Thomas Bright

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Date published: 07/08/2013
© Newbury Weekly News

THOMAS BRIGHT

 

SAD DEATH OF AN OLD MAN

THE INQUEST ADJOURNED

 

The inquiry into the death of Thomas Bright, briefly referred to last week, took rather an unexpected turn. It was held at the “Jack” Hotel before Dr. Watson, J.P., and Mr William Davies was foreman of the jury, who viewed the body lying at the home of the deceased in Pembroke-road, a duty of which the Coroner hoped the jurymen would soon be relieved. Evidence of identification was given by Thomas Bright, son of the deceased, who said his father lived alone, his wife having died 25 years ago. Deceased had an allowance from the parish, and he said he and the other sons gave him a few shillings a week.

 

The evidence of  Annie Gough, who lived next door, went to show that on Tuesday afternoon, about four o'clock, she saw the deceased sitting by the fire in his house. At 11.30 or a quarter to twelve she heard him dragging his bedstead about the room. She was disturbed all the rest of the night by him. He seemed to be talking to himself during the night, and to be hammering and breaking up his furniture. About seven o'clock in the morning she heard something as though he threw a chair across the kitchen. That was the last she heard. She was concerned at not seeing the deceased afterwards, but took no further steps. A little boy, deceased's grandson, was knocking at the door about three o'clock on Wednesday afternoon and trying to get in. he said he could make no one hear. She told the boy that he ought to have waited and told some one about it. About a quarter past three, two men came by the house, one of whom was related to the deceased. He asked what was the matter. She told him she had not seen the deceased that morning, but that they heard a great deal of disturbance in the night. He said he would go and see what was the matter. He climbed up to the window, as the door was locked. He eventually went down the stairs when he saw the deceased quite dead. She saw the deceased about the day before. He seemed a temperate man. She never saw him otherwise.

 

William Chivers, a young bargeman, was the man referred to. He said that on going round to Pembroke Road to Thomas Bright's house, the neighbours told him that they had not seen him all day. He said then there must be something the matter, and someone lifted him up to the bedroom window. He could not get in as it was tied and cutting the string he got in. On looking in the bed he could not see him, either under the bed or in the garret. He then went to the stairs and found the deceased lying dead at the bottom. He shouted out to the neighbours and said that Bright was dead at the bottom of  the stairs. He came out of the house by the window again. He noticed that the bedstead was wheeled right across the room. He had never known anything peculiar about the deceased.    

 

P.C. Gibbs added further details. When he went to the house, on Wednesday afternoon, he found the door locked, the key being on the inside. The bedroom window was open. He assisted Chivers through the window again to go down the stairs to open the door. On going inside he saw the deceased lying at the bottom of the stairs on his back with his head on the second stair. He was cold and stiff. The downstairs room was in great confusion. Four chairs were broken and crockery was strewn about the place and a table turned over. Upstairs the bedroom was in confusion. His clothes and boots were strewn about the room. The bedstead was in the middle of the room and appeared to have been slept in. The deceased had only two shirts on. There were blood smears on the walls of the downstairs room, and there were one or two cuts on the deceased's hands. There was no money in the house or in his pockets. He passed the house at 12.30 on Wednesday morning, and heard the shifting of furniture. He turned his light on, but could see nothing or anyone. He reported the matter to Inspector Seagrove and went in the locality during the night. They heard or saw nothing more.

 

Medical evidence was given by Mr. Richard Hickman, who examined the deceased, at the time he was quite stiff and cold. There was an abrasion on the nose, with recent blood on it, and a superficial cut on each hand. There were no other wounds whatever. He could not say the exact cause of death, but he should think it was from natural causes, such as heart disease or apoplexy. Y ears ago he attended him for bronchitis. There was a large bruse [sic] on the left eyebrow.

 

The Coroner thought it would be more satisfactory to adjourn the enquiry to allow the police to make further inquiries and for a post mortem examination to be made. The inquiry was thereupon adjourned to Monday evening. 

 

The adjourned inquest was held on Monday evening at the “Jack” Hotel, and Mr. Hickman detailed the results of the post mortem made on Friday. Externally there was a abrasion on the nose, about two inches long and very superficial; a bruise on the left eyebrow and lid. The was a slight cut on the right hand, and some scratches on the legs, but all of a very insignificant nature. On opening the body he found the lungs healthy, except the left having a slight pleuratic adhesion. The heart and other organs were healthy. There was a slight effusion of blood between the scalp and the bone. The vessels of the brain were very dark and congested, and there was a great deal of watery effusion. There was no haemorrhage on the brain, and no fracture of the skull. Nor did he find any bone in the body fractured. From this he concluded that death was of serous [sic] apoplexy.

The Coroner: Was there any mark to lead you to think there had been foul play?

Mr. Hickman: No.

Can you give us any idea of the blood-marks on the wall?

Well, it is only conjecture, but possibly he may have fainted and fallen causing his nose to bleed. He may have got his hand bloody, and leaning against the wall have made these marks. In a case like this he might have been partly conscious after the seizure, and may have staggered about.

You are quite satisfied that death resulted from apoplexy, apart from any injury?

Yes, I think probably when he fell down he hurt himself.

Would it have been caused by the fall?

It accelerated matters. He would have died whether he he had fallen or not.

The Foreman: The seizure might have caused temporary derangement.

Mr. Hickman: It may have caused excitement.

The Coroner: And that may account for the breaking of the furniture?

Yes.

P.C. Gibbs, in answer to the Coroner, said he had made further inquiries, but all he could possibly ascertain was that the deceased was in his usual health until Tuesday night, after which he was not seen.

A Juror: From the appearance of the body would you say the man drank?

Mr. Hickman: No.

The Coroner: Well gentlemen, that clears up what could have been an incomplete inquiry, and the absence of any other evidence after the police have made enquiries, I think there is no doubt that you will come to the conclusion that deceased died of serous apoplexy.

A Juror: I think that we can come to that verdict now, but we could not before.

The Coroner: Oh no, the smashing of the furniture, and the blood marks on the wall all required explanation, and this has now been done.

The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

 

The deceased was buried at the Cemetery on Monday afternoon.

 

 

Newbury Weekly News January 10 1895

 

Thomas Bright aged 63

BMD Mar Q 1895 Newbury 2c 205

Sources:Newbury Weekly News March 1895

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