Gray, Mary

Gray, Mary         1913 Jul 25th          Wylye

Drowning a Sequel to Delusions

Much regret was caused on Tuesday among the many friends of Mrs Gray, of Wylye Mills, and formerly of Barford St Martin, when it became known that she had died in the night under distressing circumstances. She had been in ill-health for some time, and through a business disappointment had suffered from mental depression, for which she had been under treatment. Of late, however, there had been signs of improvement, but on Tuesday she was missed from her son’s house at Wylye, where she had been staying, and subsequently she was discovered dead in the river which flows by the mill.

An Inquest was held at the Reading Room at Wylye on Tuesday evening by the South Wilts Coroner (Mr F H Trethowan), the foreman of the jury being Mr D Burch.

Ernest Gray, miller, of Wylye, stated that his mother was a widow, and was 63 years of age. About two months ago she bought a business at Southampton, and after she had been there for a short time she was rather worried because the business did not turn out to be quite what she expected. She had an idea that she had lost all her money.

The Coroner : Did she say what would happen to her? She had an idea that she had lost all her money, that she would end her life in the workhouse, and would starve.

There was no reason for that? None at all. Continuing, the witness said that his mother went to stay with one of her daughters at Ringwood, and on all matters except in regard to the Southampton business she was quite rational, but she still had the same idea that eventually she would starve. She was medically attended at Ringwood, and later she went to stay at Norwich with another daughter. She was there seen by a mental specialist. During the first week she was there she was worse than she had been at Ringwood, but she subsequently seemed to take a turn for the better. The family had considered sending her to an asylum, but the doctor would not grant a certificate. Arrangements were made last week that she should go to Dorchester, but when his sister went to the doctor for a certificate he said it was not necessary, and he refused to certify. He said that all she wanted was care, and she would be all right. As a matter of fact she did improve wonderfully.

She came to stay with him on Friday, and, not having seen her for four or five weeks, he could see a great improvement. He last saw her on Monday night, just before she went to bed, and she then seemed better than she had for some time. Her bedroom door was not locked, as the doctor said there was no necessity to do that, as she had no tendency to take her life. She had never threatened to do so. He heard no sound during the night, but on Tuesday morning he discovered that his mother was not in her room. Her bed had been slept in, but the window, which was shut when she went to bed, was wide open. About five or six feet below the window was the ledge of another window, and there was no doubt that that was the way she got out. He made a search and found his mother in the river, partly dressed. He sent for Dr Penruddocke.

Edward Keel, groom in the employ of Mr Gray, stated that at about 8.30 Mr Gray informed him there was somebody in the river, and that he thought it was his mother, who was missing. He got into the river and got Mrs Gray out. She was dead.

Dr Penruddocke, of Wylye, deposed to seeing the body on the bank of the stream. There was no sign of violence and death was evidently due to drowning. He would say that Mrs Gray had been dead for several hours.

The Coroner, summing up, said the case was a very sad one, but it was very simple, and the jury should have no difficulty in finding their verdict. In many cases of this sort there was no evidence of insanity, but in this instance they had evidence that she was suffering from delusions, and it was probably=e that when she went out of the room, through the window, she was not in her right mind.

The jury returned a verdict of suicide during temporary insanity.


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