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Colonial Cases

1900 NZ

TIMARU HERALD, 8 June 1900



The adjourned inquest touching the death of Alfred James Boonstra was concluded this morning.  The Coroner pointed out that they had no evidence as to Boonstra's movements between the hours of 7 and 10 o'clock.  He commented on the discrepancies between the statements of Boonstra and Moselem and those of a number of other witnesses.  With regard to the inconsistencies in Boonstra's statement, the Coroner believed that the young man, from his condition at the time, was not responsible for what he said.  The jury brought in the following verdict: - "That there is no evidence to show how deceased came by the rupture of the urethra.  The jurors wish to express their sympathy with Constable Finnerty on the unfortunate position in which he has been placed in fulfillment of his duty, and that in their opinion he leaves the inquest without any blame or stain on his character."


TIMARU HERALD, 8 September 1900


WELLINGTON, September 7.

The evidence of Detective Nixon at the inquest on the body of Miss Luke was of a startling nature.  Two girls were in the house at the time.  Deceased's mother was among the witnesses.  She said that she became nearly demented when she discovered her daughter's condition, and she went to Mrs. Henderson to see if she could do anything for her, and paid her L(Pounds) 5.  She was assured that there was no danger, accused saying that she had never lost a case.  The Coroner reprobated Mrs. Luke's action in severe terms.

   From the line taken by the cross-examination, it would appear that the defence will be that all the mischief had actually been done when the girl came to the accused.

   The jury brought in the following verdict: - "We find that the death of Mary Alice Winifred Luke was due ton peritonitis, caused by puncture of the womb arising from an illegal operation performed by Mary Henderson."  The jury added a rider severely censuring the mother for the part played by her.


TIMARU HERALD, 5 September 1900


On Tuesday morning the police at Temuka were advised of the sudden death of Mr. John Wendelken, licensee of the Temuka Brewery.  An inquest was held yesterday, before Mr. C. A. Wray, Coroner, and the following jury:-- Messrs. J. H. Anderson (foreman), J. Washington, E. Chapman, A. Storey, T. Brosnahan, and E. Williams.

  George Wendelken, a lad of nearly 15 years of age, son of deceased, and who slept with him at the brewery, gave evidence that on Monday night he met his father at half-past 7 o'clock.  He (witness) was on his way to attend a birthday party, but shortly before 11 o'clock he returned and went to bed, where he usually slept with his father.  At about 4 o'clock his father rose and took a d rink of water.  He noticed after this that his father steamed "like a traction engine," and afterwards complained of pains in his chest.  Witness offered to go for a doctor, but his father said "Don't leave me," and subsequently fell asleep.  An employee of the brewery roused them in the morning, and on coming into the room exclaimed when he saw his father, "Oh! he's dead."  His father was slightly addicted to drink, but on Monday morning had taken breakfast as usual, and gone to Timaru, where he (witness) was informed by his father that he had taken a feed of oysters.  His father's age was 55 years.

   Henry Lee, owner of the brewery, gave evidence as to deceased's habits.  He was irregular in respect of meals.

   John Monteith Warren, a duly qualified medical practitioner, deposed to having made a post mortem examination of the body, and gave his opinion that death was attributable to syncope.

   The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.


TIMARU HERALD, 2 October 1900


DUNEDIN, October 1.

An inquest was held to-day, touching the death of William Allen, who fell down the hold of the s.s. Waimate on Saturday, falling 35 feet.  The evidence showed that the deceased was climbing up the ladder from the hold when he lost his grip.  It was a cold day, and he had an oilskin on.  It is surmised that he trod on the oilskin when near the top of the ladder.  The jury retuned a verdict of accidental death, no blame being attached to anyone.

TIMARU HERALD, 13 October 1900


DUNEDIN, October 12.

The adjourned in quest was held to-day on the body of Mary Ann Ross, a young woman who had died at her parents' residence in Kaikorai.  The evidence of the medical men who made the post mortem examination was to the effect that they had found a slight spiculum of bone growing from the dura mater, which caused congestion of the brain, and was sufficient to cause death.  This also accounted for the unusual symptoms.  It transpired that deceased had been consulting a joiner, who said that he went the hypnotic state and diagnosed general aneurism, for which he gave a prescription containing acetate of lead.  This man said that the prescription was given while he was in the hypnotic condition by a personality whom he trusted.  Pressed as to the "personality," he said it was Dr. Webster, of Cincinnati.

   The medical evidence showed that the quantity taken by deceased did no harm, but a continuance of such treatment would produce lead-poisoning.

   The jury returned a verdict of death from natural causes, and added a rider that steps should be taken to prevent unlawful prescriptions being given by spiritualists.


TIMARU HERALD, 27 October 1900


DUNEDIN, October 26

At the inquest on the body of John Thomson, the fireman who died from injuries to his head, no evidence was forthcoming to show how he fell from the engine.  The engine-driver said that he was looking out watching the side-rods.  When he looked up he found his mate missing.  He stopped the train, the guard went back, and the man was picked up.  The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.


TIMARU HERALD, 31 December 1900


CHRISTCHURCH, December 29.

At the inquest on the body of Henry Neal, who was found drowned in a creek near the city, the evidence showed that he had been drinking heavily for four weeks and had been dismissed from his employment in consequence.  His son took him to the hospital, as he was on the verge of delirium tremens.  He was refused admission, as the hospital did not take in such cases.  He was, however, given some medicine, which he took, but during Thursday night he left the house, and next day was found drowned in a small creek, face down wards in three inches of water.  A verdict of found drowned was returned, there being no evidence to show how deceased got into the water.

   A rider was added calling the attention of the Government to the crying need for the establishment of inebriate homes in the main centres of population of the colony.  The fireman of the jury said: "Had the man been admitted to the hospital and attended to, it would probably have saved his life.  He was simply turned out on to the road by the hospital authorities, and went to his death."

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