Mexborough and Swinton Times December 4, 1925
Shocking Denaby Accident
Young Miner Shot Dead
Coroners Gun Lore
There was a painful incident at an inquest held at the Fullerton Hospital, Denaby Main, on Monday afternoon, when the young widow of the deceased man collapsed in a faint on being ushered into the room to give evidence. A doctor was immediately summoned to her head, and the Coroner (Mr Frank Allen) excuse, evidence of identification being given by another witness.
The enquiry was into the death of Joseph Cocksedge (20), miner, of 29 Barnburgh Street, Denaby Main, who died in the hospital on Saturday from gunshot wounds.
Harry Cocksedge, collier 125, Tickhill Street, Denaby Main, the stepfather, gave evidence of identification. On Saturday at 12 o’clock, a number of them, the deceased, Fred Taylor, Fred Cocksedge, and L Madin, were ratting in a shed on witnesses allotment.
They had two dogs, but no ferret, and the men were pulling up floorboards. The deceased had a shotgun, which he had not fired. Witness was outside the shed when they heard the girl Gough scream. He went inside the shed and found the deceased on the floor, bleeding from the mouth.
Caroline Gough (16) of 111 Doncaster Road, said she went to the shed and saw the deceased in a kneeling position. Then she heard the report of a gun, and the deceased fell over. She did not see how he held the gun. She heard the deceased groaning, and being frightened, ran away.
Fred Taylor, miner, of 45 Braithwell Street, said he was outside the hut when he heard a report of a gun. He entered the hut and saw the deceased lying on his back, with his head leaning to the right and his chin on his chest. He was bleeding from the mouth. Witness got the deceased outside and found the butt of the gun in deceased right pocket and the barrel on the floor near his feet.
Dr T Forde said he saw the deceased at 12.30 at the Fullerton hospital, suffering from a gunshot wound through the right cheek. The shot had entered in an upward direction towards the base of the brain. The deceased was then dying, and expired at about 1.30.
A verdict of “Accidental death” was recorded.
The Coroner, referring to the shotgun, said it was a most dangerous weapon. It must have been loaded, and they must assume that it was put away loaded, because it surely wouldn’t not have been loaded, before the stock was put on. Therefore it had been a source of danger since the last time it was used.
He (the coroner) had had a long experience of guns, and he could not imagine anything so foolish as for a party of men to go with a gun like that to shoot rats in a building. It was absolutely the summit of folly, especially if the deceased had had no experience of guns. He had paid for his folly with his life, but those people who participated in the nonesense were almost equally to blame.
The gun was obviously of German manufacturer, and was said to be a small bore gun, but it emphasised the fact that firearms should only be used by people who were experts in using them. Of course people had to learn to use a gun somewhere, but it ought never to be done in a building like that. He was very sorry for Mr Cocksedge, and particularly for is young wife, and he would recommend that they should get rid of the gun.
The stepfather said that neither he nor the widow wanted to see the gun again, and the Coroner asked the police to destroy, remarking that he had never seen such an instrument – the trigger was on the barrel instead of in the stock – and he hoped he would never see another.