Mexborough and Swinton Times December 1, 1906
The Denaby Burning Fatality
Coroner’s Tribute to A Good Wife
Where Should Inquest Be Held?
“Accidental death” was the verdict of the coroner and a jury in the case of Mrs Sarah Ellen Corker (44) the wife of William Corker, a miner, of Cliff View, Denaby, who lost her life to burns sustained at her own home on the 20th inst.’s
Mr Darcy Whiteman was the coroner, and Mr John Snow, foreman of the journey. The inquest was held at the Denaby Main Institute on Friday afternoon.
William Corker, the husband of the deceased, gave evidence of identification. At the time of the accident, he said, the deceased was wearing a flannelette nightgown.
Henry Bright, the son-in-law of the deceased, before that he lived with the last witness.
“Where were you when the woman got on fire? “ asked the coroner.
“I was just getting out of bed,” replied the witness. He added that the husband was at work at the time.
The husband explained that his wife was in the habit of getting up about half an hour before him, getting his breakfast ready, and then going back to bed again
“She was a good deal better than most of them,” commented the coroner.
Witness then told the story of how the fire occurred. “I was just getting out of bed.” He said, “at about 8 am when she came running into the front room where the bed is, and shouted: “Oh, Harry, help me, I’m on fire.”
“Was she on fire?” The coroner asked.
“Yes,” witness replied, “she was all in flames.” He was undressed at the time. “And I daren’t run out to her.” However, with all expedition he shoved on his trousers and ran to the unfortunate woman’s assistance. When he got out he found that she had just been to the kitchen door. She had run out there screaming. He told her to lie down and let him smother up the fire.
“Did you put the fire out?”
Yes, witness and their woman who had lived next door had put the fire out. Witness hastened for Dr Twigg at once, and he attended immediately and said it was a bad case, and that he did not believe she would get over it.
“How did she get on fire?” Queried the coroner.
Witness explained that the woman had told him before she died that she had come down to look after the children, and she was getting a pin out of the cornice to fasten Edith’s frock, and whilst doing so her nightdress caught fire.
“She was quite alone with the exception of the children?” – Yes, sir.
Answering a Juror, witness further explained that she had gotup on the fender to reach for the pin.
The coroner said they did not want any more evidence. As there was no doubt at all that the woman had got accidentally burned. There was no possibility of anyone being to blame. The poor woman, unfortunately, went in her nightdress to get something out of the corner at the fireplace. With the result that the nightgown caught fire, and she received such injuries that led to her death. “It is a terrible thing,” added the coroner.” Seeing that she has left a large family of young children and apparently she was a very good sort of woman, at any rate to her husband, and I have no doubt to the others as well.”
For the Jurors Convenience.
At the conclusion of the enquiry the Coroner announced that he had received a letter from Mr Jesse Hill, the secretary to the Fullerton hospital, who stated that at the last meeting of the committee they were informed that the journey under coroner were put to some inconvenience by the jury having to go to the hospital to view the body and afterwards having to attend elsewhere to hold an inquest. If it would meet their convenience better the committee would be pleased to place the boardroom of the hospital at their disposal when holding an inquest at any time.
In reply, the Coroner explained, he wrote that as he was only one and the jury always comprise 12, and sometimes 13, he did not think he was justified in considering his own convenience, without consulting the jury at the first inquest he had in the neighbourhood.
The Foreman took it that the letter referred to cases where the death took place at the hospital. In that event, he thought it would be a great convenience. A Juror also expressed himself in favour of having inquest at the hospital, and the general opinion of his colleagues was to the same effect.
The Coroner said he would intimate their wishes to the secretary.