Holbrook, Edgar

Holbrook, Edgar        1889 April 20th            Portsmouth

An Overdose by a Late Salisbury Landlord

An inquiry took place on Monday afternoon before the Coroner of Portsmouth (Mr Thos A Bramsdon) touching the circumstances attending the death of Edgar Holbrook, year 46 of age, who for a period of 17 years prior to last February had been the landlord of the Market Inn at Salisbury.

It transpired, however, that from that position he had become reduced in circumstances, and had kept a coffee stall in the market there for some time, but in February last he had removed to Portsmouth, where, in St Mary’s Street he had opened the business of a fish salesman.

A lad named Albert Edward Barnes had lived with him alone both at Salisbury and at Portsmouth, and the deceased had repeatedly complained to him of sleeplessness, for which at Salisbury he had had resort to sleeping draughts. The sleeplessness seemed to be more urgent after the deceased had given way to drink, and on Thursday in last week he had indulged to excess and had taken twopennyworth of laudanum. On the following morning he said to Barnes, “Oh my poor head; I shall cut my throat before long, or shoot myself, or make a hole in the water!” and another suspicious circumstance was that the deceased had told Barnes that if he should be found dead he was at

once to go for his half-sister (Mrs Knott, of St James’s Road, Southsea).

During the day he induced Barnes and another lad to purchase for him three separate twopennyworths of laudanum at different shops, and between one and two he swallowed the whole with vinegar and treacle, went to lie down, and at four o’clock he was found dead upon his bed.

Frederick Dorrell, a tobacconist, of 9, Winchester Street, Salisbury, deposed that he had known the deceased for at least thirteen years, and knew that he suffered from insomnia.

The jury returned a verdict of “Death from misadventure through taking an overdose of laudanum.”

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