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Colonial Cases

1860-1861 NZ

COLONIST, 6 January 1860


An inquest was held at the Aglionby Arms, on Saturday, before Dr. Kebble, the district coroner on John Bennett, who was found dead in his bed that morning.  After hearing the evidence adduced, the jury returned a verdict of died by apoplexy.




A Coroner's inquest was held yesterday at the Crown and Anchor, before MARK KEBBELL, Esq., her Majesty's Coroner for this district, and a highly respectable Jury, on view of the body of one John Grahame, late a fireman on board S.S. Airedale, who was accidentally drowned early ion Wednesday morning last, by the swamping of a boat in which he and two others tried to reach their vessel on the morning in question.  His companions saved themselves by swimming.  The following evidence was adduced:-

   ABRAHAM LAIRD, being duly sworn, stated, I am a fireman on board the Airedale; early on Wednesday morning, a man by the name of Liddell, deceased, and myself, left the Company's wharf in a boat which did not belong to us, ours having been taken by some one on board a schooner named the Zilllah; I believe when we left the wharf there was a good deal of water in the boat, one man was sitting in the middle of the boat sculling; when about 200 or 300 yards from the wharf she took a bit of a roll and shipping a good deal of water shew went down under it; Liddell and I immediately left the boat (deceased remained in it) and  swam ashore; I could not say whether the deceased was sitting or standing at the time; I did not hear any cries for assistance.

   BY THE JURY: We had been a shore about and hour and a half, we had had a glass or two but we  were not drunk; we thought the boat would have carried us safely and would have done so had it not been full of water; we were all larking; no other boats were near the wharf when we left; I am quite sure deceased was sober; our own boat was a large boat with oars to pull it, the boat we were in had not anything to bail the water with.

   ROBERT LIDDELL, being  duly sworn, stated it was about one o'clock on Wednesday morning last I left Plimmer's wharf in company with the deceased; at first five of us were in the boat, but two being frightened jumped out being afraid; about 200 yards from the end of the wharf as I was sculling she rolled and filled; I left the other boat two men being in her; I heard a voice but could not distinguish what was  s aid; but saw no more of deceased; it was not our boat we were in, ours having been taken away from the wharf; I never thought about the plug of the boat being in or out; deceased was quite sober, there was no quarrelling in the boat.

   BY THE JURY, - I came ashore about 8 o'clock in the evening; I fell in with the deceased about 20 o'clock, we took a walk round the town and had a glass or two, but we were not drunk; I reported the accident to Mr. Boyd about ten minutes past two, that is immediately after I swam ashore, I was pretty nigh exhausted; I believe that deceased could swim, but he had a big monkey jacket on at the time of the accident.

   WILLIAM HARRIS, being duly sworn, stated I am a private in the Armed Police Force; I was on duty last Wednesday morning, when I heard a noise in Mr. Miller's kitchen, Commercial Hotel; on waking Mr. Miller, we found two men belonging to the Airedale there, who told me that they had their boat upset, that they had swam ashore, but they did not think that a third man who was with them had got ashore, but they were afraid he was drowned; I made no inquiries and took no further steps whatever beyond taking these two men to Boyd's Lodging House, and reporting the circumstance next morning to the corporal.

   BY THE JURY, - I was not asked to look for their comrade, all they said was I wonder where poor Rowdy is gone, they gave me no information whatever about him; it was dark and the men seemed pretty near exhausted; I have a whistle and a rattle; all the watermen's boats were hauled up at that hour.

   This witness was severely censured by the Coroner for his apathy in this matter.

   JOHN OSBORNE, being duly sworn, stated, I am a private in the Armed Police Force here - about five or six o'clock this morning at low ride, I found the body of deceased opposite this house, it had been left on the beach by the tide.

   This being all the evidence, after the Coroner had said a few words to the Jury, they without retiring returned the following verdict: - "We find that the deceased John Grahame was accidentally drowned by the swamping of a boat," adding a rider to the effect, that they strongly reprehended the conduct of the policeman Harris in not evincing greater activity in giving information of the accident or seeking for assistance.



DROWNING. - A sawyer named Horton was unfortunately drowned last Friday week, in attempting to cross the Rangitata in company with some eight or ten companions.  It seems they all formed a kind of monkey-bridge chain by taking hold of each others' hands, the foremost holding on by the tail of a horse that led the van.  The river was muddy ands rapid, but not deep enough to cause the horse to swim.  The deceased was the hindmost, and it was observed that he soon grew nervous and giddy on getting into deep water.  Whatever was the cause, he quickly let go his hold and was instantaneously swept away beyond assistance, which seems to have been negligent and inefficient at the best.  It is said the body was equally neglected after being recovered. - Standard, Dec. 29.


COLONIST, 13 January 1860


[See also the Editorial comment on this inquest.]

YESTERDAY an inquest was held at Mr. Wright's, Royal Hotel, bridge-street, on the body of F. L. Prevost, the unfortunate seaman who was drowned on Wednesday, the 4th instant, through falling from a boat belonging to the ship Golconda, now in harbour.

   The following jury was sworn:- Messrs. Akersten, Aitken, Baly, Crisp, Hadfield, Jervis, Louisson, Jas. Lucas, A. M'Artney, A. Rankin, Taylor, and L. Nash, foreman.

   The jury proceeded to view the body which, from the time it had remained in the water (7 days), was much disfigured, and presented a frightful spectacle, the whole of the face having been eaten away by fish.

   The Coroner, on opening the case to the jury, said there had been a good deal of conversation out of doors with regard to the death of this lad, but he warned the gentlemen of the jury that they must discharge from their minds any impression which they might have formed, and they were not to assume that there had been any neglect in any person in attempting to recover the body, or in saving the deceased at the time of the accidently; and even should any one of them be in possession of any information on the subject, he was not to consider that, unless he brought it forward as evidence, which any juryman was competent to do.

   Captain Montgomery (of the Golconda), and the chief officer identified the body.

   Frederick Gill sworn, said: I reside at Wakapuaka.  I am a farmer.  I was coming down yesterday morning with my bullock cart, and saw a body lying on the beach; this was at Wakapuaka.  I went to it; it was the body of a man and lying on his belly.  I then went back to my brother half a mile off and he rode into town to give information. I called Mr. Flowers and Mr. Barnett to come down, and with their assistance took the body to Mr. Scott's cottage.  The flesh of the head, and skin of the hands was gone; the body appeared rotted.  He laid at the cottage until two constables came from Nelson, (Stewart and Humphries,) who took the body away in my brother's bullock dray.

   Alexander Stewart, constable, deposed as follows: I went yesterday to Wakapuaka to fetch a body found there, and with the assistance of Humphreys, brought it here in B. Gill's cart.  It was lying in an outhouse at Mr. Scott's, and on arriving at Nelson I placed it in an outhouse belonging to Mr. Wright; it is the same body exhibited to the jury.

   At the suggestion of the foreman Captain Montgomery withdrew during the examination of the following witnesses belonging to the Golconda.

   Henry Thomas sworn: I am a seaman belonging to the ship Golconda, now lying in Nelson haven; knew the deceased Le Prevost; he was a seaman on board the same ship.  He is now dead; the body exhibited is his; I last saw him alive at a quarter to 8 on the morning of last Wednesday week; he was going over the ship's side into one of the boats; did not see him push off; about ten minutes afterwards I heard a report that a man was overboard; I then looked and saw Prevost struggling in the water; the boat going towards the shore, but was not upset; he was about  15 yards from the boat when I saw him; I saw him sink; that was at the time that we were lowering the quarter boat; all hands that were near were assisting in this; I did not see him rise again.  I looked for 10 minutes or more at the place where he had sunk to see if he rose again, but he did not.  The boat was not lowered into the water, only half way down; the mate gave orders to have the boat hoisted again as the body sunk.  There was no exertion made on the part of the ship to render any more assistance than the half lowering the quarter boat.  The distance was 130 yards from the ship to Le Prevost.  The boat could have been lowered into the water in an additional minute or minute and a half, and could have reached the place where deceased sank in about four minutes.  From the time he sank a boat from the ship could have reached the spot where he sank in 5 or 5 ½ minutes; at half past 8 we went on shore to get large fishhooks to search for the body.

   By the foreman: The captain was on board, and came on the poop just as the quarter boat began to be lowered; the mate was also on the poop.  The captain was on deck when the mate ordered us to cease lowering the boat; the order was not given in a loud voice; he was further from the mate than I was, and near enough to have heard the order given, but I do not know that he did; he must have known that the boat was stopped lowering; he (the captain) told us that we should have lowered the other, as she was clearer to lower; we did not lower the other boat; he neither ordered us to lower or not to lower the other boat; I did not hear him make any remark afterwards.

'   By a juror: It was the first mate on deck who ordered us to cease lowering the boat; he gave no reason; the boat we began to lower was the nearest to the shore.

   By the CORONER:  I do not think there was the least probability of our being able to have saved him if we had proceeded at once on lowering the boat.

   By a juror: I believe that was the reason the boat was not lowered.

   By a juror: The dragging for the body commenced at half-past nine; there was another boat engaged in dragging at the time; the shore boats could have reached the spot before any from the ship; the Captain was on the poop, but I did not hear him make any remarks; when the Captain is on deck he usually gives the orders; the name of the deceased was Frederick; he was an ordinary seaman, he was a useful and well-behaved man; I never knew him  subject to fits; I should think he had been four years at sea; he was on good terms and liked by captain and officers; it was ebb tide at the time of the accident, we had no grapplings on board.  The tackling of the boat we were lowering was not foul; all hands went to breakfast between the time we ceased lowering the boat and we went for the hooks; the captain sent us for them to drag for the body.

   At the time we stropped lowering the boat, the shore boats were on the spot where the deceased had sunk, and we thought it was useless for us to lower our boat. (This question was repeated twice for the purpose of getting a very correct answer).

   Deceased could have sculled the boat to where he was last seen in 8 minutes, and might therefore have been in the water some three minutes; he once told me he could not swim; the place where he sank was nearer to the shore than the ship, I should say, by twenty yards.

   Sarah, a Maori, through Mr. Jenkins the native interpreter, deposed: I live down the beach; I remember the man being lost from the big ship, now in the harbor, but do not remember the date; saw the man in the boat, he coming to the shore from the ship; he was alone in the boat and was s culling it, about 100 yards off, as far as from here to Mrs. Etty's; I saw the deceased fall over; do not know by what reason he fell.  Soon after the accident happened, saw them lowering a boat from the vessel; it was some considerable time after the man fell overboard that the boat was lowered; I think he was nearer the vessel than the shore when he fell in; I was standing at the door of my own house, which is near the harbor office; did see the man sink but not rise again; did not see him strike the boat or oar in falling, bur saw him wave his hands whilst in the water, his head being above for a short space of time; there were no boats about, but three put off to save him; the first boat put off after he sank.

   By Mr. Rankin: the shore boats had arrived at the place where he sank before I saw them lower the ship's boat; this was immediately after the man sank; I saw them when they ceased lowering; the shore boats had arrived at that time at the spot where he sank.

   Elizabeth Low sworn: I reside at the haven-road, Nelson; I am the wife of James Low, coxswain of the Pilot's boat.  I remember the circumstance of Prevost falling overboard; I did not see him fall over, but I saw him after he was in the water; the time was between 7 and 8, nearer 8; I saw a boat between the Golconda and the shore; there was no other boat there but the one; he was struggling in the water; I saw him sunk; his head went under several times before he disappeared; after his hands disappeared he never rose again.  When I first saw him in the water Henry Bullard was talking to me; he out off to the man's assistance; he had got more than half-way to him before the body sank. I was standing at my own door when I saw the accident. H. Bullard went to Mr. Akersten's old wharf; I saw one end of the ship's boat being lowered; this was while the man was in the water; that was the fore-end of the boat.  None of the boats had then reached the spot where the man sank; there was no motion in the water where he sank when he did reach it.

   By a juror: I saw the man in the water when one end of the boat was lowered.  When the boat was partly lowered from the ship I could see his hands and head; the boat was pulled up again some time after he disappeared; I could not see any work going on.  I heard some one on the ship sing out to "hold on;" Jacobsen from the side of the ship was as soon as Bullard on the spot; the  call was, I considered, addressed to the drowning man, as one of the boats was coming up to him at the time.  He was about half-way between the ship and the shore.

   Henry Thomas recalled: I was in the quarter boat when she was being lowered; the tackles at both ends were let go together; the boat is lowered by a patent apparatus worked by one man in the boat; the bow of the boat was lower than the stern.  The rope was stiff and the rollers did not work very well being new, but there was nothing material to prevent lowering the boat.

   By a juror: I did not hear a cry of "hold on" either to me or the man in the water.

   Henry Jacobsen was then called:                  I am a boatman, living in nelson; I remember Wednesday the 4th; I was in a boat alongside of the ship; John Dollow was with me; my boat was on the off side of the ship, and fast to her, our dingy was fast to our lighter and  astern of it.  I heard a noise on deck and a voice singing out "There's a man overboard."  I got into the dingy at once and pulled to the shore; when I got round the stern of the ship I saw something apparently struggling in the water which I supposed was a man; there was a boat floating close by, but with no one in it.  I pulled towards it; it was about 150 yards from the shore, and about 300 from the ship where the man was; when I reached the place where I had seen him I did not perceive him any more.  I had been rowing with my back towards him.  As I left the ship I saw the men endeavouring to lower the quarter boat; this was immediately after the alarm was given.  The boat was foul somewhere.  Had the boat been clear I should have been there first.  If I could have seen him my boat would have saved him; a boat from the shore was there nearly as soon as myself, and another within half a second; I looked for any bubbles or other indications that I might have dived after him, but could not see any.  I was about ten minutes searching; the water was not very clean; the depth there would be about 17 feet of water at the rime; it was ebb tide, but I think nearly low water.  I think I heard a cry of encouragement from the ship to the drowning man.  The ship's boat was half lowered; the work on board the ship was stopped.  I believe that I could have reached the spot quicker than the ship's boat could.

   At this stage of the evidence, being 1 o'clock, the Coroner adjourned until 2 o'clock.

   At the re-assembling of them, the next witness called was

    George Stokes, who being sworn said, I am chief mate of the Golconda; I knew deceased whom I recognise by his clothing; I do not know his christian name; he was a seaman on board the ship; he died on Wednesday 54th, at about a quarter before 8 in the morning.  I had charge of the deck at the rime; he left the ship by my orders to go on shore to bring the steward off; I did not see him again, but saw  something plunging in the water; this was about 10 minutes or a quarter of an hour after, and in the direction of the boat in which he had left the ship; he had been sculling then boat; the plunging I saw was some 20 to 30 yards from the boat, the boat about two thirds of the way from the ship to the shore and empty; I then immediately ordered the men to clear away the lifeboat which was on the near side to the shore, hung at the quarter; there was another boat on the opposite quarter.  She was also a life oat and rather lighter than the other; I thought the one I ordered to be lowered the easiest way of rendering the man assistance; the boat was not lowered into the water; it was being lowered, but the stopper fouled, which momentarily stopped the descent of the boat.  This was cleared and the boat again descending, when the Captain who had just come on deck ordered me to stop lowering the boat because there were three other boats on the spot where the poor fellow was drowned; I saw that this was the case.  This was about three minutes after I had lost sight of the man.  The boat then hung for some five or six minutes by the lowering apparatus, when it was hauled up again; Milne and Thomas were in the boat.  The stopper fouled in the boat by what is termed a kink in the rope.  This might have occurred without the man in the boat noticing it.  I was leaning over the boat and saw it, it freed itself; I do not think that our boat could have been of any use whatever, as the man had gone down, and there were three other boats on the spot.

   By a juror: One of these boats had left along side our vessel, but I did not see her; I had to clear the boast from the grips which are commonly kept on in harbour; if the man had been afloat I should have persisted in lowering the boat notwithstanding the Captain's orders; the Captain  said that he thought the other boat was clearer than that we were lowering, but it was not so, as I had had both the boats equally secured to save them from chafing; I said nothing to the Captain about this; I do not think the Captain ordered the stoppage of the boat from any annoyance on this score.

   Edward Montgomery sworn: I am the Captain of the Golconda, now lying in Nelson harbor; I was on board the day of the death of Prevost, but he had disappeared before I came on deck; I was in my own cabin when I heard the noise of the people rushing to lower the quarter boat; I came out immediately, the quarter boat was then against the mizen chains, partially but not half lowered; I looked about for the man whom I judged was overboard, but could not see anything of him; I saw my own boat adrift near the wharf, and three small boats on the spot which was pointed out to me as the place where he had last been seen; we stood and looked for about a  quarter of an hour, and then I ordered the boat to be hauled up again, and I enquired of the Custom House Officer if there were any drags or grapling irons at the wharves, and he answered none; having none on board ourselves the hands went to breakfast: we had no means of doing any thing more than this towards saving his life; the clearing and lowering the boat would take ten minutes; from the rime I heard the first alarm, it was seven minutes.

   By a juror: I have heard of bodies being recovered and brought to life after having been under water ten minutes to a quarter of an hour; I ordered the men to stop lowering the boat because there were three boats on the spot already, and my boat which had been adrift was coming off to the ship with the steward and a boy, who was on shore waiting for him, so that I could have sent assistance had I considered it of any use; my lifeboats are secure to prevent desertion, I having already lost four hands; I consider one boat sufficient for a ship's use; had it been my own brother I could have used no more exertion, and would not have done otherwise than I did; had I any means to use I should have done so personally.

   Samuel Cambridge sworn: I am steward of the Golconda; I remember the deceased being  drowned, it was about eight o'clock in the morning; I was on the Custom House Wharf waiting to go on board the ship; I saw the deceased leave the ship in a boat to come ashore, it was I believe to fetch me; he was alone in the boat; I did not see him fall but saw him in the water; the boy who was with me told me he was overboard; I had turned my back to the ship; I then hailed the ship as loud as I could, bur they did not appear to hear me, as they were busy discharging cargo; I then ran \down towards the beach, and two watermen were pulling off to the spot; he was then a float but when they and two more boats reached the spot, I could not see him; I should think It was five minutes from the first alarm, to his disappearance; I saw the ship's boat being lowered, but at that time he had sunk.

   James Vane; this witness who was supposed to have actually seen the boy fall, was called to give as nearly as he could the time which elapsed between the first alarm and the time of assistance being procured; it appeared, however, that this witness could only give a repetition of that of the last.  In reply to a question asked by a juror, he stated that both the oars and rollocks were in a fit and proper condition.

   The Coroner shortly sunned up and Messrs. A. Rankin and Akersten addressed the jury, as to the necessity of having drags at either the Custom House or habour office.

   The Coroner, in which he was joined by many of the jury, said: that in his opinion there was no cause for animadversion upon any persons concerned in this case.

   VERDICT:  That the deceased died by accidental drowning, having fallen out of a boat in Nelson Harbor, ands that they censure the conduct of Captain Montgomery in not rendering assistance.  The jury recommend the Government to provide drags and hooks at each wharf, and request the Coroner to address his Honor the Superintendent on the subject, and further express an opinion, that had such instruments been at hand this life might have been saved. [Funeral.]


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 14 January 1860


On the 15th ult., an inquest was held at Waipawa, before G. Worgan, Esq., coroner, and a jury, upon the body of Dennis Moore.

   Before the examination of the witnesses the coroner begged briefly to call the attention of the jury to the frequent fatal consequences of excessive drinking.  He said that this was the third inquest within a period of twelve months, in cases where the individuals had died from an undue indulgence in alcoholic liquors.  In the case before the jury, the body presented the most awful and fearful appearance he had ever seen, and he could not conceive that, if after witnessing the dreadful effects exhibited in the person of the diseased (sic), people would not take warning to be more moderate and circumspect in their enjoyments, anything he could address to them would have any good effect.  One thing was clear that so long as people were so besotted as to swallow whatever vile drinks could be obtained, there were always to be found numbers of persons sufficiently unprincipled to minister surreptitiously (to the great detriment of the licensed victualler) to their depraved appetites.

   Several witnesses were then examined, but the circumstances are embodied in the evidence of two, which we subjoin:-

   Thomas Miner, sworn, stated: - On Sunday the 14th inst., I saw Moore quite sober, but with two glasses of rum in a bottle; he went towards Smith's to pay an old debt, as he said; he returned about mid-night, very drunk, and said that he had been quarrelling with a man of the name of Welsh; he had a cold upon him for some days like most of the men.  On my coming home about noon on Tuesday, he was at his wharf under the influence of drink; several men were drinking and disputing.  Moore was pretty sober in the afternoon.  About 7 o'clock I saw Moore and Thomas Welch with a bottle; Moore asked Welch for a glass and offered money for it; he had two small glasses from Welch.  Moore then said he was going to Smith's and went in that direction.  Did not see him again till Wednesday evening, when he returned home sober, but appeared to have been drinking; he threw himself on his bunk and said he was very bad; coughing and spitting next morning.  A number of men were in Moore's whare drinking - among them Davidson and Johnston.  Johnston said to Moore, who was lying very ill, - "You are poisoned, you are hocussed; I sent word down to Smith's by Thomas Welch that you were to have him when you got into the police, and to beware of you."  Deceased made no reply.  He continued very unwell until last Sunday; he then remarked that he was worth ten dead men yet; he did not express to me any suspicion of foul play.  He had been sober for two months previous to this burst.  Most of the men had been suffering from cold, which I attribute partly to the weather and partly to the bad state of the workmen's huts.  On Wednesday I was surprised to hear of Moore's death.  I cannot say if decreased had any grog at Smith's; he complained of a pain in his side and head.

   Dr. English, sworn, states: - I have this day examined the body, as requested by the coroner, and having heard the evidence, I attribute the death of deceased to natural causes; and the rapid and startling change in the body to the state of the weather.

   I believe that deceased died from congestion of the lungs, liver, and stomach, drink probably was the cause of such congestion; excess in drinking whether wholesome or unwholesome liquors would induce such congestion in a person predisposed to a weakness of either of those organs.  I have frequently seen as rapid and startling decomposition in other cases, and have seen no cause to suspect that anything deleterious, so as to cause death, had been administered to him, or that foul play of any kind had taken place.  Had deceased taken any drugged liquor or poison, the effects would have shown themselves either by stupor or vomiting; and his evacuations would have been involuntary, whereas deceased was quite conscious, and went to and from the tent to relieve nature.

   After a review of the evidence by the coroner, in which he animadverted strongly on the state of the housing of the road parties, which frequently drove the men to seek comfort elsewhere, and also upon the extent of sly grog-selling in the neighbourhood of Waipawa, - the jury returned a verdict of, - "Died from natural causes aggravated by excessive  drinking;" the jury, at the  same time, fully concurred in the coroner's views as to the necessity of the government providing better accommodation for the road parties.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 18 January 1860


An inquest was held at Cashmere, near Christchurch, before Dr. Donald, the coroner, and a respectable jury, on the body of Narain, a Bengalese woman in the service of Mr. J. Cracroft Wilson, who had died on the previous day, it was supposed from eating  the poisonous leaves of the tutu plant.  The evidence offered was very distinct as to the facts.  Soliman, the husband of deceased, and Bassawan, her cousin's husband, stated, through Mr. Wilson as interpreter, that about half-past nine on Wednesday morning deceased was observed to be seized with a violent fit of vomiting, in which a quantity of chewed leaves were discharged.  The likelihood of these leaves being tutu at once suggested itself, and the fact was communicated to the 'sahib,' Mr. Wilson, who administered some tartar emetic and other medicines, and at once sent for medical assistance.

   Spasms, Mr. Wilson stated, of a violent character, and similar to those of cholera, occurred with convulsions about every ten minutes.  Dr. Turnbull, who arrived soon after, found the unhappy woman in a comatose state, breathing convulsive, and cold, with a rapid weak pulse, and presenting every appearance of approaching death.  She died in about half-an-hour.  He attributed her death with certainty to the effects of a narcotic irritant vegetable poison; the convulsions were tetanic; but he had never seen tutu exhibited and therefore could not refer with certainty to it as the producing cause.

   The husband of the deceased stated that she had got up in the morning quite well; they had been married in May 1857; they had had no words together; and in his opinion she must have taken the tutu under some momentary irritation.  Mr. Cracroft Wilson said he examined the tutu plants near, and found the ends of the young shoots nipped off.  Basasawan stated that they had all been warned that tutu was dangerous.  The verdict of the jury was that deceased died by poison administered by herself, but that there was no evidence as to the motive for taking it.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 21 January 1860

SUDDEN DEATH. - On Wednesday last, a carpenter named Ellery fell dead suddenly at Kaiaipo, from, as it is believed, disease of the heart, aggravated by anxiety on pecuniary matters, believing that they would delay his marriage, which was intended to have taken place yesterday.  We have as yet heard no account of the inquest.


OTAGO WITNESS, 21 January 1860

SUPREME COURT. Dunedin, Monday, January 16, 1860.


His Honor then delivered the following charge: - ...

Gentlemen, the calendar is not heavy.  There is a charge of manslaughter which will require your careful consideration.  It is the case of a carter, who, while sitting on the shaft of his cart, inadvertently drove over a child, in the public street, and killed it.

   Gentlemen, manslaughter is the unlawful and felonious killing of another without malice.  It may be either voluntary or involuntary - voluntary where, upon a sudden quarrel, two persons fight, and one kills the other - involuntary, where a man doing an unlawful act, not amounting to felony, by accident kills another.

   Gentlemen, this is a case of accident, and the question you will have to consider is, whether the prisoner at the time when the accident occurred, was driving with ordinary care and caution?

   The greatest possible care is hardly to be expected; but whoever seeks to excuse himself from having unfortunately occasioned by any act of his the death of adorer, is bound at least to show that he took that care to avoid it which persons in similar situations are accustomed to take.


Benjamin Farrell was placed before the bar on a charge of manslaughter, inasmuch as, on the 29th of November last, while driving his horse and cart along Maclaggan-street, he allowed the cart to pass over Louisa Stentiford, a child of 2 ½ years of age, thereby causing her immediate death.

   Mr. Howorth appeared as Crown prosecutor, and Mr. T. B. Gillies for the prisoner.

   Mr. Howorth having stated the case for the prosecution, the following evidence was called:-

   George Naples, a waiter at the Commercial Hotel, deposed that he saw the prisoner on Maclaggan-street on the day named, sitting on the shaft of a cart which he was driving.  Prisoner was turned towards a man in the cart, with whom he was talking; the horse was going slowly.  Did not know whether prisoner had any reins.  Saw a child in the road just in front of the horse.  The child was knocked down by the horse, and the cart went over it.  The horse had been on the centre of the road, which was metalled, until within about 30 yards of the spot where the accident occurred, when it turned off to the unmetalled part between the centre of the road and the footpath.  Prisoner took no notice until he had gone 30 yards further, when he was called upon to stop.  Witness did not see the child until just before the accident took place.  The man in the cart jumped out and picked up the child.

   Cross-examined by Mr. Gillies. - Witness was about 30 yards behind the cart, on the metalled road, when the accident happened.  The child was about a yard before the horse.  Did not see any one else in the street at the time.  Prisoner appeared to be talking to the man in the cart.  Witness saw the child very distinctly.  The father of the child called to the prisoner to stop.  Witness went up to the man who had picked up the child.  Did not know what the prisoner did after he stopped.

   By the Jury. - He did not himself call to the prisoner to stop.  Did not see any other children with deceased, who was about a yard and a half from the footpath.  No one gave the prisoner any warning of the child being in danger.  Did not see what injuries the child had received, except that blood was issuing from the mouth and ears.  It uttered only one weak groan.

   James Conner, carpenter, deposed that he was riding on a cart with the prisoner on the 29th November.  Very little conversation took place between them.  When they came near the Clubhouse, he felt a sudden jerk, and found that a child had been run over.  He called out to the prisoner, who stopped and uttered some exclamation, which witness did not hear.  Witness picked up the child.  There were several other children about 10 or 12 yards off, one of whom said it was Stenttiford's child.  Witness took it into the house.  It only uttered one groan.

   Cross-examined - Did not see any one except the children in the road at the time of the accident.  The witness Naples did not speak to him when he was carrying in the child.  Prisoner was not talking to witness when the accident occurred.  Could not say whether the prisoner stopped immediately on calling out to him, but when he came out of the house two minutes afterwards, prisoner was going in.  Prisoner had the reins in his hand just before the accident occurred.  The horse was going at a slow walking pace.  Had always seen the prisoner driving steadily.

   Re-examined - Would not swear positively that Naples was not present at the time of the accident, but witness did not see him.

   W. M. Stentiford, the father of the deceased, was examined, but no new facts were elicited.

   Dr. Hulme stated that he had partially examined the body of the deceased, and found that the skull was fractured, and the lower jaw broken.  Believed these injuries were the cause of the child's death.

   Mr. T. B. Gillies addressed the jury on behalf of the prisoner, contending that there had been no want of ordinary caution on his part, and that there was therefore no ground for the charge of manslaughter.

   The Learned Judge summed up, informing the jury that in law nothing more than ordinary caution was required in order to exonerate any party causing an accident, from the charge of manslaughter; and left it to the jury to say whether this had been exercised in the present instance.

   The jury, after a short deliberation, without retiring, returned a verdict of "Not guilty."

   The prisoner was then formally arraigned upon a second indictment, under the Coroner's inquisition for the same offence, and pleaded his previous acquittal, which plea was admitted, and the prisoner was discharged with an admonition.



CORONER'S INQUEST. -   On Wednesday afternoon between 3 and 4 o'clock considerable excitement prevailed in the neighbourhood of Albert, and the adjacent streets in consequence of an accident that befel an unfortunate man of the name of Charles Walsh, who fell over the cliff, situate near to the property of Mr. Harp, and contiguous to the Albert-street cutting.  It appears from the evidence furnished at a Coroner's Inquest held yesterday afternoon at the Royal; Hotel, before Dr. Philson, Coroner for this city, and a respectable jury, that the deceased was a man of intemperate habits, who had while under the influence of liquor strayed away to a part of the coast not usually frequented; and that he had fallen over a height of probably 40 feet.  Medical aid was supplied by Dr. McGauran without delay, but on examination he conjectured that death must have resulted almost instantaneously.  A wound was observable at the back of the head, and blood issued from the nose and mouth in considerable quantity.  After a very patient hearing, the Jury returned a unanimous verdict of "Accidental Death."

   This lamentable occurrence adds one more, to the many sad proofs existing of the evil effects of an inordinate use of spirituous liquors - it is this vice which is the great barrier to the moral and intellectual advancement of this city.


COLONIST, 7 February 1860


YESTERDAY, an inquest was held at the Prince Albert Hotel, on the body of Charles Mousley, who was found drowned, in the river Maitai, on Sunday morning last.

   The Jury consisted of the following persons, - B. Jackson, J. M'Artney, A. Scott, H. L. N. Clarke, H. D. Jackson, E. Smallbones, F. Adams, F. Forman, R. Powell, W. Waters, F. K. Albert, J. Tregea, and G. W. Lightband, (foreman). The following witnesses were examined:-

    Francis Croft Fortescue Huddlestone, sworn: On yesterday, Sunday, the 5th, I was coming out of my father's paddock, and saw a man running past towards the river.  I followed him; as I got to the corner, I saw him plunge in; he went with his feet first.  I went up the bank by a red pine tree and saw him under the water, and moving his head as if endeavouring to get it under the mud.  I called out "A man is drowning," and H. Young and another person came up and pulled him out; he appeared to be senseless, and did not move.  I ran to Mr. Epps's, and called to then to come up and assist in rubbing him.  He did not come to life again.  The body which was this day exhibited to the coroner and the jury was the body of the man.  I did not then know his name.  When I saw him running he appeared as if looking for something.  The place where he jumped in was the same side of the river as my father's house.  When he past me his face was very red, but I did not see any marks upon it.  He did not make any effort to get out.  The bottom where he was was stony and muddy.  The place was above my father's ground and between that and Mr. Clouston's.

   Henry Young sworn: I am a carpenter residing in Nelson.  Yesterday, about 12 o'clock, I was coming down the Maitai river. I heard boys' voices calling out.  I thought they were playing with each other, but as I got nearer I heard them say there was a man in the water.  I then ran as fast as I could to the bank, and saw a man in the river.  His shirt was covered over by the water and part of his arms and head.  Another young man came up at the same time, and we pulled him out and dragged him ashore.  He did not show signs of life.  We rolled him, and a quantity of water came out of his mouth.

   I sent my brother for Mr. Pritchard. Shortly after Mr. Epps and Mr. Shannon came, and then Mr. Pritchard.  Mr. Pritchard said he did not know any thing to do except what we were doing to him.  We got some spirits from Mr. Huddlestone and rubbed him with it.  About half-an-hour after we got him out of the river, Dr. Renwick came up.  We continued our efforts for nearly an hour without success. The body of the man is that in the adjoining room shewn to the coroner and jury.  His name was Mousley.  Dr. Renwick assisted, and gave orders from the time he came.  Deceased could not have been many minutes in the water.  When I saw him he was only moving from the effects of the current.  The scar on the forehead was on it when we took him out.  The water where he layed was about three or four feet deep.

   William Harper, constable, sworn: I knew Charles Mousley; the body this day viewed by the coroner and jury was his.  On Wednesday night last I was on duty, and deceased came to me and asked leave to sleep in the lock-up.  He complained that his shoulder was out of joint, and of pains in his back, and that he had n o where to go.  He slept in the lock-up that night.  In the morning I took him before Mr. Poynter, by whose directions I took him to the Superintendent, and I understood he was sent to the hospital.  I did not see him again until I saw him lying dead on the bank.  He was not drunk when he came to the lock-up.  He had been drinking but was not drunk.

   James Lugsdon Bailey: I am Clerk to the Board of Works, Nelson; I knew the deceased by sight and name; I saw him yesterday morning about twenty minute past twelve in front of Mr. Huddlestone's residence, in Nile-street; he was running towards the river; I saw what I thought was a mark of blood over his mouth.  I looked after him and saw him turn the corner and go up towards the Maitai Valley; about five minutes after or rather less, while taking to Mr. Epps, I heard a cry that a man had drowned himself near the stone quarry; Mr. Epps and I went in that direction as fast as we could, and on turning the corner saw the body of deceased lying on the bank, in the hands of Young and Redworth, who were rubbing him.  This was not more than eight minutes from the time he passed me in Nile-street; I then, seeing that there was sufficient assistance about him, rode on for Dr. Renwick.  When I saw him leave the corner I thought he was running after Mr. Pritchard, whom I had met further up the valley.  I think he was not drunk, he was running at a regular steady pace.

   Thomas Renwick, sworn: O am physician and surgeon residing in Nelson; at about half-past 12 of a quarter to one yesterday morning, the 5th instant, I was called on by Mr. Bailey, to go and attend on a man who had been taken out of the Maitai river; I went to the place, it was a little above Mr. Huddlestone's house, on the bank of the Maitai, and within the city of nelson; I found deceased, whose body is now here, lying on the bank of the river; his face was swollen and almost purple, animation was entirely suspended.  A small quantity of blood was oozing from the nostrils and a little mucus from the mouth.  He had a red mark apparently from a blow, over the left eye.  It had no appearance which would lead me to think the blow would have caused death.  I think it might have been received in falling into the water.  In my opinion he died from suffocation by drowning.  Death frequently ensues from submersion for a period of two minutes, and I believe there are few well authenticated cases of recovered after five minutes.  Deceased never showed any sign of vitality from the time I came to him.

   James Barton, affirmed, I am hospital attendant at the Nelson Hospital; I knew deceased, Charles Mousley; I have known him since about the 12th of May last; on that day he was admitted to the hospital, he was then suffering  from delirium tremens; about a fortnight after his admission, he was discharged for having, contrary to the regulations, procured spirits.  About four or five months after, he was again admitted; he was then laboring under the same disease; he was also admitted on Thursday last; he seemed in a very depressed state; he spoke rationally, and towards Saturday afternoon talked a good deal; he went out of the hospital about ten minutes past eleven in the morning, he went without leave; I was speaking to him a few minutes before that, he was walking about in circles; I advised him to get under the shelter, as the sun was very hot; he appeared [??] I saw him on his bed about half-past 10 the night before, but I think he was not undressed; he did not on the last occasion of his being in the hospital, make use of any threats against his own life; yesterday morning he said he felt as if he could die in about ten minutes.

   Geo. Williams sworn: I am one of the surgeons to the hospital; I knew deceased, he has been under my care in the hospital three times, and also once as a private patient: I saw him for the last time on Saturday last: I saw him there twice on that day; he was at each time of his being in the hospital, laboring under delirium tremens: on this occasion he was getting better, and rather absorbed in thought, and made no reply; on yesterday and the day before he had been bleeding at the nose: there was not at the time he left the hospital any mark of a wound or bruise on his forehead; late on Saturday evening I saw him loitering about the entrance, as if watching to go out, and from his behaviour on Saturday night and Sunday morning, I have a strong impression that he must have had spirits in the night; On Sunday morning early he came out of his room and called for beer, as if he had been in a public house, and appeared very much excited, more so than on the previous day; he ate a rather hearty breakfast: faster than he had previously done: he was receiving medicine as much stimulant as I considered right for him, and I consider that his taking spirits beyond that would be prejudicial to him.

   After three hours' enquiry, the verdict returned by the jury was - "Death by drowning, through temporary insanity, caused by excessive drinking."

   The jury also recommended that means should be used at the hospital in order to prevent patients going out whilst under medical treatment,   [Burial: funeral service refused by C of E Bishop of Nelson, read by the Baptist Minister.]


OTAGO WITNESS, 11 February 1860


SUICIDE - On Tuesday an inquest was held at Port Chalmers, before E. Hulme, Esq., coroner, and a jury, on the body of Charles Henry Lee, who destroyed himself the previous day by cutting his throaty while labouring under delirium from the effects of excessive drinking.  On the Saturday previous deceased brought 16 bottles of ale into the house, the whole of which, with the exception of a few glasses, he drank by 7 o'clock the same evening, which brought bon delirium tremens.  He went out on Monday morning, and his non-appearance at midday aroused suspicion, which was increased on discovering that his razor was missing; search being made, the body of the infatuated man was found near the place where he had been working, and the razor lying close by him.  Deceased was an immigrant by the "Sevilla" a few months since, and was sawing in Sawyer's bay with a mate named Jones.  The jury returned a verdict of "Temporary insanity."


COLONIST, 21 February 1860


DREADFUL DEATH. - An inquest was held yesterday at the Phoenix Brewery, on the body of George Taylor, brother to the proprietor of that establishment.  From the evidence, it appeared that on Friday last, deceased was skimming a copper whilst he supported himself with a stick.  It broke with his weight, and in endeavouring to save himself from the impulse of overbalance occasioned by the accident, he fell into the boiling liquid.  Only five seconds passed before he was taken out, but the whole of his body was so dreadfully scalded, that notwithstanding the utmost efforts of Doctors Turnbull and Prins, he survived only two days, having died on Sunday.  After hearing all the evidence, the jury, without hesitation, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."




MELANCHOLY DEATH. - We regret to report a melancholy instance of the sad effects of intemperance in recording then death of Mr. S. Harris, who arrived here but a short time since, by the Golconda, having acted as doctor on board that vessel on her passage from England.  He appears to have been a properly qualified medical man, and had allowed the above vessel to leave on her homeward journey without joining her.  During his stay in nelson, his habits had been of such an intemperate character, that on Sunday last he was conveyed to the Hospital, and treated for a severe attack of delirium tremens, from which he never recovered.  During the last few hours of the attack he was perfectly delirious and continued so up to 10 o'clock, yesterday morning, the time of his death.  It is believed that the deceased was a married man with a family in England, and is supposed to have been a native of Lincolnshire. - COLONIST. 


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 28 February 1860

FATAL ACCIDENT. - CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Saturday, 11th inst., whole three young men were engaged in felling a tree, on Mr. Walter's property, situate near Papanui, one of them, Ewen Morrison, a fine young fellow of sixteen years of ager, in endeavouring to escape from the consequences of its fall, became confused and ran immediately beneath one of the outstretching branches, which struck him behind the ear and dashed him the the ground, where he lay for some minutes quite insensible.  He was conveyed immediately to his residence, where he lingered for some ten hours and then expired.  An inquest was held at the Royal Hotel on the following morning, before Dr. Philson, Coroner for this city, and a respectable jury, who, after hearing the evidence adduced as to the cause of death, particulars of which are detailed above, returned a verdict of "Accidental death." The young man, we learn, was a Nova Scotian, and one of his companions his brother.  The body was interred last evening in the cemetery.




FATAL ACCIDENT. - We regret having to record a fatal accident by which Mr. Rowley's little and only daughter met with her death.  It seems that a carter of the name of Bills was loading his cart in Mr. Anderson's yard, when the horse suddenly bolted and the left wheel of the cart caught the child who was standing by the shop on the opposite side of the street, dragged it some nine feet, and literally smashed its brains out against the store.  We refer to another column for particulars of the inquest. ...


YESTERDAY, (Thursday,) an Inquest on view of the body of CATHERINE ROWLEY, [2 to 3 years old] who was accidentally killed on Wednesday last, was held before Mark Kebbell, Esq., Surgeon, Her Majesty's Coroner for the district, and a highly respectable Jury, of whom Mr. J. H. Horner, was foreman.

   The Coroner after briefly and pertinently charging the Jury as to the nature of the enquiry they had to make, proceeded to call the following evidence, which we publish in detail, hoping this sad example may act as a salutary caution to carters in this town.

   CHARLES FRANCE being duly sworn, stated - I am a surgeon residing in Wellington.  I was called yesterday to see  a child of Mr. Rowley's by name Catherine, who when I arrived was lying dead upon the bed, with the head fearfully crushed; some of the brain was protruding on the right side, where the injury principally was; I have no doubt death was instantaneous.

   DAVID ANDERSON, JUN., being  duly sworn, stated - I am a storekeeper, residing bin Wellington; yesterday morning about half-past ten o'clock, a person of the name of Bills, whose christian name I do not know, called at our store for some goods for Messrs. Bethune & Hunter; I told him I would bring them across to him; on bringing them over I met him backing his cart into our yard; he held the horse while I out the goods into the cart; he then came round to the back of the cart, but I do not know for what purpose; on leaving the  yard, on getting half-way across the street, I heard a noise, on turning round I saw the horse dancing about, and immediately after it ran away; it ran almost straight across the street; I had to run to avoid  danger myself; the horse took a sudden turn towards Clay Point; I looked to see whether any danger was to be apprehended, I saw two  or three men and a little girl whose back was to our shop, the left wheel caught the said little girl, and dragged her about nine feet; I ran and picked her up; I saw a great deal of blood running out of the child's head; I gave her to Mrs. Collin's, and I saw no more.

   BY THE CORONER. - When I saw the horse dancing about, Bills was in the rear of the cart doing something; the wheels were not locked, and no one was at the horse's head; I cannot speak, of my own personal knowledge, as to whether the horse ever ran away before; Bills, in my opinion, could not have stopped the horse without great personal danger to himself, as the gate of the yard is but very little wider than the cart itself.

   ROBERT SUCKLING CHEESEMAN, being duly sworn, stated - I am a solicitor, residing in Wellington; on coming down the beach yesterday morning about half-past ten o'clock, I saw a horse and cart in Mr. Anderson's yard; I saw the horse move and rear, attempting to strike a man with its fire-feet; some man behind immediately called out to the horse, who then attempted to run out of the gate, but for some few seconds was prevented by the posts of the gate; I was standing on the opposite side, and the horse ran  towards me; I did not move until it came close to me, and I then ran into Mr. Anderson's store; the horse's head came close to the door, and almost into the shop, and then it turned sharp round, taking the path-way towards Mr. Horner's; when I came out the horse and cart was by Mr. Rowley's; my attention was directed by a woman to a child lying on thr pathway; the child was immediately picked up, its little face was all covered with blood.  This is all I know.

   BY THE CORONER - When the horse bolted there was a man at its head who tried to stop it.  Bills told me to-day that the horse had runaway once before.   

   BY THE JURY. - I cannot say distinctly whether any charge has been preferred against Bills in the R. M. Court for furious driving, but I could ascertain on reference, if the wheels had been locked I imagine no danger would have accrued.

