Champion, Emily

Champion, Emily     1885 May 9th          Warminster

Mr Coroner Sylvester held an inquest at the “Weymouth Arms,” on Tuesday afternoon in last week, on the body of an infant named Emily Champion, aged 6 weeks, daughter of a hawker, who was found dead beside its mother the same morning.

Ellen Champion, the mother of the child, said it was born on the 11th of March. Witness was a hawker and came to Warminster on Tuesday. Her husband deserted her at Cheltenham about ten weeks since, and she had heard nothing of him since. On the previous day the child had a cold and breathed with difficulty. She went to bed at half-past nine. Her boy, who was seven years old, and her little girl, two years old, also slept with her and the baby. She was not disturbed during the night; but on waking about four that morning she (witness) found the child lying on her arm dead, but still warm. She gave information to the police.

Mary Ann Walden, another hawker and a widow, said she slept in the same room but heard no noise from the child during the night.

Mary Ann White, charwoman, employed at the “Weymouth Arms,” spoke to seeing the child dressed by its mother on the previous night, at about half-past nine. It then appeared to be suffering from shortness of breath, and breathed with great difficulty. The mother was quite sober.

Mr F T Flower, surgeon, of Warminster, said there was no sign of the child having been overlaid, and from his post mortem examination he had no reason to suppose there had been any violence used. It appeared to him to be a simple case of suffocation.

The Coroner said he believed that hundreds of children’s lives would be saved if persons provided a cradle or a box for them to sleep in instead of taking them to bed with them.

A verdict of “Found dead from suffocation was returned.”

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