TRAGEDY OF GOSSIP
SCHOOLMASTER'S SUICIDE AFTER ORDER OF F.XILE. After he had received notice to leave the country under the Defencft of the Realm Act. a schoolmaster, driven insane by the gossip of the villagers, committed suicide. Deceased was Wm. Smith, of Henhnm. near Wangford, Suffolk, and at, the opening of the inquest a letter was read from the Earl of Stradbroke, who stated that village tittle-tattle had been responsible for this man's death. "It ws too dreadful," he wrote, "to think that his death had been caused by those who had occasion to be very grateful to him.''—Captain Jasper Mayne, Chief Constable of Fast Suffolk, called to give evidence at the adjourned proceedings, declined to reply to any question put with the object of eliciting information as to the nature of confidential documents or a« to the order mado by the military authority and served by the police on deceased asking him to leave the prescribed area. The Chief Constable also denied that Inspector Staunton, his chief clerk, had accused Smith to his face of being a, C4erman, and protested strongly against insinuations of counsel that the police had killed Smith by sending him an order to remove from the district. —Mr Lynn trepresentiiig the National Union of Teachers} : You brought this charge against him without any evidence whatever'.' Certain persons alone knew the evidence.—Have you ant evidence to justify the charge? Yos.—Whnt investigations were made in this case? A full investigation. We never accused Smith of being a spy or of being a German.— Havo you ever known anything at all against this man, apart from silly rumors? Yes.—What? I cannot tell you. I am not able, to reveal anything connected with the reasons which led to the issuing of this order. I think he was responsible for injudicious behaviour and utterances. —The Chief Constable and other police witnesses admitted that deceased was not consulted Buyout t"he rumors made concerning' Tiim. — Mr Lynn : The man wa6 condemned untried ; we all know that.—Medical evidence wa« a-ddnced showing that deceased cut his threat, and died from asphyxia. He was excitable, and extremely sensitive, and had been once or twice on the border line of insanity.—The jury returned a verdict that Smith committed suicide while of unsound mind, caused by false reports against his patriotism, and expressed the opinion that the police were very much to blame in not obtaining local information before acting on reports and rumors.
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TRAGEDY OF GOSSIP, Evening Star, Issue 15697, 11 January 1915