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SUICIDE AT ROSLYN., Issue 8031, 7 October 1889
SUICIDE AT ROSLYN.
An inquest was held this morning, at Roslyn, before Mr Coroner Carew, on the bo:ly of James Pithers. The following is a summarised report of the proceedings : James A. Park, auctioneer, said that the body shown to the jury was that of the late James Pithers. Witness thought he was au Englishman, born in London, He had been upwards of fourteen years in the colony. He had been in witness’s employ for over four years as handyman and gardener. He was not married, so far as witness was aware of. Witness had known him for about two years before employing him. Ho was working about the district, and previous to that he was a Star runner. His health broke down the winter before last, and he was then under the impression that he woald not last through that winter. About four months ago he caught cold and had a severe attack of pleurisy, and, witness thought, visited Dr Brown. After his recovery h.e was very weak, and spoke of taking a trip to Auckland to see if .it would improve him in any way; but instead of Auckland he visited Sydney, having relations there. It was, witness believed, fully a month before he found his relations there, which seemed to make him despondent. Ho returned to Dunedin on the 31st August last. He said he felt better, but he did not look any better. About a month from Thursday last he got up in the middle of the night aud wandered to Port Chalmers. He said when he came back that ho did no,t .know bow he got there. Witness saw him the following day, and’ he seemed to be perfectly sane. Mrs Park offered to send for a doctor, but fifl gawJ he was perfectly right and would not have a abptdr *o see him. Since then he would very seldom leave the premises, seeming as though he did not want to meet anyone who would talk to him about his past movements. Witness had had a lad at the place recently, and used to ask him about Pithers, whether he noticed anything wrong about him. His answers were always “No,” and to the effect that he WM all right and quiet. On Friday night witness beard the servant said he was brighter and more cheery than he had been, but that he spoke strangely sometimes. The last time witness spoke to' Pithers was on Thursday morning between 8.30 and 9 o'clock, and got ratber a quiet reply. Immediately after replying Pithers walked away. Since then it had opeurred to witness as strange that Pithers did iv?fc stay to speak to him as he usually did ; but tfyifTdid not occur to witness at the time. Witness fancied 'that Pithers considered himself a burden #,nd of no use, because he had not been ship to do the work he used to do. The lad was oply temporarily there to assist him in heayy work. Witness never gave Pithers reason to think he was dissatisfied with him. Witness told him, after he wandered to Port Chalmers, that he was foolish to brood over prefers. He said if he had been in business he syoujd have gone wrong long ago, Witness told frim that so long as he liked there was a homo for JS»jm with witness, and that he could potter about'and do what he could. Witness thought he was over fifty years of age, but he made himself out, witness believed, to be forty-eight yearja. He had wandered about a good deal during his life—had been in Victoria, through par,t of the Maori War, on the Otago diggings, Rnd \vff A^ an ’ B » °f H°Pehill, before became to town. Tb.e carbine produced was witness's property, It used to bp in Pither’s custody. Whenever witness gave it up to him it was always empty. On Saturday morning witness asked Pithers to have his rifle cleaned and have it ready by the afternoon, which witness understood he did. Witness heard at lunch time what had happened to Pithers, Dr Brown safi that on Saturday last he was called by telephone; and arrived at Mr Park's at a, few minutes before £ p.nv. He found the body lying on its baoff in an outhouse, at full length on tbs gronnd. De- ’ ceased had the barrel of a carbine in M.S right hand, pointing towards his bead. The right side of his bead was blown to pieces by the discharge of the carbine. Portions of the skull and brains were lying beside the body, and nieces of brain wcre sectored about the iybodhou^e ; xjio roof, and floor.
The injuries could have been self-inflicted. In October, 1888, he consulted witness. He was then Buttering from pleurisy. Witness had not seen him since. Any severe illness might depress a man mentally ; if it lasted long it would be very likely to do so. Margaret Anderson, general servant at Mr Park’s, said that she had asked Pithers what made him dull, but he did not tell her. He said : “Never mind; you don’t know anything about it.” The night before he went to Port Chalmers he said that he was tired of living. He did not say why. He said he would like a good walk. Witness had never since then heard him talk about making away with himself. On Saturday morning he was very quiet and dull, and hardly spoke to witness. It was the same at breakfast and dinner-time. He had his dinner about five minutes past twelve. He did not eat much, and said he wished he had a good appetite. Witness did not see him with a gun that morning. Before he went to Port Chalmers witness sometimes thought his mind was affected, but had not thought so since. The people in the house were always very kind to him. Richard Harris said that ho knew Pithers, and used to work with him at Mr Park’s at gardening. Witness had noticed that he was very quiet for the past two or three days. After witness returned from dinner on Saturday he found Pithers’s body lying on the floor, and reported the occurrence. The jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased shot himself while temporarily insane.
SUICIDE AT ROSLYN., Issue 8031, 7 October 1889
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