.  As soon as the beer was brought in he went away, and we saw no more of him.  Immediately after drinking the beer we were all four very sick.  Shortly after drinking the beer the prisoner appeared to be deranged.  To the best of my knowledge he had nothing else to drink but that glass of beer.  Missing Forrester, I went to the other part of the house to search for him, but could not find him.  I believe it was the beer that Forrester brought in that made us all so ill; there must have been something bad in it.  The prisoner in particular was so ill that I thought he was poisoned.  He has been insane ever since.  From that time he began to treat his wife cruelly.  He has been sullen and reserved ever since; he has seldom spoken to any of us.  He has frequently quarrelled with his wife, and often threatened to beat her.  I am fully convinced in my own mind the man was insane at the time of committing the deed.  I shall always believe that the beer furnished by Forrester was the cause of the prisoner losing his senses; and I fully intend to write to the Resident Magistrate about it.  The reason I did not mention this before, was because I had forgotten the name of a white man who was present while we were drinking the beer, and saw its effects, and who told s that Forester must have put something bad in it.

   Verdict - The verdict of the jury was that "Kahiwa, wife of Te Watene, came by her death by the hands of her husband, who is proved to be in an unsound state of mind, and unfit to be at large."

   The body was decently laid in a coffin and shroud, and brought down by the natives in a cart to the Black Horse, where the inquest was held.  The head of the deceased was lifted up, when the dreadful injuries were exposed to view - two wounds in the skull, and one frightful gash on the back of the neck; from one of the wounds in the skull the brain was distinctly visible.  There were several other wounds on other parts of the body which were not exposed to view.  The jury were satisfied that the wounds about the head were sufficient to cause death.  Great numbers of natives accompanied the corpse, and behaved throughout in a most respectful manner, for which they obtained the thanks of the coroner and jury, and expressed themselves perfectly satisfied with the verdict.

   The jury was composed partly of natives and Europeans.  There were three natives on the jury, who were the principal chiefs of then Whakapuaka district.  Te Manu, the principal of the three, conducted himself during the whole of the proceedings in a most gentlemanly manner, and is worthy of great praise.




During the past week this province has lost by a fatal accident one of its prominent settlers.  Mr. C. C. Haslewood, to whom we allude, died at his station, some six miles from Christchurch, on Saturday morning last from the effects of a wound received on the previous Thursday afternoon by the explosion of a gun from which he was drawing the charge.  At an inquest which was held on Monday, the nature of the accident, which was a simple one, was fully explained.  Mr. Haslewood had drawn the shot from both barrels of the gun and exploded the powder from one of them.  The other barrel had been loaded some time; from that he took out the wad and shook out part of the powder, and then snapped a cap on it.  Imagining that the remainder of the charge had by this means been exploded, he took the gun into a room in the house, placed the butt on the floor, and blew down the barrel to see if the nipple was clear.

   It seems that a lighted candle was in close proximity, on the floor.  Mr. Haslewood in the account he was able to give afterwards to the medical gentlemen who attended him (Drs. Barker and Fisher) remember the fact of the light on the floor, and could recollect an explosion, and that was all.  A smothered discharge and a cry succeeding were heard by two persons in the garden, who running in and finding what had happened sent for medical aid.  That evening and the next day Mr. Haslewood was able to speak and to write, but on Saturday morning about seven o'clock he expired suddenly.

   Medical evidence indicated that a considerable quantity of powder must have been discharged into the throat together with a piece of the wadding; but that while the injuries thus received were sufficient to cause death, the proximate cause was apoplexy of the lungs.  The coroner's jury returned a verdict of accidental death. [Funeral and biography.]




INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Monday, 24th instant, at the Captain Cook Hotel, Kyber Pass Road, on the body of James Lowden, who was found in an unfinished building with his throat cut.  The evidence went to show that in all probability Lowden had committed suicide; and the verdict returned was that "the deceased committed suicide whilst in a state of temporary insanity."




THE LATE DEATH BY DROWNING. - An inquest was held on Thursday last, before Dr. Hitchings, coroner, and a jury, at the Canteen, Onopoto, on the body of Laurence McDermitt, aged 22, private in the 65th Regiment, who, under circumstances detailed by us at the time, was drowned on Saturday, the 15th inst.  The body, which was carried out to sea by the strength of the tide, was, on Monday last, discovered by some natives on the beach at Petane.  The jury, having heard the evidence, returned a verdict of "Accidentally drowned through coming in contact with the Salopian's hawser."

   They ate the same time protested strongly against the present mode of mooring vessels in the "Iron Pot."  This was the third accident that had occurred from that cause, and they considered the the safety of individuals was daily endangered through the channel being completely obstructed by warps and hawsers being stretched across.



Letter to The Editor re James Lowden inquest: "Sir, a notice in your paper, of this day, also informs the public, that James Lowden was found, in the Kyber Pass Road, with his throat cut and the verdict of the Coroner's jury is, that this was done by himself in a fit of temporary insanity.  There is no evidence published - perhaps none was received - of the circumstances which led to this insanity.  The following statement may perhaps throw some light upon the question:-

   James Lowden was one of the oldest settlers in New Zealand, a steady and industrious mechanic; but it was his misfortune, - as it has been the misfortune of many others, - that he purchased a piece of land in New Zealand, and that the Government did to him as they did to many others, - they deprived him of his land.  They sold the land and put the money into the Treasury.  Query - was it lawful to put it into the Treasury>?  Is it lawful to keep it there? Is it not the price of blood?  &c. JAMES BUSBY."




An inquest was held at the Royal Hotel, Christchurch, on Saturday last, before W. Donald, Esq., Coroner, on the body of a man named Robert Gunson, but better known as 'Shepherd.'  It appeared that deceased had been walking from the Ferry towards Christchurch, and on the road complained of something wrong in his chest from which he was unable to walk.  One of those with him went for a cart to put him into, but before the cart arrived the unfortunate man was dead.  A post-mortem examination showed that deceased was suffering from tubercular disease of the lungs and dilation of the heart, with a large effusion of blood in the pericardium, which was considered the immediate cause of death.  The verdict returned was 'Died by the visitation of God.'

   The Coroner in summing up remarked upon the necessity for investigating minutely into cases of sudden death at the present time, when poisons such as arsenic and strychnine are, he regretted to say, commonly used and scattered about.




A melancholy suicide was committed on Wednesday last, at the police Station, at Christchurch.  It appears that a German named Hunrich Himmelman was on that day committed for trial, at the Magistrate's Court, on a charge of obtaining money under false pretences.  He was locked up in a cell at Christchurch previous to being sent to gaol at Lyttelton.  While the constable was away on duty he managed to hang himself with his handkerchief to a rail over the door.  Two or three hours after he had been ,locked up, the corporal of police on entering the cell found him hanging, and immediately cut him down, but life was extinct.  The evidence taken at the coroner's inquest held n ext day went to prove that he was of unsound mind.  Verdict accordingly.

   We regret to say that the Coroner, on his return from Lyttelton after the inquest, met with a severe accident.  His horse put his foot into a deep rut, and came down on his head.  Dr. Donald fell on his right shoulder, and broke his collar bone.  The injury is not likely to be of a very serious nature.




On Thursday, William M'Kenzie, master of the schooner Lady of the Lake, of Wellington, died suddenly on board of his vessel, which was lying at the Ferry at the time ready to leave the river.  The deceased had been for many years addicted to continued intemperance, in which he indulged until it caused his death.




On Friday the 11th instant, at his residence, Princes-street. HENRY JOHN ANDREWS, ... and Coroner for the City of Auckland.




MELANCHOLY OCCURRENCE. - A letter from the Rev. T. D. Nicholson was received yesterday by the Rev. P. Calder, conveying the melancholy intelligence of the death of Mr. John Burns, who was drowned, as is supposed, while attempting to cross one of the rivers in the district lying between the Wairau and Canterbury, wither Mr. Burns had journeyed in search of a run.  We have no particulars of the accident, but we believe that a gentleman who was in company with the deceased is now on his way to Nelson. [Biography.]


In our paper of the 12th of May, we announced that Mr. Grooby, senior, of Motueka, had wandered away from his home, and could not be found after a search of several days.  The fears that were then entertained for his safety have proved to be correct, for the body of the unfortunate man has been found by two Moutere settlers, Messrs. Franklin and Brougham.  They were crossing the Moutere river in a canoe on Sunday night, when they discovered under the bank a dead body, which proved to be that of Mr. Grooby.  There were no marks of violence on the body, although it presented an appearance of having been in the water for some time; and the probability is that the old man, who was both feeble and somewhat childish, fell into the river and was drowned.  The body was conveyed to the Swan Inn, where it now awaits the holding of a coroner's inquest.


COLONIST, 22 June 1858

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held on the 16th instant, at the Swan Inn, Motueka, before J. F. Wilson, Esq., Coroner, touching the death of Francis Grooby, who was found drowned in the Moutere River.  The following evidence was adduced:-

   Henry Inwood sworn: I am a labourer, and am living at Motueka with the Groobys, having married the deceased's daughter; six weeks ago my father-in-law left his home, and said he wanted to go to Motueka, which was about six miles off; this was between five and six in the evening; I persuaded him not to go, but he would; he was childish in his manner and seemed very restless, as his wife was away in Nelson; he was about seventy years of age.

   Harriett Chamberlin sworn: I am the wife of William Chamberlin, and am living at Motueka; about twelve o'clock at night six weeks ago, the deceased came to my house and said he had lost his way; I was under the impression that he had had some beer, but I have since been informed that this was not the case, as he was so childish; I went out and showed him the way, but he turned back and went towards Motueka, and I thought he was going towards his daughters as she lives there.

   Robert Franklin sworn: I am a laborer, and am living at Motueka; on Monday last between 9 and 10 in the morning I was near the river at the Moutere, when I saw something like a shirt, and I went towards it and saw it was the body of the deceased, as I knew him well; I consider that he had fallen in the river higher up, and that his body had been washed down by the last floods; I immediately gave information to the constable, and had the body brought to Motueka, and put in Mt. Harding's stable.

   The jury returned a verdict that the deceased Francis Grooby was found drowned in the Moutere river, and that there is mo evidence to show how he got there.




The body of a man named Nelson, a late resident at Governor's Bay, was found in the bush, on the hills overlooking Cashmere, on Sunday evening last.  It seems the unfortunate man had been missing for three weeks previously, but hardly any apprehended such a melancholy and fatal result.  These are all the particulars that we could hitherto ascertain, but more may be elicited at the inquest which will be held to-day, before W. Donald, Esq., Coroner.




An inquest was held before Dr. Philson, Coroner, on Monday, 28th ult., at Otahuhu, on the body of Letitia Hartnett, who had been found lying dead on the road-side, near the Rev. Mr. Macky's church, on the morning of Saturday the 26th.  It appeared in evidence that the deceased had been drinking on the previous evening, and was on her way home in company with three men, named English, Newton, and McKernan, who, finding it impracticable to bring her on, removed her to a little distance from the road, and left her, in hope that when her drunkenness passed off, she would be able to find her way alone.  A post-mortem examination was made by Dr. Warrington of Otahuhu, who discovered a perforating ulcer of the stomach, as well as traces of alcoholic liquor.  A verdict was returned of "Accidental death from the effects of drink and exposure to cold," and a majority of the jury concurred in administering a reprimand to the three men for their culpable negligence in leaving a fellow creature to perish, and for not acquainting the husband with his wife's destitute condition.




The inquest on the body of James nelson, found on the hills overlooking Cashmere, took place on Wednesday last, before W. Donald, Esq., coroner, but nothing material was elicited beyond the particulars given in our last issue.  When found, a bundle was under the head, and a sum of money, previously received at Christchurch, was found upon the body.  It is most probable that he had laid down from fatigue, and the cold seized upon his vitals, whilst asleep, and put an end to his life.  After full investigation the jury unhesitatingly returned a verdict of "Died from exposure."


A man named Hew was killed on Tuesday last, in the Ashley, whilst crossing the river with a bullock-dray.  From what we could hitherto ascertain, it appears that the unfortunate man was knocked down by the leading bullock, and killed on the spot.  An inquest on the body was to be held yesterday, but we have not yet heard the particulars.




To take steps to afford aid to the sufferers by the fire, at the Odd fellows' Hall, on the 7th instant.




[Te Watene.]

Some of the natives from Motueka and Massacre Bay met those from Wakapuaka on Monday, on Nelson beach, for the purpose of having a "talk" about the Maori who is at present confined in Nelson gaol awaiting his trial for the murder of his wife.  It will be remembered that the verdict of the coroner's jury was to the effect that the man committed the crime while labouring under temporary insanity; but the natives of Motueka, who are said to have been related to the murdered woman, were desirous of having the murderer executed according to their native customs, while the Wakapuaka natives, on the contrary, were desirous of leaving the English law to take its course.  No satisfactory conclusion resulted from the conference, except that the Motueka and Massacre Bay natives partook of the hospitality of the Wakapuaka natives, and after they and their women had made a "tangi" or cry in memory of the deceased, the conference terminated.




A melancholy and fatal accident occurred at Okain's Bay, on Tuesday last, to a child aged three years and three months, named Arthur Edward Sefton.  It appears the child was playing with his brother at the fire, during his father's temporary absence in the bush.  His screams brought home the father, who found the poor child's clothes in a blaze.  The flame was quickly extinguished, but the little sufferer had been so dreadfully burnt, that he died at five o'clock on the following morning.  This is a sad warning to parents not to allow children opportunities of coming in contact with fire in the absence of their guardians, a custom which is said to be dangerously prevalent ion that part. - LYTTELTON TIMES, June 23.


COLONIST, 20 July 1858


On Friday, the 16th instant, an inquest was held at the Plough Inn, Richmond, on the body of a child.

   The witnesses deposed to the following:-

   Mrs. Harriett Dale: I am the wife of William Dale, and am living in Richmond; I am acquainted with Hannah Pickering, the mother of the deceased child; she was unmarried; I was aware that she was expecting to be confined; there was clothing provided for the expected baby, and the father and mother were aware that was the case, and the confinement took place in her father's house on Friday evening last; I was sent for, as she was in labor, and a female child was born after I had been there about two hours; this took place about three in the morning; the mother seemed to bestow every attention on the child; I saw the child again on Saturday evening; the grandmother was undressing it, and I learned that they were both doing well; she suckled the child whilst I was there; on Wednesday morning, before I was up, I was informed that Hannah Pickering wanted to see me, and was told that the child was dying, but as I was not well, I did not go till tea, when I saw the child laid on the bed, and I asked her what was the matter with it, and what she had been giving it, and she said nothing at all; the baby appeared to be in a fit, but I did not stay many minutes in the house, so I went out for a few minutes and then returned; I saw the baby apparently in pain, with its hands clenched and face drawn; there was no medical man sent for when I was there; I staid about 30 minutes, and when I left there was no person there but the mother and grandmother; I have not been at the house since; the mother and grandmother appeared to be very kind and anxious about the child.

   Mrs. Mary Ann Cotton, on being sworn, stated that she was the wife of James Cotton, a laborer, residing at Richmond; on Thursday night last she was called up as the child was ill; this was between twelve and one; and when she arrived the child was dead; I had been there the day before; there was mention made of a doctor, but one was not sent for; Mrs. Dale and I spoke about a bath, but it was not applied; when I saw the child alive, it appeared to have a bad cold, and it could not cry, and it appeared as if it were in pain, drew its legs up, and then went into a fit; the mother appeared much affected by the death of the child.

   Dr. Frederick A. Laking, surgeon, being called, deposed to the following: I am a legally qualified medical practitioner, and am living in Richmond; I have heard the evidence given by the former witnesses; I have made an examination of the deceased child, and found decomposition rapidly taking place; I examined the head, limbs, and abdomen; I also examined the mouth and fauces; I could not discover any thing to warrant a post mortem examination, or any external appearance to give me reason to think that the child had come by its death from any violence; the child appeared at its full time, and apparently otherwise healthy; the skin was yellow, as if there was engorgement of the liver; I consider that the child had not a fair chance for its recovery, as no medical man had been sent for, and nothing done for it.

   The jury, through their foreman, Mr. Hodder, returned a verdict to the effect that the child, Hannah Pickering, aged five days, died of convulsions; but consider that there was great neglect on the part of the parents in not sending for medical aid.





On Saturday last, Mrs. Gardner (whose husband was murdered at the Wairau massacre), while busily employed at her household duties, went so near to the fire that her clothes were ignited; and although her screams caused the neighbours to give prompt assistance, she has sustained such severe injuries that there is not much hope of her recovery.


 Hannah Pickering.

MELANCHOLY OCCURRENCE. - The inhabitants of the town were startled yesterday morning by a report that Mr. Ross, for many years in business as baker in Nelson, had come to his death by violent means.  On proceeding to the residence of Mr. Ross, at Stoke, we found the report to be too true.  The unfortunate man lay dead on the floor of an up-stairs room, his head and face presenting a ghastly spectacle, and looking as though his skull had been smashed; while on the floor was a pool of blood.  The pillows on the bed were also saturated with blood, and the room was in disorder.  Down stairs, another pool of blood was beside the sofa, and the sofa pillow had several large stains of blood upon it.

   Without wishing to excite prejudice in this melancholy case, we may briefly state some particulars.  Mr. Ross's late residence is a small thatched cottage near the road, while on the other side of the road is Mr. Hurley's farm (late Mr. J. Ward's), where resided Mr. Harley's two sons, William and Alfred, who were on terms of great intimacy with Mr. Ross's family.  On Monday evening, we believe that there were in these two houses Mr. and Mrs. And Miss Ross and William Harley.  According to the account of the latter, there had been some disturbance between Mr. Ross and his family, which had resulted in the determination on the part of Mrs. Ross and her daughter of leaving the house and proceeding to town that evening.  William Harley resolved to accompany them, and was saddling his horse for the purpose, when Mr. Ross came out and commenced quarrelling with Harley, who at length said, that if Ross interrupted him again he would knock him down.  Ross continued his annoyance, and Harley then took a paling and knocked him down. Harley shortly afterwards mounted his horse and rode to town, overtaking Mrs. Ross on the road, and communicating to her what he had done, and from which it would appear he apprehended no serious results.

   The foregoing is Harley's own account.  On the little green in front of Harley's farm house, are several patches of blood, as though there had been a scuffle; and on the panel of the door and the window-pane are marks of blood, as though the injured person had tried to gain admittance.  Failing this, the unfortunate man appears to have gone over to his own house, and laid himself on the sofa for a while, then to have scrambled upstairs and laid himself on the bed, and afterwards to have got out of bed, lain down on the floor with his head leaning against the door, and there to have died, probably in darkness and alone. William Harley remained in town all night, although we understand he had some fears that he had inflicted a severe injury on Ross, and that he communicated these fears to the chief constable.

   In the morning, Alfred Harley went up with a man to cut some hay on the farm, and on going into Ross's house, he found him there lying dead.  The young man immediately conveyed the melancholy information to town, and the Coroner at once gave orders for the summoning of a jury, and an inquest was held yesterday afternoon.  These are all the facts that we can publish at present, for it is no part of the business of the press to anticipate the solemn duty of the coroner's jury.


[The inquest was held at the Turf Hotel yesterday, and the jury in the first place went to view the body.  On cutting away the hair, they found, on the left side of the skull, one diagonal wound three inches and a-half in length.  By the wound the temporal muscle and several branches of the temporal artery were severed, and this was considered by the medical men to have produced hemorrhage sufficient to cause death.

   A few witnesses were examined; amongst the rest Mr. A. Harley, who acknowledged on the part of his brother that a blow had been struck, but that upon seeing the deceased recover and walk away, he had not thought it necessary to call in assistance, as he did not perceive any flow of blood.  The inquest was then adjourned until eleven o'clock this day, at the Masonic Hotel; and William Harley was ordered to be taken into custody.  We shall publish the evidence in our next.]


COLONIST, 23 July 1858

Shocking Occurrence at Stoke.

Inquisition on the Body.

AT an inquest held at the Turf Hotel, Stoke, on the body of Robert Ross, the following jury was empanneled:-

   John Luck, William Akersten, N. T. Lockhart, Thomas Askew, Edward Everett, Alexander Rankin, Charles Christie, James Phillips, Alfred G. Jenkins, William Gardiner, William Sanger, James Powhek, and Joseph Taylor.  A. G. Jenkins, Foreman.

   The Coroner then addressed the jury, and explained to them their duty, particularly the examination of the whole body; he also explained their power, referred to public excitement, and informed them that they could have evidence produced, and urged them to fulfil the duty they had sworn to.  They must not place any reliance on out-door evidence.  Time, also, should not be an object in a matter of such importance.  The law would allow a change of place as the sitting room to make it more convenient.  Two medical men were in attendance, with a view to make any examination required by the jury.  The jury then left the Court to view the body.

   On leaving the Turf Hotel, the Coroner, accompanied by his jury, walked along the main road to the house of the deceased, which was about one mile from the spot; it is situated nearly at the brow of a slight eminence, rising from what appears to be a swamp almost level with the water.  The house is situated a few yards back from a fence which is the mark of a green roadway, on the other side of which stands the premises of Mr. William Harley.  This house also stands back from the road.  The first thing that presented itself to view was the marks of blood, which could be traced from Mr. Harley's house to that of the deceased, and on reaching Mr. H.'s house the signs of a severe struggle appeared.  In one part of the ground some green iris, about eighteen inches in height, was broken off short, as if either trampled or fallen on.  On the lawn in front of the house, which faces away from the road, where two large patched of grass, one recently torn and trampled on, another saturated with blood.  On the handle of the door, and on the step, were also large marks of blood, and on the window of the sitting-room two marks of blood: from their shape and position, they would appear to have been made by the nose of the deceased, whilst endeavouring to look into the interior of the house after having been struck.

   On the lawn also was found a portion of a stake, which had all the marks of recent fracture, and was still moist at the sharpened end, as if lately out of the ground.  A further search had discovered the other portion of the stake, fitting exactly at the fracture, and having human hair attached to it at the place where it had been broken. 

   Following the traces of blood, we leave Mr. Harley's house, noticing on the gate post and on the latch marks of it, till on entering Mr. Ross' house by the back door, there was seen on the ground that hat of the deceased, close by a coagulum of blood, about six inches in size; on the sofa also, in front of which there were seen some large clots of blood, and at one end a quantity of apparently road dirt.  Here, evidently, the unfortunate man had lain after receiving the blow; and the look of comfort round the room, the well-filled china closet, the piano, and, above all, the picture of "Innocence" over the mantel-piece, presented a touching appearance.  The result of years of hard labor were apparent in the handsomely mounted plate, silver cruets, &c., in the room.  From the kitchen, which was hung around with plenty, the jury ascended the stairs, much spotted by blood.  On rising through the trap above, and turning to the right, the awful spectacle presented itself.

   In the doorway leading from one bedroom to the other, lay what remained of Robert Ross, but so hideously disfigured by clotted blood, covering his face, head, shirt, in fact, all the upper portion of his body, that the strongest of spectators shuddered.  His head was against the door and resting on it.  The bed in the room was literally saturated with blood; the waistcoat, coat, and boots of the deceased were there also, as if lately taken off, and marked with blood.

   The Coroner, after consulting with the jury, determined that a post mortem examination should take place, and accordingly requested Drs. Bush and Williams, who were in attendance, to proceed with it.  During the time occupied in bringing the body down stairs, the jury left the house, but returned in a short time, when the corpse of the deceased was subjected to their examination.  They made a careful examination of the various parts, and the medical men then proceeded to wash and shave the head, when a cut on the scalp was found extending 3 ½ inches in length and about 1 ½ inch of scalp loosened, as if the blow had been struck and the instrument had glanced from the bone.  The temporal muscle was found to be divided, and the branches of the artery also,

   The jury then returned to the Turf hotel, where on assembling, the Coroner called their particular attention to the past examination of the body, and said that all evidence referring to the time of day, the lightness or darkness of the evening, should call forth their special observance; and then proceeded to elicit the evidence by calling the girl who had been in the habit of supplying milk to the family of the deceased.

   Emma Jellyman, aged 15, was sworn, and deposed as follows: I am the daughter of Enoch Jellyman, a farmer, and am living with my father.

   A juryman here proposed that Mr. Jellyman leave the room, he having been in private communication with Mr. Travers, who had been discussing with him some matters which he could not explain.

   Examination continued: I reside 100 yards from the house of the deceased.  I have been in the habit of supplying milk of an evening.  It was dark, as the moon was clouded.  I was alone. I met no one going.  On arrival, I knocked at the door.  No one was in'; but Mr. William Harley rode up top me.  I saw him distinctly.  He enquired if any one was at home.  I had knocked twice, and told him there was n o one there.  He then said, "my girl, go and put the milk on the table."  He knew what I had got.  On entering the house I saw neither fire nor candles, only wine glasses on the table.  I saw nothing particular to call attention.  The door was wide open.  As I was coming out, I heard a dispute in front of Mr. William Harley's door.  I had not seen Mr. William Harley leave.

   By a juror: Mr. W. Harley was one of the disputants.  It was quite dark.  I am sure it was Mr. W. Harley, but could not recognise the other; it was a man's voice.  Mr. Harley was on horseback.  I heard Mr. Harley say, "do you call me a damned rascal; be off my premises, I never asked you on."  I heard no reply.  I remember these words particularly, because I mostly take notice of disputes between people.  After this I was walking away, when I saw a person leave the gate resembling Mr. Ross, as he was stout.  Mr. Ross came out of the back gate, and appeared to go towards his own house.  That is all I know.

   By a juror: I saw Mr. Ross return home in a cart with two females, between four and five.

   Examination continued: He passed by our house in the direction of his own.  One lady was Mrs. Lusty, and one I do not recognise.  I did not see Mrs. and Miss Ross previously to their meeting the two ladies to receive them, but I saw them then leave their own house.  They met Mrs. Lusty and friend, and accompanied them indoors.

   By a juror: I had not seen any of Mr. Harley's family during the day.

   Examination continued: It was light when they arrived, and they returned in a quarter of an hour.  I did not see them leave Ross', but saw them pass by.

   By a juror: It was half an hour after they had left that I took the milk.  When I took the milk the house was empty.

   Examination continued: I did not see what became of Mr. Harley.  I have seen no one since leaving the house, or any sound of horses.  The man I took to be Ross left in about a minute after I heard the dispute.  He walked steadily; and Mr. Harley had nothing in his hand.  It is usual for Mrs. And Miss Ross to be out at that time of the afternoon.  Mrs. Ross is in the habit of feeding Mr. Harley's pig, and then goes into the house.  Mr. Ross is not in the habit of going.  I never saw mar/ Ross and Mr. Harley quarrel.  This morning at 10 o'clock my father came and told my mother that Mr. Ross was dead.  My father said he was murdered.  My father had not then seen the deceased, but after mentioning it went with a neighbour.  I told my father last night of the quarrel I had heard.  Mr. Harley's voice was very loud. [This witness gave her evidence very satisfactorily, without the aid of her father.]

