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SUICIDE AT CAVERSHAM., Issue 8010, 12 September 1889
SUICIDE AT CAVERSHAM.
A nwuTt determined case of suicide occurred *t Josephine street, Caversham, yesterday morning. A man named Arthur Empson, who with his wife had recently come to reside it Barley, Caversham, got •out of his bed and *"snt into the kitchen to get some tea for hir.?e*!f, having previously knocked out of his wife's hand a cup which she had brought him. On gating into the kitehen he seized a largt breaaknife, and proceeded to cut his throat, with ft. His wife, seeing what he was about, fan wkudo .and called for help to a neighbor, who on soing to the door saw Empson with a ternWe lash in his throat. He was so horrified at the spectacle that faa ran off for assistance, and on his return the man was lying on the floor dead. An inquest was held yesterday afternoon, and evidence was adduced that the suieide, after inflicting wounds on the throat with the bread knife, then took up another knife with a saw back to it, and so ■desperate was its that ho appears to have used the back part of it, and sawed right through to the back bone.
INQUEOT. At the inquest held at the Waterloo Hotel by Mr Carew and a jury of six, of whom Mr John Chetwin was chosen foreman, the following evidence was adduced : Elizabeth Matilda Empson, wife of deceased, deposed that he was born in Yorkshire, England, and had been in New Zealand between twelve and thirteen years, but had been away during that time. They had been anarried six years last March, Deceased had !beentravellingßincelaßtChristmas. They left INew Zealand in March last, and tame back again about the middle of August. They •same to reside in Caversham about three!, weeke ago. Deceased had a run of his own at Rangitafca at one tune, and had been manager .on a station in the £othwell district, Tasmania, lately. Deceased had on several .occasions been (jueer in bis mind, but lhad never been in the asylum as a patient. He was sent to the hospital in Albany, Western Australia, sufFering from insanity, tsd was detained there a week. Since | -coming to€aversham lie had been in very] good health, but during the last fo;v daysj witness noticed that he became quiet, walked round and appeared nervous. He follovyed witness round wherever eke went. He imagined he heard voices a&i telephones. Thi* was the way he always went ,on when sie weot wrong in the head. On Tuesday he &ept saying there was someone coming for, Wm, but who witness did not know. Hef -told witness that he had gone to town in the! .morning and poeted two letters, and that '■ her brother-in-law had sent the police after him for not drinking. Witness had a brother-in-law in Wanganui, but none in town. Later on he tried to etab himself with the scissors. Witness knew ibis by the blood on his shirt when they were goiog; to bed about ten o'clock. Witness asked him, how the blood came oc the shirt, and took hold of him. He said he did it when he fell against his scissors. These Ud entered the ekin. At nine o'clock on WednesAsy morning witness took him a eup of tea to b*<L and he threw the cup out of her hand s,iui | .said he would get one for himself. He then' got up and went into the kitchen, ami as he wa« coming through ho pulled off his trousers. On getting into the kitchen he seized the bread knife and put it up to his, throat tc if to cut it. Witness did noti think he was using the front of the knife | till she saw the cut. He kept on sawiDg, and witness ran out of the house by the back ■door, and screamed out to her neighbor, Mr Watecatone, who came out at once and went fco the .door of the house. He then went away for someone. Witness went to the door with Mr Waterstone, and saw deceased with the knife still in his hand. When Mr Waterstone went; away witness stayed out %v iUe gate till the **tcher and someone else .came. They went iasicb, and witness saw the feet of deceased, who was lying on the ;floor Previous to this deees-ssd had been .standing up. He never spoke. JVitneM *eain saw her faasband when the cotufeoJe .came, and he wes then dead. He hadj -spoken about making en attempt on his life' Itnfore, but had never trioi to carry it into effect. He had said in Western Australia that he would cut throat first and Ma own afterward?. He never gfive any reason for saying this. Witness put thfi
scissors, deceased's razor, and knives away ou Tuesday night when she had found that he had tried to harm himself. Witness knew that there was insanity in the family. His cousin shot himself, and the mother and sister died not altogether saue. Witness was not aware that deceased had had anything to worry him of late. He was not in the habit of drinking to excess, but tool; a glass of liquor occasionally. Witness always considered that she was perfectly safe in living with deceased, and thought that she could manage him by means of persuasion. He very rarely epoke to anyone in Caversham, but would occasionally speak to things in the room and imaginary persons. Witness said to him that she would send for a policemau the next morning, when she saw the blood on his shirt on the Tuesday night. He said it would soon be over, but witness did not know what was meant by that. She did not think it necessary to place him under restraint of any kind. Witness had been using a bread knife iu the kitchen before he came in. She never expected him to get out of bed, and did not want him to do ao, as he might rush down the street or do some such