Mexborough and Swinton Times June 17, 1938
Conisborough Suicide Who Tied Stone Round His Body
“Suicide while the balance of his mind was disturbed,” was the verdict recorded by Mr. W. H. Carlile (Doncaster District Coroner) at an inquest at Conisborough on Monday on Harry Foster (33), a mechanical fitter, who had been lodging at 14 Wilkins Street, Cowley, near Oxford. His body was recovered from the River Don at Conisborough on Friday.
Louis Stones, “Lyndhurst,” Church Road, Denaby, foreman blacksmith, the step-father, said Foster came home for the Whitsuntide holiday at 7 o’clock on Saturday evening, June 4th. He did not look very well but he told them he .felt all right and there was nothing about him to cause anxiety. Foster did nothing at all on the Sunday, but stayed at home all day reading. In the afternoon he wrote to his landlady at Cowley enclosing his key and asking that his clothes should be sent on.
Witness went to bed at 11 o’clock, leaving Foster apparently asleep on the sofa. He got up at 5-45 a.m. on the next day, and on going downstairs found the back door open; this did not give rise to any anxiety for the latch was faulty and the door had swung open during the night before. He went back to bed and got up again at about 9 o’clock. He then found a note on the mantelpiece which read, “I hope you will not see me any more; don’t try to find me, and don’t worry,” and which made some reference to an insurance policy. All Foster’s personal belongings had been left on the living room table, and his bed had not been slept in. He reported the matter to the police.
In reply to the Coroner, witness said that Foster had not had any trouble at home. He was a steady lad and never went out much; he kept himself to himself and had hardly any friends. He could not suggest any reason why his son-in-law should have done this.
Coroner: It looks as if he had intended to do something desperate, writing to his landlady in the afternoon and then leaving this note before he went out. Is it a fact that among his personal belongings was found a newspaper cutting referring to a man who had committed suicide by gassing himself because his desire for a wife and family was denied?
Witness: Yes, sir.
Richard Schofield Emmerson, Lock House, Conisborough, a lock keeper, said that on Friday he was walking along the river bank about 11-45 am„ when he saw a body floating in the water. He informed the police and later helped to recover the body.
P.c. F. T. Harrison, Conisborough, told the Coroner that when the body was recovered from the River Don near the locks it had a heavy stone tied round the chest. The pockets wete full of stones, chisels and scrap-iron, and the flaps sewn down.
Dr. D. Maclukin, in practice at Conis-borough, who examined the body, said that there were no external markings except those on the waist that had been caused by the chafing of the rope. The body seemed to have been in the water from four to six days, and death was due to drowning.