   Ann Elizabeth Burnett: I am 11 years old, daughter of Richard Burnett.  My father is at the diggings now, but his home is at Stoke.  On being sworn: I only heard Mr. W. Harley say, "do you call me a damned rascal." I was in company with the last witness.  It was just dark.  I had been to meet Jellyman's daughter.  I heard the words in front of Mr. Harley's.  I do not know to whom he spoke.  He only said it once.  This was all I heard.  Then I saw a man come out and go to Mr. Ross'.  He left quietly from Mer. Harley's gate.  Am sure it was Mr. W. Harley's voice.  Do not know Alfred Harley.  Saw no one pass by on horse back.  Have had no questions asked me except by Mr. Fagan and Mr. Travers.  Mr. Travers asked me if I heard anything, and I told him of the quarrel.  Saw Mr. Travers talking to Mr. Jellyman.  Emma Jellyman told me this morning of Mr. Ross' death.  Have seen no one till dinner time about the premises on this day.  Did not see Mrs. or Miss Ross pass.

   Dr. Williams and Dr. Bush, now returned from the post mortem examination.

   Dr. Williams: At the request of the Coroner I made an examination of the body of Robert Ross.  There were no external marks of violence on the body.  The head was then shaved, when a sc alp wound appeared on the left side of the head, extending three and a half inches in length, in a diagonal direction, down to the bone, which was not fractured.  The upper portion of the temporal muscle was cut through, and several branches of the temporal artery cut across, from which very extensive hemorrhage had arisen.  The skull cup was then removed, and the skull itself carefully examined.  There was no fracture of the inner table.  The membranes of the brain were healthy.  The brain also was examined, and found healthy.  We then removed the cervical vertebrae, to ascertain if there was any dislocation or fracture, but found none; the parts were quite healthy, the spinal cord also.  We examined the heart, which was also healthy, and quite empty.  I have nothing more to state.

   By the Coroner: Could the deceased have laid himself in the position her was found in?  I think it possible he might have taken off his boots and coat, and might have fallen into the position he was found in.

   By a juror: He died from the effects of hemorrhage from the wound, but the wound would not have caused death if medical aid had been called in.  The wound seems to have been inflicted by a sharp wooden instrument, as iron would have broken the skull.  The wound is formed by an instrument which glanced one and a half inches from the cut, this causing the extension of the wound.

   By a juror: The blow might have been given from behind.

   Re-examined: The wood I have examined would produce such a wound.  It was a sharp rough stake.  I account for there being no blood in the hat by its being knocked off by the blow.  The hair on the stake produced resembles that on the deceased.  The stake was about three and a-half feet long.

   Dr. Bush also signed his attestation to the above.

   Mr. Job Best: I was returning from town to my residence in Stoke at about half-past 6 o'clock.  I was on horseback.  It was moonlight when I saw Mrs. Ross and her daughter standing in the road talking.  I took no more notice than that they were talking very seriously.  I did not see Mr. Harley.  I saw them opposite the Quarantine-road.  I did not speak to them.

   Mr. John Cundy: I am a carpenter residing in Stoke.  I was returning homewards about half-past 6 o'clock.  I was crossing Mr. Martin's section when I saw Mrs. Ross and her daughter about 200 yards from Mr. Ross' house.  They were walking slowly.  There was nothing peculiar about them.  I overtook them, but did not speak.  I thought they were going to meet Mr. Ross, having known them do so before. At one time I was quite close to them.  They went up Greig's Hill.  At the top they turned round, when I perceived them crying very much, so much so that I remarked it to my wife.  In a few minutes my son went out, and saw two or three horses at Mr. Ross'.  This morning, at half-past eight, while walking with Halliday, the constable, I proceeded to Mr. Ross' to fetch some tools which I had left there.  I knocked twice without an answer, when I saw Mr. Alfred Harley, who told me that Mr. Ross was dead.  Mr. A. Harley came from his own house, but was not on horseback at the time he spoke with me.  I then went into the house and found the body in the same position as the jury.  I assisted the constable in his examination.  The family was not very quarrelsome.  I never saw Harley called upon in any quarrel.  I cannot swear to the dress of the woman, but my impression is that it was black.  The constable and myself entered Mr. Harley's house by the window.  We found no blood inside, but outside, on the step of the door, and also on the window-pane.  I also saw blood on the grass, in patches.  I believe the deed was done by a poker which we found, and saw what we took to be blood and hair on it.

   Alfred Harley, on being sworn, stated: I do not reside here.  I am a son of Mr. Charles Harley.  I was not here last evening; I was here for the first time this morning, between 9 and 10, to weigh some hay.  I was alone.  I went into the house and saw the man who had come for the hay, and told him I should be back directly.  I then went to Mr. Ross' house and knocked at the door but no one answered.  I then opened the hatch and called up the stair-case, "Anyone at home?" I afterwards saw some blood on the staircase, which led me to go up, and found him lying on the floor of the bed-room with his head against the door, and a great deal of blood upon his head.  I was rather horror-struck at the scene, and thought I would feel his pulse to see if there was any life in him.  I found him quite stiff.  I then came down stairs and left the house, closing the door after me.  I went over to out own place, about 50 or 60 yards from his own house, and told Robinson, our man, to go on cutting the hay, as I wanted to go back to town directly.  I did not tell him of the death of the deceased, as I thought some authority should see him first.  I got on my pony and started off to town, ands while passing Mr. Ross' house and in Martin's section, I met Halliday and Mr. Cundy, about 20 yards from Ross'; Cundy had a plane in his hand, and Halliday a paper which appeared to be a summons.  I told both that Mr. Ross was dead.  They would not believe it.  They asked me to get off my horse and go with them.  Went upstairs with them.  We saw the body.  They recommended my going to town and telling the police, which I did.  Asked for Mr. Sharp or Mr. Fagan, but saw neither.  Told the police the circumstances.  Told my father, who was much cut up, and sent me to acquaint Mrs. And Miss Ross, who I knew were in town the night before.  They, I believe, walked up.  Saw Mrs. and Miss Ross at Batchelor's.  Could not tell them at first, but at last did.  Mrs. Ross seemed much affected at the news and fell down.  Last night heard of a noise at Ross'.  Discovered Mr. Ross before seeing the blood at my own house.  My father and mother said that my brother William had informed them that there was a row.  Saw my brother, who had returned from the farm at about 7, was with him only at tea time.  Did not hear my brother say anything, but my father said that Ross had turned his wife and daughter out.  Was not astonished at Ross' state, as my brother said he had struck him with a stick.  Mr. Ross had threatened to murder his wife and daughter, and turned them out.  After this my brother had saddled his horse and was just leaving.  He had returned for his handkerchief, &c.  On coming out again he found Ross there, who said he would murder him.  Went this morning first to our own place.  My brother told me that Mr. Ross threatened to murder him, and persisted in trying to catch him.  My brother sidled off to get out of his way, and he seemed as though waiting an opportunity.  My brother then ran to the fence and took a paling, with which he threatened to strike deceased if he persisted in trying to catch him.  He did this to intimidate; but he seemed more vicious than ever.  He came up towards him, trying to catch hold of him.  He then struck him one blow with a white pine paling on the head.  He fell, and my brother was frightened that he had hurt him; he waited to see the result for 3 or 4 minutes, during which time he was stunned.  Mr. Ross then recovered and got up, still saying the first time he could catch my brother he would murder him.  My brother got on his horse not observing any blood; as far as I am informed, Mrs. Ross had then left; he then rode down the paddock and returned, and found deceased had gone and had got all right; after the quarrel my brother saw Emma Jellyman, and told her to take the milk into the house; Ross always quarrelled after fits of drinking; he was very quarrelsome when drunk; while riding into town my brother overtook Mrs. and Miss Ross, and told them that he had hit Mr. Ross with a stick.

   William Henry Hyde: Am barman at the Turf hotel; last saw the deceased at 4 o'clock; he was driven to our door in company with two females; he had a glass of brandy; the females each had a glass of wine; he seemed very good-tempered, and was chaffing me; he remained about 5 minutes; he was about half drunk; he did not get out of the carriage; I believe the carriage returned in about half an hour.


The Inquest was resumed at the Marine Hotel, in Nelson, when the jury was assembled, and the following evidence was added to that of the former day:-

   Mrs. Ross, widow of the deceased was first called. She seemed much affected by the unfortunate cause of her appearance in the Court; at one time it was to be feared that she would have been unable to proceed with her evidence.  She then stated:-

   That Mr. Ross, herself, daughter, and Mr. George Bonnington went into the country to dinner on Sunday last; it was to Mr. Bonnington's house; Mr. Ross returned on Monday at 4 o'clock, with Mrs. Bonnington and Mrs. Lusty; the vehicle belonged to Mrs. Lusty; the two ladies stayed about half an hour; Mr. Ross was neither drunk nor sober; no one was in the house when they arrived but the family; my daughter went out to get food for the pigs at Mr. Harley's; Mr. Ross was angry with me, and I told him that I should leave him; he threatened to kick me out of the house; I told him he need not do that, as I should go without, and if I did, should not return until he behaved better; he was lying on the sofa, and was quiet for about ten minutes; told Mr. Harley that Mr. Ross was in a very excited state, and asked him what to do; he said he could not advise me, for he thought that Mr. Ross was more fit for a lunatic asylum than anywhere else; I and my daughter then left him, under the impression that we should go to town; we both went in doors, and Mr. Ross was still lying on the sofa; my daughter proposed that she should get our bonnets and shawls out of the house in the event of our being obliged to leave, having left once before with nothing to cover us; we went in doors and up-stairs, when Mr. Ross immediately followed; my daughter threw the things down the stairs; during the time Mr. R. was on the bed at the top of the stairs, where he abused and threatened to murder us; Mr. Harley's name was mixed up with it, and Mr. R. s wore that he never should be connected with out family; I replied, "what nonsense, Robert, neither I nor you can prevent it if they choose;" we tried to coax him into a good humour, and wished to take his boots off, but he would not let us; my daughter afterwards put on her bonnet and shawl, and stood upon the bottom of the stairs, thinking that I should follow; but Mr. R. put his legs across the aperture above, to prevent me; I stood a minute or two, and my daughter pulled me by the dress, to induce me to come down; I at length found an opportunity of escaping, and rushed out of the house, in company with my daughter, and across the paddock, towards the main road to Nelson; my daughter turned round and said "here is father," and she saw him go towards Mr. Harley's; I thought he went to Mr. Harley's to find us; this was about sunset.  When we got to the top of Greig's Hill, we stood still several minutes, out of breath, and listening, apprehensive that words might take place between my husband and Harley.  We heard nothing.

   Mr. Ross, when tipsy, would quarrel with any one, and when in that state had frequently used insulting language to Harley.  Whilst we stood on the hill a man and boy passed us.  We knew Harley was going to town, and in a few minutes he rode up.  When he overtook us, he jumped off his horse, and told us that Mr. Ross w anted to fight him; that he would fight, right or wrong; and that he (Harley) had struck him with a stick and knocked him down; O said "Oh, you should not have done that."  He then said that the blow had stunned him, but that he did not leave him until he had got up and gone towards his own house.  Harley then said he would go to Fagan (the chief constable) when he arrived in town, as he thought his life was in danger from Mr. Ross.  I prayed him not to do that - not to bring my husband into court.  Harley said he should tell his father of what had occurred, when he got to town; and on our way he called upon George Ross (brother of deceased), and asked him to go up to his brother, but he declined to do so.

   By a juror: The reason why I did not return when Harley informed me that he had struck my husband, was, that I was afraid, in consequence of the threatening language he had used towards Annie and myself.  I requested Harley to tell George Ross what had taken place, as he would perhaps go up.  Harley, in reply to my enquiries, said that Mr. Ross was only stunned.  It was not more than fifteen or twenty minutes from the time we left out house until Harley rode up to us on Greig's Hill.  When he proposed to tell Fagan, he said he would do so, that he might send some one up, lest anything should happen.  I believe his object in speaking to Fagan was to get Mr. Ross bound over to keep the peace.

   By another juror: I never saw Harley in a passion with Ross; they had never before quarrelled.  I did not wish Fagan to be informed of what had occurred.  I did nit feel alarmed, but thought Mr. Ross would be sure to follow us to town.  Harley wanted us to go and drink tea at his father's when we got to town, but I went to my own father's house.  I do not recollect that Harley asked me to go back after he had told me what had happened.

   By another juror: Harley afterwards came to my father's house with Mr. Powell; he asked Powell to ride up to Stoke with him, saying they would be back by 12 o'clock.  That was between 8 and 9.  They did not go, Powell having refused to accompany him.  We were all in one room.  The conversation was of a general character, and the circumstances I have stated were not otherwise particularly alluded to.  Harley never interfered between Ross and myself. Ross never quarrelled with me except when he had been drinking.  Was in the house when he returned.  Annie, who was outside, said "Father is coming."  Harley was in the house at the time.  We went out together, and he crossed over to his own gate.

   By a juror: Mr. Ross was in a good temper when he returned home on Monday, and remained so until Mrs. Bonnington and Mrs. Lusty left.  Do not know what put him out of temper.  Assisted Mrs. Bonnington to get him out of the cart; he laughed, and seemed very much pleased as he came into the house; he did not see Harley from that time until he crossed over to his house after Annie and I had left home.  Do not know why he quarrelled with Harley.  Did not hear them quarrelling as I crossed the fields.  Looked back after I had got some way across, but saw no one nor heard any sounds.  The time from our leaving the house until Harley rode up to us on the hill, could not have been more than fifteen or twenty minutes.  I should think we were about an hour and a-half in getting to town.  We did not stop at any house on the road.  On arriving in town I went to my father's house, but finding the door locked went to Mrs. Goodman about what had occurred.  No one, to my knowledge, went to my house at Stoke after we had left it.  Slept at my father's house that night.  Did not think - had no idea the blow was a serious one; Harley told me it was a little stick he had struck Ross with.  First heard of Mr. Ross' death on Tuesday morning, about ten o'clock; it was Alfred Harley who told me.

   The Coroner called the attention of the jurors to the fact that sufficient evidence had already been adduced, and proposed that to save the feelings of the daughter of the deceased, her evidence should not be adduced.  This led to some remarks from the members of the jury, who at last arranged that for the full performance of their duty it was necessary to the case.

   Annie Ross, who seemed deeply affected by the position she was placed in, deposed: I am daughter of the deceased Robert Ross; my father came home on Monday evening, from Mr. Bonnington's, at about 4 o'clock; he was brought home by Mrs. Bonnington and Mrs. Lusty; they did not remain long; I went out into the garden; they told me on my return to the house that my father had been very abusive; I went in doors with my mother, at about 5 o'clock; my father was then lying on the sofa; he subsequently went upstairs, and tried to shut down the trap door; my father tried to get hold of my mother's throat; he then struck her in the face; I then went downstairs; we then left the house; we then went across the paddock and up Greig's Hill; we heard horses' feet, and Mr. Harley joined us; I rode on Mr. Harley's horse; the saddle was a gentleman's; I then came to Nelson and slept at my grandfather's.

   Mr. William Harley was then brought in, and the Coroner explained to him that if he would give evidence it need only be a voluntary act on his part.

   Mr. Travers, as the legal adviser of Mr. W. Harley, stated that he was aware that by courtesy only was he allowed to address the jury.  His client, Mr. Harley, was at present in custody as suspected of a criminal act, and as all evidence given by him might be used against him, he (Mr. Travers) must protest against any such proceeding.

   After some discussion this course was agreed to.

   Mr. Robert Powell was then called, and stated: I am a storekeeper's clerk; on Monday evening William Harley came in front of the store I am engaged in on horseback; he stopped and spoke to me; the time was about 7 o'clock, just previous to closing the shop; he was alone; Mr. Harley said, "I have had another row with Ross," and told me that Ross had chased him round the yard, and that he had to take a stick and strike him, as his life was threatened; Ross fell in consequence of the blow, but Harley told me that Ross, after the blow, got up and walked away, and was all right; Harley then went  down the paddock, and on his return Ross was not there; Harley also told me that as there was nom knowing what Ross might do, he had better see Fagan about it, and added, "If you see Fagan you may as well tell him;" he then left me to go to his mother's to tea; as he turned his horse's head I said, "Shall I see you again;" said I should be about another hour, and Harley said "Well, we shall meet at Luck's;" at about 8 o'clock the same evening I saw him again at Mr. Luck's; he then said, "I am going to see my father, he is over at Baly's;" I accompanied him; he called his father out and spoke to him; when he left his father I asked what his father had said to him; Harley replied that he had better have nothing more to do with them, meaning the Ross family; Mr. W. Harley then said, "I think I will go down and see the Ross'; will you go?" I then agreed to, and went on Mr. Harley's request; we went to see Mr. Sharp who was not at home, but was at the Wakatu; and Mr. Harley told me that Sharp said to him, "You had better go and take a doctor up," but he replied that he did not think that it was necessary; he thought a constable had better go; he asked me at about half-past 10 to go up with him, but I refused on account of the cold; we were then at Mr. Streets', the father to Mrs. Ross; the rest of our conversation was casual; no conversation took place to induce me to think anything serious had happened; if he had I would have gone up with him; in the course of the evening Harley told me that Mrs. and Miss Ross had been to his (Harley's) house in the afternoon, and asked his advice, as Ross had threatened to murder them; Harley declined giving any advice; Harley did not describe the paling with which he had given the blow.

   By a juror: I am not aware if horses were sent up; I knew Mrs. Ross had walked down.

   Mr. John Sharp deposed: On Monday night at 9 o'clock, he was at the wakatu, when he was called out into the passage; he then saw W. Harley, who said that he wished to speak to him for a minute or two; he told me that there had been another row with Ross up the country, that they had got to high words, and that Ross having threatened him, he had taken up a white pine paling, and struck him on the head; he wanted to know what he ought to do; I asked him whether he meant with reference to the blow, or with regard to the future; am not sure what he answered, but think he said both; and I then asked him if he had hit him hard; I think he said he had knocked him down; I replied that it would not take a hard blow to knock Ross down; I asked him if he had got up again; I asked if Ross had bled much, and he replied that he did not think he did, as he had got up and walked home; I asked if he had left Mrs. Ross and Annie there, and he s aid no, that he had passed them on the road; his answer was to the effect that they were in town then; I asked if there was anyone else up there; he s aid he thought not; he then asked me what he should do; I told him that if it was my caser I should see my friends and persuade them to send a doctor up, and if they would not, to go up with him; he said he did not like to take a doctor up, as it would look so stupid to take a man up for nothing; I replied, you ought to know best, if I were you I would go and consult Mrs. Ross, and see what is best to be done, if the doctor goes up and finds nothing  wrong, there is no harm done; my impression was that there was nothing serious in it; this is all that I remember; I have heard frequently of disturbances between Ross and his family, and therefore did not take special notice.

   George Ross, brother of the deceased, carver and gilder, deposed: William Harley came to me last Monday night about 7 o'clock; he told me he had had a quarrel with my brother; I said that was not new to me, because there had been so many quarrels with the family; he told me that he had knocked my brother down with a stick; he did not state the kind of stick; I asked if my brother had got up or not; he said that he had got up, and in answer to me he said that he did not think he was injured; I asked if I should go up and see him; he said no, as he was all right, had got up and went into his house,. And added, do you think I would come away unless I saw him all right and safe in his own house; I took no notice, as I thought it might be family stuff, and I did not like, as brother, to interfere.

   By the Coroner: A fortnight ago there was a austral between Mr. Ross' daughter and Mr. W. Harley; I also asked Mr. Harley, if my brother was drunk, and he replied that he was drunk enough to be quarrelsome.

   Thomas Askew sworn: I received information yesterday morning of Mr. Ross' death; then proceeded to his house; on arrival, in company with others, we made an examination, and discovered the deceased person as seen by the jury; we particularly noticed the blood on the sofa, bed, steps, &c., and went from his house to Wm. Harley's; Mr. Akersten, one of my companions, saw a piece of wood, and said, this is the stick that has done the mischief; Mr. Akersten then picked up a short piece of wood of nearly a foot in length; there was no mark of blood, but it appeared fresh broken and stained with grain; we searched for an hour for the piece from which it had been broken; we afterwards made another search; while searching by a fence near the pigstye, I found a piece of wood corresponding in fracture with the other; the larger piece of wood was about 40 paces from the place where the blow appears to have been struck; there was human hair attached to this stake; the paling was about 4 feet long before it was broken, and from 2 ½ to 3 inches in breadth; the thickness was more than an inch; it was made of Totara.

   By a juror: The paling must have been placed where we found it, and was 30 feet from where it appeared to have been taken.

   Chief Constable Fagan was then called in, who stated that the paling, etc., was under the charge of the police.

   The Coroner then being about to sum up, requested all strangers, including the reporters, to withdraw.

   After summing up the jury retired, and after five hours consideration, returned the following verdict - "We find that the deceased, Robert Ross, died from hemorrhage, caused by a scalp wound inflicted by William Harley with a piece of wood, and we believe without deadly intent."



INQUEST. - On Wednesday last an inquest was held at the British Hotel, in Queen-street, on the body of William Greenwood, seaman, who died suddenly on the previous evening at the above hotel.  The jury, on the evidence of Mr. Curtis, surgeon, who made a post mortem examination, found a verdict of death by the visitation of God, from disease of the lungs and stomach, brought on or aggravated by intemperate habits.



The Robert Ross inquest.


COLONIST, 27 July 1858

OCCURRENCE AT STOKE. - Several rumours have since the inquest been flying about the town, and by nearly all of them it is stated that the police and nurses discovered, on arranging the body for its interment, several marks which would lead to the supposition that a severe struggle must have taken place.  For their own satisfaction, the police authorities called upon Messrs. Bush and Williams, the medical gentlemen who conducted the post mortem at the time of the inquest, to make a further examination of the body, and our reporter was allowed to accompany them to the house where the body now is.  ... The necessary preparations were then made, and the body carefully examined, when some marks were discovered, but not at all of the serious nature that had been suspected. It would be premature in us to give any information which might publish evidence which may have to be produced; but as far as lies in our power we can give a contradiction to the rumors which have connected Mr. Ross' death with anything more than the one blow which was at first set down as the cause of it. ...



INQUEST AT PARNELL. - An inquest was held before Dr. Philson, Coroner, on the 27th instant, at the Windsor Castle, Parnell, on view of the body of William Bradley, aged 16 months, who was killed on the previous evening, opposite to his father's house at Parnell, in consequence of being run over by Mr. Lundon's bakers cart.  It appeared on evidence that the cart was not driven at an unusual rate, and no blame being attributable to the driver, the jury returned a verdict of accidental death against the cart and horse.


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 31 July 1858


INQUEST. - On Wednesday, an inquest was held at the Waghorn hotel, before T. Hitchings, Esq., coroner, and a jury, touching the death of the infant son of Mr. J. Sim, which had been found dead in bed on the same morning.  The verdict returned was "accidental death."


 OTAGO WITNESS, 7 August 1858


On Monday, the 2nd instant, an inquest was held at the Hospital by Dr. Hulme, Coroner, on the body of James Booker, who died while on his way from Waitaki to Dunedin.  Deceased, a mason by trade, came from Nelson with help about 18 months ago, and has been employed on Mr. Borton's station at Waitaki for nearly 11 months.  On Tuesday the 27th ult., the deceased, in company with Mr. Marshall, started from Waitaki for Dunedin, with the intention of proceeding by the first opportunity to Nelson, where he had some relatives. The following is the evidence given before the Coroner and Jury:-

   Robert Marshall being sworn, stated that he was working with deceased at Borton's station.  We started from Mr. Borton's for Dunedin on Tuesday the 27th ult.  Deceased did not appear to be ill.  We arrived at Filleul's and stayed there all night, and set out next morning and reached Hastie's accommodation house, and there remained all night.  From Hastie's we proceeded to Kennard's and had dinner.  From Kennard's we came to within two miles of Cherry Farm, and stayed there all night in a house with two men who were sawing for Mr. Jones.  In the morning we set out for Dunedin, and about 3 miles this side of the Clump of Trees, deceased turned badly.  He complained of a weakness in his legs, but we still proceeded slowly till we came to the place where he was found, on the range between Flagstaff and the Snowy Mountains, when he said he could go no further, and did not think he would be able to reach the Halfway Bush that night.  Mr. Mudie (who was travelling with us) and I took him to one side near a heap of stones, and remained with him till he died, which was in about two hours after.  Deceased was very thinly clad.  We travelled on that day (Friday, 30th ult.) about 28 miles; it was very cold and wet all day.  During the time I was working with deceased, he used to complain frequently of his head. I did not think he was a strong man, and he used to say so himself.  On Tuesday we travelled 20 miles, on Wednesday 30, on Thursday, 30, and on Friday about 28.  We had only one good night's rest on the way.  There was no shelter at the heap of stones; it was very dark, and we had no fire all night.  Deceased wished Mr. Mudie, as he had a pocket book, to take charge of his money, amounting to L. 60 7s. 6d. He did so, and asked him what was to be done with it, but could get no answer, as deceased became insensible.

   Christopher Mudie, of Waitaki, stated that he joined Mr. Marshall and the deceased about 6 miles this side of Marawenua on Tuesday the 27th ult., and kept company with them all the way.  His other evidence was similar to Marshall's.

   The Jury, after consideration, gave the following verdict: - "That James Booker's death was occasioned by over-fatigue, scarcity of provisions, and clothing, and by exposure to the inclement weather."


COLONIST, 13 August 1858



The native case [Watene] was opened, by his HONOR remarking upon the finding of the Coroner's jury.

   Mr. TRAVERS relied in the cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses as to a temporary aberration of mind.

   The JUDGE would, if Mr. Travers did not object, empannel a jury to ascertain the state of the prisoner's mind now, and at the time of the alleged murder.  But Mr. TRAVERS thought that such proceeding would more prejudice than benefit his client.

   The indictment was then read to the prisoner in the native language.

   The JUDGE said that he had now had three cases on which Coroner's juries had sent up verdicts which were perfectly unintelligible, and very embarrassing to the Court; and Mr. TRAVERS commented on the loose way in which such verdicts were generally given.

   Not guilty.


... But we do think that the Grand Jury should not have included our Nelson police in the same heavy accusation, and they have done so, with special remarks upon their conduct in the unfortunate occurrence at Stoke.  Had they taken more pains to examine the matter, they would not have committed this error.  A distinct charge of carelessness was made upon one official which is, we think, sufficiently disproved in a letter published in the Nelson Examiner of last Wednesday.  That in the case of Ross there has been carelessness, we agree with them; but not by the officer they charge it on.

   A great crime has been committed amongst us; the soul which once animated that senseless corpse which was found in Ross' house has been sent to its last and most dreadful account.  He who sent it, thus unprepared on its great journey, is yet amongst us.  The blood is yet hardly dried which calls for vengeance on the hand which shed it; and it has been our part to assure ourselves that justice has been done.  In a matter so solemn all minor considerations should be abandoned, and mercy for the living might be - we might day, must be - injustice to the dead.  It was of old a proverb received amongst all that de mortuis nil nisi bonum, and yet both the accuser and defender have striven with each other to take up the evil they could find attached to that man's character.

   Continues with long and detailed analysis of the trial evidence.


AN Inquest was held on Wednesday last at the above Institution, Waimea-road, by the Coroner, J. F. Wilson, Esq., on the body of Jane Gardener, who had died there.

