This year starts with a tale of longterm ill-health in the Minchington case, and then with the Dafter case a little girl runs headlong into the side of a cart and dies from the impact. The crowd of mourners processing up Devizes Road would be echoed two years later in the funeral procession for little Teddy Haskell.
There are, in the Whitlock case, and the Eyres and Safe cases, several typical burnings, featuring the ubiquitous flannelette, the lack of fireguards and lack of parental attention among the obvious contributors to these awful deaths. The Miles case illustrates the dangers of the Edwardian farmyard, whilst equally, the Morse case demonstrates a hazard of the doctoring trade.
The Elkins case highlights the dangers inherent in not having handrails to domestic stairways, whilst the Thompson case should remind us all to thoroughly chew our food before swallowing, and the Hatcher case to look at the label before drinking.
The Wing case shows us a figure sometimes to be found in a community, a lonesome person who everyone suspects of living poor but being actually rich. The truth in this case hides a man who saw great adventure, and then lived a quiet life, leaving his large estate to a variety of local causes.
The most controversial case – for me – this year, is the McKay case, which raises far more questions than it answers. Should the Policeman really have interfered with this lady in the street? Were they qualified to look after a poorly baby? Matilda Shepherd feeds the baby warm milk, and thereafter the baby ails with diarrhoea? Why was the father not asked to look after the baby when the mother was arrested? Why does the coroner brush aside one or two questions towards the end?
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