Mexborough & Swinton Times, February 19, 1937
Former Conisborough Man’s Lonely End
The fact that the dead body of an aged man had lain for two days in a caravan in an isolated spot between Great Houghton and Thurnscoe was revealed at the inquest at the Methodist church, Barnsley Road, Darfield, on Tuesday on John Charles Marshall (74), who, it was stated, had no occupation but was formally a miner.
The discovery was made by two boys, who reported to the police. The body was removed immediately to the mortuary at Darfield.
Clarence Marshall, Miner, 4, Hameline Street Conisborough, said that as near as he could say his father was 74 years of age. At one time he had an off-licence shop at Conisborough and prior to that was a miner. He had not seen his father for 2 ½ years, but he knew that he lived in a caravan at Great Houghton. So far as he could re-collect his father had never had an illness.
PC Cooper, stationed at Great Houghton, said Marshall had lived in a caravan in Thurnscoe Lane and he had known him for about four years. As a result of information witness went to the caravan at 4-15 on Sunday afternoon and found the door locked on the outside with the key in the lock. Unlocking the door he found Marshall lying on the floor dead. He was partly undressed and there was a rug round his lower limbs. Examining the body, he found bruises on the right buttock and right elbow. The man appeared to have been dead for a few days. On a box near where the body was lying was 3s 8d in cash. There was nothing suspicious about the appearance of the caravan but there was only a very meagre supply of food in the place.
Asked by the coroner regarding the discovery of the key on the outside of a locked door, witness explained that it was a Yale lock and would latch itself when pulled to from the inside.
Dr J. W. Whitworth, of Darfield, submitted a report describing the conditions revealed by the post-mortem examination. He said the bruising spoken of by the previous witness was recent, superficial and of no medical significance. It might have been caused by the man falling down his caravan steps. There was no fracture and the stomach was completely empty. He formed the opinion that the man had been dead at least 48 hours when he saw him.
The deputy coroner (Mr S. H. B. Gill) recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.