   After the usual preliminaries the following evidence was elicited:-

   William Dellow, sworn, stated - I am the son of John Dellow.  Am 11 years of age.  My father is a boatman, and resides on the Haven-road.  Was going to milk Mr. Scott's cow about a quarter past seven in the morning.  It is now about a month ago.  Saw Mrs. Gardener run out of the house all on fire.  The fire was blazing up all around her, and some Maories came up, and a man named Turner ran and got a blanket.  He then rolled it round her, and put it put; he also cut off her clothes.  I then went away.

   William Turner was next called, and stated that he was a ship's carpenter, and was on the beach about a month ago; this was in the morning.  He heard some one call out fire.  He looked out of doors and saw some smoke near the house of the deceased.  Ran towards it, and when he arrived he saw three or four men with Mrs. Gardener.  They were amongst the flax.  Also saw some clothes in flames which were lying on the ground.  Mrs. Gardener was standing and had a blanket around her.  She was then crying.  He assisted to take her into the house, and found only a child there.  The fire in the house was very small.  He had then gone for a doctor and had also seen her son.

   George Crossman, sworn - Am hospital attendant.  Received Mrs. Gardener on the 30th July into the hospital.  She was laboring under a severe burn from the shoulder to the buttock, and also on the right breast.  Was informed that the accident had happened on the Friday before.  She gave me no information how the burn had occurred.  The wounds were dressed twice a day, and every nourishment was provided her.  She had wine, \sago, arrowroot, fowls, &c., and in fact every attention that was necessary.

   The CORONER then called the attention of the jury to the evidence, and left it in their hands to deliberate upon their verdict, when, after a little consultation, they gave the following, viz. that "Jane Gardener died from injuries from accidental burning."


Re the comments of the Grand Jury concerning the Robert Ross inquest; signed by jurors locally resident.




INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Tuesday last, (and by adjournment on Wednesday at 10 and 11 o'clock) at the Harbour View Hotel, Wakefield-street, on the body of Elizabeth Lundon, aged 10 months, who died some-what suddenly on the 27th ultimo.  It having been rumoured that the child came to her death by unfair means, an order was given for the disinterring of the body, and a rigorous investigation instituted, by taking depositions, dissection, and chemical analysis.  Nothing was elicited calculated to criminate the mother or friends of the child, and the rumour above mentioned appeared to be unfounded.  A verdict of "Natural death" was unanimously returned.


 LYTTELTON TIMES, 25 August 1858



On Saturday last, an inquest was held at the police Court, before W. Donald, Esq., Coroner, on the body of Sarah Jane Allwright, who had died suddenly at her father's house on the previous night.

   After the usual preliminaries of swearing in the jury and viewing the body, the witnesses were called.

   Elizabeth Allwright deposed as follows: - The deceased was my sister; and was about 19 years of age.  I saw her last alive when getting into bed last night, about a quarter past nine o'clock.  I went up stairs and she followed me directly.  We slept on the same floor but in different beds.  A young brother and two sisters slept with her.  We had no conversation after going up stairs, - nothing particular.  She only said she would take up the carpet off the front room on the following day.  I went to bed and fell asleep, but was shortly waked by my cousin, who said Sarah was groaning.  I came to the door and asked her what was the matter?  She said she had a cramp in the leg.  I asked if I would call mother? She said, 'No.' She said something was the matter.  I then got up and lighted the candle, having matches in the room.  I went up to her and found her lips black, - she was dead.  It was only five minutes after my cousin waked me when I found my sister dead.  We were together before, in the same room, during the evening.  She sat at the window and talked nothing particularly beyond the affairs of the house.  I did not know whether or not she was pregnant; but my mother told me the day before that my father had suspected so.  I never heard her say that she would destroy herself if she got into trouble, or any words to that effect.  She was subject to the cramp, and used to complain of her legs.

   Sarah Ritchie - The deceased was my niece.  Saw her yesterday evening about a quarter past nine, putting away clean clothes in the top-drawer.  She told me she was coming down to see me this evening; and seemed in her usual spirits.  She never said anything to me that might lead me to suppose that she had gone astray.  Her health was always excellent.  After I had gone home William Allwright came for me, and when I went up she was dead.  I saw nothing suspicious about the house in the shape of an empty glass or otherwise.

   Henry Allwright, the father of the deceased, who was naturally so overcome with emotion that he could hardly give evidence, deposed as follows:- I know the phial produced; it contains strychnine, and has been in my house for three or four years; and was procured originally for destroying rats.  I never saw it since then until last night.  After being a short time in bed my nephew, who lives with me, called me, saying, "tell Nancy to ask what is the matter with Sarah."  My wife, who was laid up with a scalded foot, said, "tell Nancy to ask what is the matter, and come and tell me."  In two or three minutes Nancy came down and said Sarah was dead.  It struck me in a moment, and I asked my wife at once, "Is that strychnine in the house?" She said, "God knows, where do you keep it?"  I got up and opened the drawer where it used to be, but could not find it.  My wife then managed with difficulty to get up, and found it where it had always been.  After examining the phial she said she did not think it had been touched.  It seemed perfectly as usual.  The mark on the cork (a mark as if it had been drawn by some sharp instrument inserted at one side) is one that my wife made a long time ago.  I sent my nephew for Dr. Donald at the moment of hearing the first alarm; and he arrived about fifteen minutes afterwards. [In answer to the Coroner.] I mean the first witness, Elizabeth, by "Nancy;" it is the familiar family name.

   Thomas Sutton: - The deceased is my cousin.  I sleep in a room on the same floor.  I went to bed last night about a quarter past ten, about an hour after the rest.  I had not been in bed over a few minutes, and had not fallen asleep, when I heard Sarah moaning as if in great pain.  I heard the other sister ask if she would call her mother, and the deceased answered "No."  Heard the sister call again, but deceased did not answer.  I went and called the father and mother, and heard them directing Nancy to and see what was the matter.  The latter came down immediately crying "Sarah is dead." The last time previously I saw deceased was about half-past seven.  She seemed fully as cheerful as usual, - lively and joking.  The moaning was like that of a person in extreme agony; and lasted about eight or ten minutes.

   The Coroner here directed the attention of the witness to the discrepancy between his statement and that of Elizabeth Allwright, who deposed that she was first wakened by him; whereas he asserted that he first heard the moaning and then the sister calling out, without his having endeavoured to wake her or interfering in any manner.

   The witness, however, persisted in his statement, and denied having called out to Elizabeth.

   At this stage of the proceedings the inquisition was adjourned until Monday at 10 o'clock, to allow full time for a post mortem examination.


   J. S. Gundry - I am a medical practitioner now residing in Lyttelton.  By direction of the Coroner Dr. M'Cheane and myself made a post mortem examination of the body of Sarah Jane Allwright.  I made notes of the appearances at the time.  The copy produced is an exact transcription of those notes.  It runs as follows:-

"The body was lying upon the back in a perfectly natural position, as that of as person in a tranquil sleep.  The left hand was laid over the stomach, the right arm lying over the edge of the bedstead.  Face turned slightly towards the left shoulder and depressed.  Lower extremities straight.  The fingers of the right hand were bent towards the palm, and the arch of the right foot in creased, the great toe of the same foot much inclined towards the sole.  Rigidity pervaded all the joints, the elbow particularly.

   Dark purple spots were plentifully distributed over the face, neck, thorax, and upper extremities.  The same hue pervaded the left groin.  The finger nails and lips were also of a dull purple hue.  The dependant parts of the body presented an uniform appearance of the same character.

   The abdomen was very hard and prominent, and the umbilicus protruding.

   The body generally was fat, and the breasts well developed.

   Opening the cavity of the chest, the organs presented a very congested appearance, and a large quantity of dark fluid blood escaped on severing the large vessels leading from the heart.  Viscera thrust upwards.

   The heart itself, with the valves, were healthy, although the substance of the organ presented a dark and congested appearance.

   The lungs were both highly congested; the left lung was gorged with blood; in the right lung was a good deal of bloody frothy mucus.  The same kind of mucus (bloody and frothy) extended over the inner surface of the trachea.

   The large vessels leading from the heart were healthy; as was also the lining membrane of the oesophagus.  The oesophagus contained a small piece of potatoe in the lower portion.

   The intestines and liver were healthy.

   The uterus was greatly distended, and congested in patches.  On cutting into this cavity, a healthy foetus was found, in the eighth month of utero-gestation.

   The membranes of the brain were much congested, but otherwise healthy.  The substance of the brain was also healthy, but was pervaded throughout with numerous bloody points. The membranes of the right lobe were more congested than those of the left.

   The stomach was ligatured at both orifices and removed, sealed up in a jar, and entrusted to Sergeant Seager's custody.

   On examination thirty-six hours after death, the external surface presented an uniform congested appearance, gradually changing from a bright livid red at the pyloric extremity, to a dull brown at the oesophagheal.

   On cutting open the organ, about a ¼ of a pint of thick grumous substance was obtained mixed with several small undigested pieces of potatoe.

   The lining membrane was healthy in appearance, excepting at the oesophageal end, where it partook of the same color (a dull brown,) and corresponding with the external surface.  The lining membrane was here easily removed, by scraping, from the true coat of the stomach, which presented numerous bloody points to view.

   Quite at the lower end of the oesophagus was found a small hard substance imbedded partially in food, which answered to the test of nitric acid in precisely the same manner as a crystal of strychnine.  A drop of nitric acid was also placed in the centre of a small quantity of the contents of the stomach, which immediately turned it of an orange red color.

   A cloudiness was also observed on adding a solution of bi-chloride or mercury to a filtered solution of the contents of the stomach in equal parts of distilled water, and hydrochloric acid.

   A portion of the contents of the stomach was then given to a small dog, but without apparent effect for five minutes.  On repeating with an additional and much larger quantity, the usual symptoms of rigidity and convulsions came on immediately, and in the course of three or four minutes the dog was quite dead - the limbs quite flexible.

   A small portion was then administered to a rabbit.  For ten or twelve minutes no effect was produced.  Convulsions then came on, with rigidity, and the animal died in about five minutes, the rigidity of the limbs remaining.

   As much of the contents of the stomach as would lie upon the point of a case knife was then given to a second small dog.  Convulsions came on in seven and a half minutes (or 21 minutes from the administration) the dog was quite dead, the rigidity of the limbs remaining.

   On repeating the test with bi-chloride of mercy added to a solution of the contents of the stomach in hydrochloric acid and water, a decided flocculent precipitate was thrown down.

(Signed)  John Seager Gundry.  Thos. McCheane.

   Sergeant Seager proved having taken possession of the stomach sealed up on a jar, delivering it on the previous day to Dr. Gundry, and his presence during the analysis of its contents.

(Dr. Gundry's evidence continued.)

By the Jury - I never knew strychnine to be used to cause abortion.  I can say positively that death in this case was caused by strychnine.  I believe between one and two grains is sufficient generally to cause death in persons of the age of deceased.  There must have been considerably more than that quantity in the stomach.  Presuming that potatoes was the vehicle by which the poison was conveyed to the stomach, I am not in a position to say at what time after being taken it would cause death.  Considering the fullness and contents of the stomach I think three grains must have been taken.

   The Coroner here quoted medical authorities who had affirmed that half a grain would cause the extinction of life.

   Dr. McCheane, who conjointly with Dr. Gundry had made the post mortem examination, confirmed the correctness of the transcription of notes produced; and added in answer to questions - I have no hesitation in saying that death was caused by strychnine.  The quantity taken by deceased must have been large, and taken in solids.  I cannot say how much was taken.

   The Coroner here read from the report of Palmer's trial, the external appearances of the body of Cooke, which corresponded exactly with those of deceased.

   Elizabeth Allwright recalled - I cannot say if my sister took supper or not on the evening of her death.  I think she followed me up stairs to bed in three minutes.  Some cold potatoes were in the cupboard in the kitchen.  That was the room on which she was when I left her down stairs.  She was standing by the cupboard.  No one else was in the kitchen.

   By the Coroner - I am quite sure it was my cousin who waked me first, and not my sister's groaning.  I did not hear her groan.  My sister was not away from the house that evening to my knowledge.  She was a few minutes out at the back door, but did not go beyond the garden.  She did not appear excited when she came in.  We had tea at 5, and she took some bread and cheese.

   Henry Allwright recalled - I saw the deceased standing at the table in the kitchen as I passed through it, after her sister had gone to bed.  When I returned back she was gone.  I have no idea how full the phial produced used to be.  It was never seen by any one in the house since 1855, on the day the Governor came to the settlement.  It was placed in a little box in the drawer.  Nobody knew how full it was.  Heard of the deceased being in the family way on last Wednesday.  Had never a word with my daughter on the subject.  I told my wife to speak to her very mildly.  She did so, and the deceased immediately acknowledged her pregnancy.  I never knew my daughter to go to the drawer where the poison was.  It was not locked on this occasion.  I had the bottle of strychnine from a young man named Bonner.  I believe he brought it.

   George Bonner - I know the bottle produced. It contains strychnine.  The writing on the label is mine.  I gave it to Mrs. Allwright when I came down the country, some 2 or 3 years ago.  It then contained about half as much again as it now contains.  I merely gave it to her as I stopped there, and it was in my pocket.  I see the bottle has been opened since I had it.  It was then securely sealed.  Saw the deceased on Wednesday evening, coming from the Mitre with a bundle of washing-clothes.  Did not see her again\ till I saw her dead on Saturday night.

   The Coroner and Jury then went to Allwright's house to obtain the evidence of his wife, who was confined to bed by a scalded foot.

   Ann Allwright said - I am the mother of the deceased.  The strychnia was in my drawer.  I don't think deceased knew it was there.  I never used it but once.  I put a small quantity, I don't remember how much, on some meat to poison rats.  Deceased was only in the room where the poison was in my presence, and while she fetched the child's bed gown; that was in the dark.  She only came to the door then, and took it out of the chair that was standing by the door.  On Thursday last I spoke to her about her condition.  She said she was in the family-way.  I asked her by whom.  Shew said by McPherson.  I asked her how far she was gone.  She said she believed about 6 months.  I told her to go in the evening to tell him what state she was in, and ask him what he meant to do.  She went out soon after 6.  She came back between 8 and 9.  She said she had been talking to Mrs. Roberts, but had not seen Mr. McPherson.  She said she would see him the next night.  She looked very melancholy that night.  On the Friday she was in wonderful spirits, laughed and joked.  I did not see her for some time before bed time.  I heard her in the kitchen and spoke to her.  She was not outside the gate that day at all.  I remember hearing her say, speaking of Elizabeth, that if ever she was in such a condition, she would jump off the jetty.  She was of wonderful light spirits generally.  She told me she had not seen Mr. McPherson for 3 weeks.  I did not mention Mr. McPherson to her.  She gave his name herself.  She was not in the room that day long enough to have got at the strychnia bottle.  She was only out of the house to go to the back place.  She and Elizabeth went out together.

   Esther Morris sworn - I remember deceased on the occasion of Elizabeth being taken ill.  She said if I was in this state, I wonder what father would say.  He would throw me out of doors, but I would jump off the jetty first.

   Charles W. Turner - I know Mr. McPherson.  I made arrangement with him of Thursday afternoon to meet me at my own house at seven o'clock.  He came a few minutes after seven.  He remained with me till fully half-past nine.  He then proposed to me to go for a little walk with him, but I could not go out.  On Friday evening Mr. McPherson attended a sub-committee at the Library.  He was in and out.  On Thursday I am positive he was at my house from five minutes past seven to half-past nine.

   John Roberts - I saw deceased last on Thursday night at our house.  She knocked at the door and asked if Mr. McPherson was in.  I told her he was not.  She asked me to tell him when he came in to step up to their house the next evening.  It was between seven and eight o'clock.  I told Mr. McPherson next morning.  He appeared quite surprised, and seemed to suppose that I was joking with him.  he said, What in the world can she want of me?"  He asked me again at dinner time if I was really joking.  I never saw the deceased at our house before.

   Elizabeth Allwright, recalled - I did not go out with my sister when she went out on Friday evening.  I did not hear her converse with any one outside.  She was out about twenty minutes.  It was about two hours before we went to bed.  My sister went generally first to bed.

   James McPherson - I knew the deceased.  I last saw her to speak to about Christmas.  I am not positive to the day, but I can swear I have not spoken to her since within a week either before or after Christmas.

   The Coroner here intimated to the witness that he might make any remark he pleased in reference to the manner in which his name was connected with the deceased, although such was not required in evidence, and if he did so it would be altogether voluntary.

   Mr. McPherson replied - I have heard but little of this affair, but understanding that my name has been strangely mixed up with these proceedings, and rumours afloat, I am most anxious that the whole case should be thoroughly investigated; and I am ready to answer openly, clearly, and freely to any question that may occur to those concerned in this investigation.  I most solemnly and distinctly state upon oath that I am not the father of the child of which the deceased is said to have been pregnant.

   In answer to the Coroner - On Friday evening I went to Berry's; from there to the library; thence to Mr. Maud's, and from there again to the library.  I received a message from the deceased, but I treated it as a mere joke.  I cannot account for the message unless by my having advertised for a house-keeper, and perhaps the deceased wished to apply for the situation.

   The Coroner then briefly summed up the evidence, and the jury retired.  After an absence of three quarters of an hour they returned into Court and delivered a verdict of felo de se.

   From the intense sensation created by the lamentable circumstance fully stated above, the clamorous demand of the public for full details of the inquest, has induced us to give a report in extenso. [Funeral and burial: grave too small for the coffin.]


COLONIST, 27 August 1858

Letter to the Editor: mentions the Harley case.



A FATAL ACCIDENT occurred on Wednesday, the 21st July, at the Awanui, whereby two nephews of the Rev. Joseph Matthews, of Kaitara, were drowned.  They had been out in company with their father in a canoe for firewood, and unfortunately filled the canoe too full.  On nearing the shore, they found that the canoe was sinking, and endeavoured to run it on shore, when it struck against a tree and capsized.  The father (Mr. W. Matthews) called out to his sons to hold on by the canoe, but the stream, which was much swollen from the late heavy rains, immediately swept them away, and they were seen no more alive.  The accident happened near to their own house, and the cries for help of Mr. Matthews attracted to the spot a number of natives, who with great exertions saved Mr. Matthews.  The bodies of the boys were recovered on Friday, the 23rd.  Mr. Matthews and his family have only been in the colony a few months, and the two youths who were drowned were his only sons, aged respectively, about 12 and 14 years. - NEW ZEALANDER, Aug. 14.


 HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 11 September 1858


INQUEST AT WAIPUKURAI. - On the 21st July last, at Waipukurau, an inquest was held before George Worgan, Esq., coroner for that district, and a jury, upon the body of Maria, wife of Hori Nia Nia.  The deceased, it appeared in evidence, had been riding in company with her husband and others, when she was thrown violently from her horse and dragged by the stirrup iron about 100 yards.  Injuries resulted, the deceased having been in an advanced state of pregnancy, which caused her death in an hour afterwards.  The party had obtained some liquor at Waipawa, from a shepherd who brought 2 gallons at the store there, but the evidence failed to connect this with the unfortunate accident that followed.  The jury returned a verdict of "accidental death."

INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Wednesday last, at the Settler's Hotel, before T. Hitchings Esq., coroner, & a jury, upon the body of Stephen Sheldon, then and there lying dead.  The deceased, who was well known throughout the district, and who was latterly shepherding for G. Imrie Esq., had been for some days at the Port, drinking hard.  Delirium tremens ensued and the deceased, when in this state, is supposed to have drowned himself in the surf - his body having been found on the beach in a state of nudity.  The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the circumstances.





An accident resulting in the loss of three lives has taken place in the Wairau.  A brewery has just been erected near the Beaver, and the proprietor, Mr. Dodson, sent one of his men, named Robert [T.]  Low, to Waitohi, to fetch some yeast which had been left by the Tasmanian Maid.  He was returning with the yeast on the evening of Thursday, September 2nd, in company with a man, a stranger, when in attempting to cross the Wairau River, at the back of the Big Bush, and opposite O'Brien's house, in a Maori canoe, the canoe upset, and the two men, together with a Maori boy who was paddling it, were drowned. Search was made for the bodies, and on Saturday the body of Low was found, lying in about twelve feet of water.  On Sunday a grapnel was procured, and on dragging the river, the body of the other man was found.  The body of the maori boy could not be found.

   An in quest was held on Monday, when it appeared from the evidence of a witness who was working near the river, that on Thursday afternoon, about five o'clock, Low, accompanied by a man, a stranger to witness, came to him; Low  said "we have got back;" he had a can of yeast with him.  They both proceeded towards the river, a distance of about 200 yards, the witness thinking they would hail O'Brien's boat, which was on the opposite side.  I a few minutes he heard some Maori children call out, and running to the river he saw a man and Maori boy struggling in the water, near the other side.  He called out to the other side of the river for assistance, there being no boat on his side.  O'Brien soon came, but before he arrived the bodies had disappeared.  A cap and a bundle belonging to the stranger, was picked up.  The bundle contained clothes, and in one of the pockets was found part of a ticket of admission into the immigration depot at Wellington, for a passenger by the Olive Lang of the name of Brown. 

   With regard to the accident, it appears that instead of hailing O'Brien's boat, which is perfectly safe, a Maori boy offered to put them across in a canoe.  This canoe is merely a log of wood, slightly hollowed, and without sides, and with no one in it, only two inches above the water.  When the three were in it it would be level with the water.  On nearing the other side of the river they were exposed to the wind, which caused a ripple, and the water flowing over the sides, the canoe filled and went down stem first, shooting them all off.  One of them never rose again, the others, as previously stated, struggled a short time.

   Fortunately, a man working at the Beaver was able to identify the body of the stranger; he said his name was Brown, and that he was a fellow passenger with him in the Olive Lang; he had also seen him at the Nelson diggings.  He did not know what part he came from, but thought from London.  He believed he had no friends or relations in this colony.  On his body was discovered L. 11 2s. 0d., a ring such as is usually worn by gold-diggers, made of the native gold, and a ticket to Wairau by the Tasmanian Maid.  The jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally drowned."  Low had not been long in the Wairau, but was much respected by all who knew him.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 17 September 1858

SUDDEN DEATH AND CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held at the Royal Hotel, Official Bay, on Tuesday last, before Dr. Philson, Coroner, on view of the body of Matthew Ruxton, sawyer, aged fifty-one years, who died suddenly on the previous day, while engaged in his work at Henderson's Mill.  An aneurism of the aorta was discovered by Mr. Matthews, Surgeon, the sudden bursting of which near the heart must have caused almost instant death.  The verdict was, death by the visitation of God.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 21 September 1858

INQUEST. - An inquest was held, yesterday, at the Provincial Hospital, before Dr. Philson, Coroner, on the body of W\m. Manery, late of Papakura, who died suddenly.  The inquest was adjourned until Thursday, to enable some witnesses from Papakura to attend.



INQUESTS. - On Friday evening an inquest was held before G. D. Monteith, Esq., Coroner, and a highly respectable jury, at the Victoria Hotel, on view of the body of an Aboriginal Native, named Peneha, who had suddenly expired the previous day, while in the act of smoking his pipe.  The fact was fully borne out in evidence, and the Jury returned a verdict of "Died by the visitation of God."

   On the following evening another inquest was held at the Nag's Head, Cubit-street, on view of the body of John Lary, an infant; it seemed from the evidence that the mother had been ill-used by her husband, which ill-usage had to a certain extent stupified her, and that on getting to bed she had slept sounder than usually, ands had accidentally, in the night, overlain on the child and suffocated it.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Died from the effects of accidental suffocation."


Adam C. McDonald, Manager of Union Bank, post mortem but no inquest.  Ruptured diaphragm.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 24 September 1858

The inquest on the body of William Manery was resumed yesterday at the Exchange hotel, when several witnesses from Papakura were examined to give evidence respecting the injuries inflicted on the deceased by John Croghan on the 12th of April last at Papakura.  For that savage assault it will be remembered that Croghan was tried and sentenced to penal servitude for six years.  From the evidence taken yesterday it appeared that Mr. Manery was found lying insensible in a field near Panmure on the morning of Tuesday the 14th instant.  He had called at Brady's the evening before, on the way from Otahuhu to Mr. Knox's.  He was taken to a house at Panmure, and from there conveyed to the Provincial Hospital, where he died.  A post mortem examination made by Dr. McGauran showed that the skull had been fractured, and an artery injured, which subsequently bursting caused death.  After hearing the evidence, which, respecting the assault, was similar to that taken on Croghan's trial, the Jury retired, and after an absence of about an hour returned a verdict of murder against John Croghan, - ten of the jury being for the verdict of murder, and three for one of manslaughter.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 28 September 1858

[See editorial comment immediately above.]

FATAL ACCIDENT. - A child of the name of Norman Mackenzie was killed on Sunday evening last by a horse, running at large on one of the allotments in Victoria Quadrant, at the upper end of High Street.  An inquest was held yesterday, at the Greyhound Inn, on the body, from which it appears that the child must have been playing about near the horse, come too close to him, and been killed by one kick; but although one witness saw the horse in the act of kicking, he had not noticed the child previously, and was therefore unable to say whether it had been teazing the horse or not.   The horse was described by other witnesses as perfectly quiet and free from vice.  A verdict of "accidental death" wad returned by the jury, accompanied by a rider to the effect, that the accident under consideration pointed to the necessity of preventing cattle and horses running at large in the immediate vicinity of the town of Auckland.

   One of the jury entered his protest against the verdict, being unable to see how an intentional act on a horse's part could be called an accidental occurrence.  We hope that this accident, and the recommendation of the jury, may induce our authorities to take measures which will prevent our streets being made a promenade every night in the week, and on Sundays in particular, for any animal which people may choose to turn out of their stables.



SHOCKING ACCIDENT. - An inquest was held, on the 21st instant, at the Parapara, before H. G. GOULAND, Esq., coroner, to inquire into the cause of a fire, through which a large ware was burnt and two lives were lost, those of an old blind man and a female child, both natives.  On the jury visiting the scene of the disaster, there appeared a circle of tinder or ashes, which was the remains of two blankets burnt off the poor old man, whose remains were found where he was last seen alive, with the flamers raging over him.  The bodies presented a frightful spectacle, being almost burnt to a cinder.  After a careful inquiry, the jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.


COLONIST, 1 October 1858



Collingwood, 24th Sept., 1885.

An Inquest was held at the Court House on the body of a digger named Alston.  The deceased, whilst in a state of intoxication, fell off a rock, and was drowned in the Slate River, near the Devil's Hill.  I was informed that the diggers had to swim the body down the river in a coffin until they reached a spot they could ascend with it from the bed of the river.





Crogan, against whom a verdict of Wilful Murder was brought in by the Coroner's inquest, on account of the death of Manery, whom he was convicted at the last Session of the Supreme Court of having grievously assaulted, was committed to take his trial for the capital offence.



THE HUTT. - ... An inquest has been held on the body of Mrs. Burcham, who was drowned in the Hutt river some time ago, but whose body could not be found until thrown up b y the recent flood.  The jury returned a verdict of "found drowned."


COLONIST, 5 October 1858.


