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NEW-BORN INFANTS DEATH., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 92, 19 April 1909
NEW-BORN INFANTS DEATH.
COROXER'S INQUEST. EVIDENCE OF SUFFOCATION. On March IS the city coroner opened an inquiry into the circumstances of the death of a now-born child. The infant was a son of William Stirling, a wharf labourer, a resident of 12, Vernon-street, i'reeman's Buy. l'"roin the evidence of Annie Rose Cozens, a nurse in the St. Helens Hospital, it was made to appear that two nurses were present at the birth, and when they left an hour later (at about 3 a.m.) the child was quite well. Keturiiing about 7 a.m. the witness found the child dead. The inquest was resiuned this morning, and the inquiry proceeded before the following jury: James Stitt (foreman), Nel-son-street; Hubert Wade. Verinontstreet; Joseph Gawith, Hardinge-street; James Langley, Victoria-street West; William Davis, Hardinge-street; and James Coster, Union-street. Sergt. Eales represented the police, and Mr. F. Lowrie (of Air. McGregor's -oflice) watched proceedings for the father of the deceased infant. Dr. T. fv. Inglis, the medical superintendent at St. Helens Hospital, said that the death of the child wa3 reported to him by St. Helens Hospital on March 17. In consequence of what the nurses told him, he refused a certificate. At 5.30 that afternoon he performed a post mortem at JLit tie's, the undertaker, in Hob-son-cstreet, where the body was then lying. He found that the body was well nourished and fully developed. The right hand, with the fingers, the right foot, the outer side of the right thigh, were black and swollen, and there ivas -a, long narrow bruise six inches by a-quarter oi an inch along the right eida of the thorax I and right \umbcv region. These bruises I were ante mortem .that is, not necessarily before birth, but before death), j I'l'neta wete wo o\A\ex ma.Tks *sl "vvoYence, I and no deformities. On opening the body there »:is a good deal of free blood- , ■stained ftvud in. U\e abdominal cavity. The coroner: What would you deduce from that? -Well, 1 think that docs occur in as--1 phixia cases. It might also occur from injury. ,. The right side of the heart was engorged and full of blood. That, of i course, was another sign of suffocation. There Is an opening between the right and left auricle in a child at birth, which closes coon after birth. This had "not closed. The lungs were very engorged, and had contained air. The windpipe was engorged. Tile coronrr: Do the jury understand that term engorged? The witness: It is evidence all through of suffocation. The abdominal orjans were congested, tat otherwise heallhy. The Mood was lluid, and very dark throughout the body, and there were no clots. The absence of clots \vas another sign of asphixia. The coroner: The cause of death in your opinion was ; The witness: Suffocation. The Coroner; 'The evidences of suffocation were very strong, and there was no other indication of the cause of death , ;" The Witness: "No." ]v reply to the coroner, the witness staled that the bruises could not in any way have, accounted for the death of the ! child, and r-ould not have been occasioned t during" birth. 'It was possible that they existed before birth. The Coroner: As to the , suffocation, would the lipe present any signs of it? Witness: .Not necessarily. It would need so little to suffocate a child. .Sergeant Kales: ■'Presuming that those marks were caused prior to birth, I can you suggest how they were caused?" The Witness: "No: they might have been caused by a blow or a fall prior to conttnement." Sergeant tales: "Would the pressure of a knee against the stomach, such as ip. a of a woman being held down, cause the bruises';" The Witness: "I do not think so."' Further reference '.o this phase of the inquiry was stopped by the Coroner observing- that the bruiaing had nothing- to do with the cause of death. ' 1 Nurse Cozens wae recalled. She said i that when she and Sister Paul left the house at fl a.m. on the morning of the ' birth there no indication whatever ' that rlio child was likely to die. When the witness returned at 7 a.m. she was alone. The bahy was alongside the I v other in a double bed, and the witness at once discovered that the child was i i d< ad. She -aid to the mother: "Do you know the child is dead?" The mother replied that flic did not know it. The uother itemed dazed, and said nothing ulse. Then the nurse called the father from an adjacent room, and queried: "Have you looked at the child? Do you know it k dead';" "Poor little mite," said the father." The nurse noticed noj signs ot' liquor about him. He asked no question as id how lue child could have died. On one subsequent morning when the nurse called the father asked her, "Will you fetand by mc at the inquest - ;" Be also asked, "What will I have to do at the inquest?" She replied, "If you want t-> know anything go to the. hospital." Tiie mother never said anything about the child, and the witness considered her tv be mentally deficient. The mother had four children previously. On about tiic fifth <>r the sixth morning alter the birth the mother said that 6he had not slept during the night as her husband hud been calling out to know the time as he warned to get a drink. The witness gathered from this tnat he wanted lo know if the public houses were open. .Marion Alice Paul, sub-matron at St. HeJeiW Hospital, deposed that when she saw the bruises on the child she esked tliu mother if the hud had a fall. The answer iva< affirmative, and was subsequently corroborated by the husband, who asked the nurse if sha thought that the child would live. The witness replied 11.-Ht there wit* no reason why it should v.ol live. She considered that the mother was somewhat, silly and sleepy. When the witness left, the child's head was we'll above the bed-clothes. THE MOTHER'S EVIDENCE. TTie mother was called and cautioned by the coroner previous to being sworn. "The doctor." said tlie coroner, 'has stated thaj your child died through suffo- i cation. -i 7 didn't suffocate it, sir," said the mother. The woman, Mary lillun Stirling, a mirtdlc-agod person, was then sworn. Being asked by the coroner if she could in any way account for (he child's death, she replied. '"I got a Wow in the eye, and he sent mc over to clean a house, and I fell down the stairs -ivhen carrying a bucket of water." This was two months before the child was born. A week before her confinement she fell off a chair. She admitted that after the death of the child she had had conversations with her husband about those faTTs. The witness sta-ted that the child had a, long cry. She ■was a ware of its death for about ten 'minutes before Mrs. Purdy arrived. Although she knew this ehe did not tell
her Ji'usbaadj as he was "asleep in his bedroom. In the course of evidence Ivy Purdy, married woman, living near by, who called at the Stirling's house on hearing that a child had been bora, said that Stirling had said that she might see the child but must not touch it. He said that this had .been the nurse's order. Mrs. Stirling did not then i.iehave as though she was aware that the baby was dead, and the witness ivas certain that prior to her discovery of the death, the mother did not know of it. All one side of the infant's face was black and blue. Witness said to Mrs. Stirling, '-The child is dead." She gave a silly sort of grin. Before and after the birth Mrs. Stilling had told her tha.t Stirling had knocked her about. Six or eight weeks before the boy was born she said she was sure that either herself or the child would not live, owing to the injuries she had received. Mrs Stirling had had five children, but only two were now alive. Mrs Stirling did not fall down the stairs as she had stated. The witness was watching her working. She bumped her head against something. Neither did the steps break down with Mrs Stirling. It was weeks afterwards when they collapsed. The coroner here expressed the opinion that there was something behind what had transpired so far. The witness further swore that Mrs Stirling had declared to her that Stirling had killed the child by his treatment of her throughout, and particularly through his usage of her a few hours before her confinement.
NEW-BORN INFANTS DEATH., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 92, 19 April 1909
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