Young Man Tired of Life – The Inquest.

August 1892

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 12 August 1892

 A Young Man Tired of Life.

The Inquest.

An inquest was held at the Ship Inn, Swinton, on Wednesday, before Dossey Wightman, coroner, touching the death of Charles Henry Walters, aged 24, a miner, the son of Henry Walters, living at Don View, Mexborough. The body had been found in the canal at Swinton, the deceased having deliberately jumped into the water last Saturday night, after giving way to excessive drinking, as alleged at the inquiry.

There jury were as follows .—John Cater (foreman), Martin Vickers, Walter Nuttall, George Barlow, Richard Haigh, George Rix, George Senior, Henry Wilson, William Lancellery, James Baxter, Thomas Woodward and John Webb.

The inquiry was also attended by Mr C Taylor, on behalf of the River Don Navigation Company.

The first witness was William Walters, miner, of Denaby, the brother of the deceased, who said he was with him on Saturday night about half an hour before he was drowned. The deceased had been in the Red House in Swinton, and witness left him there. He (witness) was in the Corner Pin Inn when he heard what had happened; that was about ten o’clock on Saturday night. The deceased had then been got out of the water, and witness saw him lying on the bank near the bridge; he was quite dead.

The Coroner: Have you made any enquiries how it happened?

Witness; no.

The Coroner: I cannot believe that you would see your brother lying dead on the canal bank without asking how he had been got out.

Witness: I know where he came from and where he went in.

The Coroner; That is not the question at all. Did you not ask how it was your brother got into the canal ?

Witness: I heard all about it, though I did not ask anyone.

The Coroner; Sign your name to this. Your evidence is not worth taking down.

Samuel Bywater, glass blower, said he was talking to wife near the signal post at Swinton on Saturday night when the deceased came along and shook hands, and bade him Good night.

The deceased said he was going to bed, but the next he heard of him was that he had jumped into the canal near the bridge.

The Coroner: Was he alone when he shook hands with you ?

Witness : Yes, he was by himself. I shouted out afterwards that a young man had jumped into the canal.

The Coroner: What do you mean by jumping in? Did he jump in on purpose?

Witness : Yes, he did. The Coroner Did he fall in?

Witness: He ran and jumped in.

The Coroner : Was he sober?

Witness No. he was not.

A juryman: He was going in for “a cooler” apparently. (Laughter.)

The Coroner : Did you see the body got out?

Witness replied the negative. He added that when he raised the alarm about deceased being in the water, a clothes’ prop was fetched, but some time elapsed before the body was found, though the cap was seen in the water. A crowd quickly collected, but witness did not remain to see what was done ; he went into the public house.

In further reply to the Coroner, witness said the deceased was quite alone when he jumped into the water ; he was about twenty yards away when the deed was done.

A juryman : How long was it before the body was got out ?

Witness: I do not know.

The Coroner: Did anyone else see him jump in beside you?

Witness: No.

The Coroner: What was found on him ?

Police-constable Shuttleworth said no money was found upon the deceased. only a knife. He added that the man had been rambling about for a month.

A juryman : He had no home.

Police-constable Shuttleworth : He made his home anywhere.

A juryman: He was too idle to work.

Another juryman said the deceased had threatened several times that he would take his life.

Police constable Shuttleworth: I have not heard of that before.

A juryman: Well, that has been talked of in the place.

The Coroner : It is singular that no one else saw him get into the water.

Police-constable Pickering said he had heard that the deceased told his brother what he was going to do. He told the brother half-an-hour previously that he would be a corpse in the morning.

The Coroner then had the brother recalled and asked— You had some conversation with your brother? —Yes.

Did he say what he was going to do—about dying or being corpse?—Yes. I had gone into the Red House to have a glass of beer, and he came in and sat and supped with me. He said, l am going to put an end to myself. Witness replied, Get off with thi’ soft ; thou has said that before.” He had said he would do it many a time before then.

A juryman: Did he remark about your being better dressed than himself, and about his being looked on as no one.

Witness: Yes, he did.

The Coroner : Do you work ?

Witness. Yes.

The Coroner: Did he?

Witness: Sometimes I think.

The Coroner: Do you think he committed suicide?

The witness rather reluctantly admitted that he might have done so.

The Coroner: He was not very likely to be going for a bathe. (Laughter.)

A juryman: He said he should be a corpse before morning ?

Witness: Yes.

The Coroner said the additional evidence of the brother had thrown a good deal of light upon the matter. Previously the evidence was somewhat scant as to the case being one of suicide.

A juryman said the deceased had been in a low, degraded way for three or four months, and he had wandered about as if lost.

The Coroner suggested that the jury should give the deceased the benefit of the doubt as to temporary insanity.

A verdict was returned to the effect that the deceased had committed suicide whilst temporarily insane.