Witt, George

Witt, George         1886 March 6th

An inquest was held at the “Angel” hotel on Monday afternoon before Mr G Smith (city coroner) and a jury (of whom Mr C F Chubb was foreman), touching the death of George Witt (father of the ostler of the establishment mentioned above) who in the morning was found dead at the foot of a ladder leading to a loft over the stable.

George Witt, son of the deceased, said that he believed his father was between 50 and 60 years of age. The deceased left Brown-street a fortnight ago, and since then had slept with witness in a stable-loft at the “Angel.” He had generally worked at the hotel in the capacity of outside porter. Witness saw him last at about one o’clock on Sunday. Though nothing then passed between them on the matter, he fully expected his father to sleep with him that night. Witness went on to bed at 10 o’clock, his father being absent. He heard nothing of him during the night, and he was still absent when witness woke at 7 o’clock the next morning. This surprised him very much. He then dressed immediately, and on going out of the door discovered his father lying on his back, dead, at the foot of the ladder. Having covered the body with a horse-rug, he immediately went for Dr Gordon. His father had never experienced any difficult in entering the bed room; witness had always it easy of access. His father had occasionally come to bed the worse for liquor, but this had never happened on a Sunday. Before retiring, witness left the stable door open for his father to enter. No part of the ladder by which access was gained to the loft was outside the stable.

By a Juryman : The stable door was closed when he came downstairs in the morning.

Frank Clissold, landlord of the “Eagle” inn, said that he knew the deceased. He saw him last at three minutes to half past nine on Sunday night. He was then at the “Eagle,”where he had had two glasses of ale. He was, however, perfectly sober when he left. Deceased told witness that he intended going to the General Post-office with some letters. Witt had been in the habit of coming to his house frequently.

By Mr Blake : He was positive that the deceased left his house at three or four minutes to the half hour; he, however, then left rather hurriedly.

Dr J H Gordon, of Salisbury, said that he was called on Monday morning at about 7 o’clock to see the deceased. On making an examination he discovered several bruises about the head, on the back part of which was a large swelling, and on the left side of the forehead was a bruise. He could not tell whether there was any fracture of the skull or concussion of the brain without making a post mortem examination. He should say, however, that the deceased most likely had received one of those two injuries. He was of opinion that the deceased fell from the ladder; the injuries would not have been so marked if he had fallen while still on the ground. The swelling on the front part of the head might have been caused by the blow at the back part.

By the Foreman : The man had been dead for some hours.

By the Coroner : He could not conceive any other cause of death than that which had been suggested.

Charles Witt, farmer, of Redbrook, Fordingbridge, said that the deceased, his brother, was 54 years of age on July 21st.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”

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