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FOUND DROWNED., Issue 7960, 16 July 1889
An old and highly-respected resident of Dunedin, Mr Charles Stewart, was found drowned this morning nnder rather extraordinary circumstances. A boy named Williams was passing by the lagoon near Sparrow and Co.'s foundry, in the vicinity of Rattray street wharf, at about 10 o'clock this morning, and saw the body of deceased lying with tho head submerged beneath tho water. He immediately gava the alarm, and the body was taken to the Wharf Hotel, where every means of restoring animation was resorted to, but without avail, Mr Stewart having evidently been dead for some hours. Ho had been in tho habit of taking his dog down tho wharves for the purpose of giving him a swim in the bay, and it is surmised that he had some such idea list night, but that missing his way he stumbled over a heap of rubbish at tho edge of the lagoon and fell into the latter, becoming smothered before he could regain his footing. Mr Stewart some years ago occupiel the position of local manager of the Bank of New South Wales, was for twenty-ihree years manager of the bank's branch in Becchworth bofore coming to this colony, and subsequently became ft member of tho firms of Driver, Stewart, and Co. and Maclean Bros. Ho was a bachelor, between fifty and sixty years of age, nnd resided in Stafford street with his sister, the widow of the late Mr Hugh Maclean. THE INQUEST. An inquest was held at the Wharf Hotel at three o'clock to-day before Mr Coroner Carew and a jury of six. Ewen M'Phcrson Stowart, dork, stated that ho wns a brother of deceased, who was born in Perthshire. Ho had been in the colony over twenty years, and had of late been following tho occupation of an insurance agent. Formerly ho was local manager of the fhnk of New South Wales. _ He was fifty-nine years of age, and unmarried. He was living with witness, and he left the house at 8.15 last night, saying that ho was going to the Post Office, and would return immediately. Ho used to wind up his watch on going to bed at night. Witness knew of no object that would take deceased down Rattray street at night. He did not takehisdogwithhimlastnight. Witnessnever knew him to suffer from fits or heart disease ; his health was always very good. He had not been drinking last night. Ho was very temperate and in very good spirits, and there was nothing wrong with him when he left tho house. Neville Sievwright, solicitor's clerk, stated that he spoke to deceased about 8.30 last night at the Post Office, in the private letter-box department. He did not notice anything peculiar about deceased, who appeared to bo quite sober. John Williams, a boy aged eleven, and living at tho east end of Rattray street, stated that he passed tho lagoon this morning at about ten o'clock, and saw deceased lying in the water closo to the bank. Witness told somo men who were working at a new building closo by, and they went to where the body was, and then told witness to ran away for a policeman, which he did. Benjamin Coates, bricklayer, stated that he was working at Sargood and Co.'s new building this morning when the last witness gave the alarm. Witness saw deceased lying in the water, with his face downwards. Hi 3 fac« and the front part o: his
body were under water, but his ears, back, and heels were above the water. His boots were covered with mortar. There was a heap of mortar on the road, about thirty or forty feet from where the body was found. There were footmarks traceable from the mortar-heap to the edge of th<s water, and also marks showing where deceased had fallen down—there were two small pieces of rock on which deceased had evidently trodden and slipped, with the result that he fell into the water. When witness pulled the body out of the water, he saw that there was a large stone in the water close to where deceased's head was, and another under his chest. His umbrella lay underneath him. Tho water was not above 18in deep whero he lay. There was a tobacco pipe in one band. The body was quite rigid when recovered. Witness wont to work at eight o'clock this morning, and the accident could not have occurred after that hour, as he and other men were working just opposite, and must haro Been it.
Dr William Brown stated that he was telephoned to a few minutes after eleven o'clock thia morning, and on seeing the body of the deceased he found it to be cold and stiff, and the face covered with froth. There was no mark of violence or injury except a slight abrasion of the left eyebrow. The pupil of the left eye was more dilated than that of the other; and, taking that fact into consideration, together with the build of deceased and what witness know of deceased, witness thoughthe had had an attack of apoplexy, during whioh he fell In the water and got drowned. Prom the oondition of the body witnesß gathered that deceased had been dead for eight or ten hours. His watch had stopped at 10.22. It was likely that a man subjeot to apoplexy would wander about into unaooustomed places; witness knewthatfor iometimepastdeceased had suffered from and spoken about peculiar feelings in the head. The abrasion over the left eye was not sufficient to cause death, or even to stun deceased. The probability was that deceased became giddy from a fit, and when he fell had no chance of getting up again. Constable Patterson deposed to finding certain artioles, including a gold watch and chain, on deoeased'a body when witness was called to the soene of the accident.
The jury returned a verdiot that deceased was accidentally drowned while Buffering from a fit of apoplexy.
FOUND DROWNED., Issue 7960, 16 July 1889
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