foolish thing. Witness did not think it was necessary to send for the police overnight, as she had seen deceased quite as bad before. He talked all nigh\ By medical advice given on a previous occasion, witness was told to hide all knives away. The other knife produced was not a bread knife, but belonged to a set of kitchen utensils. It was hanging up in a frame, and deceased must have laid the bread knife down aud taken the other one out. The table knives were kept in a table drawer in the front room, and he would not be likely to look for anything which was out of sight. When first deceased came to Caversham he was fit to attend to business, but had not been so for the past few days. Deceased was thirtytwo years of age. John Wateratone, hawker, residing next door to deceased, said he heard Mrs Empson calling for help about eleven o'clock in the morning. He went to her, and was told that her husband wa* cutting hi 3 throat. Witness went to the back door, but did not go inside. He saw deceased standing on the floor with a great gash in his throat. The blood was streaming down, and witness could hear the breath coming through the wound in the windpipe. Witness looked for a moment, and then went away for assistance. Witness could not say if his hands were raised, or if he had anything in them at the time. Not meeting anyone, witness telephoned for the police from the telephone station at the Town Hall, Caversham. A boy told witness that the police were not in at South Dunedin. Witness returned in about ten or fifteen minutes, and there was then a crowd of people round the place. Witness thought that deceased was naked when he first saw him. On tho second occasion that witness saw deceased he was lying dead in the doorway of another room adjoining the kitchen. John Watson, engineer, residing about six or eight chains from deceased's house, stated that he had never to his knowledge seen deceased before. A Miss Morrison came to witness and begged him to come as a man was going to cut his throat. Witness called his son-in-law, Joseph Keen, to follow him, and ran into the house of deceased, and saw him lying on his back partly in the kitchen and partly iu another room. Witness ran to the gate and told Keen to fetch the police and a doctor, and returned to the house. The deceased was bleeding from the throat and was kicking oat his feet, This was a quarter to eleven, and three minutes later deceased was dead. The bread knife was lying on the table in the kitchen covered with blood, and the other knife was lying on the floor in a pool of blood about a yard from deceased's right hand. The blood was all close about the body. The hands were covered with blood, as indeed was all the body. Constable Higgins said that about lialfpast ten, from something he heard, he went to Mr Empson's house, in Josephine street, Barley. He saw Mrs Empson on the road. Witness corroborated the evidence cf last witness as to the position of the body, which was undisturbed until the doctor had seen it, There was a mat near the table on which the bread knife was, and it had a good deal of blood on it. Where the greater quantity of blood was, close to the partitioD, tho other knife was lying. There was blood on tho door and walls, but none in any of the other rooms but the kitchen. Witness asareked for any writing of any sort, but found none. In the bedroom there were tea stains on the sheet on the bed.
Dr Coughtrey stated that he made an external examination of the body during the afternooD, On the front of the neck there was a huge gaah, completely severing the windpipe. The vessels leading to this and i in front of it were also cut through, and the ; wound extended to tho backbone in depth. The appearances indicated that several strokes of a knife had caused it, and the •atfged margins of the wound, both at its sides apd its lower part, indicated that the saw-edge at the last weapon produced had also been saci. The wounds could have been self-inflicted, wni fhe quantity of blood lost was alone s,ufidcicn)t, f,p account for death. The rest of the body bore no marks of violence except fcelow the left ffipple, where there was a punctured wound of, the skin such as could have been produced I by scissors or some similar instrument. tkxs, wound had evidently been inflicted some lieu,rs before the other. Witness would not 'to surprised if the cuts were made both with the "rigit and left hands, judging from the nature of the pounds. There weifi some cases that came u&der the attention of medical men where the frianda gould control the patient. In this case there was sunicient justification for confining deceased in an asylum. It was the most desperate and determiagd wound witness had ever seen in a case of this kind. A man would probably live for fifteen or twenty miDutcs after such a wound was indicted. Mr Cv-rew said that was ali the evidence. He thougiit there could bo no doubt in the jury's mind tii&t the man was insane, &nd that there was ampU evidence to show that 1 he did not known v",hat Le was doing. It was a very great pity that M*e smp3on did not take mean* to have her husband confined if what she said was true. There were ample. grounds for sending him fco an asylum. Ati the same time people got accustomed, under ; such circumstances, to such threat*. j The jury returned a verdict that deceased j killed idmself by cutting his throat while of unsQS.ttd mind.
SUICIDE AT CAVERSHAM., Issue 8010, 12 September 1889
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