   S. S. STYLES being duly sworn stated in answer to the Jury, I am Sergeant Major of Police at Wellington; some few weeks since a person residing in Molesworth-street, sought to recover 20 Pounds from Bills for running over a child while riding the same horse, but I believe on Bills paying the Doctor's bill, the case was compromised; this was about six weeks since, with that exception I have not heard till now of the horse running away.

   THOMAS COFFEE, being duly sworn stated I am a laborer residing in Wellington; I was at work in Mr. Anderson's yard between eleven and twelve o'clock in the forenoon, I saw Bills putting a cask into his cart which was standing in Mr. Anderson's yard, I saw the horse rear two or three times and Bills stood on the left side of the wheel, I saw the horse bolt across the street I called out to Bill\'s to follow but he stood as if overcome by fright, and did not move, he seemed to have lost all presence of mind; I returned to my work in the yard but in a minute or two Mr. Anderson called me to pick up what seemed to be to be brains.

   BY THE CORONER - I was 12 or 13 yards in the rear of the cart no one was at the horse's head Mr. Anderson's son was in front and was nearly run over, I can not say positively, whether the horse ever ran away before but I have heard so.

   BY THE JURY - The cart was not in the yard above ten minutes, the wheels were not locked, if they had been I think the accident would have been avoided.

   W. PARIS being duly sworn stated, I am a labourer residing in Wellington, I was in Mr. Anderson's yard yesterday morning, I saw young Mr. Anderson and Bills lifting a cask into the cart.  Bills went to the anima's head to take up the tail board, where it was lying, he then went to the back of the cart to fasten it but before he could succeed the horse bolted across the street, young Mr. Anderson had left the yard when the horse bolted and no one was at the horse's head.

   BY THE FOREMAN - I am quite sure I saw Bills loading the cart before he went for the trail board; no one was at the horse's head during the time the cart was loading nor were the wheels locked, I saw no one pass during the time the cart was being loaded so as to frighten the horse; I cannot say of my own knowledge whether the horse ever ran away before.

   The CORONER then proceeded to charge the jury, who retired, and after the absence of three quarter's of an hour returned into court with the following verdict of "Accidental death, caused by a runaway horse and cart, with a deodand of 10 Pounds on the cart; at the same time the jury would add as a rider that, firstly the police be instructed to lay information in all cases of neglect by carters having charge of horses, and, secondly that the Coroner be requested to take all necessary steps to secure the introduction of a bill into Council making it incumbent on all persons having charge of horses and carts for hire in thr town to take out annual licenses for the same."

   The CORONER then thanked the Jury for their attendance and the proceedings terminated.


 COLONIST, 13 March 1860

INQUEST. - An inquest was held yesterday at the residence of Mr. H. Redwood, Waimea West, on the body of John Turner, who met with his death by bring crushed in a thrashing machine which was working on the premises on Saturday last. The deceased had been cutting the bands of the sheaves while standing on the stack, from whence he attempted to jump on to the platform of the machine, but going beyond it he fell into the machinery, and was horribly mutilated before it could be stopped.  We are told that the machine was ogling at the rate of 500 revolutions per minute at the time. Several witnesses were examined, and a verdict of accidental death was returned.  The deceased was a jockey of Wetsail   during the late successful running of that horse at Canterbury


LYTTELTON TIMES, 14 March 1860

FATAL CASUALTY. - We regret to have to record the accidental death by drowning of a Mr. R. Simpson, one of the passengers who left Canterbury per Lord Wolsey on her last trip.  On the evening previous to her arrival in this port, the unfortunate young man, it is supposed, in a fit of mental aberration, walked overboard.  Mr. Simpson had lately arrived from England per Ambrosine. - Independent March 6




An in quest was held on Monday, the 12th instant, at the house of Mr. Henry Redwood, Stafford Place, Waimea West, touching the death of John Turner, who had been killed by falling into a steam thrashing machine while it was at work.

   Henry redwood, jun., being sworn, said: I am a farmer, residing in Waimea West.  I knew the deceased.  On Saturday last I was d riving the steam-engine which was working a thrashing machine at my father's farm.  Deceased was employed in cutting the bands of the sheaves after they were on the machine.  His place was on the platform at the top of the machine.  I had stopped the machine to tighten the belt, and gave the men a glass of ale.  When I again started the engine I saw the deceased take a running jump; off the ground on to the rick alongside the machine, which rick was about a yard high.  He ran across the rick, and jumped on the the machine, an additional height of about a yard.  As he jumped on the machine, he jumped over the platform and into the drum, which was then ogling at full speed, about one thousand revolutions per minute.  As soon as I saw him falling I perceived that he had over jumped himself, and I immediately shut off the steam.  The machine stopped of itself, and I concluded that deceased was caught in it and must have been killed, but on going to the machine I found that only his cleft leg had got into the drum, and that it had been carried down as far as the knee.  The space into which deceased's leg had been drawn, was about an inch and a half at the top and about half an inch below.  The men tried to pull him out but could not.  I instantly proceeded to slack the bed until the leg could be pulled out; it was very much mangled, in fact was broken to pieces up to the knee, and all the flesh stripped off it. Deceased was then taken to the harness-room, and we stopped the bleeding as bets we could.  I sent my brother for a doctor and desired him to bring amputating instruments with him.  The accident occurred about three o'clock in the afternoon; about 8 o'clock Dr. Sealey arrived.  Between half-past six and seven I saw deceased was sinking, and at about 10 o'clock he died.  At the time of the accident deceased was quite sober.  He had been a servant of mine for the last eight or nine months, and I have never seen him the worse for liquor.

   William Byers Sealey, being sworn, said: I am a physician and Surgeon.  On Saturday last, I was fetched to Mr. Redwood's, to attend a man who had been injured in the thrashing machine. I arrived there at about half past seven o'Clock.  I found that deceased had a most extensive laceration of the left leg, the foot being nearly torn off and the bones of the leg being fractured in at least two places, the knee joint was also fractured, and laid open, the left arm was also grazed, from the shoulder down to the hand, but the injury was only skin deep. When I first saw deceased, he was very depressed; his nervous system had suffered a severe shock, and from the effect of that he gradually sank, and died about half past nine o'clock.  I endeavoured to get him to take stimulants, but he pertinaciously refused.  The cause of death was collapse, brought on by the injuries above mentioned.  He appeared to be losing very little blood, as the proper means of stopping hemorrhage had been taken.

   Thomas Redwood, being sworn, said: I was present when the accident occurred.  I saw deceased jump into the thrashing machine, at the opening through which the corn is supplied to the drum.  I tried to extricate him, but could not; he was afterwards got out by some of the men.  It was about ten minutes from the time he fell in until he was extricated.  I then took horse and started for Nelson, for surgical assistance.  It was nearly an hour before the horse was caught.  I rode as fast as I could, and reached nelson about five o'clock.  I went to Dr. Williams; neither he nor his partner was at home.  I went to Dr. Thebing, and he said he would go if Dr. Renwick went.  I then went for Dr. Renwick, but could not find him.  After the lapse of an hour from, my arrival in town, I met Dr. Sealey, who immediately prepared to start with me.

   The CORONER having addressed the Jury, they, after a short deliberation, returned the following verdict: - "That John Turner, on the tenth day of March, died from having accidentally fallen into a thrashing machine while at work."


LYTTELTON TIMES, 17 March 1860


On Monday last an inquest was held at the Northern Hotel, Kaiapoi, on the body of Henry Davis, aged 56, who died from a wound in the head produced by a pistol bullet.  The body was found within a mile of Mr. G. H. Moore's station at Glemmark, by a shepherd.  The inquest was adjourned till Monday next, in order to obtain further evidence.

   Considerable excitement has been caused in Kaiapoi and the neighbourhood, by the facts which have come to light connected with the death of this unfortunate man.  It is asserted that Mr. Moore refused the man a night's lodging - the weather being severe at the time.  This, we believe, is denied by Mr. Moore, who states that the man only applied for work, and was refused on the ground that he had none to give.  It is also asserted that though Mr. Moore was aware that the man's body lay within a mile of his station, he took no steps wither to have it removed or covered up, and that it lay exposed to the weather till the policemen sent from  Kaiapoi took it away on the following Sunday; also that he neglected to send a special messenger to Kaiapoi to acquaint the authorities with the fact, merely sending word by his bullock-driver, who happened to be going to Kaiapoi about the time it was discovered.  We hear also that the policemen was refused a few boards to construct a shell for the body to be brought down in, and that the owner of the station declined to order his men to make a coffin, stating that they were on piece-work and he could not take them off.

   The body was brought down wrapped in a couple of wool bales, in an advanced state of decomposition, owing to the long exposure to the weather.  We hear that Mr. Moore has been summoned to attend the adjourned meeting of the inquest, and we trust, in the common interests of humanity, that he will be able to clear himself satisfactorily from these imputations.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 21 March 1860

Long, very critical editorial re Mr. Moore; "Mean, hard-hearted, barbarous, blasphemous man!"  


 The following evidence was given at an inquest, held at the Northern Hotel, Kaiapoi, on the 12th March, before Charles Dudley, Esq., J.P., on the body of a man unknown, discovered lying within a mile of Mr. Moore's station at Glenmark.

   John Henry, s worn - I am a carpenter living at Mr. Moore's station at Glenmark.  On Wednesday evening last, March 7th, the deceased called at the hut at which I live on the station about dusk.  He asked me the nearest way the the accommodation house, and I told him that it was so dark that I could not direct him in a proper manner.  He asked for a drink of water which I gave him, as I had no tea at the time.  He said "I have just seen Mr. Moore who has denied me stopping there this dreadful wet night: what shall I do?"   The deceased attempted to come into the hut, but I refused, and said that Mr. Moore on a former occasion accused me of having had two men at the place.  This was the reason why I refused him admittance.  I directed him to the woolshed about three or four hundred yards distant, where he would find shelter.  It was raining heavily all night while I was awake.  About midnight I heard the dogs barking, and I said to my wife that poor man has lost his way, I think.  I heard noting more of deceased till Friday following when I heard that a man was found dead about a mile off on the road to the accommodation house called the Pass.  There is no track by which a stranger could find his way to the accommodation house.  I went with others to see the body found, and discovered that it was the deceased, the same who had called at my hut on the Wednesday night.

   He was lying on his back with his arms extended and his legs crossed.  A pistol, a revolver, was lying near his feet. His hat was about 200 yards from him.  The revolver produced is I believe the same.  My house is very small and I could give n o accommodation for the night, and as Mr. Moore had refused I should have considered that I was acting contrary to his wishes if I had done so.  I believe that no one attempted to cover up the body or to remove it to the woolshed or any other house, till it was brought away by the police.

   By the Jury - The deceased appeared agitated when he called at my hut.  It had been raining the whole of the afternoon on Wednesday.

   John Lawcock  sworn. - I am a shepherd living at Mr. Moore's station, at Glenmark.  On Friday morning last, March 9th, between 8 and 9 o'clock, I saw a man lying on the ground near the direction of the Pass;  he was lying on his back with one leg crossed over the other and his arms spread out, his hat lying about twenty yards from him.  I thought he was sleeping, but as I saw no motion when I was calling to my dog, I then thought that he was dead.  I went forward and saw some spots of blood on his face and a four-barrelled pistol lying at his feet with the muzzle towards him.  I then left, and went down to the station and told Mr. Moore and Mr. Douglas of it.  The place where the deceased was lying was covered with grass and stones.  There was no appearance of the ground having been torn up.  The corpse was not removed on then Friday, and I believe no orders were given at the station about it.  I do not know the deceased, he was a stranger at the station.  The revolver produced is similar to the one I saw lying at the feet of the deceased.

   Police constable Hayman sworn - I am one of the police living at Kaiapoi.  In consequence of information being received that a man was found dead on Mr. Moore's station at Glenmark, I was sent off to make enquiries and to being down the body.  I left on Saturday afternoon soon after the information arrived.  I got to Glenmark on Sunday morning at 9.  I saw Mr. Moore.  He told me that I should find some of the men who would shew me where the body was lying.  He had not seen the man himself.  A man had called at the station on Wednesday afternoon and enquired his way to the Pass, but he did not know whether it was the same man or not.  He believed that the man had not been removed or touched by any of his men since he was found.

   I asked Mr. Moore to allow one of his men to make a box to put the body in.  He said his men were n piece work and that he could not order them to go to work, but that I might have a box lying at his house.  I looked at it and found it too narrow.  He then ordered some wool bales which I took with me. 

   When I got to the place where the deceased was lying, I saw the body lying on the back as described by the other witnesses.  He was not covered over and apparently had not been touched.  I thought that he had been shot, as there had been blood running from what appeared to be a small pistol wound.  The revolver pistol now produced was lying close by his feet, the muzzle was rather inclined towards his feet.  His hat was about 20 yards from him.  I searched him and found the powder flask produced with powder in it, a pair of stockings, comb, paper, and handkerchief; but nothing by which I could identify the body.  The pistol has four barrels, two appear to be loaded and one that is discharged has on the remains of an exploded cap.  I wrapped the deceased in the wool bales, procured a cart, and took it to Kaiapoi.

   Samuel Beswick sworn - I am a medical practitioner living in Kaiapoi.  I have examined the body of the deceased and found a gun shot wound a little above the ear, on the right side.  On removing the sc alp I found a considerable effusion of blood in the posterior part of the head.  I removed the bone of the skull - the brain was so broken down by decomposition that I could not trace the track of the ball, which I found amongst the mass of brain which I had removed from the head.  The bullet I now produce.  It exactly fits the pistol found by the side of the deceased.  I believe the wound must have been inflicted by the deceased himself.  The apparent course of the ball was upwards and backwards, and just such a direction as it would have taken if a man deliberately committed suicide.  I believe such a wound would be instantly fatal.  From the position in which deceased was found I think he must have shot himself standing up.

   Mr. Revel, sub-inspector of police, requested that the case might be adjoiurned for further evidence, which was accordingly done.  The time for the next hearing was fixed for Monday 19th inst.


When the case was adjourned, the time fixed for the next hearing was 6 p.m., to-day, which was altered a few days afterwards to 2 p.m. on then same day.  One of the jurors, however, had not received notice, and the consequence was that the whole court and the witnesses had to wait his arrival till six, at which hour the hearing of the case was resumed before Charles Dudley, Esq., J.P., acting as Coroner.  The following gentlemen were present on the bench: - C. O. Torlesse, Esq., J.P.,  W. C. Beswick, Esq., J.P., and J. Birch, Esq., J.P.

   The case was re-opened by re-calling -

   Samuel Beswick, who stated, that since he was last examined, he remerged having seen the man at Felton's Ferry about three weeks ago, and believed that his name was Davis.  Had known him well some years ago as a sawyer in the Church Bush working with a man of the name of Wilson, and had no doubt that he was the same person.

   Joseph Wm. Papprill sworn - I am an innkeeper at Rangiora.  A man named Stephen Davis came to my place on the 11th February and stayed there till 7th March.  I believe him to be the deceased.  During that time he went up to Mr. Chapman's to commence work for him, but returned after an absence of two days.  About the commencement of March, he asked me if I had a pistol for sale.  I showed him a four barrelled revolver, stating the price to be 5 Pounds; he requested me to keep it for him till he went to Timaru, as he should require it there, and agreed to purchase it; he left my place about half past six on the morning of the 7th March, before I was down; he was to have worked out his account with me, but did not.  The pistol and powder flask produced are the same.  I did not miss the pistol till the Tuesday after the inquest; the pistol was never loaded while in my house.  He was never the worse for liquor while in my house, nor am I aware that he ever suffered from delirium tremens, or from the effectds of drink at all.  He gave me no reason to suppose that he meditated self-destruction.  He was dressed in a dark green velveteen coat, and striped blue shirt which I purchased for him, and a black wide-a-wake, and cord trousers.  He always wore the same dress while with me.  He never alluded to going up the country to get work.

   By the jury - The pistol was not in an easy position to get at.  I did not notice any particular patch in his trowsers.

   John Leith sworn - I am a publican at the Kowai.  An elderly man came to my house about mid-day on Wednesday, March 7.  He had on a dark velveteen shooting-coat.  I believe him to have been Henry Davis the deceased.  He complained of being weary and foot-sore.  He told me that he was going up to Mr. Moore's to make some hurdles, and enquired where Mr. Moore's bush was.  As he appeared very tired, and I thought he was a poor man, I gave him a glass of ale, and seeing Mr. Moore's dray on the other side of the river, told him that he might overtake it, but he stated that he was too tired.  I then pointed out another dray which was coming up (Meldrum's) and told him that he could go by it.  I then took him in and gave him some dinner and another glass of ale.  He had a careworn appearance.  I supposed he had no money, but he promised to send some down by White, and from that I supposed he wass engaged by White to work for Mr. Moore.  He showed me a powder flask.  The one produced is the same.  He was quite sober when he left my house, and I do not think that any liquor was taken away by him.

   John Waters, sworn - I am a shepherd to Mr. Douglas, and live at the station.  I was at Leith's on Wednesday, 7th March, when a man dressed in a velveteen coat, cord trowsers, and black felt hat came there.  I believe him to have been Henry Davis; he asked for a drink of water.  Leith asked him if he would have a glass of beer, he had it.  He said that he was going up to Mr. Moore's to make hurdles; he then had his dinner; he shewed me a powder flask, the one produced is the same; he told me he had a pistol which would be handy to shoot pigs with; he did not shew me the pistol.  He was perfectly sober.  He rode on Meldrum's dray about three miles and then walked about a mile and a half with me.  I then turned off to Mr. Douglas'.  They had nothing to drink on the dray, and he was perfectly sober when we parted.  He appeared to have full possession of his senses.  He said he had some tools on Mr. Moore's dray going up with White.  About a quarter of an hour after I left him it began to rain and continued to rain hard till I turned in to sleep; the weather was cold, wind from south-west.  He stated that he had come from Rangiora that morning.

   BY the Jury - White was driving Mr. Moore's dray on before.

   George Henry Moore, sworn - I am a station master at Glenmark.  About six o'clock on Wednesday about the time we knocked off, an elderly man met me between the stock-yard and the hut; he said 'Is that you White?' - I said 'No.' He then said 'I want to see White about the settlement of some account with Beswick,' - to which I made no reply.  He then asked me if I could give him any work - to which I answered that I had none, I was full handed.  I have no recollection of the man, but I believe him to be the deceased Henry Davis, from the description I have heard.  He then asked me if he might stay the night and I said no.  I said I had already five travellers in my hut, which was quite enough, and had given up making an accommodation house of it.  The weather had been more or less wet for an hour or two; it was not dark.

   I pointed out where the accommodation house was about an hour's walk from the station; about three miles off.  It is called Henry's or sometimes Weka Pass.  I did not ask him any question s.  I did not observe anything particular about him.  There is no track to the accommodation house the way I pointed out.  The distance by the other way is five or six miles.  He could have found his way if he had been the right sort of man by the way I pointed out to him; it was getting dusk.  Pankhurst and two others with him and two sailors were in the hut. There might have been room in the hut for several more; but I have given my hut-keeper orders not to take in any person without my orders, as I have been imposed upon too often.  I refused him because he was in liquor.  I smelt him of it.  That was one reason.  The man was not drunk, but had been drinking.

   He did not appear to be feeble; he looked a strong able man. I am guided by my opinion as to whether men are impostors or looking for work.  I considered this man an impostor.  I did not think he was really looking for work, although he asked for it.  I did not hear any more of the man till the Friday morning following, when I saw one of the shepherds running to me.  I thought he had lost his dogs, and was going to assist him, when he said he had found a man lying dead about a mile or so away, with a pistol at his feet.  My dray was just starting, and I wrote a letter by it to Mr. Revel.

   I did not go to see the body, nor did I give any orders respecting it.  A man on foot might get down in a day to Kaiapoi.  The dray would arrive about 11 the following morning.  I had no horse handy.  I have an indistinct notion that some of the men asked me to have the body removed to the woolshed.  I forget my reply.  It was my impression that it was illegal for me to interfere with the body till the authorities had seen it.  The body remained there till Sunday.  I believe the constable removed it, but I was not at home when it was removed.  The constable asked me if I could provide the body with a shell.  I told him that the carpenters were on contract work, and I could not order them to do it; moreover, it was the Sabbath.  I have some woolpacks to wrap the body in.  I think the deceased did not see White that evening, as he was unwell.

   Alfred St. John White sworn - I am a workman at Glenmark. I never gave orders to any man to come up to Glenmark to make hurdles.  I had no tools on the dray belonging to the deceased.

   This closed the evidence.  The Jury having retired for about half-an-hour, returned to the room when the foreman read the following verdict:-

   "We are of opinion that the deceased died by his own hand, there being no evidence to show the state of his mind at the time.

   And the jury cannot too severely reprobate the conduct of Mr. Moore for denying the deceased shelter, and committing him in an exhausted state to the inclemency of the weather in a dark tempestuous night, with an almost certainty of his not being able to fin d any other accommodation."

   Considering the excitement caused in the neighbourhood of Kaiaipoi by this event, the proceedings during the investigation were conducted with great decorum.  At times, strong expressions of feeling were displayed, but were promptly repressed by the bench.


COLONIST, 23 March 1860

FATAL ACCIDENT. - Last night a fearful accident occurred on the Beach road, causing the death of a respected inhabitant, Mr. Bartlett, draper, of Trafalgar-street, who was going towards the port in a dog cart driven by W. Watts.  The vehicle came in collision with a horse and cart belonging to Mr. Goodman, baker, of Bridge-street, who was driving; the shaft penetrating the chest of his horse, causing immediate death. The force of the contact was so great that the two passengers in the cart of W. Watts with himself were precipitated to the ground with extreme violence; the driver and one of the passengers escaped with but little injury.  The accident occurred between 8 and 9 o'clock, and we regret to say, that Mr. Bartlett died about an hour afterwards from the injuries he received.  We are in possession of all the circumstances of this unhappy case, but forbear comment until after the inquest.




FATAL ACCIDENT. - On the 11th instant a man named John Jones lost his life in the Mohaka river under the follolwing circumstances.  He was one of the crew of the schooner "Gipsey," owned by Messrs. Riddell and Stapleton.  The vessel was under weight, and was about to bring up again. The deceased was told to lower the jib, and in catching hold of the "down-haul" for that purpose, made a false movement and staggered overboard.  His mate saw him pass the waist of the vessel, and reach out to try and seize him, but ineffectually.  The vessel being under weigh at the time, nothing more could be done, and the deceased was not seen alive afterwards.  The residents about constituted themselves in to a jury - the coroner's jurisdiction not extending so far - and returned a verdict of "accidentally drowned."




 An inquest was yesterday held at the Court-house, on the body of Charles John Bartlett, who was accidentally killed on the previous evening, under the circumstances detailed in the evidence below.'

   A Jury having been sworn in, of which Mr. G. Coates was chosen foreman, the Coroner addressed a few observations to them, when they proceeded to view the body, which was lying at the hospital.  On their return after visiting the spot where the accident occurred, the follolwing evidence was taken, the witnesses not under examination being ordered out of Court.

   William Byers Sealey, being sworn, said: I am a Physician and Surgeon, practicing in Nelson.  I knew the deceased; the body which the jury have seen was his body.  I last saw him alive a few minutes before nine o'clock last evening; he was then in the hospital; he was totally insensible, and was breathing spasmodically; he was entirely pulseless. The cause of this was mist extensive fracture of the bones of the forehead and the nasal bones; the skin was only very slightly cut in one place, but I distinctly felt the fracture underneath the scalp; the bone must have been shattered into a considerable number of pieces; some of the finger-nails on both hands were bent back and torn as though he had fallen in his hands and been dragged along.  The fracture seemed to have been caused by a fall on some hard smooth substance.  I don't think it could have been caused by a kick from a horse.  There was a good deal of hemorrhage from the nose, caused by an internal fracture.  Deceased did not recover consciousness and expired a few minutes before nine.  I may say, deceased was to all intents and purposes dead when he was brought into the hospital.

   William Thomas Locke Travers, being sworn, said: I am the District Judge of Nelson.  I knew the deceased.  I was going towards the beach road, accompanied by Mr. James Hacket, yesterday evening, at about eight o'clock.  It was raining very much, and was extremely dark.  It must have been impossible to see persons distant three or four yards.  We had gone about fifty yards below Mr. Symons's stores, when we heard a gig or trap; coming behind us, and immediately after we heard a gig or trap; coming towards us; the one coming up from the beach was evidently the nearer one of the two.  We both drew ourselves on one side, and the trap coming up from then beach passed us.  I drew to the side nearest the water.  I stopped that I might see the two carts, and when I saw them I felt satisfied a collision would take place, but it was impossible to prevent it they were so close together.

   I heard a collision take place, distant from me about ten yards.  The trap which passed me was trotting at an ordinary pace; in fact I may say that the horses of both the traps were going at an ordinary rate.  I judge that from the sound.  Why I apprehended that an accident would occur was, that the night was so dark the respective drivers could not see each other.  I should fancy that the cart coming up the beach was near Mr. Wilson's palings, that is, on the driver's right hand side, but it was so dark that the drivers could not see exactly where they were. The cart coming from the town occupied about the crown of the road.

   Immediately after the collision took place, hearing no human cry of pain, I thought the wheels had merely been locked; the horses seemed to me struggling to get free, and from the sound, I thought that the drivers were unable to quiet them; but I instantly heard one horse breathing very hard, as though seriously injured, and also heard a faint cry, which I thought proceeded from a horse.  Mr. Hacket proposed that we should assist them, but I conceived it would be better to get a light, and for that purpose I ran up to Mr. Symons's store, where I got a lamp, and returned.

   I then saw the grey horse lying on the ground in the shafts of a cart, evidently dying, with his head looking towards the beach road, so that it must have been completely turned round; the dark horse had been taken out of the shafts of the other cart, which was tilted, with its back towards the water.  Underneath this were two bodies, lying side by side, entangled in the harness, with the cart resting on their legs, their heads being towards the palings.  I did not at that time recognize either of them. One was breathing very heavily, with a large quantity of blood over the lower part of his face; this I afterwards found was Mr. Bartlett, the deceased.  The other man appeared merely stunned, but was also perfectly insensible.  This second body was that of Watts, the car-driver.  I immediately sent a request for Drs. Williams, Sealey, and Thebing, to attend at the hospital, as I intended seeing the men conveyed there.  Some shutters were then brought, and after placing the bodies on them, and putting them in the cart under which they had been lying, some men then, by my direction, dragged the cart to the hospital.  I preceded the cart with the lantern I had, and afterwards giving it to Mr. Hacket, I ran on to Dr. Sealey's, when I immediately went to the Hospital.  I should fancy that I was with Dr. Sealey within ten minutes of the accident occurring.

   When I came out of Dr. Sealey's, I heard Watts struggling and talking to somebody; he had evidently somewhat recovered from the effects of his fall, but someone tried to persuade him to lie down. Feeling that the delay was dangerous to the other man, I immediately caught hold of Watts, and taking him from the cart, I threw him to the other side of the road, so that the cart might proceed without him; he scrambled up, and again fell under the cart, when some one dragged him away, and the cart then proceeded.

   Immediately we arrived at the Hospital, we delivered Mr. Bartlett into Dr. Sealey's hands; deceased was then apparently in precisely the same position as when we found him on the road.  I then left the Hospital, and broke the matter to Mrs. Bartlett.  I think the accident occurred through the absence of lights upon the carts to show where they were.  I am sure no driver could say, within a few feet, where he was driving.  I should fancy that they were trusting rather to their horses than themselves, though I think that those coming up from the beach had the better opportunity of seeing where they were driving, as they would have the advantage of any lights from the town.

   By a Juror: I think Mr. Hacket said, "Here is Watts's cart; would you trust yourself in it?" and I said I would not trust myself in any cart on such a night.  I should attribute Watts's conduct in the Waimea road to have proceeded from then concussion, and not from drink.

   John Tolder Layton, being sworn, said: I am a surgeon, belonging to the Wild Duck, now at Wellington.  I knew the deceased, and with him, yesterday evening, I was proceeding to the port, at half-past seven o'clock.  We went in a cart, driven by a man named Watts, and while easily trotting along we came into collision with another cart, just outside the town.  I could not at that time see the other cart; I believe we were looking down at the time, in consequence of the rain, which was falling heavily.  I neither saw nor heard the other cart which was coming towards us.  Just before the collision, I had desired Watts to call at Dr. Tatton's for a coat of mine, and he said "all right."  From the way he answered me, I thought he was sober.  Upon the collision taking place, I was thrown out of the cart and pitched forward.  I sat on the neat side, Mr. Bartlett was in the middle, and the driver was on his proper side.  I endeavoured to save myself in the best way that I could, as I had fallen by the side of the horse, and, getting under the cart, so that I might pass through between the wheels, I was pulled out by some one.  I did not know the condition of the other parties until a light was procured, and that was done immediately after the accident.  The horse in the other cart as down, but I did not look t o that, I attended the parties who were injured.

   By a Juror: I was quite satisfied with Watts's driving.  I saw him about half an hour before I started, and told him I wished to go down to the beach. We were certainly not driving at a furious rate. 

   Until I saw Watts in bed, I had not considered that he had been drinking.  After the accident, I went to Dr. Tatton, and afterwards wert with him to the Hospital.  We came away, and then I saw Mrs. Bartlett home, and afterwards went to the Trafalgar.  Dt. Tatton, and I there saw Watts in bed, fast asleep.  We tried to rouse him, but could not succeed; we examined him and saw that he had a scalp wound at the back of his head.  When I could not arouse him, I thought he was labouring under stupor from intoxication.  That was the first time that I thought he was intoxicated, and was about an hour or an hour and a half after the accident had occurred. Had our cart had a light, the accident would not have occurred.  I should have driven at the same rate that Watts did, had I known the road.

   The Jury here adjourned for half an hour.

   On the Jury re-assembling,

   James Hacket, being sworn, said: I am a miner, residing at Nelson.  I was in company with Mr. Travers, at about a quarter past seven o'clock, last evening, walking down the beach road.  The night was very dark, and it was raining.  When we were within a few yards of Mr. Wilson's store, I heard a cart coming behind me.  I turned round and could see by the light from Mr. Symons's store that it was Watts's cart.  I did not recognize any one in the cart, but I said to Mr. Travers, "Here comes the man they call Mad jack, if you don't mind risking your life, let us take a ride down."  We had also heard a cart coming up from the beach to the town.  I do not know the rate at which the carts were bring driven; but before Mr. Travers could have had much time to reply to me, the carts came into collision.  When the carts first met, we stood on one side, as the horses were prancing about so, but as soon as we saw that we could get by, we went to Symons's store, and procured a light, with which we returned to the place where the accident had occurred.  Seeing two men lying on the ground, I went and get a shutter, on which one of the persons was placed; we subsequently, having placed them both on shutters, lifted them into the cart.  I walked ahead with the lantern; there were several lights there.  Both were insensible when placed in the cart.

   By a Juror: I heard persons say that they had been in one of the carts, but were not hurt.  One cart stood with shafts up in the air.  I was by, when Watts partially recovered his senses; I cannot say if he was intoxicated; he began calling to the horse to stop, and swearing he would get out.  I thought Watts was drunk.

   Thomas Fagan, being sworn, said: I am Sergeant-Major of Police.  At about a quarter to seven last night, I got into Watts's cart, in order to proceed down the beach.  There were then in the cart two other persons; we drove to the Steam Company's wharf.  Watts was perfectly sober; he is not a temperate man.  At Winterburn's, I gave him some port wine, as he said he was not well; that was after he had driven me down.  I am sure he was more sober last evening than was his wont.  I left Watts at about s even o'clock.

   It was here suggested that witnesses were in court who returned to town with Watts; whereupon

   The CORONER said that he thought that, if evidence were tendered touching the fact of Watts being intoxicated or otherwise, that then these witnesses could be called; because he thought it would be a monstrous thing to cause Watts to be visited with a heavy penalty for being concerned in what might have been an accident, simply because he occasionally or habitually got drunk.

   Alexander Scott, being sworn, said: I was coming up the beach last evening in King and Goodman's cart.  It was so dark that I could not see Watts's cart advancing towards us.  John Carter, Goodman, and myself were in one cart; Goodman was driving. I should think we were not driving beyond four miles an hour.  I could not see on which side we were driving, but I think one wheel was on the hard road, and the other (the left wheel) was running on the gravel at the side of the road.  I did not see Watts's cart, but the moment the collision occurred I put my hand on Carter's head and jumped out of the cart, and was caught by my breeches to the back of the cart, and when they gave way I fell on my back on the road.  I assisted in lifting the deceased and Watts into the cart; they were then both perfectly insensible.  On the way to the hospital Watts sat up in the cart, and asked, with an imprecation, "Where are you taking me and my cart to:" I asked Mr. Hill to hold him down, that he might not disturb Mr. Bartlett, as I thought his head was affect by the accident.  He wrestled with Mr., Hill, and said he would break Mr. Hill's head if he did not let go of him.  Thinking Watts might disturb Mr. Bartlett, I took him by the collar, and dragged him out of the cart, placing him upon his feet; he then staggered underneath the cart; I picked him up again, and he went towards town.  I should fancy that Watts was the worse for liquor.

   John Carter being sworn, said: I was in King and Goodman's cart when the collision took place.  I had come up from the Albion Wharf.  We were sometimes trotting, sometimes walking. I don't know if I was thrown out or not.  I don't know how I got out of the cart.  I was quite sober.

   Thomas Colledge Crook, being sworn, said: I am a plumber.  I was at the place when the accident occurred before the bodies were removed.  King and Goodman's horse was wounded severely in or about the left shoulder by the shaft of a cart.  The cart had its left shaft broken off.

   Isaac Mason Hill was affirmed, but did not give any evidence material to the inquiry.

   James Noel Wilkinson, being sworn, said: I am assistant to Mr. Luck, of the Trafalgar Hotel.  Last evening I saw Mr. Bartlett in the passage of the Trafalgar Hotel, and I saw Watts also; he did not appear otherwise than sober.  After the accident, Mrs. Luck fetched Watts in from Hargeaves's; he did not then talk soberly; he seemed unconscious.

   Philip Duke, being sworn, said: I have no profession.  I went down the beach, accompanied by Mr. Fagan, yesterday evening about seven o'clock, and again returned, being driven on both occasions by Watts.  When I was going down I thought Watts was sober, and on returning up the beach, we went to the Trafalgar; Watts was then sober.  I had no suspicion of his being drunk.  Immediately on arriving at the Trafalgar, he took up two passengers, and left with them; he did not at that time get out of the cart.

   This concluded the evidence.

   The CORONER then, addressing the Jury, explained portions of the evidence; after which the Jury retired, and having been absent for about one hour, returned with the following verdict:-

   "We find that the death of Mr. Bartlett was accidentally caused by collision of two carts, owing to the darkness of the night.

   We would also recommend that all persons plying vehicles for hire should be subject to certain regulations for the security of the public, and be compelled to carry lights. 

   The Jury are also of opinion, that a man of such intemperate habits as Watts should not be allowed to drive any public vehicle for hire."

  The CORONER said that the last portion of the verdict really did not pertain to their inquiry.

   The Foreman announced that it was not as touching this particular case that that part of the verdict had been returned.

   A Juror said they knew Watts to be of intemperate habits, and that he used very bad language, and therefore the Government should look after him and see that he did not possess the power of injuring persons by his bad and careless habits.  [Funeral.]


It is with great regret that we announce the melancholy fact of Mr. John Gorrie, junior, of this city, having accidentally met his death at Beaverton.  It appears that deceased, while shingling a house for Mr. Sinclair, accidentally slipped from the scaffolding.  We have not been able to learn fuller particulars than that the accident occurred on the afternoon of Tuesday last, and that deceased died on the following evening from the injuries he had received.




"Whereas the under mentioned persons were killed at Taranaki on the 27th March, 1860, under circumstances which render it probable that murder was in reach case committed: Notice is hereby given that any of the natives who were concerned in causing the deaths of those persons under the before-mentioned circumstances, will be at any time apprehended by the civil authorities, and will be brought to trial before the Supreme Court, should it be found, upon enquiry, that they have rendered themselves liable to be tried for murder:- Harry Passmore, Samuel Shaw, Samuel Ford, James Pote, William Parker."


COLONIST, 30 March 1860


(From the Marlborough Press.)

FATAL ACCIDENT. - On Tuesday last, 20th March, a lamentable accident occurred to a young man named John Gorrie, when shingling the building intended to be used as the council Chamber.  It appears that the scaffolding gave way, and the unfortunate youth fell on a claw hammer that was on the ground, with the handle upwards, by which he received injuries of so serious a nature that, although every attention was given to him by Dr. Horne, he expired on Wednesday night, at the Royal Hotel, to which house he was removed immediately after the accident.

   Yesterday an inquest was held on the body, before S. L. Muller, Esq., coroner, when -

   James Sinclair being sworn, said: On Tuesday afternoon last, the 20th March, I was in the Land Office, at Beaverton.  I heard a sound of shingles falling from the adjoining building.  I went out and saw deceased on the ground.  Some scaffolding was falling about him, I went to the deceased.  He was moaning, but quite sensible.  He appeared in great pain, and placed his hand on his bowels.  I saw blood on his clothes - on his trousers.  He was carried to the Land Office.  He said he was hurt in his fork, and complained of pain in his stomach.  A doctor was sent for, who came quickly, and he was removed to his lodgings.  I was acquainted with him.  His name was John Gorrie.  That is his body which the jury have just seen.  I should think he fell about eighteen or twenty feet.  He was shingling the roof.  The scaffolding appeared to be of the usual character.  I had seen it before the accident, and did not consider it unsafe.

   Lewis Keele Horne, being sworn, said: I am a surgeon, living in the Wairau.  On Tuesday afternoon last I was summoned to an accident.  I went to the Land Office and saw deceased, John Gorrie, lying there.  I had him removed to his lodgings.  I removed his trousers and examined him.  I saw blood on his trousers and shirt. There was but a little oozing when I saw him.

   There was a wound about half an inch long tone through the side of the bowel at the verge of the anus.  I saw a small piece of skin forced up the bowel.  I drew it down; it was about two-and-a-half inches long, and appeared to have been torn off near the bowel.  The sphincter muscle was partly tone through.  There was a very small portion of stool mixed with the blood escaped from the wound. 

   He complained of pain on the inside of the hip, in the right iliac region.  He did not complain of a pain in his fundament or bowel. The pain in his side continued to get worse, and I applied fomentations to him.  I saw him three times that evening.  I drew off his water, he having expressed a little pain in the bladder.  After that he passed his water as usual.  I gave him the remedies I considered necessary.  U was afraid of inflammation setting in.  The next morning I found him rather worse; the pain in his side was increasing, and extending over the bowels, which were burning hot, and tender to the touch.  His pulse was quick and feeble, never full.  I gave him calomel and opium, and in the evening I took away some blood from his arm, which seemed to relieve him.  His breathing was difficult, and he avoided using the abdominal muscles as much as possible.  I saw him several times that evening.  On my last visit, about twelve o'clock, he was dead.  He sank rapidly towards the last.  I consider the immediate cause of death to have been peritonitis, or inflammation of the covering of the bowels, produced by the injury to his rectum.  I was told that he had fallen on a hammer, and the handle has passed up the rectum.

   William Gorrie, bring sworn, said: Deceased was my brother.  I was with him on the roof when he fell.  I was with him on the same scaffold.  I saved myself by holding on to the shingles.  Mr. Sinclair picked him up.  When he was removed to his lodgings, he told me that he had fallen upon a hammer, and it had passed into his bowels.  I went to the building, and saw the ham mer.  There was blood on the handle for about three inches.  My brother was attended by the doctor until he died.  I was present when he died.  I consider the scaffold was sufficient for the work.  I attribute the blame to no one.

   Verdict "Accidental Death, caused by injuries received in falling from a scaffold." [Funeral.]


TARANAKI HERALD, 31 March 1860


INQUEST. - An inquest was held on the 28th inst., on the bodies of S. Ford, H. Passmore, S. Shaw, James Pote, and William Parker, before Dr. Wilson, Coroner.  The following verdict was returned by the Jury:

   "Considering the existing rebellious state of certain tribes of Maories in this province of Taranaki, and the intelligence communicated by one of that people to Mr. F. J. Mace, an hour or two previous to the bodies of the deceased individuals now under inquest being discovered, to wit, that no other white man would be permitted to pass through the Omata district; as also the fact that when those dead bodies were discovered, two Maories were observed close by thereto, by a party of our militiamen, which had been sent from the Omata Stockade in the vicinity thereof, to recover the said dead bodies; and finally, from the very barbarous character generally of the wounds inflicted, we have no hesitation in expressing, as our most unanimous and conscientious opinion, that the deceased Samuel Ford, Henry Passmore, Samuel Shaw, James Pote, and William Parker, were most wantonly, ferociously, and in cold blood murdered by a Maori or Maories unknown .  P. WILSON, Coroner."




On Thursday, the 29th inst., an inquest was held by John Watson, Esq., the Resident Magistrate of Akaroa, acting as Coroner, on the body of a man found dead on Mr. Haylock's run, on the North Head of Akaroa Harbour.  The verdict returned was "Died from exhaustion caused by starvation and exposure to the weather."

   This man was one of two who deserted from the French whaling ship Gustave, Captain Gille, which ship left Akaroa on Wednesday the 28th ult.  The two deserters left the ship on the previous Sunday week, the 18th, and had been wandering about for some days together living on shellfish and berries.  During this time they fell in with Mr. Haylock's servants who were out on the run, and received small portions of bread and cheese.  After a time they separated apparently not from design, and used every endeavour to find one another again.  The survivor stated that on the day the ship sailed he was on the mountain, and seeing the vessel leaving the port, watched her until she faded in the horizon, and a short time after found his comrade dead in a creek, with his face in the water.  Had the police been advertised that these men were on the run, one immortal soul might now have been with us.  Is there any true and real humanity in winking at desertion, when its end is misery and death? Or is it not morbid feeling in the worst form - one of the most questionable shapes in which charity can be clothed?


TARANAKI HERALD, 14 April 1860


A lamentable and fatal accident occurred yesterday morning from the careless practice of leaving loaded guns within the reach of children.  Steward, a boy of 7 years of age, took up a gun in his father's house belonging to a lodger, the piece exploded in his hands killing a little girl named ----- Scandlyn, 6 years of age, the ball going through her body and arm.  Dr. Wilson held an inquest when a verdict of accidental death was returned.

   Too much caution cannot be observed with firearms just now.  Every person is unfortunately compelled to have a loaded gun, but the law will hold him liable for the further custody of it, and should any other accidents occur from this cause, a Jury may not feel disposed, after the present warning, to overlook the real author of it.



AWFULLY SUDDEN DEATH. - On Tuesday evening, whilst Mr. Russell, who had recently been appointed Drill Sergeant of the Mounted Volunteers, Auckland, was instructing several of the newly enrolled members of that force in the sword exercise at Mr. Gorrie's school room in Coburg street, he suddenly staggered and complained of pain, and after sitting down for a few seconds, fell lifeless to the ground and never spoke again.  Dr. Philson was soon in attendance, but life was extinct.  A post mortem examination and coroner's inquest were held next day, and from the evidence of Dr. Earle, who had examined the body, it appeared that the bursting of a blood-vessel in the right lobe of the ,lung was the cause of death.  The verdict usual in cases of sudden death was returned. [Mr. Russell was formerly Sergeant Major of the 3rd Dragoon Guards, ... Funeral.]


COLONIST, 24 April 1860


CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Saturday last at the Marlborough Hotel, Blenheim, before S. Muller, Esq., the Coroner, touching the death of John O'Leary.  Mr. William Collie was chosen foreman.  The jury returned the following verdict "That the said John O'Leary came to his death by drowning in the Opawa River, having fallen from a boat while in a state of helpless intoxication, and that his death was accidental, and not otherwise."



ACCIDENTAL DEATH. - On Tuesday (yesterday), Mrs. Dickenson, wife of Mr. W. Dickenson, of Waimea South, and who for some time past has been in weak health and a low state of mind, was missed from her residence, and on search being made she was found lying in a shallow stream of water near the house, much exhausted, and although immediately conveyed home, she died in a few hours.  An inquest on the body will be held to-day.



