Sad attempted Suicide at Denaby – Laudanum is a Medicine

Mexborough and Swinton Times January 11, 1895

Sad attempted Suicide at Denaby
Laudanum is a Medicine
A soldier in trouble

John Watkinson, a slack washer at the Denaby Main Colliery, and formerly a colour sergeant in the 22nd Regiment, was placed in the dock at Doncaster West Riding police station on Wednesday before Lieutenant-Colonel C.E.S.Cook, J.P., charged with having attempted to commit suicide.

PC Jarvis said he went to the house, from information received on Tuesday, and found the man in a very weak state. Witness received a medical certificate to the effect that the man had been taking poison, but he was too feeble at the time to be taken to the police station.

The man said he had drank some laudanum the night before, and his wife said the same in the prisoner’s presence. The man said he had taken two pennyworth of laudanum

Prisoner: I have taken as much as four pennyworth for pains in the stomach. I have taken it for years. I got an injury when in the Army. The prisoner added that he had been vexed by his wife, who had thrown plates and dishes at him. They were all lying broken on the floor. She had been with some neighbours “lushing” and could drink as much as here and there one

Supt Blake said the wife had led information against the prisoner of threatening her, and he had a butcher’s knife in his pocket. The woman had been to the police station that morning, but she was not present when her name was called upon.

A son of the prisoner said he had been a good father to him always, and he ought you would be allowed to go back home

The magistrates clerk (Mr Lockett) to prisoner: I have no intention to commit suicide?

Prisoner: I take laudanum according to medical advice

The son: A doctor ordered him to take laudanum and warm water for cramp in the stomach and I have known him take three pennyworth at a time

The Chairman: was it pure laudanum?

The son: I don’t know.

Prisoner: They do sell it pure. If they add let me alone I should have come all right again, but my wife thought she would do me an injury if she left me.

The Clerk: how long since you left the army?

Prisoner: In 1869. I was colour sergeant in the 22nd Regiment. I was sergeant instructor. I have plenty of testimonial

The Chairman: it is evident that prisoner took to watch order, and the policeman took the proper course in the matter. If laudanum is recommended for you, you must take it in smaller quantities. You’ll be suffering from the effects of an overdose.

The son said his father at some times was bent double with the pain and had to be carried into the house

Prisoner was discharged with a caution.