THE RAILWAY FATALITY.
A VERDICT OF “ ACCIDENTAL DEATH” , - Mr Coroner Carew held an inquest at the Commercial Hotel, Abbotsford, at four o’clock yesterday afternoon, on the body of John Walker, who was; out to pieces by a riilway min .on Monday, morning. Mr An bur jviipeare.l to watch tbe proceedings o;i lieht.U -J the Railway Department. Jiur-es Wallis, residing at Mount Stuart, stated that he was a passenger from Milton by the train arriving et Dunedin at eleven o’clock on Monday. After the train passed through the Chain Hills tunnel he saw deceased standing on the platform of the carriage beside him. They were on tho front of the Dunedin end cf the carriage. Another young man named Andrew was also standing on the platform. Three or four minutes after the train passed through'the tunnel deceased crossed over on the couplings to the back platform of the carriage in front. Witness did not hear him say anything. He stood looking over towards witness, and was moving about as if in deep thought about something. He looked melancholy. He then threw down his umbrella, caught hold of the bar at the back of the platform, and threw himself on to the railway line. It seemed a deliberate act. ; He slipped down between the outside stanchion and the one neatest the couplings. In witness’s opinion deceased deliberately threw himself under the carriage wheel. He made no cry or noise. The young man Andrew crossed to the other platform about a minute before deceased. Andrew picked up the umbrella. Several passengers unsuccessfully endeavored to attract the attention of the engine-driver. The train reached Abbotsford before anything could be done. There was nothing about deceased to attract attention. He seemed to be all right so far as sobriety went, because at Mosgiel ho leaned over the couplings and shook hands with a gentleman. It was a cold windy day. The side of the platform on which deceased crossed to was the more sheltered from the wind. There was plenty of room in the carriages. Witness did not think that deceased was trying to sit down on the platform.
Katherine Welsh, living in Dunedin, said she identified all the clothing of the body as belonging to deceased. Witness had been his housekeeper for five years. She last saw him alive at Milton on Monday week. Deceased sold out his interest in the Red Lion Hotel, of which he was licensee, on the 6.h of October. Deceased was not well, and he went to live with hla brother at Milton a fortnight ago. Witness followed him a few days later. He had been ill on and off for the last two years. He broke a bloodvessel two years ago. Dr Marlin was attending him up to the evening before he went to live with his brother at Milton. He always seemed to be in good spirits. He complained of a giddiness in the head, which would overcome him for a minute or two and then pass away again. Witness believed that he had about £1,500 or £1,600. He knocked off drinking after leaving the hotel, ami was getting along splendidly. He never drank much. Deceased made arrangements to meet her either by the train on Friday or Monday. He said if he did not come on Friday he would arrive on Monday, as he intended going to the Taieri races on Tuesday, Ho had two brothers. Witness did not think that he had left a will. When overcome by a giddy fit he would hold on to anything, and his legs would give way beneath him. Dr Martin knew be was subject to these file. The young man Andrew was then called, but did not appear. John M'Callum, living at Waiwera, gave evidence that he was standing inside one of the carriages when he saw deceased suddenly disappear from the platform. He next felt the carriage pissing ever something.
Duncan M'Kwcn, fencer, residing at Milton, deposed that after the train came out of the Chain Hills tunnel deceased passed over tho couplings to a plutf.-rra where witness was. Witness thought there were only the two of them there. Deceased held on to the bjr for a couple of minutes, IDs feet seemed to give way from under him, and he dropped on to the line and passed under the succeeding carriage. Witness oould not aay whether it was an accident or whether he purposely dropped. ; He did not speak to witness Witness noticed nothing wrong with him at all. Henry Jameson, assistant guard on the train, said he did not notice the deceased on the carriage. When tho train was about a mile from Abbotsford station he noticed the van heaving, aud thought it had lost the road. He then looked out of the end window and saw a body lying on the line. He could see that the train had passed over it. Witness applied the brake and attempted to signal the driver, but could not. James Roberts, railway guard, said he was in charge of the goods train to Balclutha. Oa arriving at Abbotsford he was ordered to proceed with the engine and pick up the body. The body was badly broken in several places. Witness picked up one shilling and sixpence and gave it to the Abbotsford station-master. Two men named Ritohie and M'Lean were on the spot before ho arrived. ; Constable O’Sullivan deposed that he found on deceased a pocket knife and a piece of tobicco. He fouml no money, on the bony,-but one shilling and sixpence was handed to him by the Abbotsford stationmaster. Witness searched the body in presence of Mr Young, ami f »und a return railway ticket from Mlilon to Dunedin. Alexander Walker, miller, residing at Milton, said deceased was hia brother,’ He intended to he back from Duned-n on Friday. He told witness he would not take more than £5 with him to Dunedin, He carried a purse and a valuable gold watch and gold chain. He told witness once that they were worth £SO. He might possibly have left the watch end chain behind him. Witness had not examined his box. Deceased was born at Perth, and was thirtythree years in the colony. He was married, but had co family. He was looking out for another hotel. He told witness be had come out of the last one very well. Witness asked him if he had made a Will, and he said he had not. He said he had £1.500 or £1,600. It was suggested that tho watch may have may been embedded in the body, and the Coroner intimated that be would direct an examination to be held. A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.
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THE RAILWAY FATALITY., Evening Star, Issue 10468, 11 November 1897