Bailey, Mathew

Bailey, Mathew             1886 December 25th             Martin

Choked By A Piece of Beef

On Wednesday afternoon an inquest was held at the Council House touching the death of Mathew Bailey, landlord of the White Hart, Martin, who was choked the previous day through attempting to swallow a large piece of fat beef. Mr John Carter was foreman of the jury.

Charles Feltham, butcher, living in Castle-street, said that he saw deceased in the market between five and six o’clock and he (deceased) was trying to buy a piece of beef from a person for whom witness worked. There was a difference between them of ¼d per lb as to the price of the beef, and the deceased did not buy. Deceased walked to Mr Holbrook’s (the Market Inn), and witness went there shortly afterwards with a side of beef for some other men who attended the market. At Mr Holbrook’s there were three steaks and some onions. Mr Bailey, who had just had his tea and was sitting down, took out of the dish, with his fingers, a piece of beef as big over as witness’s three fingers, he should think, and put it into his mouth. He chewed it and appeared to swallow it. About a minute afterwards he got up and staggered, and “down he went.”

The Coroner : As long as a minute was it?

Witness : No, sir, it was not a minute.

Proceeding, witness stated that a doctor was at once sent for, and Mr Darke arrived immediately afterwards.

The Coroner : He could not speak, I suppose? No, sir, he did not, nor breathe, hardly.

Did he die before the doctor arrived? He was dead, I believe, before the doctor arrived.

A Juryman : Did he gasp at all? No.

Did he complain of any pain or anything? No.

Put his hand up to his throat? No; his hand did not move. He just moved one eye afterwards, that was all.

Herbert Uphill, Exeter-street, said that the deceased had some beefsteak and onions. When he had eaten what he had on his plate he took a lump of fat from the dish. Suddenly he got up, walked round the table to the fireplace, and fell against witness’s feet. Witness turned him over on his back and loosened his collar. A doctor was sent for. In reply to a juryman the witness said that the deceased had a little drop of liquor, but it could not be said that he was the worse for drink.

Fitzroy Philip Darke, medical practitioner, said that he was sent for about six o’clock. When he arrived life was extinct. He thought that choking was the cause of death. He removed the piece of meat from the deceased’s throat. He should think that it was about four inches long and two inches wide.

Alfred Mathews, Chief Constable, said that the deceased was 34 years of age. The meat was removed from the deceased’s throat whilst witness was present. He found on the deceased half a sovereign, 13s in silver, 3d in coppers, and various other articles, which he should hand over to the widow.

The Coroner said that there was but one conclusion to arrive at from the doctor’s evidence, viz., that the deceased died from suffocation.

The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

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