Noyce, James

Noyce, James       1889 March 30th

An inquiry was held by the City Coroner (Mr G Smith) in the Nisi Priun Court at the Council Chamber on Monday afternoon, touching the death of James William Knight Noyce, aged 50, a provision dealer, of Victoria Terrace, Milford Hill, who was found in his bedroom on Saturday morning, with his throat cut. Mr F Newton was chosen foreman of the jury.

The jury having viewed the body,

Elizabeth Noyce, widow of the deceased was first examined. She stated that for the last few days her husband had been complaining of a pressure on the top of his head, and he seemed rather low in spirits. He had not seen any medical man during the last few days, and he was apparently in his usual health. He went upstairs about quarter past eleven on Sunday morning, and stopped there until just after one. He then came down and asked for some brandy. She had none and instead gave him some sal volatile. Deceased only took one teaspoonful in some water. Deceased went upstairs to dress and said he would be down to dinner in a few minutes. As he did not come down witness called loudly up the stairs to know how long he would be, but she got no answer. She then called to her nephew and told him to go up and see where her husband was. He did so and on entering the room said, “Oh Auntie he’s dead and the room is covered in blood.” Once or twice in the morning deceased complained of the pressure on his head. Witness had had to put razors and things out of deceased’s way previously as he had on occasions when they lived at the New Inn seemed rather strange.

Charles Thomas Baxter, a little boy, was next called but as he did not know the nature of an oath it was deemed advisable not to examine him.

Supt Mathews said he was sent for about two o’clock on Sunday, to go to Mr Noyce’s at Milford Hill. When he arrived there he went upstairs and found deceased on the floor with a large wound in his throat. The floor was covered with blood. He found a white-handled razor open some distance from the body, and covered with blood; also a glass on the floor containing spirits and water mixed. He searched the body and found a purse containing a three-penny piece and some coppers and a knife. A medical man (Mr Darke) had seen the body before he arrived and had left.

Fitzroy Phillip Darke, medical practitioner, of Salisbury, said he arrived at deceased’s house at twenty minutes to two. He went upstairs and found deceased sitting upon the floor with his back to the table and his chin resting on his breast. He was quite dead. He understood from Mrs Noyce that they had placed deceased in the position in which he found him. Witness examined the body. In order to do so properly he placed it in the position in which Sup Stephens found it. He found a large wound about six inches in length, stretching across the throat. The chief blood vessels had been severed and the wound extended to the wind pipe. He had no hesitation in saying that the wound had been caused by deceased’s own hand. Witness had attended him several times but never had any suspicion that he would have committed an act of this description. He principally complained of headache accompanied with sleeplessness.

This was all the evidence.

In summing up the Coroner pointed out that the wife had said deceased had been complaining of pressure on the head and of being low in spirits and so on, and the evidence certainly went to show that he was not in any ordinary state of mind when he committed the act.

The jury then consulted for a few minutes and brought in a verdict to the effect that deceased was in a state of temporary insanity at the time he committed the act.


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