1905 is certainly a busy year for the Coroners in this collection, and even they acknowledge at one point the impact the Press potentially has in publicizing sudden deaths and suicides.
Among the 1905 cases are the Cooper case in which a cyclist undertakes a horse-drawn tar tank, directly causing the horse to bolt and crushing the poor driver who was knocked off under the wheels. The Smith case shows us someone who felt there was nothing left, spent his last penny on a beer and put his head in front of a train.
The Lawrence case again clearly demonstrates the lack of any accountability for the safety of the men working in the yards; A is only supposed to do this much, B is expected to do only this much, etc, etc,. Today such a case would be something akin to Corporate Manslaughter. It is also clear from the questioning that the witnesses do not want to endanger their jobs by telling the full truth.
1905 is littered with a number of drowning cases, so many that the Salisbury Times actually headlines a couple cases with the line “The Drowning Season.” There are a number of cases of people falling down stairs, and in one or two it seems amazing that the obvious fracture is not dealt with sooner.
I can sympathise with the panic perhaps felt by young lad Stanley Lambden, who suddenly realised he had passed the station he should have alighted from. A similar lack of decision and sudden rush seem to have accounted for Philip Bolton. Crime and punishment are a theme exposed in the Lamb case, a simple argument with Stephen Day in 1904 resulting in Day’s death, and a prison term and nine months later, Tom Lamb seemingly cannot live with what happened.
The outstanding case of the year, perhaps the worst in the entire collection, is the Head multiple-murder case
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