This years starts with a questionable suicide verdict. The Wiltshire case seems to rest on a witness describing the deceased as ‘looked staring and had a strange look in his eyes.’ There is the Hall case in which the deceased tipped her chair accidentally into the fire, and two deaths of people sleeping rough in the Lang case and the Harrison case.
The Keeling case shows a man who killed himself rather than enter the Lunatic Asylum, but seemingly had the wherewithal to secure a gun cartridge while he could still do so. This is followed by the tragic reality of a Nursery Rhyme in the Mead case. It also highlights the poor sanitation and water supply of Ludgershall, which, through my my own personal research, I know had been brought up officially as long before as 1898.
An awful struggle is laid bare in the Wells suicide case, in which the sister of the deceased physically fought to deny the deceased the bottle of poison he had bought himself, so he went straight out again and got another. There was perhaps also a struggle in the Crockett case, where the bailiff’s man is found dead on the line and missing half of the takings.
An early aviation incident caused the death of Leonard Williams, a victim of poor crowd control as the aircraft came in to land. The Punter case – not for the first time in this collection – shows someone floundering in the water while passers-by pass by, while the Palmer case gives us a clear idea of the uncertainties prevalent on the roads at this time.
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