Rogers, David

Rogers, David            1885 May 16th

An inquest was held at the Council Chamber, on Thursday afternoon, before the City Coroner (Mr G Smith) and a jury, of whom Mr J Hinks was foreman, on the of David Rogers, a fish-hawker.

Rogers, who was well known in Salisbury, had died suddenly in a lodging house in Brown-street on the previous evening. He had been ailing for some time past, but had not received any medical advice. Dr F W Coates, who was sent for immediately after his death, had refused to give a medical certificate, hence the necessity of the inquest.

The first witness called was Dr Coates, who stated that he was called at about half past eight on the previous evening to the house in Brown-street to see the deceased. When he arrived there he found that he was dead. He had not attended deceased previously. From his examination of the body he could not give a positive opinion as to the cause of death. From the answers given to questions put by him to persons in the room, however, he should say the symptoms indicated heart disease.

The Foreman : There is no mark at all on the body?

Witness : No. All the appearances are consistent with the theory of death from natural causes.

The deceased had, he continued, been – from his habits of life – subject to much exposure, and possibly pneumonia or congestion of the lungs had been the cause of death.

William Payne, brick-layers labourer, living at the lodging house in Brown-street, said he had known the deceased for 20 years. He had been ailing for some time, but he had not known him have any medical advice. He saw him twice on the day in question, the first time at about noon, and the second at about eight o’clock in the evening. On the latter occasion he appeared very ill, and witness advised him to have medical assistance. Deceased, after replying that he would follow his advice the next day, went out at the back-door and sat down on the pump trough. He (witness) was then suddenly called by a man to go and catch hold of the deceased in order to prevent him falling. He at once went into the yard and spoke to deceased three times, but received no answer. He then took him into the kitchen and sat him down on a stool; he was dead within a few minutes. There were several persons in the room at the time, including Mary Welch, who assisted him (witness) in holding up the deceased while at the trough. He had taken an egg beat up in vinegar a short time before his death.

By the Foreman : Within the last two or three months he had complained of shortness of breath, and lately of pain in his throat.

By the Coroner : He had never seen anybody commit an act of violence on the deceased. Mrs Keene, the landlady, had sent for Dr Gordon (the parish doctor) an hour before the deceased died, but the latter was not at home. Dr Coates was not sent for till after his death, and he came immediately.

Mary Elizabeth Welch, a married woman, residing at the same lodging house, was the next witness. Her evidence was mainly corroborative of that of the previous witness. She said she had known deceased three or four years, and should imagine that he was about 50 years of age. She saw deceased several times on Wednesday, the last occasion being at 8 o’clock, when he came from his bedroom (whither he had gone some time before) into the kitchen. He then appeared to be very unwell and called out, “I’m choked,” and witness at once took him out into the yard. Her husband brought him back, and after taking a little nourishment deceased said he felt relieved, and went into the yard again. He subsequently came into the kitchen, and then went out into the yard for the third and last time. He sat down on the trough, and after a gasp dropped down, while she still had her arm in his. He appeared to her to have died while at the pump.

In the end the jury returned a verdict of “Death from natural causes.”

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