... The body of Mrs. Burcham has been washed up by the flood; it was found not very far from her former residence.  It will be remembered that about three months ago Mrs. Burcham set out from Mr. Corbett's on a dark night to return to her own house, and was never afterwards heard of.  It was generally believed at the time that she had approached too near the river's bank, and had unfortunately fallen in.  The features are very slightly altered; we understand a coroner's inquest will be held on the body this morning, and that the funeral will take place this afternoon. - New Zealand Spectator, Sept. 29.



ADJOURNED INQUEST. - The adjourned inquest on the body of Michael Derring, a discharged soldier of the 58th Regt., who was drowned on Sunday Evening last, off the Queen Street Wharf, was held on Tuesday morning last.  Dr. Earle was examined as to the state of the body, when he was called in, and it appears that at that time no chance of resuscitation remained.  The jury returned a verdict of "accidental death," but expressed their opinion that the treatment of the deceased, after he was taken from the water, and before medical assistance arrived, was highly injudicious.




THE LATE DR. REES. - In our last week's obituary we (Wanganui Chronicle) recorded the death of G. Rees, Esq., M.D., Colonial Surgeon and Coroner for this District...


LYTTELTON TIMES, 13 October 1858


FATAL ACCIDENT. - On Thursday morning the 17th inst., a fine little boy, aged eight years, son of Mr. Breitmeyer, of German Bay, was sent to lead home a mare which had strayed away. The boy, having caught the mare, thought if he fastened one end of the rope round himself - the other end being attached to the mare's neck - he should be sure of preventing the mare from running away.  He unfortunately did so.  The mare went quietly along till within sight of Mr. Bretmeyer's house, when, beginning to gallop, she dragged the unfortunate boy after her down the hill which leads to German Bay.  On being released from his perilous situation, the poor boy was found to be so seriously injured, that notwithstanding medical aid was promptly on the spot, he died in about an hour.  The inquest was held on the body of the deceased on the 9th inst. at the house of his father, before J. Watson, Esq., R.M., acting as coroner.  The evidence corroborated the above statement, and a verdict of 'Accidental Death' was returned.



SUDDEN DEATH: CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held by Dr. Philson, coroner, at Onehunga, on the 6th instant, on view of the body of Daniel Pearce, farmer, late of Big Muddy Creek, Manukau.  It appeared in evidence, that, while deceased was engaged in  driving a team of bullocks near his own house, on Saturday last, September 4th, he was observed to fall suddenly to the ground, ands, on being taken up, was found to be quite dead.  A post-mortem examination was made by Dr. Weekes, who discovered a quantity of blood extravasated within the skull, and testified that apoplexy was the cause of death.  A verdict of "Death by the visitation of God" was accordingly returned by the jury.  Deceased was a man of temperate habits, but very corpulent and plethoric. - NEW ZEALANDER.




October 10.

The body of the maori boy who was drowned in attempting to cross the Wairau river on the 2nd of September last, in company with Low and Brown, has been discovered.  Mr. O'Brien was proceeding along the banks of the river, and at about a distance of a quarter of a mile from the spot where the accident occurred, saw the body of the boy floating, and entangled among some Tutu bushes.  He got his boat and proceeded to the spot, and lifted the body out of the water and took it to the pah to which the boy belonged.  The face was much disfigured, having been much eaten by the fish.  An inquest was held before the Coroner, when the jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned," accompanied with a recommendation that the canoe in which the parties have attempted to cross the rover should be broken up, as being unsafe, and likely to lead to further accidents.


COLONIST, 26 October 1858

MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT. - A distressing occurrence has taken place at Awaroa, on the other side of the Bay, by which we have lost one of our late townsmen, (Mr. Rollison), and his sister, by drowning.  It appears by the depositions of witnesses before J. F. Wilson, Esq., Coroner, that the deceased and his sister left the shore in a boat with one assistant, in order that they might catch the steamer for Nelson.  It also appears that Mr. Rollison shared in the doubts of the witness Trelawney as to the safety of the attempt, the sea running high at the time; but Mrs. Margaret Dallace (the sister) still pressed them to take her, and they at length agreed, and left the shore about one o'clock on Friday afternoon last.  When they were close to the Bar, the spray from the first sea half filled the boat; the tide was running out very strongly, and the witness advised Mr. Rollison to return, but he replied, "We will get out all right," and did not appear excited.  The second sea then filled her, she capsized, and all were thrown out, Trelawney to some distance.  He immediately made towards Mrs. Dallace, caught her by the arm, and swam on shore with her.  She appeared alive, and was taken to the house, and means were adopted to restore animation, but without avail.  When he last saw Mr. Rollison he was in the water, who cried out, "Save my sister if you can," and it is supposed that he dunk immediately after, as he saw no more of him until two o'clock the next morning, when his body was found washed up by the sea.  This is another of those fearful accidents that deprives us so frequently of our friends and neighbors.  We sincerely hope that such f rightful results as these will operate as a warning to prevent such hazardous attempts as this case appears to have been. ...


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 30 October 1858


SUDDEN DEATH. - An inquest was held at Mr. Robjohn's public house, Patangata, on the 13th inst., touching the death of Charles Hayes, labourer, before G. Worgan, Esq., coroner for Waipukurau shire, and the under named jury, - Messrs. Ed. S. Curling, (foreman), D. Gollan, S. Hameling, L. Dunoyer, G. B. Worgan, W. Henderson, S. A. Tiffen, J. Witherow, F. J. Burton, and A. Devereaux.  The Coroner observed to the jury that they had a very distressing duty to perform.  

   The odious vice of intoxication had arrived at such a pitch as to be a positive disgrace to the colony. He would be delighted if some means could be devised for checking this most disgraceful and growing evil.  He hoped, if no other advantage resulted from this enquiry, it might at least have the moral effect of inducing some caution in the use and distribution of fermented liquors.  The jury, on their oaths, were to enquire if the deceased had had fair play.  If they thought the landlord in any way liable to censure, in supplying the deceased too freely with liquor, they were bound to state their opinion without fear or favour.  Landlords were not bound to supply their customers with drink, beyond what they thought right; and if the parties were riotous, had full authority to eject them from the premises.  Indeed, landlords could not be compelled to supply their customers with anything more than board and lodging, and food for their horses; and were liable to deep censure and also penalties of they permitted a disorderly house.  The Coroner was of opinion that with a widely scattered population, all landlords should be sworn in as special constables, with power to call to their aid any persons employed by them to assist in preserving peace and order.  He feared that in many instances the liquors supplied to the working classes were most scandalously drugged, and the consumers as little better than slowly poisoned.  Such pernicious practises should be punished with the utmost severity of the law;  he urged the jury to scrutinise this matter most carefully and to put any questions to the witnesses that were calculated to elicit the truth.


   JOHN ROBJOHN, publican, being sworn, stated: - I know, and can swear, to the identity of the deceased as Charles Hayes; the said Charles Hayes arrived at my house about three weeks since.  He boarded and lodged at my house; when he arrived he appeared in health, but weakly.  I have no grog account booked against him, he paid for nearly all the grog he had; he had about five pounds in money when he came.  I charged him about thirty shillings a week for his board.  There were several other parties drinking at the house at the time.  Charles Hayes was staying here; he might drink four glasses before dinner, four or five glasses after dinner, and as many more in the evening.  He laid down in the afternoons occasionally.  I several times told him he had had enough, and refused to supply him with more; on Friday last especially I told him to clear out; I did not refuse him because he had no money, but because I thought he had had enough.

   By a juryman. - Up to Saturday he had a tolerable appetite, - the sawyers frequently treated him.  He was taken ill on Sunday evening.  I observed a sore under his arm; he complained of pains in his shoulders and in his sides; he became insensible.  He did not speak after Sunday evening; he had no appearance of being otherwise than sober on Saturday night.

   EDWARD LYON in his evidence corroborated the statements made by the first witness.

   The jury having retired and consulted, the foreman delivered the following verdict, - That the deceased died from continued excesses in drinking - but we exonerate Mr. Robjohn, considering that he used all due precaution under the circumstances.

SUDDEN DEATH OF A NATIVE. - On Monday last, a native well known in Napier, named Hotene, was found dead in his whare adjoining Tarena's pah.  His wife went to the pah, leaving him apparently in good health; on her return, after being absent an hour or two, she found him quite dead.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 6 November 1858


A case of death by exposure occurred in one of the cold nights of the past week, between Rangiora and Mount Grey.  A man, whose surname is unknown [James Perceval], set out with two others (one named Noble), towards Mount Grey, and had to be left behind at some distance from their destination; in the morning he was found a corpse.  An inquest will of course be held, but it is not likely that any further facts of consequence will be elicited.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 10 November 1858


The inquest on the body of the man who was found dead after exposure to the weather during the night of a sou-wester, near Mount Grey, was held on Saturday last, at the Lion Hotel, Rangiora, before Dr. Dudley, J.P., and a respectable jury of whom Mr. George Thomson was foreman.  The evidence was complete as far as it went; showing that a large party had started from Double Corner late in the evening, some of whom went to the Saltwater Creek, and others to Mount Grey.  Within a short distance of the latter place the deceased gave up, unstrapped his blankets and prepared to camp.  His two companions went on, and on retuning in the morning found him stretched on his back with his arms spread out, quite dead.  A little tobacco was found in his hand, cut up, as if he had been overcome when about to comfort himself with a smoke.  It appears that the name of the unfortunate man was James Perceval, and that he had been packer at the Double Corner shearing, a labour which no doubt rendered him less fir for a long journey.  The verdict was in accordance with the evidence, "Death from exhaustion, followed by exposure;" and the jury added the following note to the finding:

   The jury cannot separate without expressing their opinion that had ordinary assistance been afforded by his companions after their arrival at the Mount Grey station, the death of the deceased might have been averted.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 13 November 1858


   We learn that at Kaiapoi, on Wednesday, a fatal accident occurred to a son of Mr. Woodford, miller.  The boy got entangled in the millwheel, and was crushed to death.  An inquest was held yesterday on the body by Dr. Donald, coroner.




SUDDEN DEATH - INQUEST. - A coroner's inquest was held at the Royal Oak, Onehunga, on the 5th instant, on view of the body of Patrick Neil, a pensioner, of the above village, who died suddenly on the previous morning.  A post mortem examination was made by Dr. Franklyn, of Remuera, who deposed that he had discovered a rupture of the right ventricle of the heart, which must have occasioned instant death.  The verdict of the jury was - "Dearth by the visitation of God." - NEW ZEALANDER, November 10.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 1 December 1858


Some accidents and offences have occurred during the [past few days.  Mr. George McIlwraith, a brother of Mr. Deans, of Riccarton, met his death on Thursday last by accident.  He fell from a horse, either in the act of mounting or soon after, and was dragged a considerable distance by the stirrup. [... the back of the head and shoulders were found to be extensively bruised; and although life was not extinct, the sufferer did not survive above half an hour after.  WELLINGTON INDEPENDENT, 15 December.]  This happened at Homebush station.  An inquest which was held before the coroner, at Riccarton, on Monday, terminated of course with the verdict of 'Accidental Death.'  [Aged 20.]

   A man of the name of Joseph Bennett was drowned in the river at Kaiapoi, on the 24th ultimo.  An inquest was held before Dr. Dudley the same evening, which indicated that deceased was drowned while bathing in a state of intoxication.




An Inquest was held at Otaki on Friday, 256th Instant, by Dr. Curl, Coroner, to enquire into the cause of death of James Calder, whose body had been found on the margin of the Wai-kawa river.  It appeared from the evidence that he had pushed on early in the morning wishing to get as far as possible and had entered the Wai-kawa river intending to ford it, but as there are mud-holes and quick-sands in the river, and he unable to swim, he upon getting out of his depth was at once suffocated and drowned, as there was no one at the Ferry-house to render him any assistance, or to pull his partially drowned body ashore, and recover him, which would have been attempted had an active person been present.  The high tides washed the body up when it was found by a Maori woman, laying on the sand; she informed some Maories living at Ohau, and they in turn told other Maories at Otaki, the news at length coming to the ears of the European residents of Otaki, they took the necessary steps to prevent the body being washed out to sea.  It was brought to Otaki, and placed ion the ground (as they feared the effluvia might occasion disease) until the necessary inquiry could be commenced.

   The Jury requested the Coroner to bring under the attention of the proper authorities the present state of the Ferries, that steps might be taken to put them on a more satisfactory footing, that no life in future should be lost through the negligence of the Ferry keepers.  The Coroner expressed his determination to bring the subject under the notice of the Government.

   After the inquest the Rev. Levi Ahu the native clergyman, Rei te Pachuo and Heneu Taratoa, the schoolmaster who had come forward and assisted in the course of law and order when there were obstacles thrown in the way by some of the natives, were thanked by the Coroner for their efficient aid.

   The following is a copy of the document handed to the Coroner by the Jury after they had given in their verdict:-

   A man having been found drowned on the Wai-kawa river we beg to inform the Government that the Wai-kawa Ferry-house having been abandoned since the 1st November, 1858, we think it necessary for the safety of travellers that some person be placed in charge, and further it is the opinion of the Jury that if any person had been in charge of the Waikawa ferry that the person who was found drowned might have been saved.

    An Inquest was held on the 15th Inst., at the Ferry-house Inn, Porirua, by Dr. Curl Coroner, on the body of Mr. Joseph Bowler, who had been run over by his own horse and cart.  The horse suddenly starting knocked down Mr. Bowler, and another young man who was driving Mr. London's team of horses just before Mr. Bowler's cart, all the horses then ran off, and both Mr. Bowler and the young man were run over.  From the injuries received Mr. Bowler died, but the young man is now recovering.  The Jury recorded a verdict that Mr. Bowler died from injuries received by being run over by his horse and cart. [Odd Fellows funeral.]




INQUEST AT THE HUTT. - On Saturday, December 4th, an inquest was held by Dr. Buck, coroner for the Hutt, upon the body of Mr. John Aiken Wilson, who had been drowned whilst crossing the Pahau river in the Wairarapa.  It appeared from the evidence that on the 27th November, the deceased was taking some of his cattle across the Pahau river, being accompanied by William Sutherland, James McCloud, and John France; his horse suddenly getting into a hole in the river began to plunge, when the deceased fell off, and began to strike out for the shore, he however almost immediately after sank, and the water being deep, the others accompanying him not being able to swim, could render no assistance.  When his body was recovered there was found a considerable wound on the face, which was supposed to have been caused by the horse, probably striking him whilst in the water.  The verdict was that the deceased John A. Wilson was accidentally drowned, whilst crossing the Pahau River, that he had received a blow on the face from his horse, which had doubtless partially stunned him and assisted in causing his death.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 10 December 1858

HUMAN REMAINS FOUND. - A human skeleton, with clothes on, was found, on Wednesday last, by Mr. Vercoe, jun., at Matakana in the mangrove swamp, near the mill.  Two knives were found in the pockets of the dress.  Some three years ago, two persons were drowned in Matakana river, whose bodies have never been recovered.

CORONER'S INQUEST.  DEATH BY DROWNING. - On Wednesday, 8th inst., an inquest was held, at the Royal Hotel, Eden-crescent, on view of the body of Michael James Wall, who was found drowned on the previous day, by two young females bathing in St. George's Bay.  The body of deceased was naked, and was discovered floating to and fro close to the sand, about half-way between high and low water mark.  At a distance of 250 yards from the body, under the cliffs between St. George's and mechanics' Bay, clothes were found which were ascertained to have belonged to the deceased.  There was no precise or direct evidence to show under what circumstances death had occurred, but the presumption was that the unfortunate man (who is a brother of Mr. Edward Wall, of this city, and 58 years of age) had been bathing, and being overpowered by the heat of the sun or cramp, had perished.  There were no marks of violence.  The verdict of the Jury was "Drowned while bathing."


COLONIST, 21 December 1858


THE LATE MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT. - Information of witnesses taken the 16th instant, in the town of Collingwood, at the house of Mr. Milers, before H. G. Gouland, Esq., Coroner, touching the death of Thomas Pettipher, then and there lying dead, as follows:-

   John Low, being duly s\worn, saith: I was Mr. Pettipher's bullock driver, residing at Ricky River and Slate River.  I have seen the body now lying outside; it is the body of Thomas Pettipher.  Mr. Pettipher was a store-keeper at Rocky River.  I last saw him alive yesterday evening.  We started from Motupipi, driving cattle, at 11 o'clock.  We got on very well with them until we reached the Para Para.  It was just getting desk when we reached the river.  We drove the cattle in at what Mr. Pettipher supposed to be the fording place, and they swam back again.  The tide was going out.  He then went about half a mile up the river, thinking he could cross at the fall.  He thought we could cross there, but he was afraid of the mud.  We returned to where we first tried to cross the bullocks.  He put a stick in to see whether the tide was going out, which we both did three or four times.  He then proposed to try the cattle again.  He went to fetch sticks for me and him self, and advised me not to use a flax stick which I had.  We drove the cattle to the brink, and he then asked me to tie a leather purse containing bank notes to his neckerchief, which I did.  He drove the cattle into the water, and we both followed, he below and I further up.  This was about a hundred yards above the part which has since been pointed out to me as the crossing place.  We followed by the side of the cattle to keep them together till we were up to our armpits in water, and urged the cattle on till they took to swimming and swam right across; we following till I got out of my depth, and had to swim across.  Mr. Pettipher was swimming at the same time that I got out of my depth.  The back of my head was towards him as we were swimming.  When I got about two-thirds across, he called out to me to try and feel the bottom.  I told him to try and feel himself, as I was nearly exhausted at the time.  I immediately afterwards tried for the bottom, but could not feel it, and then made a spring and reached the shore.  When I got on shore I called out to Pettipher several times, but getting no answer, I went to the place I supposed he must land, then into the water, still calling and cooeying, but got no answer.  I then walked along the beach, but heard nothing of him.  The last I saw of him was when he called out to me; he was then 20 feet from me, if not more.

   After looking along the beach, I came to the Port, and gave notice to Mr. Curtis.  I saw the body on the beach this morning.  It is my opinion he was drowned. He was cold when we took to the water, and anxious to get to the Port, and I depended on his knowledge of the fords.  The deceased told me that Mr. Caldwell had told him that he could not get across for an hour, but that was an hour and a half before.  He had been purchasing cattle at Takaka, and had paid for them in gold.  He had money about him in notes, but I don't know how much.  We were driving six head of cattle.

   G. Curtis saith: I am a publican at Collingwood.  I knew deceased.  Last night about 10, Low came to me and said he was afraid Mr. Pettipher was drowned.  Several of us went down to the Para Para to search for him, and Mr. Mackay and myself crossed and went as far as Mr. Caldwell's.  We made every search, but without success.  This morning we renewed our search.  I was on horse-back a-head.  We went with the intention of dragging the river.  I saw the body just at the edge of the breakers, surrounded by water, but as far up as the water would take him.  It was about ten chains this side the Para Para.  He was lying on his back, with his head towards the shore.  From the state of the body I believe he was drowned.  I withdrew the body from the water, and when the people came up, we sent it to town in a dray.

   Thomas Pringle Caldwell, sworn, saith: I am a grazer, and reside at Tukurua.  My residence is on the other side of the Para Para, as nearly as I can judge about one mile from it.  The deceased passed my house about 7 o'clock last evening.  He was with me almost half an hour, and before he left I told him, as I have often told him before, to beware in crossing the river when the tide was too far in, as it was last night when he left me.  I think the crossing of the river at that time was attended with great danger, as I told him and 20 before him.  I told him exactly when to cross and where to cross.  I told him it was not safe to cross at the mouth of the river, it being neap tides, and told him by all means to go up to the Forks to cross.  He knew where they are for I have shewn the place to him before.  I would have gone with him, but I thought he knew the place well.  There is only one safe crossing place at the mouth of the river, and from all I have heard he did not cross there, but at the very worst place he could have crossed.  The ford has not been shifted for eight years.  I told Mr. Robinson when he was here that if he would send down one of his policemen with four pegs to mark the place that there would never be anyone drowned there, and if he didn't there would be.  I couldn't say what his reply was.  I told him that if he would grant me a license I would see every one across, but in Pettipher's case it was not necessary, as he knew the place so well. The ford is unsafe to strangers, but not to those who know it.

   Verdict - That the said Thomas Pettipher died from drowning, in  attempting to cross the Para Para, and the jury wish to impress on the Government the necessity of placing a ferry on the River Para Para, as the crossing is dangerous and the traffic considerable.

[Editorial comment on the matter of the white pegs, and Caldwell.]


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 21 December 1858.


Yesterday an inquest was held in view of the body of William Allison Laurie, aged three years and three months, who on the previous day was found drowned in a pond in Mr. Matthew Laurie's brickyard, Karangahape Road.  It appeared in evidence, that the child had dined with the family at the usual hour, and after dinner went into the yard to play.  Some time afterwards the child was missed, and search being made was discovered floating with the face downwards in the pond.  Medical aid was called in, but without avail.  The verdict returned was, "Accidental death from drowning"; a recommendation to put a suitable fence round the ponds being superadded.


TARANAKI HERALD, 1 January 1859

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An Inquest was held at the Omata Inn on the 25th ultimo before Dr. Sealy, Coroner, and a Jury of Omata residents, on the body of Francis Henry Newsham, aged 8 years, third son of Mr. T. Newsham of that district.  It appeared from the painful circumstances detailed in evidence that the poor boy was fond of horses, and was in the practice of rising whenever opportunity offered.  On the 22nd some friends of the family arrived from town on horseback, and the deceased took an opportunity of riding off on one of the horses.  The animal was shortly after met proceeding townwards at a rapid rate, the boy hanging by one of his feet which had fouled in the stirrup leather.  A sudden check caused the affrighted animal to swerve and freed the stirrup leather from the spring bar of the saddle, and the poor boy was picked up insensible and remained so till his death.  The sad injuries received almost precluded hope from the first.  The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.

   This sad bereavement should serve as a warning against the prevalent practice of young lads mounting strange horses without heeding or even knowing the great danger they run by so doing.


Letter from Geo. Bayley, Chairman of Commissioners of the Ninth District, concerning a rider added by the jury in the Newsham case, blaming the state of the roads.  Mr. Bayley resigns, Editors:" We regret that so palpable an error in judgment on the part of the jury should have led to the resignation of Mr. Bayley."]


TARANAKI HERALD, 8 January 1859


CORONER'S INQUEST. -0 An inquest was held at Pataweke, Moturoa, on 31st ult., before the Coroner, Dr. Sealy, and a jury of residents in the Grey and Omata Districts, on the body of John Wright, whose tragical death was recorded in out last issue.  After examining the corpse, the head being literally all but severed from the body, the jury received the evidence of those persons in whose company the deceased was immediately prior to the commission of the fatal deed, and were unanimously of opinion that he destroyed himself during a fit of temporary derangement, and returned a verdict to that effect. [Burial.]



Letter to the Editor from Thomas P. Caldwell re comments about the 4 pegs, &c., mentioned at the Pettipher inquest.  [See also COLONIST, 21 January.]


COLONIST, 21 January 1859

From the Gazette of January 14th we learn:-

   His Excellency has been pleased to appoint Thomas Connell, Esq., of Nelson, to be Coroner for the District of Nelson.


DETERMINED SUICIDE. - John Wright, residing at Moturoa, committed suicide by cutting his throat on Thursday evening at about 8 o'clock.  The deceased was formerly a whaler, and one of the earliest residents in Cook's Strait.  He was a quiet inoffensive man, and much respected n by his neighbors.  It appears that he was subject to fits of melancholy, and in one of these put an end to his existence. - TARANAKI HERALD, January 1.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 22 January 1859


The two cases of sudden death which we had the duty of recording in our last issue were followed almost immediately by a third, whose circumstances throw a still darker shadow over this week.  We allude to the suicide of Mr. George Compton, many years landlord of the Mitre Hotel in this town, who destroyed himself by hanging about mid-day on Wednesday last.  An inquest was held on the following day before Dr. Donald, coroner, and a jury of twelve, of whom Mr. A. J. Alport was foreman.  From the evidence there given, the facts of the case appear to be as follows. 

   About twelve o'clock on Wednesday, the unfortunate man left his son William in the bar, and went up stairs, as he said, to cut some tobacco; it had been his custom to lie down in the middle of the day, and on this day he asked to be called about half-past one o'clock.  Shortly afterwards, the cook of the hotel, Morley by name, went up stairs to speak to Mr. Compton about some domestic matter, and knocked at the door of the room where he was supposed to be lying down, but receiving no answer, the cook believed him to be asleep, and refrained from waking him, going down stairs again to the kitchen.  Shortly afterwards the boy heard a noise upstairs as if something  falling, and begged Morley to go up stairs again, stating his fear that something was the matter.  The boy's suspicions were confirmed on looking into a cupboard up stairs, where a rope had been left, and missing it.  The door of the room where deceased was being locked, Morley opened an adjoining window and passed along the verandah roof to look into the room, while the boy went out into the street with the same object.  Both saw the unfortunate man hanging, and Morley broke a pane and unfastened the window, and at once caught the body in his arms, and proceeded to cut it down, William Compton and Mr. Bruce, whom he had met in the street, coming up immediately and assisting.  Dr. McCheane was sent for, but without a chance of success.

   From the appearance of things the unfortunate man had gone about his dreadful deed in the most deliberate manner.  Taking a small dinner knife with him, which he had caused his son to look for below, he must have gone up stairs, found the rope, locked himself into the bedroom, taken off his coat waistcoat and cravat, cut a sufficient length off the rope, mounted a chair, and cut the canvas of the ceiling on each side of a rafter, round which he fastened the rope securely, tucking one of the ends up out of the way.  He must have then put a portmanteau on a chair, and proceeded to the act of self destruction with remarkable deliberateness and precision.  The noise of the portmanteau and chair falling was no doubt what the boy heard in the room beneath.

   Further evidence was taken as to the state of the deceased's mind at the time, and all tended to the opinion that there existed a severe derangement of the intellect, though symptoms of insanity were not always apparent.  Mr. Bruce spoke of conversations in which deceased had told him that his troubles were enough to make a man destroy himself, and he (Bruce) had lately entertained the opinion that it was really possible such a catastrophe might occur.  Mr. Cameron, landlord of the Robin Hood Inn, had called upon deceased the same morning for payment of a sum of money, and had been told that if he went to the Church on Sunday and gave him a receipt under the pulpit, he would pay him the amount!  Cameron could get no sensible answer and left him, telling Bruce (the last witness) that the deceased was mad.  This was an hour before the occurrence.  Mr. Genet's evidence was fully corroborative.  He had been repeatedly pressed by the deceased to sit up with him at different times.  The previous day he had been sent for and called into a private room by deceased, and had then drawn out a sort of will at his request, which was signed and witnessed.  Deceased's eldest son, George, to whom the property was left, was summoned to be made aware of the transaction, and Genet recommended the latter privately to keep a strict eye on his father, as he (Genet) believed him to be insane.  This assertion came to deceased's knowledge, and he vehemently assented to it, declaring that he knew hew was mad.  Genet stayed a few hours with him the same evening at his request, and left him tolerably collected and in a good humour.  He saw him again the next morning, but remarked no change in his demeanor.  He further stated that he had been very intimate with deceased, and had often heard him speak of his affairs, of his pecuniary difficulties and domestic troubles.  For months he had been rambling and incoherent in his manner, and on walking round the town with him (the witness) last Sunday morning, had told him that it was for the last time.  Expressions to the same effect, uttered on the morning of the event, were put in evidence. 