DEATH BY DROWNING. - On Sunday, the 11th inst., a man named Davies left his house at Matakana, and, in company with a number of others, went to Cacutt's public house.  After spending the day there drinking they, about nightfall, left Cacutt's, and the unfortunate Davies, in attempting to cross the Matakan  river, was drowned.  All the party were intoxicated.  Davies's body was found in the river on the Tuesday following. ...




An inquest was held on Wednesday, the 25th instant, at the house of the Rev. Mr. Bowden, Spring-grove, touching the death of Jane Dickenson, who had met her death by drowning on the previous day.

   A jury having been sworn, of which Mr. William White was chosen foreman, evidence to the following effect was received.

   Deceased was last seen by the wife of the Rev, T. A. Bowden a few minutes before her death.  She was then walking in front of the house; and on Mrs. Bowden missing her, and looking to se e where she had gone, she saw her lying in the swamp opposite the house.  She called her husband, and they got deceased's body out of the water, and with assistance carried it to their house.

   It appears that Mrs. Dickenson had for some few years past been labouring under a softening of the brain, and had become imbecile, and it was presumed that she had unconsciously walked into the swamp, and was unable, from her childishly weak state, to extricate herself.

   The jury returned the following verdict: - "That deceased, from mental incapacity, had fallen into a pool of water, and, being unable to extricate herself, had been accidentally drowned.


COLONIST, 1 May 1860


MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT. - On Sunday, the 24th March, a boy named Michael Costello about 13 years of age, went into the Wairau to bathe in a deep pool near Messrs. Roe and Co.'s saw mill, not being able to swim he got beyond his depth.  Another boy who was with him immediately gave the alarm, but the distance being considerable from any house, fully twenty minutes had  elapsed before he was got out of the water; every exertion was made to restore animation but without success.  An inquest was held on the Monday following by James Preece, Esq., Coroner of the district: verdict of the Jury, "Accidentally drowned."



FATAL ACCIDENT. - John Smith, the drover, well known to the earliest settlers, was unfortunately drowned on Tuesday night last, in the Pakaratahi river, and an inquest was held on the body on Thursday.  Smith left Wellington on Tuesday afternoon, between two and three o'clock, with the intention to proceed to the Wairarapa.  He was last seen at Hodder's where he left about half past eleven o'clock the same night.  On Wednesday morning early Smith's horse and dog were seen on the banks of the Pakarartahi River. Search was immediately made, and the body was found about a quarter of a mile below the ford caught to a snag.  Mr. T. Kempton, jun., rode into town with all possible dispatch to give the information to Smith's employers.

     There has been two or three narrow escapes at this river before.  This is the fifth person who has been drowned (going after cattle or sheep) in the employ of Messrs. Luxford's and Ling, shewing the necessity of bridges and Ferries at the rivers in the interior for the accommodation of travellers.


COLONIST, 8 May 1860

SUDDEN DEATH. - On the 24th instant an inquest was held at the Windsor Castle, Parnell, on view of the body of James Brown, aged 18 years, who died suddenly on the day before, while employed in excavating a bank in the vicinity of the Scotch Church.  A post mortem examination was made by Dr. Shiell, who discovered an ossified state of the valves of the aorta, and an enlarged state of the heart.  The jury returned a verdict of death by "the visitation of God, from disease of the heart."  It may be observed that the disease in question was quite unsuspected during life, and deceased was apparently in perfect health up to the time of his awfully sudden death. - New Zealander.




A melancholy boat accident, attended with the loss of two lives, occurred at Okains Bay on Thursday evening last.  It appears that two men who had been living for a short time in the bay had gone to Le Bons Bay to make arrangements about sawing there, and wanted to return to Okains for their traps in a boat partly belonging to a man named Morris, of le Bons Bay, who would not lend the boat unless he himself went in charge of her.  The three men left Le Bons Bay about noon on Thursday in a nasty sea, and arrived on the Bar in Okains Bay, where there was a high surf between four and five o'clock in the evening; when Morris, who held the steer oar, made a false stroke and the boat slewed round, a sea struck her broadside on, and she capsized.  The three men clung to the boat some time, then Morris left her and the only survivor, McIntyre, after assisting the other man, named Robert Hilton, astride the keel of the boat swam to shore.  The tide was ebbing and as the boat was drifting out to sea Hilton was washed off.  Nearly every able man in the Bay turned out to assist in the search for the two missing men, but only the body of Hilton has as yet been found.  One of the policemen from Akaroa, who was in the bay, after assisting in the search returned to Akaroa to inform the Resident magistrate, who held an inquest at Okains Bay on Friday afternoon on the body found, when a verdict was returned to the effect that the deceased, Robert Hilton, was accidentally drowned by the upsetting of a whaleboat whilst taking the Bar.

   The search for the body of Morris was continued until Friday evening, every one in the Bay appearing to be most anxious to render every assistance in their power.  Morris has left a widow and two children in Le Bons Bay.




An in quest was held at the Lion Hotel, Rangiora, on Tuesday afternoon, on the body of a young man named J. Miles.  The deceased was found lying dead from the effects of a gun-shot wound through the head, on the Mount Grey Run, by a shepherd of Mr. Macfarlane's.  It appeared from the evidence that he had left his home at Rangiora on Monday afternoon last for the purpose of shooting, and was found late on that day lying across his gun, with his head fearfully shattered by the charge, which had entered at the eye and blown the brain and back part of the head completely away.  A verdict of "accidental death" was found.




CORONER'S INQUEST. - Last Friday at the house of Mr. John McHardie, "The Highland Home,": Upper Hutt, an inquest was held before Mark Kebbell, Esquire, the Coroner for the District, on view of the body of a female child the infant of Edward and Jane Henn, who was found dead in bed on the previous morning (Thursday.)  From the medical and other evidence adduced, it seemed that the child died from suffocation, in all probability from the female parent having overlaid it during the night, and the Jury returned a verdict accordingly.

   The Mother's evidence could not be received, the jury considering that she suffered too much from mental derangement, (and has been in the same state we regret to say for some time past) so that her testimony would have been of no value.




A most melancholy and fatal accident occurred in Christchurch on Sunday evening last, which resulted in the death of two fine little children, the sons of Mr. Purvis, of the Land Office.  The children were living with Mr. Swinbourne; their grandfather, whose house adjoins the premises of Messrs. Travers and Oldham in the High street.  In the contraction of part of the latter's premises, a considerable excavation had been dug out for the purpose of putting up a cob building.  The hole had become filled with water during the late heavy rains, having an average depth of about four feet.   As the road drainage passed into it, through a culvert, and there was no outlet, it was quite full, and was open and unprotected.  The neighbour's children though frequently warned by the brewer and others, were in the habit of playing about the sides of the pond.

   The deceased children were first missed by their mother about six in the evening, who immediately called her brother, Mr. C. Swinbourne, out of church.  With the assistance of Mr. W. Wilson he proceeded to drag the pond with a rake, but without success, and then started off to search for them through the flax which surrounds the place, still without finding them.  On returning, he then went into the water, and at the bottom discovered the two bodies of the two poor little fellows perfectly dead.  Every means, however, were taken by Drs. Turnbull and Parkerson, with the assistance of some neighbours, to restore animation, for a period of nearly an hour, but without effect.

   On Monday afternoon an inquest was held by Dr. Donald, coroner, and a respectable jury, of whom Mr. G. Gould was foreman, on the bodies of James and Richard Purvis, aged four and three years respectively, who were discovered drowned on the premises of Mrs. Travers and Oldham.' The jury found a verdict of "accidentally drowned;" and forwarded a memorial to the judge, touching the danger arising from an unprotected pond being allowed to remain in such a public situation.

[See Editorial comment on the presentment; LYTTELTON TIMES, 6 October, below.]




Yesterday an inquest was held on the body of John Jellard, master of the barque Avery, now lying in Lyttelton Harbour, on board that vessel, before Dr. Donald, Coroner, and a jury of which Mr. E. Dalgety was foreman.  It appeared from the evidence of the officers of the ship, that the deceased had been unwell since Friday morning last, but was not considered to be in a dangerous state till Monday afternoon, when a boat was despatched for medical aid, too late, however, to be of any use, as death had taken place in the meantime.  The deceased had suffered from low spirits caused by losses arising out of monetary transactions, aggravated by not having received news of his family, and had been drinking to a considerable extent for some days past.  The absence of a considerable quantity of laudanum from the medicine chest led to the supposition that he had been using that drug, but as far as the evidence has gone there is nothing directly tending to prove the fact.  The inquest was adjourned till next day at 12 o'clock to hear the medical evidence after a post mortem examination has been made.



An adjourned inquest was held at the Police Office on Wednesday last on the body of John Jellard, master of the barque Avery.  From the evidence of Drs. Earle and Rouse, who had made a post-mortem examination of the body, it appeared that there was nothing found in the contents of the stomach which could throw light on the cause of the death.  The medical evidence, however, agreed in the opinion that the deceased had died from the effects of laudanum.  The jury found a verdict to the effect "that the deceased John Jellard died on board the Avery on Monday last, but whether from natural causes or otherwise it was impossible to determine."

   On Thursday morning a man named Thomas Smith, a carpenter, of Kaiapoi, was found lying dead between the road and the river, a short distance on the Christchurch side of Felton's Ferry.  The body was found by a passer-by, about nine o'clock, and was carried back to Felton's house by the direction of Mr. Quin who happened to be passing, and who immediately called in Dr. Dudley.  The deceased was supposed to have died from exposure during the previous night.  A sum of money and some medicine were found on his person.


COLONIST, 5 June 1860


CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Thursday, and by adjournment also on Friday, an inquest was held at the Clanricarde Hotel, on view of the body of Mary Alexander, aged 43 years, who was found by the Police, almost in a state of nudity in a yard adjoining the Guard room on the morning before.  On being first discovered she was supposed to be insane, and being unable to give any account of herself she was removed into the guard-room, and carefully covered with warm clothes.  At daylight it was perceived that the unfortunate woman was in a dying state, and on making investigation, she proved to be a patient in the last stage of typhus fever, who not being carefully watched, had wandered from her abode in Victoria-street to the spot where she was found by the police.  At the inquest much animadversion was made on the conduct of her attendants, and the verdict of "natural death" was not unanimous.  The length of time during which she was exposed did not exceed three hours.




An inquest was held on Friday last at Felton's ferry, by Charles Dudley, Esq., as coroner, on the body of Thomas Campbell Smith, of Kaiapoi, carpenter.  The deceased, whose wife was in the hospital at Lyttelton, was retuning thence on Thursday to Kaiapoi, and met some men who were at work upon the road near the 7th mile peg, a little before dark.  They did not notice anything remarkable about him.  On Friday morning he was found lying dead beside Hood's fence, about three-quarters of a mile from Trelean's public house.  He had, apparently, from his position, and from his plaid being carefully placed beneath him, laid down to rest, and died from sheer exhaustion, the night being very inclement.  A post mortem examination was held on the body by Dr. Beswick, when the heart was found to be diseased but not to an extent to have produced death from that cause alone.  No remains of food of any kind were in his stomach, and it appears that he had taken no refreshment at all on the road.  He had often been heard to say that he never took any on the road when walking to or from port.  A considerable sum of money was found on his person.  The jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased died from want of nourishment and exposure, at the same time labouring under a heart complaint.  On the morning of the day on which the inquest was held, his widow died in the hospital in port.  Thus in two days both husband and wife were removed.  The latter died on the second anniversary of their marriage and was not aware of her husband's loss; they leave no family.  Deceased was possessed of considerable property, but it is not yet known whether he has left a will.



Presentment, 21 May 1860; the pool or pond where James Christopher William Purvis and Richard George Grant Purvis drowned.


COLONIST, 12 June 1860


MYSTERIOUS DEATH. - One of those melancholy and mysterious deaths which now appear with almost annual regularity, has just occurred.  An inquest was held yesterday, at the hospital, on the body of a man well known in Nelson since its settlement, named David Jeffers.  He was found in his house in the Wood, where he lived alone, by Mr. Shipley, who had missed the poor old man for some days, which induced him to search the house, where he found him in an insensible state.  He was eventually taken to the hospital, where he died on Saturday night last.  The inquest was adjourned to this day.  From certain appearances foul play is suspected.


COLONIST, 13 June 1860



An inquest was held at the Hospital, on Monday last, touching the death of David Jeffers, who had died on the preceding Saturday evening, in consequence of a severe fracture of his skull.

   A Jury having been sworn, of which Mr. Black was chosen foreman,

   The CORONER addressed them to the following effect; that the deceased had been found in his house labouring under serious injury, that he had been removed to the hospital, and had there died, as was presumed, from an extensive fracture of the skull. Their duty would be to inquire whether deceased met with his death by accident or design; in fact, they would have, if possible, to learn under what circumstances his death had occurred.  The jury would visit the body, and if after doing so they should be of opinion that a post mortem examination was necessary, he would issue instructions to Dr. Sealy, so that it might at once be performed.

   The jury then viewed the body, after which the following evidence was received.

   James Barton, being affirmed, said: I have known the deceased David Jeffers for the last two years; he resided in the wood, near Mr. Shipley's house; I think he was about forty-five years of age.  He died in the hospital at about half-pasty ten o'clock on the night of Saturday last.  I have just viewed the body, it is the same as shown to the Coroner and jury.  Deceased was brought to the hospital at about four o'clock on the afternoon of Friday the 8th instant; he was then insensible, and remained so until he died.

   The CORONER said he felt assured of the necessity of a post mortem examination, and the jury concurring in this opinion, Dr. Sealy was instructed to make the examination forthwith.

   Laurence Devaney, being sworn, said: I reside in Nelson, and am a weaver.  I knew the deceased.  On Monday, this day three weeks, I was in company with deceased at the Marine Hotel, between seven and eight o'clock in the evening.  I asked him to go home with Lipscombe, and he refused.  He said he would go out and lie down in the skittle-alley bat the rear of the house, and asked me to call him when I was going home.  I did go out and call him, and when he heard me he said "Oh, Larry, I am badly hurt, open the door for me."  I did so, and as he came out I saw that his face was covered with blood.  I took him into the house, washed his face, and asked him how he got the hurt, and he said he did not know.  I did not see anyone else in the skittle-ground.  I took deceased home; but did not examine the place where the deceased received the injury until next day.  I dare say deceased had been in the skittle-ground about half-an-hour before I called him.  The skittle-ground is a long empty room.  I saw deceased the following morning, he did not then appear very bad; he did not tell me how he came by the wound in his head.  I saw him several times subsequently. When he left me on the Monday evening to go into the skittle-ground he was not sober and could mot walk straight; in fact, I had to lead him home.  I don't think deceased was sufficiently sober to know hoe he came by the wound ion his head.

   Charles McGee, being sworn, said: I am an inn-keeper, and know the deceased.  I saw him on the night on which he received the wound on his head; he was then in my house.  There is a skittle-ground at the rear of the house, which has an earthen floor.  There are seats in the place, close to the wall, which are made of inch boards.  I did not examine the place until last Saturday.  I did not hear that deceased had been in the skittle-ground.  I inquired of deceased and Devaney how the wound had been occasioned, and they said they did not know.  The skittle-ground is now filled with hay and potatoes.  I examined the yard and place about, but could not see any indication.  I had not then heard that deceased had been into the skittle-alley.

   Laurence Devaney, re-called; I went into the skittle ground from the door in Trafalgar-street.  I cannot say that deceased had his hat with him when I first saw him covered with blood.  The door of the skittle alley was not fastened, and I did not hear deceased do anything as though he was unbolting the door to come out to me.  I cannot say whether deceased had his hat on when I took him home.

   Maurice Hurley, being sworn, said: I am a labourer residing in Nelson.  I knew the deceased, and saw him on the morning succeeding the day on which he received the wound upon his head; he was then in his own house.  I washed the wound and shaved the hair from it.  It appeared to be a very serious wound.  Deceased was then labouring under the effect of drink.  In answer to my enquiries, he said a man had struck him with a stick, but that he did not know who it was.  He said, "they had striven to kill old David, but that he was too tough for them."  He refused to permit me to call in medical assistance, or I would have called Dr. Bush; he refused also when I said I would call in another doctor.  I did not give any notice to the police, as I did not think he was in any danger, for I have previously seen him with three cuts on his head at one time, and all apparently as severe as this one. I think deceased was quite sober enough to know what he was saying to me.  I attended him every day until he was fetched to the hospital, and saw him frequently   six times in the course of a day.  I saw deceased at about eleven o'clock on the morning of the day on which he received the wound.  I was in the habit of calling to see him, and have a little conversation with him.

   By a Juror: I went to see deceased so frequently because I thought he was much hurt, but I did not think he was seriously ill until last Thursday, and even on the morning of that day I did not think him in a dangerous state.  In the evening of that day a policeman came to me and said he could not make deceased speak to him.  I said I would, and on going over to him I found that he was insensible.  I staid up with him all that night, and as I was dozing he fell out of bed; the candle was out, and it startled me.  I put him in to bed again, and in half an hour he fell out again, and kept calling out "There is my wife, catch her."  I do not think deceased had a wife living. I left deceased at about half-past five o'clock on that morning, and returned again in about an hour.  I then remained with him about two hours, and afterwards came to town and spoke to Dr. Bush, telling him that deceased was dangerously ill.  Dr. Bush sent him some brandy, and s aid I was to remain there until he came.  Dr. Bush came at about half-past two o'clock, and he then said he had better remove him to the hospital.  He was then placed in a cart and brought here.

   By a Juror: While I attended the deceased I gave him neither beer not spirits, except on the Friday morning, when I gave him a cup full of beer.  I had previously offered him water, but he would not take it, and motioned me to get him some beer from the cask in the room.  Dr. Bush ordered me to make the brandy quite hot, and put plenty of sugar in it, and I did so.

   William Byers Sealy, being sworn, said: I am one of the surgeons attending the nelson Hospital.  I saw the deceased at his own house early last Friday morning, between twelve and one o'clock.  I had been called to see him by a policeman; he was in a state of extreme exhaustion, and apparently suffering from the cold, as he had very little covering over him.  He was insensible, but could be roused so as to take some nourishment.  On enquiring from Hurley, his nearest neighbour, I was informed that he had a wound upon his head, but it was so dirty from dried coagulated blood and pus, that I could not then examine it, and in addition, it was then nearly healed over.  I left him, after having had more clothes put upon him and a fire lighted in the room.  He was removed to the hospital in the afternoon of that day, and on his admission therein, I discovered that his skull was considerably fractured on the left side.  He was evidently dying when admitted; he never rallied, and died at half-pasty ten o'clock on the night of Saturday last.

   I have made a post mortem examination of the body, and the external appearances were, body natural in appearance with regard to condition.  There was a scalp wound on the left side of the head, commencing at two inches and-a-half immediately above the left orbit.  The wound is of a curved form, originally two and as half inches in extent, partially healed, but leaving three quarters of an inch in the middle of the wound open.  The wound extends through the outer table of the skull.  There is an old cicatrix of a former wound over the left ear, apparently of some extent.  There are scars of old injuries on both shins, and one below the right knee.  The buttocks and scrotum are partially deprived of cuticle, most likely caused during his continued confinement to bed.

   On removing the scalp, there was some extravasation of blood in the immediate neighbourhood of the wound, but not to any considerable extent.  On the top of the skull being removed, the dura mater was found firmly adherent to the bone over the whole of the left side.  This shows that there must have been inflammation of that and the other membranes of the brain on the left side.  Some of the adhesions appeared to be recent, but others were of an older date.  A quantity of pus was deposited over the anterior two-thirds of both hemispheres of the brain.  The brain was very vascular throughout; but otherwise natural in structure.

    On removing the brain, I saw a large quantity of purulent serum escape from the lateral ventricles; and on examining then removed skull-cap, on the inner side I found a depressed portion of the inner table of the bone corresponding in situation with the external wound.  This inner table was driven in to the extent of three-sixteenths of an inch, and the size of the depressed piece was one inch and three-eighths in length, and one inch broad.  The size of the wound in the outer table was the same length as the scalp wound, and was about a quarter of an inch wide, but deeper at the centre than the ends.

   From these appearances I think that death arose from effusion of pus in the membrane of the brain, in consequence of inflammation caused by the depressed portion of the bone.  I should think that a blunt tomahawk or a thin bar of iron might have caused death; but from the semi-lunar appearance of the scalp wound, I should think it might have been inflicted with the bottom of a pewter pot.  If it were a tomahawk it must have been blunt.  I do not of course say that the wound was caused by any of these means.  I do not think that by his simply falling, without the addition of some other force to his own weight, he could have so fractured his skull.

   The blow that caused this fracture was a very heavy one.  If deceased had tripped, and to save him from falling on his face had run forward quickly with his head in a horizontal position and struck the sharp edge of a piece of scantling violently, it might have been sufficient to have caused this injury.  But I think that this fracture is so extensive that to have been caused by such means he must have fallen with a force equal to a blow given by a shingling hammer.

   Had deceased been attended to properly when the wound had just been inflicted, there would, I think, have been a fair probability of his recovery.  I don't think that a kick from a horse would have caused such a wound, because it was so cleanly done; a small bar of iron might have done it.

   The Inquest was then adjourned, until the following day, at two o'clock.


   The Jury assembled at the Court House, this day, at two o'clock

   The CORONER said he had directed that further inquiries should be made, and the evidence so obtained would be produced before them.  He would, however, now say, that in his opinion the evidence already before the Jury pointed very conclusively to the fact that deceased did not meet with his death by accident.  The evidence of Dr. Sealey pointed very strongly to the fact that the wound by which death had occurred had arisen from a blow given by some other person; and if the Jury should be of that opinion, they would have to find a verdict of homicide against some person or persons unknown.  Homicide, as the Jury would know, would amount prima facie to murder, unless done accidentally, in self-defence, or in sudden quarrel.

   William Goodchild Shipley, being swoon, said: I knew the deceased, who lived close by my house in Bridge-street, the Wood.  I remember Monday the 21st May.  I did not see the deceased on that day; in fact, I have not seen him since he was wounded, until Thursday evening last.  I had noticed that no smoke had issued from his chimney for two or three days, and on the Thursday evening, at about ten o'clock, accompanied by Mr. Blackburrow, I went to see deceased.  We found him lying on the bed quite insensible.  We spoke to him many times, but could get no answer from him.  No one was with him when we went.  I immediately returned to my house and had some gruel made for him, and of this we induced him to partake of about three spoonsfull, and after having done this, he closed his teeth and would not take any more.  He was quite insensible.  We left him, and Mr. Blackburrow fetched a constable.  Jeffers did not say anything at all while we were with him, neither did any one come to the house.  The last time I saw him before he was wounded was on a Sun day, about a fortnight ago; he was then dressed in his best, and was going to the Catholic Chapel.

   Thomas Blackburrow, being sworn, said: I am a brick maker, and reside in Nelson.  I knew the deceased, who lived near Mr. Shipley's.  On Thursday evening last, after Mr. Shipley and I had been with the deceased, I went to the lock-up for a constable, and despatched him for the hospital-surgeon.  Dr. Sealy arrived in about half-an-hour, and with him and a constable I returned to the house of the deceased.  We found him as Mr. Shipley and I had left him, insensible.  We sent for Maurice Hurley, who had been attending him, and when he arrived he said that deceased had a wound in his head, and of this we were not previously aware; he also said that he had been laid up with it for a fortnight. Dr. Sealy at first thought that deceased was suffering from exhaustion.  He did not speak while I was there, but seemed constantly to endeavour to cover his head with the blanket.  Hurley said he believed that deceased had got the blow on his head from a fall.

   By a Juror: I believe I heard that night, that deceased had received a blow on the head from a stick, but I cannot now say who told me so.

   Laurence Devaney recalled, and having been cautioned by the Coroner that he need not answer the question unless he pleased, was asked if he had said to any one that he had saved the deceased from being killed on the night on which he had received the wound upon his head.  Devaney said, I might have done so, but the meaning of that would be, if I had not taken the deceased from the skittle-ground he possibly might have died from the wound he had received.  I did not see any blood in the skittle-ground on the next morning when I went to see where deceased had fallen.

   Alexander Steward, being sworn, said: I am a con stable.  On last Friday fortnight I met Laurence Devaney, who said to me "I saved old David's life last night."  I asked what had been the matter with David, and he replied "Some one knocked him down at the back of Charley McGee's last night and I took him home.  I am now going to fetch him some beer."  I asked him if it was not been him that knocked him down, and he said "No, some one knocked him down, for he had a bad cut on his head."  Devaney then left me, and about half an hour afterwards I met him with a tin half gallon measure containing beer.

   William Harper, being sworn, said: I am a constable.  I have had charge of deceased's house from the time I took him to the hospital.  It has been locked up and I have had the key.  I searched the house this day and could find no marks of blood or violence thereof.  I found the straw hat and handkerchief produced, they are both marked with blood.  I am positive that both these articles belonged to the deceased.  After I had taken deceased to the hospital I examined his house and saw two boxes lying open, and from the   top of one of them I took a pocket book containing two one pound notes and two sovereigns.  I also took half-a-crown from a pocket of a pair of trousers at the foot of the bed.

   Laurence Devaney, again examined, said: I went part of the way to the skittle-ground with deceased, but he said he would find the way himself.  I then returned to the bar, and afterwards walked up Trafalgar-street, and on my return I saw him again in the bar.  He, after that, went a second time to the skittle-ground by himself, and desired me to call for him when I was going away.  It was when I so called for him that I first saw the blood upon him.

   The CORONER said he would now ask the Jury to come to a decision as to how, when, and where the deceased had met his death.  He then read some portions of the evidence taken on the preceding day.  The Jury then retired, and having been absent some short time, returned with the following verdict:

   "That the deceased, David Jeffers, died from the effects of a wound on the head, but how the wound was inflicted is unknown."


OTAGO WITNESS, 30 June 1860



   On Tuesday last a man of the name of James Flemming, who was working on the road at Saddle Hill, complained of feeling ill, and walked into Dunedin.  He was admitted to the hospital, and on Wednesday morning was found dead in his bed.  We have not heard the cause of death, but we understand that the body swelled to a most extraordinary extent.  The deceased came to the colony by the Storm Cloud, and was to all appearance a fine strong healthy young man; he was unmarried.

   Another sudden death occurred at Dunedin on Friday last.  It appears that a young man, of the name of Alexander Hay, was about to be married, and on Thursday night had partaken rather freely of intoxicating drink.  On Friday morning the door of his house being found open, a passer-by looked in and saw the deceased lying with his head on the bed, with a bottle near him. Medical aid was sent for, but Hay was found quite dead.  The medical gentleman called did not consider that the apparent quantity of liquor consumed from the bottle found sufficient to cause death. The deceased came to the colony by the Storm Cloud.  An inquest on the body was held last night, and adjourned till to-day at 1 o'clock, for a post mortem examination.


From 'Anonymous' and 'J. R. H.'  (see  below) re Sudden Deaths.

SIR, - I beg to call your attention to the number of Sudden Deaths which have occurred in Dunedin within the last few days, and at the same time to express my astonishment that no inquest has been held upon the bodies of any of the parties deceased.

   First on the sad list is the case of Mr. Dewar, mason, said to have died from the effects of excessive drinking.  The public through the Coroner ought to know was it so.

   Next is the case of a young woman, who died suddenly in the house of Mrs. Manuel Luno, in Rattray-street.  Buried next day.  No cause assigned.

   Again, that strange case of a young man who walked in from Saddle Hill [James Flemming, called upon our Chief Constable, declared himself unwell, got nothing from him but the privilege of sleeping on the wood all night, went to the Hospital next day, and was found dead in bed before the doctor's arrival, body so swollen that the undertaker had to make a coffin, 19 inches deep, by upwards of two feet wide; was buried as a pauper yesterday; no inquiry made; no inquest held.

   And again this morning I find that a young man, that at seven o'clock last night I saw transacting business in a store, apparently as well as I was, is found dead this morning in a house in Rattray-street.


Editors reply.


 COLONIST, 6 July 1860


INQUEST. - On the 9th instant an inquest was held before S. L. Muller, Esq., coroner, at the house of Mr. Ward, Brookby, on the body of a child of Mr. Charles Ward's, drowned in a stream, into which it had accidentally fallen. - Verdict, "Accidentally drowned."




FATAL ACCIDENT. - We mush regret having to record an accident which occurred to a Mr. Arundel, late a passenger per Constantine to this port, and which resulted in an almost instantaneous death.  It seems that the unfortunate deceased was riding in the neighbourhood of Mount Cook, in company with two other friends, when his horse suddenly stumbled and threw his rider striking him severely in the region of the heart.  Medical assistance was at one sent for but before it could arrive death had released the sufferer.  An inquest will be held, we presume in the course of the day, and we shall publish the result of the inquiry.


OTAGO WITNESS, 7 July 1860


   The Coroner's inquest, which we noticed last week as being held upon the body of Alexander Hay, resulted in a verdict "that the deceased died from inflammation of the lungs accelerated by want of food and exposure."  The evidence showed that the deceased was of intemperate habits, and had apparently gone home in a state of intoxication.  A post mortem examination of the body was made by Dr. Nelson, and the jury's verdict was strictly in accordance with the medical testimony.

   An inquest was held at Port Chalmers, on Tuesday, on the body of Robert Marriott, a seaman belonging to the steamer Pirate.  From the evidence adduced, it appeared that the deceased, and four other men from the Pirate, came ashore at Port Chalmers on Sunday evening, and had been drinking at an unlicensed house kept by a person of the name of Hornby.  The whole party were much intoxicated, so much so that it was clear some of them did not know what had taken place, and one man several times fell into the water, which was shallow.  The engineer of the Pirate, who was also on shore, and had to turn one of the drunken men out of his boat, deposed to the fact that he heard a splash in the water, and rowed back to ascertain the state of matters, when he was informed that the man who had fallen into the water was all right; and he saw some person go up the steps and along the jetty.  This, it would appear, could not have been the deceased, but must have been the other man who had fallen into the water out of the boat.  The deceased was not missed by his companions until after they had returned to Hornby's for the purpose of obtaining more drink, and they had no suspicion of the accident which had happened.  The Coroner informed the Jury that the deceased had a fracture of the skull, but that the death was from drowning.  The body of the deceased was found in shallow water, and between the jetty and a boat.  The probability is, that the deceased, being in a state of intoxication, and it being dark, had fallen off the jetty and struck his head, so as to make himself completely insensible, and that he was drowned.  The Jury returned a verdict "that the deceased was found drowned, but how he came into the water there was no evidence to show."

   They further expressed their disapprobation of the conduct of the Licensing Justices in having left Port Chalmers without a licensed public-house, which would be subject to be entered by the police.




AN In quest was held on Saturday last, before Mark Kebbell, Esq., the Coroner for the Wellington District, on view of the body of Renfric Thomas Arundell, who accidentally came to his death by the stumbling of his horse.'

   The Inquest was held at Mr. Hawith's Family Hotel, Pipitea-street, and a highly respectable jury was empannelled.

   After the usual preliminaries,

   HUBERT HUSSEY was sworn, and stated I arrived here lately per Constantine, and was  riding with the deceased in the direction of Evans; Bay on the evening of Thursday last, when suddenly his horse put his foot into a hole, and threw his rider in a complete somersault.  I immediately dismounted, and I took him by the collar, but he never spoke; he was removed to an adjoining house, medical assistance was sent for, but all in vain, he never spoke again.

   SAMUEL GEORGE HAYES, being  duly sworn, stated - I am a surgeon and reside in Wellington.,  On Thursday evening last, between the hours of 5 and 6 o'clock, I was sent for to see deceased; but on arriving at the place where he was laying, I found he was quite dead.  I do not think I have anything further to state.

   BY THE JURY - I believe Medical assistance had been applied for previous to application to myself, though I do not know to whom.

   Sir CHARLES CLIFFORD, being duly sworn, stated - I recognise the body now lying here as that of Renfric Thomas Arundell; he had lately arrived a passenger per "Constantine," with a view of settling here.

   After a few relative remarks from the Coroner, the Jury, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death." (The deceased, who was 23 years of age, ...[Family.]


An inquest was held on Friday the 29th inst., before S. M. Curl, Esq., Coroner for the district, at the house of Mr. John Cameron, on the body of Charles Peck, who was found on Thursday morning last, on the bank of the Makiri stream.  It was supposed that the deceased, in attempting to cross, on the stream on the night of the previous Tuesday, was, owing to the heavy freshet, washed away.  A verdict of "accidentally drowned" was returned.

   Jury recommendation re Bridges and also need for a 'Coroner's Officer," - Mr. Charles Tyler recommended.




CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Saturday last, at the house of Mr. Coleman, Maddox's Bush, upon the body of James Sloss [Floss], aged seven years.  It appeared that the deceased was in the habit of frequently crossing the Wai-iti river for the purpose of playing with the children of neighbours, and also to fetch home a cow belonging to his parents. On the evening of July 5th, the deceased was sent by his mother to fetch home the cow, but as it returned by itself, and the child was nowhere to be seen, inquiries were made for him, which resulted in the discovery of the little fellow lying dead on the shingle in the middle of the stream.  Medical evidence induced the jury to believe, that the boy had, in crossing the stream, become benumbed, and having stumbled in the cold water was unable to recover himself, and thus had been drowned.  The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."




(From a Correspondent of the Nelson COLONIST.)

We have had two or three deaths; a young wife lately married, and much regretted; a young child most unfortunately fell from the nurse's arms whole crossing some creek, or place of water, and before its body could be got out, life was extinct; a young maori girl, about 16 or 17 years of age died of dropsy at the pah on the Wairai river.

   I mentioned in my last about the swag of some poor traveller being found in the Wairau river, and the body of a man was found not far from the steam boat wharf, supposed to be the person to whom it belonged.  He was a stranger who had left the Niger man of war in Picton, and was coming through here from Nelson, in search of employment.

   The body of Stevenson, drowned, had not been found; the floods in all likelihood, have swept it out to sea.



FATAL CASE OF DROWNING ON THE AROWENUI. - At an inquest held recently on the body of a man named Kennaday, who was drowned in the above river, the jury found a verdict of "accidentally drowned," and called the attention of the Government to the necessity of placing a proper punt upon the river, in order to avoid similar casualties/.



SUICIDE. - A most determined case of suicide occurred on Wednesday last.  A man of the name of Thomas Burrows, a discharged soldier of the 58th, who it appeared had been drinking for some time previously, loaded the musket, which had been served out to him as a Militiaman, with ball, and sitting down in his own room on a sofa, coolly put the muzzle of the piece under his own chin, and pulled the trigger with his big toe, having previously removed his boot for the purpose.  Death was, of course, instantaneous, the ball passing through the skull.  Dr. McGauran was shortly in attendance.  On examining the room, it was found that a fragment of the upper part of the skull which had been carried away, had lodged in the wall.  An inquest was held yesterday, when the customary verdict was returned.


 COLONIST, 10 August 1860


YESTERDAY an inquest was held at the hospital on the body of Jonathan Robinson, laborer, aged 56, who came by his death from a fall from a cart on Monday evening last.

   The following jurymen were summoned:- C. L. Mason, Archibald Banks, William Hale, William Wright, Robert Coulman, Alexander Hunter, William Stallard, Thomas Anslow, Peter Cook, W. H. West, E. B. Pearce, William Rout, John Percy (foreman).

   The Coroner said the jury were called together to inquire into the cause of the death of the deceased.  He should not occupy their time, but let them proceed at once to view the body.  After the jurymen had returned the Coroner called the following witnesses.

   Mr. James Elliott sworn: Am a printer, residing in nelson.  Knew Jonathan Robinson, whose body he had just seen.  On Monday last, between five and six o'clock was in the cart, containing the mail of the Airedale, coming up from the beach.  Was sitting in front, and the deceased, who had driven me down two hours previous, was sitting on the off shaft; Mr. N. Edwards was driving.  A lady from Taranaki was sitting on the near side, Mr. Edwards on the off side, and I on a box between them.  Mr. Gray was sitting on the near shaft, and two or three people behind.  The cart was heavily laden: the lady's luggage and the mail were in the cart.  Was the last person to enter the cart, and from the position in which Robinson sat could not see his face, but concluded, from his meddlesome way with the horse, that he must have been the worse for liquor; would have laid hold of deceased's collar had I been a stronger man.  At the time of the accident the horse was going at the rate of four or five miles an hour.  When within a yard or two of Mr. Wilson's store the deceased, without the slightest intimation to the d river or any one else, jumped off the shaft and immediately fell very close to the wheel, and before the cart could be stopped it passed over deceased's body.  Called out immediately deceased jumped, and the cart was at once checked by the driver.  Am positive he voluntarily jumped off.  The cart was immediately emptied for the purpose of taking deceased to the hospital.  Deceased groaned very heavily, but did not speak.  Then left in company with Mr. Gray.

   By a Juror: Could not say how deceased fell; he staggered, but his body was nearer the shaft than when he was sitting on it.

   George Williams sworn: Am one of the surgeons to the Nelson Hospital, and knew deceased; did not see him until next morning (Tuesday) after the accident; was engaged at Richmond until 12 o'clock on Monday evening; stripped and examined him very carefully; when witness first saw him he lay on his left side with his knees drawn up, groaning heavily and breathing spasmodically, and with great difficulty go him to stand for the purpose of being examined; the ribs were fractured on the right side, he appeared to have got internal injury; its precise nature he could not tell; the lung had been penetrated by one of the fractured ends of the ribs, and the air escaped; applied a rib roller to him to keep the ribs stationary, and directed that he should be kept warm, and gruel given him, and also gave him a dose of opium; saw him in the evening and he was suffering from the same pain and in the same position; saw him again yesterday morning, and complained of greater pain at the seat of the injury, and a pain over the abdomen, and across the loins; he vomited blood when he was first admitted; the cause of death was from the injuries received on the evening of the accident; saw him last evening a few minutes after eleven, and observed that he was dying; he was perfectly sensible; sent for his wife, but before her arrival he had just expired; it was about ½ past twelve when he died; am of opinion deceased died from the injuries described above.

   James Barton affirmed: Am the hospital attendant at the Nelson hospital; deceased was admitted about 7 o'clock on Monday evening last; it was stated that a cart had passed over the body of deceased; no surgeon was near at the time of the arrival of the deceased; sent for Dr. Staley, who came in 10 minutes afterwards; deceased was intoxicated; Dr. Sealey applied a rib bandage to deceased, and ordered him to be kept quiet, and after remaining an hour he left; deceased was very restless, and tried to tear off the bandage, and said he had not been used to it; he also kicked off the flannel which had been applied to his feet; deceased was not thoroughly sober until next morning, when Dr. Sealey and Williams both saw him.

   Mr. Nath. Edwards sworn: Am a merchant residing in Nelson, was down the beach on Monday evening last, between 5 and 6 o'clock; when about returning, got into a cart which appeared to be on the beach for passengers.  It was Watt's cart, and deceased was holding the reins; was in company with Mr. Bennett and Mr. J. Elliott, witness was the first to get into the cart, and saw that the driver was intoxicated; and requested deceased to allow witness to drive; placed him on the seat beside witness; after starting, Mr. Gray called to witness, and said he wished to ride up with the mails; Robinson then left his place and sat on the foot board on the off side; witness also shifted his position, and placed his right leg on the outside of deceased; considered him perfectly safe in the position he was in; he was not incapably drunk; judged that he could walk; was going at the rate of five or six miles an hour until they arrived at Wilson's store; when, without the slightest warning to witness or any one else, deceased jumped off; am certain he did not fall off; he placed his left hand on the shaft and jumped off; he immediately fell, and the wheel passed over him.  Pulled up immediately; he was at once conveyed to the hospital in the same cart after having been emptied of its contents.  When in the hospital saw that the wheel had passed over his stomach. Am positive had deceased not jumped off no harm would have come to him; they intended to stop at the Wakatu.

   The Coroner said it was not necessary to being any further evidence, and left it to the jury for their verdict, who, after fifteen minutes' consultation, came to the conclusion, "That the deceased met with his death from injuries sustained by the wheel of a cart having accidentally passed over his body."

   In giving their verdict, the jury deeply deplore the number of accidents resulting from intoxication, and would urge upon the proper authorities the necessity of exercising some more strict supervision over drivers or owners of vehicles than at present exist; also, that only the persons so licensed should be in charge of such vehicles, and that no one should, under any circumstances, be allowed to ride on the shafts. [See also Nelson Examiner, 11 August.]


LYTTELTON TIMES, 18 August 1860


On Tuesday last a man named Jim Sutton, when returning from pig hunting, with T. W. White, Esq., at Harewood, suddenly threw up his arms and fell down dead.  An inquest was held upon the body yesterday in Christchurch.


TARANAKI HERALD, 25 August 1860


Friday. ...

We have again to record the murder of another settler by the natives.  H. Crann (militiaman), in company with four other persons, went out to day up the Avenue Road.  Crann is said to have parted from his companions on seeing a pair of working bullocks he was in search of in a gully in rear of St. James' house, when shortly afterwards a shot was heard.  As Crann was not forthcoming the others apprehensive of danger to him at once reported the circumstance in town.  A strong force of blue jackets, militia and volunteers immediately went out to ascertain his fate, when Crann was found by the blue jackets shot dead, and greatly mutilated by tomahawks!  His body was brought into town. ...

   Mr. Sarten was buried to-day, a firing party of Volunteers and their band playing the funeral march, preceded the body.  He died of apoplexy, ...

4 P.M. - Tasmanian Maid unexpectedly made her appearance, ... and a signal that Mr. Richard Brown was dead.  The immediate cause of his death, which took place on Wednesday at 2 p.m., was influenza. ... An inquest on the body was held at Waitara on the 23rd instant.  ... Mr. J. P. du Moulin was elected Foreman, and the following verdict was returned:-

   The Jury having considered the evidence, are unanimously of opinion that the deceased Richard Brown died on the 22nd of August, 1860, from the effects of a gunshot wound, received on the 26th May, 1860, while in the execution of his duty, near the Waiongana River; and have come to the conclusion that one native named Tawatahi, and two other natives (named unknown) are guilty of wilful murder of the said Richard Brown. ...

   We have been favoured with the following extract from a private letter: - "The doctor had just come to dress Mr. Brown and noticed a great change in his looks as he turned him on his side to get at the wounds, and so he laid him again on his back, and in a few minutes he was dead, without as groan or struggle.  They opened him, and found the ball (which had occasioned so much anxious speculation) had passed through the left lung, which was shrunk to half the natural size, and then fixed itself firmly in the backbone."


COLONIST, 7 September 1860

ACCIDENT. - An accident occurred at the diggings on Friday last, which was attended with fatal consequences.  Mr. Berry (an American), possessing a claim in Lightband's Gully, was driving into the bank forming part of his claim, when the earth fell in upon him and inflected such serious injuries that death ensued in three hours from the time of the accident.  Further particulars will be forthcoming upon receipt of the account of the Coroner's inquest.   ...



CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Tuesday last an inquest was held at the Hutt before Mark Kebbell, Esq., the coroner for this province, on view of the body of a female the wife of Mr. J. Walker of this town, who had been found dead in her bed on the foregoing morning.  Previous to the inquest a post mortem examination had been made by Dr. Boor, and from the result of his investigation and other testimony, the jury had no hesitation in returning a verdict of having "Died from natural causes."


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 22 September 1860


LYNCH LAW AT WAIROA. - A correspondent furnishes us with the following.  We had heard before of this occurrence, but did not attach credence to it until verified by a respectable resident:-

   "A murder, attending with circumstances of unusual atrocity, has recently occurred at Nuhaka, a Native settlement some 7 or 8 miles distant from te Mahia.  It appears that a native named Hori Pori Kino had been for some time afflicted with the prevailing epidemic - Influenza.  His life being despaired of, his attendant, one Wera Wera, became impatient, and desirous of facilitating the death of the sick man.  He accordingly placed the still living man in a canoe, disregarding his questions, and paddled to the entrance of the river.  Then, digging a shallow grave, he informed his patient that he would read the burial service, and ended that most pathetic form of pray by words, which, translated, signify "In you go."

