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HAWTHORNE'S DEATH., Issue 10471, 15 November 1897
VERDICT OF WILFUL MURDER,
WELLINGTON, November 13. The inquest on Ernest Alfred Hawthorne, whoso body was found at Silrerstreim yesterday under very suspicious eircumstanccr, was commenced this afternoon before Mr Athcroft, city coroner, and a i jury.of sii. Inspector Pender conducted tue'ease en behalf of the police. Dr Cahill, who was present when the body Was exhumed at Silverstreain, said he d d not then fully examine it, but, in emij >oci"on with Dr Tripe, he had mado a pom viorl m examination of the remains thatmorning. He found a small wound back of U « left side of the head, about two inches behind the ear, which penetrated the skull. Cn opening the skull he found the brain to be in an advanced stage of decomposition. Fiom the mass of brain matter lie extracted tie pieces of lead and bone wh'ich he then prt» duced.. The lead was evidently the porticn of a bullet which had broken into snail pieces. There was .only the wound of intranee in the head. lie could trace no woi nd of exit... A hat, which was buried on U>p6filic body, was at thissfrgj produced. -It had a small hole in the back near the rim, and witness considered this hole tallied wiih tl e wound found in deceased's head. Wilutir, continuing," slid the wound was quite sutueient to ciuso death. The hole iu the Ekult made it appear to be a bullet wound, and it, was highly improbable that the wound w, b caused by a blunt instrument. ~ He could not suggest any other cause of deatD. Having found the wound and lead inside tho Biull he did not think it necessary to speoi • late upon anything else. He thought Hav. • thorne must have oeen dead some months, as the nature, of the soil was such as to retard putrtf action. He could not tell whether the shot was fired from above or below. There was nothing to suicide. The position of the wound ma- e such a theory untenable. Witness suggest, d that Hawthorne was wearing his hat oh tl e back of his head when he wasshot. Dr Tripe said he agreed in toto with a I Dr Cahill had said. Tne wound was in such a position that it was highly improbable it could have been caused by deceased himse'f unless he perhaps, had been a Itfi,-hand. d man. It was just possible that a Itf t-haudtd man could have icfl cted such a wound on himself, but.it was very improbable. Tho shot which caused, tho wound appeared to have been fired in a straight direction, and from the appearance of the hat ho judged it had been tired from a distance, and not at very close quarters. must have been instantaneous.
At this btage the inquest was adjourned till next day. ■ ...
. 14. Iho inquest wai resumed this nfteruouti. The accused Phnpott (.lias Biauhop.), who was present iu custody, listened to the evdeuca without any apparent concern. Ho is a man of short stature, about thirty yeaw of age, with a face of ordinary cast, and a deoiaedly intelligent-looking forehead. Inspector Tunbridge (Commieeioaer of Polioe) was also present, and frequently conferred with Inspector Pender, who conduotcd the case for the police. The n\st witness called was an old man namjd
George Saow, who deposed to deceased and accused having lived and worked together at Silverstream for sis.or ssvcu weeks. Witness last saw lluvthonie alive nias or ten weeks ego. Oa witness remail. ing upon dcccascd'a disappearance to Pnil> pott (or Stanhope, ns he was known ufc Silverstream), the latter said his mate had cleared out. A few day 3 later (about Sep. tember 7) Stanhope, according to airauwmeat with witnets, shifted Lis camp aero'* to witness's place. He told witness that (re had bought Huu th ;rce out. He brought in a cart a number of toob (produced), which witness recognised as belong ing to Hawthorne. Witness aho recognised two watches and a cloak (produced) as the propr-rly of deceased. Stanhope said he had bought these from Hawthorne, aud Mrs Stanhopo showed witness a receipt Some lime afterwards Stanhope aho left a revolver with" Witness, but took it away again in about two hours. That was about S p.m. on the 4'h September. Witness never saw Hawthorne after Stanhope took the revolver away Stanhope said it belonged to a Mr Sowerbv, who had quarrelled with Hawthorne and might shoot him. At this stage a letter was read dated September 13, 1897, and purporting to have been written by Mrs bunhope at the dictation of Hawthorne, and addressed to Hawthornt's sister at Woodville, stating that Hawthorne had poisoned his right hand and had not been able to work for three weeks, and alluding to Stanhope's kindness to him in his illness. A postscript, signed "H. M. 5.," deprecating Hawthorne's allusion to his kindness, wa3 added. Witness (continuing) said Hawthorne had .disappeared' some lime before the date of this letter, perhaps a week or two. Another letter was put in dated 10th September, and addressed to E. A. Hawthorne, Silverstream. It wai» signed H.. M. Stanhope, and claimed that Hawthorno had taken away £27 from Sianhopo's box, which Hawthorne had given him to mind, ml for which he gave Hawthorne a receipt. Constable CruickEhank gave evidence that Hawthorne's disappearance was first reported to the police eight days ago by Saow and another man named Menzics. Search was kept up continuously until Friday night, when the body was found under circumstances already described. On a track about thirty yards from the grave he found an empty revolver cartridge (or; • duced) which fitted the revolver (produced). Frederick Charles Sowerby, who WE3 on very friendly terms with deceased, said hu had never seen the revolver produce.l or given any revolver to SUnhope. Detective Neill deposed that when he arrested accused on another charge he found the revolver (produced), loaded in all chambers, upon him. He said his mate Hawthorns had gone to Dunedin about two months ago; that he had purchased Hawthorne's camp, and took the tools and got a receipt for them. When charged with tho murder of Hawthorne, Slant ope made no reply of any kind.
The police clerk Wright produced a statement regarding Hawthorne's disappearance which Stanhope made when he was o Tea ted for forgery. He said Hawthorne had sold out to him and had gone to Duuedin'. Ho got a receipt for the money he paid for Hawthorne's things, but he admitted lo witness that the receipt produced was forged. Ho did receive a receipt from Hawthorne, but had lost it, and so had written out another. . November 15. After the telegraph office closed yesterday several witnesses gave evidence as to portions of the property found in I'hilpott'a possession having belonged to Hawthorne. ' The Coroner, in summing up, pointed out that the only piece of evidence accused had to answer was to show how he came by the deceased's effects. There was a receipt which he afterwards admitted he had made out hirnself. This was a very damaging fact. ..Also the amount mentioned in tr.e " receipt was very small for so many articles. ' The jury returned a verdict of wilful • murder against Philpott. A large number of people, especially cyclists, visited the' scene of the crime yes---terday. It is on a spur overlooking the • Hutt Valley, with the railway stati in-'e direotly in yiew. : ■'
HAWTHORNE'S DEATH., Issue 10471, 15 November 1897
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