   At the close of the examination, the coroner briefly addressed the jury, who, after a short consultation, returned a verdict of Temporary Insanity.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 26 January 1859



Jan. 8, 1859.

We were painfully agitated last week by information received that the headless body of a man named Clark, a discharged soldier, had been discovered buried in the sand on the West Coast.  That the man has been murdered is evident, but who may be the perpetrators of this atrocity no one can as yet surmise.  The deceased was last seen alive at Rangitikei, where he had been working; he left the place in company with a German, having about his person a sum of money in gold and notes, which are missing.  His travelling companion (the German above alluded to) has left this part of the province some time since.  As soon as the inquest has sat I will send you any further particulars that I may be enabled to glean.


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 29 January 1859


On Saturday last, at eleven o'clock p.m., a fire broke out in a whare in Onepoto valley, occupied by Serjeant Parker and his family.  The Serjeant was on guard at the time; owing, it may be, in part to his absence, but principally attributable to the rapid progress of the flames, everything in the whare, including a large stock of leather, &c., was destroyed, and, horrible to relate, a child of tender years was burnt to death. ...

   On Monday last an inquest was held at the Victoria Hotel, Onopoto, before Thomas Hitchings, Esq., Coroner, and a Jury, on the body of Charles Parker, aged 16 months, the son of Serjeant Parker, 65th regiment, who met his death on the night of Saturday last, by the burning of the whare in which Parker and his family resided.  The Jury first inspected the body, which presented a horrible spectacle, being nearly burnt to a cinder; and on re-assembling the following witnesses were called:-

   Mary Anne Parker, the mother of the deceased, who deposed that on the night in question, between 10 and 11 o'clock, she was walking about her whare with a candle in her hand and accidentally the curtains caught light - so soon as the whare was alight, she gave the alarm of fire, and some soldiers rushed in and took her out, and then went in for the children, 4 of whom were rescued.  The soldiers were not aware that deceased was in the cradle by itself, and she had so lost her presence of mind, that she thought deceased was brought out with the other children.

   William Duffey, Private 65th regt., deposed that on the night in question, hearing an alarm of fire, he rushed into the whare and endeavoured without effect to stop the fire.  The report was that all the children were rescued and it was not till after the whare was burnt to the ground that deceased's body was obtained.

   The Coroner here stated that it appeared to him that no doubt could exist as to the origin of the fire, which was the main question of enquiry, and if the Jury were of the same opinion they would perhaps find their verdict, but if they required evidence it should be produced.  The Jury immediately returned a verdict of "Accidentally burnt to death."


COLONIST, 1 February 1859


INQUEST AT MOTUEKA. - A melancholy occurrence took place at the end of last week at Motueka.  It appears that Mrs. Lock, wife of J. Lock, a sawyer, had gone to bed the previous night in her usual state of health, and was found there dead the following morning.  An inquest was held yesterday at the Motueka Hotel, the Coroner, Mr. Connell, having proceeded there by yesterday's steamer for that purpose. [An inquest was held on Monday by the Coroner, T. Connell, Esq., when the Jury returned the verdict, "Died by the visitation of God, from organic disease of the heart." - Nelson Examiner, 2 February.]



DEATH BY DROWNING. - A Coroner's inquest was held yesterday, at the "Black Bull," on the body of John Thomas Anning, who was drowned whilst bathing off the rocks at Smale's Point.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased had been in the habit of bathing, at the same place, every morning, for some time back, and was supposed by Mr. J. Harp, who had been acquainted with him ever since his arrival in the Colony, and whose housie he occupied, to be a good swimmer. A lad of the name of John Macintosh saw the deceased yesterday morning, about 8 o'clock, bathing.  Deceased was swimming out of his depth, about three or four yards from the ledge of the rocks, when he suddenly sank, rose twice to the surface and sank after giving a cry.  The lad ran off to some sawyers, who were at work about 150 yards off, who immediately came to the spot, and seeing the deceased sinking again, one of them - Robert Williams - dived into the water, caught him by the hair, and brought him ashore.  He was still breathing, and continued to do so for about two or three minutes. With the assistance of Mr. Harp the body was carried to a pile of wood near, and endeavours were made to restore life by friction.  In about twenty minutes from the time of the accident Dr. Matthews arrived, had the body carried into the deceased's cottage, and did all in his power, with the assistance of Dr. Dalliston, - who shortly after arrived, to resuscitate life, but without effect.  After hearing the evidence the jury brought in the following verdict: - "That the deceased accidentally came to his death by drowning, while bathing in the harbour of Auckland, at Smale's Point.  The jury deem it advisable that directions for the resuscitation of persons apparently drowned be printed and circulated for general information; and that the thanks of the jury be given to Robert Williams for his promptness and courage in diving to recover the deceased."  [Editorial comment.]



[Part missing.]

... the body, and apart from it - 3rd, his dog also being found in the same place, 4thly, there is not the slightest doubt that he had not been drowned being out of the reach of any water.  The money found on him was as follows, five one pound notes of the Union Bank, one, 1 L. note of the Oriental Bank, one 5 L. note of the Union Bank, and a few notes crumpled up, but Nos. and amounts not discernible.  12 s. in silver, some sticks of tobacco, and various other small articles.

   An Inquest on the body was held at the Ferry House, Manawatu, before Francis Robinson, Esq., J.P., on the 1st January, 1859, several witnesses were examined, when the above facts were elicited, and the Jury after mature deliberation, returned the following verdict:-

   "It is our unanimous opinion that the skeleton found on the beach between Manawatu and Rangitiki, is the body of James Clarke, and that he was murdered by some person or persons unknown; and that strong  suspicion attaches to Peter Osteen who was the last person seen in his company."

   The scull, together with the articles found on the body, have been received by the Police at Wellington per Emerald, on the 20th Instant, and a warrant has been issued for the apprehension of the suspected party, and an officer sent in pursuit.




A fatal boat accident occurred in the harbour on Sunday.  Jonathan Redmayne, clerk to Mr. Wormald, solicitor, went out with four other men in a very good boat.  They were over near the south shore, when it appears they were running before the wind with the mainsail made fast aft.  The sail jibed, and the wind blowing fresh, the boat at once capsized.  Redmayne, it seems, and two of the others could not swim, but two could; and the latter did their best to keep their companions holding on to the keel of the boat.  Redmayne did not use any exertion to save himself, but gave himself up to his fate, and, though brought back several times, let go, and perished rapidly.  Some men went off from this side in the Canterbury dingy, as soon as the accident was observed, and succeeded in saving the other unfortunate men, who had been by that time in the water nearly an hour, and could not have held on much longer; however, they got better speedily.  A search was instituted for Redmayne's body, but without success.  We believe he was about twenty-six years of age, and leaves no relations in this country. - LYTTELTON TIMES, January 5.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 11 February 1859

SUICIDE FROM DRINKING. - A Coroner's inquest was held, at Onehunga, on the 9th inst., on view of the body of James Herbert, who was found, on the previous day, suspended with two silk handkerchiefs by the neck, from a rafter, in a room in the house of James Dean, his father in law, in the village above mentioned.  Deceased lived on good terms with his wife, to whom he had only been a few weeks married, but was in the habit of drinking to excess.  Nothing was elicited to prove that the fatal deed was perpetrated in a fit of insanity, and the jury unanimously returned the follolwing verdict, "That deceased came by his death in consequence of hanging himself by the neck, whilst under the influence of strong drink."


LYTTELTON TIMES, 12 February 1859


The body of the unfortunate lad, Augustus Ford, who (as we mentioned last Saturday) was lost off Peacock's wharf on Thursday week, was found in the little sandy bay beyond Dampier's Bay, yesterday morning, by Mr. Bennington, who happened to be fishing in that vicinity.  An inquest was held yesterday evening, before Dr. Donald, the coroner, and a respectable jury, who returned the necessary verdict of "Death by Drowning."  We are requested by the bereaved parents to record their thanks to the kind friends who have assisted them in the search after their lost child.

   An inquest was held on Thursday last, at the Royal Oak Inn, Christchurch, before Dr. Donald, coroner, and a jury, of whom Mr. Dartnall was foreman, on the body of a child, 18 months old, named Mary Martin.  It appeared by the evidence adduced that on the previous day the mother had been washing, and left the child on the floor where her tub was standing while she went out to hang up the clothes outside.  When she returned she found the unfortunate child with her head downwards in the tub and under water, and with her clothes tossed over her shoulder.  The mother's screams brought a neighbour, who undressed the child and laid it on the bed, using some means for restoring life, but without effect.  The child had been subject to fits for some months previously.  The verdict of the jury was "Accidental Death."


TARANAKI HERALD, 12 February 1859

ACCIDENT. - We regret to announce that a dreadful accident occurred on Thursday to Mr. Carr of the Mangorei, who was nearly crushed by a tree which he was felling, and which but for a slight hollow in the ground where he was standing must have killed him on the spot.  As it is, the unfortunate gentleman has sustained the most serious internal injuries, and lies in a precarious state.

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held at Omata on the 9th inst. before G. R. Burton, Esq., J.P., in the absence of the coroner, and a jury to enquire into the afflicting circumstances connected with the death of the infant child of Mr. Colesby, a boy aged eight months.  The premises ignited accidentally from a bush fire.  Mrs. Colesby had just time, at great personal risk, in which she suffered considerable injury from the fire, to rescue two of her children, when the roof fell in, and the third child fell as prey to the flames.  The jury returned a verdict of accidental death in accordance with the evidence.


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 12 February 1859


THE LATE DEATH FROM DROWNING. - On Wednesday last, an inquest was held at the new Pa Petane, before T. Hitchings, Esq., coroner, touching the death of Angus McQuarrie.  The following jury was empannellled:- John Macarthy (foreman), Joseph Torr, William Henry Torr, James B. McKain, Frederick D. McKain, Isaac S. McKain, John Stevens, Samuel Lozell, James Hampshaw, George Herbert, Archibald McDonald, Samuel Single. - The first witness called was

   William Henry Thompson, who, having been sworn stated, - I left in the boat with the deceased from the port on Saturday last, the 5th inst.  I had been there with timber.  The deceased was with me on Saturday afternoon; it was pretty late in the day.  We left in the boat together; there was no one else with us.  The deceased asked me to go with him.  I had been drinking, and so had the deceased; we were drinking together; we had no quarrel.  I was neither drunk nor sober.  Mr. McLean overtook us on the way, and hailed us to come to the land.  After Mr. McLean left us, in pushing off the boat, the deceased fell down; we proceeded on our way; deceased repeatedly fell back, missing his oar.  He pulled to a point, and I suggested that we should go on shore, but finding the land too steep we came on nearer this way.  When we landed, the deceased again fell.  I got the things out of the boat, and pulled the boat up to the new pa,' and the deceased said, 'let me lay where I am.' I came on to the pa and slept there.  I did not mention that night where I had left the deceased laying.  In the morning I started a native to where I had left the deceased; I also told the natives where I had left the deceased and the things.  I went home on Sunday afternoon. I swear that I unloaded the boat as I have mentioned.  I do not know whether the deceased had any bruises; I did not see any, or any blood flowing from him.  To my knowledge the deceased did not fall on his face, he always fell backward.  I am not aware of he had been quarrelling with any one.  I did not tell the natives where I had left the deceased, because there were spirits in the boat, and because deceased had told me to leave him alone till the next morning.  I brought one bottle of grog with me to the pa.

    Pana, an aboriginal native of New Zealand, being sworn, stated - Thompson slept at my house on the night of Saturday.  I do not know at what time he arrived at my house; it was in the evening.  I did not notice any blood on him or that his clothes were torn.  Thompson said nothing to me about the boat or the deceased.  Thompson brought a bottle of grog to my house.  Thompson was drunk when he came to my house; he told me in the morning about the deceased and the boat.

   Hirimi, being sworn, stated - It was about this time of the day of Monday that I went in search of the deceased; I found him over by the middle island - between the middle island and the little one near the main.  The water was up to my knee where he was laying. [Witness described the position in which he found the deceased.] There was no blood on him when I saw him.  When I and my companions were pulling him towards the land, the blood flowed from his nose and mouth and ears.  When we got to the shore I tore his coat off and washed his face.  There was nothing the matter with his nose, simply the blood that was flowing from it.  There are no stones where I found the deceased, it is mud; the paddle of the boat was laying on a stone on land, some distance from where I found the deceased.  When the boat was found one of the oars was found laying in the thole-pins.  When I searched the deceased, I found a knife in one of his trowsers pockets, the other pocket was turned inside out.  I found nothing else on him; it was ebb tide when I found the deceased.

   The verdict of the jury, upon hearing the evidence, was unanimously, - FOUND DROWNED.

CAPTURE OF A SUPPOSED MURDERER. - Some months since an inquest was held at the Hutt on the body of a person named Jas. Clarke who was found murdered in the vicinity.  After heating the evidence the jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against a German, named Peter Osteen, with whom the deceased had last been seen in company.  A warrant was accordingly issued for his apprehension, nut no traces of the accused could be obtained till a few days ago; when a constable who had been sent from Wellington, assisted by the Waipukurau policemen, took him into custody at the Tutaekuri flat.  He was brought into town on Wednesday last, and on Thursday examined before the Resident Magistrate.  He offered no resistance when apprehended, and, although protesting his innocence, admitted that he was the person suspected.  He was forwarded to Wellington in the "Adolphus Yates."


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 19 February 1859


(From our own Correspondent.)

An inquest was held here, on the 13th inst., on the body of Mr. Edward Deacon, who died on the previous night.  It appeared, deceased had for some days drank freely, and had taken on the previous Friday a quantity of Tartar Emetic (when suffering from delirium tremens) from the effects of which he never recovered.  Poor fellow! He was cut short in the prime of his life, his age being but 38.  He had been a resident here for the last seventeen years, and was much respected by all who knew him.


COLONIST, 1 March 1859

FATAL ACCIDENT AT TOKOMAIRIRO. -  It is our painful duty to record another fatal accident, which occurred in the Tokomairiro on the 29th ult., by which the daughter of Mr. Powley, a child upwards of 2 years old, lost its life.  It appears that two of Mr. Powley's children were playing outside the house, as they were daily in the habit of doing.  The elder child had gone into the house, leaving the younger one in the garden, who, it is presumed, on being left alone, had wandered away and fallen into a hole which had been dug for the purpose of getting clay.  The hole which is about 20 yards from the house was nearly full of water.  The protracted absence of the child alarmed its parents, and Mr. Powley at once proceeded to the clay hole, where he found the child floating upon the water, and life quite extinct.

   The practice of digging holes for clay, and leaving them open to fill with water is a most dangerous one, and ought to be discontinued.  Another recent instance of a child having fallen into one has come to our knowledge, but fortunately in this case there was an elder child on the spot, who had the presence of mind to rescue his little playmate.


We regret to learn that the youngest child of Mr. Allan McMaster has met its death under very melancholy circumstances.  On Saturday, the 5th instant, an older child of Mr. McMaster's happening to enter the dairy, found the body of his little sister, aged 13 months, immersed, feet upwards, in a pailful of milk which had been left on the floor.  As the accident could not possibly have occurred more than a few minutes previously, and as the body was quite warm, hopes were for some time entertained that life might not be wholly extinct, and, accordingly, vigorous and long-continued efforts were made by the afflicted relatives to restore animation, but without success.

   This is the fourth time we have had the painful duty of recording, at no distant intervals, the death by accidental drowning of very young children; and we trust these repeated warnings will have the effect of leading parents and otters to use every possible precaution against the recurrence of similar events.




FATAL ACCIDENT. - Information reached town on Sunday afternoon, of a most distressing and fatal accident which occurred at Rangitikei on Thursday last, viz., the death, while bathing, of a young man named George Reading.  Mr. Reading has been for some months past resident at Mr. Fox's station, and on Thursday evening went down to the river for the purpose of bathing.  His not returning occasioned no surprise as he generally walked into Wanganui, once a week, to see some   friends there.  Not making his appearance next day, some alarm was felt and one of the neighbours went down to the river, and on enquiring of some natives found that he had not crossed on the evening previously.  On proceeding some little distance along the bank, the clothes of the deceased were discovered by the side of a pool, guarded by his dog.  Assistance was obtained from the natives and the body speedily found.  It is supposed that being heated by his walk he was seized with cramp.  Deceased was a promising young man of about 22, the son of Mr. Reading of Karori, and universally beloved by the many who knew him.  This sad accident has cast a gloom over the little village of Karori, where the deceased had lived almost from a child.

THE RANGITIKI MURDER. - The prisoner Osteen, has been again examined, but is remanded until  Monday.  His trial will not consequently come before the Supreme Court this sitting.

CORONER'S INQUEST. P- On Monday evening an in quest was held on the body - Maclachlan, a seaman belonging to the Maraquita.  His body was picked up on Sunday evening, and deceased is supposed to have fallen off the wharf, into the water.  The inquest was adjourned till to-morrow to obtain further information as to where he had been during the whole of Sunday.


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 5 March 1859


INQUEST. - On Tuesday, the 1st inst., an inquest was held at the Settlers' Hotel, Clive, before Thomas Hitching Esq., Coroner, and a jury, on the body of Henry Tuman, which had that morning been found in the river Ngaruroro.  The body having been identified, - KARAITIANA was sworn, and deposed as follows: - On the 22nd of last month I saw the deceased approaching the Tane nui a rangi pa, on horseback, and hail for a canoe; I told him there was not one there, but that if he went higher up the river he would find either a ford or a canoe.  I watched him and observed that instead of taking the right ford he was trying to cross one which was very deep and dangerous.  Upon seeing him attempt this I ran up the banks of the river to endeavour to prevent him, but before I could do so I saw his horse plunging in the river, and his hat was floating down.  I cooed loudly, but he had sunk and rose no more.  The horse reached the opposite shore in safety, and one stirrup leather was gone.  I then returned to the pa, and went to Waipureki and informed Mr. Blane of what I had seen.

   HOUI KAUAKA being sworn, said, I went this morning for my horse, and saw the body of the deceased floating in the river.  I left my horse and took a canoe and secured the body in the canoe, and brought it to Waipureku. 

   This closed the evidence, when a verdict of accidentally drowned was returned. ...



INQUEST. - At an adjourned inquest before G. D. Monteith, Esq., to enquire into the death of Robert Lachan, a seaman of the Maraquita, the jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned," to which they added the following rider:

   "That in the opinion of the Jury the conduct of the two policemen when apprised of the occurrence in not paying prompt attention when told by the boy Thomas Ford where the body was lying was highly censurable as it appears from the evidence that an hour had elapsed from the time they had received information till the body was removed."



INQUEST. - A Coroner's inquest was held, on Saturday last, At the Shakespeare Tavern, on view of the body of Margaret Jones, who died, on the morning in question, at the Police Office, Wyndham-street.  It appeared that deceased, with her husband, was about proceeding to Henderson's Mill by water at a late hour on Friday night, she being, at the time, in a state of beastly intoxication.  She was assisted to go along the wharf by several men who were nearly as much intoxicated as herself, and on reaching the top of the stairs, about the middle of the wharf, in company with a man of the name of Mahony with the view of getting into a dingy in order to put off to the cutter in the stream, both were precipitated from the top to the bottom into the water.  Mahony managed to gain the steps almost immediately, and to recover the deceased, who did not appear to nave suffered from submersion.  Both were removed to the police Office, and medical aid procured.  Mahony was found to have sustained a fracture of some of his ribs; but deceased was found to be in a comatose state, and expired a few hours afterwards.  On a 'post mortem' examination Mr. Matthews, surgeon, deposed to the existence of a fracture of the eight parietal bone and extravasation of blood on the surface of the brain.  The verdict was, - "That deceased came by her death in consequence of a mortal fracture of the scull, occasioned by a fall from the Queen Street Wharf against the stairs leading to the water, while in a state of helpless intoxication."


 LYTTELTON TIMES, 9 March 1859


At Timaru, on the 18th February, an inquest was held by B. Woollcombe, Esq., R.M., on the body of Allen McPherson, who met his death under the following circumstances:_ On the evening of the 17th when Mr. Campion's dray arrived in Timaru, loaded with six bales of wool, the deceased went up and pushed inside the off bullock, though the driver warned him to keep away; as he was reaching to unhook the leading bullocks, the off bullock, a young one, kicked him under the rear bullock and as they started off the wheel of the dray went over his body.  A medical man was sent for immediately, but the case was beyond his power, the body having been crushed internally.  He died two hours after the accident occurred.


HAWKE'S B AY HERALD, 12 March 1859


AWFULLY SUDDEN DEATH. - An inquest was held on Thursday, before Thomas Hitching, Esq., Coroner, and a jury, upon the body of John Parker, Sergeant in Her Majesty's 65th Regiment.  The first evidence was that of Robert Barker, Sergeant Major in the regiment, who deposed that between 10 and 11 o'clock on the previous (Wednesday) morning he was present in the orderly room when the deceased was giving evidence against a soldier for a military offence, and he took notice that the deceased was very short of breath.  After having given his evidence he walked over towards a stool in the room and sat down.  Witness took him b y the arm, and, by the Colonel's command, unfastened his stock.  Deceased then lay over for a few moments, gave a few sighs, and expired.  He had appeared excited in giving his evidence.  Witness had often seen him pant for breath in going up hills.

   Eugene McShane, surgeon to the 65th regiment, then deposed, - I this morning made a post mortem examination of the body of deceased.  I found quite sufficient disease of the heart to account for his sudden death.  The heart was ruptured at one part, and about a point and a half of blood poured out.  This was more than sufficient to stop the heart's action immediately, and I believe it to be a sufficient cause and explanation of his death.  The disease was one of long standing.

   The jury returned a verdict accordingly. The deceased has left a wife and large family to deplore his loss, who from the circumstance that, a short time ago, their whare was burnt to the ground, are most likely left in a destitute state.  The deceased was buried the same day with military honours, the Rev. Father Reignier performing the funeral service.


COLONIST, 15 March 1859


TWO MEN DROWNED. - On the 27th ultimo, two men, named James Everice [Everis] and Wm. [H.] Burton, had started from Mr. M'Ivor's accommodation house to go to Mr. Adams'. But not having reached their destination fears were entertained for their safety, which subsequently proved but too true, the bodies being found in the Big River after considerable search.  It appears that they owned a horse, and it is supposed they both crossed his back to ford the river.  Burton was quite intoxicated at the time - Everice had been drinking, but was not so bad.  From this cause, or the awkwardness of the animal, it is supposed the unfortunate circumstance happened.  From the appearance of Everice it would appear as though Burton had clutched at his jumpier and nearly pulled it over his head, thus impeding the use of his arms, which were confined above his head with the sleeves, and would render him helpless in the water.  The river was slightly swollen at the time and somewhat turbid; from this circumstance it is thought they could not observe the usual crossings.  The inquest was held on March 3rd, by S. Muller, Esq., coroner.

   Burton leaves a wife and children, and Everice has a family in England.  The bodies were buried on the following morning in the reserve for the public cemetery, near the Beaver, and it is remarkable that not one there interred has died a natural death, one dying by poison, and all the rest by drowning.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 16 March 1859



March 5, 1859.

... Last week, while some paints were engaged in painting Mr. Brandon's new offices, one of them, a man named Lennal, lost his balance, and fell from the high scaffolding to the ground, striking on his head, and but faint hopes are entertained of his recovery.


COLONIST, 18 March 1859


DROWNING IN THE WAIROA RIVER. - An inquest was held on Monday last at Hope, on the body of Thomas Harrison Lines, son of Mr. Thomas Lines, of that place, who was accidentally  drowned while bathing in part of the Wairoa River, on Saturday last, the 12th instant.  It appeared that deceased was unable to swim, and had jumped into part of the river where he was beyond his depth.  On his giving an alarm, and appearing to be in want of assistance, one of his companions, named Hopgood, went towards him and succeeded in bringing him to the surface, but encumbered with his weight, was unable to reach land; he however persevered in his efforts, until he had himself sunk several times; he at last reached the shore, by the help of others then come to the spot.  The body was brought ashore about twenty minutes after the first alarm, but all efforts to recover animation failed.  The courageous conduct of Hopgood elicited the marked commendation of the jury, who returned a verdict of "Accidental Drowning."




An inquest was held at the Waimea-east Hotel, on Monday last, before Thomas Connell, Esq., coroner, upon the body of Thomas Harrison Lines, who was drowned in the Wairoa on the previous Saturday.  After the coroner and jury had viewed the body, the following evidence was taken:-

   Stephen Hopgood, being sworn, said: On Saturday last, I, in company with Thomas Harrison Lines (the deceased), John Webby, and Thomas Hill, at between two and three o'clock, went to bathe in the Wairoa river.  After I and the two last-named persons had swum about for a while, I swam across to the opposite bank, and walked up the shingle-bed to where the deceased was standing, and asked him if there was good landing where he was.  He said yes, the landing was very good, and I swam across to him.  I asked him if he could swim, and he said no; I then left him; he asked me where I was going, and I s aid I had had enough, I was going to put on my clothes.  I was putting on my flannel, when John Healy called out to me, "Hopgood, Lines is drowning; make haste and save him."  I ran along the bank to opposite where he was, as I could see him, though then under water.  I jumped in and swam towards him; he was at the top when I started, but was going down as I got to him.  I put my arm down the whole length, when I caught him by the hair of his head and drew him to the surface; holding him with my right hand, I struck out with my left, to swim ashore, but could not make any headway, and we both went down.  I still kept hold of him, and we rose to the surface, when I again struck out to swim, but we both went down a second time, when I let him go, and on rising caught him again.  We then went down a third time, when Thomas Hill came up, and said, "Stephen, give me your hand;" but before I could catch it, I sank a fourth time.  While under water the fourth time I lost my hold of deceased, but on rising Thomas Hill caught my hand. Hill was then in the water swimming.  We both, that is, Hill and I, swam to the shore at this time deceased had sunk.  I then went into the water again, but I could not reach him, as I am not able to dive.  Hill left me, and, I thin, went to get assistance.  In less than five minutes afterwards several persons came, and after some deliberation tied a stone to a rope, and carrying the rope to the opposite side, drew the stone so as to bring the body to the shore, and b y this means got him  out of the water.  To the best of my judgment, it was twenty minutes from the time of the  first alarm, and fifteen minutes from the time of his last sinking until the body of deceased was got out of the water./  he was then  dead.  During the time that I was with the deceased in the water I did not reach the bottom when I sank; I tried for bottom on my second time of sinking, but did not reach it.

   By the Jury: I assisted Robert Martin in getting the body up the bank from the water's edge.  I held him by the legs; they were quite cold.  I cannot say whether any efforts were made to recover life, as I was very cold and walked across the paddock to recover my own warmth.  I cannot say whether there was any warmth about his shoulders or the upper part of his body.