   Then, throwing the unfortunate man into the grave, and keeping him down with his foot, he threw in the earth and left the place.  It is but fair to state that this inhuman deed was quietly but promptly punished.  A meeting was immediately held, and after patient investigation, the prisoner pleading guilty, he was sentenced to be shot, and the sentence immediately carried into effect.  Although the case was fully entered into and proved, the trial, execution, and burial, occupied in all but one hour."


In out last appeared a letter from Mr. Joseph Torr, Petane, announcing the fact of a horse with saddle and bridle being in his possession, and expressing a fear that its rider had come to an untimely end.  Such proved to be the case.  On Saturday last a body was discovered close to the ford, which proved to be that of Joseph Lingard.  An inquest on the remains was held on Monday, by Dr. Hitchings, the coroner, and a jury.  The only evidence bearing upon the melancholy event was that of William Tidhurst, who, on the morning of Monday, the 10th inst. saw a horseman on the Petane pah side of the river, opposite Mr. Torr's house.  The same horse, about an hour afterwards, was seen on the other side of the river, saddled and bridled, but without a rider.  It was not until the following Saturday that the body was discovered - the uncle of the deceased having searched with that view.  The unfortunate young man, at the time of the fatal accident, was travelling from Pahautanui to Napier; and there was a heavy fresh in the river at the time of his attempting top cross.  The jury returned a verdict of - "Found drowned."


COLONIST, 19 October 1860


The Canterbury Standard gives another melancholy case of drowning in the Opihi River at Arowenui. - On Monday, the 24th Sept., an inquest was held by Dr. Rayner, coroner of the district of Timaru, upon the body of James Day, bushman, who was unfortunately drowned in the above river, on Saturday evening last.  It appeared upon the evidence that the unfortunate man had been drinking in the bush, and came over the river to the Arowenui Hotel, kept by Mr. Young, for more liquor, which was refused him.  A dray was about crossing the river, and the deceased being placed upon it, shortly after jumped off, again making for Young's.  A man of the name of Mitchell was standing upon the bank of the river, and saw deceased take two strides in, when he heard him exclaim "Oh! my God!" and was washed off his feet.  The man Mitchell ran to a house close to the river, and gave an alarm.  Three men then ran to the Doctor's Ford, lower down and hearing a coo-ee, thought it was the man cooing, who had got out, and went home.  The next morning (Sunday), a Mr. Myers was crossing at the Doctor's Ford, and found what he thought was a dead sheep, but which turned out to be the body of the deceased, lying in about three feet of water.  The inquiry exited some interest in the locality.  A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned by the jury.  The deceased was for years in the employ of Wm. Hornbrook, Esq., as shepherd.  Mr. Hornbrook was on the jury, and was much affected.


OTAGO WITNESS, 20 October 1860

INQUEST. - An Inquest was held at the house of Mr. John Johnstone, farmer, North Taieri, on the body of Wm. Ferguson, labourer, who recently arrived in this colony by the "Henrietta."  James Smeaton, an acquaintance and fellow passenger, stated that deceased had been afflicted with rheumatism at home, which induced him to come to New Zealand, in the hopes of getting rid of it.  He was very low-spirited on the voyage, and rheumatic.  On his arrival he heard that this was a very bad climate for rheumatism, which information had afterwards depressed his spirits.  About two weeks since deceased went into the employment of Mr. Johnstone, and feeling rheumatic pains in his back and hip, he obtained an embrocating from Dr. Nelson.  On Saturday last he became worse, and confined to bed.  On Sunday his friend Smeaton visited him; on bidding deceased farewell, the latter said it is not very likely you will see me again.  Smeaton endeavoured to cheer up his drooping spirits by telling him he would soon get rid of his rheumatism.  Deceased said, there is more the matter with me than rheumatism.  I have taken a draught out of the bottle of embrocation, in order to make away with myself, as I am not going to be a burden upon any person.  Smeaton then bade him good bye, and went down stairs and informed Mrs. Johnstone of deceased's attempt to destroy himself.  Mrs. Johnstone sent up the servant Angus Ross to bring away the bottle of embrocation; he immediately returned, saying deceased was nearly gone, he was either vomiting blood or something else.  Mr. Johnstone and Smeaton immediately went up stairs to deceased, who was then dead, with his throat cut, and the razor with which he had committed the rash act, lying close by.  The Jury, after a short consultation, returned a verdict - "that decreased had destroyed himself, being at the time perfectly sane."  The Coroner therefore ordered him to be buried at night, between the hours of 9 and 12, and his property to be confiscated.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 27 October 1860


An inquest was held on Tuesday, October 23rd, at Bruce's Hotel, Akaroa, before J. Watson, Esq., R.M., and a highly respectable jury, on the body of Malcolm McKinnon who had committed suicide by hanging himself on the previous Sunday, at his station, Island Bay.  From, the evidence of Catherine McKinnon, the daughter of the deceased, Mr. McFay, the nephew of the deceased, and Mr. James Wright, it appeared that the deceased was a man of violent temper and had repeatedly threatened to take his own life and that of others of his family, the witnesses stated their belief that the deceased was not always of sane mind.  The jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased destroyed himself whilst temporarily insane.


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 27 October 1860

AWFULLY SUDDEN DEATH. - On Thursday morning, an old man named Daniel Turner, a ship carpenter and well known in Napier, fell down a short distance from the "Herald" office, and almost instantly expired.  He had been drinking for some time.  An inquest upon the body was held the same afternoon before Dr. Hitchings, the coroner, and a jury, when the latter returned a verdict that deceased died from a fit of apoplexy, caused by excessive drinking.


OTAGO WITNESS, 27 October 1860


An inquest was held by William Fraser, Esq., Justice of the Peace, at Goodwood, on the 16th inst., on the body of Hugh Allan, bullock driver, in the employment of Mr. Newton, who was found drowned in Pleasant River.  The jury returned a verdict, that deceased came by his death from having fallen into the river whilst in a state of intoxication.

   The jury, at the same time, begged to draw the attention of the Government to the very unsafe state of the roads at the particular place where the deceased fell in.

   Another inquest was held by the same gentleman, at Goodwood, on the 16th inst., on the body of Mrs. Cameron, wife of Lewis Cameron, settler, of Goodwood.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased was married to Lewis Cameron (then a widower, his first wife having been burned to death in attempting to extinguish a burning bush fence), about sixteen months since.  Cameron, it was stated, lived happily with his wife, with occasional exceptions.  On Saturday the  13th, after dinner, Cameron took his wife, along with his daughter, to see the water hole where Hugh Allan had been drowned a day or two previously.  On their return Mrs. Cameron lingered behind until out of sight, and Cameron afterwards sent his daughter back to see what detained her, when she was found sitting by the water hole reading her bible, and she refused to return with the daughter.  The daughter returned to Cameron, who went first to Mr. Stephenson's house, and afterwards proceeded home, when he found the door locked.  Thereafter the daughter went to the water hole where she had previously seen Mrs. Cameron, but saw no trace of her.  Next morning, the daughter again went to the same place, and found Mrs. Cameron's bible, purse, and key on the bank by the water hole.  Assistance having been procured, a search was made, and in half an hour the body was found.

   It would appear from the evidence that, on more than one occasion, Mrs. Cameron threatened to drown herself - the last occasion being when Cameron told her of the bullock driver being drowned; but there was nothing unusual about her appearance immediately previous to the commission of the rash act.  The deceased was in the habit of reading her bible, and family worship took place daily in the house.  Her husband always considered her of sound mind.  Dr. Crocome stated on examination, that he believed that death was caused by suspended animation from drowning, and that he could find no trace of external violence.  The jury found that the deceased had drowned herself whilst labouring under a state of temporary insanity.




FATAL ACCIDENT. - A melancholy accident occurred at the Hutt yesterday morning, which will of course result in a coroner's inquisition.  A young man, by the name of Ingram, residing near the Hutt bridge, about, it is said, proceeding on a shooting excursion, took his gun from the mantel-piece, and after asking his mother if it was clean, put a cap on it, and pulled the trigger, when the contents of the gun, which it turned out was loaded, were lodged in his mother's brain.  Death was of course instantaneous. - Advertiser, October 24.


COLONIST, 6 November 1860


(From the Press.)

DEATH BY BURNING. - An inquest was held on the body of Michael Connor, who was discovered burnt to death in his own house at the Boulder Bank, Wairau.  The house was discovered to be on fire on Sunday morning the 22nd October, and on moiré persons going to the spot, they found his body completely charred.  The deceased was seen at work on the Saturday night, at half-past ten o'clock, quite sober.

   From a soldier's account book, the deceased was entered Michael Connor, of Kilrush, Newtown Barry, Ireland; enlisted in the 86th Regiment at Dublin, on the 17th February, 1838, at the age of twenty years.

   The following verdict was returned:- "That the said Michael Connor was found dead and burned amongst the ruins of his house, but whether his death was caused by burning, or by what means his house came to be on fire, there is not sufficient evidence before the jury to shew."


An inquest was held at Onehunga, on Monday last, on view of the body of William Bowles aged 28 years, who died on the 2nd instant at Otahuhu, under circumstances which were regarded by his friends as suspicions.  Deceased was driving Hunt's van, running between Auckland and Drury, and [rest missing.]



A most deplorable accident occurred at Timaru on Sunday, the 8th, by the upsetting of as boat, by which two of the Deal boatmen lost their lives.  During the severe gales, the craft Wellington came in, and hoisted a signal of distress.  The beach crew immediately went out to render assistance, but had not proceeded far when a heavy sea struck the boat, and two men, named Corrie and Bowbyes, lost their lives - in the sight of a number of persons, none of whom, could render any aid.  An inquest was held upon the bodies by Dr. Rayner, the coroner, when a verdict of accidentally drowned was returned, with a recommendation that the Government should provide a dozen belts for the use of the beach crew. The unfortunate men have left wives and families. - Standard, Nov. 1. [COLONIST, 10 November: W. Corrie and ---- Boubius.]


LYTTELTON TIMES, 10 November 1860


DEATH BY DROWNING IN A WELL. - A fatal accident has occurred resulting in the death of a little child [Robert] of four years old, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ford, of Canterbury street.  Considerable excitement was caused in town on Thursday night by the disappearance of the child, and though every effort was made to discover what had become of him, no trace was discovered till Friday morning, when the body was found at the bottom of the well on the Norwich Quay, opposite to the Hospital.  It will be remembered by many of our readers that the unfortunate parents had to mourn the loss of a fine little boy who was drowned about two years ago by falling off Peacock's wharf. ... Editorial comment on insecure wells.]


LYTTELTON TIMES, 14 November 1860


We regret that we have to announce the dearth of a man named Gracey, who was drowned a short time since while endeavouring to cross the Hurunui, at the Greta Ford.  Deceased was a married man, and was on a journey up country in search of employment.


COLONIST, 23 November 1860


MELANCHOLY DEATH FROM DROWNING. - An inquest was held yesterday, at the Miners' Arms Hardy-street, before T. Connell, Esq., coroner, touching the death of James Patching, son of James Patching, residing near the Mud Flat, who came by his death on the previous day, through falling into a well situate on the premises of Mrs. Taylor, Selwyn Place.

   The following jurymen were sworn:- I. M. Hill, John Hume, Charles M'Gee, John Goldsworthy, C. L. Mason, F. Forman, A. G. Betts, Wm. Harvey, James Hargreaves, John Tregea, John Turner, Joseph Porthouse, Alexander Rankin, foreman.

   The coroner said they had been called together to view the body of the child who came by its death the previous day.  The body presented the usual appearance of having been drowned.

   James Patching, father of the child, sworn: Am a brickmaker and residing in Nelson; the deceased James Patching, whose body he had just seen, was his son, his age  was 5 years and 8 months; last saw him alive yesterday morning, at eight o'clock; saw him dead between two and three o'clock same day; he appeared to have died from drowning; Dr. Bush was with the body when he came, at Mr. Norgrove's house, in Selwyn Place, he was then in a w arm bath; sent for Dr. Thebing; all the efforts used did not restore animation.

   Dr. Bush called in and examined: Have seen the body which was viewed by the coroner and jury, and recognise it to be the same that he attended yesterday; Mr. Black, carpenter, called him to see the child.  A man by the name of Witnery was getting deceased out of a well at the back of a cottage belonging to Mr. Duppa, and situate on the School House Acre, near Selwyn Place; considered the child was then dead - he was icy cold; no pulsation or any other sign of life; its clothing was wet; we got off the clothes as rapidly as possible; then placed him in a  warm bath from water collected about the neighbourhood; tried the proper means for producing artificial respiration, but without success.  Dr. Thebing came in after what I had done and continued the same mode.  Consider the child died from drowning.

   James Lever Entwisle, sworn: Am a printer, residing in Nelson; was present and assisted in getting the child out of the well, at about half-past two; was in Mrs. Taylor's garden, in company with a man named Witney; heard a child screaming and running towards the school; Witney made an observation, and witness said it was only fun; in about five minutes after some one said there was a child in the well; we ran to the well at the rear of Mr. Duppa's cottage; got a long stick and felt the child at the bottom of the well; there was from 7 to 7 ½ feet of water in the well; the surface of the water was from 8 to 9 feet from the top of the well; we then got a rope and put it round Witney's body, and he dropped down, but the water was so deep that he could not get at the body; we then got a ladder and placed down the well, and Witney again went down, and after some difficulty succeeded in getting the body up with a stick; the body was then taken to Mr. Norgrove's close by; should say it was from 10 to 12 minutes from the time we heard the child sc ream to the time we got deceased to Norgrove's house; there was no fence from the road to the well on that side which we went; there was no cover nor anything whatever to protect the well; it was surrounded with high grass and small bushes.

   At this stage of the evidence the jury went to see the well, and on retuning

   Alfred E. Hibble have evidence to the effect that he knew the premises where the accident happened; nearly all the children going to the girls' Government school, passed that road; have seen children frequently playing in front and behind Mr. Duppa's house; there is no fence whatever between the road and the well; the w ell could not be seen unless the grass was pulled to one side; have frequently gone through the ground for the purpose of making a short cut home; never knew the well was there till yesterday.

    Constable Harper stated that he had made inquiry from Mrs. Taylor, as to who owned the property, when she informed him that the property belonged to the Church, from whom she rented it.

   A juryman said he considered it the duty of tenants to keep the covering of wells in repair, and considered that Mrs. Taylor should have done so.

   The jury returned the following verdict:-

   "That the deceased child came to his death on the 21st day of November, 1860, from drowning, by accident, having fallen into a well, near Selwyn Place, in the city of Nelson, in the district of Nelson; and the jury cannot separate without expressing their dissatisfaction with the culpable manner in which the owners of this and other property leave their wells uncovered, and they also request the Board of Works to inspect the various nuisances of this kind, and indite any party who after proper notice thuds keep any nuisance to the danger of life."




We understand that the name of the man who was unfortunately drowned in the Pelorus River on Saturday last is Zeelandt.  The deceased has left a wife and family residing in Waimea West.  Up to yesterday the body had not been found.


COLONIST, 11 December 1860

Another death by drowning has occurred in the Pelorus River.  The late rains have flooded most of the rivers of the Marlborough district, and amongst them the Pelorus is known to be one of the soonest affected and rendered dangerous by this means; while under such circumstances the passage was attempted by several persons, all of whom did so safely, except a man named Zeelandt (a German) belonging to Waimea West, who lost his life.  Having stripped to his drawers, he carried his bundle on his head, and had waded about midway when the current swept away his foothold, and he was carried down about one hundred yards, where there is a deep hole; from this he was no t seen to rise.  He has left a wife and two children.



\SUICIDE. - A few days since a man named James Cooper, a sheep-driver, shot himself at the station of Mr. Frazer, Waihopai.  The deceased appears to have gone out, and having loaded a gun with ball, deliberately shot himself.  The unfortunate occurrence has been attributed to the deceased having at intervals laboured under weak health and intellect.


The body of the man Zeelandt who was recently drowned in the Pelorus river, in consequence of attempting to cross it in a fresh, was discovered last Saturday, a few miles below the town of Havelock, by some Maories.  An inquest, with a jury composed of such settlers as could be summoned, was held upon the body, the Bishop of Nelson acting as foreman, and the verdict they returned was one of accidental death.  Rumours had been spread that the deceased had upon him a considerable sum of money, but no evidence of such a fact was presented before the Jury.


 COLONIST, 14 December 1860


(From the Wellington Spectator.)

FATAL ACCIDENTS. - We regret to state that on Monday, 26 November, a melancholy accident befell Mr. Renall of the Hutt, eldest son of the member for that district.  It appears from what we have been able to learn, that Mr. Renall's servant - a Maori who has been in his employ for a number of years - was felling a tree, young Mr. Renall was sitting down taking his dinner, when the tree unexpectedly fell crushing him beneath it.  He received such internal injuries that he only survived about an hour.

   Another accident also occurred on the same day.  As a Maori who had brought a bullock dray load of wool into tone from Otaki was returning along the cutting near Tawa Flat, Porirua Road, the dray rolled over on him crushing him to death.  We have not been able to obtain the full particulars, but as there will be an inquest on the body it will then be seen how the accident happened.


We understand that a little boy, two years of age, named Clements, whilst playing on the bridge of the second river, accidentally fell in and was drowned.  From what we have heard of would appear that some person saw the poor little fellow in the river, and, instead of getting him out at once went for assistance, and, in the meantime the child was drowned.




An inquest was held on board the Pelorus on Tuesday last, the 11th inst., touching the death of a seaman  named William Martin, who was found lying dead in the water near Plimmer's Wharf.  The evidence given shewed that the body of the deceased was found by Mr. Irving, Assistant Engineer, at ten minutes past eight o'clock on Monday morning last.  The corpse was floating with its face downwards; it was placed in the boat and immediately a great deal of blood flowed from wounds near the ears and eyes.  On being taken on board the Pelorus it was immediately examined by Dr. Bowden, who stated, "I believe the abrasions about the eyes were caused by the biting of crabs; I removed one of those small crabs from the deepest of the wounds directly the corpse was brought on board.  I carefully examined the body, but could find no mark of violence about it, not were the clothes torn."  It seemed the deceased left the ship on leave on Sunday morning at 11 o'clock a.m. His leave expired at eight in the evening, but nothing was seen of him till the corpse was brought on board the following (Monday) morning.

   In the afternoon, deceased was at the Portobello Tea Gardens with some of his shipmates, but afterwards left them for a short time.  James Bryant and James Granville, two of his companions, saw him in the evening at about 10 o'clock on Swinburne's Wharf, just as they were leaving for the Pelorus, and they wanted him to come with them, but he would not.  He was the worse for liquor they both agree, but still he had his senses about him.  The men in the boats then left him but could not reach the ship, and they had to make for Kai Wara-wara.  John Acraman, Engineer's servant, stated that he had been on shore that morning about eight o'clock, and found drops of blood on the wharf, a great quantity was close to where the body was found

   This completed the evidence, and after a short discussion, the jury thought it was desirable to adjourn the inquest till the next day to get further evidence, and it took place at Miller's Hotel, at six o'clock on Wednesday evening, a great many people interested in the case being present.

   At the adjournment, however, very little more of any consequence was adduced.  Bishop, the waterman, was called (the boat in which deceased's shipmates tried to reach the Pelorus in), he said he heard no quarreling, the deceased was drunk, but could walk on two feet of scantling.  Dr. Bowden was recalled, and was asked if he had any reason to alter his opinion of the case, to which he replied, None whatever.  Hurst, a policeman, stated that he saw the deceased twice on the night in question, for the first time coming down Willis-street at about nine o'clock, when he was certainly not drunk.  He walked with him as far as Swinburne's, and then went into this hotel to meet a friend as he  said; the next time he saw him he was leaving Mr. Swan's shop, and he was then very drunk.  Hurst asked him if he should get him a bed on shire, but he replied, he must go ob board for he had a duty at 12 o'clock; he then walked away towards Plimmer's wharf and he never saw him afterwards.  Raymond Collins, deposed that he heard a man making a great noise on the wharf, on going to see what was the matter, he found a man crawling over the broken part of the wharf, and a boat was just going off with four men in it at the time; Collins asked him to come on shore or he would be drowned, but nothing would move him, and he was obliged to leave him; he never heard or saw him again.  Samuel Skey, boatmen, said he knew the deceased by sight, saw him that evening at about 10 o'clock, and he was drunk.  J. Swinburne, deposed that the deceased was at his house on Sunday evening; he was drunk; left the house saying he must go on board.

   This concluded the evidence, and after a short consideration the jurymen returned their verdict, - "Found lying dead in the water, but how or by what means he came by his death, there is not sufficient evidence to show."


LYTTELTON TIMES, 22 December 1860


DEATH BY DROWNING. - An inquest was held on Tuesday evening last, at the Northern Hotel, Kaiapoi, on the body of a man found in the river Cam, close to Messrs. Cookson, Bowler's and Co.'s store.  The deceased was named James Steeple, but was better known by the name of Cooper in Lyttelton, where he had been employed in the harbour boat.  He had been working for some time past in the bush at Kaiapoi, and on Tuesday week was returning home from Kaiapoi to the bush in a canoe up the Cam.  His non-arrival caused inquiry to be made, and the canoe was quickly discovered floating bottom upwards in the river; but the body of the deceased was not found till the 18th.  The verdict of the jury, through their foreman, Mr. Rich, was an open one, in accordance with the evidence - "Found drowned." The deceased leaves a widow and child to deplore his loss.


COLONIST, 28 December 1860


[From the Marlborough Press.]

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held before S. L. Muller, Esq., coroner, at the house of John Fraser, Waihopai, on the 5th instant, on view of the body\ of James Cooper, who was found dead on Tuesday morning last.  It appeared from the evidence that deceased was of a cheerful disposition, and there had been nothing in his previous conduct to lead to any supposition that he would destroy himself.  He had been stayed at the house occupied by John Maxwell, for several days, and was supposed to have gone out mustering for Mr. Fraser, in whose employ he had been for 18 months, on the day before his death; but complained of being unwell.  Early on Tuesday morning the deceased left Maxwell's house, and in about ten minutes afterwards the firing of a gun was heard; but nothing wrong was suspected. About half-past seven, the deceased's dog was heard to bark, and Margaret Maxwell went out to see if deceased was gone, and found him lying dead near the door; he having been shot.  Deceased had had no quarrel with any one on the station.  He was not a quarrelsome man.

   Dr. Horne, on being sworn, said: "There is a wound in the roof of the mouth, on the right side, the upper jaw is much shattered, and one of the incisor teeth on the right side is gone.  I passed the probe through the wound in the upper jaw past the nose on the right side, and at the back of the right eye, until I reached the skull; there was nothing to obstruct the passage of the probe; I could not detect anything like a bullet.  I could no see whether the wound was caused by a bullet or shot; the muzzle of the gun must have been inside the lips, and wounds caused by bullet or shot would have been much alike.  From the position of the wound, I would consider it must have been his own act.  His death must have been instantaneous."

   The jury returned the following verdict: - "That deceased destroyed himself with a rifle; but whether in sound state of mind or laboring under insanity, there is no sufficient evidence before the jury to show."

INQUEST AT HAVELOCK.  Frederick Seelandt. [Zeelandt.]




By the Overland Mail we received intelligence of a fatal accident that occurred at Wanganui on the 1st Inst.  From the information we have been enabled to glean, it appears that it had been arranged to have a picnic on New Year's Day, at Fordell, a picturesque farm, about seven miles from town.  The party consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Sim, Mrs. Anderson, Miss Williamson, Mr. and Mrs. Burnett and family, and the Rev. Mrs. Higg and family.  Two carts were engaged for the occasion. They reached their destination in safety, and were retuning to town, after having enjoyed a delightful day of recreation, when the melancholy accident occurred.

     After proceeding a shirt distance on their return, the driver of the first cart stopped to arrange the seats, when the driver of the other cart observed that he had not put the bit in his horse's mouth at starting, and thinking this a good opportunity for doing so, removed the bridle from the horse's head, with the intention of placing the bit in his mouth.  On the blinkers being removed, the horse saw the cart behind him full of people, and immediately began to leap and plunge, and ultimately got away from the hands of his driver, bolted off, and upset the cart, precipitating all who were in it violently to the ground.  The result was, that a little boy about 7 years of age, belonging to the Rev. Mr. Higg, received such injury as to cause death the same night; and Miss Williamson, a young lady about 16 years of age, and in the charge of Mrs. Sim, had her back broken, and but slight hopes are entertained of her recovery.  The driver was also hurt, but not seriously. The event had cast a gloom over the settlement of Wanganui, where the Rev. Gentleman and his friends are deservedly and highly respected.

   An inquest was to be held on the body on Friday last, the 4th Inst.  The Rev. Mr. Higg had just arrived in Wellington, on a visit; but on receipt of the melancholy intelligence, returned immediately to Wanganui.


COLONIST, 15 January 1861

A seaman named John O'Neill, of the ship Rob Roy, aged 23, was drowned in returning from shore to his ship at Queen-street wharf.  More deaths by accident have occurred:-


A melancholy accident resulting in the death of a poor fellow of the name of Carty, from Howick, occurred in excavating the foundations for the Savings' Bank, in Queen-street, near the Odd Fellows' hall, on Monday, Dec. 31.  The cliff which Carty was in the act of undermining suddenly fell in upon and crushed him.  His death was instantaneous.


An inquest was held at the Royal Hotel, Auckland, on the 8th ult., on view of the body of William Logan, aged 20 years, who was drowned in the harbor, on the day preceding, while bathing, under an almost vertical sun.  The verdict returned was "Accidentally drowned."

   Also at Onehunga on the 10th ult., on view of the body of a child 3 ½ years of age named Giles Humphries; discovered at the bottom of a well on Sunday, 9th ult., and taken out lifeless.  It appeared in evidence that the child had been seen playing, at two p.m. at the mouth of the well, by a neighbor, and had been desired to go away, but he was not missed by his parents until six p.m., when on search being made he was found as above.

   The well is an open one, and contains about eight feet of putrid water; it is situated on the premises of Captain Ninnis, and is in fact a most dangerous child-trap.  It was stated that there are several such in the settlement.  The jury returned a verdict of "Found drowned," and inveighed strongly against the practice of leaving wells uncovered.


We regret to state that Mr. Trevarthen, one of out eldest settlers resident at the North Shore, received a kick in the stomach from one of his horses on the 7th ult.  Dr. Stratford was in immediate attendance; he at once pronounced the stroke to me mortal, and the unfortunate sufferer died next morning, leaving a large family to lament their loss.


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 19 January 1861


INQUEST. - An inquest was held at Dyett's hotel, Clive, on Saturday last, before Dr. Hitchings, coroner, and a jury, upon the body of William Mudgeway.  The inquest was, after some examination, adjourned till Monday.  Deceased, who was in the employ of Mr. Gordon, had, it appears, been engaged with others, on the previous Wednesday, killing a whale upon the beach.  The same night he broached the stores of his employer, got very drunk, and lay out all night.  The deceased being in wet clothes and the night a most inclement one, the consequence was that, in the morning he was suffering from severe illness.  Medical aid could not, owing to the height of the rivers, be promptly obtained, deceased never rallied, and death speedily ensued.  The jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased died from drinking to excess and exposure to the inclemency of the weather.  The body was brought into town in Sunday for interment.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 23 January 1861

Thomas Ottery Rayner is appointed coroner for the district of Timaru.




On Thursday last, as a child, between two and three years of age, belonging to Mr. Small, of Stoke, was playing in a field, a calf with which it had been amusing itself, by its bellowing, attracted the attention of a working bullock.  The bullock ran up to the calf and frightened the child, who threw itself upon the ground, when the bullock took the child up on his horns and threw it into the air, and injured it so as to cause its death.  An inquest will be held on the body of the child to-morrow.


COLONIST, 29 January 1861


AN inquest was held on Saturday last before J. Connell, Esq., Coroner, at the house of William S mall, at Stoke, on the body of his son Waring Small, a boy of about four years old.  From the evidence given, it appeared that the child, with the children of Mt. Sutton, were playing together in the barn of the latter farm, from whence they wandered into the adjoining paddock belonging to Mr. James Robotham, where after some time a bullock belonging to Mr. Robotham, which was in the paddock, attacked the deceased, and with his horns tossed him into the air, and that in the fall the left side of the skull was bruised in and depressed, producing compression of the brain, and the left collar bone was also broken.

   The report was one of accidental death, resulting from those injuries.

   Evidence was also given showing that the bullock had previously attacked at least one other person, and that the paddock in which he was, being insufficiently fenced, was nearly open to the road; but, inasmuch as the accident had occurred within the owner's paddock, and Mr. Robotham who attended, voluntarily undertook to have the bullock killed as soon as he could dispose of him, and in the meantime to have him safely kept, the jury did not append to the verdict any observation on that subject.




FATAL ACCIDENT. - On Saturday last, Mr. James Thomas Canty, master of the ketch Brothers, fell overboard and was unfortunately drowned.  The deceased was observed to fall from his vessel, by a person on board another craft close  by, and who gave the alarm, end endeavoured to save him, but without avail.  After dragging with a grappling for about twenty minutes, the body was found, and conveyed to the Nag's Head Inn, accompanied by Dr. Williams and a policeman, when every effort was made to restore animation, under the new system of Dr. Marshall Hall; notwithstanding the most persevering efforts for nearly two hours, the case was considered hopeless.  Drs. Monteith and France were also present to render assistance. 

   An inquest was held at the Nag's Head Inn, on Monday last at noon, by Mr. Kebbell,, Esq., Coroner, and a respectable jury on view of the body.  Several witnesses were examined, and after a patient investigation, a verdict of "Accidental death by drowning" was returned, with a rider requesting the Coroner to bring under the attention of the Superintendent the necessity of providing drags and buoys at the different wharves in the harbour, so that they might be in constant readiness in case of similar accidents.  The deceased was highly respected and has left a widow and six children (almost totally unprovided for,) to lament his loss.




An inquest was held at noon, on Monday, at Mr. Lowrey's, Nag's Head Inn, before Mark Kebbell, Esq., the coroner for the district, and a respectable jury, touching the death of the late James Thomas Canty, who was drowned on Saturday last in the harbour.

   The jury having viewed the body the following evidence was adduced:-

   THEODORE MILLER examined:- I saw the deceased coming on board the Brothers in a boat by himself; I saw him heaving in some chain; I soon after went down into the cabin of the Jane Peata; I had not been there above two minutes when I heard him singing out for help; I ran out and as soon  as I saw him in the water, I sung out for boats from the shore: the Wonga Wonga's boat was first there, but he had just sunk before that; we had no boat on board the Jane Peata; deceased was in the water about half an hour before he was taken out.

   JOHN SEDCOLE examined:- The body that the jury have just viewed id that of James Thomas Canty; I saw deceased shortly after 12 o'clock on Saturday, on Rhodes' Wharf; I did not see him again until I assisted to get him out of the water; I went off in the Emerald's boat; we had no grapnel irons; there are no proper grapnel irons in the town; new took the iron handle of the pump and fastened some wool hooks and fish hooks to it, and made a drag; the third time we put this down we caught the body which we put into the boat, and made all haste we could to the shore; we brought the body to the Nag's Head Inn, and I went for Dr. France; all possible means were tried to restore animation without avail.

    By the foreman - The deceased was perfectly sober when I saw him on Rhodes' Wharf, and he went direct from thence to the Brothers.

   JOHN RODGER WILLIAMS. M.R.C.S., examined:- I was passing  down the beach on Saturday when I was told by a policeman that there was a body overboard, and I was requested to wait and see it' I accompanied the policeman and identified the body, as the first surgeon on the spot; I accompanied the body to the Nag's Head; the usual remedies were applied to restore animation by myself, in conjunction with Messrs. Monteith and France, and persevered in for an hour and a half or two hours; and then pronounced the case hopeless.

   The jury immediately returned a verdict of "accidental death by drowning'; and made a presentment to the coroner stating that they were of opinion that had proper grapnels been procurable at any of the wharves nigh, when deceased was drowned, his life might have been saved.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 2 February 1861


A fatal accident occurred on Wednesday to a young woman named Harriet Douglas, who resided in Colombo street, Christchurch.  As she was sitting by the fire, her dress, which was fashionable expanded by crinoline, caught the blaze and soon enveloped her in flames.  Before the fire could be extinguished, the poor girl was so dreadfully burnt that her recovery was pronounced hopeless by the medical men who were speedily called in; and on Thursday the sufferer expired.  An inquest was held yesterday.


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 2 February 1861



An inquest was held on Mon day last, at the Victoria Hotel, Onepoto, before Thos. Hitchings, Esq., coroner, and a jury, upon the body of a private of the 14th named John Hardy, which was found by a native on Sunday morning lying high and dry on one of the banks at the mouth of the Tutaekuri.  The body was becoming fast decomposed, but in a sufficient state of preservation to permit of its being identified, and of several marks of violence being distinguishable on the face and upper part of the breast.  The deceased, together with three others, (men of well known bad character) deserted on the 23rd, and are believed to have crossed the lagoon, after leaving their uniform on the hill opposite Munn's.  The three reached Father Reigner's on the same evening, and accounted in some vague manner for their companion being missing.  No trace of where they have gone to has been found.  The jury, under such circumstances, returned an open verdict - "Found dead, but how or by what means he met his death, there is at present no evidence to prove, but having on the body marks of ill-treatment, the jury are of opinion that the inquest should be resumed at some future time."

   Another inquest was held on the 31st January, at the Flagstaff, Hotel, Clive, upon the body of a child 5 years of age named Alfred Hughes, who was drowned the previous day whilst bathing in the river with some other children.  A verdict of "accidentally drowned" was returned.


OTAGO WITNESS, 2 February 1861

An inquest was held at the house of Mr. Stevenson, West Taieri, before J. H. Harris, Esq., on Monday last, to enquire into the death of William Ingram, who was drowned on the previous Saturday whilst bathing in the Taieri River.  From the evidence of his companions, who were also bathing, it appeared that the deceased, who was unable to swim, got out of his depth, and although every effort was made to save him, it was a quarter of an hour before the body was recovered, when life was extinct.  The jury returned a verdict of "accidentally drowned whilst bathing."




FATAL ACCIDENT. - A young man named John Wells, son of Mr. S. Wells, of Eighty-eight valley, was engaged on Monday last in mustering cattle with some other men in a narrow valley, known as Ward's Pass, which runs into the Wairau, opposite the lower Traverse-hill.  Down this valley flows a stream in a rough rocky bed, which, in places, is worn into deep holes, and in one of these holes, only a few yards wide, Wells lost his life.  The exact particulars of the accident we have not heard, but we believe his horse stumbled in getting out of the hole in question, and Wells fell back into the water, where, being unable to swim, he was drowned. - [Since the foregoing was in type the following has been handed to us for publication:- "This is to certify that I have held an inquest upon the body of John Wells, and that he has been accidentally drowned in Ward's Pass.  W. D. H. BAILLIE, J.P." - Ed. N.E.




FATAL ACCIDENT. - FIVE LIVES LOST. - The schooner Randolph from Kai Koras, arrived in this harbour on Tuesday evening last, bringing the melancholy intelligence of the death of Capt. Kempthorne and four others.  The following are the particulars of the accident, so far as we have been able to learn.

   The Randolph was lying at the Kai Kora Peninsula, moored in a small boat harbour.  On Monday the 21st Jan., Captain Kempthorne, accompanied by Messrs. Harwood, (lately arrived from England), John Thompson, Joshua Miller, (two men of color), and John Roy, started in a small boat for the Waipapa River, a distance of about 20 miles.  When the boat had reached Mungamana, a point of land about half way, the natives state that a disturbance appeared to take place in the boat, when all at once they lost sight of the men, but could see the boat.  Bering convinced that some accident for must have occurred they kept watch for the men, with a view to render what assistance they could.  Miller was quite warm when they got him on shore, and they did the best they could to restore animation, but without effect.  Four of the bodies were picked up by the maories the same evening, and one, John Thompson, the following morning. The bodies were identified and interred by C. R. Keene, Esq. abreast of the place where they were picked up.

   The boat had been built at Mr. Fyff's station, for Mr. Trulove, to be employed as a Ferry boat on the Waipapa River, and the parties in her were on the way to deliver the boat when the accident occurred.  Captain Kempthorne was master of the Randolph, and has sailed out of this port for some years.  He has left a wife and three children to mourn his loss.   The parties with him were not the crew of his vessel; but parties who were residing at the Kai Koras.  [See also nelson Examiner, 13 February.]


COLONIST, 8 February 1861

That chapter of accidents is a fatal on e this month.  A man in the service of Mr. Caverhill was drowned in the Waiau River; this has been attributed to the want of a ferry, for which money is said to have been voted by the Provincial Council.


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 9 February 1861


THE ADJOURNED INQUEST on the body of John hardy terminated on Thursday in a verdict of "Found Drowned."  We are obliged to defer particulars till our next.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 13 February 1861


A melancholy case of suicide occurred at Christchurch on Saturday last.  A woman named Capstaff, about 25 years of age, who had some time back lost her husband, who was a laborer, residing at Prebbletown, had just recovered from her first confinement.  She was living with her infant in a house in Durham street, and had, since her husband's death, suffered greatly from low spirits and despondency, caused by privation and uncertain prospects.  On Saturday morning, about 4 a.m., she went out leaving her child in bed, and precipitated herself into the river Avon, leaving a portion of her clothes on the bank just above the Papanui bridge, where they were discovered at daylight.  A search was instituted, and at 10 o'clock the body was found and extricated from the river at a point just below Mr. W. G. Brittan's late residence.  It was at once taken to the Police station, where an inquest was held on Monday, resulting in a verdict of 'temporary insanity.'


   HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 16 February 1861


AN adjourned inquest took place at the Resident Magistrate's Court, Napier, on the 7th inst., before Thomas Hitchings, Esq., Coroner, upon the body of John Hardy, a private belonging to Her Majesty's 14th Regiment of foot.

   The following jurors were sworn:- William Ward Yates (foreman), Thomas Atkinson, Robert James Curtis, James Wilson, Thomas Williams, John Dinwiddie, James Smith, William Smith, Richard Williams, John Slater, Nathaniel Williams, Thomas Howse.

   The following evidence was then taken:-

   Thomas Floyd, private 14th Regiment, bring sworn, said:- A little after 2 o'clock on Sunday, the 27th Jan ., I saw the deceased; he was a little cut about the face, and swelled and disfigured; the eyes were very much swelled, one much more than the other.  I could not say whether any force had been used.  I at once recognised him as John Hardy; he was naked except a pair of socks; there were marks like scratched about his chest.

   Matthew Hogan, being sworn, said: - I am a private in the 14th regiment; I saw the deceased about half-past 12, a.m. on Sunday, the 27th ult.  I thought it was Hardy; one of his eyes was very much disfigured; it was swelled and bleeding a little; I saw no marks of a knife; could not say if the body had been in the water long; I think he was drowned, because I saw no sufficient bruises on him to kill him.

   James Swain, being sworn, said: - I am a laborer, and reside in Napier.  I saw the deceased between 8 and 9 a.m. on Sunday, 27th ult.  A native told me that there was a pakeha on the bank of the Tutaekuri river.  I and two others went there and saw the deceased lying on his belly on the opposite side of the river, 8 or 9 yards out of the river; he was naked except for two socks; we did not cross the river, the natives brought the body to us. The deceased had a cut under his left eye, at top and bottom, three quarters of an inch each way, close to the ball of the eye.  The natives washed him, and his eye then bled freely; all the side of the face was bruised badly from the skull down to the neck, and was very black; one eye was much marked.  I cannot say how the deceased acquired the marks; as man who had suffered illtreatment before his death would show similar marks.  I have no doubt the deceased came to his death through violence.  The body was taken to Onepoto by four soldiers.  I noticed some bruises on the chest.  I saw no marks of an attempt at strangling.

   Francois Lecouvre, being sworn, said: - I reside at Onepoto, and am a storeman.  I saw the deceased at half-past nine a.m. on Sunday, the 27th ult.  I went with William North.  The body was on the opposite side of the river, about a mile and a half above Onepoto, the water was within a foot of him; the tide was then going out.  I pulled my boat by him, saw the man, and then went and told the police.  There was no one there with the body; I came back with the police.  I saw the body on the bank and examined it.  The body was much swelled, and some hair was off his head at the back.  The marks were certainly bruises.  I don't think the water could have produced such marks.  I have no doubt deceased met his death by violence.  There was no appearance of anything having been tied round the neck.

   James Gaff, being sworn, said: - I am a private in the 2nd battalion of Her Majesty's 14th Regiment of foot stationed at Napier.  I knew the deceased, John Hardy.  The last time I saw him was going down to the water on Wednesday, the 23rd January.  I was drinking at Williams' about half-past 3 or 4.  I and Mike Handily were together; we were dinking in that house till half-past 6; we then went to the corner to another public house, and stayed there about three-quarters of an hour; we then went towards the barracks, we went up as far as the well.  I met Hardy, Williams, and Connelly at the well.  The other man with me went home, and the other three men told me that they were going to desert, and asked me to go along with them.  I was drunk at the time; it was about 7.  We went up to the big hill at the side of the barracks, and took off out clothes there.  Connelly had his tunic on; Hardy had a shell jacket, belt, and forage cap; Williams had white clothes; I had a tunic on, Williams gave me some other clothes, trousers and frock; I left my regimental clothes; there were two suits left there.  None of us went away in regimental clothes except Hardy.  It was then 8 o'clock.  We went across the field; we had a bottle with us; we went across and met a great big river; we got across, but it took us about half an hour; we had not been quarrelling, Hardy went willingly with us.  It was dark when we reached the river; I swam across clothes and all; when I got across I was very tired, and I stopped there till Williams came over; Williams took off his clothes, tied them in a bundle, and swam across with them; he asked me if we were going to leave the other men behind; I said of course not, and we came over again; we left our clothes on the other side.  The other two men proposed that Williams and I should take them across; neither of them could swim.  Hardy tied his clothes across his shoulder; Williams went across first with Connelly; both of us arrived nearly together; Hardy went in first, he got up to his middle in the water; he shouted for me, and I came up and took his hand; he got afraid; I pulled him out, and got him on my back, and Williams took Connelly; we went across; the last word I said to him was not to lose his grip; he gripped me across the waist; after I had swam five or six strokes he fell off my back; I turned round to catch him, but he had gone down; I swam round several times; I delayed about ten minutes looking after him; I shouted out to Williams three times that Hardy had goner down; the river ids about 50 yards wide there; Williams did not come back to assist me.  I reached the other bank before Williams and Connelly; I helped them up; Williams said we could not help the loss of Hardy.  We resumed out clothes and went away; got down the river a piece, I looked round to see if I could see Hardy, and I saw some bubbles come up a long way - about 50 yards off.

   We knew that Hardy and Connelly could not swim; we did not take them across the first time because we had out clothes on.  Hardy let go, I suppose, because he was afraid; I stayed to catch hold of him; I could not stand on the bottom.  Hardy went willingly with me; I told Hardy to go back, it would be better for him as he could not swim; he said he would get across, he was anxious top go.  We got across to an old pah that night; we saw a man, two women, and a boy' I don't know the  time, they were in bed; we asked them for a match top light the pipe; we sat down and smoked; they told us there was another house down farther; we we t there, it was the priest's house; some one came to the window, and we asked him if we could stop there that night, and he sent us into a barn where there were other persons, white men; I took off my wet trousers, and we slept there till morning; we did not tell them that we were deserters or that we had lost one of our companions; we told them we were sailors.

   The next house we met was a maori house; they came out and shook hands with us; we stopped there, and they gave us some breakfast; we offered them a pair of summer trousers for sale - they bought them for 4s. We offered no boots for sale; they were my trousers.  We went to another maori house; there was a European there who asked us if we belonged to the 14th; we did not stop there.  I had no weapon with me; I had no knife; I had 5s. in money; I don't know of any of the others had any.  I did not see Hardy's bundle or its contents after he went down; I did not take the bundle to the opposite shore.  I have had some conversation with Captain Barnes on this subject; I remember telling him that I did not cross the river a second time; I told him so because I did not think of it at the time.  I don't know whether Hardy was drunk when he went into the river; he had not been fighting that day, that I know.  I had no bundle when I started; I had two pairs of trousers on when I left.  Hardy never said a word when he let go; he never made a noise even.  I and Hardy did not quarrel.

