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YESTERDAY'S DROWNING CASE AT THORNDON.

* " "ACCIDENTALLY DROWNED WHILE BATHING."

An inquest was held by Mr. James Ashcroft;, Coroner, at the Morgue, at 11 a.m. to-day, touching the death of the Italian, Joseph Cenci, whose body was found yesterday floating in the harbour off the Thorudon Esplanade. Sergeant-Major Ramsay represented the police. Mr. John Pike was chosen foreman of the jury. . George W. Moorhouse, clerk in the General Post Office, deposed that the deceased was an officer in that institution. Witness last saw Cenci alive at about 10.30 yesterday morning in the Post Office building. Deceased then seemed in his usual spirits. During the last few mouths deceased had been somewhat quieter than u9Ual, bub there was nothing in his demeanour to suggest aberration o£ intellect. Deceased gave no reason for leaving the room, and did not take bis hat with him. As far as witness knew, deceased's accounts were all correct. He was a sober man, very punctual, and a good officer. James Gibbs, a lad of 16, living in Pipitea-street, stated that he was bicycling on the Thorndon Esplanade at about halfpast 10 yesterday morning, when he noticed a gentleman sitting on the top of the concrete steps near the baths, and undressing. Witness rode on, and when some ten minutes later he turned round at the Kaiwarra end of the Esplanade, he saw something black bobbing up and down in the water, about 60 yards from the shore. Witness rode at once towards the baths, and when he came to the steps saw a man's clothes lying on them, but could not gee anybody in the water. Witness, with another boy, at once went for Mr. Berti, the custodian of the baths, and informed him of the occurrence. Mr. Berti came along with them, and sent witness to the Police Station. At that time he could see something white under the water, far out. Witness told Constable Carroll, who got a boat and recovered the body. The body in the Morgue appeared to be that of the man whom witness had seen sitting on the steps. It was between 30 and 45 minutes after he reported the matter to Mr. Berti > berore the body was taken from tbo water. When he saw the man first witness thought that he was going in for a bath in the open water, as it was the ladies' hours at the baths. | William Berti, custodian of the baths, I said it was after 11 o'clock when the last witness reported that a man had drowned I himself. Witness went out on the breastwork at once, aDd the lad pointed to the water, but witness could see nothing. Had witness seen the man, he would certainly have gone out to him. Witness was a good swimmer, and bad saved life before, and he was not afraid of sharks. He waited on the breastwork to try and see the man, while the boy went for the police He walked all round the place in the endeavour to see the body, but did not see it until it was taken out of the water. Witness offered to go in, the boat, but was refused a place. It took the boat about a quarter of an hour to find the body. Thought that the man was drowned before witness was called, as he could see no sign in the water. Witness had a certificate showing that he had saved a life at Greymouth, and he had also saved a life at Christchurch. Annie Cenci, wife of the deceased, identified the body as that of her husband. His age was 46, and he was a native of Leghorn, Italy, and had been in the colony 23 years. On Monday deceased had a headache, but did not complain much. There had been no difference between husband and wife. She could not say enough for him. as a husband and father. She knew o£ nothing preying on hjs mind. On Tuesday he was very excitable. She had seen him so before. He complained on Tuesday that his head had been very bad all day. Ha went to bed early. He seemed to have convulsive motions of the body all that night, but in the morning said that he felt able to go to work. She had been married only eight months, and knew of no monetary worries that would upset him. She believed, that his life was insured for £200. He had been previously married, and had two daughters, who lived in the house. Constable Carroll, to whom the matter was reported at 11.10 a.m., stated that he went down to the baths first, got a boat at Harman's, and went out. The body was about 80 yards out from the breastwork, on the bottom, and in about 12 feet of water. It was recovered and brought ashore in about 20 minutes from the time the matter was reported to him. Efforts were made at artificial respiration, but were discontinued at 1 o'clock, as Dr. Henry said that it was hopeless to continue. The man was dead when taken from the water. The body was clothed in a white shirt, siuglet, and drawers. On the steps were found his outer clothes. In the pockets of the coat were a collar, tie, watcn and chain, some silver, studs, &c. Iv one cornerof the handkerchief a gold ring had been carefully tied No papers of any kind were found. Witness had paced down the whole length of the Esplanade ip uniform half-an-hour previous to the matter being 1 reported to him, and the deceased, whom ha knew well, was not there then. There wera no external marks on the body. A cap was found near the body. The jury did not think it necessary to wait for the arrival of Dr. Henry, who had attempted to revive the deceased, as the medical man had sent word that he was detained. The Coroner said that no imputation could lie agaiust the lad Gibbs or Mr. Berti. At this point, in reply to a question from a juryman, a countryman of Cenci, stated that the deceased could swim. Mrs. Cenci volunteered the statement that deceased had told her that he had once before gone iv for a bathe, as he felt unwell. The jury found that the deceased had been Accidentally Drowned while Bathing.

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YESTERDAY'S DROWNING CASE AT THORNDON. Evening Post, Volume LIII, Issue 118, 20 May 1897

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