   John Healy, being sworn, said: On Saturday last, I was lying on the bank of the Wairoa river, near the place where the deceased and others were bathing.  I saw the deceased jump into the water; at this time Hopgood was on the bank, and about dressing himself; he had been swimming.  Hopgood said to deceased, "You would shape well if you'd keep the other leg off the bottom."  I saw the deceased turn about, and I thought he was going to swim on his back; but I saw him come upright in the water and strike out with his arms and struggle, on which I called out to Hopgood that he was drowning.  Hopgood ran up the bank towards him, and went into the water to reach him, but before he reached him deceased had sunk.  Hop\good reached down his hand and caught deceased and brought him up, and tried to swim with him, but he went down with him.  I saw him sink twice while holding deceased.  Thomas Hill swam up to them, and John Webby came along the bank to where he was, and both went towards him in the water; they reached their hands to Hopgood, and one of them caught him; but at this time he had lost hold of deceased.  I then went for assistance.  I think I was absent about five minutes.  I returned with several persons.  The body was then lying at the bottom; the water was clear, and I could see the body.  Some went for a rope and rake, and having got a rope, they tied a stone to it and pulled it across the river over the body, and so got the body ashore.  I touched the arm of the deceased after he was got ashore; it was quite cold.  I did not observe any efforts made to restore animation.

   Frederick Augustus Laking, surgeon, being sworn, said: I knew Thomas Harrison Lines; he is now dead.  I made an examination of his body this day, and I believe the cause of his death was submersion in water.  I saw in my examination symptoms which would lead me to that conclusion, the asphyxiated state of the face and head, appearance of foaming at the mouth and struggling for breath.  I could not find any marks of violence on the body, or any bruises.  I looked for them.   I examined the fingers and nails, and the toes; they did not present any appearance of excoriation, nor of clay or sand under the nails.  I have no doubt whatever that he died from drowning.

   By the jury: Judging from the time deceased was under the water, I think if active means had been employed for his restoration, there would have been a chance of his recovery.

   Thomas Coleman, being sworn, stated: I was present when the body of Thomas Harrison Lines was taken out of the water on Saturday last.  I helped to bring him out.  After getting him out I sat him up, putting my knees to his back, and rubbed his belly and chest, to try if I could restore warmth and circulation.  I continued rubbing him for ten minutes.  I could not find any warmth or sign of life.  He was foaming at the mouth and nostrils.  I took a cloth ands wiped it off, cleaning his body as well as I could.  I then put his shirt and his trowsers on, and helped him into the cart, and went to his father's house with the body.

   The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental drowning."

   We have been requested by the Coroner to state that the jury desired to express their high commendation of the conduct of Stephen Hopgood, who persevered, at the imminent risk of his own life, in efforts to save that of the deceased; in fact, not desisting until he had sunk four timers, and was so exhausted that he only reached shore by the assistance of another person who had come to their help.




From the schooner Esther, off Cape Turn Again; Thomas Griffiths, alias Christopher Griffinstein, and Charles Williamson; whaleboat capsized going out to the ship; no trace of the bodies.


 COLONIST, 5 April 1859


MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT. - On Saturday last the Coroner, J. Connell, Esq., held an in quest at the house of Mr. John Thorn, of Toi-toi Valley.  The following jurymen were summoned:- S. Kingdon, foreman; H. J. Goodman, G. Collins, W. Wright, F. Forman, A. M'Artney, S. Carter, C. Christie, A. Rankin, J. C. Phillips, T. C. Batchelor, J. S. Edelsten, and W. M. Stanton.  It appears that on the morning of that day, Mr. John Thorn had taken three of his children into a bullock dray to give them a ride; that in returning from the Waimea road to his own house, he had partly filled the dray with clay, but there was sufficient room for the children at the back of the dray, where he placed them.  While proceeding homewards along a road that is used, but is not a made road, and is full of ruts, at no great distance from his own house, he heard one of his children fall out of the dray on the opposite side to where he was driving.  He immediately ran and picked her up; she was insensible and covered with blood, the wheel having evidently passed over the left side of the head.  He ran with her to his house, and sent for Dr. Williams as soon as possible, who arrived within half an hour from the time of the shocking event, but to no purpose, as the poor little sufferer had only breathed for about ten minutes after her father raised her from the ground.  Her name was Ann Thorn, and she was about five years of age.  Another of his children, a boy of about seven years of age, told his father that the deceased had got upon the clay at the head of the dray, and had fallen over the front board.  After hearing the sworn evidence of the father, John Thorn, who was the only witness, the jury immediately returned a verdict of accidental death.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - A coroner's inquest was held yesterday, April 4th, in the house of Mrs. Oakes, West Queen-street, on view of the body of Laurence Condon, aged 2 years, who was drowned in a well on the premises of his father Thomas Condon, at Mahuranghi, on Thursday last, March 31st.  It is believed that the child was playing near the well, which was an open one, and fell into it accidentally.  When discovered, the body was perfectly cold.  The verdict returned was "Found drowned."  It may be remarked that the bereaved parents were in Auckland, when the fatal event occurred.





Beaver, April 5.

... but no accidental death has perhaps received a greater share of public attention that that which formed the subject of this inquest.  There has been for a long time, it appears, a feeling of dissatisfaction at the way in which the various known crossing-places of the rivers here have been neglected; the only instance in which any steps have been taken by the Provincial Government to amend them was at the ferry where the unfortunate Cavendish met his death; and here, as shown by the verdict, there had been gross neglect.

   An accident occurred to the daughter of Mr. A. Jackson.  Whilst riding, she was unseated and dragged along some considerable distance; her head striking against a gate post, caused concussion of the brain, which (as she has now remained two days in a state of coma) it is feared she will not recover from.


COLONIST, 12 April 1859

ANOTHER CASE OF DROWNING. - Another of these melancholy cases has occurred at the Beaver ferry, Opawa River.  The Coroner's inquest has taken place, but the verdict has not yet reached us.  It appears that the deceased, Thomas Candish, a carpenter, had contracted a debt at New Plymouth, which, we believe, was money lent to bring him to Nelson; and about a fortnight ago we reported an action in which judgment was given against him, and a warrant issued.  It is supposed that in trying to evade this, he left for the Wairau, and in attempting to cross the river by the chain of a punt that had become useless he met with his death.




On Monday, April 4, an Inquest was held at the Court House, Beaver, by S. L. Muller, Esq., coroner, on the body of a man named Candish, who lost his life in attempting to cross the Omaka river in the punt provided for that purpose.  The accident occurred immediately after the auction held by Mr. N. Edwards, for the sale of Mr. Robinson's land; and we are informed that Mr. Edwards himself had a very narrow escape when crossing in the morning, as the punt, from its leaky condition, sunk a few minutes after he landed.  As soon as the accident became known, all present at the sale ran to the river.  Mr. J. Robinson, jun., immediately stripped, and, diving for the body, succeeded, with the assistance of a whale boat which had been called into requisition, in raising it.  At first considerable hopes were entertained that the man's life would be preserved; but unfortunately, after the most assiduous attention of Mr. Horne, surgeon, no trace of life could be discovered.

   The Jury, of which Mr. Ralston was foreman, having viewed the body, evidence to the following effect was taken:-

   Annie, Stein: I am servant to Mr. Craig.  On Saturday I was at the river, where I saw the deceased up to his neck in water.  It was not dark at the time.  When I saw him first he was near the steps at the place where the ferry boat is, and up top his neck in water; he was holding by the chain.  I knew the man, but did not know his name.  I went to get a bucket of water, and then I saw him lying at the bottom of the water, and his hat floating.  It was fifty yards from the ford.  I returned immediately after fetching the bucket of water, to see what had become of him; I saw him lying at the bottom of the water, but it was not the first place I had seen him.  I was away more than two minutes.  When I saw the body I ran and told them at home.  The body was on the far side of the bank.  I told it to Mr. Craig, who, with others, came back with me.  A man then went and got a boat; they then tried to get him out, but I did not see the body got out, I went away.  I remained about a minute to see what was done.  Maxted had a hook; I saw John Robinson bring the body out, but I did not wait to see it taken to the land.  I have no idea how long it was from the time that I went for Mr. Craig and others until I saw the body got into the boat.  When he was up to his neck I heard children scream, and then I looked and saw him up to his neck, and I went down afterwards to see if he had got across.  When I went down the ferry-boat was sunk to the bottom; it was near the man, quite close; I think he had jumped off from it.  I think he was trying to cross in the ferry-boat, as I heard the chain rattle against the boat.  I have known the ferry-boat to sink lots of times.  I have never known it sink with people in it.  It has been frequently lying at the bottom of the water.

   By the Foreman: I think he was standing in the boat when he was up to his neck.

   By a Juror: I have seen the boat sink so many times, I cannot remember the first.

   By the Foreman: His back was to the steps and he plunged in when he had the chain in hand.  It was about a quarter of an hour from the time I saw him up to his neck in water, till I saw him taken out.  I went at once to Mr. Craig to say there was a man up to his neck in the water, and Mrs. Craig went, I think, to tell Mr. Craig.

   By the Coroner: The boat was at the bottom of the river, and I have often seen it so before.

   By a Juror: I told Mrs. Craig that he was trying to ford at the ferry.  I did not think him in danger.  I could have jumped up myself to the step.  He turned round and looked at the children who were sc reaming.  I think that he was in the boat, which had sunk with him.  He was about two yards from the steps; his head was out of the water, he was pulling the chain.  I am quite sure he was pulling the chain.

   By the Foreman: The whole of the boat was under water; the man's head alone was above.  When I went back, the boat was in the same place as when I was there the first time.  When I saw him first with his neck above water, I believe he was standing in the boat.  The second time I saw the boat, it was exactly in the same place as where I saw deceased.  After I saw him he moved a little, and the boat was moving with him under water.  He must have gone down where I saw him first.  When I first saw him standing, his face was towards the bank; when I saw him in the river he was lying below the boat, and with his face in an opposite direction.  I have no idea of the depth of the water.  The nose of the boat was not above water.

   Lewis Keene Horne, Esq.: I am a surgeon.  On Saturday afternoon I was called upon to see the deceased.  When I arrived I found the extremities cold, but the body was still warm; this was about four o'clock.  There was warmth about the trunk.  I tried artificial respiration, and the usual means, such as hot water applications.  I do not think the deceased had been very long in the water, perhaps a quarter of an hour.  There was some froth from his mouth.  I turned him over, and mucus came from his mouth.  I was from twenty-five minutes to half an hour in attempting to restore him; but he gradually got colder.  I had the muscles of the lower extremities rubbed all the rime.  I have heard of cases in which persons have been restored after half an hour's immersion, but do not believe them.  Ten minutes, I should say, was sufficient to destroy life.

   Mr. Craig being called, deposed: I am a carpenter.  I heard that a man was trying to wade the river.  I was told this by Annie Stein, who ran out immediately, but returned in a few seconds and said she could not see the man.  I went with others, took a boat, and assisted in getting him out.  I went to where the ferry boat is, and there we found the body lying in the bottom of the river, fifty yards below the ferry.  The body was ten yards from the bank.  He was lying across the stream.  A boat was then got, and the body got out.  It was from ten minutes to a quarter of an hour after I saw him that the body was got out.  I knew the man by sight.  I think his name is Candish.  He came from Nelson, was a carpenter.  He has not been long in the district.  He was sober when I saw him.  I should say he was a sober man usually.  I saw the body when it was taken out; that which the jury have seen is the same.  I can form no idea how he came to be drowned.  There was a ferry-boat at the place about two inches above the water.  It could not have sunk, as there was no ballast in it.  The boat was full of water, but would not ordinarily sink.  The body was about twenty yards further down the river.  The depth where the body was is about ten or twelve feet.  He was about four yards from one of the punt chains.  I cannot say whether the hands of the body were stretched out.

   I do not consider the ferry-boat was safe to cross in at that time.  The boat has not been safe for some time; I had to bail it out that morning.  It has not been safe for three weeks; in fact, since Mr. Glover left, whose boy used to keep it bailed out.  I do not know who employed Mr. Glover.  I do not know the terms on which the ferry is kept.  Mr. Glover used to charge two-pence.  Since Glover left nothing has been charged.  I was told that Mr. Sinclair had authority to charge two-pence from the Provincial Government at Nelson.  Mr. Sinclair told Glover to charge the two-pence.  I consider the boat unsafe from her not being able to keep afloat more than three or four hours, except when bailed out.  There was a notice posted on a board at the ferry that some person was authorized by the Provincial Government of Nelson to charge two-pence.

   By the Foreman: I do not know that it is a public ferry.  In Glover's time the boat was kept afloat only by his bailing it out.

   William Benjamin Earle, constable, deposed as follows: I produce this license from Mr. Sinclair's house.  It is called the Beaver Hotel.  [The ,license was then read by the Coroner: it stated that Mr. Sinclair was to keep a ferry-boat, and authorized him to charge two-pence between sunrise and sunset, and six-pence after hours.]  The ferry-boat has been in a very bad state.  It has not been safe since Glover left.  It wanted bailing four or five times a day.  I do not consider it safe.

   By the Foreman: I have always known Mr. Sinclair to be the [proprietor of the boat.  I did not lay an information, as every one was complaining about the state of the boat, and I hoped some one else would have done it, as it would have carried more weight from anyone who was not a constable.  Some nine or ten months ago I complained to Mr. Sinclair, and he repaired it.

   Mr. Sinclair made a lengthened statement, in which he acknowledged the unsafe state of the boat, but said that he was himself ignorant of it until this unfortunate circumstance took place, and called -

   William Singleton, who deposed as follows: I live at the Beaver.  I work for Mr. Sinclair at a blacksmith's shop.  I never had charge of the ferry or boat.  Mr. Sinclair has sent down once or twice for me to bail the boat out, and I did so.  I had no general orders to look to the ferry.  Had a stranger called on me to act as ferryman, I should not have considered myself bound to do so.  I have never received any remuneration for the ferry, but once offered to bail the boat out for a shilling a day.

   By Mr. Sinclair: I was first engaged as a general useful servant.  You were absent from home about three or four weeks.  I did once receive an order from Archibald Hamilton, your clerk, to bail out the boat, which I did, but never a general order.  I did not understand from Mr. Hamilton that I was to do it regularly.  This morning I received an order from Mr. Sinclair to attend to the boat.  I have attended to that order, and the boat is cleaned and high and dry.

   By the Foreman: I saw the man drowning.  I had bailed the boat out that morning.  One day I voluntarily bailed it out five times.  When I saw the body, it was about five yards from the boat.  The boat was sunk to the bottom.  I have known it do so a dozen times.  I heard no cries from the drowning man.  I was told the boat belonged to Mr. Sinclair.

   At this stage, the jury begged to retire, having heard sufficient evidence.  After about an hour's consideration, the following verdict was given by them:-

   "That the said Candish died from drowning, in the Omaka river, in attempting to cross the said river in a ferry boat while in a sinking condition; and that his death was accidental; and the jury further consider that Mr. James Sinclair has been guilty of gross negligence in allowing the boat to remain for several weeks in a leaky and unsafe state."

   This cased caused considerable excitement in the town of Beaver, partly in consequence of the great want of any general local convenience for crossing rivers, and partly on account of the extremely bad state of this, the only public ferry boat in the district.  Happening so soon after the separation meeting, it gave many an opportunity of remarking upon the great apathy shown by the Nelson Government in neglecting to afford any convenience, or even security for life here.  The numerous cases of drowning lately could all have been avoided by a judicious expenditure of, at the most, 50 Pounds.


LYTTELTON  TIMES, 16 April 1859


ANOTHER accident, this time one under peculiarly distressing circumstances, occurred on Wednesday last.  On that day, about 2 p.m., as the hard labor gang of prisoners were working in Winchester Street, one of the warders moved near to two of the men at the head of the cutting; in lowering the gun with which he was armed from his shoulder to the secure, it exploded, struck one of the man at work, and killed him on the spot.  The man's name was Joseph Strong who was under confinement as a lunatic.  The body was moved into a house close by, and Dr. McCheane was called to examine it, but no life was left.  On Thursday a coroner's inquest was held at the gaol, in presence of all the prisoners, before Dr. Donald and a jury consisting of some of the principal residents in this town, of whom Mr. F. Banks was foreman.  The evidence established the simple facts which we have above narrated, leaving not a shadow of doubt that the occurrence was an accident of the most innocent kind.  The verdict was in accordance with the evidence; but, on an investigation in to the character of the carbines with which the police force and gaol warders are equipped, and on evidence being taken on this point proving the miserable character of the arms (which it seems were sent down as refuse from Wellington in the year 1852), and that several accidents had previously occurred, the following presentment was made:-

   "The jurymen assembled to enquire into the death of Joseph Strong, are of opinion that the fire-arms at present in use by the Police force are of a dangerous and insufficient character, and they recommend that they should be at once replaced by others of a better and more recent manufacture.

FREDERICK BANKS, Foreman.  Lyttelton, 14th April, 1859."


LYTTELTON TIMES, 20 April 1859

On Monday the body of the man Allan, whose death by drowning we lately recorded, was found on the beach opposite the Mitre Hotel.  The body was but little disfigured, and was therefore easily recognised.  An inquest was held yesterday, when the declaration of the survivor was produced in evidence, and other testimony being taken, a verdict of "Accidental death by drowning" was returned.


COLONIST, 22 April 1859


SKELETON FOUND. - A curious discovery has been made of a skeleton, in a cave near the Half-way House, at Collingwood. Marks on the skull would lead to the belief that death had been caused by violence.  It is thought to have lain there a number of years, and according to the opinion of Dr. Turnell, is the remains of a Maori.  An inquest has been held, but we are not aware of the terms of the verdict.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 23 April 1859


The body of the unfortunate man Lawrence, who was drowned about a fortnight ago by the upsetting of a boat in this harbour, was recovered yesterday morning, washed high and dry on the beach near Sticking Point.  A boat was immediately despatched by the police and the body brought to town to await an inquest.  The features are very much disfigured, but with other circumstances there is sufficient to identify the remains satisfactorily.

   A sudden death occurred at the Royal Hotel, Christchurch, on Sunday last.  Mr. Sidebottom had lately come down the country, and had but just previously sold a run for a considerable sum of money, when he was seized with a fit of apoplexy, and, after lingering a short time, expired.  Mr. Sidebottom was a young man of good family, and had been about seven years in the province, where he was well known, being famous for bodily strength and activity.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 27 April 1859


WE have in this issue to record another fatal accident, adding one to an already large catalogue of similar occurrences since the year began.  As nearly as we can gather the particulars, they are as follows:-

   On Monday morning Mr. John Barclay Thomson, landlord of the Royal Hotel, in Christchurch, was returning to town with Mr. Pearson of Oxford, at whose station he had been on a visit.  As they were crossing the ford of the Waimakariri, the water reaching no higher than the saddle girths, Mr. Thomson suddenly fell from his horse into the stream.  The giddiness which was probably the cause of his losing his seat must have incapacitated the unfortunate man from making efforts to save himself; for he but held up his hand and was carried down the river rapidly with scarcely as struggle.  Mr. Pearson at once dismounted and hastened to his assistance, but of course the difficulty of acting under the circumstances to any good result was immense, and his efforts were unavailing.  The body was washed some distance down the river, but was soon recovered, and was brought to town the next (yesterday) morning, and an inquest held.  We are informed that before leaving Mr. Pearson's Mr. Thomson had mentioned his dislike to crossing the rivers in this colony, and had said that he always suffered from giddiness while doing so.



ON WEDNESDAY, April 13th, an Inquest, was held before Dr. Buck, Coroner for the Hutt District, upon the body of Mr. Henry Russell, a farmer, residing at the Niuai, who had died suddenly, on the previous day.  From the evidence it appeared, that the deceased had not been in good health for the last year, though he had been able to keep at his work.  He was under medical treatment for disease of the heart, about two months before his death, but appeared to be perfectly restored.  He had been thrashing wheat in the barn for the last fortnight, and on Tuesday, April 12th, he was found dead in the barn, having gone to his work ion the morning, in his usual health.  A verdict was found to the effect, that he had died from disease of the heart. 

   ON TUESDAY, April 19, an Inquest was held before Dr. Buck, Coroner for the Hutt District, at Mr. Henry Welch's Farriers Arms, at the Hutt, upon the body of James Simpson, a labouring man, who had cut his throat.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased resided in a house belonging to Mr. England, a carpenter, and on Monday morning, April 18th, a son of Mr. England's went to the house, to carry some potatoes to him, an d finding he could make no one hear, he went home and told his mother of it; she said that probably Simpson had gone out for some milk, and he might carry the potatoes again.  In an hour's time, upon going again, he could make no one hear, and he asked Mr. Jones, a smith, living close by, to go with him to the house. Upon entering the house the deceased, James Simpson, was found lying in the middle of the room with his throat cut.  It had been done some hours, as the body was perfectly cold.  He was lying on the floor in a pool of blood.  A razor covered with blood, and the strop on which it had previously been sharpened were lying close by, on a box.  It was such an extensive wound that he must have died almost instantaneously.  It was ascertained that the deceased was a man of unsound mind, and he had been confined in Wellington Gaol, fourteen years ago for lunacy.  He had no family, and lived in a house by himself, and was known to be of very eccentric habits.  A verdict was given to the effect, that the deceased, James Simpson, had destroyed himself by cutting his throat with a razor, not being in a sound state of mind at the time.




CORONER'S INQUEST. - A Coroner's inquest was held on Saturday evening last, before George Dalrymple Monteith, Esq., Coroner for the city, and a highly respectable jury on view of the body of a man named John O'Brien, who died suddenly the same morning on board the schooner Sarah and Elizabeth\, while that vessel\ was getting under weight.  From the evidence adduced, it seemed that Mr. O'Brien had for many years past been subject to disease of the heart, and the jury in accordance with such evidence returned the following verdict: - "That the deceased died by the visitation of God from disease of the heart."  The deceased had been resident in this town for many years - was much respected. [Funeral.]




Another fatal accident occurred on Friday night last.  A boat with three men in it upset, and two of the lives were lost.  It appears from the statement of the survivor that he was with the two unfortunate men (Allan and Lawrence) drinking together on Friday evening, and that when they left to go down to the wharf they took some more liquor in bottles with them.  They got into the boat - a little crank dingy - to go over to Allan's place on the other side of the harbour, under sail.  Before they had gone a couple of hundred yards, the boat, through some unexplained cause, there being but little wind at the time, upset. The man who was saved swam in one direction and lost all knowledge of the fate of his comrades.  Their screams, however, we loud enough to bring numbers of people to the beach, but unfortunately a considerable time elapsed before any boat could be found to go off to give assistance.  When help arrived, neither the boat nor the two men could be found, and the man who was recovered was all but gone.  The bodies have not been found; but the boat was dragged up from the bottom, right side up, and still containing the ballast and two bottles of gin.  Allan was well known in port, but Lawrence had but lately come from Nelson. - LYTTELTON TIMES, April 13th.


COLONIST, 13 May 1859


Melancholy Event. - On Friday last, some children belonging to the garrison, while out strolling in the neighbourhood of the barracks, partook of the poisonous berry known as tutu.  To one of these children, we regret to say, the poison proved fatal - vomiting having saved the others.  The victim was a boy named John Greenaway, aged two years and nine months, the son of a private.  Dr. M'Shane attended at once, but his efforts proved unavailing.  The child was seized with convulsive fits, which continued with little intermission till Saturday morning, between 3 and 4 o'clock, when death put a period to the child's sufferings. - HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, April 23.





Dunedin, May 9.

A melancholy affair occurred here yesterday.  I have not obtained full particulars, but suppose that an inquest will be held.  One of the firemen or stokers of the Pirate was found dead in the engine room'; he must have fallen down there sometime early in the morning, being warm when discovered, but quite dead.

INQUEST. - Dr. Hulme, coroner, and a jury, held an inquest on Monday in the building used as the Government store, on view of the body of William Smith, late stoker on board the steamer "Pirate," who was found dead in the engine-room about 5 o'clock on the previous morning.  From the evidence given, it appeared that Smith had been drinking rather freely on the night before the fatal occurrence; and on the second engineer going round to see all the lights put out, he assisted him into his bed.  Next morning, about 5 o'clock, one of the men went to the deceased's berth to waken him for the purpose of getting up the steam, but he was not there; and on a light being got, deceased was found lying dead at the foot of the engine-room steps, down which it was supposed he must have fallen in coming from his berth sometime during the night; but n o one heard him fall.  A post mortem examination was held upon the body by Mr. R. Burns, surgeon, who stated death to have been caused by concussion of the brain, produced by the fall.  The jury returned a verdict of "accidental death on board the 'Pirate.""  [See also WELLINGTON INDEPENDENT, 20 May 1859.]



The recent forced Inquest at Omata held by Mr. George Rutt Burton, a Justice of the Peace for the Province, has occasioned very general dissatisfaction and indignation.  [Long and critical editorial re Burton's conduct.]


To the Editor of the TARANAKI HERALD.

Sir, - Perhaps I ought to inform you, in case you think proper to take any notice of it in the Herald, that I held an Inquest on the body of the late Mr. J. B. Greaves, at his late residence, on May 9th.  It was shown in evidence that he had been in unusually good health and spirits on the day of his death, (the 6th), but some time after retiring to bed, he was taken with a choking, which in a very few minutes terminated in death.  The medical evidence was to the effect that a partial paralysis of some of the muscles of the throat (the result of a former paralytic attack from which he had never perfectly recovered), caused suffocation from which he suddenly died.  The verdict was in accordance therewith.  I am, &c.,

GEORGE RUTT BURTON; Omata, May 10th 1859.

[See also ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE, G. R. Burton, Omata, May 18th; TARANAKI HERALD, 21 May 1859.]




ACCIDENT. - A very distressing and fatal accident occurred on Friday last, which has thrown the family of one of our clergymen, the Rev. Mr. Nicholls, into deep affliction.  Mr. Nicholls had a small flour mill at work on his premises in Victoria Avenue, and had proceeded from the house to the mill, leaving his infant son, about fourteen months old, at the door of the school house,  fully thirty yards from the mill.  He had not been one minute in the building, when he heard a sound as of something being struck outside; he put the break upon the mill, and on looking out, found the child bleeding on the ground.  Immediate medical assistance was obtained, but the blow had been too severe; the scull had been fractured and the child expired within the half hour.  An inquest was necessarily held, and a verdict returned of "Accidental death." ...



BODY FOUND. - Information arrived in town yesterday that a body, supposed from the description of the dress to be that of Mr. D. Crosbie, had been picked up at Brown's Island.  It was carried into the house erected on the island.

MELANCHOLY OCCURRENCE. - It is our painful duty to record another melancholy and fatal accident by which four more of our fellow-citizens have perished in an untimely manner.  From the evidence given before a Coroner's Jury assembled at the Royal Hotel yesterday morning, to inquire into the cause of the death of Dugald Fisher, we learn that the deceased left Auckland on Good Friday along with Mr. Finlay McMillan, with the intention of proceeding overland to Mr. McMillan's farm at Wangaprahu, to search for coal.  Having crossed in the Pilot's cutter to the North Shore, they landed there, and in company with Mr. Thorburn proceeded together about three miles on the way.  Mr. McMillan, at this time, perceived his boat coming from Wangaprahu to Auckland, and expecting her to have letters for him, he returned to town, leaving Thorburn and the deceased to continue ion their way.

