Wife Finds Husband Dead in Bakery

October 1955

South Yorkshire Times October 29, 1955

Wife Finds Husband Dead in Bakery

A verdict of “suicide while the balance of mind was disturbed” was recorded by the Doncaster District coroner (Mr. W. H. Carlile) at a Conisbrough inquest on Friday William Wicklow Ackroyd (65), master baker, who was found dead in the gas-filled kitchen at his home in Church Street, Conisbrough, last Tuesday.

Mrs Edith Ackroyd, widow, said her husband had enjoyed fairly good health until he was taken seriously ill on Easter Saturday with shingles. The doctor who examined him said the “shingles where as bad as anyone could have them” Mrs, Ackroyd said that on Tuesday her husband was to have gone to Doncaster Royal infirmary. He had been going there for three years with a rash complaint.

Mrs. Ackroyd said: “My husband was worried by the financial difficulties of selling his business.”

On Monday, Mrs Ackroyd said her husband went to bed about 10.30 pm. “During the night he was very depressed. He cried and cried and I was unable to sleep,” she said. “I had been kept awake for nights” witness added.

Mrs Ackroyd said she awakened around 9 AM on Tuesday. She said: “I knew there was something wrong when my husband didn’t bring me a cup of tea to bed. He always brought my tea to bed first thing each morning.”

Her fears were increases, she said, when going downstairs she saw that the kitchen door was closed and there was also a smell of gas. Mrs Ackroyd went out into the street to call for help.

Later she returned to the back kitchen and found her husband lying on his back with his head in the bakeware prover. She said the prover was used for cooking tea cakes.

Alfred Harry Hinton, a conveyor maintenance man, Lime Grove, Sheffield Road, Conisbrough, told the corona that he had been standing outside the barber shop which was opposite the bakery in Church Street.

He heard the cries of a distressed woman and he went round to the back of the cake shop, and he noticed a “strong smell of gas.” A door was open and when he went inside he found Mrs Ackroyd in a very distressed state. Mrs Ackroyd took witness to the back kitchen. Mr. Hinton described seeing Mr Ackroyd with his head in the prover. He turned off the gas and tried artificial respiration after releasing the blanket.

Dr. Henry Lederor, consultant pathologist at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, said death was due to carbon monoxide poisoning. PC Ralph Charlesworth, of Conisbrough, said that after receiving a telephone message he went to the shop. He found Mr. Ackroyd in the garden and Dr. Gray home was trying artificial respiration. He relieved the Doctor, and carried on in a vain attempt to revive Mr. Ackroyd.

PC Charlesworth added that later he examined the prover and found that the supply of gas had been exhausted. The prover was fed with gas from a meter system. Summing up, Mr. Carlisle said: “the deceased had been ill for some time and according to his wife he had been in a very low state. The previous night he had a good deal of worry and upset and is no doubt that he committed suicide while the balance of his mind was disturbed.”