Denaby Girl’s Vain Dash to Prevent Brother’s Suicide

July 1939

Mexborough & Swinton Times, July 7th

Denaby Girl’s Vain Dash to Prevent Brother’s Suicide

A tragedy of depression caused through continued ill health was revealed at the inquest at Conisborough council offices on Wednesday evening.

Herbert Elbeck (33) colliery surface labourer of Engine Farm cottage, Common, Old Denaby was found dead in a field near his home on Monday with a gun by his side.

The Doncaster district coroner (Mr. W. H. Charles) who sat without a jury returned a verdict that he committed suicide while the balance of his mind was disturbed

Evidence of Identification was by Elbeck’s father, Henry B. Elbeck, farm horseman 3, Engine farm cottages, Old Denaby who stated that his son had been unable to follow his work for the last six years owing to illness. He had been attended by Dr. Aitken, of Kilnhurst, and had also been to Sheffield Royal Infirmary for treatment. 4 years ago he attempted to take his life by cutting his throat with a razor and from that time he had made threats of doing away with himself owing to the pain he was suffering.

Witness said that on Monday he was informed of what had occurred he went to him and found that he was dead he had complained repeatedly to pain and suffering for some years but witness did not think of anything of that kind would happen.

Hilda Pickering, married 1, Engine Farm cottage, Old Denaby said that Elbeck was in the habit of going to her house and on Monday about one forty five pm he came in. Witness was busy pegging a rug and he sat in the arm chair. She did not notice anything unusual about him. He remained for some time. About 4 thirty PM she went outside to fetch some coal when she returned and he was standing by the side board, looking in the drawers. She asked him what he was doing he made no reply and walked away and sat down in front of the fire place for about 15 minutes. There was nothing strange about him. Mrs. Pickering said that there was a shotgun in the room and he went and grabbed it. She tried to prevent him from taking it but he was unable to do so and she ran to his home and told his mother. She afterwards looked inside the drawer and found that two cartridge boxes containing 401 cartridges were not in there usual place.

When her husband came home he found that one of the cartridges were missing. Witness added that she did not have any conversation with Elbeck during the after noon. A wireless was going and they were listening to it.

ElbeckĀ“s sister Mary Elizabeth Elbeck, student, 3, Common, Engine farm cottages, Old Denaby, said she was upstairs with her sister when she heard someone go to the downstairs door and speak to her and her mother ran out of the house. Witness was concerned and went down stairs and found mother and Mrs. Pickering outside. They told her that her brother was going down the field with a gun and he was standing with distance away. He was standing with his back to her and doubled over. She ran down to take the gun from him but she found the gun by his side, she knew he was very depressed.

P.S. Archibold McLeod, Denaby said he found Elbeck lying in the grass field about 70 yards from the Engine Farm cottages. A single barrel shotgun was by his side containing one spent cartridge. He removed that body to the mortuary. From the injuries in the head it appeared that the gun had been discharged with the barrel in his mouth.

Dr. Charles James Hill Ogden, said that Elbeck had been a patient of his since 1929. He had undergone several operations. The complaint he suffered from was not so much painful, but it was a frightfully depressing condition because the patient felt like he could not concentrate on anything. I think that Elbeck was just tired of the whole thing added Dr. Ogen, he could not take any interest in anything. The cause of death was laceration of the brain as a result of a gun shot.

The coroner said that there was no doubt in his mind that on the spur of the moment Elbeck seized the gun and shot himself.

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