Mexborough & Swinton Times, August 25, 1939
No Sleep for Three Weeks
Denaby Man´s Suicide
“Must have Suffered a Lot” Says Doctor
Walked out in Middle of Night
The story of how the finding of clothing on the canal bank last Thursday led to the discovery on Friday morning of a man´s body, with arms strapped to the sides, was told to the Doncaster District Coroner, Mr W. H. Carlile, at a Mexborough inquest on Monday. The body was that of Thomas Roberts , pit deputy (54), of 52, Ravensfield Street, Denaby, and a verdict of “Suicide while the balance of his mind was disturbed”, was returned.
Occasionally Mentioned Illness.
James Roberts, collier, of 64 Maltby Street, Denaby, said his father was a deputy, and when he last saw him alive on Tuesday he was in his usual health. He occasionally mentioned illness.
The widow, Mabel Isobel Roberts, said she and her husband went to bed at 10.40 p.m. on Wednesday and after a time he got up again, and before going downstairs said he thought he was going to have a bad night. He had not slept for three weeks. He shouted “I think I´ll have a short walk for half-an-hour. The fresh air might make me sleep. I´ll leave the gas on full and I shan´t have to light it when I come in”.
Then he went to the front door, locked it, and shouted that he would not be long. That was the last she saw of him. Shortly afterwards witness got up to make him a warm drink, which she often had during the night, and he did not return. Enquiries at the Fullerton Hospital were unavailing and alarmed she notified the police.
On a Diet
Her husband had been under the doctor for 18 months for high blood pressure, heart trouble, and stomach complaints. Illness must have got on his nerves. He was on a diet and became thoroughly run down and a little bit depressed. For the last year and a half he had not worked and that may have worried him. He had never threatened to take his life.
The Coroner: No, if they mention it, they generally do not do it.
Witness said her husband had not got up from bed before, but he was a man of his word and so she expected him to return.
P.c. Harold Stott said on Thursday August 17 th , a man called George Hanson 23, Chaucer Road, Mexborough, reported at the police station that he had found a cap and coat on the bank under the Toll Bar Bridge, Mexborough. Dragging operations were begun in the canal and at 10.15 a.m. on Friday the body was recovered. The arms of the body were tied at the elbows with ½ strap (produced) and the body was fully clothed except for the coat. There was nothing to indicate the man´s identity but a message was received that Roberts was missing from Denaby. The widow identified the belt as her husbands.
Dr. Thomas Lindsay said a post mortam examination showed that Roberts, a rather heavily-built man, died from drowning. The heart was much enlarged and there was evidence of chronic nephritis. Roberts must have had chronic neuritis. Roberts must have had a very high blood pressure and must have suffered quite a lot.
The Coroner, summing up, said Roberts had been ill for eighteen months, and there was no doubt from the evidence that he was drowned.