   On the 24th of April, Mr. McMillan left Auckland and walked home, and on his arrival found Fisher and others at his house; the others were Captain McLean (well known as a pilot for Kaipara), Mr. David Crosbie, and a Mr. Barclay, or Bartley, a seafaring man.  These took their departure from Wangaprahu for Auckland on the evening of the 25th of April, in the Otrea, a cutter of about 8 or 10 tons burthen, belonging to Mr. McMillan.  The weather at the time was moderate.  They were all sober, and Mr. McMillan expected they would reach Auckland that night, but he saw no more of them.

   Corporal Scott, of the Armed Police, deposed that he went to Waiheki on Thursday last in consequence of information received from the natives of a dead body having been washed up on the island.  He found the body buried about a foot and a half under sand, and disinterred and brought it to town. - Hugh Fitzgerald, the son-in-law, and Agnes Fitzgerald, his wife, identified the body then lying in the dead-house as that of their relation, the deceased Dugald Fisher.  They last saw him alive shortly before he went to Wangaprahu to search for coal on Mr. McMillan's land.  The body was in an advanced state of decomposition, the features of the face being altogether destroyed.  Verdict, "Found drowned."

   We regret to say that two of the unfortunate deceased have left large families to lament their sudden and melancholy end.  Another body has been recovered and landed at Maraitai, but had not been identified. - NEW ZEALANDER, May 14.


There has been an unprecedented series of casualties within the last fortnight.  Yesterday morning a boat belonging to Marshall, the waterman, was picked up, bottom upwards, with her mast standing and sticking in the mud close in on the North Shore; her stretchers, stern boards, and various other gear were gone, and there were no traces of the lads who worked her.  It appears that about eleven o'clock on Thursday morning, Mr. Blake and some other person employed Mr. Marshall's son - a very smart intelligent lad - and another lad of the name of Callinan, to take them from the Queen Street Wharf up the Waitemata to Mr. Brigham's Mill.  The boat was seen to depart and to row up the harbour, but nothing further was known of her movements until she was picked up yesterday in the condition above stated.  Cooke and some other watermen immediately went up the river to make inquiries.  They searched every bight and bay, proceeding beyond Kauri Point as far as Mr. Fitzpatrick's, but nothing could they hear of the missing boys.  Whether they reached the Mill, which as they started with the flood tide is highly probably, or whether the accident occurred on their return, are mere matters of conjecture; under either circumstance, it is much to be feared that the poor lads, at least, have met with a watery and untimely grave. - NEW ZEALANDER, May 14.

   [We are happy to state that, since the above was published, tidings of the safe arrival of Mr. Blake and his party, at Deacon's Inn, have been received.  The unfortunate accident must therefore have occurred whilst the boat, with the two boys on board, was returning under sail to Auckland.  Neither of the bodies have been recovered.]




An inquest was held at Pariora, 7 miles from Timaru, before R. H. Rhodes, Esq., J.P., on the body of a man named John Dummett, who had been employed as driver of the Government dray on the works in the neighbourhood.  He left Timaru on the 6th instant, and while on the road by some accident fell off the dray and under the wheel, which passed over his head and killed him instantly.  The jury empanelled, after hearing the evidence of a man who was with Dummett at the time, returned a verdict of accidental death.  It appears that he had spirits with him, and was not sober at the time of accident.




An inquest was held on Thursday afternoon, before Dr. Donald, Coroner, on the body of a girl named Anne Harris, 3 years of age, who came by her death on Tuesday last from the effects of fire.  The residence of her parents, where the accident occurred, is in the neighbourhood of the Piharake-kanui stream, and there also the inquest was held.  From the evidence taken it appeared that the poor little girl had been left for a moment alone, while the mother was absent fetching water; that she got near the fire, her clothes caught and burned up, severely injuring her thighs, body, and arms.  This occurred at ten o'clock in the morning, and at seven in the evening the child died.  The verdict returned was "accidental death by burning."



 On Saturday the Howick police constable came in to town and gave information that a body had been picked up near Howick; from the description of the dress, it was supposed to be the body of John Milner.  Mr. Milner, brother of deceased, procured a boat, and with Messrs. James, Dawson, and the policeman immediately left for Howick.  On reaching Howick, the body was identified as that if John Milner.  At seven o'clock on Sunday morning, the party took a boat for Auckland, having procured a shell for the body.  The wind was blowing hard, dead in their teeth. And after running much risk, they were constrained to return.  Having obtained a cart, they proceeded by land.  On arrival at Brady's Inn, Panmure, they saw a half caste who had shortly before arrived from the Tamaki sand spit, where he had seen a human body lying.  Bring frightened, he had run away.

   The body of Milner was then left in the charge of the Howick police constable, and the party, having procured another cart, proceeded to the  sand-spit found the body, and identified it as that of John Marett [Marratt.].  It was now getting dark.  The party retraced their steps, with the body in the cart, and reached Mr. Thompson's house, West Tamaki, who received them hospitably, providing them with everything they stood in need of.  Thence they reached Mr. Burn's, of the Tamaki school; from the state of the roads, and the darkness of the night, they found it impossible to bring the body any further.  It was left in charge of one of the Auckland police, while the party, under the guidance of Mr. Burn, as far as the College, proceeded to Auckland, which they reached about half-past nine.  The party desire to make grateful mention of Mr. Thompson's hospitality and of Mr. Burn's assistance, but for which they could not have reached Auckland that night.

   Since writing the above, we have learned that the body of William Harvey Ducros has been recovered, on the west side of the Tamaki, about one hundred yards above the spot whence the boat was originally launched.  His boots had been taken off, and his sleeves were turned up, to swim.  The body was found by Mr. Cutler, living on Mr. Taylor's farm, and was brought yesterday evening into town.  Inquest will be held thins morning at ten o'clock, and the funeral will take place at 3 o'clock P.M. this day. [See also WELLINGTON INDEPENDENT, 7 June 1859.]



INQUEST. - On Tuesday, at the instance of His Honor the Superintendent, an inquest was held by the Colonial Surgeon, P. Wilson, Esq., J.\P., on the body of Arthur Hasset., a discharged soldier from the 65th Regt., who died suddenly on Sunday last.  The following very judicious observations were addressed by the acting Coroner to the jury, who accordingly returned a verdict in accordance with his recommendation.

Gentlemen of the Jury - I have to make one or two observations to you as regards the matter which has now brought us together.  The subject of the inquest, Arthur Hasset, was long affected by two diseases, both, generally, experienced to be incurable, to wit, inveterate ulceration of the fauces and throat, and aneurismal affection of the large vessel leading from the heart, or, not unlikely, disease of that important organ itself.  On account of these diseases rendering him utterly unfit for military duty he was discharged from the army some months ago. The death, therefore, cannot be otherwise considered in my opinion - and I say so advisedly, for he was for months under my medical care - than as proceeding from natural morbid causes, and some such is the verdict I would recommend to you.

    I may further observe, in conclusion, that on the occurrence of such cases of death, where previous serious disease has so clearly  demonstrated, it were well that the medical attendant, or medical opinion were consulted, previous to the summoning of an inquest, as such formal assemblage in a great majority of cases  would be obviated.


FEARFUL ACCIDENT. - On Thursday last whilst the maories were thrashing wheat at Moturoa, a lad named Ratana, in attempting to free the connecting rod of the machine of loose straw, was caught by the sleeve of his shirt, and before the machine could be stopped he received such frightful in juries to the skull that the Colonial Surgeon at once pronounced his recovery hopeless.




CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Saturday morning an in quest was held by T. Connell, Esq., Coroner, on the body of the infant child of Mr. W. Small, of Stoke.  It appeared from evidence, that, on the preceding day, which was unusually bleak and windy, the parents came to town in the morning, bringing the deceased (a boy of only two months old) with them.  Nothing particular was remarked about the child, excepting that, shortly before the parents left town, it began to cry violently.  The mother took it to her breast; and as the dusk of evening was approaching, the party proceeded homewards in the cart.  About half a-mile from town, however, the mother was alarmed at finding the child struggling violently; and she stopped the cart and took the infant into a cottage by the roadside, when, to her dismay, she found that the child was dead.  Medical assistance was summoned, but was unavailing.  The evidence of the medical witnesses went to prove that death resulted from congestion of the brain, caused by exposure to the cold; and the jury returned a verdict accordingly.


COLONIST, 3 June 1859


INQUEST. - The William Small inquest; slightly more detailed evidence.



MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT. - A boat accident resulting in the death of four young men occurred on Sunday evening, May 18th.  It seems that the deceased Clement Gimbel, John Milner, William Ducrow, and John Marratt, together with the survivor, James Horne, had walked over in the morning to the Tamaki, for the purpose of brining up to tone the sailing boat, Good Friday, belonging to some of the party.  They left the Tamaki late in the afternoon, and when about half a mile on this side of the Tamaki beacon, and a mile from the shore, the boat was struck by a sudden squall and capsized.  At the time of the accident the boat was on her second tack, standing in for the shore, which they were endeavouring to make before the squall should reach them.  Two of the party seem immediately to have struck out for the shore, but the survivor, Horne, clung to the stern, which was the only part of the boat above water, till he had thrown off his coat.  He had previously, from fear of some accident, taken his boots off likewise, and probably owed his life to this precaution.

   On leaving the boat Gimbel and Marrat were ahead, swimming, but being encumbered with their clothes, they could not swim as fast as Horne, who soon passed them.  When near the shore he heard one of them behind sing out "oh James," and on turning round he could see neither of them; the boat likewise had disappeared.  He succeeded in reaching a reef of rocks, on which he walked some distance, and then swam off to the main land.  Some little distance from where he reached the shore he arrived at a Native camp, and gave the natives, as well as he could, to understand what had happened.  They stripped him, rubbed him, and rolled him in blankets; and he remained there for the night.

   The boat we understand, belonged to Gimbel and Marratt, who were both carpenters, and had built her themselves.  Milner and Ducrow were shopmen at Rattray's in the Crescent.  The latter was understood to be an expert swimmer, and had, we are informed, saved several lives in Sydney harbour.  As Horne was leaving the boat he heard a voice calling out to "hold on by the hatches," but he saw no more of Ducrow and Milner, and is uncertain whether they staid by the boat or attempted top follow him.  The accident happened just about dusk.

   The whole of the party were quite young - two of them indeed boys - and they have left many relatives and friends to deplore their loss. - Southern Cross.







Before I proceed to the other cases in the calendar, I feel it my duty to advert to one other matter connected with the prison.  A Coroner's Inquest and deposition have been returned into the Supreme Court respecting the death in the gaol of a person named John Rush.  It appears besides some other irregularities in the proceedings, that this anomalous state of things has arisen.  A gentleman, with respect to whose competency and character I can have no doubt, discharges, it would appear, the double duties of Coroner for the district, and Surgeon to the gaol.  The prisoner in question, after exhibiting some symptoms of illness, died very suddenly, the surgeon having been sent for, but not having arrived in time, an inquest was held, at which the Surgeon-Coroner presided, and the Jury, without having any evidence of medical witnesses, or any testimony as to the cause of death before them, found a verdict to the effect that the deceased had died from natural causes.  Now, ...



Depositions have been returned to the Court against a man named Peter Osteen, who has been committed for trial for the wilful murder of James Clarke.  The case is one of the extreme importance, and deserves the most careful investigation; but it appears that on account of the absence of a material witness, it will be impossible to bring the case before you on the present occasion.  I regret the unavoidable delay.  I cannot doubt that the necessary steps will be taken to prevent the frustration of justice.


Wednesday, 15th June, 1859.


Prisoner was charged with wilful murder of James Clarke, supposed to have been committed on or about the 15th June 1858.

   The Crown Prosecutor intimated that he was not prepared to go on with this case, in con sequence of the absence of a material witness.

   Mr. BUNNY, who appeared for the Prisoner, applied to the Court to have Osteen discharged out of custody.

   HIS HONOR said that the prisoner was committed to take his trial at the present sittings of the Supreme Court; and that if the trial was not proceeded with, he would be compelled to discharge the prisoner; he might, however, be again convicted in the Police Court, in which case his trial would come on next session.

   Proclamation was then made, and the prisoner discharged out of custody; after which he was again apprehended by the police.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Tuesday, the 21st inst. an inquest was held by the request of C. D. R. Ward, Esq., Visiting Justice, at the Lunatic Asylum, Karori, before G. D. Monteith, Esq., Coroner, and a respectable Jury, on view of the body of James Hales, a lunatic confined in the Asylum. From the evidence it appeared that deceased was admitted into the Asylum on the 18th February in a state of mental aberration; that on the 4th May he was seized with convulsions arising from the secretion of fluid into one of the ventricles of the brain.  Mortification of the back and hips commenced about the 14th May, from which time he gradually sank, and died on the evening of the 19th June.  A report having been circulated that deceased had died from want of sufficient nourishment, a post mortem examination was made by Dr. Johnston.  From his evidence, it appeared that in his opinion deceased had not received adequate nourishment during his illness, but he could not say that Hales' death had been accelerated by the want of it.  Several other witnesses were examined, and after a patient investigation, the Jury returned the following verdict viz.: - "That deceased, James Hales, died from natural causes." 

   The Jury also animadverted severely upon the manner in which the establishment is conducted under the charge of the resident medical attendant.




(To the Editor of the WELLINGTON INDEPENDENT.)

Lunatic Asylum, Karori, June 26, 1859.

DEAR SIR, - I beg leave to enclose a letter addressed to A. Johnston, Esq., Surgeon, in reference to the inquest lately held at the Asylum.  As you will observe that a further enquiry will be requested by me.  I trust you will find a corner for its insertion in your next issue, so that the feelings of the public may if possible be calmed, ere the press has rendered it impossible.  I am, &c. FREDERICK J. KNOX.

(Letter to A. Johnston, Esq., Surgeon,)

Guilford Terrace, June 26, 1859.

DEAR SIR, - You must be well aware that the newspaper report of your evidence in the case of Hales, cannot be allowed to remain without a searching enquiry, and I now address you merely to pout you in possession of a few facts of which you are of course  ignorant.

   The patient was placed under my care on the 18th February last, and on the 4th May fatal cerebral symptoms appeared, from which period until his death, on 18th June, he required to be fed like an infant by the attendant - all the secretions were passed in bed.

   The state of the body, after death, appeared to me anything but emaciated, and the empty state of the bowels was to be expected from an aperient having been administered about 4 o'clock, p.m., on Sunday producing large repeated evacuations.

   I fear you allowed yourself to be influenced, as most of the Jury were, by Hendle's report, and I think the Coroner ought to have allowed me to cross-examine, before the verdict was put on record.

   The verdict as it now stands is no verdict, as if Hales died of starvation, I say that he died of the most unnatural cause, and that in a country overflowing with good things, and in an institution where no limit as to medical comforts exists.  I a, &c., FREDERICK J. KNOX.



FATAL ACCIDENT. - Information was received in town on Thursday of the death of a German named Klincker, who, while engaged, on Tuesday last, under Mr. Hadenfelt, the contractor, on clearing the road to the Wairau through the Big Bush, was struck by a large dead tree, which suddenly fell amongst the workmen, and which killed Klincker on the spot.  The body of the unfortunate man was conveyed to his residence in the Waimea Village, where a coroner's inquest will be held upon him.


COLONIST, 5 July 1859



AN inquest was held at the Lutheran Church, Waimea East, before T. Connell, Esq., coroner, on the body of Frederick Klinckman, who was killed in the Big Bush, by the falling of a tree on Tuesday last.

   The jury consisted of the following persons:- Paul Spanger, J. Sigglekow, B. Lines, C. Fencker, H. Ewes, H. Fanselow, W. Jerssop, C. Schwass, F. Schroder, W. Win, A. Schroder, F. Kelling, foreman.

   John Hadenfeldt, sworn: I reside at the Moutere.  I knew the deceased.  His death occurred on the 28th June last, between three and four o'clock in the afternoon, at about 100 yards from where I was standing.  At that time, there were two men chopping at a dry tree, felling it.  Before they had cut through, the tree fell the contrary was from that they were trying to fall it.  They called out several times "look out, look out."  When I looked I saw a man in the direction which the tree took.  When the tree was down, I did not see him.  I ran to the spot, and saw deceased lying senseless.  The tree had struck him on the head, and afterwards broke into pieces.  He breathed a few times, and I started away to bring word of the accident to Nelson.  He was not actually dead when I left, but I saw he was dying.

   By the jury: The tree was about a foot thick, and was cut not quite half through.  I did not see if both men were chopping sat the same side of the tree.  They used axes only.  I don't consider felling with axes more dangerous than with saws.  The tree stood on the side of the hill, and the men endeavoured to fall it against the hill, but it feel sideways.

   By the Coroner: The place where this accident occurred was about five and a half mikes through the Big Bush, Wairau, between David Kerr's and the Top House.

   John Slade, sworn (Mr. Kelling acting as interpreter): Was present at the death of F. Klinckman.  Was about half a chain distant when he was killed.  A man of the name of Mike was falling a tree, and before it began to fall, he (Mike Springer) called out to look out, for the tree would fall.  Deceased and another man were standing together.  They both ran; deceased fell.  He ran in a different direction from the other man.  His foot caught in a fallen branch and tripped him. The tree then struck him.  I saw the tree fall on his head.  With the exception of one branch the tree leaned towards the wood.  Deceased lived about twenty minutes after the blow.  He never recovered consciousness, nor spoke afterwards.

   Michael Springer, sworn: Was present when Frederick Klinckman was killed by the fall of a tree.  I had been falling it.  It was a dry tree, and fell sooner than I expected, and along the road.  I called out, as is customary.  I saw Klinckman run when I called.  He caught his foot in a b ranch and fell.  When I called out Klinckman was chopping at a small tree.

   The jury returned a verdict, "That's Frederick Kinckman met his death from an accident by the falling of a tree in the Big Bush."



SUICIDE. - It is our painful duty to report the following melancholy circumstance.  Mr. Benjamin Buck, of the Hutt, Surgeon, put an end to his existence yesterday morning, by cutting his throat with a dissecting knife, about 8 o'clock yesterday morning.  It appeared that deceased had got up at his usual hour and sat down to partake of his breakfast, when soon after his servant had left the room she heard something fall, and when she went into the room she found him weltering in his blood.  It appears from what we have gathered that deceased had been for some time in low spirits.  The deceased having been Coroner of the district, an Inquest will be holden on his body, by the Magistrates on Wednesday next.  Deceased was much respected, and leaves considerable property.




An inquest was held on Wednesday last, at the Hutt, before Henry St. Hill, Esquire, Resident Magistrate, there being no coroner for the District of the Hutt, on view of the body of Benjamin Buck, then and there laying dead.  The following evidence was adduced:-

   Daniel Rich deposed, - I have been living with Dr. Buck, now deceased, for the last four months as his servant; about half past eight o'clock on last Monday morning, the deceased was in the passage of his house, as I passed from the kitchen to the back door; nothing passed from either of us; I did not again see the deceased alive.  About 20 minutes to ten o'clock on that morning, I heard two groans proceeding from the parlour; I then saw deceased laying on his face on the ground; I saw his leg move at that time; I called a person named William Cocking, who was at that time in the kitchen; Cocking went in and took hold of the collar of the coat of deceased, and exclaimed, "Doctor, what's the matter with you?"  I remained standing at the door; Cocking called out, "he has either cut his throat or broken a blood vessel," and he desired me to go for a doctor; I went for Dr. Boor at once; Dr. Boor arrived at the house before I returned.  Deceased was absent from home about five or six weeks lately; he returned home about three weeks ago.  Deceased was in the habit of drinking a good deal, ands at times appeared very tipsey; I have not observed him tipsy since his return home, but he has been drinking a good deal, for I have assisted him in taking whisky twice from a cask in the store room; I should say he has taken a pint or a quart each time from the cask; I heard him walking about during the night; during the time that I have lived with the deceased, I have never known him to go on in the same way that he did on Sunday last.

   William Cocking corroborated the evidence of last witness, and deposed, we lifted the deceased up out of the blood, and I then saw the knife now on the table under the deceased's arm; the knife was bloody all over; deceased groaned two or three times after Mr. Wilson and I had removed the body out of the blood; I have known the deceased for about five years, I have seen a good deal of him lately; I was in conversation with him last Saturday and Sunday also.  There was nothing particular about him on Saturday, but on Sunday he talked rather strangely to me, and it struck me at the time that there was something wrong about him; I told Mr. Corbett on Monday morning, before I went to the house of deceased, that I thought he was not quite right in his mind.

   Ann Maria Bovey, deposed: I have been living as housekeeper with Dr. Buck deceased for about four months; he has been in very low spirits since his return from the Ahuriri.  He deceased has not drunk so much since his return from the Ahuriri as he did before, but the last two or three days \before his death, he has been drinking very freely.

   Several other witnesses deposed as to the deceased's habits, and low state of mind that the deceased had been for some time labouring under.

   The jury, which were composed of the principal settlers of the Hutt, came to the conclusion, that the deceased Benjamin Buck, while in a grievous disease of body, being delirious, and out of his mind did commit suicide.



DEATH BY DROWNING. - We regret to have to announce a fatal accident which occurred to Mr. Maddison, late of the "Clyde," and formerly of the "Raven."  During the gale on Saturday, he was engaged, with two others, in carrying out an anchor and warp from the former vessel, which was lying alongside the wharf, when the dingy sunk at about fifty yards from the vessel.  His companions escaped by swimming, one of them - Mr. Ellis - with great difficulty; but deceased sank immediately, and his body was not recovered till after the lapse of half an hour, by means of the police drags.  An inquest was held the same evening at the Metropolitan Hotel, when a verdict of accident death was returned.


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 30 July 1859


CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held at the Chaucer Tavern, on Monday the 25th inst., before T. Hitchings, Esq., coroner, and a jury, on the body of William Davis, which was discovered on Monday morning last, by some natives, on the mud flats opposite Onepoto.  The jury (Captain Charlton foreman), having viewed the body, which was too far advanced in decomposition to be identified, save by the clothes, the following evidenced was adduced:-

   Ann Davis, wife of deceased, - I identify the body as that of my husband, William Davis, whom I saw last in good health before 3 o'clock on the 1st of July.

   John Henry Sebley, publican, - I saw Davis last on the 1st of July; he came to my house on the evening of that day, and had several glasses of drink.  I did not remonstrate with him about going across in a boat, as his mate was with him.  I have seen Davis start to go across more drunk than he was on the night in question.

   By the foreman: - He was, in my opinion, quite capable of taking care of himself.  He left the house by himself; after he had left, his mate went after him.  I do not know whether he went straight to the boat or not.  His mate took Mr. Richardson's boat to go after him.

   Henry Groom, constable, - On Friday the 1st of July Davis was playing cards and drinking with some soldiers at Mr. Sebley's.  About 8 o'clock he left the house and went towards the Royal Hotel.  I went there about twenty minutes after he left Mr. Sebley's.  I heard him in a boat talking at random, and I heard a splash in the water which I supposed was an oar.  I came back to Mr. Sebley's and said to his mate he had better go and look after him.  I heard no cry or gurgling sound.   Cox and I were not drinking together that evening.  I saw Davis leave the house, and would have trusted myself with him in a boat.  I think he was in a condition to row himself home.  I and Cox went to Munn's that evening to have a glass of grog together.  I am no judge whether a man with one oar could get across.  I and the persons with me said "There goes an oar," when we heard the splash.  I heard Davis singing just before I heard the splash, and then it suddenly ceased and I heard no sound from him afterwards.

    By the foreman, - I never told Mr. Charlton or Mr. Richardson that I heard a splash and a gurgling sound; I told them that I supposed, when I heard the splash, that he had fallen overboard and would not recover himself.

   James Swain, laborer, - I saw deceased last on the night of the 1st July, at 3 o'clock.  I had not been in his company.  I saw him untying a boat at Munn's wharf.  He was very drunk indeed; he was not in a fit state to row across the harbour, and I told him so; he persisted in going.  There was no one present but myself.  About a quarter of an hour afterwards, Groom Cox, and Munn's cook came up.  I stood on the wharf - all this time expecting some accident.  After he left I heard deceased call out until I heard a splash, when I immediately told Groom and the others that it was caused by his falling overboard, after which I heard no more noise.  About twenty minutes after I saw a boat drifting.  There was a boat at the wharf belonging to Mr. Richardson, and as I did not know anything about a boat or the water, I did not take it.  About an hour afterwards, Mr. Richardson's boat was taken by another party, but went in the wrong direction.  I believe Groom came down to look after Davis.  Deceased had no drink at Mr. Munn's.  I do not think that an oar falling overboard would make such a noise as the one we heard.  It was nearly high water.

   By the Coroner, - None of us attempted to take a boat or render any assistance, although we thought he had fallen overboard.

   The Coroner animadverted strongly upon the culpable indifference and neglect of four able-bodied men in not making an attempt to save a man whom they thought had fallen overboard, although there was a boat at hand.

   The jury returned a verdict - of "accidentally drowned," but added, as a rider, that "it is the unanimous opinion of the jury that the death of William Davis might have been prevented had due diligence been taken in rendering assistance, by Henry Groom, James Swain, Robert Cox, and Mann's cook, a foreigner - the parties who heard him, according to the evidence, fall into the water."  And the Coroner is requested to publish the decision of the jury in the "HAWKE'S BAY HERALD."


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 6 August 1859


INQUEST. - It will be recollected that, two or three publications since, we chronicled the supposed death by drowning of a private in the 65th, named Jeremiah Dickson.  The body was found on the morning of Monday last, in the mud flats nearly opposite the residence of Mr. Catchpool.  The same day an inquest was held upon it at the Bird in Hand, before Thos. Hitchings, Esq., the coroner, and a jury.  The evidence was to the effect that deceased had been drinking during the day of the 3rd of July, but that he was at his quarters in the evening.  He left, however, with the view of bringing the boat of Lieut. Buck (whose servant he was) from opposite Mr. Munn's to Onepoto, and never returned.  Next morning the dingy was found, with one of the sculls and one of the thowle pins gone.  The jury returned a verdict of "found drowned."


COLONIST, 9 August 1859

The Kite & Gibbs case; see also the Editorial comment.



WIFE DESERTION. - William Kite, of Richmond, who was at that time detained in the custody of the police until the Coroner's jury, sitting on the body of Gibbs, at Richmond, had given their verdict, was brought before the worthy Magistrate to answer an information laid by his wife, whom he had deserted, leaving seven children in her charge.  The case being proved, the defendant was ordered to make a weekly payment of 12s.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 10 August 1859


CORONER'S INQUEST.  - An inquest was held yesterday at the house of Mr. Henry Brown, Waimea East, on the body of Thomas Brown, of Branch Valley, who was accidentally drowned by falling into a well at his father's house.  The evidence showed that the child was playing with his brothers and sisters, all very young, and that one of them having raised the lid with covered a hole in the well-cap, had forgotten to shut it down, and the deceased fell in without its being perceived by the others until after a lapse of about fifteen minutes, when, on his father going out for him, the melancholy accident was discovered.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."


