Mexborough Times, 4th January 1878
Suicide on Railway at Conisboro
On Wednesday evening the second inst., an inquest was held at the Station Hotel, Conisbro´ before Mr Nicholson, County coroner, touching the death of Joseph Watts, a labourer on the estate of Sir Joseph Copley, Bart of Sprotbro´.
From the evidence it appeared that the deceased had spent his Christmas at Sheffield, and was returning to Sprotbro´ on the 1 st inst. He alighted from the train arriving at Conisbrough Station at 1:25 p.m., and called at the Station Hotel where he had 1 pint of beer.
He was perfectly sober and spoke quite cheerfully, both to the stationmaster and the landlord of the Hotel. He was afterwards seen to go along the railway side towards Sprotbro´. When nearing the Conisbrough end of the tunnel, he left the railway side and went over the tunnel.
His body was found about 150 yards from the Sprotbro´ the end of the tunnel. It appeared that he had gone down the embankment and knelt with his face towards the ground and projecting so far across the down rails that the approaching train severed both head and neck from his body. He was not seen until the stoker, who was sanding, saw that both engine and tender at had passed over his body.
The jury returned a verdict that deceased committed suicide whilst in a temporary fit of insanity.
Mr Thomas Fearn, a jury man, then called the attention of the coroner to the fact, that during the past four years, he had himself served three inquests, which properly belong to the parish of Sprotbro´ and consider that it was a great injustice that the ratepayers of Conisbrough should be put to the inconvenience and expense of serving on juries, simply because Sir Joseph Copley were neither allow licensed house on his estate nor yet provide a dead house.
The coroner quite concurred, and promised the jury that he would lay the matter before the chief Constable.