Grace, William

Grace, William         1876 October 14th

On Thursday afternoon an inquest was held at the Council Chamber, before the City Coroner, Mr G Smith, on the body of William Grace, who was found dead in bed the previous night.

Dr Wilkes said he was called to see the deceased at about ¼ past ten on Wednesday night at Mrs Green’s lodging house, in Winchester-street, and found him lying on a bed on his left side, quite dead and naked. He had been suffering from diarrhoea. There were no bruises or wounds to be detected and no marks but what indicated that death resulted from natural causes. He was of opinion that probably fainting from paralysis of the heart proved fatal and that death was quite sudden. From the history of the deceased he heard that he had a pension but had hardly any money left, and had been drinking and lying out on the downs, which brought on exhaustion.

George Green said he resided in Winchester-street, and was a greengrocer and lodging-house keeper. He had known the deceased for the last two years, and he was lodging at his house last Tuesday. He entered his house about one o’clock, but witness could not say what time he left on Wednesday morning. He came in to him about 4 o’clock and paid for his lodgings, and witness afterwards saw him about half past five, when he appeared quite well, and had made no complaint to him at all. The next time he saw him he was dead in his room. Deceased was a pensioner and about 53 years of age. He was not aware that he took any meals in his house on Wednesday. His native place was Redlynch. Deceased had lodged at his house previous to Tuesday last, but left on Friday, the 6th inst., and for four nights had slept on the downs or in the woods. He was in the habit of placing his clothes at the foot of the bed at night when wet, and putting them on the next morning without having them dried.

Alfred Sutton said he was a labourer, and at present lived at Green’s lodging-house. He slept in the same room as the deceased on Tuesday night last, and on Wednesday night went to the same room for the purpose of going to bed. Green pointed out the room he was to sleep in, but when he went in he said, “here’s a fine smell.” Witness then stated the condition in which they found the deceased, and said when they first saw him Green made the remark, “We will make that right to-morrow,” but he replied, “It is not fit to leave the man in this state, and it is not fit that one should sleep here.” He also said he would wake the deceased, and went to shake him, but found he was dead, and told Green so. Green replied, “Not at all, I will see to it to-morrow,” but ultimately sent for a policeman, and witness went to a room downstairs. Deceased was quite naked and had no bedclothes or anything upon him.

Superintendent Mathews proved finding 3d in coppers, two pawn-tickets, and a knife in the deceased clothes.

The jury returned a verdict of “death from Natural Causes,” and Green was censured for his conduct.

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