* j THE SHIELEY CASE. An inquest was held yesterday afternoon, ' at the residence of Mr R. P. Hill, Shirley, * before the Ccroner, Dr Coward, and a jury ■ of 13, who chose Mr Hill as their foreman, 1 touching the death of James Joel Briggs. * The following was the evidence : — John Briggs, father of the deceased: Yesterday morning, about 10 o'clock, I i went out to my work, leaving the three j children, James, Henry, and Joseph, in the • house. They were not in bed. There was a fire alight in the house. Deceased had beon outside, but came in just before I started. My wife and I closed the door, and went to town. The door has no lock. 1 The deceased was told to keep away from 1 the fire, and look after the others. I left , my wife at a store, and did not see her again till I came home, between four and five o'clock. Deceased was a quiet child. To the Foreman: I expected my wife would go back as soon as she had done her shopping. She waß at the corner of the North and East Belt, at Mrs Carpenter's. To Inspector Bullen: The child's age was four years and three months. \ Elizabeth Briggs, mother of deceased : I can't tell how the accident happened. I •; am nearly 26, and have been married five years. I went out with my husband yesterday morning between 10 and half-past ]10 o'clock. I left the three children in the ' house. There was a small coal fire in the j grate. Deceased was four years and three '. months old. I said, "" Jimmy, keep baby [ off the fire and sit on the sofa." He said, j " All right, mammy ; if Teddy goes near the fire I will put him on the sofa." I have left the children by themselves many a j time, sometimes when there was a fire. I | got home between half-past ono and two . o'clock. Aa soon as I saw the children I ran out. Jimmy must have been dead, for " hia grandfather found him dead not fire ■ minutes after. The little baby was burnt, ' but the other little boy was not hurt. ' Joseph Edward said this morning that J Jimmy waa lighting paper and set fire to j his shirt sleeves, and then got burnt. J To Inspector Bullen : There is not a j lock on the door ; it Bnicks. The little j boy shut the door himself. I have seen j him open the door many a time. The j door can't be fastened from the outside. To a juryman: I bought a sheet of I writing paper and posted a letter for my ! mother at Home. That's all I did after ' purchasing the groceries. | To Inspector Bullen : The children have : often stayed as long by themselves. . To the Foreman : There is a wooden bar :to fasten the door inside. I opened the J door from the outside. It had only the j outside snick. To the Coroner : I saw no smoke, but ' smelt something burning as I was going i round by the chimney. I thought the i children were burning sticks. James Briggs, deceased's grandfather : [ I live with another son, Joseph Briggs, j about a quarter of a mile away from my son John. I heard our girls shouting about ten minutes to 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon. The last witness ran towards our house, screaming for help. I followed her, and found deceased dead on the floor, and the other' one that was hurt, in her arms. The sofa was on fire, and I put it" out as well as I could., Then I saw a hole burnt in the floor. The deceased was over another hole. I saw he was dead, and did not touch him. Every stitch of clothing waa burnt off him from the waist up. Another lady came and assisted me. The jury returned a verdict of " Accidental death," with a rider attributing great negligence to the parents, and especially to the mother.
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