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INQUEST., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 543, 25 January 1882
1 An enquiry touching the death of John Brown, who was found dead yesterday morning in an outhouse on his farm, near Ashburton, was held this afternoon at the Royal Hotel, before Joseph Beswick, Esq., coroner, and a jury, of whom Mr R, W. Shearman was chosen foreman. Prior to the commencement of the proceedings Mr W. Adams, who was summoned on the jury, produced a letter received by himself in answer to one addressed by him to the secretary of the United Fire Brigade Association, Dunedin, making enquiries as to the liability of firemen to be summoned on juries. Mr Adams explained that he had been requested by the Association to obtain the Coroner’s ruling on this matter. He did not wish to hold himself exempt from sitting on this jury, but merely wished to get an expression of opinion from the Coroner. He quoted from the letter received from the Secretary, to the following effect : “ Efficient firemen are exempt from jury duty. They must have attended all practices, fires, etc., during the past twelve months previous to the application for exemption. If the captain certifies incorrectly he is subject to a fine of L 50.” This was provided for by the Juries Act 1868, and the Amend- ' ment Act 1874, introduced by Mr Macandrew.” j In reply to Mr Adams, Mr Beswick, ] said that he had only just been ap- i pointed a coroner, and was quite new < to the duties of the office. He could 1 not therefore be expected to give a ? reply off-hand to the query. It was certainly a matter of some importance, t and one that should be mooted. He t He presumed the questioner had 1; gained his object in givifig publicity to a
Mr Adams replied that that was so. He had no objection to sit on the jury, but in the interests of the citizens he had thought proper to pursue the course he had. The jury then proceeded to view the body, when the following evidence was taken:—
Charles Brown, laborer and brother of deceased, deposed that he resided at Springcreek Farm, Ashburton Forks. Was in the employ ot the deceased, with whom he had lived at the farm. The body lying without was that of witness’ brother, John Brown. Deceased was a single man, farming 183 acres. Last saw him alive after breakfast yesterday morning, about 8.30. He appeared in his usual spirits, and was very cheerful during breakfast. He made a hearty meal, talking about the crops the while. He usually rested himself after his meals, but he left the table before witness yesterday. He asked witness for the machineknife, and he went to the chaff-house to sharpen it. This was the last witness saw of him. Witness then went to work in the wheatfield. Presently witness said to the hired man Murphy, “I wonder what has become of John ; he must be asleep.” Deceased remaining absent, they went in about three-quarters of an hour to look for him. They went to the chaff-house. As they were going, witness fancied he heard the door shut, but thought this was his imagination., Found the door shut. Deceased was hanging from a beam in the chaff house with his face towards the door. Witness cut him down, and sent at once for Dr Murdoch. Believed that deceased was then dead, but went for the doctor. Witness had lived with his brother for fifteen months, during which time he had never show any symptoms of insanity at all. Deceased was about 35. He was certainly not in difficulties. He always paid cash for his purchases. Witness had no idea what led deceased to take away his life. Last week he said in a jocular way, after alluding to the wet weather and the crop, “ I wish Mother Shipton’s prophecy would come true, and take us out of this.” This was said in a funny way, and made them laugh. Had not the slightest idea what led deceased to make away with himself. He was in perfect health and spirits.
By a juror: Could not swear that the land was not mortgaged, although thought it was not. James Murdoch, duly qualified medical practitioner, residing in Ashburton, deposed that the last witness, Charles Brown, came for him yesterday morning, and in consequence of what he said witness proceeded to the Springcreek Farm. The body of the deceased was lying at the chaff-house. Identified the one lying without as that of the same person. He had been dead for about a couple of hours when witness saw him, about 10 o’clock. Death had resulted in witness’ opinion from suffocation by hanging. There was no dislocation of the spinal cord. The body was lying in the chaff house. Robert Neill, constable, stationed at Ashburton, deposed that Charles Brown reported the death of his brother, John Brown, to him yesterday morning as he Was passing the farm. Saw the body of the deceased lying in the chaff-house, and searched it. Found the silver watch, knife, and string, produced, upon it, but no papers of;any kind. The rope produced was fastened in such a manner to the beam above that it could not slip down. The oil-can produced was standing close by the rope. To reach the rope, deceased must have stood upon the oil-can. Sarah Brown, wife of Charles Brown the brother of the deceased, deposed that both herself and her husband were in deceased's employment. He was in his usual health and spirits yesterday morning. He.was usually jocular. He rose about the same time as usual yesterday morning. He enjoyed excellent health. Deceased and witness’ husband were on the best of terms. They had never had an angry word during the whole time they had lived together—fifteen months. Deceased had been out here for eleven years, and witness had heard him say he had never had an illness since he had been in the colony. Witness had known deceased for six years, and had never known him the worse for drink. Could not assign any reason at all for the suicide ot deceased. His father and mother were alive in England. A juryman (Mr Tucker) then rose to remark that he had known the deceased for the last fifteen months, and he was a man who was always anxious to pay his way even before he received the things he might purchase. But he was, in the speaker’s opinion, a man who would be likely to make away with himself if he thought his wheat crop was going to fail. Sooner than ask any one for money, he would, Mr Tucker thought, destroy himself. The coroner remarked that there was no evidence at all to point to the deceased’s being in any monetary difficulty. The jury returned an immediate verdict—“ That deceased hung himself while in a state of temporary insanity.”
The Eleven at Wellington. —Just as we are going to press, we learn by wire that the English Eleven are hard at in at Wellington. The telegram says :—“Shaw won the toss, and sent his team in first to the wickets. The weather is fine, but there is a poor attendance. At present the score stands at 8, without the loss of any wickets. Ulyett and Barlow are in. Serious Accident. —A very seriousaccident occurred at about a quarter after six yesterday evening in Christchurch. One of Seaton’s omnibusses (says the Times), the “Stanmore,” which had been plying to and from Lancaster Bark during the day, was proceeding thither at the time above mentioned, and when in Lower High street, about midway between Barbadoes street and the Belt, a cab, coming towards Christchurch, came into collision with the 'bus, which was suddenly checked on its course, and Mr Grierson, Sen., who was sitting on the box beside the driver, was thrown off on the road, the back of his head striking the kerb and sustaining a severe injury. Mr Grierson was picked up in an insensible condition, and with his head bleeding profusely hej was carried to the residence of Mr B. J. Hale, at the corner of the Belt. Meanwhile the cabman who had the misfortune to run into the ’bus drove «ff for a medical man, and in a short time Dr Prins was in attendance. On examination he considered that it would not be advisable to remove the sufferer, for some hours, as he was lying in an .unconscious and precarious state. We learn by telegram that the un-i fortunate man succumbed to his injuries
INQUEST., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 543, 25 January 1882
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