Lenton, Frederick 1869 August 14th
An inquest was held before the Coroner, Mr Wilson, in the Council Chamber, yesterday (Friday) evening, on the body of Frederick Lenton, shoemaker, who committed suicide at his lodgings in Winchester-street, the previous evening at eight o’clock.
Emma Moxom, of Fisherton, a widow, deposed her daughter married Frederick Lenton. She did not live with them, but called in last night between 5 and 6 o’clock. Deceased used to drink a good deal, but on last night he was better then she had seen him for a long time. Talked to him, and she told him it did her heart good to see him so quiet. He was at one time in the Lunatic Asylum at Devizes, some seven years ago. He was sent there by the parish. He remained in the asylum about three months. After being in the asylum she did not see him for a long time, but he was always abusive. Last saw him before last night at Fisherton bridge with the election board on is back, when he asked her how she was. Heard of the sad occurrence at half past eight o’clock. She offered him some beer last night, and he could hardly carry it to his lips, he was so weak. He said God bless them all.
In reply to a juryman : She said he was not previously ill, and he was not at work yesterday. Never heard him say he would destroy himself, but he often threatened to “do” for his wife.
Louisa Lenton (who was very nervous and troubled) said she was the wife of deceased, and did not know his age. Yesterday he was not in low spirits, he was rather friendly. During the election he had been drinking very hard, but this week he had been very quiet, and at home working steadily. He said nothing to her about destroying himself that evening. About eight o’clock both were going to bed, and as she was undressing herself she saw her husband standing at the window and drawing something across his throat. He did not say anything whatever, and she rushed for assistance out of the room – they occupied only one room – when she saw the blood. He was always bad-tempered in beer, but quiet out of it. She never heard him threaten to destroy himself, but had often threatened her when intoxicated. She had no reason to find fault with him when sober. Mr Gale was the first who went in after she gave the alarm. On Wednesday night he got out of bed at ten o’clock and went into a neighbour’s apartments, and then afterwards came back. Yesterday at dinner time he complained to her that the neighbours had been calling him, which she believed was a delusion. He was up early every morning this week.
George Gale, of Winchester-street, labourer, deposed that he was called in by Mrs Lenton yesterday evening at eight o’clock. She said, “For heaven’s sake, someone come in, for Lenton is cutting his throat.” I went in and there I saw him cutting his throat with the knife he worked with. Before I could get to him he fell. He is now in the same position. I did not hear him say anything, and when he fell I think he was dead. I saw him in the morning, and he asked me if he had offended anyone on the night previous, I said, “No one that I know of.” I went on my way after that. He seemed quieter than usual, he was all of a tremble.
Dr Blackmore deposed : I was called to Mrs Lenton’s, and saw him about quarter to nine, and he was then lying in the same position in which the jury saw him, and life was quite extinct. There was a large wound in his throat extending from ear to ear. It was a perfectly clean cut and appeared as if made by one incision. The larynx, and both the large arteries of the neck, were divided. He must have died in a minute or a minute and a half. The blood on the window seat indicated where he stood, as it spurted to the left, and that he had cut his throat himself. I believe he was suffering from delirium tremens induced by drinking the previous week, when he did the deed. His delusions I undoubtedly consider as indicating of that. I have no doubt he was of unsound mind arising from delirium, and this was much clearer than in most similar cases.
Jane Sainsbury, deceased’s sister, said she was a bricklayer’s wife. Her brother was between 38 and 39 years of age.
The Coroner said the case was both a clear and a sad one. Instead of working industriously at his trade, he got drunk during the election, and when the reaction came, like too many others, committed suicide. He thought the jury could have no doubt that the deceased committed suicide while in an unsound state of mind.
The jury returned a verdict accordingly.