   Thomas Williams, being sworn, said: - I am a private in the 14th regiment of foot.  I remember Wednesday, the day described.  About 7 p.m. on that day I left the barracks alone; I went down in the fern towards the well.  I met Gaff, Connelly, Hardy, and two other men.  One of us went the other side of the hill.  Connelly and I went up the hill, Hardy and Gaff came after; I was in fatigue dress; the others undressed and out on white clothing, which they had inside.  After the first call we went across the river to the other side till we came to the river; I went across first, and swam back for Connelly.  Gaff went over before me; we stripped off out clothes and went back for the other two.  I took over Connelly.  I saw Hardy on the bank; I saw nothing done to Hardy.  I think Hardy and Gaff started before me.  Hardy stripped; I don't know what he did with his bundle.  I never saw Hardy afterwards.  Gaff shouted to me that Hardy was gone; I shouted to him to turn back and try to save the man.  Gaff got over first; he told me that Hardy had left go his hold, and that he could not catch him.  I saw neither the bundle nor any of his clothes since; I sold one of my own shirts.  Hardy had his trousers on when I last saw him.  Hardy might have said he wished to go with me.  I knew that Hardy was drowned.  Gaff never told me that Hardy had gone back.  I told Captain Barnes that I did not know that Hardy was drowned till I came back to Napier.  I told Captain Barnes that Gaff had told me that Hardy had gone back and attempted to cross; gaff told me so.  I could tell Captain Barnes anything I liked because I was not sworn.  There was no quarrel or dispute on the bank before we crossed.  I saw no bruise on Hardy's face when with him.  I don't know if Hardy had any money with him.

   John Connolly, being sworn, says: - I am a private in her Majesty's 14th regiment of Foot.  I remember the day I deserted; I left the barracks about 6 o'clock on the evening; I left with deceased, and went to Marshall's and Sebley's and had drink; I was friendly with deceased, and no quarrelling had taken place; we left Mr. Sebley's about eight o'clock; I had white clothes under my uniform; we all took off our coats and left them on the hill behind Munn's; Williams had a bindle of white clothes which he distributed to the rest of us; we crossed the sea and came to a river; Gaff, as soon as he came to the river, jumped in with his clothes on and swam across; Williams also swam across, and they both returned in about 5 minutes, naked; Gaff tied my clothes round my neck, and was doing the same to deceased when I left with Williams; I Heard Gaff say to Williams - "Don't let us put ourselves in danger for these fellows," and Williams said, "we will get them across," and both jumped in together; deceased said he would rather go with Williams than Gaff; I saw Gaff and deceased get into the water just about the time I and Williams started; while crossing the river I heard two weak  moans from deceased; at this time I was some distance before deceased and Gaff; before we reached the bank I heard Gaff say that Hardy had gone from him, and that he was very sorry for him; Williams said to Gaff - "Why did you not go back and try to save him?" and Gaff said - "I would not put myself in danger;" Gaff and deceased were about 4 or 5 paces across when I heard the moan; when we reached the bank we began to dress and I heard a splash in the water about the other side, something like a fish, and I said to the others, "that must be Hardy," and the others said, "yes, it must be him, Lord have mercy on him;" Gaff said he never made any attempt to save deceased as he would not put himself in danger; I never saw Hardy's bundle after it was tied round his neck. 

   When we were taken and were coming homer, Gaff and I quarrelled, and Gaff threatened to stab me; I said to him, "that is likely enough, for you did not try to save the man;" Gaff said. "if I knew as much of you when we started as I do now, you would not have travelled with me long." I know Gaff could have rendered more assistance to save deceased.

   Euloge Reignier, Roman Catholic priest, being sworn, states: - I was disturbed about midnight on the 23rd of January by the barking of dogs; I got up and saw three men who asked for hospitality, and I scolded them for coming so late, and sent them into a barn; the next morning they had disappeared.

   Robert Donaldson, native teacher, being sworn, states: - I remember the morning of the 24th January.  I live at pah Whakaairo; I saw the three deserters on the morning of that day, dressed in white; they had a large bundle among them; there was a large crowd of natives around the deserters; they did not in any way allude to a fourth comrade; they offered the contents of the bundle for sale; two shirts, two pairs of trousers, and one pair of boots were sold to the natives.

   William Thornton, sergeant, 14th regiment, being sworn, states: - Deceased belonged to my company.  Gaff's general character was bad; I think he would not assist a comrade in danger; I have known him when fighting with his comrades, kick them when down.

   Arrapata, aboriginal native, being sworn through a sworn interpreter, states: - I first saw the deceased on a Sunday, about 8 o'clock on the banks of the Tutaekuro; I saw marks of violence on his breast and other parts; there was no bundle attached to the body.

   The jury returned an open verdict of -"Found dead," and not "Found drowned," as erroneously given in our last.



A Coroner's in quest was held at the Commercial Hotel, Collingwood, on the 7th February, before James MacKay, junior, Esq.,  coroner for the district, on the body of a girl named Mary Anne Elizabeth Avery, aged two years, the daughter of Mr. William Avery, of Collingwood, carpenter.  From the evidence produced it appeared that the deceased had been lefty by its mother in a yard at the back of the house, and that she had not been absent for more than a few minutes, when ion returning to the yard, she missed the child and inquired of the father, who was working in a shop close by, if the child was with him, and on receiving an answer in the negative she looked about and subsequently found it in a well in the yard.  Medical assistance was promptly procured, but, although the usual methods for the resuscitation of the drowned were promptly used, they were of no effect.  The verdict of the jury was, "That the deceased was accidentally drowned in a well on the 6th February," and they added the following presentment, "That persons having wells should inclose the same, and the neglect of that precaution is very culpable and dangerous."




CORONER'S INQUEST. - On Saturday last, as Mr. Riddler was coming into Town from the Hutt, he observed from the road between Ngahauranga and Kai Warra, a body floating in the water, near the shore.  He pulled it on shore, and gave information to the police, who proceeded to the spot, and had the body conveyed to Mrs. Calder's Rainbow Inn, Kai Warra.  On Monday an Inquest was held at the above Inn by Mark Kebbell, Esq., and a respectable jury, on view of the body.  Two witnesses were examined.  The body was identified as being one of the seamen belonging to the brig Fanny A. Garriques, just sailed for Auckland.  The man was last seen on Wednesday night the 13th instant.  He was then in company with another seaman, belonging to the same brig.  The other seaman went on board the brig the following morning, and reported that the boat had capsized with them in going off to the brig, and he did not know what had become of the other man.  The boat was found on Thursday morning, the 14th instant, on the rocks bottom up, a short distance from Kai Warra.  The inquest was adjourned until the return of the brig from Auckland, for the purpose of getting the evidence of the other seaman.  The body was buried yesterday afternoon in the public cemetery.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 23 February 1861


A melancholy suicide of a man named James Warnock, of Green Island, is reported.  The evidence taken at the inquest showed that the man had hanged himself on the 18th instant, after partial recovery from intoxication, and the jury returned a verdict of 'temporary insanity.'

   A second inquest was held in the same locality a few days afterwards on the body of John Docherty, who was killed by the cart which he was d riving overturning on top of him.  Deceased had been in a state of intoxication and the jury found a verdict accordingly.


COLONIST, 26 February 1861


INQUEST. - An inquest was held at Richmond on Saturday last, touching the death of Christian Ehrenfried Reichett, a native of Silesia, in Prussia, who was found dead in his tent on Thursday last at the Moutere.  The body of the deceased was discovered in a fearful state of decomposition by some persons returning from harvesting, who called at his tent on Thursday last to see him; and it is supposed that he had been dead three or four weeks, as the last entry in a log that the deceased had been in the habit of keeping was dated the 26th day of January.  Diedrich Wilkins was the first to discover the body.  In a box inside the tent was found money amounting to six pounds four shillings and seven pence halfpenny.  The inquest was held by N. G. Morse, Esq., on Saturday, and a verdict of 'Found dead - cause not known' returned.  Deceased was a single man, of literary tastes, but of rather eccentric turn of mind.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 27 February 1861


An inquest was held on Monday at Christchurch, before Dr. Donald, coroner of the district, and a respectable jury, of whom Mr. Wylde Browne was foreman, on the body of Joseph Metcalfe, carter, who was drowned in the River Rakaia on Saturday last, the 23rd inst.  The chief evidence called was that of Mr. Vincent, keeper of the accommodation house, who pilotted the dray which the deceased was driving across the river.  The dray was upset; another man who was on it got out uninjured, but Metcalfe died a few minutes after he was picked up.  He had only time to say that his back was broken, and Vincent thought the guard irons must have fallen on his chest and crushed him.  This witness stated that the dray was a closed one, or boxed in all round; an open one would probably not have upset.  The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the evidence, and expressed a desire that Vincent's opinion as to the danger of crossing a closed dray or common cart over a ford, with which the experience of several of themselves coincided, should be made as widely public as possible.  The caution cannot be too generally known.




 An inquest was held on the 23rd instant at the house of Mr. Laurety Borck, of the Moutere, upon the body of Alfred Reichard, a German, who had evidently been dead for a considerable length of time.  N. G. Morse, Esq., J.P., acted as Coroner.

   Joseph Hewetson, having been chosen as foreman, the jury proceeded to view the body, and on their re-assembling the following evidence was received:-

   Daniel Talbot, being sworn, said: On Thursday, the 21st February, at about eleven o'clock in the morning, Diederich Wilkens came to me and stated that he had found the dead body of deceased in his whare.  I then went with him to the whare, taking Messrs. Cooke and Borck with us as witnesses.  When we got to the whare we saw the deceased lying in the same state as that just witnessed by the jury.  He was lying across the bed with his head hanging over the side.  I examined the place and found nothing disturbed.  I have no suspicion that deceased met his death from any unnatural cause.  I left a man on the premises, nailed up the door of the whare, and applied to the nearest magistrate to hold an inquest.  In addition to articles of food, I found in the whare the sum of 6 Pounds 4s. 7 ½ d., and deceased's journal up to the 26th January.

   By a Juror: I did not find any cooked provisions; his chief food being flour, rice, pease, &c.  I found a bible by his bedside.

   Diederich Wilkens, being sworn, said: I went to deceased's whare on Thursday morning the 21st February.  I knocked at the door, but received no answer.  I went in, and looking over his bed, I saw him lying actress it.  I lifted his blanket, and saw that he was dead.  I then went to Mr. Lewis, the surveyor, and informed him of it, he said I had better tell a constable, and I did so.

   Fredericka Borck, being sworn, said: I saw the deceased last alive on the 24th January, passing my house, and going towards his whare; he appeared in his usual health.

   James Ross, being sworn, said: I last saw the deceased going towards his whare.  When he saw me he turned towards me and, putting his hand to his stomach, said he was not strong enough to grub lax.  He had been grubbing flax that day for Mr. Heine.

   The Jury having consulted a short time, returned the following verdict," "That deceased was found dead, there being no evidence to prove the cause of death."


COLONIST, 1 March 1861


AN inquest was held on Saturday last, at Green Island, before J. H. Harris, Esq., J.P., and a jury, touching the death of James Warnock, a settler in that district, who had on the previous evening committed suicide by hanging himself.  From the evidence of Mrs. Irvine, a neighbor, it appeared that she and her husband had accompanied the deceased to Dunedin on the day in question, but had returned without him.  Had seen him at a store in Dunedin, apparently the worse for liquor.  Witness again saw him at James Ballantyne's house, on his road home, about four o'clock.  He was then very tipsy, and had a bottle half full of whiskey in his hand.  Witness and Mrs. Ballantyne partook of some whiskey with him, and afterwards helped him to his own house, about half a mile distant, and took tea with the family.  They then went home. Shortly afterwards heard Warnock's wife and children screaming, and saw the wife running away, pursued by her husband.  When the latter saw witness he stopped running, and went with her to her house.

   He was in a very wild and confused state, and said he had been beating his wife, and he hoped he had not done it "ower sair."  He also said "Get some one to take hold of me and take me away before I do any more ill."  Witness desired him to sit down until the effects of the drink wore off, but he said it was not the drink.  He then went to sleep for half-an-hour, but on seeing two men going towards deceased's house, she awoke him, and he went away.  Witness's husband came in from his work about half-past seven, and she told him what had occurred.  She then went over to Warnock's house to see if all was right again, and hearing no sound, opened the door, when she saw deceased hanging, and immediately ran to call her husband, who came at once.

   Richard Irvine, the husband of the last witness, corroborated her evidence, and added that when he went into deceased's house, he found him hanging by a piece of stout rope from a joist across the room.  He thought the toes were touching the ground.  Witness cut down the body which was nearly cold.  No one else was in the house.  Witness immediately sent for some neighbors, and a message was despatched to the police at Dunedin.

   Mary Warnock, widow of the deceased, deposed that after Mrs. Ballantyne and Mrs. Irvine left the house on the previous evening, deceased pushed one of the children down.  Witness remonstrated with him, when he commenced tormenting her, and she threw a drop of tea in his face, and ran out.  Deceased followed her, and struck her several times.  She ran away to Mr. Johnston's, where she remained until she was informed of her husband having hung himself.

   The Jury returned a verdict of "Temporary insanity."  The deceased leaves a widow and four young children to lament his untimely end.


A second inquest was held before Mr. Harris on Tuesday last, at Mr. Stoddart's, Green Island, on the body of John Docherty, who had been killed on the previous evening by the upsetting of a cart in which he was riding.

   Martin Davids stated that he left Dunedin about eight o'clock on the previous evening, in company with the deceased, who was very drunk, in a cart belonging to the latter.  Witness was not quite sober.  They overtook a man named Andrews, who was also drunk, and he got into the cart; and when they got near to Mr. Stoddart's house, Peter Crawford got in.  The witness then detailed the circumstances of the accident, which, however, are more succinctly given by

   Peter Crawford, who stated that he overtook the cart near Mr. Stoddart's house and Davids offered him a ride, which he accepted, and took his seat in the guard iron.  It was very dark at the time.  He found Docherty and Andrews in the cart, the former laying in the bottom very drunk.  Andrews was sitting in the front; he was tipsy, but not as bad as Docherty.  Davids who was driving, was not sober.  When near Mr. Scott's house the cart was nearly capsized through the wheel going over one of the large stones placed at the side of the road to protect it, and Davids jumped off the shaft and went to the horse's head, when he found the bit was not in the animal's mouth.  Davids took the headstall off, in order to replace the bit, when the horse bolted off at a gallop for about 20 or 30 yards, ran down the bank and the cart was capsized.  Witness jumped from the cart and rolled down the bank uninjured.  He ran to call Mr. Scott, who, with his wife, came immediately with a lantern. Andrews had crawled from under the cart, apparently unhurt, but Docherty was lying underneath it.  They lifted the cart, and got Docherty out, but he was quite dead, the guard iron of the cart having fallen across the neck and chest.  Some of the neighbors came, and conveyed the body to Mr. Scott's barn.  Deceased spoke a few words before the accident, but was too drunk to speak intelligibly.

   James Scott corroborated the evidence as to what took place subsequent to the occurrence of the accident; and the jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death" caused by the upsetting of a cart while the deceased was in a state of intoxication."




On 11th February, a child named Maria, aged two and a half years and belonging to Mr. Kendrick, Karori, was unfortunately burnt to death.  From what we can learn, it appears that the father was burning off logs and clearing the ground near the house, and the mother going to look after the cows which were wandering on the road, the child left her with the intention of going to her father.  It was blowing fresh at the time, and she was proceeding towards her father, when a spark of fire ignited the child's clothes.  A neighbour hearing her screams, ran to her assistance, and found the child enveloped in flames.  She instantly procured a bucket of water, dashed it over the child, and put the fire out.  Dr. Kebbell was immediately sent for, and was quickly in attendance, when every means were adopted for the recovery of the child; nut she had sustained such severe injuries, that she died in three hours after the accident/


COLONIST, 8 March 1861

Editorial on recent inquests, including that on Reichard.


THE return of Mr. J. Sharp from the inquiry into the fire and loss of life that occurred at Golden Gully last week, enables us to give the terms of the verdict.  ...  The inquest was held at Golden Gully on Monday last, and adjourned next day to Collingwood: the verdict was as follows:-

   That the person deceased was found burned on Friday, the 1st day of March instant; but they have no sufficient evidence before them to show how death was occasioned; that they have every reason to believe that the deceased was James Crooks, but there is no sufficient evidence to prove his identity.



An inquest was held on Monday at the Northern Hotel on the body of William McEwen, whose death was noticed in our publication of Wednesday last.  The jury returned a verdict through their foreman, Mr. Rich, of accidental death.


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 9 March 1861


INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Thursday last, at the hotel of Bird & Co., Waipureku, before Thomas Hitchings, Esq., coroner, and a jury, upon the body of Thomas Bostock, late cook at the Havelock Hotel, who died there on Tuesday evening at 5, believed to be from the effects of strychnine administered by himself.  The deceased, it appears, suffered greatly from low spirits when under the influence of liquor.  Three weeks before his death, when in that state, he applied to one of Mr. Chambers' shepherds for a small quantity of strychnine to poison a dog, and received it; he is supposed then to have made an attempt to poison himself, which failed.  On Tuesday, the same shepherd, by name Colin McKay, whose hut was unprotected, found that the strychnine bottle had been opened in his absence, and part of the contents abstracted.  The symptoms attending the death of deceased were precisely those of death from a virulent poison; and at a post mortem examination held upon the body by Dr. King, unmistakable symptoms of the presence of strychnine were discovered in the stomach and intestines.  The jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased killed himself by poison when laboring under temporary insanity. [See also Letter to the Editor, page 4, re this inquest.]




   Mf. J. Sharp, Clerk to the Magistrates, who, accompanied by Mr. Blackett, was despatched on Saturday last to Massacre Bay, to investigate the circumstances which has led to the death of Mr. J. Crooks, whose body it was supposed had been found among the charred ruins of his house in Golden Gully, returned to town yesterday.  Owing to bad weather, the boat, which conveyed Mr. Sharp and Mr. Blackett to Collingwood, did not reach its destination until Monday evening.

   A jury was sworn in on Tuesday, and the inquest sat the greater part of both that day and Wednesday. The evidence has been kindly placed at our disposal, but its great length prevents us from publishing it in full.

   The main features of the evidence taken was to the effect that, for some days preceding the burning of the house, Crooks and Mrs. Amelia Robinson, the woman with whom he was living, had had serious quarrels, caused by Crooks endeavouring to get possession of some deeds relating to property at Collingwood and Golden Gully, and these Mrs. Robinson had persistently refused to give up.  A few nights before the fatal occurrence, Crooks appears to have attempted the strangulation of Mrs. Robinson, who had to seek protection from his violence.  He again became apparently reconciled, and, on the night of the fatal occurrence, had offered to make her some gruel.  After having retired to bed at about nine o'clock at night, Mrs. Robinson appears to have laid awake till about twelve o'clock, after which Crooks went into her bed-room in a state of nudity, and, having aroused her, she saw that he held in one hand a carving-knife, which he continually flourished, and said that he would cut her throat if she did not go down on her knees and swear to marry him on the morrow.  Mrs. Robinson appears, by persuasion and threats, to have induced Crooks to retire to bed, in which he still kept flourishing the knife.  Having thrown her hat out of the window, Mrs. Robinson made an excuse that she was thirsty, and went out of the door, saying she was going for something to drink. 

   Nothing more of what took place in the house is known, until a man named Gobby, who was sleeping in a kind of shed attached to it, and was the only other person on the premises, heard a slight crackling noise, and, looking up, saw the flames through the boards.  He immediately ran out, and having gone round to the front of the building, tried to rouse the inmates, but without effect.  The doors appeared to have been all locked on the inside, and Gobby, unable to effect an entrance by the doors, broke a window with his hand, and shouted into the house, but could neither see nor hear any one.  He then ran for assistance, and in a short time returned, but not until the house was nearly destroyed.  On a search being made among the ruins, the remains of a human body were seen in one corner of the tap-room, so disfigured however by the fire, that not even the sex of the sufferer could be determined.  The portion of the house in which the body was found was the last to be burned, and was scarcely on fire when Gobby gave the alarm.  A dog which had laid near the body, and which itself had evidently been burned to death, showed signs of blood within its veins, whereas the human body contained none; and this, coupled with the fact that a knife was found lying near the body, has been assumed as confirmatory of the suspicion that Crooks had first cut his throat and then set fire to the house.

   The jury returned the following verdict:- "That the person of deceased was found burned on  Friday the 1st day of March instant, but that they have not sufficient evidence before then to shew how death was occasioned; that they have every reason to believe that the deceased was James Crooks, but there is not sufficient evidence to prove his identity."



The third inquest was held on Saturday last, at the Plough, Richmond, on Philip Henry Falkner, who died on the preceding day of apoplexy.  This man was the victim of intemperance. 


COLONIST, 12 March 1861

SUDDEN DEATH. - An in quest was held at the Plough Inn, Richmond, on Saturday, 9th instant, by T. Connell, Esq., coroner, touching the death of Philip Henry Faulkner, aged about 29 years, for some time past a resident at the inn, and who died suddenly in his bed on Friday.  By the evidence of Dr. Laking, the cause of death was cerebral apoplexy, possibly conjoined with congestion of the lungs, venous hemorrhage from the nostrils and froth at the mouth showing most probably that some blood-vessel of the lungs had given way.  He considered that the intemperate habits of the deceased would be likely to produce such results. Verdict - 'Death b y apoplexy.'


COLONIST, 12 March 1861



We give below the whole of the evidence educed at the late Inquest, at Collingwood, touching the destruction by fire of the Golden Age public-house, Golden Gully, and the discovery amongst the ruins of a human body, supposed to be that of the late proprietor, James Crooks.


The names of the jury were:- W. E. Washbourne (foreman), Evan Prichard, Wm. Avery, W. M. Miller, W. H. Lash, G. W. Schwartz, C. E. [Spalding?], David Allan, W. Higgin, A. Carrie, W. Schafer, J. W. Miles, and W. Gibbs.

   Henry Widowson Turnell, sworn: Am a member of the College of Surgeons, and reside at Collingwood; have made an examination of the premises of one James Crooks this morning in company with the jury; observed the remains of a human skeleton, a mass of charcoal, the skull or cranium being the only part of the body remaining partially entire; am unable to give any decided opinion as to the cause of death in consequence of the great heat to which it must have been exposed.  On a careful examination of the remaining portion of the vital organs, I do not perceive any indication of coagula or liquid blood; an therefore disposed to think that these organs must have been deprived of the circulating fluid before its subjection to heat; my opinion in this respect is strengthened in consequence of having examined the heart of a dog evidently destroyed by fire about the same time; in the dog I had coagula both of arterial and venous blood.


Detailed evidence by the following: Richard Landley Gobby; Amelia Robinson @ Mrs. Crooks; Jeannette Bains; Ann Hockey; Martha Jorns (wife of James Jorns); William Burrows; Stephen Reardon (constable);  Alexander Thompson (storekeeper); Thomas Stewart; Lilly Gray M'Intosh (wife of John, shoemaker).

[See also 'To the Editor ...' re this inquest, from William Gibbs, a member of the jury; nelson Examiner, 13 March.]





An inquest was held at the Plough Inn, Richmond, on Friday last, upon the body of Philip Henry Falkner, who appears to have died a victim to intemperance.

   Frederick Augustus Laking, being sworn said: I am a surgeon.  I knew the deceased, whose age was, I think, about twenty-eight years.  I was called in yesterday to see him.  I came to this house and saw him lying in bed, he was lying on his back, and was dead.  He was warm, but was getting cold at the extremities.  I should suppose him to have been dead about half-an-hour.  There was venous hemorrhage from the nostrils, and froth at the mouth, evidently caused by congestion of the lungs, apparently through some blood-vessel having given way.  In my opinion the cause of death was cerebral apoplexy, probably conjoined with apoplexy of the lungs.  I knew the deceased, who was of very intemperate habits.  His course of life was likely to result in such a death. [Further evidence by Mary Elizabeth Cleaver and Henry Stroud Martin.]


COLONIST, 15 March 1861


(From the Herald.)

FATAL ACCIDENT. - On Tuesday the 12th Feb., Mr. W. F. Armstrong, of Mohaka, met his death under the following circumstances: - The deceased was on his way from Napier to Mohaka on the day referred to.  Mike, a Petane native, accompanied him to the Petane Bridge, (both on horseback), where Mile stopped, and whence Mr. Armstrong continued his journey along the beach to Petane, on his way home.  About two hours afterwards, Mile followed; and, when he came to where the river breaks through the beach in a flood, he saw a horse standing on the opposite side of the bason of fresh water, with a bridle and saddle on - the latter without stirrups.  He looked more minutely, and saw a white straw hat floating in the water.  He rode round, secured the horse, and sent to Mr. Torr's for assistance.  Mr. William Torr and some natives hastened in search, and (a native having dived for the body) it was found about two hours before sundown, 30 yards from the beach.  The cause of the accident is supposed to be that the deceased allowed his horse to drink at a spot where the water is deep, and the shingle very soft, and that the horse and rider were both precipitated into the water.  The body was taken to Mr. Macarthy's house in a canoe.  An inquest was held on the body.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 16 March 1861


We regret to have to announce another loss of life in connection with river crossing.  It appears that a young man named Webber, a stock driver, was crossing the Rakaia on Wednesday last, when, on attempting to ascend the bank, which was steep, the saddle girths broke, and he was precipitated violently into the stream, down which he was hurried rapidly.  The men at the ferry who witnessed the accident made every effort to regain the body but without success.  The horse came out safely, and the saddle was picked up about a mile down the stream.


On Monday last a little boy of the name of Dearsley was drowned in the Purarekanui.  In inquest was held on the following day, at which a verdict of "Accidental death" was returned.

   On Tuesday last an inquest was held on the body of a child named Thomas Wedge, son of respectable parents in Durham street.  As the child was playing on the Papanui Bridge, the Kaiapoi cart passed at a rapid rate, knocking him down, and the wheel passing over his head.  Death was instantaneous.  The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."  The coroner warned the driver that should such another accident occur while he continued to use a horse which was known as a "bolter," he would be liable to an action for manslaughter.




As a certain amount of suspicion still exists in the minds of some people with regard to the late Mr. Crooks's death, ... letter from W. Rodgerson, gaoler at Nelson, re James Crooks's behaviour in gaol and his taking opium, laudanum, &c.


COLONIST, 19 March 1861


FATAL ACCIDENT AT COROMANDEL. - An accident resulting in the death by drowning, of Robert Austin, occurred on the 3rd February.  From the evidence adduced before Mr. Preece, Coroner, it appears that the deceased and James Sweeny, a sawyer, had started from Kapunga, in a small boat to fish.  Neither was sober, and though Austin was requested to go in a boat belonging to a man named Parker he refused, and he and Sweeny remained in the punt to fish.  Austin lost his balance, fell overboard, but was pulled back into the boat by Sweeny.  He again persisted in standing up to fish, and the punt was capsized when Austin was drowned, Sweeny who clung to her bottom, being saved by Parker's boat.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 20 March 1861


On Monday afternoon an inquest was held at the Plough Inn, Riccarton, on the body of Edwin Webling, aged 27, who was drowned in the Rakaia last week, as recorded in our Saturday's issue.  It appeared that deceased had for some days been employed by Mr. Newton, of the accommodation house on the Rakaia, in piloting passengers and drays across the stream; and it was in returning from one of these expeditions that the fatal accident occurred.  The body was found about four miles down the stream, and at once forwarded by Mr. Newton to Riccarton, which was reached on Saturday evening.  The inquest was arranged for twelve o'clock, and the jury were duly assembled at the time appointed, but the coroner not appearing they dispersed, and a second jury had to be summoned on the coroner's arrival.  The evidence having been gone through, a verdict was recorded of "accidental death."

   The first jury which was summoned for the above drew up the following document: - ... want of a resident Coroner in Christchurch. ...  [See also 23 March, follow-up correction re jury.]


OTAGO WITNESS, 23 March 1861


An inquest was held yesterday at the Provincial hotel, before Henry Howorth, Esq., Coroner, and a respectable jury, on view of the body of Archibald Kenneth, the surgeon of the ship "Melbourne," who was found dead on the beach at high-water mark.  Elspeth M'Leod and Allan Galt deposed to finding the body of the deceased on Friday morning lying on the beach near Reynolds' Bonded Store.  The following is the evidence of the chief witness:-

   Charles Davie stated - I knew deceased as doctor of the ship "Melbourne;" saw him yesterday evening at Mr. Murray's lodgings.  About half-past six he came in and said he was going to stay there.  He appeared unwell and flushed.  Shortly after he came in, I was called away to speak to one of the passengers who was with him. The passenger said he had been in some lodging-house with the doctor, who appeared to be very unwell, and incapable of taking care of himself.  I shortly after joined the doctor, who staid and took tea.  I asked him then how he felt.  He talked very ramblingly, said he was unwell, and thought he was going to die.  He wished to lie down on the floor, and would not go to bed.  I asked him if there were anything he should take that would do him good.  He then begged me to get him some prussic acid, but I refused to get him anything of the sort.  I persuaded him with some difficulty to allow me to go and fetch a doctor.

   I went for Dr. Hulme, and told Mr. Johnston, who was in the room, to look to the doctor whilst I was away.  Dr. Hulme came about 8 o'clock, and prescribed for deceased, who then begged that he might have prussic acid.  Deceased said he had been in the habit of taking 4 or 5 drops a-day for some time.  Dr. Hulme recommended him to go to bed; he refused to do, saying that he required fresh air, and must go out.  I wanted Dr. Hulme to allow me to put him to bed; but he said it would not do to use anything like strong measures.  The deceased then put on his hat and cloak, and went to the door, and we all followed.  When we went to the door, he was not to be seen, and we looked about for him, but he was nowhere to be found.  Dr. Hulme considered that there was no danger of him, that he was only a little out of humor.  Once or twice during the voyage, when deceased happened to be unwell, witness observed him to be rather weak in the mind.

   By the Jury. - Deceased was of very temperate habits.  It was about 8 o'clock in the evening, and dark, when deceased left Murray's house.

   Several other witnesses were examined, whose evidence corroborated the testimony of the previous witness, but nothing was elicited to show how deceased came in to the water.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."


A fatal accident occurred at Oamaru about nine o'clock on Saturday evening last, by which a man named Frank Danby lost his life. The deceased went to the public-house of Edward Hudson about four o'clock in the afternoon, and left about nine in com pan y with a man who had been working for Mr. Jones on the other side of the creek.  When deceased left, he seemed perfectly capable of taking care of himself.  The man who accompanied him states that, as soon as they got outside, he remarked it was very dark, when the deceased said come on, I know the track, a d walked straight across the creek.   The man heard something fall into the water and stepped over the bank himself, but was dragged from where he hung by a man named Roach, who was first at the creek side after the alarm was given.  An inquest was to be held, but the particulars have not reached us.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 27 March 1861

Early on Tuesday morning Richard Barnard, employed at Mr. D. Inwood's mill, Christchurch, discovered a body in the river near the mill; and having given information to the police, removed it to the station house.  From papers found in a pocket book on the deceased, he was recognized as Samuel Clark, who had been missed from his lodgings with John King, on the Windmill Road, for about ten days.  Deceased was from Wakefield, Yorkshire, and came out in the Samarang about nine years since, being the fifth of that party who has met with an untimely end.  Clark for some years resided at nelson, and appears to be aged about thirty-eight.  The inquest was held yesterday evening.


COLONIST, 29 March 1861




We regret exceedingly having to record two accidents, both of which were attended with fatal results. 

   The first of these happen bed to a little boy of the age of two years, the son of Mr. Dearsley of Sunnyside Farm, Harewood Road, on Monday last the 11th March.  It seemed the little fellow on the day in question was playing by the River Styx, and accidentally fell into the river.  His cries attracted the attention of his mother.  She with maternal affection and self-abnegation, jumped into the water to his rescue, but unfortunately without effect, nearly losing her own life in the attempt.  An inquest was held on Tuesday, and a verdict of "Accidental death" was recorded.

   The second of these melancholy catastrophes occurred on Tuesday, when a young boy of the name of Thomas Wedge, son of Mr. Charles Wedge, of Durham-street, Christchurch, was playing on Colombo-street bridge, and the Kaiapoi cart, passing at the time, the driver was unable to check his horses, and the wheel passing over the boy's head, it was literally smashed to atoms, the brains bespattering even the vehicle itself.  A coroner's inquest was held at the Royal Oak before Dr. Donald, and a highly respectable jury.  They returned a verdict of "Accidental death."




FATAL ACCIDENT. - Yesterday afternoon, as Mr. James Mitchell was leading his horse and cart with a ton of sugar on it, through the narrow street between Mr. George Luxford's and Mr. T. V. Harvey's shop, a woman named Leighton, who was standing near Mr. Harvey's shop fell with her head under the wheel, which came in contact and crushed the temple, but did not pass over it.  Immediately Mitchell observed the woman fall, he backed the cart, and pulled Mrs. Leighton from under the wheel; but the poor woman had sustained such injuries, that she died almost instantly.  The body was removed to Barry's Ship Hotel, for the purpose of holding an Inquest on it.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 30 March 1861

The Samuel Clark inquest. ... The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," at the same time recommending to the consideration of the Provincial Government the fencing of the river from the Royal Hotel to Mr. Inwood's mill.


OTAGO WITNESS, 30 March 1861


INQUEST. - An inquest was held at the Taieri Ferry on Tuesday last, before Henry Howorth, Esq., Coroner, on the body of William John Mackenzie, who fell into the river on the Saturday previous, and was drowned.  It appeared from the evidence that three men and the deceased were in the punt on the day stated, and that the latter was turning the handle of the winch which works the punt, when the handle came off, there being no pin to keep it on, and thus precipitated the deceased into the river, striking his head against the platform in his fall.  Deceased was called to to swim towards the punt.  It was dark, and there was a strong current running which carried him away fast.  There were ropes in the punt, but the men were so excited that deceased was out of reach before they thought of them.  After a brief struggle in the water, the poor fellow sank before a boat, which was put off, reached him.  The river was then dragged, but without success until Sunday morning when the body was found.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidents death," to which they appended the following presentment:-

   "That the coroner be requested to represent to the Provincial Government the danger to which the men employed in working the punt at the Taieri Ferry are exposed, in consequence of the insufficient and unprotected state of the platform on which they have to stand, and to request that the Civil Engineer may be sent to inspect the punt, which the Jury consider in other respects very insecure, and to report thereon.  And also suggests the expediency of at once providing two buoys and a drag for use at the Taieri ferry in case of similar accidents."




It will be remembered by our readers that, on the 26th December last, a drunken broil occurred among the aboriginal natives at Motueka, in which one Manahi te Poka received such serious injury on the head and right hip that his life w as despaired of.  The natives having partaken of large quantities of beer, Manahi te Poka and Arapata te Waretuturu quarrelled about its division; they left the whare together, and then Arapata struck Manahi upon the head with a stick, and felled him to the ground, afterwards kicking him until assistance arrived.  Manahi te Poka has from that time lingered in a very weak state until death put an end to his sufferings.  On the 28th of March, Mr. Connell held an inquest upon the body of Manahi te Poka, and evidence of the above facts having been given, and a statement of the deceased's, made a few weeks since before the magistrates, having been put in, the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter against Arapata te Waretuturu, adding that great blame attached to the friends of deceased for the delay which occurred before surgical aid was called in.  Arapata has been apprehended on a coroner's warrant, and is now on his way to Nelson gaol.




CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held at the Coach & Horses, Manner's street, on Saturday, the 30th ult., before M. Kebbell, Esq., M.D. Coroner, and a respectable jury, on view of the body of Sarah Leighton, whose unfortunate death we recorded in our last issue.  The evidence adduced confirmed the statements made by us, and the jury returned a verdict of "accidental death, without the slightest blame attaching to the driver."





FATAL ACCIDENT. - On Wednesday, the 27th ult., a fatal accident took place at Okain Bay, by which two men lost their lives under the following circumstances:-

   A boat left Lyttelton in the middle of the day for the bay, manned by a crew of five hands - J. Roberts, W. Miller, J. Cochrane, and two lads, Henry Genet and Charles Rawnsley.  They reached the bar of the Okain Bay river without any difficulty about dusk, when a heavy fog set in from the north-east, and although the tide was ebbing, they resolved to try the bar.  The dense fog prevented them from realizing the full extent of their danger until they found themselves among the breakers.  The boat was almost immediately capsized, when Roberts, Cochrane, and Rawnsley struck out for the rocks, followed by Henry Genet, who, however, almost immediately ceased his efforts and sank, apparently in despair, though he was known to be a good swimmer.  The fifth man, Miller, clung to the boat, being unable to swim, and his companions were compelled to witness the boat drifting out to sea bottom upwards with the strong ebb tide, without being able to render him any assistance.  They shouted to him to hold on until they could procure assistance.  Some time elapsed before they could reach the nearest house, when some met immediately set off for Nor'-West Bay, a bight of Okain Bay, and manned a boat in search of the unfortunate man.  Another crew manned a second boat as speedily as possible, but it was between two and three hours after the accident occurred before they could get fairly out to sea, owing to the shallowness of the water in the river which barely allowed of the floating of the boat down to the bar. 

   Meanwhile a strong breeze from the southward set in, which, together with the tide, must have carried the boast out to sea.  The two boats in search cruised round the bay, and went out about three miles to sea, but could see no traces of the boat nor of the unfortunate sufferer.  They returned about two o'clock in the morning saturated with rain and spray from their hopeless search.  The beach was watched all night, but the body of the poor lad, Henry Genet, was not recovered until nine o'clock on the following morning. 

   The corpse was deposited in the School building, and a Magistrate immediately sent for from Akaroa.  He, however, did not arrive until Saturday morning, when the inquest was held.  The weather did not permit of any attempt to remove the body until Sunday evening, when one of the small craft started and arrived in Lyttelton early on Monday morning.  Up to this time no tidings have reached us as to the fate of the unfortunate man who was drifted out to sea, and it is very much to be feared that he will never be heard of again.  We understand that this man, William Miller, has no relation s in this settlement, where he has been about three years.  Anybody possessing any information with regard to his birthplace or relatives is requested to communicate with the Editor of the 'LYTTELTON TIMES' or the Rev. H. Torlesse, Okain Bay.



Leading article on the Motueka and Collingwood inquests.


COLONIST, 5 April 1861


AN inquest was held on the 28th ultimo, at Motueka on the body of Manahi te Poka, an aboriginal native, who came by his death through as drunken broil among the natives at that place, on the 26th day of December last, when he received such injuries at the time that his life was despaired of.  He lingered until the 25th ult., when death put a period to his sufferings.

   The body was identified by Mr. H. W. Harris.

   J. F. Wilson, sworn: I am a surgeon residing in Motueka; knew deceased and attended him during his illness; went first to him on the 5th January last, and regularly visited him till his death; was called on the above date by a native to go and see Manahi; was informed that he was suffering from a severe beating which he had received from another native; the name of the native who had beaten him was mentioned at that time; knew the native whose name was mentioned; he was not then present; examined deceased head about the  temporal bone and found a bruise there; suppuration had taken place on the scalp; there was a great discharge of matter from the ear; laid open the scalp and found it separated from the bone by inflammation; the skin was not broken down before I laid it open; treated him for it and inflammation subsided, and the flesh began to collapse, so that I could feel the state of the bone; it appeared to be slightly fractured in a star; it was not depressed; there was great excitement in his appearance and manner, with a quick low pulse and excited breathing, with great prostration, debility and weakness; these symptoms continued until his death, which took place on the 25th instant at 10 a.m.

   There was also as serious injury in lower part of right hip; he was incapable of standing without help; when I first saw him I enquired how long since it had taken place, and was informed about a fortnight; asked what caused the injury; he replied that a native named Arapata had struck him with his fist, and also kicked him when he was down; Arapata was not then present; from my  first examination I formed a bad opinion of the case; deceased said repeatedly and positively that it was with the fist he was struck; he made no complaint against Arapata; he believed they were both drunk.  Such an injury might have been inflicted with a blow from the fist, but it was very unlikely; have frequently since told deceased and his people that I did not think he would recover; was present at the examination before Mr. J. MacKay, jun., and Mr. Greenwood; don't remember telling him then, or before that he would die from his wounds. 

   The examination took place on the 19th February, heard at the examination, that he had received the violence from a heavy stick; on my next visit the same day or the next day, I asked him why he had told me an untruth about it; he replied that he was not desirous of bringing a serious charge against Arapata; he thought they were both drunk; he then said it was true that Arapata had struck him with a stick; this was previous to the examination; never afterwards relieved him from the apprehension of his death; I believe that he continued to consider himself a dying man; in my opinion the cause of death was the injuries he received to his head and body as above specified; do not believe any surgical attention could have saved him; his legs were paralyzed from the effects of the injuries in  the spine; his general appearance showed that the brain was seriously affected, the pupil of the right eye was affected by it.

   I advised his removal to the nelson Hospital but he and his people did not seem to wish it.  His intellect was not affected until very near his death.  When I was informed that he had been struck with a stick, told him I thought it was right that an investigation should take place before the Magistrates; told Hakopa, the chief and the people that I thought it necessary; told Te Rei also, the chief of Arapata's pa, the same thing; they took no notice of it. It is my opinion that it is more probable that the injuries were received by a blow from a stick than from a fist.  Deceased had every attention during his illness, also a sufficient supply of necessaries and medical comforts, furnished by the Commissioners of Native Reserves.

   Other evidence by J. D. Greenwood, surgeon; Elizabeth Inwood, wife of William, laborer; Te Rei Nganihi, Chief; Te Peina, 'cultivator of the soil'; James Debloise, farmer; 


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 6 April 1861



Sir, - I hasten to give a few particulars of a melancholy occurrence which has taken place here in the course of the past week.  A man who came from Ahuriri last week by the Henry, and described himself as Dr. Knowles King, of Ahuriri, made his appearance at the house of one of the settlers at this place on Friday the 15th March, about 7 o'clock in the evening, asking for a night's lodging.  After a very disturbed night he left the house early in the morning, and spent the greater part of the following day at a Maori kadinga close by; and, according to the description given of him by the natives, he appears to have acted as though he were more or less insane.  They missed him that evening, and nobody seems to have heard or seen anything more of him till this morning, when his body was found in the river, a short distance from the kadinga where he spent last Saturday, and where, as far as we could make out, he was last seen alive.  There being no coroner in the district, we get together as many of the English residents in the neighbourhood as the circumstances would admit of, and held an enquiry, in the course of which the above particulars were elicited.  The poor man seems to have received a severe bruise on the forehead and upper part of his face before death, and his jaw is fractured; but the medical man who examined the body states as his opinion that death was caused by drowning.  There is no evidence to show how the bruises were received, but the bank of the river where he was found is very high and almost perpendicular, and a fall from a height of 20 feet or more may account for many bruises and broken bones.  He had shoes or boots on when last seen alive, but when the corpse was found the feet were naked. - I remain, &c., W. L. WILLIAMS, Turanga, Poverty Bay.  [See also DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 15 May.]




SUICIDE FROM DRINKING. - On the 15th instant, an inquest was held at the "Windsor Castle," on view of the body of Jerome Murphy, who committed suicide by discharging three shots from a revolver pistol into his body, on the night previous, while labouring under an attack of delirium tremens, brought on by the use of intoxicating liquors.  Deceased had only been a fortnight in the colony, having arrived by the ship Morning Light, during which period he had been in a constant state of excitement from drinking, until at length reason was overpowered and the unhappy man was driven by the demon of alcohol to perpetrate the fatal act.  The details are too harrowing to be entered into fully.  A post-mortem examination was made by Dr. Goldsboro', and the verdict returned by the jury was substantially correspondent with what is above stated. - New Zealander, March 16.


OTAGO WITNESS, 20 April 1861

Joseph Johnstone, the seaman who was shot in a house in Stafford-street about three weeks since died of his wounds on Tuesday last, at the Dunedin Hospital.  An inquest was held on Thursday, but was adjourned until Thursday next to allow of the attendance of a principal witness, who resides in the country.



