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ACCIDENT AT A BREWERY

THE INQUEST.

DEATH BY ELECTROCUTION.

The inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death of James Thomas Neve, who was alleged to have been killed as the result of an electric shock at Messrs Strachan and Co.'s brewery was resumed to-dav at the Magistrate's Court, before the * Coroner, Mr C. C. Graham, S.M. Sergeant M'Kcefry represented the police, Mr H. D. Bedford appeared for the mother of deceased, and Mr W. C. MacGregor for Messrs Strachan and Co.

Dr M'Kellar (recalled) deposed to having made a post inorten on the body. Ho found the brain normal. There was no sign of apoplexy or other disease. The heart was quite* empty of blood, and the blood in the veins round the heart was quite fluid. If death had been duo to a weak heart he would have expected to have found clots of blood in the ventricles. The fluid blood and the absence of clots is what ono would expect from a death caused by an electric shock. The liver and . kidnevs were full of blood, but healthy otherwise. The other organs were healthy There was no brusing about the scalp. He examined the 6car on the neck. It was deep. The lower end of the scar on the right side lay over the vagus nerve and extended almost to the windpipe. Tho vagus nerve, when slightly stimulated, as by electricitv, caused a slowing down of the heart's action; a stronger current caused instant stoppage of the heart. These were well known physiological facts and were to be found in all text books on tho subject. A moderately strong electrical current acting on the vagus nerve would cause instant death, and the condition of the deceased's heart bore the appearance that action had been suddenly stopped after the ventricles had contracted; sudden stoppage having been the cause of death. . In reply to 'Mr Bedford : The vagus nerve wa« very sensitive.

In reply to the Coroner Mr Macjrrcscir said ho had no evidence to offer. It was an unfortunate accident.

Frank Roland Shepherd said he was an electrical engineer. He had examined the jKH-table electrical lamp which deceased was using at the time of his death. The lamp itself was in good order, and under ordinary circumstances was quite safe. He thought the accident was entirely duo to moisture. There was quit* a pool of water where the lamp was lying, and where deceased's body was picked up. Water was a good conductor. There was a general leakage as tho result of the moisture.

To Mr MacGregor : Ho.had made testa and found there was a voltage of from 50 to 70 volts. A man touching a live wire with his hand with theV voltage named would not be seriously injured. The accident was doubtless due to the deceased falling on the lamp. It was his opinion that deceased must have, fallen prior to receiving tho shock, which caused hiR death. The case was quite an exceptional one.

To Mr Bedford : Had tho wire- been " earthed " it would have been eafer. The Coroner said the evidence disclosed that tho cause of death was failure of the heart's action, due to an electric shock, which was the result of tho deceased having slipped and fallen on an electric lamp which he' was- using at tho time.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141210.2.47

Bibliographic details

ACCIDENT AT A BREWERY, Evening Star, Issue 15672, 10 December 1914

Word Count
555

ACCIDENT AT A BREWERY Evening Star, Issue 15672, 10 December 1914

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