Conisbrough Woman’s Collapse – Shock For Husband

February 1936

Mexborough and Swinton Times February 28, 1936

Conisbrough Woman’s Collapse
Shock For Husband

A verdict of “Accidental Death” was recorded by the Doncaster District Coroner, Mr W.H.Carlisle, at an inquest at Conisbrough on Friday on Katie Darley (38), wife of James Wilkinson Darley, 60, Old Road, Conisbrough. Mrs Darley died on Tuesday, February 18.

The husband James Wilkinson Darley, temporary clerk, said on January 11 he left home about 6.45 to go to a dance leaving Mrs Darley in the house, expecting her to follow. She did not do so.

He returned home about midnight and found her collapsed on the hearth in front of the fire. She was unconscious. He got her to bed and went to fetch the neighbours, Mr and Mrs Kelsall. Mr Kelsall went for the doctor at about 12.20, but he did not arrive for a quarter of an hour.

Dr Clarke attended that night, but the next day she was attended by Dr Bell. She was unconscious for three days, but about 12 days ago seemed better and went out a little. He went to work about 8:40 AM on Tuesday week and at that time she appeared to be in good health. When he left home she was still in bed. At 12.15 he received a message that she had been taken ill. He hurried home and found her unconscious. He got her to bed but she died 25 minutes later without regaining consciousness. Before January 11 she had always been in the best of health.

In reply to a question by the coroner Darley said he had always been on the best of terms with his wife, and there have been no quarrel before he went out on the night of the first collapse. He said it was unusual for him to go to a dance first, and this occasion he was officiating. He did not think it unusual that she did not follow as she had said she would come later if she felt like it.

Mrs Ethel Kelsall, 56 Old road Conisbrough, wife of Frank Kelsall, railway clerk, said Mr Darley knocked them up on Sunday morning, January 12, saying that Mrs Darley was not well. She got her husband up and he went to fetch a doctor. On Tuesday, February 18, she went in to see if she could get anything for Mrs Darley from the greengrocer, and found Mrs Darley sweeping the hearth.

She appeared in normal health, but pointed to her chest and said, “Look how my heart is beating.” She left to go to the greengrocer and returned about 10.45. Mrs Darley said to her, “Thank God you have come back Ethel.” She was lying on the floor. She was quite conscious, and said she had only been peeling potatoes. Later she said, “O my heart!” and asked her not to leave her. At about 11.15 Mrs Darley went very pale and she (Mrs Kelsall) sent for her husband. It was about 12 o’clock when she collapsed.

In answer to the coroner witness said she could not leave Mrs Darley, but when her husband came he sent for the doctor. She had never before had fainting fits.

Very Dazed

Dr DM Bell said the first time he attended Mrs Darley was on February 12 after Dr Clarke had seen her. When he saw she was quiet, but very dazed. She was not wholly unconscious. There was no sign of any injury. He could not find anything to account for her condition but it was so serious that he attended three times that day. He last saw her on February 13 when she appeared to be much better. The only thing wrong was a slight irregularity of the pulse and he warned not to indulge in any exertion.

In answer to the Coroner he said that he had conducted a post-mortem examination and found that she had an extensive old pleurisy on the right side. The heart was in rather a fatty condition, and there was a clot of blood at the base of the skull which had pressed on the brain. There was no sign of a fracture to the skull.

Dr Bell agreed with the Coroner that in a personal Mrs Darley says the haemorrhage could not have been due to a natural cause and there was no sign of hardening of the arteries. There were cases (encountered by both Dr Bell and the Coroner) of people dying through clots of blood on the brain, evidently caused by some very slight blow on the head.

In the case of Mrs Darley this probably occurred at the time of the first collapse, but there was no sign on the scalp or the skull.

In view of these facts the coroner said he would return a verdict of “Accidental Death”.