Edward Mortimer Hill

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Date published: 14/01/2016
© Newbury Weekly News

 

EDWARD MORTIMER HILL

 

DISTRESSING DEATH AT NEWBURY

 

SUICIDE WHILST OF UNSOUND MIND

 

A painful sensation was caused in Newbury on Friday morning last, when it became known that Mr. Edward Mortimer hill, carrying on business as a confectioner and baker in Cheap-street, had been found hanging by a rope in his fowl-house. It will be seen from the evidence that he was suffering from the effects of an accident, besides which the fire which occurred on his premises last year had worried him, and altogether his mental faculties, led the jury to the conclusion that the fatal act was committed in a moment of aberration. The deceased will be remembered as having been many years ago the attendant at the Newbury Swimming Baths, on leaving which he took a baking business which he has since carried on. He leaves a widow, but no family.

THE INQUEST

 

was held on Friday evening at the “Sun” Hotel, before Dr. Watson, J.P. (Borough Coroner), Mr. F. Pocock being foreman of the jury, which included the following:- Messrs F. Andrews, F. Higgs, F. Heath, J.Langton, G. Clements, F. Evans, G. Roberts, S. Knight, jun., J. Johnson, R. Eatwell, J. Walker and C. Clinch. The jury having viewed the body the evidence was taken as follows:-

Julia Jones, niece of the deceased, identified the body as that of her uncle, Mr. E.M. Hill, with whom she had lived. About eight o'clock on Friday morning she last saw him alive noticing nothing peculiar in his manner. She came down and made a fire and boiled the kettle, offering to make him some breakfast but he declined. He had come out of the bakehouse into the kitchen and took his waistcoat, coat and hat and went out and she saw no more of him. She did not notice which way he went. About quarter past nine she went down the garden to feed the fowls and on opening the stable door to get the fowls some water she found deceased hanging from the ceiling. Witness did not notice if he was dead as she was so frightened, but ran back to tell Mrs. Hill. She did not go down any more. She had not observed anything peculiar in deceased's manner during the last few days. He seemed the same as usual.

 

By Mr. Johnson—She did not see her uncle go down the yard subsequent to his leaving the house.

Richard Dibley deposed – I am a baker employed by the deceased. I have been with him some four months. I saw deceased about a quarter past six; he came into the

bakehouse from his bedroom and asked me if I had made the dough. This was the first time I had made it myself as he had previously assisted in making it. This morning I could not make him or anyone else hear until quarter to five although I tried at four. He gave the girl orders for me to make the dough. When I told him I had made the dough he said “Well, well, get on with it,” and helped in weighing it off and putting it in the oven himself, while I was moulding. After that he put two buckets of water ready for a second batch of dough and then went out of the bakehouse until quarter past nine when he came back to the bakehouse. We had just got the dough out of the trough and he said “You've got the other dough out then.” He stayed in the bakehouse some five minutes and then went down the yard into the garden and I did not see any more of him until I went down the garden to cut him down from the fowlhouse, when told by Mrs. Hill. I did not notice anything different in his manner when he came the second time just after nine. He was not near enough to smell if he had been taking anything. Beyond complaining of a headache he had been apparently well lately.

 

By Mr. S. Knight-- Had only known him miss coming down about four o'clock once before and that was when he was under the doctor's hands. May say that when deceased first came down about six o'clock he said he would have helped me but did not feel very well.”

By the foreman-- He did not say what was the matter with him.

 

Jemima Hill, who was evidently much distressed, deposed. I am the wife of the deceased, we went to bed as usual last night. I had noticed all the previous day that my husband had been very strange and irritable. Her slept very well as far as I know, and woke at five o'clock, when the baker called him. The baker had knocked several times. He asked the baker to make the dough, and then got up about quarter-past five and went downstairs to see how the work was getting on. He came up to me about eight o’clock, and asked me if I was going to get up. I replied that I shall come down as soon as I can, and that was all. He was rather queer in his head, and this seemed to make him rather cross. He spoke rather sharply to me, and then went down again. I went down soon after nine, and missed him. My niece told me he was gone down the garden. She took some food, and went down to feed the fowls. Soon after this she came back, and said he was tied up by his neck. She at once ran down the garden, and seeing him, got the baker to cut him down. He was warm but there seemed to be no life. He has never spoken strange to me but once, ever since his accident in the winter, when he was thrown out of the cart, he has complained of his head at times, and said he felt as if he was going out of his mind. He has appeared strange, and put bread down queer in the books. His appetite had been very bad, and he was obliged to drink a little beer, instead of his food. He had not, however, got drunk. The warm weather had considerably affected him. And he was subject to fits. There was no other trouble as regards his concerns, and I know of nothing that should make him uncomfortable, as he had a good home, and had been living together just the same as usual, beyond his being irritable sometimes.

 

The Coroner said that having attended the deceased for the past eighteen months he was well acquainted with his habits: he used to drink a little beer as a substitute for food, as he had no appetite. Mr. Hill had met with an accident back in the winter and then had hurt his head and leg very much. Since then he had been extremely irritable and his wife had told him he had taken more in drink than he ought. He had also been very excitable in manner since then, which had distressed his wife. He had never known anything between them, and believed they lived happily, neither had the deceased ever expressed himself as to committing suicide; he had been very queer at times but nothing beyond that. As they knew, the deceased had recently had a fire, and was burnt out and this also upset him. Indeed lately he had been very irritable, and it was only a fortnight since Mrs Hill had spoken regretfully to him (the Coroner) about his strange behaviour. These being the circumstances, he suggested whether they could not consistently return a verdict of suicide while of unsound mind and not one offelo de se.

 

The jury concurred and gave their verdict that deceased committed suicide by hanging, while of unsound mind.

 

The funeral took place on Tuesday at the Cemetery, and the deceased being a member of the “Loyal Britons' Pride” Lodge of Oddfellows, a deputation attended on behalf of the Lodge.

 

Newbury Weekly News 21 May 1891

 

Buried 19 May 1891 at a cost of 6/-

Not in Mrs. P.

 

The missing years

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sources:Newbury Weekly News 21 May 1891

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