A Remarkable Story.

January 1910

Shields Daily News – Wednesday 19 January 1910

A Remarkable Story.

The Doncaster Borough Coroner. Mr R.A.H. Tovey, held an inquest at the Guildhall yesterday touching the death of Samuel Berkely, a Negro, and native of the West Indies, 39 years of age, who shot himself near the Holmes Cottages on the previous day.

The principal witness, Annie Smith, the wife of Ernest William Smith, whose maiden name was Hirst, and whose mother lives in St Mary’s Crescent, told an extraordinary story. She said she lived with the deceased for twelve years at Denaby and in the neighbourhood, and had by him eight children, four of whom, two boys and two girls, were still living.

She left him last February at Denaby and in the same month married Smith, a sailor on HMS Hawke. She had one child, a few weeks old, by her husband. After her marriage she lived for short time with her mother, but had lately been lodging in the Holmes Cottages. Her husband had sent from his ship 9s a week, on which she had kept house. She had her two girls with her, and Berkley had kept the two boys to some extent.

On Monday afternoon, whilst her husband was at home, deceased called at the house where she and her husband lodged, and asked her go back to him. She declined, and told him he could have the boys and she would have the girls. She left him because he did lot of horse racing, and they did not get on well together. He had several times previously asked her to go back to him.

When she told him on Monday that she could not go back he produced revolver and presented it at her head, saying “Take that!” he got hold of her by the throat and threw her down, and her husband then came up and pushed him off with a chair. The revolver went off. Deceased then ran out of the house and shot himself in the head. The first shot did not seem to take effect, and deceased, having calmly examined the revolver, fired shot at the right temple, which killed him instantly.

The jury returned verdict of “Suicide,” and added that there was no evidence to show the state of the deceased’s mind when the act was committed.