CORONER'S INQUEST UPON THE LATE MR. BLAISE BEACH.  - On Thursday last an inquest was held by T. Connell, Esq., upon the body of Mr. Blaise Beach, landlord of the Turf Hotel, Stoke, who had died very suddenly at his residence on the preceding morning.  A jury having been sworn in, evidence was taken, which showed that the deceased had visited Nelson on Tuesday last for the purpose of obtaining his license, and had returned home at about half-past five o'clock, after having partaken of sundry glasses, but not in sufficient quantity to produce intoxication.  Some time after he had retired to bed deceased was seized with vomiting and great pain in the bowels, and his wife got him some tea, but seeing that he continued to get worse, she sent to Richmond for Dr. Laking, who arrived at about eight o'clock in the morning, and on seeing his patient, pronounced him to be dangerously ill.  Hot flannels and fomentations were then applied, but without success, and Mr. Beach died at about a quarter to eleven o'clock.  The jury returned a verdict of "Died from organic disease of the heart."




FOUND DROWNED. - About six o'clock this morning, the body of Joseph Cook, late master of the schooner Swift was observed b y two men named Braken and Hill, on the rocks in the small Bay where the boilers were erected, on the road to Oriental Bay.  They immediately gave information to the Police, and the body was conveyed to the Nag's Head Inn, for the purpose of holding an Inquest on it.  The body was much disfigured, and the clothes torn, having apparently been washed against the rocks during the late N.W. gale.  Deceased had come to Wellington for the purpose of obtaining some empty casks and other articles to raise the Swift which now lies sunk in the Warahama river, and had chartered the Sarah to convey them to that place.  He was last seen on Tuesday morning, the 16th inst., going off in a small boat to the Sarah. When the men went to work, they found a boat made fast astern of the Sarah, with some articles supposed to have been taken there by Cook; but he was not on board, or any where to be seen.  The men thinking that he had gone ashore, went on with their work; but not making his appearance during the day, serious apprehensions were entertained for his safety.  A search was then made, and the harbor dragged for some time, but the body was not found, until it was discovered on the rocks this morning.


OTAGO WITNESS, 27 April 1861

INQUEST. - The adjourned inquest on the body of Joseph Johnstone, who was shot about four weeks since in a house in Stafford-street, was held on Thursday, when the Jury, after having heard all the evidence, returned a verdict of "wilful murder" against Peter Allen, who had been previously committed for trial by the Resident Magistrate upon the minor charge.


COLONIST, 7 May 1861



On the 9th instant, at Woodville, an inquest was held on view of the body of Sophia Sustins, aged 33 years, (wife of Mr. George Sustins, master mariner of this port); who, while engaged in conversation with Bishop Patterson on the preceding day, was observed by him to turn ghastly pale, as if she had been about to faint; the Bishop hastened to her relief, but the vital spark had fled.

   On a post mortem examination by Mr. S. J. Stratford, great congestion of both lungs was found, with sero-sanguineous effusion into the chest, but no rupture of the heart or lesion of the brain to account for so instantaneous a catastrophe.  The verdict returned was "death from natural causes."  Deceased had for some time been the subject of grief.  She leaves several children to deplore their loss.




An inquest was held on Thursday last, the 3rd inst., at Bruce's Hotel, Akaroa, before John Watson, Esq., on the body of Isaac Deal who had been found that morning dead in the bed of Bruce's Creek.  From the evidence adduced it appeared that the unfortunate deceased had gone on the previous evening to the house of one of the witnesses named Sayer, for the purpose of getting a gun.  The night was very dark, and Sayer wished the deceased to wait and take a lanthorn, but he declined to do so.  Nothing more was seen of the deceased till the morning of the inquest, when one of the witnesses named Libeau discovered the body of a man in the creek underneath a high precipitous bank; he immediately raised an alarm, when Mr. Farr and Mr. Cullen came down and removed the body, which was stiff and cold and apparently had been dead for some hours.  The gun was firmly held in the right hand.

   Dr. Watkins in his evidence stated that he had examined the body, and found two cuts over each eyelid, one of which had laid open but had not injured the bone; there were no bones broken; he considered death was caused by concision of the brain.

   The place where the body was found immediately adjoins the road; and there is no doubt the deceased walked over the bank of the creek, which at that place is 16 or 17 feet in depth, and was killed upon the spot; all the witnesses concurred that any person might easily make the same mistake, and that the place was extremely dangerous.  The jury returned a verdict 'found dead,' and desired the coroner to draw the attention of the government to the dangerous state of the banks of the creek where the body was found.  The fatal accident has caused a general gloom over Akaroa, as the deceased was highly respected as a sober, steady, and industrious man.  He has left a widow but no family.




CORONER'S INQUEST. - An Inquest was held at Abbott's Featherston Hotel, on Thursday last, before H. S. Wardell, Esq., acting Coroner, and a respectable jury, on view of the body of Emma Carroll, wife of John Carroll, who came to her death under the following painful circumstances.

   From the evidence it appeared that the [diseased] deceased, together with her husband and five children, were proceeding in Mr. Lucena's cart to Abbott's, when, on crossing a stream, the water of which was unusually high in consequence of the heavy rains, the cart was turned on its side.  The cart was covered with a tarpauling, and Carroll managed to get out, by cutting away the covering.  The deceased handed four children to her husband, who conveyed them to the bank; and on returning for the fifth time, and whilst speaking to his wife, the cart completely turned over, confining the deceased and one child below it.  Carroll succeeded in partially removing the tail board, and by grouping in the cart under the water, after removing some bundles and a quantity of straw, drew from under it the eldest boy; but could not breach the deceased, who  when afterwards found, was covered with the tarpaulin.  After Carroll had given up all hopes of recovering deceased alive, Mr. Lucena arrived, when some few minutes were spent in endeavouring to save the horse; the attempt, however, was unsuccessful.  They then left for assistance, and the body was recovered in about an hour afterwards, as above described.  The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death by drowning."[Editorial note on the Coroner's Act.]

FOUND DROWNED. - This morning, about 7 o'clock, the body of a man was observed floating in the harbour off Swinbourne's wharf.  The boats of the Storm Bird being hoisted up, Capt. Malcolm hailed a waterman's boat, to see what the object was.  On proceeding to the spot, it was found to be the body of a seaman named Fraser, belonging to the Storm Bird, who had been missing since the evening of the 7th inst.  The body was immediately conveyed on shore, and taken to the Coach and Horses Inn, where an inquest will be held on it at 2 p.m., this day.  The deceased was 28 years of age, and a native of Shetland.



THE LATE LAMENTABLE ACCIDENT AT THE TAIERI RIVER. - An inquest was held on the 2nd instant, before H. Howorth, Esq., coroner, on the body of Agnes Henderson, who was drowned at the entrance of the Taieri river on the previous Monday, as reported last week.  Peter Campbell, mate of the schooner Pioneer, stated that on the day mentioned Captain Simpson proceeded, with witness, a man named Ellis, and deceased, in a boat outside the bar, for the purpose of sounding the channel.  It was quite calm at the time.  They had made the soundings, and were returning, when, as they were coming in over the bar, a heavy sea struck the boat and half filled her.  Deceased stood up, and witness got up to induce her to resume her seat, when another sea struck the boat and filled her.  Simpson and Ellis jumped overboard, but deceased clung to witness, and their weight capsized the boat.  Ellis swam ashore, but Captain Simpson remained close to the boat.  Witness and deceased sank together, and on rising to the surface he was much exhausted, and clung to the boat, but deceased relaxed her hold of him, and the body floated away apparently lifeless.  Captain Simpson told witness to remain on one side of the boat, which had again righted, and he would keep on the other side and endeavour to paddle to the shore.  Capt. Simpson had succeeded in getting the body of the deceased into the boat, which was full of water.  He said if the body was out of the boat it would float with both of them, but he did not like to abandon it, as he hoped their situation would be seen from the Oberon , and they would get assistance from her.  Ellis ran along the beach towards where the Oberon was lying, to get some help.  Witness then at Simpson's request, got into the boat, and the latter attempted to swim ashore.  After proceeding for about 20 yards, however, witness saw him turn back towards the boat, but soon after this he sank.  He rose once to the surface, but after taking a few strokes he again sank, and witness saw him no more.   After witness had been on the boat about three hours, the Oberon came out, and sent a boat, which took him and the body of the deceased on board, and brought them on to Dunedin.  By this time it was quite dark, and it was impossible to make any search for the body of Captain Simpson.  The above evidence having been corroborated by the captain and mate of the Oberon, so far as regards the close of the catastrophe, the jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."

   The deceased had, it appears, been a servant with Mr. Perkins, of South Molyneux, and had taken her passage to Dunedin in the Pioneer.  The body of Captain Simpson has not yet been recovered.


COLONIST, 28 May 1861


FATAL ACCIDENT. - We regret to have to announce the untimely death of Mr. John Holmes, of this town, who was engaged in the lightering service with Messrs. Cheyne & Co.  Deceased was aiding in getting the boat out of the Puni Creek, about half-past three on Thursday morning, when he fell forward from the boat, upon his head, - it is supposed through his oar slipping.  He was promptly attended to by Drs. Grigor and M'Clure, but though he recovered his sensibility, he died early yesterday morning, within twenty-four hours after the occurrence of the accident, of fracture of the spine.  The deceased was an intelligent and steady man, and very generally respected.




INQUEST. - The body of Patrick Maher, the soldier whose death by drowning was reported in our last, was found on Thursday morning last on one of the mud flats near the mouth of the Meanee rivcr.  Yesterday, at 10 a.m., an inquest as to the cause of death was held at the Victoria Hotel before Dr. Hitchings, coroner, and a jury.  The body was recognised b y three soldiers of the 14th, with one of whom deceased had been drinking.  Miss Burton testified to having seen the deceased struggling in the water and to having ran for assistance, but without avail. Mr. E. Lyon, of the Victoria Hotel, stated that the deceased drank very little at his house, but had been drunk nearly the whole of that and the previous day, keeping up the Queen's birth-day.  The jury (of whom Mr. Munn was foreman) returned a verdict of "accidentally drowned," and added the following rider:-

   "The jury think it important that Hyderabad road should be made, to prevent the re-occurrence of similar accidents."



Marriage of Thomas Hitchings, coroner.


 OTAGO WITNESS, 15 June 1861


An inquest was held before Henry Howorth, Esq., Coroner, at Mr. Gibson's house, Silver Stream, on Monday last, on the body of a man found in the Silver Stream, North Taieri, supposed to be John M'Farlane, a carpenter.

    Thomas Castaloe deposed to finding the body in the stream while searching for a chest which had been lost in the late flood.

   Alexander Pullar, a stonemason, residing in Dunedin, said he had come from Dunedin to identify the body, and believed it to be that of John M'Farlane, a carpenter, who had been staying at Waikouaiti.  The witness had been told by Archibald M'Allum, the mate of the deceased, that the latter had left Waikouaiti on the 27th of May for Dunedin, intending to return by the next steamer.  Not having returned, M'Allum had become alarmed for his safety, and came to Dunedin in search of deceased.  M'Allum had started on Sunday with a party of men to go over the Snowy Mountains in search of M'Farlane.  The witness had been told by M'Allum that M'Farlane had about 20 Pounds in money on him, and a new watch belonging to M'Allum.  On searching the body there was found on it 21 Pounds 2s. 6d. and also a new silver watch and some trifling articles.  The wiriness had purchased a watch from Mr. Reid, in Dunedin, a few weeks since for M'Allum, and believed that on deceased to be the same.

   James Lowe, of Dunedin, believed the deceased to be John M'Farlane.

   William Gibson deposed to the finding of the body on Castoloe's information.  The deceased was lying on his back, just beneath the water, he had no coat or cap on, and no boot or stocking on one foot.

   The jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."




The Coroner held an inquest at the Redan Hotel, Onehunga, on Friday last, on the body of James Goodwin, a pensioner, who health had latterly been delicate.  After hearing evidence, the jury returned the verdict of "Died by the visitation of God."

   An inquest was held by the Coroner at Henderson's mill on Tuesday, on the body of Samuel Gray, late bushman in Mr. Tyson's employment, who had been missing for nearly a month.  Deceased left the bush for Auckland on May 23, and was supposed to have fallen into the creek, which was much swollen by the rain at the time.  Verdict - "Found drowned in Henderson's creek."




On Sunday, the 16th instant, James Noonan, the keeper of an accommodation house at Cabbage Tree Creek, Burke's Pass, was drowned while crossing the Te Mawai River, in the Timaru district.  An inquest was held by Dr. Rayner, coroner of the district, and a verdict of Accidental Death retuned.  We hear that all the smaller rivers are much swollen by the late heavy rains.




AN Inquest was held on Wednesday last, at Mr. Lowry's, Nag's Head Inn, before Mark Kebbell, Esq., Coroner, and a highly intelligent jury, on the body of Sarah Eves.

   The examination of the witnesses was a very protracted one.  The mother, father, and brother if the deceased being examined at great length, as well as Mr. Thomas Jackson, a friend of the family.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased who had been suffering from a bad knee for the last month, and under medical treatment during that period, was of a very nervous and irritable temper.  On Saturday, the 22nd of June, when Mr. Jackson went down to enquire after her health, she was rather complaining and asked Mr. Jackson if he came down in the evening, to bring her a little porter as she thought it would do her good.  Mr. Jackson accordingly went down in the evening with the bottle of porter, which he gave to the father who proceeded to mull a portion of it, which Mr. Jackson took in and gave to her.  She did not drink any of it, but returned it to him saying, "she could not take it.  Mr. Jackson partook of some of it, and said "why? It's stunning;" she merely observed in reply, "Why did you not come down sooner," when she was seized with violent convulsions, which continued from that time, 9 o'clock in the evening, until half-past twelve the following day, when death put an end to her sufferings.  Three medical men who had made as post mortem examination of the body, unhesitatingly pronounced, that their opinion was that deceased had died of epilepsy, and that there was not the slightest trace of poison.

   The jury immediately returned a verdict, "That the jury were unanimously of opinion that the deceased had died of epilepsy."




An awfully sudden death took place yesterday, at about two o'clock.  Mr. Lewis James, the much respected proprietor of the Q. C. E. luncheon rooms in Shortland Crescent, whilst sitting in the bar of that establishment, suddenly fell back and expired.  Medical assistance was soon procured, but death appears to have been almost instantaneous.  The deceased had been conversing a few moments previously.  It is supposed that death occurred from some affection of the heart.




An inquest was held on Monday last, at the residence of Mr. Augarde, of Quail Valley, on the body of his son Henry A. E. Augarde, who was drowned in attempting to cross the Motueka river on the preceding Thursday.  In the absence of T. Connell, Esq., R. J. Creasey, Esq., J.P., acted as coroner.

   Ivanhoe Augarde, deposed as follows:- I am brother to the deceased Henry Augarde, who had just left Mr. Elliott's employ as a shepherd; on Thursday morning, 4th instant, I left the Top House in company with the deceased on my way home; he was then in good health.  We met a man who told us that the Motueka was so high that Mrs. Hooker, who is wife of the landlord of the Accommodation House near the river, refused to send a horse across to him.  We rode on till be came to the river and thought we could get across a ford a little higher up.  I rode in first and got across all right; but my horse was swimming.  I had some trouble to land on this side, and when I did my horse was dead beat.  I looked a round and saw my brother swimming in the river, he having fallen off his horse.  I then ran down to a point of land where I thought he would pass.  When I got there I ran into the water to save him, but could see nothing of him, and had to swim myself from the creek of backwater.  I did not see the horse plunge; he was only then saddle-flap deep.  I am pretty well acquainted with the rivers in this province, and with the Motueka river in particular; they are, when flooded, exceedingly rapid, so much so, that the bruises on deceased's head and body must have been caused by his being carried with great violence against the large boulder stones and rocks with which the river abounds.  I am quite sure that his death was accidental; he was in his 21st year.  The accident happened at about half-past two, p.m.

   After I tried to get my brother out I rode down the river side and searched for him for some hours without success.  I then rode to tell my father, after I had called at Hooker's.  My brother's horse was carried about half-a-mile down the river before he came out.  If there had been a flagstaff with a red flag up as a signal that the river was too high to cross, we should not have attempted it.  The next day I went with my father, Thomas Cole, and others, to starch for the body; we found it about dusk, having been washed about three miles from where he was drowned.  His knee riding boots were washed off.

   Henry J. L. Augarde deposed: I am a farmer living in Quail Valley.  Deceased was my son.  On Thursday night, the 4th instant, my son Ivanhoe came home and told me his brother Henry was drowned in endeavouring to cross the Motueka river.  Next morning I started with Thomas Cole and others to search for the body; five of us searched for a long time; we found it about three miles from Hooker's on the edge of a small island, which the river must have covered at the flood, an d falling left him there.  I am quite sure his death was accidental.  I do not think the horse he rode was strong enough to carry him.  His head was much bruised and cut by having been dashed about by the current.  He was a good swimmer, but the stream must have been so strong as to disable him at once.

   The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

[Also a letter from the Coroner about the need for flag signals on the rivers.]




On Tuesday night considerable excitement prevailed in Christchurch, in searching for a child about four years old, daughter of Mr. R. Bowbyas, tailor, Christchurch, who as evening approached had not returned home.  The town crier announced the circumstance, and many a lanthorn might for some hours be seen flickering about, the bearer hoping to be able to impart good news to the distressed parents. On the following morning the body was found about fifty yards below Inwood's mill.  On Thursday afternoon an inquest was held by Dr. Donald, coroner for this district, at Mann's A 1, to enquire into the causes and circumstances attending the death of the child.  After a somewhat lengthy and careful investigation, the jury recorded a verdict of accidental death.


PRESS, 13 July 1861


On Thursday last, an inquest was held at Mann's Hotel, upon the body of a child, the daughter of Mrs. Boobyer of Colombo-street, found drowned in the Avon, just below Inwood's Mill, on Wednesday last.  The principal witness was a little boy who had been playing with deceased at the time, but who was too young to give the alarm, and was unable to give any intelligible account of the accident to the jury.  The jury returned a verdict of Accidentally Drowned.


COLONIST, 19 July 1861

INQUEST. - An inquest was held, on Tuesday last, on the body of Mr. Charles Edwards, of Weka-street in the Wood, Nelson, who died suddenly on the Saturday night previous.  The jury returned the following as the cause of death - "Apoplexy of the brain caused by an epileptic fit." The deceased was the eldest son of Mr. George Edwards, of Grove-street, an old and respected settler.

FATAL ACCIDENT. - Another inquest was held at the Red Horse Inn, Richmond, on Wednesday last, before T. Connell, Esq., coroner, on the body of Philip Handy, who came by his death from injuries received while at work at Mr. W. Fowler's.  It appears from the evidence that the deceased, in company with Benjamin Lines, was at work with a thrashing machine belonging to Mr. Gapper, which was driven by steam.  Deceased was on the platform of then machine engaged in cutting the bands of corn previously to putting it in the machine, Mr. S. E. Gapper was feeding.  Deceased was seen to kick some loose corn in the machine, and in doing so he fell in.  Mr. Gapper did not see him fall in, but heard a crash.  The driving belt flew off and the machine instantly stopped.  W. Castle and another person immediately drew out the deceased; his left foot was crushed off and also a portion of the leg.  A messenger was immediately despatched for medical aid, and Dr. Laking was there a few minutes after the accident.  The leg was amputated by Drs. Laking and Oldham, but previous to the operation the deceased was sinking from the shock to the system, and it was thought he would have died under the operation; he was pulseless for nearly an hour after, but slightly rallied.  He died on Monday evening last.  Verdict, 'Accidental death.'



An inquest was held on Tuesday last, on the body of the late Charles Edwards, who died suddenly on the night of Saturday, the 13th instant, from the result of an epileptic fit.  Mr. Henry Josey Goodman was selected as foreman.

   George Edwards, being sworn, said: deceased was my son, and was thirty years of age.  He died a little before twelve o'clock, on Saturday last.  He had been complaining of violent pain about the kidneys for three days previously.  Between nine and ten o'clock, on Saturday night, deceased's wife called me up, saying, he was very violent, and that his mind was wandering; that he had run out across the paddock, but had subsequently gone to bed.  I went to his house and saw him in bed.  He was quiet, but said that people were about the place.  He promised to remain very quiet, and I went home, leaving his brother William with his wife.  I did not then think he was in any danger.  He had had some composing medicine about seven o'clock, but had subsequently become violent, as I have before mentioned.  He had not, to my knowledge, been drinking for three fays previously.  He had some beer on Saturday, but was quite sober.

   Theodore Bernhard Thebing, being sworn, said: I am a physician and surgeon.  I knew deceased.  I attended him professionally for three or four days preceding his death.  He complained of pain in his back, and suffered from a nervous shaking of his limbs.  I gave him a simple aperient draught, and did not see him again alive.  On Saturday evening his father called on me, and said he was relieved of the pain in his back, but that his mind was wandering.  From the symptoms then mentioned to me I thought he was suffering from delirium tremens.  I gave his father a composing draught for him.  I saw him on the Sunday after his death, examined his body externally, and saw no mark of violence.  Noticed a discharge of froth from his mouth and nostrils.  I am able to say distinctly that I think deceased died from an epileptic fit provoking apoplexy on the brain.  Such a form of death frequently ensues on delirium tremens, which is only caused by excessive drinking.

   William Edwards, being sworn, said: I am brother of the deceased.  I attended him on Saturday night last from about ten o'clock until his death.  When I first went I put the key in the door to open it, and deceased called out, as if to some person outside, not to kill him.  He recognised my voice, and opened the door.  He said he was glad I had come, and at my persuasion went to bed.  He lay quietly, with the exception that now and then he called out, "Don't let them in at the doors."  He appeared to be afraid that some one was coming to kill him.  At his request his wife and I left the room, as he thought he could sleep if the lights were taken away.  At about twenty minutes to twelve o'clock we heard a movement in his room, and thought he was getting out of bed.  The noise then ceased, and in about a minute took the candle and said I would see what was the matter, as he then lay so very still.  His wife, however, took the light, and went instead of me.  When she got to the door of his room she called out, "Whatever is the matter with Charles? Come quick, Will."  I hurried in, and deceased was lying with his head towards the end of the pillow, his arm out of bed and stiff, and pointed straight out; one leg was cramped up.  He was then dead.  I remained in the house with his wife until two o'clock, and then went to my father with the news.

   The jury returned a verdict "That Charles Edwards died on the 13th of July, from apoplexy of the brain, caused by an epileptic fit.


   An inquest was held on Wednesday last, at the Red Horse, Richmond, on the body of the late Philip Handy, the accident to whim, by falling into the drum of a thrashing-machine, was noticed in our paper of the 12th July.  Mr. William Harkness was selected as foreman.

    Benjamin Lines, being sworn, said: On Wednesday, the 10th July, I was at work at Mr. William Fowler's, in company with Philip Handy, now deceased.  We were thrashing corn with a thrashing-machine, driven by steam.  Deceased was on the platform, and was engaged in cutting the bands of corn previous to putting it into the machine.  Mr. Gapper was feeding the machine.  I saw deceased kicking loose corn into the machine.  I did not see him fall into the drum.  I heard a crash, and the driving-belt flew off, which instantly stopped the machine.  I then saw that deceased had been drawn into it.  Mr. Castle went in to the machine, and he and another drew the deceased out.  His left foot was crushed off, and a portion of his leg was crushed.  I drew his trousers tightly round the stump, and held it with my hand to stop the flow of blood.  A messenger was sent at once for a doctor, who arrived in a very few minutes after the accident.

   Samuel Edward Gapper, being sworn, said: I am proprietor of the thrashing machine.  On the 10th of the present month I was at work at Mr. Fowler's, thrashing corn.  Deceased was on the machine, near me.  We had stopped to take up tail corn, which was thrown on the platform, to be passed through the machine a second time.  When the machine was again started, deceased stood up to push the corn on to the drum.  He pushed it with his foot.  He fell on to my right shoulder at the second time of his pushing forward his foot.  At the time he touched my shoulder the drum caught him.  It was blowing very hard at the time.  Some hours after the accident deceased told me in the presence of the last witness that he thought a blast of wind had caused him to lose his balance.  I tried to lift deceased out, but could not.  I then shouted to the men around "Life or death for a doctor."  Mr. O'Dwyer went, and I jumped on a horse and rode after him.  Dr. Laking was at home.  I took his box of instruments, and returned to where deceased was.

   Frederick Augustus Laking, being sworn, said: I am a surgeon, residing at Richmond.  On Wednesday last I was fetched by Mr. O'Dwyer to attend deceased.  When I saw deceased he was lying on the platform of the machine.  I had him removed into the house.  I feared that amputation would be necessary, the left foot, part of the leg, and the knee joint having been mutilated.  I sent for further surgical assistance. There was not much hemorrhage, but I applied a tourniquet on the limb.

   Dr. Oldham arrived in an hour-and-a-quarter, and we at once proceeded to the operation of amputation above the knee.  Deceased was, previously to this, sinking from the shock to his system, and I feared he would die under the operation.  For an hour after he remained nearly pulseless, but slightly rallied.  His pulse always indicated extreme debility. I had within the last two months attended deceased for diphtheria and low fever, and that had greatly weakened his system.  Deceased died at about eleven minutes past eight o'clock, on Monday evening the 15th instant.

   The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.  The jury recommended that thrashing machines should be furnished with a rail, to protect persons working on them from similar accidents.


An inquest was held by R. J. Creasy, Esq., J.P., in the absence of the Coroner, at Wakefield, on Tuesday, the 16th instant, to inquire in to the death of George Woods, a labourer, found dead on the ridges between Fox-hill and Motueka-valley.

   In consequence of the non-attendance of some persons summoned on the jury, those who did attend punctually were detained, whilst other jurymen had to be found.  Two absent jurors were fined 10s. each.

   Thomas Fawcett, being sworn, said: I keep an accommodation house in Motueka-valley.  I have seen the body here lying dead, and identify it as that of George Woods, a labourer, lately in my employ; he was thrashing for me up to Thursday last, and left me on Friday, between ten and eleven, a.m., on his way to Nelson, in good health.  I went across the Motueka river with him.  He was between thirty and forty years of age.  He told me he was an Irishman.  He was always rather a little deranged.  I think he must have fallen down in a fit.  He was sober when he left my place.

   Dieterich Wilkens, being sworn,  said: I am a gold-digger, and have no fixed place of residence.  I came from the Wangapeka plain, last Saturday morning.  On the top of the ridge out of Norris's gully, I found deceased lying across the road, with his face in the mud.  The weather was very wet.  I sang out and he made no answer; I then saw that he was dead.  I did not touch him, but came away and reported the circumstance at the first house.  The people there did not know what to do, but recommended me to tell then nearest magistrate, who is yourself, to whom I came.  There was no bottle or parcel lying near deceased.  By the sun, I should think it was about mid-day when I saw him.

   Charles Gaukrodger, being sworn, said: I keep an accommodation house.  On Sunday afternoon I went, with others, to bring the body to this public-house.  We found deceased lying in the track on his belly, with his face in the mud.  There was a little blood near his face, which had been caused, apparently, by hawks picking him.  His general appearance was that of one who had died in a fit.

    Thomas Andrews, being sworn, said: I am a constable, and assisted to being the deceased here.  I found in his trowsers pocket 2s. and 2 ½ d., a tailor's thimble, a knife, two pipes and some tobacco.  I did not then search his watch pocket, but have done so this morning, with Dr. Cusack, and found three sovereigns therein.

   [The missing jurymen: John Wilson, Lt., R.N., Charles Lucena, Edward Baigent sen. or jun.]  

   Dr. Cusack, being sworn, said: I am a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, and reside at Spring Grove.  The deceased was undressed in my presence this morning.  He was comfortable clothed.  I found three sovereigns in his pocket.  He was about five feet five inches in height, stout built, dark brown hair and hazel eyes.  Had a crucifix pricked in his right arm; scar of an old burn on the calf of his right leg.  From the evidence I have heard, I am of opinion that he died of apoplexy.  His appearance indicates the same.  He appears to have been three or four days dead.

   The jury returned a verdict of "Died by the visitation of God."


FATAL ACCIDENT. - A young man named John Bartlett, who had recently arrived from England in the George Canning, was taken to the hospital on Tuesday last, suffering from tetanus, caused, it is presumed, by a wound received while he was employed at Richmond in cleaning out a ditch barefooted, at which time he received an injury to his right foot. In consequence of having accidentally stepped on a piece of broken bottle.  He died yesterday at about noon.


OTAGO WITNESS, 27 July 1861


An inquest was held before Henry Howorth, Esq., Coroner, at the Provincial Hotel, Dunedin, on Tuesday and adjourned till Thursday, on the body of William Galbraith, who died on Tuesday morning, from having taken arsenic on the previous night.  The following evidence, taken by the Coroner, gives the particulars:-

   Margaret Galbraith, being sworn, said - I am the widow of the deceased.  The deceased for some time past has been in very bad health, and very restless at night.  At near daylight this morning the deceased woke me, when he was in a state of vomiting.  I asked deceased what medicine he had been taking.  He replied that he had got some quinine from Mr. Dodds.  I said to him - "Did you get nothing else?"  He replied - "Yes; I got some arsenic as well."  I said that is a strange medicine to give to you; you are ill enough without taking arsenic.  I asked him what he took it for.  He replied, to take away the pains.  He thereupon vomited again.  I procured some mustard and water, to try to make him vomit more, which he took, but did not vomit more.  I asked him if I should make a mustard plaster and apply to his stomach.  He replied - let us wait a little till it is daylight, and we shall see better.

   After this the deceased rose and tried to vomit more, but he could not.  I assisted him into bed again, and proceeded to kindle a fire, to make some water hot, and to my neighbour, Mrs. Mackenzie, who returned with me to the house.  Mrs. Mackenzie asked me to put a mustard poultice on his stomach, but the deceased lived but a few minutes after. Mrs. Mackenzie sent her son for the doctor, but before Dr. Nelson came he was dead.  The deceased vomited in all two or three times, but he did not vomit when I gave him the mustard and water.  The deceased had been pout of employment for some time past, and was much disappointed at not getting a situation on board one of the small steamers which he had expected; and he had been often disappointed, and nothing coming in for the work I was doing.  I think all this distracted his mind a good deal.

   By the Jury - The deceased was suffering from general debility, and has not been in good health since he came here.

   John Dodds, being sworn stated - I am a chemist and retail druggist in Dunedin.  I knew the deceased.  Yesterday I supplied the deceased with one shilling's worth of laudanum and two-pennyworth of arsenic.  The arsenic he stated was for the purpose of killing rats.  I supplied him with the arsenic without hesitation.  We have no restrictions here as far as I know.  The deceased has many times purchased medicine from me, but I never prescribed anything for him.  The bottle produced is the one in which I put the laudanum, but the label "Laudanum" written upon it has been removed.  I frequently sell poisons for killing wild dogs and various purposes without hesitation; it is the constant practice here.

   By Jury - \The arsenic was labelled "arsenic," "poison."  The deceased had never purchased arsenic of me before.  The quantity I supplied the deceased was more than sufficient to cause death.  The deceased was in pretty good spirits, he said he had been unwell for six weeks past, but I did not ask him what was the matter with him, neither did he describe to me the symptoms of the complaint under which he was suffering.

   On Wednesday a post mortem examination was held on the body by Dr. Nelson, who took from the stomach of deceased a large quantity of arsenic.

   Margaret Steven Mackenzie was examined, but her evidence was similar to that given by the widow of deceased.

   John Dodds, recalled, said:- The quantity of arsenic he supplied deceased with was about one ounce, but did not weigh it.  The quantity of laudanum was one ounce.

   The Jury after hearing the foregoing evidence returned the following verdict: - "That the deceased came to his death from taking arsenic while in a state of temporary insanity."

   The jury also made the following presentment: - "That the Coroner be requested respectfully to recommend the Authorities to put some restrictions upon the indiscriminate Sale of Poisons in Dunedin."


 OTAGO WITNESS, 3 August 1861


An inquest was held before Henry Howorth, Esq., Coroner, at the Port Chalmers' Hotel, on Wednesday last, on the body of Thomas Buttles, a seaman belonging to the ship "Storm Cloud," the body having been found lying on the beach near Port Chalmers on Monday morning last.  From the evidence it appears the deceased was last seen alive on Sunday night last about 8 p.m., and was leaving the forecastle of the "Storm Cloud."  He then told James Watson, a seaman, that he was going to try to swim ashore.  He was blowing a life-preserver, which was fastened round his waist, he had another round his neck, and a bundle of clothes on his back.  Deceased was not seen again, and on Monday morning he was found by Mr. Carey, in Mansford Bay, lying on his back at nearly high water mark, with the life perseveres about his head and chest.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."



Regina v. Allan.

The Court met this day at 10 o'clock, when Peter Allen was placed at the bar indicted for the murder of Joseph Johnston on the 24th March last.


The Grand Jury having found a true bill against the prisoner for wilful murder, the prisoner was arraigned upon the indictment, and was about to be arraigned also upon the Coroner's inquisition, when

   Mr. Cook objected that the inquisition was informal, not being made under the seal of the Coroner.  Authorities were cited by Mr. Cook, and

   The Judger held the objection to be fatal.

   The prisoner pleaded not guilty to the indictment.


   Dr. Nelson stated - I was called, on the 24th March last, to go to a house in Stafford Street.  When I went there, I saw a man lying on a mattress on the floor; he was bleeding from a wound in the right side of the neck, and a small wound on the back of the neck, which appeared to be caused by a shot from a gun.  I felt the shot at the back of the neck immediately under the skin.  The man appeared to be insensible.  ...

   Dr. Hulme. - On 24th March last remembered Joseph Johnston being brought to the Hospital.  He had a large circular wound in the right side of the neck, a little above the collar bone.  The wound was an inch and three-quarters in diameter.  Judging from the height of the [prisoner, and the nature of the wound, the muzzle of the gun must have been slightly elevated.  Johnston died in the Hospital, on the 16th of April, of hemorrhage from the wound.  From the first time I saw him, I considered the wound dangerous.


   The Jury returned to consider their verdict, and after an absence of an hour, returned with a verdict of "Not Guilty of Murder, but of Manslaughter."

   The learned Judge ... fully concurred in the verdict, and thought that the prisoner had been most leniently dealt with by the Jury; and that he should feel thankful that he had not been found guilty of wilful Murder.  He was then sentenced to imprisonment in the common gaol of Dunedin for three years with hard labour, to be computed from the 28th of March last.




DEATHS BY DROWNING. - A melancholy accident occurred on Saturday afternoon, resulting in the death of two persons by drowning.  Mr. Macmanamin, his daughter, and his mother-in-law, Mrs. Willkins, were going off in a boat to the schooner Tyne. When on nearing that vessel, a squall struck the boat, she went over, and all in her were immersed in the water.  The accident being observed from the Earl of Mar and Kellie, a boat was instantly lowered, and sent to their assistance.  The Tyne also despatched a boat.  Mr. Macmanamin and Mrs. Willkins were picked up by the Earl of Mar Kellie's boat and conveyed immediately on shore.  They were taken to the Custom house, where every means where adopted to restore animation by Mr. Carkeek, Dr. Williams, and other gentlemen present.  They were afterwards removed to McIntosh's New Zealander Hotel, when Drs. Kebbell, Johnston, Taylor, and others exerted themselves to the utmost to restore animation; but we regret to state, without effect.  Mrs. Wilkins partially rallied; but ultimately died from exhaustion.  The girl and the boatmen were picked up and saved.  An inquest was held on the bodies, a report of which will be found in another column.  ...


CORONER'S INQUEST. - An Inquest was held at McIntosh's, New Zealander Hotel, on Monday last, before Mark Kebbell, Esq., M.D., and a respectable jury, on view of the bodies of James Macmanamin and Grace Wilkins who were unfortunately drowned on Saturday last, in the harbor.


Evidence of John Henry Hewitt, boatman; George Brewer, fisherman; James Spray, seaman, Earl of Mar and Kellie; Thomas Ritson, Engineer; James Stringer, Cook, Earl of Mar and Kellie.

James H. Williams, M.R.C.S.; ... In making a post mortem examination on a body that had been immersed in water for some time, I should expect to find an effusion in the Pericardium of Serum and also of blood on the brain.  I think the death of the female was caused by congestion of the brain, followed by effusion into the lateral ventricles.  I think it would have been better had they not been removed so soon.

   VERDICT - "That the deceased came by their deaths, by the accidental upsetting of a boat, while going off to the Tyne.

   A Rider was added.


COLONIST, 9 August 1861


THE principal event connected with Nelson since out last summary is the sitting of the half-yearly Supreme Court; ...

The native Arapata te Waretutura who was indicted for having killed one Manahi te Poka, contrary to law, was sentenced to imprisonment for one day.  We gave so full an account on the inquest that it is unnecessary to reproduce the evidence given at the Supreme Court.  It seems the deceased was suffering from a complication of diseases at the time he was assaulted by the prisoner; in addition to which the prisoner had good grounds for jealousy of his wife's fidelity.  The judge complimented the natives on the straightforward way in which they had given their evidence, and could not help contrasting it with much of that given by Europeans.




A coroner's inquest was recently held at the Albert Barracks here, on the body of Charles M'Cleary, gunner in the royal artillery, who died from excessive drinking.  Verdict accordingly.


OTAGO WITNESS, 10 August 1861


An inquest was held on Thursday the 1st instant, at the Provincial Hotel, Dunedin, by Henry Howorth, Esq., Coroner on view of the body of John M'Kenzie, a boy 14 years of age, and son of Alexander M'Kenzie, labourer, Dunedin, whose body was found on Flagstaff hill on Tuesday the 30th ult.  It appeared from the evidence that deceased left Dunedin on Sunday in company with two other boys, Edward Bell and Richard M'Laughlan, in search of a dog which they believed was at Mr. M'Ray's house at Flagstaff hill.  They proceeded to M'Ray's house and recovered the dog, and returned homewards in company with Frank Godby.  On arriving at the foot of the hill it began to get dark, and a snow-storm overtook them.  Godby left the others to try to make David Laing's house, which was not far off, but did not return again.  The other three sat down together, and in a short time the two witnesses fell asleep, and on waking at daylight found the deceased had left them.  In the morning they heard a coo-ee, which proved to be Godby's brother bringing some bread with him.  They searched for deceased a considerable time, but without success.  The deceased complained of being tired and hungry, and wanted to lie down several times on the road, and Frank Godby, before leaving, had carried him about a quarter of a mile.

   James M'Kenzie, brother of deceased, deposed to having found the body on the day above-mentioned when in company with Wm. Mitchell, his attention being directed to the spot where the body was by a dog which he recognized to be the dog belonging to Bell.  He found deceased with his face to the ground; the ground was mostly covered with snow.  Very little clothes was on deceased, and the marks of the dog's footsteps appeared about deceased.  Wm. Mitchell corroborated this statement, and brought the body to his father's house in High-street.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."

An inquest was held in the tent of John Chaplin, Tuapeka Gold Fields, on the 30th ult., before Edward Croker, Esq., J.P., and 20 Jurors, on view of the body of Wm. Henry Dowbiggen, who was found dead in his tent.  The following is the evidence taken by the Acting Coroner:-

   James Campbell, on oath, stated - I came to Mr. Dowbiggen's tent at the Tuapeka Gold Fields about 8 o'clock p.m. on the night of 28th July, along with one of my mates, Edward Boyd, by appointment with deceased, to get a piece of cheese from him.  I found him sleeping in the tent with his clothes on, Mr. Lambert lying at the other side of the tent, with the blankets over him.  Told Mt. Lambert what we required.  We had remained over a quarter of an hour when he awoke, and sat with us till about ten o'clock.  There was drunk about one bottle of whisky, of which all partook. All were sober, except, [perhaps, Mr. Dowbiggen, who appeared to have taken too much.  I left the tent, leaving Lambert and my mate with deceased, and taking away with me a bottle of whisky to prevent his taking more.  Deceased was on straw, without blankets or bedding, when we came in.

   By the Jury. - The whisky was in the first instance mixed, whether with rum or raspberry vinegar I had my doubts, and still have them.  Mr. Dowbiggen said that he bought the spirits from the person from whom he purchased his tent and other things on the Saturday previous.  On the same day he sold my company two bottles of rum.

   Edward Boyd, on oath, stated - The body before the inquest is that of William Henry Dowbiggen.  I came to deceased's tent on Sunday night, the 28th July, with my mate, James Campbell, to get some cheese.  There was spirits in the tent.  (There were none present besides Mr. Lambert, the constable.)  All partook of it except Lambert.  I think it was rum, but it was mixed with what he said was raspberry vinegar, so I am uncertain whether it was rum.  My mate and I remained the former leaving a few minutes before me.  I did not see him again till I heard he was dead.  He was hearty, but not very drunk.

   By the Jury. - I saw deceased about four o'clock in the afternoon of the same day.  He was not then sober.  My mate took a bottle of spirits from the tent.  Deceased informed me that he had bought the spirits from Mr. Lloyd, with other things to the value of 15 Pounds.  He was sleeping when we went into the tent.  When he awoke he was hearty, and glad to see us.  He subsequently took drink, but I cannot say whether it made him worse.  Some three or four days previously, my mate purchased a bottle of spirits from deceased.  Mr. Lambert was awake when we left.

   James Shirlew, M.D., deposed - I was called upon by Mr. Lambert about half-past eight o'clock on the morning of 29th July, to come down and see deceased, W. H. Dowbiggen, who, he said, had been indulging a good deal in drink.  On reaching the tent, I found him in bed on his back, covered up.  On examination, I found that there was still a little warmth in the chest.  I could detect no pulsation of the heart.  I supposed he must have been dead about three or four hours.   I have carefully examined external appearances of body, and can detect nom marks of violence.  The face and eye-lids were of a bloodied appearance, and pupils dilated, and a good deal of congestion about the back part of the head; in fact, a perfect appearance of one who had died from an attack of apoplexy, brought on by exposure to cold and an over-dose of alcohol.

   John Lambert, constable attached to Gold Escort, being sworn, stated - Deceased wanted me to stop in his tent during my stay at the diggings.  On Sunday afternoon, about four o'clock, he left me in charge of the tent, whilst he went to get some provisions for supper.  He returned to the tent about dusk, very much intoxicated, so much so that he could only just crawl into it.  We then had some supper.  After that he turned over and went to sleep.  It appears that he promised an old shipmate - Mr. Campbell - some cheese.  He called to receive it, and finding Mr. Dowbiggen asleep, and not wishing to leave without it, he woke him up.  Deceased, who had hardly recovered from the effects of his d rink, immediately proposed some more liquor, and drank raw spirits very hard till about ten o'clock at night.  He became very much intoxicated, so much so that he could not speak distinctly.  About this time his friends left.  As one of them was going away, deceased put his head out of the tent, crawling on his stomach, to call him back.

   I had turned into bed before.  I went to sleep, leaving deceased in the same position.  I awoke in the middle of the night; I don't know the hour, but must have slept some time.  Seeing him in the same position, I called to him by name.  There was no reply.  Supposing he was asleep, I got out and attempted to arouse him.  On looking at him, I thought there was something wrong.  I pulled his head inside, went out of the tent, told Charles Moxon the state he was in, and called on him to assist me.  He came down, and both examined deceased.  Moxon was of opinion that it was only a drunken slumber.  We drew him further up the tent, covered him with blankets, and tried to make him as warm as possible.  Moxon then proposed that I should go to his tent and pass the remainder of the night, and I went with him.  This might be about three hours before break of day.

   At daybreak I went and looked at deceased again.  Seeing that he was exactly in the same position in which we left him, I became alarmed, and at once went to Mr. Chaplin's tent and asked for assistance.  One of Mr. Prime's men came with me, and on looking at deceased, he was of opinion that he was dead.  I immediately went for a doctor, with whom I returned to the tent.  He examined the body, and said that death had taken place.

