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The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser 1869

Description of the inquest on suicide.

The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

Thursday 25 November 1869 page 3


Mr. W. J. Payne, the coroner of the Duchy of Lancaster, held an inquest at the Cheshire Cheese Tavern, Surrey-Street, Strand, on the body of Mr. Thomas Scott Townshend, aged 57, who committed suicide at Kirov's lodging house, 34, Surrey-street, by cutting his throat.

It appeared that he had been an assistant surveyor under Government in Australia, and was in receipt of a pension. He had, according to his brother-in-law's account, been overworked in the bush. He was a married man, but his wife and son remained in Australia, as there was a separation between them. Mr. Kirby stated that deceased had lived at his house for about twelve years, but had lately been different in his manners. He was very morose, and never spoke to anyone. He took his meals alone, and never drank anything but water. He had been more excitable during the last month. On the 26th of August he ordered a chop, which was unusual for him, and it was taken up at two o'clock, and as the door was locked it was forced, and the deceased found on the floor with his throat cut. He had taken off his coat, waistcoat and necktie. He had used a spring handled knife, which was found by his side covered with blood. Police sergeant……. must have moved about after the act, as there was blood all over the room. Witness searched in his bag and other places but found no letters or papers of any kind. He had £6 17s. 6d. in his pocket. The servant who attended him said that on Thursday he went out in a more than usually hurried manner, and returned in the same state. He had not received any letter on that or Wednesday morning, nor had anybody called on him. Witness thought he was melancholy from being so much alone ; and after the coroner had summed up the evidence, the, jury found a verdict of suicide while in a state of temporary insanity.

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