Russen, Thomas

Russen, Tom              1868 April 4th             Romsey

A fortnight since we inserted notes of an inquest held on the body of a little girl who fell into a rapid stream, and was carried down and not found until some hours after the accident occurred. On Friday another accident of the same kind occurred in Middlebridge-street to a little boy about three years old, the particulars of which were brought out by an inquest held on Monday at the Three Tuns, Middlebridge-street, before R Harfield, Esq., deputy-coroner.

PC Thomas Martin stated that about seven o’clock on Friday evening Mrs Russen came to the police station and said she had lost her little boy. Search was made that evening, and also the following day, but without success. On Sunday I, with the father and uncle, went down the river in a boat, and after a long search we found the body of the little boy just beyond Broadland’s House, in about 12 feet of water. The arms and hands were scratched by the gravel at the bottom of the river, but there were no bruises about the body. We brought the body home to its mother about noon on Sunday.

The mother of the child gave evidence to the effect that on Friday evening about half past six o’clock the little boy, the deceased, went out to play. After he had been out about ten minutes she went to seek for him, but could not find him, and saw nothing more of him until he was brought home on Sunday about 12 o’clock. He would frequently get playing with the water, though she had often flogged him for doing so.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death,” and requested the Coroner again to write to the authorities, suggesting that measures be taken to prevent the loss of life which has frequently taken place owing to persons falling into the rapid stream running along Middlebridge-street, and which is so unprotected.

The Coroner stated that he had communicated with the Mayor on a previous occasion without any practical result, and he hoped the letter he would write, as the jury had requested, would be more effective than his former one.

We may mention here that within the memory of some of the inhabitants more than a dozen lives have been lost in this stream, and it was stated before the jury on Monday that a tradesman living in Banning-street, though not an old man, had, during his residence in that street, rescued 67 children, who had at different times fallen into the said stream, and were in danger of being drowned.

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