   By the Jury. - I did not partake of spirits with the visitors.  Deceased pressed me to do so.  I put the tin vessel to my lips, but never tasted it. I knew by this that spirits was in use.  Deceased was not fir to walk when the visitors left.  I attribute the death of deceased to exposure to wet and cold, as well as to drunkenness.

   The Jury returned a verdict that deceased "died b y excessive drinking and exposure."




A most unusual thing for us, we have had three inquests held during the past month, two on the 16th, and a third on the 17th of July.

   One was on the body of Charles Edwards, of Nelson, who had died suddenly, in which case the jury returned a verdict "That Charles Edwards died on the 13th July from apoplexy of the brain, caused by an epileptic fit."

   Another was on the body of George Woods, a labourer, the third was upon the body of Philip Handy. ...




A Coroner's Inquest was held on Wednesday week, at Otahuhu, on the body of Michael Tierney, private in the 70th Regt., who dropped dead on Monday evening, in Roger's public house, in Otahuhu.  A post mortem examination was made by Dr. Hession, Assistant-Surgeon 70th Regt.  It was then clearly established that death resulted from the effects of long-continued drinking of spirituous liquors.  The jury returned a verdict of "Died from the effects of drink."


LYTTELTON TIMES, 17 August 1861


... J. W. S. Coward, Esq., to be Coroner for the district of Christchurch.


OTAGO WITNESS, 17 August 1861


INQUEST. - An inquest was held before Henry Howorth, Esq., Coroner, in the house of Mr. Towers, on the 8th inst., on the body of Mrs. Fletcher Oliver, who died on the previous morning in her own house.  From the evidence it appeared that deceased had been complaining for several days, and on Tuesday morning she became seriously ill, and went up stairs to bed.  A Mrs. Telfer had visited her on the morning of Tuesday, and promised to return in the evening, but as she received no message she did not go.  Deceased's three young children were the only persons in the house during the day, her husband being at the diggings.  The little boy gave his mother several drinks of cold water, but she would eat nothing, nor did she instruct him to go for assistance.  During the night deceased had given birth to as seven months child.  The Jury returned a verdict - "That deceased died from congestion of the brain during premature childbirth."


COLONIST, 20 August 1861

DEATH FROM DRINKING. - A Coroner's Inquest was held on Thursday 6th August, at the Albert Barracks, on view of the body of Charles M'Leary, gunner in the Royal Artillery, who was found dead in his bed on his barrack room, at 3 ½ a.m. on the same morning.  He answered to his name at roll call on the preceding evening, but was somewhat the worse for liquor at the time, although (according to the evidence given) far from being helplessly intoxicated.  A comrade having occasion to go into the room at the hour above mentioned, found him dead.  He was lying on his bed on his side with his face downwards.  The man in the adjoining bed was not disturbed. - A [post-mortem examination by Dr. Temple, R.A., discovered congestion of the brain and lungs; the brain and stomach smelled of alcohol.  The verdict returned was, "Died from excessive drinking."


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 20 August 1861

WAIPUKURAU. - Dr. English has been gazetted coroner for the Waipukurau district.




 A deep gloom has been cast over our little community by the melancholy end, on Friday last, 16th inst., of a fine little girl, aged 5 ½ years, the daughter of one of our oldest and most respected settlers - Mr. D. M. Nichol.  From the inquest, held by the magistrate, it would appear that the little thing had been missing for about two hours, and after searching the river (which is not far from the house) without success, it occurred to the mother to try the well, attached to the house, and which is very deep at this season of the year.  There, sad to tell, was the poor little child found; the distracted mother brought it to the surface, and, with assistance, got it out but as, it was supposed, she must have been more than an hour in the water, life was irrecoverably gone.  The father had left for town in the morning, but was overtaken at Otahuhu, to learn the melancholy tidings.  Much and general sympathy has been expressed for the bereaved parents. - Communicated.




Depositions were taken by R. J. Creasy, Esq., on the 20th instant, at Wangapeka, on the death of Henry Godfrey, late of Wellington.  The following is the evidence:-

   Robert Adams, sworn, said: I am a gold-digger, at Rolling river.  On Wednesday last, the 14th instant, the deceased, Henry Godfrey, went to fell a tree, near the tent, for firewood.  I was looking at him.  Another tree was lodged against the one he was cutting; and, as the axe disengaged one part, the other swung round, and struck him on the head, and he fell.  I at once called out to Siddells, who was in the tent, to come to his assistance.  We carried him to the tent; he was very bad all night; we sat up with him.  The next morning, Siddells started for Nelson for a doctor.  Soon after, he said to me, "Bob, I shall never live to get off this place."  He had a sort of fit, and foaming at the mouth.  The next day after the accident, he struggled, and died about nine o'clock on Thursday evening, the 15th. He was about forty-four to forty-five years of age, healthy and steady.  I believe he has a box in nelson, at the Anchor Inn.  He came from Wellington here some weeks ago.  A carpenter, at the diggings, made the coffin, and attended his funeral.  I dug the grave; he helped me.  I am very poor, and have only 2s. 6f the doctor gave me, and cannot afford to lose any time.

   George Siddels, sworn, said: I am a gold-digger, at the Rolling river, and knew the deceased.  He was one of my party.  On Wednesday, the 14th instant, I helped to carry him into the tent immediately after the accident.  I sat up with him all night, and started next day to Nelson for a doctor, but could not procure one; so I then went to the Superintendent, and asked him to send one, as the deceased was a stranger from Wellington, and had no friends that we knew of. 

    Samuel Cusack, sworn, said: I am a surgeon, residing at Spring Grove.  On Saturday night, I received a letter from the Superintendent's office requesting me to go to the diggings to see the man now deceased.  I started at daylight the following morning.  On our way I met with Siddells, who informed me as to the state of the man.  From his description of the symptoms, I was led to suppose that he had sustained a fracture of the upper portion of the vertebrae, an injury which generally terminates life in two or three days.  I thought it right to communicate with you on the subject, knowing that you usually act as coroner when the distance is so far away; and, being of opinion that the man would most likely be dead, your accompanying me would in such case be a saving to the Government, and prevent any delay in his proper interment.  On the other side of Fawcett's, we met a man named Kernin, with a letter addressed on the outside to yourself, and inside to Mr. Poynter, stating that Godfrey was dead.

   In compliance with your request, I went with you to view the body, which I did on the evening of the 19th instant, having walked through the Gorge to the Rolling river, you being unable to do so.  I found the body in a coffin, and, by examination, found that one of the upper dorsal vertebrae was fractured; this injury always causes death by paralysis in a few days.  I found his companions in a very indigent state, not having been able to work from the wet; and their loss of time in consequence of the accident has caused them to express a hope to me that they may be paid.  In compliance with your order, I caused a grave to be dug, and this morning buried him myself, reading part of the Church service over him.  I found on his person a key and two memoranda, which I now hand to you.  His only property, as far as can be ascertained, consists of a box at the Anchor Inn, Nelson, and a few old clothes at the diggings.

    Mr. CREASY said, I wish to thank you and the diggers for the manner you and they have troubled themselves on behalf of the unfortunate man.

   I am sure the people of the Province of Wellington, as well as the diggers, will feel grateful to the Government of this province for their promptness in sending a medical man to his assistance, on hearing of the accident; but you must view it as a special case, and not as an instance which the diggers can rely upon having repeated.  The peculiar and serious nature of the accident, the fact of the certainty of his death if not at once attended to, his being a stranger without means or friends, having no doubt very properly induced the Government to take steps in this case. Had there been any doubt as to the nature of the accident, or had his mate, a fellow-townsman, with whom I conversed, expressed any desire that a formal inquest should have been held on his body, I would have gone on beyond the Rolling river, where he died (although I doubt if it is within the coroner's district); as, for the diggers' own interest, I do not think that a sudden death occurring amongst them should be passed over without an inquiry, or treated only as if occurring in a thinly settled district like the Wairau; but as we knew that his death was purely accidental, I have not thought proper to put the Government to the extra expense, which would accrue by another day's attendance of a medical man, and horse-hire, over so tough a country.

   I thank Dr. Cusack for his kindness and energy in walking the last fourteen miles yesterday afternoon, in order that he might inspect and bury the body, and permit his deposition to be taken to-day.  Should the population materially increase at these diggings, in the course of nature there is sure to be a proportionate amount of sickness and accident, and it can hardly be expected that this Government will in every case incur the expense of a medical attendant.  I would suggest to the diggers that when they have good luck (and I hope such will often be the case), they should pay into the hands of some trustworthy person a trifle, which would probably be beneficially spared, which should go towards a fund for the purpose of defraying the urgent medical need of any poor or unfortunate digger who could not be removed from the neighbourhood in which he might be suffering.

   There is no fund to pay Kernin, Siddels, and Adams for their trouble, and I am sorry to hear they are so badly off, but I will pay, on behalf of the Government, 2 Pounds for the coffin, and 5s. grave digging; and as I hear there is a small subscription about to be collected amongst the diggers for the coffin, I would suggest that that should be divided amongst those named.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 28 August 1861


A melancholy death by drowning occurred at Timaru on Friday, August 16.  David Pollard, an old settler in this province, left Timaru for the purpose of going to a house at the Waimatemate; he was a little fresh.;  Upon coming to the Saltwater creek, about two miles from Timaru, it had broken out, the sea washing in with considerable violence.  It is supposed the deceased attempted to cross it while in this dangerous condition, got carried away, and unable to resist the great power of the sea, was drowned.  His horse was found dead upon the beach on the Sun day, and the body of the unfortunate man on the Wednesday, about a mile from the creek.  An inquest was held by Dr. Rayner, Coroner, on Wednesday last, when a verdict of accidentally drowned was returned.  The deceased was much respected.



INQUEST. - An inquest was held on Tuesday last, at the Royal Hotel, on the body of Thomas Taverner, seaman, belonging to the 'Margaret,' of Auckland, who was accidentally drowned by falling from the Queen-street wharf into the water, the previous night.  The body was recovered by the police half an hour after immersion, but life was extinct.  Medical aid was called, but it was too late; a verdict of accidental drowning was returned.

   The jury recommended the fencing of the wharf by guard chains, and suggested that the life buoy should be at all times accessible.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 4 September 1861


DEATH FROM EXPOSURE. - Mr. Augustus Purnell, a gentleman occupying a run within a few miles of Timaru, was frozen to death last Friday night.  It appears he went out early in the morning in company with a shepherd on foot to look after sheep, and in returning got tired, and told the shepherd to push forward to the house, get some refreshment, and then return to him with some; this was within three miles of the house, and the sun still well up.  On the shepherd returning he found that Mr. Purnell had lain down, and on attempting to rise found himself unable to stand; the shepherd then tried to carry him, but he was unable to do so.  He then started back for the house - (and in crossing an intermediate creek was swept a few yards down from then waters having swollen in the meantime) - to try and catch a horse, but could not, for, unfortunately, in consequence of the snow, the horses had been let loose.  Night coming on he could do no more, and on proceeding at daylight the next morning to the spot he found the unfortunate gentleman a corpse.  The body was expected to arrive in Timaru on Saturday, when an inquest was to be held. [LYTTELTON TIMES, 25 September: "The deceased gentleman was 26 years of age.  The jury returned a verdict of "Died from exhaustion and exposure to cold."]


LYTTELTON TIMES, 11 September 1861


An inquest was held at the Police Station on the 9th inst., by Dr. Coward, coroner for Christchurch, upon the body of Andrew Papper, late of Papanui.  Deceased had been drinking freely in Christchurch on Saturday, the 24th August, and having followed a cart up a by-road near Woodford's mill, is there supposed to have missed his way and fallen into the river.  The body was found near the College bridge by Mr. Hawkes, on Sunday, the 8th, whose dog in swimming about in the river snapped at and pulled off the cap of the deceased.  The jury having heard the evidence, and seen the body, returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."


 OTAGO WITNESS, 14 September 1861


An inquest was held on the 6th inst., at Saddle-hill, before Henry Howorth, Esq., on view of the body of Archibald M'Neur, who was killed at Saddle-hill on the previous day by a tree falling on the top of him.  The particulars of this sudden and fatal accident are this stated by the deceased's mate, who was working with him at the time:-

   James M'Neur, brother of deceased, stated - On Thursday the 5th inst., I was working with deceased and Mr. Renwick in Saddlehill Bush, falling a tree.  Deceased and I had been working the saw together for some time, and then Mr. Renwick relieved deceased.  Shortly after the tree shewed signs of falling in the opposite direction from where we were cutting, but on falling it was checked by vines and creepers which were growing about it.  The trunk of the tree swung round on the butt, and Renwick and myself were entangled in the vines and thrown to the ground, but not struck with the tree.  On extricating myself I could not see deceased anywhere.  I called to him, but got no answer.  I felt almost certain that he was underneath the tree, and I endeavoured to get under the mass of rubbish that surrounded the tree, and after some difficulty I discovered that the tree was lying across deceased's neck and shoulders.  By this time further assistance had come to hand, and we proceeded to cut away the creepers from about the tree with a billhook, and we afterwards cut the tree asunder in two places on either side of the deceased, and lifted away the portion that was lying on him.  The body was apparently in a sitting position with the head bent down between the legs; when the deceased was removed we found that life was quite extinct.  The accident occurred on Thursday last at about five o'clock in the afternoon, we were just about leaving off work; the deceased had the two axes in his hand ready to take home and they were found alongside the body.  - The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."


PRESS, 14 September 1861


On Monday the 9th inst., an inquest was held at the police station by Dr. Coward, coroner, upon the body of Andrew Papper, who, as was stated last week, had been missing since Saturday the 24th.  The body was found on Sunday last, near the College bridge, by Mr. Hawkes.  From the evidence it appears that deceased had been drinking at the White Hart Hotel on the Saturday, and was last seen in the neighbourhood of Woodford's Mill, where he probably missed his way and fell into the river.  The jury returned a verdict of "accidental death."


On Monday last, an inquest was held before Dr. Dudley, Coroner, at the Kaikainui Hotel, on the body of William Samuel Smith, son of Mr. S. P. Smith of the Waimakiriri Ferry, who died on Saturday last at the house of Messrs. Belcher.  From the evidence it appeared that deceased was 17 years of age; that he had for some weeks past been working for Messrs. Belcher, and was in good health on Friday the 6th inst.  On that day he returned as usual from work, and went out to visit a friend, and went to bed on his return home.  On Saturday morning he was sleeping soundly, and did not rise with the other men, who left him and went to work.  On their return in the middle of the day they found him still sleeping, and were unable to arouse him.  Being alarmed they sent for Dr. Dudley; but he was dead before Dr. Dudley arrived.  A post mortem examination was made by Dr. Beswick.  The jury returned a verdict of "Died from congestion of the brain."




The accident which occurred on the night of the 1st instant, to a man named Nish, terminated fatally yesterday afternoon.  Nish by some means had, while intoxicated, and quite unknown to Mr. Wright, the proprietor, gone into the stables in the rear of the Royal Hotel, where his hand was trampled upon by a horse, and the thumb literally smashed.  He was taken to the hospital early on the Monday morning following, but, spite of every attention, and though the injured thumb was taken off a few days since, lock jaw set in, which terminated fatally.  An inquest will be held on the body this evening.


COLONIST, 17 September 1861


 AN inquest was held on Saturday last, at the Nelson Hospital, on the body of Thomas Nish, who died there on Friday last.

   From the evidence of Mr. Wright, of the Royal Hotel, and others, it appeared that the deceased applied there for lodgings on the night of Sunday, September 1st, while in an intoxicated state; the house being full he was directed to another.  At some time during the night, unknown to the ostler, he made his way into the stables at the back of the Royal Hotel, and there received injuries that resulted in his death.

   Dr. W. B. Sealey gave evidence of the deceased having been admitted to the Hospital on the 2nd instant, for severe compound fracture of the right thumb, which was considerably lacerated; he was then recovering  from a partial state of intoxication, and appeared to have been very drunk the night before; there were no other injuries, except two very slight bruises; the fracture was reduced, and the wound dressed, and he progressed favorably until the evening of the 10th, when symptoms of Tetanus commenced; the thumb was then amputated, and the symptoms gradually increased, until death ensued on the 13th.  He had told the medical witness that he believed a horse had bitten him, but Dr. Sealey thought he had been trodden on.

   The statement of Mr. Barton, the attendant to the Hospital, showed that the deceased had been left at the gate very heedlessly, and in a dirty condition, and that he had afterwards said that he was suffering from his own foolishness.

   Verdict: "That the deceased died from Tetanus resulting from compound fracture of the right thumb, received on the night of Sunday, the first September, probably from the tread of a horse, but that there was not sufficient evidence to enable the jury to say so positively."


On the same day another inquest was held at Mr. J. Palmer's, Waimea East, on the body of Margaret Hunter, aged about 66 years, who died suddenly on Thursday last, the 11th instant.

   The depositions of several witnesses were taken, one of whom said that the medical man called in thought that 'palsy on the heart' was the cause of death, but nothing material was elicited.

   Verdict: 'Died suddenly by the visitation of God.'


COLONIST, 17 September 1861


We have had another fatal accident in the Slate river, by drowning, a young lad, called Walter Jennings, having fallen out of a boat.  An inquest was held on the body to-day, when a verdict of accidental death was returned; the remains were interred at the Collingwood cemetery this day.  The unfortunate youth was only fourteen years old.  The father returned home from Nelson about a fortnight ago.


 DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 17 September 1861


We have been informed that on Wednesday last the bodies of two men were found on the beach near Matakana.  These men had been missing for about three weeks.  The cause of their absence is thus accounted for.


The coroner for this district held an inquest at the Royal Hotel, last Friday, on the body of John Frazer, late ship's cook of the 'Ida Ziegler,'; which was discovered, partly hid in the mud, close to the schooner 'Pole Star,' at the Queen-street wharf on the same morning.  It appeared, from the evidence, that the deceased had gone ashore without leave, on Thursday night, accompanied by a seaman named Clarke, who is almost (sic) missing.  The jury returned a verdict of "found drowned."




The second inquest was held at Waimea-west, on the body of Margaret Hunter, aged sixty-six years, widow of the late Mr. Robert Hunter.  Deceased had been out as usual on Thursday night last, but, on her return, complained of pain in the chest and back, and tried to vomit but could not.  Gilbert Allon, her servant, then carried her to her bed, she having lost the use of her limbs.  Having laid her on the bed he went outside for assistance, and on his return found that Mrs. Hunter was dead.  The jury returned as their verdict, "That the said Margaret Hunter died on the 12th September, by the visitation of God."


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 20 September 1861


Mr. J. A. Brown, coroner, held an inquest on the 11th inst., at Matakana, on the bodies of Thomas McDonald alias Boyce, and Robert Fawcett, which were found on the beach, (as reported in Tuesday's "Cross,") the same day.  The deceased were last seen alive on the 23rd August, by Mr. Greenwood, in a dingy of the river, proceeding homewards.  They had a bottle of spirits with them.  The jury returned a verdict of "found drowned."  The unfortunate men had been engaged cutting bush in the neighbourhood.


COLONIST, 27 September 1861

An inquest was held at the police station on Monday last, before J. W. S. Coward, Esq., and a very respectable jury, on view of the body of Andrew Pepper, who was found in the river Avon, near the College bridge, on Sunday last.  It appears that deceased was last seen alive on Saturday, the 24th August, (on which day he had been drinking freely); that on the evening of the above day he went up the Pananui Road, in company with another man, who invited him to his house to stay all night.  Deceased consented to go, but would not remain there, because the inmates of the house were not Irish.  After leaving the house, it is supposed that he missed his way and fell into the river.  The jury returned a verdict of "Found drowned."  The deceased leaves a wife and two young children entirely unprovoked for.


OTAGO WITNESS, 28 September 1861

FATAL ACCIDENT.  - On Saturday night, about 9 o'clock, as William Willas was returning in a yacht, and when nearly midway between Port Chalmers and Dunedin, he fell overboard and was drowned, having been accidentally struck with the jib-boom of the yacht.  Search was immediately made, and at each succeeding ebb tide, but up to the present time the body has not been found; the search, however, is being continued.  He was a lucky digger, having made about 600 Pounds in a short timer.  His mate states that he had at the time about 150 Pounds =on his person.  He was a young man, unmarried.


An inquest was held at the Port Chalmers Hotel on Monday last, by H. Howorth, Esq., Coroner, on view of the body of Robert Davidson, late a passenger on board the barque "Time and Truth," from Melbourne; when, after hearing the evidence of Captain Slater and Dr. Nelson, who had made a post mortem examination of the body, the Jury returned the following verdict: - "That the deceased Robert Davidson died from natural causes."


 LYTTELTON TIMES, 5 October 1861


A man named John Strange, at the Springs station, has met his death from injuries received by the goring of a bull he was leading by the nose ring.


An inquest was held at the Plough Inn, Riccarton, on the body of John Strange, who was killed at the Springs Station on the 30th ult., by a bull, of which he had the management.  Evidence was given proving that the deceased neglected to use the proper implement provided by Mr. Fitzgerald, for leading the beast, and the accident was the consequence of his rashness.  The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and at the same time expressed a desire that Mr. Fitzgerald should be requested to confine the bull in proper enclosures, and take all necessary precautions to prevent such accidents in future. [More detailed account: Press, 5 October, Strange had been drinking.]


TARANAKI HERALD, 5 October 1861

FATAL  ACCIDENT. - On Wednesday evening last week, as Nahoua, a son of the Maori chief at Aramahoe, was riding up the river bank at a furious pace, his mare stumbled and fell.  The rider was thrown forward 20 or 30 feet with great violence, and fell heavily on the ground.  He was immediately carried into the house of Mr. Murray, of Elderslie, near which the accident happened, and everything possible was done for his relief till the arrival of the doctor, who found that his collar-bone was broken, and that he had received some severe internal injuries.  He was conveyed to the Colonial Hospital, where he lingered till Friday morning.  His death is attributed to concussion of the brain. ...


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 9 October 1861


We learn that the bodies of two of the soldiers who were lately drowned while coming down the Meanee river, were discovered yesterday morning, and that in the course of the afternoon an inquest was held upon them.


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 12 October 1861


The two soldiers whose bodies have been recovered were named respectively Michael Bourke and Richard Finn.  The bodies were found on Wednesday morning by Lance Sergeant John Burns and a party of men.  That of Bourke was floating, and that of Finn lying on the right bank of the river. - At the inquest held the same afternoon in the Victoria hotel, the jury, after hearing the circumstances detailed in evidenced, returned a verdict of "accidentally drowned."   It appears to us that much credit is due to Mr. S. Evinson for the promptitude with which he ac ted upon the night of the sad occurrence.


OTAGO WITNESS, 12 October 1861


We regret to announce the death of a child, the evening before last, which is reported to have been caused by his eating the young leaves of a small shrub called "toot," or "Tutu"; his sister, about 7 years of age, was attacked the same day, and for a considerable time was dangerously ill.  Two medical men were in attendance, but too late to preserve life in the younger child.

   The shrub, which has apparently been the cause of death, is fatal not only to man, but to cattle and sheep, being more deadly at some periods than at others.  We have often heard of the injurious effects from children and grown-up men eating the ripe berries, but do not remember a similar instance to the present.

   We hear that a coroner's inquest was held yesterday on the body.  We would caution parents not to allow their children to stray where this shrub is prevalent, especially in the low and shady glens, where it appears most deadly in its effects.




A murder was committed at the Buller river, on the West Coast, on the 16th September, by a native named Pepene, a member of the Waikato tribe. It appears that Pepene, who was proceeding to the gold-field, accompanied by his wife, from some cause attacked her with an axe and nearly severed her head from her body.  He afterwards went into the bush for the purpose, as he stated, of destroying himself, but subsequently surrendered, told how the murder had occurred, and was brought to Nelson so that the case might be investigated before a Magistrate.  Prisoner was brought up, for the second time, at the Resident Magistrates Court yesterday, but was again remanded for a fortnight so that witnesses might be brought from the West Coast.


COLONIST, 15 October 1861


YESTERDAY an inquest was held on the body of Susan Newport, wife of Samuel Newport, of Brook-street Valley, who died suddenly on the previous day.

   The enquiry took place at William Lockyer's house, Brook-street.  From the evidence adduced it appeared that the deceased was about 36 years of age; the symptoms were those of apoplexy.  The jury (of which Mr. Wright was foreman) returned a verdict of 'Died by the visitation of God.'  [Editorial comment on the size of room used for the inquest.]




An inquest was held at Panmure, on the 8th instant, on the body of Michael Brennan, who was found dead in the stable of the Panmure Inn, kept by Mr. William McManus.  After hearing the evidence of Mr. R. Matthews, surgeon, who had made a post mortem examination of the body, the jury returned a verdict of death from apoplexy.




An inquest was held on Monday last, at the residence of Mr. William Lockyer, Brook-street valley, on the body of Susan, wife of Mr. Samuel Newport, who died suddenly on the previous day.

   The CORONER, addressing the jury, said they had been summoned to inquire into the cause of deceased's death.  There were no particular points to which it was necessary that he should direct their attention.  They would view the body and hear the evidence, and, if that were not of a sufficiently conclusive character, they could have a post mortem examination of the body made, and could adjourn the inquest for that purpose.

   William Lockyer, being sworn, said: I am married to the deceased's sister.  That is her body which the jury have just viewed.  She was, I think, thirty-six years old.  She was the wife of Mr. Samuel Newport.  I saw her yesterday, after she had been to church with her husband.  She came here, to my house, at about half-past one o'clock, and was, apparently, in good health.  I never knew her to be subject to fits of any kind.  She was a sober and temperate person.  When she came in I asked her of she had had her dinner.  She said she had had some cold meat, but had not made a dinner on it.  I said sit down here and have some, and she did so.  She drank about three parts of a glass of ale.  She said Newport had gone up the line, and that she should go up to her brother David's for some boots.  She went into the bedroom, put on her bonnet, and, before she could put on her cloak, she called out to her sister, Jane, Jane, come here, I am choked.  We both went into the room, Henry Birch, also went with us.  My wife said "put your fingers down your throat and try and heave up."  She did so.  She then called out for water, and Birch fetched it.  She drank about half a glass of it, and then out her fingers down her throat, and tried to vomit, but could not.  I said open your mouth, and she did so, and Henry Birch put his finger down her throat.  She still did not vomit.  My wife and children screamed out so loud that my mother-in-law heard them and came down.  She said, fetch the doctor, and Birch went for him.  While he was gone, Mrs. Newport struggled from the bedroom to the back door.  I rook hold of her, and she went to the front window.  I then fell down upon a chair, and supported her in my arms.  Her father then came in, and I asked him to assist me.  He did so, and we placed her on the sofa.  We gave her a tea-spoonful of brandy.  Before the doctor came, I said, she is dead.  She died in my arms.  The doctor was here about two minutes after she died.  She died about a quarter of an hour after she had first complained.  Out dinner consisted of a shoulder of mutton, potatoes, and bread.

   Ann Whiting, being sworn, said: I am mother of the deceased.  I was called yesterday by a young man, who said, "Susan is choked."  I ran down here immediately.  When I came into the room, Lockyer had her in his arms; her face was very black; and I said, "Run for a doctor."  One was sent for, but, before h arrived, she was dead.  She had a fit once in London, about eight years since.  She was permanently affected by it, and was taken to St. Thomas's Hospital for advice.  She got cured though she often complained afterwards of weakness and pain in her arms.  She has, lately, often complained of her head being bad.  Dr. Bush bled her twice for this pain.  That was about two years since.  She lost all feeling in her mouth at times.  I went to church with her yesterday and she complained that she could not fasten her things together, she had got so stout.

   William Fakers, being sworn, said: I am a surgeon.  I was called here yesterday about half past two o'clock.  The messenger said a young woman was choking, up at Lockyer's.  I immediately came with the requisite instruments.  When I arrived she was on the sofa dead.  I put my finger in her throat but could not detect anything there.  The features were livid, throat a little swollen, and the pupils dilated.  The hands were cold and the blood was beginning to gravitate in the hands and back of the neck.  I noticed no other symptoms.  Mr. Lockyer stated to me that, on pouring the brandy into her mouth she did not swallow, but appeared to gurgle it.

   From what I saw, and from the evidence I have heard, I cannot say, positively, what caused death.  As far as I can judge the symptoms indicated closure of the rimas glottidis, or larynx, but how caused I cannot state.  It might have been caused by apoplexy, or from some foreign substance in the stomach which, being indigestible, would have produced irritation of the recurrent nerves.  I cannot state what was the cause of death.  I saw nothing to induce me to think that death occurred from external causes.  I have seen no symptoms that would make me think that she had taken poison.

   Samuel Newport, being sworn, said: The deceased was my wife.  She and I went to church yesterday.  On our return we had dinner, but she ate very little.  She had some bread and some fresh pork.  I had not seen her so well for many days as she was yesterday.  After dinner we came out of the house together into Brook-street valley.  I then went up the line of railway, and she came up the valley, saying she was going to her brother's, at the Rising Sun.  While on the Dun Mountain railway, I was called by a young man, who said my wife was dead.  I hurried down, and saw her lying dead in this house.

   This being the whole of the evidence, the jury, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of "Died by the visitation of God."




Last Friday, Samuel Harper, was accidentally drowned while engaged floating timber logs down the dam at Mr. Ring's saw mill at Kapanga.  The body was rescued from the water after being immersed about five minutes, but life was then extinct.  An inquest on the body was held on Saturday, before Mr. J. Preece, coroner, when a verdict in accordance with the facts was returned.

CORONER'S INQUEST. - Last Tuesday an inquest was held at the Auckland Hotel, on view of the body of Wm. Cherrington, a half-caste boy, aged four years, who died from the effects of intoxication.  The child obtained this drink, it was supposed, from a Maori neighbour, but the evidence was not clear on that point. - Verdict in accordance with the facts. [See also COLONIST, 12 November.]




??? an immense piece of rock fell, ... A block of stone, probably five tons in weight, struck one of the men down, ...   UK?? Unidentified part column


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 25 October 1861.

MONGONUI EAST. - DEATH BY DROWNING. - A young lad named Robert Thompson was accidentally drowned, at Mr. Mawer's property, Mongonui East, on the 9th instant.  He had been sent by a fellow-servant named George Thomas, to bring two buckets-full of water from the river, when he fell into the water and lost his life.  In the absence of the coroner a magisterial inquiry was held, and a verdict of "accidental death" returned.


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 28 October 1861


INQUEST. -  On Wednesday last an inquest was held at Mr. Macarthy's residence, Petane, before T. Hitchings, Esq., and a jury, upon the body of Mr. J. Campbell Donald McDonald.  Mr. J. C. Campbell (of the firm of Towgood & Campbell) identified the body; deceased was his cousin; witness last saw him about five weeks ago.  Heruita Nikra deposed to having, on the 22nd inst., seen deceased on horseback, at the pa at Petane.  Maika deposed that, at ½ past 11 on the day in question, he put the deceased across the river in a canoe.  There was a heavy fresh in the river at the time.  He arrived safely on the other side.  The deceased was apparently quite well in health.  The road over which he had to travel was covered with water, and the footpath goes close to a creek which in the present case would be covered and hidden.  Heruita Nikra, being recalled, states that he heard a horse was straying close to the pah. It had been caught by a boy.  It was saddled, and witness identified it as the same that deceased had been riding.  He then went in search of deceased and found the body in a creek, which, in consequence of the river having broken out in the meantime, had become partially dry.  About two hours had elapsed from the time witness saw him alive till he saw him dead.  His opinion was that deceased was drowned in the creek in question.  The jury (of which Mr. Macarthy was foreman) returned a verdict of "Accidentally drowned."




An inquest was held at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, on Saturday last, before Mark Kebbell, Esq., M.D., Coroner, and a respectable jury, on view of the body of John George Hanneke, who died  from the effects of falling into a ditch, on Friday morning last.  Several witnesses were examined, and after the most patient investigation, the jury returned the following verdict, "That the Jurors are of opinion, that the deceased John George Hanneke died from exhaustion, from his accidentally falling into a stream of water on the night of the 24th Oct., and the Jurors strongly advise that steps should be taken to cover the ditch in."




An inquest was held on Friday last, at Motueka, upon the body of Thomas Emerson, who was drowned on the night of the preceding Tuesday, in consequence, it is presumed, of his having stepped over the side of the Motueka jetty, while, with another man, carrying a piece of scantling to be used as a fender for the steamer Un dine.  The jury returned as their verdict, that deceased died by drowning; but appended to that verdict a recommendation that the necessary apparatus should be placed on the Motueka jetty, for the assistance of persons accidentally immersed in the water.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 2 November 1861


A child named Hellen Lane, the daughter of a man in the employ of George Hall, Esq., Forks of the Ashburton, was drowned on Friday, and an inquest was held by Dr. Rayner, Coroner for the Timaru district, on Tuesday the 15th August, at Turton's Accommodation House, River Ashburton.  It is supposed the child was blown into the creek by a north-wester whilst she was crossing a small bridge; she was not missed until dinner time when, search being made, Mr. Hudson, the overseer, found the body in the creek.  A verdict of "Accidentally Drowned" was returned, the Coroner expressing in strong terms his thanks to Mr. Turton for the promptitude with which he collected a jury, and his civility and attention at the inquest. ...


COLONIST, 5 November 1861



AN inquest was held on Saturday evening last, at the Pier Hotel, Haven-road, on the body of a female infant (name unknown), which was found at the Croixelles a little above high-water mark, on the previous Sunday.

   It appears from the evidence of Patrick O'Connor that he went in company with a man named Michael Sullivan to Current Basin, for the purpose of searching for minerals; and that going by the beach they saw the aforesaid body lying on its left side with a Maori basket fastened to a silk handkerchief, which was tied round the body under the armpits.  The body was dressed in a white linen or calico wrapper, and underneath a flannel one attached to a calico body; it had no shoes or cap; it had on two napkins pinned in front; a white cambric handkerchief was twisted round the silk handkerchief; there was no name on it, but the corners had either been torn or cut off, and it was quite new.  No marks of violence appeared on the body; it could not have been long in the water, as they passed the spot on the previous Thursday, and nothing of the sort was seen then.  The brig Gazelle was standing to the northward on the Sunday morning the body was seen, but on inquiries from the captain afterwards they were informed that he had no female passengers on board.

   Drs. Williams and Sealey made a post mortem examination, and gave it as their opinion that the child was dead before it was placed in the water; but from the decomposed state of the face and neck, they did not feel justified in expressing a confident opinion as to whether the child had been suffocated by a ligature placed round its neck; they believed the child did not die from convulsions, or from any natural cause.  The child was the offspring of white parents.

   The jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.


Yesterday an inquest was held at the house of Mr. H. Redwood, Waimea West, touching the death of Esau Russ, who was killed by a gunshot wound, inflicted by Joseph Ellis, on Saturday last.  The prisoner and deceased were both in the service and on the premises of Mr. Redwood at the time of the occurrence.  Joseph Ellis arrived in the colony about three years since by the ship Camilla, in which he had been cook.

   The body, which had been placed in a brick cottage in the rear of the stable where the occurrence took place, presented a frightful appearance, and decomposition was far advanced when the jury viewed the body.  The inquiry lasted from about 12 a.m. to ¼ past 6 p.m.

   The following are the names of the Jury:- John Ayers (foreman), John Palmer, E. W. Bullerd, Henry Tomlinson, John Chapman, Mark Newth, Thomas Ford, Benjamin Morgan, Walter Kerr, Alex. Drummond, John Thomas, George Thorburn, and Edwin Thomas.

   James Wratten, sworn: Am a laborer, and live at Waimea West.  Knew Esau Russ, who is now dead.  That is his dead body now lying in the cottage in the rear of Mr. Redwood's stable.  Last saw him alive about ¼ to 6 on Saturday night last; he was in company with J. Ellis and myself in the harness room in Mr. Redwood's stables.  They were having some dispute about a little foal belonging to Mr. Redwood; the dispute grew to a quarrel.  Deceased was sitting on the table in the harness room, and Joseph Ellis came up to deceased in a threatening manner, as if to strike him; neither of them had any weapon in his hand then; prisoner did not strike him then.  They both came out of the harness room into the archway of the stables, and had further words of dispute, and Ellis went up to him and struck him on the body with his fist.  They tussled together, and fell down on the brick floor, grappling and striking each other as they best could.  After a minute pr two they separated, and both got up, deceased rising first.  Joseph Ellis renewed the fight by attacking the deceased, grappling him with his arms; both fell again.  Cannot say which was undermost at first; they got over each other alternately, striking each other. Don't know how long this continued, as I went away.

   Did not interfere to stop the fight, as I did not think it was anything serious; but they would fight it out and be done.  Previous to the fight I heard them calling each other liars.  Did not hear either of them threaten the other's life during the fight or dispute.  Before the dispute commenced, I saw a gun upon the harness room table, where the deceased had been sitting; it was a double-barrelled gun.  Don't know if it was loaded'; one of the hammers was down and the other half-cocked; there was a cap upon the nipple of the one at half-cock.  Am sure it was not at full cock; cannot say which barrel it was had the lock at half-cock.  The stock of the gun was at the side of the table nearest the entrance door.

   By a Juror: Joseph Ellis is a smallish man; the deceased was bigger, but not a large man.  Didn't think it an unfair fight.

   By another Juror: Didn't hear Joseph Ellis cry out for help before I left the stable.

   Elizabeth Bolton sworn: Am the wife of Edward Bolton, of Waimea West, and the daughter of Henry Redwood, sen.; was at my father's house on Saturday last.  Knew Esau Russ, the deceased.  Know Joseph Ellis; saw them together about five o'clock in the evening; they were fighting together in the archway of my father's stables; they were down on the ground struggling together.  Was sitting at the window of the sitting room which commands a view of the place.  A few minutes afterwards I went into the kitchen but returned without going out; resumed my seat opposite the window, when one of my children, named Francis, told me they would kill each other; went out then into the yard towards the stables; saw Joseph Ellis; I stood with the intention of calling Jesse Redwood to make pace, but did not call, as I saw Joseph Ellis coming towards me as if to speak to me.  Russ was not in the yard at this time; I did not see him.  Ellis turned round the corner of the stable near the archway; perceived then he had a gun in his hand.  Called as loudly as I could 'Don't Joe,' and held up my arms.  The stable door was about three parts open; saw Ellis put the muzzle of the gun through the opening of the door; Ellis was standing up at the time; he did it very rapidly and the gun went off instantly; it was so quickly done that I cannot say in which hand he held the gun when it was discharged; when I first saw it he carried the gun about mid-thigh.  Did not observe whether the gun was cocked or not; did not see him cock it; after the gun went off I said "Oh, he doesn't scream! He doesn't scream!" Ellis then put the gun down near the harness-room door.  Did not lose sight of Ellis during this time; the harness-room is in the centre of the building under the archway, with a stable-door on either side of it.  It was in the door to the left as I faced the harness-room where the gun was fired.  Didn't see Russ from the time they were struggling on the ground.  From the time I saw them struggling on the ground to the time when I heard the shot fired, as nearly as I can now state, was about ten minutes.  Do not think it could be more; think it was ten minutes.  Heard no words pass between them while they were struggling.  Did not hear Ellis say anything while he had the gun in his hand; we walked rather slowly during that time.  From the manner in which the gun was held and presented when the shot was fired, it appeared to me intentionally fired.

   After the shot was fired Ellis came across the yard to me and I said "Joe, what have you done?" cannot remember the precise words that he replied, but it was to the effect that he had killed him; he only said "him."  While he was speaking to me my cousin, Mr. Jessie Redwood, came by us and I said to Ellis "he isn't dead," and he replied "he is."  I then went to the house and met my father: I s aid "father, Esau's dead."  My father went towards the stables, and I went into the house and saw no more.  No one had gone from the stables between the firing of the shot and when I saw my father.

   By a juror: I did not hear Ellis call out for help while they were struggling on the ground.  On my saying "he is not dead," Ellis replied, "he is, I did it in a passion, I could not help it."  Know the witness James Wratten; he was not in the yard at the time; between the time of first seeing the gun and hearing it fired could not be more than a minute's time, it was so quickly done.

   F. A. Laking, sworn: Am a surgeon residing near Richmond.  Knew Esau Russ; that was his body I saw in the presence of the jury.  Judge his age to be about 25 years.

   Examined his body, and found a large lacerated gaping wound close above the right clavicle or collar bone.  On probing the wound I found common carotid artery and great jugular veins severed.  The trachea and pharynx were shattered; the cervical vertebrae were also shattered, with much debris of bone.  The external aperture of the wound was about 2 inches in diameter, and fully 4 inches deep.  The soft parts of the neck internally were for the most part lacerated and destroyed.  Deceased must have been alive when the wound, which was the cause of his death, was inflicted.  Instant death must have resulted from the wound.

   Am of opinion that the wound was caused by a gun loaded with shot; if it had been a ball the wound would have been cleaner.  It must have been fired very close to deceased, because marks of the powder were on the skin.  From the direction of the wound it would appear that the deceased had been slightly inclined forward when he received it; the gun, I think, when fired being in nearly a horizontal position.

   Francis Bolton (about twelve years of age), sworn: I remember on Saturday evening last I was at tea in the sitting room of Mr. Redwood's house, about five o'clock.  Knew Esau Russ.  Saw him with Ellis in the archway of the stables fighting with their fists.  There was no other person in the yard with them.  They were on the ground when I first saw them under the archway.  Saw them get up, when Esau Russ ran in to the stable on the left side.  While they were on the ground struggling heard Joe Ellis cry out for help.  Do not know if he cried out more than once.  They struggled for a minute or two before Russ ran into the stable.  Saw Ellis then go into the harness room.  He came out at once with a gun in his hand, and went to the door of the stable where Esau had gone ion, and called out to him 'to come out and be shot, or else to stay in and be shot.' Heard the words distinctly, although I was in the room and the window was shut.  He then drew back, raised the gun to his shoulder, and fired in through the opening of the door.  Heard no more threatening words used before the shot was fired.  After the shot was fired saw Ellis speaking to Jessie redwood at the pump.  Heard Ellis say to Jesse, 'I have settled him.'

   By a Juror: Was in the parlor when the gun was fired.  When I heard Joe threatening Esau the dining-room door was open.  It opens into a passage which leads into the yard.  Ellis spoke very loudly.  Am sure I heard him say distinctly what I mentioned.  There were my grandmother, mother, and three sisters in the room with me at the time.  It was about two minutes from the time of their getting off the ground to the firing of the gun.  It was immediately after they rose from the ground that Esau went into the stable and Joe into the harness room.  He made no delay there, but came at once.  Did not see Joe look at the door while he stood there, or go round to look into the window.  The stable door was partly open.  Was not in the stable during the fight.  Did not see James Wratten in the yard during the fighting.  Do not remember how Ellis carried the gun when going to the stable.

   Jesse Redwood was sworn, but his evidence was similar that what had been before stated.

   Henry Redwood sworn: Reside in Waimea West.  On Saturday night last was in the sitting room taking my tea when the little boy, Francis Bolton, ran to me and said, "Grandpa, Joe Ellis has shot Esau."  I immediately ran out, and met Ellis coming towards the house; I passed him, and said, 'You dirty scoundrel, you villain, what have you been doing?'  he said, "I was in a passion."  I went to the stable and looked in at the left hand door, which was about a third open, and there I saw Esau Russ lying dead with a large wound in the throat.

   Charles Redwood sworn: Am son of Mr. H. Redwood, and reside with him.  Was present when the dispute arose.  Saw them come to blows in the archway of my father's stable; saw them fall once.  Did not interfere.

   By a juror: When I got near the first gate from my house I heard Ellis cry out "Charles," but I did not return.

   Mary Ann Bolton sworn: Am the daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Bolton.  Saw Esau Russ and Joe Ellis fighting.  Ellis was underneath and Esau had his knees on him, and thumping him with his fists.  Went into the house to tell grandpa, who s aid they had better fight it out.  Shortly afterwards I heard a shot: my brother Francis then ran in and said that Joseph has shot Esau.  Joseph afterwards came to me and said he had shot him in a passion and couldn't help it.  When I first saw the quarrelling my brother Francis was having his tea in the sitting room, the window of which commands a view of the stables.  My brother remained in the room until after the shot was fired.  During the fighting I heard Ellis call out three times for my uncle Charles, I mean Charles Redwood: he called the name three times, and afterwards aid "help me."

