Andrews, William

Andrews, William           1917 September 28th

Local Domestic Tragedy

Husband Commits Suicide after Wife Eloped with a Lodger

A particularly sad story was told by the witnesses at an inquest held at Salisbury Infirmary by the City Coroner (Mr A M Wilson) on Monday evening, to inquire into the circumstances attending the death of William Andrews, who was found standing in a river with his throat cut and died subsequently in the Infirmary. He had been greatly depressed since he found that his wife had run away from home with the lodger.

Mr W F Gullick was chosen foreman of the jury.

John Andrews, of Hallstrow, near Bristol, said he was a carriage examiner in the employ of the GWR Company. He came to Salisbury on Friday because he received a wire telling him that his brother, William Andrews, was missing from home. In company with Mr Trowbridge he searched for him till 11.45pm without success. The next day he heard that he was in the Infirmary, so he went there at two o’clock in the afternoon and remained till five o’clock. During that time his brother became conscious and asked how long he could stay, and also how his little boy Leslie was. Once he made a motion with his hand across his throat, saying, “It was not my fault.” He was 40 years of age, always enjoyed good health, and was bright and cheerful.

The Coroner asked the witness how he could account for what had happened to his brother.

Witness : The only thing I can say to account for it is that it was through his wife leaving him.

What did his wife do? Went away with another man.

The lodger? Yes, sir.

You think it was that fact which caused him to do what he did? Yes, sir.

Charles Trowbridge, a storeman, living at 7, Downton Road, Salisbury, said that William Andrews was his brother-in-law and lived at 4, Farley Road. He was a steersman employed by Mr H J Sutton, miller, of Waterloo Gardens. He was married and had a little boy, 12 years of age. There was also a lodger in the house, named Morley, a gardener employed by Mr Gerrish. On Monday, September 17th, witness’ brother-in-law came to his house at about 8.30pm in a very depressed state. He said, “Kate has gone off with the lodger,” and read a letter she left for him. Andrews added, “If I had been a drunkard, or had squandered my money, or had been a cruel husband, I could have understood it, but God knows I always did my duty. I have never put my hand on her to hurt her.” The witness said his brother-in-law had been a teetotaller for 14 years to his knowledge. He said that in the letter left by Mrs Andrews she stated that her husband had told her to go, but he declared that that was a lie. She also said that he had been grumpy. His brother-in-law asked him, “Would you not be grumpy if you saw winking going on at the table between her and the lodger?” He added that his conscience was quite clear, and if she would come back he would freely forgive her for the sake of the boy. After that he left the house because they were both going on duty in connection with the VAD that night. Witness saw him again the next day and also on the Thursday. He left just before 11 o’clock, when Andrews said he was going to have a good night’s rest, adding that he had made a lot of rambling statements, but did not know what he was talking about. The next morning the little boy brought down two notes which his father had left. One was addressed to the boy himself, and was as follows,

Dear Leslie, — Will you take this money down to Auntie Nellie. She will give you breakfast, so go straight down. I will call again for you. Take the back-door key with you and leave it there. I have had to go away early. The key is in the window. —Dad.”


The other letter was sealed and addressed to witness’ wife. It read,

Dear Sister, —Will you please look after Leslie? Here is £2, and you can sell the furniture for Leslie. I can’t stand it any longer. Your broken hearted brother Will. Do not let Leslie know I am gone. I shall never see you alive again.”


Witness said he searched for his brother-in-law from 7 o’clock in the morning till 11.45 at night, but failed to find him.

Walter Burton, greengrocer and oil merchant, of 19, St Martin’s Church Street, said that on Saturday morning at 5 o’clock he and Mr F Smith commenced searching for Andrews. They went down the Southampton Road and through the meadows, then back through Pig Lane. When they came to Mr Sutton’s field Mr Smith found Andrews’ cap and “slop.” They proceeded through the garden, and on returning to the river saw Andrews standing in about four feet of water, his right hand holding some grass on the bank. They got him out of the river, laid him down, and found that his throat was cut, so they sent for a doctor and the police. Witness got him some hot milk. The doctor sent a message that they were to take the man to the Infirmary. By the time witness had hitched his pony in the police had arrived. He was then removed to the Infirmary.

Replying to the Foreman, witness said he found no sign of any instrument with which Andrews could have cut his throat, but he found the spot where he thought the act was committed because there was blood on the grass, and he tracked him from it to where he was found.

There was no sign of a struggle? No sign at all, sir.

Miss D’Abrue, house surgeon at the Infirmary, said that Andrews was admitted at 7 o’clock on Saturday morning. He was unconscious and in a state of collapse. There were two wounds across the front of the throat – each about two inches long. The upper wound had severed the larynx. The wounds were cleaned and dressed frequently, but he died the following morning at 8.15, the cause of death being exhaustion consequent upon the wounds.

The Coroner said he thought the letter which Andrews wrote to his sister would probably help the jury in deciding as to his state of mind. It was also fairly clear from the evidence that he was worried and upset because of the way his wife had behaved. It was for the jury to say whether they considered that at the time he cut his throat he was in such a state as not to be responsible for what he was doing, or otherwise.

The jury returned a verdict of “Suicide whilst of unsound mind,” the Foreman remarking that they had no doubt that the wounds were self inflicted.

A Police Court Sequel

On Monday morning Harry Morley (54), a gardener, of 4, Farley Road, Waterloo Gardens, and Eva Kate Andrews (39), married woman, of the same address, were brought up in custody at the City Police Court on a charge of being concerned together in stealing on September 17th a looking glass, a tablecloth, towels, and spoons, of the value of £3 10s, the property of William Andrews.

The Chief Constable (Mr F Richardson) told the magistrates that the prosecutor was the subject of an enquiry in another court and he asked for the defendants to be remanded until Wednesday.

The magistrates agreed to the remand, and bail was refused.

A large crowd gathered in the vicinity of the Council Chamber and the Police Station on Wednesday morning in the expectation of seeing the defendants brought up for trial, but missed them. They were simply brought before a magistrate at the police station, no evidence was offered, because of the prosecutor’s death, and the defendants were discharged.


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