Skeats, John

Skeats, John    1899 April 28th

Strange Case of Drowning


The district coroner, Mr R A Wilson, held an inquest on Monday, at Lower Chute, on the body of John Skeats (32), carter, in the employ of Capt. Cookson, of Chute Standen, who was drowned in a tank of water on the 22nd inst.

Alfred Skeats, son of deceased, deposed that he lived with his father who was a widower. On Saturday afternoon just after five o’clock as he was returning from a walk he heard that an accident had occurred at the water tank. When he got there the child had been got out, and with the assistance of another man named Withers the body of his father was recovered, and efforts were at once tried to resuscitate him, but without success. His father was in his usual health, was not depressed, and very happy with his children.

Wm Withers, the next witness called, said he assisted the previous witness to recover the body of deceased. The depth of water in the tank was eight feet, and it was three and a half feet from the top of the tank to the water. It took about a quarter of an hour to recover the body.

Bessie Hurley said about the time in question she was in her cottage which overlooked the tank. She saw deceased come from behind the farm buildings. His child who was about 2½ years old was waiting for him. He led the child by the hand to the tank, lifted the child up and leant over the tank, holding the child over it. She heard the child scream, and saw deceased over-balance himself and fall head foremost into the tank. She at once gave the alarm, and secured some ropes. Returning she found the child’s grandmother had succeeded in getting it out. Witness threw the rope to deceased, but he was unable to take hold of it. The child was a favourite of the deceased. The children were not allowed into the field – the gate of which was kept closed – unless with their father.

A verdict of “accidental death” was returned.


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