   The Coroner having carefully summed up the evidence to the jury, and defined the nature of the law upon the crimes of murder and manslaughter, they were left to consider their verdict, and after half-an-hour's deliberation, that of Manslaughter was returned against Joseph Ellis.

   The Coroner then asked the prisoner if he had anything to say, giving him the usual caution.  The prisoner declined making any statement.  The Coroner then added a few apposite remarks upon the necessity of persons interfering to prevent breaches of the peace.  The witnesses were then bound over to appear at the next sitting of the Supreme Court in January, and the prisoner was conveyed to the Nelson jail to await his trial.






An inquest was held, on Saturday evening last, at Mr. Winterburn's, the Pier Hotel, Haven-road, on the body of an infant discovered at the Croixelles harbour, as mentioned in our issue of Saturday last.

   Patrick O'Connor, being sworn, said: I am a labourer living in Nelson.  I lately went, in company with Michael Sullivan, to Current Basin, in search of minerals.  On Saturday morning last we left Current Basin for the Croixelles, going overland.  The sea was very rough, and prevented our getting round until late, as we had to go along the beach.  When turning into the Croixelles, near the first lagoon, and while Sullivan was ahead of me, I saw something white, at about the high water mark, and Sullivan seemed about to step on it.  He exclaimed "Here is a child," I said "No it is no child, what are you talking about."  I had a pick with me, and, with the handle, I moved the bundle and then saw a little hand.  It was a child's hand.  We walked on for about two or three chains, and then spoke about burying it.  We, however, agreed to leave it until the next morning as it was then getting dark.  We then camped for the night at the next lagoon, and, at about four o'clock the following morning, we returned to where the body was.

   It was lying partly on its left side, with a Maori basket fastened to a silk handkerchief round the body just under the armpits.  There was a little sand in the basket though not more than might have been washed into it.  The child had a white linen or calico wrapper, and, underneath that, a flannel attached to a calico body.  It had no shoes or cap.  There were two napkins on it, which were pinned in front.  There was a white cambric handkerchief twisted round the silk handkerchief I have mentioned.  I untwisted it, having first cut the silk handkerchief with my knife.  I examined it, expecting to find a name on it.  I did not find any, but saw that two corners had been torn or cut off.  The handkerchief seemed a new one.  I examined the body; it was that of a female child about six weeks old.  It was not a new-born infant.  It was black around the mouth and nostrils, and one side of the head was discoloured.  It was not like as nude.  I examined the head and neck, and did not discover any other marks but those I have mentioned.  It was a white-skinned child.  The nails of the left hand were torn a little, apparently from the rocks.  We buried it.  I laid the handkerchief over the face, then Maori basket over that, and then covered the body with grass.  We then put on the mould we had dug out, and on that we put some boulder stones which we fetched from the beach.  We then again covered the whole with logs of wood which we found on the beach. Both handles of the basket were tied with the handkerchief.

   There had been a very heavy sea running on the beach.  I do not think the body could have been long in the water.  On the Sunday, Sullivan said he had seen a vessel standing out to the northward.  I also went, and saw it.  She was pitching heavily.  When we reached Croixelles, on Monday, we saw the brig Gazelle anchored there.  The captain said he had no female passengers on board.

   Michael Sullivan, being sworn, said: I reported the finding of the body to the Superintendent and Mr. Poynter.  The latter desired me to accompany a constable to the spot where we buried the child.  I went.  We brought the child, together with the Maori basket, and the clothes found on it, to Nelson.

   George Williams, being sworn, said: I am a surgeon.  I have examined the body of an infant child now lying in a shed adjoining this house.  It is a female child, about from eight to twelve weeks old.  There were no marks of violence upon it.  The appearances were such as might have been produced through the clothing not having been changed for some time.  The right eye was destroyed, apparently, by maggots which filled the orbit.  The mouth, also, contained maggots.  I made a post mortem examination, and, from what I saw, I believe the child died from suffocation.  I did not see anything to indicate that the suffocation was caused by drowning. I think the child had been dead from seven to ten days.  I believe the child was dead before it was placed in the water.  I believe the child did not die from any natural cause. The child was of white parents.

   Dr. Sealey confirmed this evidence.

   The jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.


COLONIST, 8 November 1861


[Before J. POYNTER, Esq., Resident Magistrate, R. R. NEWCOMBE Esq., J.P., and G. WHITE, Esq., J.P.]



Matilda Jane Haslam was brought up by the Serjeant Major of police, charged with being the mother of the female child which was found at the Croixelles; an account of which we gave in our last issue.  [Evidence of Michael Sullivan; Thomas Harley, Dr. Williams.]

   The Resident Magistrate said he must remand the prisoner for further evidence.

   Mr. Kingdon said he would save the court further trouble by giving the prisoner's own statement.  It was one of those painful cases which occur when there is no place of refuge in such unfortunate circumstances. (The prisoner here handed in to the clerk of the court the following statement, which was read and taken as evidence for or against her.

About the twenty-fourth day of September last I went over to Wellington in the Wonga Wonga steamer, and was there confined.  Shortly after I felt very ill in the head and back, and fearing I should get an attack of fever the medical man gave me some medicine which drove away my milk; the child suffered severely from the want of the milk, and I was advised to give it something to nourish it with; so I gave it some Godfrey's cordial.  One night the child was more unwell than usual; I had no cordial in the house, but I had some rum and peppermint which I was in the habit of taking.  I gave it a teaspoonful, which it sucked down and appeared relieved. When it again commenced to scream, I gave it some more in a table spoon, which took away the child's breath.  I felt frightened at the appearance of the child, and danced it up and down for about a quarter of an hour, but it died.

  I knew not then what to do, I had no friend to consult, so I kept the body until the time of departure of the Wonga Wonga steamer for Nelson, when I went on board, taking the body in a Maori basket under my cape, intending to bring it on to Nelson; but during the voyage. As the body began to smell I tied the handles of the basket together, and in the evening dropped it over the side of the vessel with the clothes and handkerchief around the body, the same which have been produced.  I declare most positively that I had no thought of destroying the child, but on the contrary thought the rum and peppermint would relieve it from pain, as the cordial had often done before.


Dated this sixth day of November, 1861.

   The Resident Magistrate said he was under the painful necessity of committing the prisoner for trial, and recommended Mr. Kingdon to procure what evidence he could from Wellington to corroborate the statement just put in.  Bail was refused.




INTELLIGENCE has just arrived from Wanganui, that Sergeant Collins of the 65th Regt., went into the room of Ensign Alexander, at Wanganui, and, after using an offensive expression, levelled his rifle and shot him dead on the spot.  The culprit was immediately apprehended.  A Coroner's Inquest was held on view of the body, and a verdict of wilful murder returned. The prisoner was then fully committed to take his trial at the next Criminal Sittings of the Supreme Court at Wellington, and the Witnesses bound over to prosecute.  Both parties belonging to the 65th regt., and being with the Detachment so many years stationed at Wellington, are well known to the inhabitants.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 9 November 1861


 An inquest was held on Thursday last, at the KaiKainui Hotel, Kaiapoi, before Charles Dudley, Esq., J.P., to inquire into the cause of the death of Jane Tomlinson, who died somewhat suddenly the previous day.  Mary Jane Boniface, duly sworn, stated, I am thirteen years of age, and know the meaning of an oath.  I am a daughter of the deceased.  She has been unwell for three months, but for the last three weeks has been worse, she has complained of pains in her head and stomach, and yesterday was worse than I have seen her before.  She has taken no food for four days, only some wine and water.  When I offered to get anything for her she said that I had not knowledge enough for it.  My father is dead and my mother was married to George Tomlinson last August.  He left home last Sunday week to go to Dunedin.  My mother told me that her husband was a brute to go away and leave her so ill.  Last Sunday three weeks he kicked her on the leg, and left a bruise; her leg was black and swollen so much that she could hardly get on her stocking.  He has behaved better to her for the last three weeks, but he used to behave very cruel and unkind before that.  I have seen him beat my mother many times when he was drunk.  My mother was ill some time ago and had a doctor, and when the bill came in my father-in-law swore and beat her, and her mother then swore that she would die before she would ever have another.  That she told me was the reason why a doctor was not sent for now.  She said she thought that 'worry' would kill her, because her husband was so cross and always swearing at her, my mother seemed so ill then.

   I sent for Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Moody, as I did not like to be by myself.  There was no one but myself to attend to her since my father-in-law left.  When he left my mother had some money and some debts to get in. - Mrs. Jones deposed as follows: I went by request of last witness to see deceased yesterday.  I found her very ill, but saw no reason to suppose that she would die.  I thought she wanted nourishment, and made some gruel and sent it to her.  I wanted her to send for medical advice but she declined. - Ann Moody stated that she went on the previous day to see deceased b y request of her daughter.  Found her very ill, and her hands cold and of a dark colour; she died in a few minutes after, saying that she did not know what was the matter with her.

   Samuel Beswick, surgeon, sworn: I have made an examination of deceased.  There is an old contusion on the right leg extending from the knee to the ancle, which must have been caused by a blow during life.  The liver was extensively diseased and enlarged.  The stomach contained about a pint of fluid, apparently water.  I consider that death was caused by the diseased state of the liver with want of proper treatment.  I think that if she had received proper medical treatment she might have recovered from the disease of the liver.  The disease would produce great exhaustion and debility sufficient to cause a fatal result, combined with the want of proper medical treatment.  I think that the disease would be accelerated by the ill treatment which she appears to have received from her husband.

   The jury retired for about twenty minutes, and returned the following verdict: 'that the deceased died from natural causes, hastened by ill treatment from her husband.'



HASLAM: Address by Mr. Kingdon to the Court.


COLONIST, 12 November 1861

Editorial, with extracts, on the Russ and Haslam cases.


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 12 November 1861


INQUEST. - An inquest was held yesterday afternoon, at the Royal York, before T. Hitchings, Esq., coroner, and a jury, on the body of Ellis Mostyn, a private of the 14th, No. 3 company, who died the same morning under the following circumstances: - On Sunday at 8 p.m., he was brought to the barracks in a state of intoxication, and locked up in the guard room.  He was visited once or twice during the night by the men on guard.  About ½ past 3 he was again visited, and found to be apparently dead.  Staff-Assistant Surgeon Grace made a post mortem examination of the body, from which he had no hesitation in attributing the death of deceased to engorgement of the lungs (pulmonary apoplexy), preventing the necessary aeration of the blood.  The jury (Wm. Parker, foreman) returned as their verdict that deceased came to his death from pulmonary apoplexy, occasioned by drinking.




Very long account.   TBC




An inquest was held by Major Durries on Tuesday on the body of Wm. Thompson.  The verdict returned was, that he was "found drowned on the sea beach, near the heads of the Wanganui river."  The deceased had been working as a sawyer and went with one of his companions, Michael Brannigan, from Dunleavy's hotel, on the night of Thursday, the 24th ult.  He had been drinking, and Brannigan gave him two bottles of brandy and left him at the ferry wharf, Thompson intending to go across the river.  Next morning the bottles of brandy were found on the wharf, and Thompson has not been seen since.  On Saturday, the 3rd inst., Mr. Russell, farmer, was going to the Pilot station at the heads, and found a body lying on the sea beach, about a mile from the station, which has been identified as that of Wm. Thompson.  The probability is that he had fallen asleep on the wharf and had either rolled over in his sleep, or on awakening had walked over into the river.  The deceased was about 30 years of age, and unmarried.


 OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 18 November 1861

YESTERDAY morning the body of a man was found floating in the Bay between Dunedin and Port Chalmers.  The features were very much decomposed, and the appearances betokened that the body had been in the water eight or ten days.  It is supposed to be the unfortunate man Carey [Garry], drowned through the upsetting of a boat in the Bay some days back.  It may be remembered that Mr. Macandrew was in the boat, and had a very narrow escape with life.  The body was taken to the Provincial Hotel, where an inquest will be held on it.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 20 November 1861


On Monday week last an in quest was held at Purau,  Rhodes's Bay, before Wm. Donald,. Esq., coroner, on the body of a native child, found drowned in a well.  The Jury, which was composed equally of Europeans and natives, after hearing the evidence, found a verdict of 'accidentally drowned.'

     An inquest was held at the Police Station on Thursday last, before John W. S. Coward, Esq., coroner for Christchurch, upon the body of John Barclay, a bricklayer's labourer, who was found drowned in the river Avon on the previous day, near the Foresters' Hall.  The deceased has left a wife and three children.  Evidence was given to prove that he was very short-sighted, and that he had been drinking freely; he had been last seen near the pound, at half-past seven on Tuesday evening, and as the night was very dark and stormy it was inferred that he had accidentally fallen into the river.  AS verdict to that effect was returned by the jury, accompanied by a request that the Government would take immediate steps to encode the most dangerous parts of the river, and to render the approaches to the bridges more safe than they are at present.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 20 November 1861


An inquest was held at the Provincial hotel, Dunedin, on Monday the 28th inst., before H. Howorth., Esq., Coroner, on the body of Alexander Garry, late of Port Chalmers.

   Henry Harrison, master of the schooner "Jupiter," deposed to finding the body floating in the Harbour while on his way from Dunedin to Port Chalmers on Saturday the 16th instant.

   Margaret Garry deposed to being the wife of the deceased Alex. Garry, and that the last time she saw him alive was that day fortnight.  He was then going up to Dunedin in a boat for flour.  He did not return again, and on the following Wednesday, the 4th inst., she learned that the boat was capsized, and that her husband was drowned.

   By the jury - The clothes that are now on deceased's body, are the same my husband had on the last time I saw him.

   At this stage the inquiry was postponed until the following day.

TUESDAY, 19 Nov.

George Rogers, on oath, deposed that he was a settler residing on the east side of the Upper Harbour, and that he knew the deceased Alex. Garry.  Went on Monday the 4th inst.  He started from the Dunedin jetty in a dingy along with the deceased and three other men, that, when about half-way across the harbour, the boat sank, and they were all thrown into the water.  The boat was heavily laden with flour and provisions, and a wave came in over her bows and swamped her.  He did not see deceased after the boat went down. The boat afterwards came up bottom upwards, and he held on by it till rescued by another boat, which was coming up the harbour at the time.

   By the Jury. - It was blowing very hard at the time the accident took place.  We were all sober.  Before the boat san k we threw some of the flour overboard, but she only went down the faster, as the water then came in over her stern.  The passengers had tasted drink when we left the jetty, but none of them were drunk.  The boat was not leaky, but she was too heavily laden, and when we felt her going down we all stood up.

   The Jury then unanimously returned a verdict of accidental death, accompanied by the following presentment:-

   "That the Jury do strongly deprecate the folly of men leaving the jetty in overladen boats, and wish the authorities to look into these matters in order to prevent any similar accidents for the future."


COLONIST, 26 November 1861


A CORONER'S inquest was held in the Court House, yesterday, on the body of a female child, aged 8 years, named Mary Jane Whiting, who was found drowned on Saturday afternoon last in the Maitai river, between the Collingwood-street bridge and Bush's Mill.

   The following were the jurymen:- Messrs. H. Drew (foreman), E. F. Jones, R. Lucas, Jonah Ashburn, Porthouse, Gentry, Christie, C. Harris, N. T. Lockhart, Tregea, T. Snow, G. Coates, and E. W. Trent.

   The Coroner, in opening the case, told the jury they were summoned that morning to inquire into the cause of the death of the child which was found in the water on Saturday last.  He thought it right to observe by way of caution that it was asserted that the death of this child was attributed to culpable neglect by some persons; he begged they would dismiss all such impressions from their minds, and be guided entirely by the evidence.

   The jury then went to view the body, which was lying in a house next the Wakatu.  On their return the following witnesses were examined.

John Cann sworn: I knew the deceased Mary Jane Whiting; she was the daughter of Henry Whiting, blacksmith; that is the body to the best of my belief, that the jury has just seen; saw her last time alive on Saturday afternoon last, between 3 and 4; saw her in forint of my house in grove-street walking towards the river at Collingwood bridge; she was coming as  from her father's house, which is in continuation towards the hills; there was a plank put across at about 150 yards above the bridge, to cross the river; the plank had been placed there after an accident to the bridge; it has since been removed and replaced there again by the inhabitants; it has now been used as a crossing place for about a week; there is no other crossing  from Collingwood Bridge to bridge-street Bridge that I am aware of; the plank is about 30 feet loving and about 2 feet wide.

   By a juror: It was more than 18 inches wide, and three or four inches thick.

   Examination continued: Do not know whether the child went on that plank or not; never saw her alive after that.

   By a juror: It was originally placed there by the Board of Works and taken away after that; most of the neighbours contributed and replaced the plank the same evening.  The person that removed the plank was a servant of the Board of Works.

   By a juror: My wife heard a scream that evening and looked towards the river where the plank was, but could see nothing.

   Bernard Charles Beak, surgeon, sworn: I reside in Nelson; was called on last Saturday to see the deceased at the house of Mrs. York, by the river side.  Found the deceased lying on the floor in a blanket near the fire; the surface of the body general and the extremities were cold; the lips livid - not the least signs of respiration or pulse at the wrist; the heart's action was not perceptible.  Considered the case almost hopeless from the commencement.  There was an appearance of frothy mucus; the eyes appeared to have a filmy appearance; made every effort for nearly an hour to resuscitate the body, but without success; life was quite extinct.  I used artificial respiration, had the body put in a warm bath, gave a teaspoonful of brandy, and used friction of hot flannels while the bath was being prepared, but to no purpose.  The cause of her death was asphyxia from  drowning. 

   By a juror: The body might have been in the water for 20 minutes, from its appearance, but cannot say to a certainty how long.  Saw no appearance of any external injury whatever.

   Emma Lewis sworn: Knew the deceased; she came to my house on Saturday last, at about half-past two.  I live in the Wood.  I asked her to go an errand for me into town.  She said, "Yes, aunt."  I told her to go to Mr. Trent's for some groceries, and gave her half-a-crown and a Maori basket to bring the articles in; she went towards the broken part of Collingwood-street bridge.  Not seeing her from the back part of my house go over, I concluded that she was playing with some children; I can see the plank put for crossing from my back-door.  I went down to the river, but could not see her.  Asked a person of the name of Forman if he had seen her; he said he had not.  I then returned home, thinking she would soon return.  This was about a quarter to three o'clock.  She intended going by the Bishop's to go over the Bridge-street bridge; there was nothing said about her crossing the plank.

   By a juror: Do not consider the plank safe for any one to pass over.

   John Sherwood sworn: Am a constable in Nelson.  On Saturday last, in the afternoon, about 20 minutes past 3, was standing at the Trafalgar corner, when Mr. Balme, coachbuilder, asked me if I was on duty; said I was; he said there was a girl drowned in the Maitai, and told me to go and see; he pointed out down by the mill; went down, and was overtaken by Henry Balm and A. Rankin in a cart, going towards the water. Mr. Balme got out, and Rankin went forward in the water; I went in on foot; saw the body near a flax-bush; she had a Maori basket in her hand.  There was a considerable fresh in the river.  Rankin reached the place where the body was first; he left his cart standing, and went towards the body and got hold of it.  The place is about 150 yards below the Collingwood bridge.  We both brought the body out; the current was very strong, and the water was from two and a-half to three feet deep; froth was coming out of her nose and mouth, and the clothes were all wet; took the body to the house of widow York.  As soon as we got to the bank I sent messengers for the nearest doctors.  Dr. Beal was the first to arrive; he came within 5 or 6 minutes after we got the body.  We had the child stripped, and were rubbing it in a blanket when the doctor arrived.  Cannot say that there was any sign of life when the doctor came.

   Henry Balm con firmed the evidence of the previous witness.

   The Coroner, in summing up, said there was no evidence to show how the child got into the water - whether she fell from the bank or the plank.  No negligence could be attributed to the Board of Works in this matter.

   The jury, after a few minutes consultation, returned the following verdict: - 'Found drowned, but by what means the child got into the river, there is no evidence to show.'

[See also Nelson Examiner, 27 November:  William Hunt, questioned b y the Coroner, said: I am twelve years old.  I do not go to school.  I do not go to Church.  I do not know the nature of an oath.  I know nothing of religion.  I know there is a God.  I think he will punish people, who tell lies, after they die.  I do not know if my soul will live after my body does.  I came from Taranaki here.

   The Coroner: I do not see my way to administer an oath to this boy.  It is lamentable to see a boy so frightfully neglected.  I cannot receive his evidence.]


OTAGO DAILY NEWS, 28 November 1861

AN awful case of sudden death occurred on Monday last.  Mr. Archibald Currie retired to rest on Sunday night in his usual health and spirits, and, in the morning, not coming down at his accustomed hour, his daughter on going into his room found him dead in his bed.  An inquest was held at the Royal George, before H. Howorth, Esq., Coroner, when it appeared from the medical evidence of Dr. Burns, that death had resulted from serous apoplexy.  Deceased was formerly in the Customs' department.


LYTTELTON TIMES, 30 November 1861


A little girl, six years old, of the name of Sherritt was drowned in a water hole near the Wesleyan Chapel, on the Island, Kaiapoi, on Saturday last.  An inquest was held on the body the following Monday when a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 7 December 1861


It will be remembered that, some time ago, three soldiers were drowned, and the bodies found of only two.  That of the third was discovered a day or two ago, at the mouth of the river, and an inquest was subsequently held upon it - verdict the same as before.


On Saturday last a man named Higginbotham, who had gone to sleep at Mr. Sim's house, Mohaka, in a state of intoxication, was found to be dead.  There is no coroner for this district, but a formal enquiry was made as to the cause of death, when a verdict was returned of "Died by the visitation of God."


HAWKE'S BAY HERALD, 14 December 1861



On Tuesday last a child of about a year old, named James Masterton, was burnt to death through a lighted stick which he took from the fire having ignited his clothing.  An inquest was subsequently held upon the body, resulting in a verdict of accidental death.



Letter to the Editor from John Boyes, constable, Morueka, complaining of coroner's actions at recent inquest.


PRESS, 21 December 1861


An inquest was held a few days ago, by Dr. Donald, on a child named Hill, aged four years, who had fallen into a well and was drowned.  A verdict of "accidental death" was returned.

   We have been requested by the police authorities to call the attention of parents and those persons who have wells on their premises, to the necessity of having some proper covering over them. ...


COLONIST, 24 December 1861


(From the Lyttelton Tines.)

On Tuesday, 3d December, Mr. A. Anderson, of Kaiapoi, whilst bathing at the Saltwater Creek, was apparently seized with cramp and drowned.  It appears the deceased entered the water whilst in a violent state of perspiration.  Although the pool of water in which he bathed was only six or eight yards across either way, yet from the depth being as much as eighteen feet in the centre, it was three hours before the body was recovered.  The deceased was accompanied by William Forbes and Walter Burrage, who rendered every assistance in their power.


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 24 December 1861


(Before Thos. Beckham, Esq., R.M., and W. C. Daldy, J.P.)

SHORTLY after the routine business had been disposed of yesterday at the Resident Magistrate's court, an inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Frank Keith Adair, late third mate of the ship 'Mermaid,' was gone into before the presiding justices.

   Mr. F. WHITAKER said he attended on behalf of the captain and owners of the ship 'Mermaid,' lately arrived at the port of Auckland from London, to offer such evidence to the court as it was in the captain's power to bring forward regarding the death of the late third officer of that ship.  The unfortunate circumstances which led to this inquiry occurred during the voyage from London, and as the captain had had no means of holding an investigation on board, he took the earliest opportunity of applying to the authorities on his arrival here, to make such inquiries into the matter as would preserve the character of the ship, and save the captain from any unfair imputations by the friends of the deceased, who would naturally enough complain were some official cognisance not taken of the event, when they read the note which the deceased wrote previous to his death regarding the treatment he had received in the ship.  The following was the note referred to:-

"Wednesday, 3 p.m. - I can't bear my life any longer.  This is like a grave with a living inhabitant.  You have not treated me fairly, though I suppose you thought differently.  I have heard reports of my being charged with something more than I am at present aware of.  I swear on the oath of a dying man, I am guiltless of anything except getting drunk and violence.

   Never, as you have a heart, inflict the misery you have inflicted on me on another of God's creatures.  God forgive you, and have mercy on me.  Ask Mr. Allom to write to my father. - A.K."

[This was written in pencil on a page torn from a small pocket diary.  It was folded and addressed, "Captain Rose," in pencil writing on the outside.]

The necessity for holding an inquiry was apparent after reading this note, but owing to the absence of the body of the deceased a coroner's inquiry could not be held.  The only thing to be done was to secure a magisterial inquiry, and examine such witnesses as might be able to throw light on the unhappy transaction, and show whether any doubtful circumstances existed.

   But so far as he (Mr. Whitaker) was aware, there were no doubtful circumstances to be detailed, nor was there the slightest suspicion attaching to any party.  The bench would, however, inquire into all the circumstances relating to the death of the unfortunate man and declare, after reviewing it, whether blame could be attached to any person or not.

   Mr. BECKHAM - Do you intend to conduct the inquiry?

   Mr. WHITAKER - No; I desire that the court may do it.  I will first call the captain of the ship.

   HENRY ROSE examined - I am captain of the ship "Mermaid." She arrived at Auckland last Monday morning, the 16th instant, from London.  She was a passenger ship, full in the saloon, but there was not a sufficient number of passengers on board to being her under the "Passenger Act."  She was commanded by myself, and I had four mates.  The third mate was named I believe, Frank Keith Adair.  He was drunk three times during the voyage, and used very abusive language.  I overlooked the first occasion when he was drunk.  I merely reprimanded him then, but did not enter the offence in the log.  On the 22nd October I made the following entry -

"Oct. 22, 1861. - Soon after midnight Mr. Adair, 3rd officer, was found to be in a state of intoxication, using abusive language.

4 a.m., complained to the chief officer, who had charge of the deck, that the men would not come off to muster as usual.  Upon Mr. Deighton inquiring the cause, they replied they would not be bullied by the third mate.  He then commenced abusing the chief officer, and challenged him to fight.  I was then called by the chief mate, and I immediately went on deck and put Mr. Adair off duty, but he refused to go below, and continued on deck abusing several persons.  He also went forward and cut the hose attached to the fire engine, rendering it useless for the time.

1 p.m. - Mr. Adair having slept, and being now sober, called him aft and told him that this being the second offence of a similar nature, I did not consider him fit to hold an officer's position, and that for the future he should do his duty before the mast.  This he refused to do, upon which I told him he should be kept in confinement for the remainder of the passage.  I then ordered the carpenter to prepare the hatch-house for his reception, and at 6 p.m., confined him in it."

(Signed) H. ROSE, Master, R. M. DEIGHTON, C O.

   Examination continued - I ordered him before the mast, and he refused to go, and then I put him into solitary confinement during the rest of the voyage.  The chief mate had charge of the watch in which the third mate was.  There are two officers in each watch.  It was the duty of both officers to be on deck during their watch.  He was first found drunk at twelve o'clock at night, abusing the people about the deck.

   Mr. BECKHAM - How do officers and seamen get liquor on board to get drunk?

   Capt. ROSE - I know that my cargo was broached by the crew, but by whom I don't know.  I found that out on September 28th.  They broke through the bulk-head from the fore store room to the cargo. The chief officer has general charge of all stores on board the ship; the boatswain and purser have charge of their own peculiar stores.  The third officer had been drunk before.  I discovered the cargo was broached.  I put a lock and key on the bulkhead, after it had been first broken through, and it was broken open again.   It was the duty of the third officer to go down with the seamen, for sails or ropes, to the store-room, from which they broke through into the cargo.  There was a good deal of beer stowed near the bulkhead.  Beer was broached.  We were obliged to take in the cargo as we received it.  The captain is responsible for how the ship is laden; but, in this case, I did not go on board until a few days before she sailed.  We had a regular stevedore, who is held responsible to the owners; but we are responsible to the merchants here in case of loss or damage.

   Up to September 7th the conduct of Mr. Adair was good.  His friends asked me as a favour to take charge of him, as they could not get a ship for him.  I knew that drink was his failure ashore, from what they told me.  he only received 1s. a month as wages.  The length of the hatch-house where the third mate was confined was 8 feet 2 inches inside, breadth 7 feet 4 inches, height 5 feet 10 ½ inches.  There were two doors and four windows.  There was plenty of air.

   Mr. BECKHAM - What became of the third mate subsequently to the 22nd October? 

   He was confined up to December 11th, when he hung himself.  The following is the entry in the log -

"Wednesday, December 11th, 1861, 5 p.m. - On boy Dixon going at the usual hour with Mr. Adair's tea, found him hanging to the roof of the hatch-house, by his comforter made fast round his neck.  He immediately reported it to me, and I hastened to cut him down, and called for the doctor, who proceeded with the usual remedies to restore animation, and at 8 p.m. pronounced life extinct.  On inquiring when he was last seen I was told by the boatswain that he had seen him about 4 p.m., looking out of the window.  Found two notes he had written, one addressed to self, and one to Mr. Dearden, 4th mate.

(Signed) H. ROSE, master, R. M. DEIGHTON, C.O., ABRAHAM [mark] CORAN, JAMES NIXON."

Examination continued -

   During the greater part of his confinement he had had an hour's exercise every day on the poop.  Up to October 30th, he was exercised on the poop; but conceiving that this annoyed the passengers, I changed the place of exercise to the quarter-deck.  He had books, and pipe and tobacco, during his confinement.  He made no complaints of his health during his confinement.  He was not supposed to converse with any one, but I believe he did talk through the glass. He once asked to see the doctor, who went to him.  He asked me to be allowed to be more at liberty, but I looked upon him as a prisoner, and thought the exercise I gave him sufficient.  He died on the 11th December, five days before we came to port.  I was the first to go into the hatch-house.  I cut him down with my own hands.  I found the letter read by Mr. Whitaker on the floor of the hatch-house.  Up to the 22nd October his dinner was bread and water, and from that, his food was the same as if he had been at work.  On one occasion he broke out of confinement.  This is the entry in the log -

"Saturday, November 30, 1861. - 1 a.m. - I was awakened by Mr. Stafford, saloon passenger, who informed me that Mr. Adair had broken out of confinement, and had been in his cabin, and was evidently the worse for liquor.  Upon going on deck the boatswain reported the same to me.  I then saw the prisoner, and on my ordering him into his house he ran away and hid.  After searching some time, discovered him struggling with the boatswain in the port forecastle.  I then ordered him to go into his house, which he obeyed, and when abreast of the hatch-house, he told me to 'go to h---,' besides using other obscene language.  I then put him into irons, but found a short time afterwards that he had managed to slip them off.  Finding the hand cuffs too large, endeavoured to secure him by lashing; but not wishing to stop the circulation of the blood b y lashing too tight, he slipped them off three times.  All this time he used very threatening and filthy language to self and chief officer, called me a -----, and threatened the life of self and chief officer.

   I then handcuffed him a second timer with his hands behind his back, but soon found he had released himself, as he commenced smashing the windows of the hatch-house in which he was confined.  Finding him quiet after this, I allowed him to remain in the house, without irons during the day, and secured in irons at night. (Signed_) H. ROSE, master, R. M. DEIGHTON, C.O., GEORGE BULMER."

Examination continued -

   The next day I made an inquiry as to how he got the liquor, and had released himself, and the result of my investigation is in the following entry -

"Monday, Dec. 2, 1861, 11 a.m. - Having had information that the prisoner had been drinking with two of the steerage passengers, named Lloyd and Ciomb. I questioned Lloyd on the subject, who first denied and then admitted having been in the prisoner's company on the starboard side of the forecastle, and had there given him (Adair) two nips of spirits, and that after he had left their company his companion Ciomb had also given the prisoner some more.  On being further questioned Lloyd informed me that the prisoner had been in the starboard side of the forecastle, and that others as well as himself knew of the circumstance.


H. ROSE, master, ALBERT ADAMSON LLOYD, R. M. DEIGHTON, C. O."         

Mr. BECKHAM - How do the steerage passengers get drink?

Captain ROSE - A small quantity of spirits, or wine, or porter is usually sold to a passenger if he requires it.  This is customary in all Australian ships.  The quantity is left to the discretion of the captain.

ABRAHAM CORAN examined -

I am boatswain of the ship 'Mermaid.' I was in that ship during the whole voyage.  I recollect the third mate, Mr. Adair.  He was drunk three times during the voyage.  The captain overlooked the first case of drunkenness, afterwards he used abusive language to him and other people on board - part of the crew and passengers; he was then in a beastly state of intoxication. The captain confined him in the main hatch house.  The last time I saw him alive was about four o'clock in the afternoon, five days previous to out coming to the port of Auckland.  He was looking out of the after part of the hatch-house.  He appeared to be in his usual way; he usually laughed at the people passing and repassing.  He appeared to be quite cheerful, and seemed to wish to get some one to speak to him.  I saw him three or four times a day during his confinement.  I exercised him every other evening.  He made no complaints about his confinement, but he several times threatened the chief officer's life to me.  The last time he escaped from the hatch-house I attacked him, and assisted to put him back, and after that he did not appear to be so friendly with me.  He never complained of his food to me. 

   I rubbed his body for two hours after he was cut down.  The greater part of his time was taken up reading during his confinement.  When he was in a state of intoxication he was very noisy and troublesome.  He was not what I would call a powerful man - nearly as stout as myself.  I took the third officer's watch after he was confined.  The first and third officers appeared to be on good terms until after he took to drink.  I do not know how he got the drink.  He threatened to take the chief officer's life when I attacked him to put him back into the hatch-house.  He was then drunk.

   JAMES NIXON examined - I am cabin-boy in the ship 'Mermaid.'  I recollect the third mate - Mr. Adair.  I used to take his meals to him, morning, noon, and night, during his confinement in the hatch-house.  He had bread and coffee for breakfast, potatoes and meat at dinner; but for the first few days he had bread and water for sinner.  He used to leave some of his food after meals.  He said to me that he was happy enough there doing nothing.  On December 11th, at 5 p.m., I saw him suspended to the ceiling by his comforter.  It was sewed tight round his neck, and fixed along the ceiling by a chisel.  One of his feet was nearly touching the ground.  I did not stop to see where the other was.  The chisel was pushed in at the window at the top; and the comforter was round it.  His back was towards me when I went in.  He never made any complaint to me of the treatment he received.

   Captain ROSE recalled - When I cut him down, one of his legs was triced up to his thigh by a piece of tape.  His hands were perfectly free; and one of his feet was touching the ground.

   Dr. R. R. Norris examined - I was surgeon on board the ship 'Mermaid,' from London to Auckland.  There were four officers on board, besides the captain.  On the morning of the day when the third mate was confined I saw him, and he acknowledged to me how foolish he had been in getting drunk, offering to fight and insulting others.  He had then a slight attack of delirium tremens, and asked me to give him something.  He asked for very unsafe doses of chloric ether, and stated that he took such doses when ashore after fits of intoxication.  In my opinion such doses would have deprived him of life.  I gave him safe doses of the medicine.  He was of an excitable temperament, but had not the appearance of being addicted to drink.  I supplied him with some medicine during his confinement for constipation, but he never complained to me of want of proper care or attention.  In my opinion the hatch house was amply sufficient as a place of confinement.  I do not think the confinement was of such a character as to affect the mind of the deceased.  It was not solitary confinement in the sense usually understood by the phrase, for he could converse with any one near him when the window was open.  I made the following entry on December 11th -

"I, the medical officer of the 'Mermaid,' hereby certify that I as called at 5 o'clock p.m. to attend to Mr. Adair, whom I found had shortly expired, apparently, from symptoms, about 20 or 30 minutes.  Notwithstanding all pulsation has ceased, and his lips and tongue were quite cold, there was some warmth on the surface of the body.  The most persevering efforts to reanimate him were continued for three hours.  No evidence was seen to contradict the opinion that he was dead when discovered suspended.  He enjoyed good health.  Some marks on his left arm indicated an attempt to bleed himself.

(Signed) R. R. NORRIS, N. D."

Examination continued -

The marks on his arm were recent; but appeared to have been inflicted before the day on which he hanged himself.  I saw a few spots of blood on the floor of the hatch-house when I visited it.  I did not see anything in the conduct of deceased to lead to the supposition that he would commit suicide, nothing except the request for a large dose of medicine before his confinement indicated a rash resolution of that nature.

   ALBERT JAS. ALLOM examined -

   I was a saloon passenger on board the 'Mermaid' from London to Auckland.  I recollect the third mate, Mr. Adair.  I have had conversations with him about his father and other relatives.  I had opportunities of seeing him during the voyage.  Up to the first occasion of his drunkenness his conduct was very good; after that formed a bad opinion of him, though his appearance would not have led any one to suppose so of him.  He was confined for drunkenness, insubordination, and violence.  I did not speak to him after the captain forbid all intercourse with him; and though this order was subsequently relaxed I purposely avoided all conversation with the deceased.  I consider the captain's conduct most kind and humane; indeed, I have formed the opinion, and it is not a solitary one, that if Captain Rose erred at all to the unfortunate man it was on the side of leniency.  He was allowed to take exercise first on the poop and afterwards on the quarter deck.  His confinement was not more strict than was necessary; if more severity had been used, and the irons kept on day and night this result would not have happened.  I do not know that he threatened to commit suicide.  During his intemperance he was very violent.  I have not heard that he threatened to commit suicide.  I took this note from the deceased's writing desk the day after his death, when making an inventory of his effects.  I believe it to be his handwriting.

   Mr. WHITAKER - I will now read it to the Court:--


"Ship 'Mermaid,' October 15, 1861.


We are now in the track of homeward bound vessels, so I write in case we may have an opportunity of putting letters on board of some.  I like this ship pretty well; the captain is a very quiet man, and the chief is a very agreeable officer.  The 2nd do. is quiet and reserved, but very touchy.  I have luckily not trodden on his toes yet.  The 4th mate, a young fellow named Denton, with whom I live, is a first-rate, quiet, kind-hearted fellow.   He and I get on well together - as well as it is possible for two fellows to get on.  I hope sincerely that the Governor has made some satisfactory arrangement about wages, as if I do not get news to that effect in Auckland, I should consider it foolish to remain on board a ship for nothing.  In mentioning the officers I forgot the purser.  He is a jolly, good-natured, passionate, witty little Patlander."

[This letter was unfinished, and bore no signature.]


Mr. JAS. LYEL, examined -

   I was a saloon passenger on board the ship 'Mermaid,' from London to Auckland.  I recollect the deceased third officer, Mr. Adair.  He seemed to be quiet and obliging during the first part of the voyage.  He was subsequently drunk and excited.  He was put in confinement for insubordination and drunkenness.  I noticed no change in his manners.  The captain's conduct was very kind and considerate to the third officer.  He had struck one of the cabin passengers, and he would not acknowledge that he was wrong; he agreed to make an apology, and promised not to take drink during the voyage again.  The captain overlooked this offence in consequence of that promise, which he did not keep.  He was by no means treated harshly.  Had my opinion been taken I would have been more strict, as, considering the cargo we had on board, I thought him a dangerous man.  We had several tons of gunpowder on board.

   Mr. WHITAKER - There were about 80 tons.

   He then stated that Colonel Gamble would have been present but for the nature of his military duties; he had, however, sent a letter to Captain Rose, accounting for his absence, which he would read to the court.

"Auckland, Dec. 21st, 1861. - My dear captain Rose, I fear that the move of the troops into camp, and the necessity of my preceding them, will prevent my attending the inquiry into the circumstances connected with the sad death of the late Mr. Adair.  You are, I feel, quite right in seeking an investigation, to avoid the possibility of any future imputation.  You will, no doubt, fully satisfy the magistrates that the unfortunate young man was not suffering from any unnecessarily harsh treatment at your hands.  We all knew of your great leniency to him on the occasion  of his first committing himself, and of your subsequent relaxation of the strictness of close confinement by allowing him books, pipe, and so far as I know, ordinary diet.  And that your latterly placing him under personal restraint was only the evidence of your regard for the general safety of the sup and passengers.  I am aware, moreover, of your providing for his taking regular exercise in the evenings, when he was allowed to converse with others. It is no harm to remark now that I even construed this indulgence in to almost an error in the way of leniency.

   I am sure the sad termination was wholly unexpected by me, nor did anything at all seem to make it likely.  As to cruelty, I believe you to be wholly incapable of anything approaching the name, and that while the discipline of your ship would be, of course, your first object, you would, and did, do everything in your power for the comfort of the crew and everyone on board.  With every good wish, believe me, sincerely yours.

(Signed) D. J. GAMBLE, Lt. Col., D. Q. M. General."

   Captain Rose stated, in reply to Mr. Beckham, that he never heard of the deceased having threatened to commit suicide, nor was he even aware of the request for heavy doses of medicine.

   Mr. BECKHAM said it was unnecessary to call for any further testimony.  It would seem, from the testimony of the witnesses produced, to have been absolutely necessary for the preservation of discipline, indeed, highly essential to the preservation of the ship and cargo, and the lives of the passengers committed to his charge, for the captain to have acted towards the deceased as he had done.  So far from harshness having been used, it appeared on the contrary, as Colonel Gamble had remarked, that the error was on the side of leniency, if any error had been committed.  The bench were of opinion that Captain Rose was wholly exonerated from any imputation whatever in relation to the death of his late third officer, and what he did was absolutely necessary for the preservation of the ship.

   The finding of the court was ordered to be entered on the official log, and the proceedings terminated.


OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 25 December 1861

An inquest was held at the Royal Hotel yesterday evening on the body of John Clarke, who had died that day in a tent in Walker-street.  From the evidence of one of his mates it appeared that the deceased had been in ill health for some time past; that no medical man had attended him, and that although he had applied for admission to the Hospital he had been refused in consequence of wan t of room.  Dr. Wilson after having made a post mortem examination, stated that he believed the deceased died from dropsy in the chest, caused by disease of the heart, and that no medical aid could have saved him, although it might have prolonged his life for a short period.  The jury returned in accordance with the medical evidence


DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS, 27 December 1861


 We regret that the festival of Christmas did not pass without one fatal accident to mar the general pleasures of the season.  On Wednesday morning, about eleven o'clock, Mr. J. Goodfellow of Newmarket, accompanied by his only unmarried daughter, left his residence in a dog-cart, with the intention of joining some relations, at Otahuhu, and there spending the day.  When nearly at the Junction-hotel, Mr. Goodfellow discovered that the horse had got the bit out of his mouth, and he handed the reins to his daughter to hold until he had replaced it.  But no sooner had Mr. Goodfellow descended from his seat in the dog-cart, than the horse suddenly bolted up the scoria road, almost opposite the Otahuhu-road.  The animal ran for about twenty yards when the young lady was dashed with great violence off the vehicle, her head striking against a block of scoria, which inflicted so severe a wound as to cause instant death.  The shafts of the dog-cart were broken.  Mr. Goodfellow was almost instantly on the scene of the accident, but only in time to raise the life-less and mangled corpse of his child.  Dr. Stratford was sent for, but medical skill was of no avail in such a case.  The body was removed to Mr. Goodfellow's house, where an inquest was held yesterday evening, and a verdict in accordance with the facts was returned. ...


 OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 30 December 1861


On the morning of the 27th December, a most determined fight took place at Wetherstone's Gully, between two men named John Kirrick and Peter Shannon.  The fight was in consequence of a dispute which arose between the two men on Christmas Day, and was conducted in the most secret manner, only two other men, mates of the principals, being present.  When the police arrived both the combatants were in a shocking state. Kirrick being so severely beaten that his life was despaired of, and the other, Shannon, being unable to walk.  By order of Sub-Inspector martin, all the parties were taken into custody.  Dr. Quinlan who was called in to attend Kirrick, at once declared that he could not live more than a few hours and the event proved that he was right, for the unfortunate man expired shortly afterwards.  We are not aware of the cause of this sanguinary quarrel, but the particulars will doubtless transpire at the inquest.


On the 24th Dec. an inquest was held at the Southern Cross Hotel, Wetherston's, before Major Croker on the body of Andrew Donovan, who was killed at eight o'clock the same morning by the fall of earth in a claim.  The deceased was an Englishman 24 years of age, and had been three months in the country.  A verdict of accidental death was returned.

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