Shurmer, Anna

Shurmer, Anna       1887 October 8th

Yesterday (Thursday) morning an inquest was held at the London Inn before Mr Geo. Smith, city coroner, touching the death of Anna Shurmer (wife of Wm Shurmer, a carpenter, living at 24, Alton Terrace, Fisherton), who committed suicide the previous morning by cutting her throat. Mr J Saunders was chosen foreman of the jury.

Harcourt Coates, medical practitioner, said that he was called to see the deceased about half past eight. He found her lying in an outhouse at the bottom of the garden, on the floor. He examined her in the presence of Supt Mathews, who was there, and found her to be dead but still warm. There was a division of the windpipe and the jugular vein on the right side, with a very considerable amount of hemorrhage, sufficient to account for her death. A razor found near her would have inflicted such a wound as described above, which wound was in his opinion self inflicted. He did not know the deceased. From enquiries he had made he found that the deceased had been in a low desponding state for some time and his opinion was that she was temporarily insane.

William Shurmer, husband of the deceased, said that he was a carpenter, and lived at 24, Alton Terrace. About eight o’clock he was at work at the South Western station and then went home to breakfast, arriving about seven minutes after eight. Sometimes when he went home she was not there. He found his breakfast ready but his wife was not in the room. He fed the bird and looked about. He found the piece of paper now produced on the mantelpiece.

[ This piece of paper bore the words “O I am bound to do it. Can you ever forgive me?” “Look into the shed.”]

Witness looked into the shed at the bottom of the garden and his wife was almost dead. She was sitting on the ground with her head on a box. He immediately went for assistance and sent for the superintendent and the doctor, both of whom arrived shortly afterwards. She was dead when they came. She committed the deed with a razor, he believed, but he had not seen the instrument. Deceased had been rather strange of late. She would say sometimes “I can’t keep the house clean,” but the house was always clean. She had also said, “I can’t do anything to please myself.” She had said more to neighbours than she had to witness. She had complained very much of pain in her head. On one occasion she went away from home for a whole day. He was then alarmed and communicated with the superintendent. She sent word from Harnham saying where she was and witness and his daughter went down after her. She went to Dr Roberts four years back, and she had had some medicine lately, but did not care about taking it. She was 59 years of age last birthday.

By the Jury : Witness believed that the deceased herself prepared his breakfast. She went in to Mrs Arnold’s about quarter to eight and must have committed the deed immediately after the left there.

Mary Ann Arnold, widow, living at 28, Alton Terrace, said that she had known the deceased very well for a considerable period. She was often in witness’s house and witness was often in hers. Deceased said that she came in for company for she did not like being alone, she was so nervous. She often complained of pain on the top of the head. She said she felt very dull, very lonely. A few years ago she was in a very desponding state and went away to Homington or somewhere. Witness heard that she tried to drown herself. Deceased was in witness’s house on Wednesday morning. She did not then complain of anything. At quarter past eight Mr Shurmer called her and said that there was something the matter with the deceased. Witness went and saw her sitting on the ground, with her head on the fowl’s box. Witness called for her next-door neighbour (Mrs Uphill).

Supt Mathews said that he arrived at about quarter to nine. He went to the shed and found the deceased with her throat cut. She was quite dead. He removed the body and found amongst some shavings an open razor. He searched the body and found a purse containing half-a-sovereign, 16s in silver and some bills. On returning to the house he received from the husband the memorandum produced. Dr Harcourt Coates arrived shortly after witness got there. He received information with regard to the woman being away from home about four or five years ago, he thought it was. They then stated that she was in a very desponding state and they feared she had committed suicide. He made inquiries on Wednesday and found that she had been in a very desponding state for some time – and more so since her daughter had been away from her – about a fortnight. She had a very comfortable home.

The jury found that the deceased committed suicide during temporary insanity.


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