Bush, Frances

Bush, Frances                1915 October 29th              Gomeldon

Starvation and Self-Neglect

An inquest was held at Gomeldon on Wednesday by the Coroner for South Wilts (Mr F H Trethowan) concerning the death of Frances Augusta Bush, a single woman aged 58 years, who had been living alone in a cottage at Gomeldon, and who was found dead in her bed on Monday morning.

Charles H M Bush, a draughtsman living at Bradford-on-Avon, stated that Miss Bush was his sister, and he last saw her alive two or three years ago. She had insisted on living by herself, and had done so for about ten years. She wrote occasionally, but never complained about anything except a little gout. He and his brother used to send her what she required, but she never asked for money except to pay her taxes, and he gave her that. When she went to Gomeldon she had money. About ten days ago she asked him to send a bottle of gout mixture, and he sent it by return of post.

Ann Sarah Hayter, wife of James Hayter, of Gomeldon, said she had known Miss Bush for about ten years, and lived fairly close to her. She often gave her things to eat, and lately, as she seemed very ill, she asked if she should write to her brothers, but was not allowed to, nor to send for a doctor. She gave her two teaspoonfuls of whiskey, which she drunk and then told her to go. The place was in a filthy state, but she refused to let her clean it. There were nice books and furniture in the house. On Sunday witness took her some dinner, but she would not eat it, and did not say anything. On Monday morning, at about 9 o’clock, and on a bed in the back kitchen found Miss Bush dead. She never said she was short of money. On the Monday witness noticed a bag of biscuits which the dog had been at, but she did not see any other food except some Quaker Oats and some condensed milk. On one occasion Miss Bush had told her that meat did not agree with her.

Dr Browne, of Amesbury, stated that he examined the body on Monday and found that death had taken place several hours previously. The surroundings were very dirty, and the body was intensely emaciated, and appeared to be merely skin and bone. He attributed death to personal neglect and starvation. There were no signs of violence.

The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

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