Outrage at Conisboro’ – Grave Developments – Death of Dalton (picture)

September 1906

Mexborough & Swinton Times, September 8, 1906

The Conisborough Sensation.
Grave Developments.
Death of Dalton.
Inquest Opened.


The Conisboro’ sensation has developed into the Conisboro’ tragedy. The collier, James Dalton, who was admitted to Doncaster Royal Infirmary last week in a critical condition, suffering from injures, alleged to have been inflicted by James Dagnall, a widower, and collier, living in Park road, Conisboro’, died on Monday, in the hospital, where a few yards away lay his alleged assailant, who, under the supervision of the police, is steadily recovering from his self-inflicted wounds.

The incidents that came to light after the affray took place revealed a story of sordid character. The scene of the house rented by Dagnall, who, it is said, co-habited with Mrs. Dalton, who acted in the capacity of housekeeper, whilst Dalton was serving two years imprisonment for robbery with violence at Mexborough. On Dalton’s release from prison he went to his wife, and though staying in Dagnall’s house at the time of the tragedy the pair had arranged to go into lodgings at Mexborough, the expressed intention of which appears to have been the motive for Dagnall’s sensational and ill-fated attack on the man and wife whilst sleeping in bed.

The second chapter of the story came with the removal of the two men, both with their wind-pipes severed, to Doncaster Infirmary, where Dalton was from the first never expected to recover, his dying depositions being taken as quickly as possible.

The Coroner’s Inquiry Adjourned.

On Tuesday, at 4-30 p.m., the inquest on the body of Dalton was opened at the Guildhall, Doncaster, by Mr. J. G. Nicholson, Deputy-Coroner for the borough. In view of the important issues surrounding the inquiry, evidence of identification was only taken the inquest being adjourned to Thursday, September 20th. Superintendent Hicks of the Doncaster West Riding Constabulary, was present.

The Coroner, addressing the jury, said they had assembled to inquire into the circumstances attending the death of James Dalton, which occurred on the previous day. For certain good reasons, they would be unable to proceed further than the identification of the body, as the principal person concerned was at present detained in the infirmary, and it would be impossible to hear the evidence, which have serious consequences to him without his being present. The doctors said it would take at least a fortnight before a man named Dagnall, who was the principal party concerned, could be sufficiently recovered to be able to attend that court to give evidence, so that their duties that day would simply be to view the body, and hear the evidence of identification, and then adjourn, say, till Thursday, September 20th.

The jury then went and viewed the body, and on their return to the Guildhall, Annie Dalton, wife of deceased, was put into the witness box.

She was dressed in all black, save for a little brown boa. Rather short in stature, stout in build, she has a somewhat pleasant cast of feature, and bore no traces of having suffered shock from the razor cut on her arm. She gave her evidence in a quiet and composed manner.

Answering the Coroner, she said she identified the remains as those of her husband, James Dalton.

The Coroner: How long have you been married? – About 12 years, as nearly as I can tell you.

Do you know exactly what age he was? – He would have been 36 next birthday.

What was he? – A collier, sir.

What pit did he work in? – He used to work in both Denaby and Cadeby Main pits.

Up to a couple of years ago, where did you reside last? Was it at Conisborough? – Yes, sir.

The Coroner, to the jury: The evidence of this witness will be very long, and we do not want to go into it to-day.

The jury were then bound over, each in their own recognisances of 25, to attend the court at 11 o’clock on the morning of Sept. 20th. If the conditions of the recognisances were not fulfilled, they would, of course, be void; otherwise they would remain in force.

The Foreman: If Dagnall is not recovered and is unable to come, what have we to do?

The Coroner: I am not a prophet. I cannot say that he will have sufficiently recovered. I think there is human possibility of his being able to attend. That is the opinion of the doctors. I cannot tell you more, because I do not know any more about it than you do.

A Juror: Shall we receive notice if he is not well enough to appear?

The Coroner: You shall have notice.

The inquest was adjourned to September 20th at 11 a.m.