Drake, Alfred

Drake, Alfred      1916 April 28th

Accident in a Kitchen

Salisbury Drover Scalded to Death

The City Coroner (Mr S Buchanan Smith) held an inquest at the Infirmary on Thursday afternoon in last week in connection with the death of man named Alfred George Drake, which occurred in the Infirmary following upon an accident in the man’s kitchen at the Lodging House in Winchester Street on Saturday, April 15th.

Mr T Futcher was appointed foreman of the jury.

Walter Reginald Drake, a constable in the Dorset Constabulary, stationed at Chideock, near Bridport, said that Alfred George Drake was his brother and the son of Bennett Swyre Drake, a cellar-man, of Sherborne. He was a single man, 38 years of age, and had been away from home for about 15 years. Witness had only seen him once in that time, which was about 2½ years ago, when he attended his mother’s funeral. Witness had written to him several times but never received any replies.

Sidney Frank Churchill, lodging-house keeper, of 67, Winchester Street, Salisbury, said that Drake had been lodging at his house for about 14 years and was a drover and general labourer. Early on Saturday, April 15th, he was under the influence of drink, but was not so when he entered the man’s kitchen at about 7.45pm. He walked to the fire, stood with his back to it, took some snuff and sneezed, then he staggered backwards to the fireplace and fell down. As he was falling he caught hold of the handle of an urn containing boiling water, which was on the fire, and pulled it over him. Witness got him on to a form, where he collapsed. Finding he was scalded he sent for a taxi-cab and took him to the Infirmary. When they were getting him out of the cab, Drake said, “Poor old Brickie is all right.”

Answering a question by the Foreman, witness said there was no row in the kitchen, no fighting or larking at all.

Dr Caesar, house surgeon at the Infirmary, stated that he found Drake was suffering from very severe scalds on the lower part of the body and the lower limbs. He became delirious two days after admission, and died on Wednesday from shock following the scalds. He was in great pain and very restless.

Police-Sergeant Cutler, who was acting as Coroner’s officer, said there (was) some protection a few years ago, but no children were admitted to that room now, so the guard was considered unnecessary and was an inconvenience. It was accordingly removed. The fender was about two feet from the grate, so that there was no need for anyone to get near the fire.

A verdict of “Accidental Death” was returned.

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