Sad Story from Conisborough “I Shall Jump Off The Viaduct.”

July 1907

Mexborough and Swinton Times July 20, 1907

Sad Story from Conisborough.
Miner and His Paramour.
Intense Mental Distress.
“I Shall Jump Off The Viaduct.”

Extremely pathetic were the details afforded Mr F. E. Nicholson and a jury at the Conisborough Gasworks, on Monday evening. For a week a young miner named Walter Smith had been missing, and owing to a remarkable statements made by him prior to his disappearance, it was generally surmised that he had died by his own hand, and that the water would eventually give up its dead.

And so it did last Sunday evening. The discovery formed the subject matter of the inquest on Monday, over which Mr F. E. Nicholson, the district coroner presided.

The body was identified by deceased’s half-brother, W. Hinchliffe, Clifton Street, Denaby Main, who described his relative as a healthy man, but suffering from mental depression owing to the refusal of the woman with whom he had been living to return to him.

The Landlady’s Story.
Margaret Chapel, of 8, George Street, New Conisborough, said deceased had lodged with her during the past month. He was a miner. She had last seen him alive at 5 o’clock on Monday evening. He had been out all day, and though he should have gone to work on the Sunday evening he had not done so. On the Monday evening he came into the house and smoked a cigarette by the side of the fire. Then he said to me, “Maggie, have you ever known anyone jump off the viaduct?” And I said, “no, but I had heard that a man had fallen off.” Then he went into the room and started crying, and his little girl cried too. I went into the room, and said.

“Don’t Cry;
you will break your little girl’s heart.” So he said he would not cry any more. He went into the kitchen and said he would go to his mother’s. She lives hard by in Clifton Street. He came back at 8 o’clock, and I laughed at him, and said, “I knew you were only kidding.” But he went into the room, and fetched out a piece of cord, which he usually tied around his trousers.

A Grim Illustration.
“I am going,” he said, “to have my hands tied like this” (the witness illustrated the words), “and I shall jump off the viaduct.” He kissed my little girl and went out.” At this point witness broke down and cried. “He was fit to tear his hair off his head,” she said; and it was all because the woman who had been living with him refused to come back.” She (witness) had never seen him again after he left on Monday night.

The Body Discovered.
Joseph Salt, 2, William Street, New Conisborough, a pony driver at Cadeby Main, said that on the Sunday evening in question, at 7 o’clock, he was stood with four companions near the viaduct, when he saw something break the surface of the water, which at first sight appear to be the body of a dog. He discovered, however, that the object was the body of this man, whom he knew by sight. He and another youth went to the body in a boat, and landed it with the aid of some rope, and the police were informed. The man’s hands were tied with a piece of cord.

A Juror: Can a man tie his own hands?

PC Ransom: He could have done it himself.

The coroner observed that there were little doubt that this unfortunate man had committed suicide in a state of great mental distress. The only question was as to his state of mind.

A verdict of “suicide while in a state of temporary insanity” was returned.