Phillips, George

Phillips, George       1886 February 20th         Ringwood

On Wednesday, Mr F A Johns, coroner, held an inquest at the house of Mr Lydford, Hightown, concerning the death of George Phillips, aged 58, who is supposed to have died from the effect of poison.


Theophilus Lydford said that deceased had been carter for him between four and five years, and worked for him all day Saturday. He saw no difference in him then. Mr Hutchings called for him on Sunday morning, about 20 minutes past six, and told him that deceased was very bad. He went to see him and found him on the floor rolling and groaning with pain. Witness sent for Dr H G Dyer about 8 o’clock.

Charles Hutchings deposed as follows: I am a railway labourer and live next door to the deceased, under the same roof. Last Sunday morning, between four and five o’clock, my wife told me to get up, as Phillips was very bad. I got a ladder, put it up to the window, and asked what was the matter. Deceased said, “I believe I shall die. Get me some salt and water, as I want to be sick.” I brought him the salt and water to the window, and he drank it. I then got in at the window at his request. He appeared to be in an agony of pain. I told him he must have a doctor, and I then sent my wife in to him and went for Dr Henry Dyer. He gave me some medicine and said he would see him as soon as he could. It was then about six o’clock. When I got back I gave the medicine to my wife and she gave some to the deceased. He told me he had a hearty supper of bread and cheese. The doctor came about nine.

Frank Bush, haulier, said that he met the deceased at about eleven o’clock on Saturday morning between the Crown Tap and the Weighbridge at Ringwood, and walked with him as far as the White Hart Inn at Poulner, when he left witness to go home. Deceased seemed perfectly well, and was quite sober.

George Hurdle, brickmaker, said that he saw the deceased on Saturday evening, between eleven and half-past, near the White Hart at Poulner. He seemed to be quite well and sober.

Mr Frederick Arthur Thomas O’Meare, physician and surgeon, and assistant to Dr Henry Dyer, of Ringwood, said that he arrived at deceased’s house at 9.20, and found him lying on the bed in a state of utter prostration – a cold, clammy skin, and a slight perspiration. He had no pulse whatever, and seemed to be in intense agony, the pain pointing to the abdomen. Witness examined the belly, but could find no rupture, but intense tenderness over the stomach and liver. Witness questioned deceased, who told him that he was in perfect health on the previous night and that he had a hearty supper of bread and cheese. He said that he was taken with vomiting shortly after supper, accompanied with an intense burning pain. Witness asked him what he had taken on the previous day, and he said the only unusual thing was some blackberry or blackcurrant wine. He said he thought her was going to die. Witness gave him some mustard and water as an emetic, but it had no effect, and witness then sent the coachman back for an emetic. In the meantime he administered small doses of brandy. From his appearance witness thought that deceased had taken poison. Witness stayed with deceased till 10 minutes to 11, and then went back to Ringwood for a further antidote. On his return deceased was dead.

On Monday he made a post mortem examination, assisted by Dr H G Dyer. They found the body unaltered, with the exception of the belly, which was unusually distended. The small bowels were in a state of intense congestion and inflammation. There was no rupture or twist of the bowels to account for it. The stomach was nearly empty, but the intestines contained a lot of fluid matter, which they sealed in a bottle together, with the vomit and portions of the bowel. The liver was very slightly congested, but all the other organs were perfectly healthy. Witness did not think a doctor could have saved him if he had gone and seen him when he first called. Death was caused by inflammation of the bowels, but he could not account for the inflammation in any other way than by an irritant.

The inquiry was adjourned till Thursday, the 25th inst., for the report of the county analyst.

Alas, I could not find a report of the adjourned inquest, and there is not enough here alas to even speculate on the result – Ed


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