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On March 13th a man named ' William Sumner Rawcliffe, a remittance man, committed suicide at Wakefield by poisoning himself with i carbolic acid. From informationreceived it appears that the unfortunate man had been drinking heavily j for some time past, and had been on < the verge of delirium tremens. On ] Sunday week deceased was under the delusion that detectives were after him, and he strayed away from his home. The matter was reported to Constable Knapp, who immediately went in search of Rawcliffe, whom he found in Church Valley. Deceased walked quietly home with Constable Knapp, and seemed quite rational. During the several days following Kawcliffe was attended by Doctors Pearless and Hamilton, and looked after by his man servant and several others. He appeared to have improved considerably, and had had no drink for over a week. The manservant, seeing that Rawcliffe was so much better, went hop-picking on Friday, and it was* during his absence that the unfortunate man committed the rash act. So far as can be ascertained, the deceased has no realatives in the Colony, but it is said that he has a wife and family in "England. He always possessed money, having been in receipt of reI mittances regularly from England. Deceased was employed in the Defence Department at Wellington for some time. ! An inquest was held at Wakeneld yesterday morning, before Mr H. W. Robinson, Coroner, and the following jury: W. L. Bird (foreman), D. Stevens, R. Kelling, O. G. Bird, G. W. Johnson, and J. Price. Richard Stevens, of Church Valley, his nest-door neighbor stated thac deceased lived with a laborer named James Meyer. He last saw deceased alive on Friday, at dinnertime. He took him some dinner, as he knew that Meyer was away. He was aware that Rawcliffe was not quite right, and had been under an hallucination that detectives wanted to arrest him. He believed that his state of mind was due to drink and trouble. On Friday evening he found deceased lying in a paddock dead, and the body was cold. His coat and trousers were on, also his boota, but ; he had no shirt on. Witness did not disturb th« body. He had never heard the deceased express any intention of committing suicide. James Meyer, employed by deceased, also gave evidence. He said his employer had knocked off drink lately, and seemed better. On Friday morning when he went away he left deceased in bed. He felt satisfied that deceased was much better, and did not retura,. as he knew that Mr Stevens was looking after him. When he returned from hop-picking he found the door open, and sent for Mr Stevens. They found the body and Mr Stevens approached it. He knew that there was carbolic acid in the house, and it was in a bottle like the one produced. Charles Knapp, police constable, stationed at Spring Grove, said that he knew deceased. On Sunday last it was reported to him that Rawcliffe was missing, and he went in search and found him in some manuka scrub in Church Valley. Rawcliffe told him that detectives were after him, but he came with witness quietly. When he saw the body in the paddock on Friday he noticed a strong smell of carbolic acid, and found a bottle nearly empty. Dr Pearless stated that he knew deceased, and had treated him for alcoholic mania. When he last saw ' him on Tuesday last he seemed better. On Friday evening he saw him dead, and an uncorked bottle which had contained carbolic acid about ten yards away. He observed stains on his chin and chest, and on making a post mortem found about half a pint of the fluid in his stomach. Deceased died from poison, probably self-administered. The jury returned a verdict that deceased had died from poison taken while temporarily insane. The Rev. E. Allanson officiated at the burial, which took place yesterday.

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Bibliographic details

SUICIDE IT WAKEFIELD., Colonist, Volume XLVI, Issue 10673, 23 March 1903, Supplement

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SUICIDE IT WAKEFIELD. Colonist, Volume XLVI, Issue 10673, 23 March 1903, Supplement

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