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The Recent Gun Accident.

An inquest was held this morning, before Dr. Trevor, Coroner, and a jury of twelve, to inquire into the cause which led to the death of the late James Campbell. The inquiry was held at deceased’s' late residence, Auchmore. Mr. Bean was chosen foreman of the jury. . After the jury had viewed -; the• body, the following evidence was taken : Donald Cameron —I am a farmer, and sou of deceased. Slept with my father on the night of November 14. Got up yesterday morning about half-past G, leaving my father in bed. He was awake. He had got up previously, but went to bed again. My father usually got up early. The last time my father got up I heard the report of a gun. This was about 8 o’clock, when I was out splitting firewood, about half a chain from the house. lat once went into the house, when I found my father lying undressed on the floor of the bedroom, with a wound in his chest, and a gun lying by his side. Took hold of the gun and put it outside. Went off for John Matheson. He came back with me, and assisted to lay my father on the bed. Deceased was conscious at the time, but was groaning, and requested me to leave him alone.' John Matheson went for a and Dr. Stewart arrived about 9.15 a.m. I then went'to Ashburton, and about ten minutes after I returned my father expired. He never said anything more to me. The gun was kept on two hooks above, the bed, and always kept loaded. My father , previous to the accident was in good health and nothing the matter with him the day previously, more than usual. He did not seem depressed. The deceased was often out shooting. Often cautioned my father about the careless way he handled the gun. , ■ By the Coroner—Cannot remember whether I asked my father how the accident happened. Was so excited that I cannot remember. By the foreman—Do not know how long the gun had been loaded. By a juryman—Cannot account for my father remaining so long undressed after getting up the second time. f By the Coroner —My father was in his usual state of mind. By a juryman—The deceased was perfectly sober. There was no drink in the house, and my father was not in Ashburton the day previous. John Matheson gave evidence as follows:—I am a farmer, living twenty-five chains away. Remember last witness coming for me yesterday at about 8.30 a. m. Returned with him to his father’s house. Found deceased in Donald Campbell’s arms, who was trying to lift him into bed. I assisted last witness to put deceased on the bed. Then went to Ashburton and told Dr. Stewart. There was a wound on deceased’s left chest. It was about half-past nine when I returned, shortly after the doctor got there. Deceased had tea with me on Sunday evening, and we afterwards had a two-mile walk together. Deceased was in good health and spirits, and came back to my house with me. We parted company about seven o’clock. Have always-known that a gun was hanging loaded on hooks over deceased’s bed. Deceased was in the habit of shooting at any common birds which were flying about. He did not tell me how the accident occurred. ? By the Foreman—After the accident deceased re< ognised me, and mentioned my name once or twice. By a juryman—Do not know where the ramrod of the gun was, and have not inspected the gun at all. Dr. Macßean Stewart, sworn, said — Last witness called on me yesterday morning, at about 9.15, and from what he told me I went to deceased’s residence, arriving there shortly afterwards. Found deceased lying on the bed with a large open wound at the sternal end of the left clavicle. ’ The clavicle was smashed to bits, and several of the outer ribs also smashed. The upper part of the lung was wounded. A number of small shots were to be seen under the skin about the shoulder. At the hack of the left shoulder there was a large bruise, evidently from a fall. There were one or two bruises about the face. Dressed the wound, which did not bleed very much. The direction of the wound was from the front backwards and outwards towards the left shoulder-joint. Deceased died at about half - past twelve. The wound must have been very recent when I first saw it. In reply to a question, deceased said he was handling the gun, but he did not know how the accident happened. Deceased was perfectly conscious, but was in a very weak state, and could not converse much. Deceased died in consequence of the wound which I have described. It was a wound caused by small shot fired close to the body. The son, at my request, showed me the gun. One barrel was loaded, full-cocked, and capped. This concluded the evidence, and, without retiring, the jury returned a verdict of “ Accidental Death.”

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 193, 16 November 1880

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The Recent Gun Accident. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 193, 16 November 1880