Curry, Phoebe

Curry, Phoebe             1904 Jul 15th

Salisbury Jurymen Complain of Delay

The Deputy Coroner for the City (Mr W J Trethowan) conducted an inquiry at the Infirmary on Friday, into the circumstances attending the death of Phoebe Winifred Curry, a widow who resided at 14, White’s Court, New Street, and who died on Wednesday.

The first witness called was the Curate of Fisherton, the Rev R G McCann. He said he knew Mrs Curry. An allowance of £2 1s 6d per month was entrusted to him for her. She was formerly a woman of intemperate habits. He last saw her on Saturday, when she appeared to be in her usual health. He had no reason to think she had been intemperate during the last 24 months.

Louisa Cooper, a widow, of 14, Whites Court, New Street, said Mrs Curry came to her on Sunday, and asked to be allowed to stay with her for a short time, and she consented to her doing so. On Wednesday morning, when she came downstairs, she found that Mrs Curry, who slept on a chair bedstead in the kitchen, was very unwell. She stayed with her during the morning and got some brandy. About half-past eleven Mrs Curry fell off the bedstead on to the floor, and she could see directly that she was dead. She believed that Mrs Curry was over 60 years of age, and was an intemperate woman ; she was always drinking. She believed Mrs Curry had been drinking when she came to her house on Sunday morning.

Mrs Cool, wife of Herbert Cool, a bootmaker, of New Street, said she was called in to see Mrs Curry whom she found dead on the floor of Mrs Cooper’s kitchen.

Dr Kempe said he was summoned by the police to attend Mrs Curry on Wednesday, but found her dead. He did not make a detailed examination of the body, and he was unable to say what was the cause of death. That could only be ascertained by a post mortem examination. He had received no instructions to make such an examination.

The Deputy Coroner said the inquest would have to be adjourned for the post mortem to be made.

A juryman asked whether it was absolutely necessary.

Dr Kempe replied that he could not state the cause of death unless he made a post mortem.

The Foreman of the jury (Mr Humby) said he thought the post mortem ought to have been made before. They had already been summoned three times for this inquest, first at four o’clock on the previous day, then at seven o’clock, and finally for eleven o’clock that morning. He did not think it was quite right. He did not know what his colleagues thought. When there was an inquest he thought the facts should be properly investigated before the jury were called.

The Deputy Coroner said he quite agreed with what the foreman of the jury had said. He believed the reason the post mortem was not made was that Dr Kempe could not be got at.

Mr Jarratt (clerk in the Coroner’s office) said Dr Kempe intimated that he could not attend the inquest on the previous day, but he did not know for what reason.

The Deputy Coroner said that the proper inquiries ought always to be made as far as possible. In this case they could not be made, and , therefore, it could not be helped. He was very sorry the jury would have to attend again, but the inquest would be adjourned till four in the afternoon.

The adjournment then took place, and at the afternoon re-assembling of the jurymen, Dr Kempe stated that as a result of the post mortem he found Mrs Curry’s death was due to valvular disease of the heart.

A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned. The proceedings lasted only a few minutes.

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