THE HENDERSON TRAGEDY.
MISS BLYTH’S DENIAL. (From the Wellington Evening Post.) Miss Blyth states that on the morning of the tragedy she and Henderson both ate a good breakfast, indeed, that he seemed to have a particularly vigorous appetite and urged her to follow his example, tolling her it would be her last meal. She declares that she did not in the least imagine that he was in earnest, but thought he was merely joking. She still at first believed him to be in jest when he mixed the poison with the lemonade and insisted on her drinking it, but he became very violent and fiercely threatened her, swearing that if she did not instantly drink her share he would pour it down her throat by force ; and expressing his regret that his pistols had been taken from him, as otherwise he vowed he would have made matters sure at once by blowing out her brains first, and then his own. She still hesitated, but ultimately, overcome with terror at his storming, and seeing no way of escape, as he was preparing to execute his threat of forcing it down her throat, she, by a sudden impulse, yielded, and swallowed the poison, ho immediately afterwards following her example. Miss Blyth says he took strychnine from a small blue paper which ho had carried concealed under the lining of his hat. This accounts for it having escaped the vigilance of the police. She asserts most positively that the order in which they took the, poison was us described above, that is, that he forced her first to take it and then swallowed his own share. She also alleges with equal positiveness that they exactly shared the poison, he carefully dividing it into two precisely equal parts in separate glasses while suchjjwas his stern determination to effect his purpose, that to prevent any undissolyed strychnine remaining in the glasses he rinsed them out with water and compelled her to drink her share of the rinsings, ho swallowing the other half. She is very clear and precise on : these points, and also in asserting that thestatementthatHenderson took a larger quantity of the poison than she, and before her, is incorrect, ’as they shared exactly alike, and she drank her share off slightly before him, although the two actions were as nearly as possible simultaneous. The sequel is well known. Miss Blyth is anxious it should be thoroughly understood that the act was utterly unpremeditated on her part, and she expresses the utmost horror at the idea of suicide ; but when at the ' last moment —not having previously supposed him to be in earnest —she was treated so violently by Henderson, and believed that in any case her life was sacrificed, as she was powerless to resist his great strength, and saw he was perfectly reckless and desperate, no help being at hand, she seemed to lose her senses, and obeyed his imperious command as the only way of escaping an instant violent dea + h. It is evident, therefore, that the Government acted judiciously as well as humanely in forbearing to prosecute her for attempted suicide, as no prosecution could possibly have been maintained under the circumstances now disclosed. The unhappy man, Henderson, in fact, was really guilty of attempted murder, as well as of selfslaughter. Lastly, Miss Blyth declares most solemnly that she and the deceased had not not lived together as man and wife, and that she would not have consented to such a proceeding until they were married, which was to be immediately on their arrival at San Francisco. . She implicitly believed his story that he was free to marry her, and that he would do so directly they reached a place where they could be legally united without the consent of her parents being.required. She indignantly denies the truth of the stories which have been circulated on this head, and also in reference to her state of health, alleging that all are wholly unfounded. She expresses deep contrition for her conduct in eloping with Henderson, adding that she is unable now to account for her past infatuation. She is now almost entirely convalescent, and is beginning to recover her former looks and spirits. It is only fair to add that both Miss Blytili and hor mother speak in terms of the warmest gratitude of the kindness they have experienced from Dr. Diver, who has been unremitting in his attention to the case, while refusing to accept amy fee for his services. He has, however, the professional satisfaction of having performed the very rare medical feat of saving the life of a person poisoned with strychnine.
Permanent link to this item
Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 146, 31 August 1880
THE HENDERSON TRAGEDY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 146, 31 August 1880
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.