OTAGO WITNESS, 13 August 1859


MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT. - We have to record a melancholy and fatal accident which occurred between 10 and 11 o'clock on Wednesday evening last, by which Richard Petrie, captain of the "Avondale," lost his life.  An inquest was held on the body on Thursday, and from the evidence adduced, it appears that the deceased, who was coming to Dunedin in the "New Era," fell overboard and was drowned.  The "Pirate" that afternoon had towed the "Avondale" insides the Heads, and the deceased elated with the successful termination of his voyage, had apparently indulged rather freely.  On coming on board the "New Era" he was tipsy, and laid down to sleep.  When he awoke he felt very sick, and rose and went on deck.  Mr. Mills followed him, and asked the captain of the "New Era" if he had a life-buoy on board, and being answered in the affirmative, Mr. Mills returned to his seat in the cabin.  He did not know what had prompted him to pout that question, but he had scarcely sat down when the cry was given that deceased was overboard.  He had gone close to the rail, which is 2 ½ feet high, and losing his balance, fell over into the water.  The life-buoy was immediately thrown to him, and he was shouted to to lay hold of it, but did not appear to see it.  Singularly enough, the body never sunk, but from the difficulty of speedily turning the steamer, it being a screw, some 15 to 20 minutes elapsed before the vessel reached the body, which ion being taken from the water, life was apparently extinct.  Efforts were made to resuscitate, but they were of no \avail.  All steam was put on, and the steamer reached Dunedin in an hour after, when Dr. Burns was immediately called, who applied the remedies used in such cases, but without the least success.

   The witnesses were agreed, that if there had been a boat attached to the steamer, the deceased could have been picked up in two or three minutes after he \fell overboard.  The Jury gave a verdict of "Accidental death," and strongly recommended that both steamers should have a small boat attached. [Continues.]



Long editorial on the Gibbs case at Richmond.


 LYTTELTON TIMES, 7 September 1859


An in quest was held on Wednesday last, 31st ult., at Cameron's Hotel, Saltwater Creek, on the body of Frederick Fox, who was drowned on the Monday previous while attempting to cross the creek on horseback at high water, which on that and the last few days had risen to an unusual height.  The principal facts elicited were to the effect that deceased, in company with another man, one Sam Orchard, on coming at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon to the ford, cooied, and immediately putting spurs to his horse plunged into the water.  The horse went on a few paces until out of his depth, when he bottomed, and on coming up, reared, and fell backwards precipitating Fox into the current.  His comrade who had been behind passed, swimming his horse, as Fox fell, and called out to him to lay hold.  Fox, however, failed to do so, and was last seen trying to keep afloat in the stream.  When Orchard attempted to swim his horse to come to the rescue, he also was thrown into the current and was forced to swim for his life.  Fox in the meantime had disappeared and was not seen again till Tuesday morning, when, after the river had all night been dragged, his body was recovered close to the scene of the accident.  The jury returned a verdict of "accidental death."


LYTTELTON TIMES, 10 September 1859


We regret to have to place on record a case of determined suicide, which occurred in Christchurch, in a public room at the White Hart Hotel, on Wednesday.  The unhappy victim of his own rashness was one Henry Fleetwood, a medical man by profession and a late arrival in the colony, having landed in this port in the Roscoe on her last trip from Newcastle, N.S.W.  Dr. Fleetwood had announced his intention of commencing to practice in Christchurch, and had at first formed a partnership with Dr. Gregson, Surgeon of the Mary Ann passenger ship, which was, however, lately cancelled.  Dr. Fleetwood had been in Lyttelton for some days, and was married here so late as Saturday last.  He went over the hill on Wednesday morning with his wife, left her at Rule's boarding house, proceeded towards the White Hart, and had a quarter of an hour's conference on business with Mr. W. Thomson, and afterwards with Mr. Duncan the Solicitor.  This business, as appeared at the inquest, was of an unpleasant nature, involving some charges of fraud against him, but the evidence given did not show that he was under any visible excitement during the discussion.

   Shortly afterwards, between 12 an d 1, several persons in one of the rooms of the White Hart saw him come in, ask a person present to have something to drink, then take a tumbler from the table, wash it out, put a little powder into it, fill it with water from a jug on the mantle-piece, and then drink the mixture off.  Soon after, he said 'I have done it, 'and that he had taken eight grains of strychnine, but was not at once believed.  Dr. Murphy threw the paper containing the remains of the powder into the fire, and the waiter threw the tumbler out of the window.  A message was then sent to Hillborne's, the chemist, for some Tartar emetic, some of which was administered.  Several doctors were also sent for and Dr. Fisher and Dr. Hillson came, but without effect; the unhappy man displayed all the fearful symptoms of the poison, and expired in about twenty minutes from taking the draught.  Dr. Murphy, who had been present, deposed to some of the above facts and gave his opinion as a Doctor of Medicine as to the state of the deceased's mind, having known him a short time previously, stating that he had been cheerful though subject to occasional fits of tremor and nervousness, which did not proceed from drink.  Dr. Gregson, also, with whom deceased had been a short time in partnership,  said that he had supplied him with the strychnine a month ago; both were in the habit of administering it in practice, the dose being the twenty-fourth part of a grain.  Half a grain might in some constitutions produce a fatal result; four grains would be certain death.  Nothing in deceased's manner had led him to think that he was of insane mind or manifested a suicidal tendency.  Mrs. Fleetwood, the newly married wife and widow, also gave evidence as to deceased's state of health, stating that once before hen had threatened to commit suicide, but she believed him to be in jest.  On Sunday morning he was very ill, but afterwards recovered completely.  The inquest commenced on Wednesday and was finished on Thursday, when, the Coroner having summed up shortly, then jury - one of the most respectable which we have ever seen gathered for such a purpose - after consultation, returned through their foreman, Mr. William Wilson, a verdict of felo de se.




BODY FOUND. - Yesterday morning a native named Levi discovered the body of a man in Porirua Harbor.  His feet were imbedded in the sand and the body, which was very much decomposed, was swaying with the waves.  It has been identified as that of a sawyer living at Pahautanui, who has been missing for nearly three weeks.  The body was immediately removed to a cottage of Mrs. Bowler's, where it awaits an inquest. [William Prior.]



On Friday, 9th September, an inquest was held at the Highland Home, before R. Barton, Esq., J.P., who presided as coroner, assisted by W. L. Buller, Esq., as interpreter, on the body of a Maori girl, who was supposed to have died from the effects of taking a decoction if the tutu bark.  On Monday afternoon last, after the jury had been sworn, and Mr. Dew chosen as foreman, they proceeded to the Fern Ground, to view the body; and on their names being called over on their return, and W. L. Buller, Esq., being  sworn as interpreter, the following evidence was adduced:-

   A Maori, named Bennett, deposed: The deceased girl was my niece, and I had taken care of her from a child; some time since I took her to Otaki, and put her to school, from whence I brought her back to my own home; a few weeks since I discovered she had formed an amorous attachment whilst at school, and was angry at her so doing, and told her she should not have done it without first consulting me; after which she became very melancholy, and often complained of pains in the breast, but there was nothing in her manner to cause me to think she contemplated self-destruction.

   On Monday last I took my breakfast with the deceased, and then went to my work, a short distance from the house, and returned at mid-day and had my dinner, which she had prepared for me, and again went to my work.  In the course of the afternoon she came to where I was at work, and sat down near me, but did not say anything or make any remark; I had occasion to go into the house, and on my return found she had gone from where I had left her, and on looking about saw her at a little distance off, apparently on her hands and knees; I went to her and found her face was immersed in a pool of water, and on lifting her up discovered she was dead.

   I called a man named Whitehead, who was at work, who came and we rook her into the house; when there I saw several strips of the tut bark on the floor, and in a vessel saw some which had been boiled.  The witness Whitehead having corroborated the above, with the exception of differing as to the  depth of water in the pool, one stating it to be only about two inches deep, and the other that the water, as the deceased lay upon her face, came up to the back of the head, covering the ears.  In the absence of medical testimony, or any decided proof as to the cause of death, the jury, after half an hour's deliberation, returned a verdict of "Found drowned."





AN Inquest was held at Mr. Henry London's, Porirua Harbour, on Saturday last, at 2 p.m., on the body of one William Prior, which had been discovered two days previously floating near the shore of the harbour.  The following is a short report of the proceedings.

   Before BINGHAM A. FERARD, Esq., a Resident magistrate, and one of the Justices of the Peace for the Colony of New Zealand: and a jury consisting of Messrs. James Mitchell (foreman); Charles D. de Castro, William Benson, James Hindlsey Bromley, Joseph Browner, Henry London, James Browne, Thomas Floyd, Robert Walker, Nathaniel Bartlett, Philip Roberts, Peter Valler.

   JOHN BARTLETT, a laborer living at Porirua Harbour, deposed to having received information from two natives on the preceding Thursday, that the body of a man was floating in Porirua harbour.  Accompanied by his two inform ants, and another native whom he met on the way, he repaired to the spot indicated, and found the corpse which the jury had just viewed lying, back uppermost, on the water.  They brought it ashore and conveyed it to an unoccupied cottage on Mrs. Bowler's premises.  Witness could not identify the body; the head was in a mutilated state, most of the flesh having decomposed and fallen off, and the skin hanging loose at the back of the skull; some of the teeth were also wanting.  Witness did not examine the pockets of deceased, nor did his companions; he had seen a European pass his cottage on the Sunday fortnight before in company with a native named Mokana.  The native remained at the cottage; his companion went on alone.

   ROWAI having been called, and  sworn through the interpretation of Mr. W. L. Buller, stated - that on the Thursday last, about mid-day, he was travelling along the beach of Porirua Harbour, in company with Mihaka.  He observed something floating in the water, and taking it for a dead fish directed his friend's attention  to it; went up to the spot and found the corpse now lying in Mrs. Bowler's outhouse; it was floating with the back uppermost a few yards from the shore.  He suggested to his companion that they should not touch it before communicating the discovery to some white man, lest they should be suspected of robbing the pockets; went accordingly to the cottage of Mrs. Bowler, and informed her of what they had seen. A half-caste girl went with them to the house of John Bartlett, and accompanied b y Bartlett they returned to the spot; he assisted to lift the body out of the water, and it was subsequently placed in a cart.  The body appeared to have been a long time in the water; from its position when found he inferred that it must have been floating about the harbour; had it been there long it must have been seen before.

   DAVID CLARK, a sawyer, residing at Pahautanui, was next called.  He identified the body, which he and the jury had just viewed, as that of William Prior; he last saw deceased on last Sunday fortnight; he parted company with him about three or four o'clock that day near to Mr. McGarth's, at Bromley's ferry; they had been to Bromley's public house together and each had two glasses of porter; deceased was sober when he came out of Brimley's but the air seemed to take effect  on him, and he appeared "rather in liquor"; they parted good friends; he left deceased lying in a flax bush; he proceeded along the beach and met several persons and con versed with them, but not being quite compos mentis himself at the time, he could not distinctly recollect who the parties were or what passed between them; he had not seen deceased alive afterwards; deceased was a young man, and had been a sailor; he had been in the neighbourhood of Porirua for about three months, and had recently been living with witness; he had come to live with him in order to learn sawing; all the property he had when witness parted with him was a knife and some tobacco; he had noticed that deceased had lost one or two of his teeth.

   JOHN BELMONT, having been sworn, stated - that he is a sailor by profession, and is now living at Motukaraka; he knew the deceased; they had been comrades; last Sunday fortnight deceased left his home and went in the  direction of Bromley's ferry; on the following Sun day finding that deceased had not returned he went in search of him, but could not find him; he had lived in his company for four months, and had observed nothing in him to indicate unsoundness of mind; he had never noticed that his front teeth were out, and though his impression was to the contrary he could not swear to it.

   MOHI HAEHAE, the last witness, deposed to having seen the deceased on the evening of last Sunday fortnight after sunset; he met him on the beach of Porirua Harbour, between Bartlett's and Mrs. Bowler's; he was alone and was evidently  drunk; he reeled as he walked and tumbled once, but rose to his feet again; the place where he fell was very stony, but witness could not see whether he hurt himself or not; they passed each other without speaking; the coat of the deceased was buttoned up and his clothes generally appeared just as they are at present.

   The CORONER then asked the jury if they were prepared to consider their verdict; and on the foreman mentioning the absence of teeth from the upper jaw as a suspicious circumstances, he (the Coroner) assured them of his readiness to adjourn the inquest, and in the meanwhile to order a post mortem examination of the body; but after some further consideration and discussion the following verdict was recorded:-

   "That the  said William Prior was on the 22nd  day of September last, found dead in the  waters of Porirua Harbour, within the Province of Wellington, in the Colony of New Zealand; that the  said William  Prior was last seen in a state of intoxication on the road running along the shore of Porirua Harbour; and that the said William Prior had no marks of violence appearing on his body; but how or by what means he came by his death, no evidence thereof doth appear to the said jurors."




CORONER'S INQUEST. - A coroner's inquest was held at Motupipi, last week, H. G. Gouland, Esq., on the body of a lad, of six years of age, the son of Mr. Nichol, of the Motupipi saw mill.  The evidence showed that the lad was accidentally drowned while crossing the Motupipi river in a canoe; and a verdict in accordance therewith was returned.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 15 October 1859


We have to record this week the death of James Greig [Gregg], a well known old COLONIST, first of Nelson, and afterwards of this province from its foundation.  He died suddenly on Tuesday morning at his house at Riccarton.  An inquest was as usual held on Thursday, but was adjourned to obtain medical evidence as to the cause of death. ...


LYTTELTON TINES, 19 October 1859


An inquest was held on Thursday, the 13th inst. at the Plough Inn, Riccarton, before Dr. Donald, coroner for the district, and a respectable jury, of whom Mr. Joyce was foreman, to investigate the circumstances connected with the death of Mr. James Gregg, of Riccarton.  The inquest was at first held with closed doors on account of the suspicions which had been excited with reference to the event.

   The substance of the evidence taken was to the effect that on the previous Monday evening (October 10th) Mr. Gregg returned from Christchurch in good health and spirits, and went to bed as cheerful as usual about 10 o'clock.  In the night he was seized with violent vomiting and purging which continued till morning, when he was so ill that on once getting out of bed he was unable to get in again.  Mrs. Gregg then summoned the farm servant, Edmund Langstreth, who slept in the house, to her assistance, and together they assisted him to return to bed.  Langstreth then went to Christchurch for Dr. Fisher, who usually attended deceased, and who came up about 9 o'clock.  Deceased was by that time speechless, though sensible.  Dr. Fisher considered the case to be hopeless, bur left with a promise of some medicine, and in the meantime sent up some brandy from the nearest public house.  Langstreth waited in Christchurch for the medicine and took it up, but almost before it arrived, about 10 a.m. on Tuesday, life was extinct.  There was no one about the house besides Mrs. Gregg and Langstreth, from the time of Gregg's return on Monday evening till his death, except the doctor, and a man named Cox, who accidentally passed in the morning and was called in by Mrs. Gregg.

   The inquest was adjourned from Thursday till Saturday, to admit of a post-mortem examination of the body, and a chemical analysis of the contents of the stomach, which was made by Drs. Fisher and Turnbull.

   On Saturday, when the inquest re-assembled, the evidence of Dr. Fisher, Dr. Turnbull, and the man Cox was taken more fully, and Archdeacon Mathias deposed to the result of his visit to Mrs. Gregg after the death of her husband.  Mrs. Gregg herself (the usual caution \ having been given by the Coroner), and Langstreth were examined also; the general purport of the whole being to establish the facts as above given. 

   The material point was contained in the report of Drs. Fisher and Turnbull upon the analysis of the stomach and contents, which was read to the jury.  The report specified the secretions which had been discovered, the tests which had been applied to them and the results obtained; and concluded by affirming that there was not the slightest doubt as to the presence of arsenious acid (the preparation generally sold in shops and known by the name of arsenic) in quantities sufficient to cause death.  No other symptom was found which indicated disease.  The time which must have elapsed between the administration of the poison and the moment of death was stated as not less than four hours nor more than eight hours.

   The inquest was adjourned till Saturday next, the 22nd instant, for the porpoise of obtaining further evidence as to the administration  of the poison; and in the meantime Christina Gregg, the wife, and Edmund Langstreth, the servant of the deceased, were arrested and placed in custody as suspected persons.



Letter from Dr. Philson re the death of John Murphy at the Provincial Hospital. [Inquest.] ...

A fatal accident recently took place near Auckland, which has given rise to a great many strictures on the present organization of the medical staff of the province.  A lad of the name of Murphy, whilst riding a young horse on the Otahuhu road, came into collision with a dog-cart, and suffered a comminuted fracture of the bones of the leg, just below the knee.  He was carried to the Hospital, and died there three weeks after the accident. [Critical editorial comment follows re Dr. Philson and the inquest.]


LYTTELTON TIMES, 26 October 1859



   The inquest upon the body of James Gregg, the victim of arsenic, as shown in evidence at the previous inquiry, was resumed on Saturday, at the Plough Inn, Riccarton, before Dr. Donald and the same jury.

   Edmund Langstreth, one of the persons in custody, was recalled and examined after being cautioned.  He out in a written statement, denying any knowledge of an attempt upon the life of deceased, but acknowledging a criminal intimacy with Mrs. Gregg.  The remainder of his statement was occupied with details of the morning of the death, the main facts of which have been already described.

   Christina Gregg was also recalled.  In her additional evidence as to the particulars of her husband's death, she alleged that he had inquired after 'the powder,' and again specially for 'the cream of tartar.'  Deceased had, she said, passed a very restless night, and told her that he had taken some beer the night before which disagreed with him.  She had been told by the doctor that Gregg would not live long, and when he went off, would die suddenly.

   Arthur Bayfield, chemist, was examined as to a sale of arsenic which he had made to a man from Christchurch some months ago; but he could not identify any individual, nor recollect the circumstances very precisely,

   Peter Cameron, landlord of the Robin Hood, stated that about two months ago, deceased had taken him privately intro a room at the White Hart, and told him that he had suffered from a pain in his inside very much; that he believed something wrong had been given him, and that 'his missus' had done it.

   The evidence of John Ferguson, Mrs. Gregg's brother, and of several residents in the vicinity was taken in full as to the occurrences of the day of death; most of the accounts given being more or less contradictory with one another; the witnesses also deposed to the feeling subsisting between husband and wife.  It appeared from evidence that deceased was about 60 years of age and his wife 40.

   The Coroner, after reading over the whole of the evidence, which was minutely taken down for the satisfaction of the jury, and stating that the question as to the means of death being arsenic was fully settled by the able analysis which had been given, pointed out that the question now for decision was, as to how the poison was administered.  He then pointed out the incriminatory points in the evidence before them, and adverted to the account given in explanation by the accused.  He begged the jury to consider well the case, and return the best verdict possible.

   The jury then retired, and after some consultation returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against Christina Gregg.

   The proceedings terminated about ten o'clock at night, having lasted since early on the afternoon.  The room was crowded with people during the whole time.  Mrs. Gregg has been removed to Lyttelton gaol, to abide her trial at the approaching session of the Supreme Court, on the 18th December.  Edmund Langstreth, though not affected by the verdict of the jury, remains under detention.


COLONIST, 28 October 1859

DEATH FROM FIRE. - It will be remembered that a little more than a fortnight ago a female named Quayle was discovered in the fire place of her house in Collingwood-street by a neighbor, and was so desperately burnt that the medical officers gave but little hopes of recovery.  The opinion had unfortunately been con firmed, for after lingering since the 11th instant, death terminated her sufferings on the afternoon of Wednesday last.  An inquest on the body will be held at the hospital at 10 o'clock this day.



His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to make the following appointments: - James MacKay, junr., to be Coroner under "the Coroner's Act, 1858," for the district of Massacre Bay; ...



CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held, yesterday, at the Nelson Hospital, before T. Connell, Esq., on the body of Mrs. Quayle, who had died, from injuries sustained by falling into the fire, the particulars of which accident were given in a previous number.  The verdict returned was to the effect that the woman had died, through falling into the fire, while in a state of intoxication.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 18 November 1859

SUDDEN DEATH. - William Crawford, late mate of the Ann Sanderson, died suddenly on Saturday evening last, whilst walking with a friend, one of the passengers of that vessel, in the vicinity of the Albert Barracks.  An inquest was held on Monday, at the Royal Hotel, when it appeared from the evidence of Capt. Barton, of the Ann Sanderson, that the deceased had been subject for some time back to palpitation of the heart, on occasion of any extraordinary exertion.  From the post mortem examination, however, and the evidence of Dr. McGauran, it appears that the proximate cause of death was apoplexy.

DEATH FROM THE FALL OF A TREE. - John Hawking, a sawyer, was killed at the Wade on Sunday morning last, by the falling of a tree, which had been set fire to by himself.  The unfortunate man had both legs crushed, and expired before it was possible to extricate him in order to do which it was necessary to cross-cut the tree.  The body was brought intro town, and at an inquest held on Monday, at the Royal Hotel, a verdict of "accidental death" was returned.




An inquest was held on the 15th instr., at the house of Mr. Scott, Rangitikei, before S. M. Curl, Esq., M.D., Coroner for the district on the body of a man found on the river bank, about a mile from the ferry.  The body being in a great state of decomposition, it is unknown at present who the man was.  The jury returned the following verdict:-

   "That the said man, to the jurors unknown, on the 13th day of November., 1859; on a certain beach situate on Rangitikei river, in the Province of Wellington, was found dead, and the said man to the jurors aforesaid unknown; as no marks of violence appearing on his body, but how, or by what means he came to his death, no evidence thereof doth appear to the s aid jurors."


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 22 November 1859

DEATH BY BURNING. - The Kate brings us intelligence from Wangarie, of the death of three men, names unknown, which occurred near that place on Wednesday night last.  It appeared that the deceased spent the night in a raupo-whare, situated between the Wangarei river and Ngururu, and that during the night the whare by some means or other caught fire.  Two out of the number were burned or suffocated; the third survived only till morning, when he was discovered, and it appears from his account that the fire arose in consequence of a lighted match having been thrown on one side by one of the party.  An inquest was held on the bodies, we believe by Sir Osborne Gibbes; but we have not ascertained what verdict has been returned.  Who the unfortunate men were, is unknown, but it is supposed that they were discharged soldiers.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 25 November 1859

THE LATE DEATHS AT WANGAREI. - We mentioned in our last the death of three men at the above settlement.  At the inquest held by Sir Osborne Gibbes, a verdict was returned to the effect that the deceased died from burning, whilst in a state of intoxication.  The Jury endeavoured but in vain, to elicit information as to whence the spirits had been obtained.  A strong feeling exists in Wangarei, we understand, as to the sly-grog selling, which is we are informed, becoming very prevalent there.


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 3 December 1859


CORONER'S INQUEST. - On the 26th ult., an in quest was held at Sherley's Hotel, Napier, before T. Hitchings, Esq., Coroner, and a jury, on the body of Josiah Joseph, a foreigner, who was cook and steward of the "Sea Serpent," brigantine, Capt. A. Blair.  It appears that the vessel sailed from this port on the 25th ult., and whilst off the Bluff, seeing a boat making for her, fired a gun, which unfortunately burst into pieces, and the poor man was killed on the spot.  The evidence adduced was to the effect that the gun was the same which was always used; was in good order, and had repeatedly been fired lately.  Moreover, it was the recognised duty of the deceased to load and fire the gun, and he had always done so; that the charge was not excessive, and no flaw had ever been suspected in it.  A piece of the gun weighing two and a half pounds was taken from the base of the skull of the deceased, after death.  The jury returned the following verdict: - "That the deceased met his death by the accidental bursting of a gun."


OTAGO WITNESS, 3 December 1859

INQUEST. - An inquest was held at the Dunedin on Wednesday last, before Edward Hulme, Esq., Coroner, and a highly respectable jury, to enquire into the cause of the death of Louisa M. Stentiford, a child of two and a half years of age.  It appeared from the evidence adduced that Benjamin Farrow was driving an empty cart along Rattray-street on Wednesday afternoon; that he was sitting on the shaft, but had reins to the horse; that the driver had his head turned to another person who was sitting on the back of the cart.  The driver was unconscious of the accident until called to stop.  The cart was going at a slow pace, and the driver was sober.  The jury, who took a considerable time to consider their verdict, brought in a verdict of "Manslaughter" against Benjamin Farrow, who was committed on the Coroner's warrant.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 7 December 1859



Adjourned to Tuesday.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 10 December 1859


The trial of Christina Gregg for murder was resumed this morning.


The case of QUEEN v. GREGG was resumed this morning.


The jury then retired, and after an absence of about half-an-hour, a period of anxious suspense to all in Court, they returned to their seats and delivered their verdict Not Guilty.

   After some necessary judicial formula had been gone through, the prisoner was then discharged and was supported out of Court by her brother and friends.



INQUEST. - An Inquest was held on Saturday last at the Aglionby Arms, Hutt, before Dr. Kebbell and a highly respectable Jury, on view of the body of a man named John Barrett, who was found dead in his bed on the morning in question.  It seemed that the deceased, who was of intemperate habits, retired to rest in a state of intoxication on the Friday evening, and that in the course of the night he was seized with a fit of apoplexy.  The Jury returned a verdict accordingly.



UPPER HUTT. - On Wednesday the 30th November the Inhabitants of the above place were alarmed by two serious accidents happening within a few hours of each other. ...With regard to the second accident we are sorry to say it has been of a more serious and even fatal nature.  It appears that Mr. Hilliard, the Storekeeper, had proceeded to the Mungaroa on business, on horseback, and on his return about 6 o'clock in the evening when nearly opposite the "Highland Home" Hotel, (where some cattle were bring driven into Mr. M'Hardie's stock yard) the horse became through some cause restive and rearing upon his hind legs overbalanced itself and fell heavily upon its rider. Mr. Hilliard on attempting to rise found himself too severely injured to do so, he was consequently lifted by several of the neighbours and Dr. Boor, of the Hutt, was immediately sent for who most promptly attended, and remained with the sufferer.  On the following day his symptoms becoming more serious and alarming a messenger was despatched to Wellington for Dr. Kebbell, who arrived as quick as his horse could bring him, but so severe was the nature of the accident that no medical skill could stop its fatal consequence. ..,.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 31 December 1859


A sudden and remarkable death occurred in this town on Wednesday morning.  Mr. James Vaux, a member of the medical profession, and sometime engaged in the service of Her Majesty's Customs in this port, was found dead in his house by a lad who called on business, early.  He was in a half kneeling position, his face resting on the bed, and the body was quite cold.  The unfortunate gentleman had lately removed into the house, which was new, and which he inhabited alone.  A coroner's inquest was held on Thursday, at which the medical evidence as to the cause of death indicated nothing but that it may have occurred from suffocation.  The verdict was 'Died by the visitation of God.'

   This has been a remarkable year for sudden deaths, accidents, and offences.

   An inquest was held yesterday, at Riccarton, before the Coroner, on the body of Joseph Richmond, who was drowned on Tuesday last, while endeavouring to cross the Rakaia.  The evidence adduced showed that the deceased, who had a horse with him, had been put across the river from the north side, by Dunsford's man, in the punt; and that a quarter-of-an-hour afterwards, when the punt had re-crossed, he was seen returning.  Dunsford sent the man to the punt to go over for him, but deceased rashly ventured into the stream, was quickly washed off his horse, and life was extinct before the body was recovered.  The verdict was given in accordance with the evidence.

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