Misc St Helens inquests

23 February 1872


On Sunday afternoon, at two o'clock, five boilers filled with caustic soda exploded at Messrs. Evans and M'Bryde's chemical works, Pocket Nook, near St. Helens, causing the loss of three lives and a serious destruction of property. So great was the force of the explosion that half of one of the boilers was hurled a distance of 250 yards, and embedded several feet in the soil. Another great mass of iron was thrown on the roof of a glassworks, which it smashed in. The sheds under which the boilers stood were thrown into the air a great height, and were enveloped in a cloud of steam, which, with the terrific noise which accompanied the explosion, was seen and heard for miles round. Fortunately, as it was Sunday, but few persons were at the works, except those engaged at the engine and boiler, and the loss of life has not been so great as the extent of the damage would lead one to suppose. A space of about 2,500 square yards, where the boilers and oxidizers stood, is a heap of ruins, and the roofs and windows in the neighbourhood have suffered considerably from the missiles which were thrown into the air by the explosion. The following men were killed, William Marsh, engineer at the works, of Black Brook, Michael Kellv, labourer, and James Lee, labourer. William Plumbley, of Eccleston, a fireman at the boilers, was badly injured, and Catherine Jane Roberts, of Pocket Nook, was severely scalded by some of the boiling liquid falling upon her.


18 April 1879


A most extraordinary case of suicide occurred in the cells at the St. Helens Police Station on Saturday forenoon. About seven o'clock that morning a man named William Tickle, 46 years of age, was locked up on the charge of stealing a fowl, value 2s, the property of Robert Johnson, and before being placed in the cells was searched in the usual way, and his pockets emptied. He was subsequently committed for trial at the sessions, and was put into a cell at twenty minutes to eleven o clock. He was visited at five minutes past eleven o'clock, when he was found lying in a pool of blood, and his throat cut. Mr. Ogden, assistant to Drs. Twyford and Jamieson, was at once sent for, and arrived in about four minutes; but, although Tickle was still living, he died in about five minutes afterwards. The deceased was respectably connected, but for some time past had given himself up to drinking, and had previously been imprisoned for petty thefts, committed while in his drinking bouts.


7 October 1882



About half-past six o'clock on Tuesday morning an awfully sudden death took place in the Tipping Arms public-house, Bold Heath, about three-and-a- half miles from St. Helens. Two men entered the Tipping Arms for some refreshments and to have a rest. Shortly afterwards a stranger, who was apparently tramping from Warrington to Liverpool. entered the house and called for a pint of beer. He drank the beer, joined in conversation with the others, and, to all appearance, was in good health, and made no complaint. About twenty minutes post six o'clock, however, he suddenly raised his right hand to his side, gave three heavy groans, and fell to the floor, dying instantly. Deceased was about 40 years of age, 5ft. 10ins tall,, had sandy moustache, and a little whisker on the chin. He was dressed in a black coat and vest, light tweed trousers, black and white check scarf, hard billycock hat, and lace-up boots. From papers found in his possession he is supposed to be named Thomas Williams. One document was a letter or reference as to the character of the deceased, and signed J. Williams, being written from the North and South Wales Docks Hotel, Cardiff, and another representing that Thomas Williams was a member of an American Order of Freemasons.


Liverpool Mercury 8th January 1897


A shocking tragedy has occurred at St. Helens, the victim being a married woman named Martha Thompson, for causing whose death a collier, named James Parr, has been arrested. Deceased and prisoner's mother quarrelled, and it is alleged prisoner afterwards met Mrs. Thompson and struck her violently on the head. She was found lying in a pool of blood by her husband, and died on Sunday morning. Prisoner states that the woman followed him with a knife, that he pushed her, and she fell.

January 9th, 1897

At the St Helens Police Court, yesterday, before Messers B. A. Dromgoola, D. Chadwick, H. S. Oppenheim, and J. Cotton, the young man James Parr of Stanley St, who had been remanded on a charge of unlawfully wounding Mrs Martha Thompson, a neighbour, who has since died, by knocking her down and causing a wound on her head, was again brought up. Chief Constable Wood, stated that at the inquest on Tuesday, the jury returned a verdict that she died from erysipelas and blood poisoning, set up by the wound on her head, but how the wound was caused there was no evidence to show. He would therefore not offer any evidence against the prisoner.

The Chairman, to the prisoner. We have not got sufficient evidence to convict, and you will be discharged. The prisoner then left the court accompanied by a number of friends.


Liverpool Echo, 1 February 1898

Found drowned in the St Helens Canal

Mr S. Brighouse, County Coroner held an inquest at St Helens Town Hall today on the body of James Lyon, a collier, of 161 Blackbrook Rd, Haydock, who was found in St Helens Canal yesterday morning.

Alice Swift, wife of William Swift, a collier, of 161 Blackbrook Rd, said the deceased was her son. He was a collier, aged 36, she last saw him alive at 6 o' clock on Friday the 14th of last month when he left home to go to St Helens, just before she went on the tram.

Samuel Dunn, 23 Pitt St, a barman of the Parr Vaults, said he knew the deceased. He saw him on Friday night between 6 and half past, in the Vaults, he had two pints of beer. When he left the bar he was sober. The double locks are about a quarter of a mile from the Parr Vaults. It was a foggy night and had been foggy all day.

Mary Mort, wife of Joseph Mort, 16 Double Locks, said she saw the deceased about half past six on Friday night, 14th January at the Parr Vaults. She sent a lad to the Vaults for some beer, and deceased came out and asked her what time her husband was coming home on Saturday. She did not see him after that. His body was found about a stones throw from her house. In reply to the foreman Mr W. Pollitt, witness said the lad was fifteen years of age.

Walter Hope, of the Old Nook, Chain Lane, a waterman at Double Locks, in the employ of the London and North Western Railway Company, said, he found the body floating in the St. Helens and Sankey Canal about 10 o'clock yesterday morning. The body was in the lock, he pulled the body out and then went for a police constable.

Police constable Lewis said about 10.30am yesterday, Hope told him he had found the body. He went to it and found it was very decomposed, and looked as if it had been in the water about a fortnight. He searched the body and found a halfpenny, a knife and an old clay pipe.

The Coroner said it was an extremely foggy night. The jury returned a verdict of "Found drowned"


Cornishman 21 February 1900

The Mystery at Pendeen

Up to Saturday at noon nothing has been found out about the ill fated steamer wrecked at Pendeen, with regard to the unfortunate man found in the rigging

Inspector SPARKS sent the inscription of the watch found on him to the St Helens police and received the following reply :-

Man named Edward TALLON worked at place named, 1873. Brother here not seen him for 25 years. When last heard of was in Jersey. Could not identify him, would now be about 60, height 5ft 10ins, St Helens police.


Manchester Evening News, 11 January 1901


Today, Mr. S. Brighouse, Comity Coroner, held an inquest at St. Helens on the body of Arthur Oddie, 199, Speakman Rd, who committed suicide by shooting himself on Wednesday morning. The evidence showed that Oddie went upstairs just after breakfast for the ostensible purpose of fetching a tie. He remained there a few minutes, then his wife hearing a noise went upstairs. She saw her husband leaning against the dressing table, and thinking something was wrong, raised the alarm. A neighbour named Mosedale ran upstairs and found Oddie dead, still leaning against the dressing table. He had shot himself with a revolver, no evidence could be called to show any reason for the act, his employers say their relations with him were all right. It was stated he was depressed the previous afternoon. The jury returned a verdict of suicide whilst of unsound mind.


Today, at St. Helens Mr. S. Brighouse held an inquest on the body of William Kilshaw, labourer, of Rainhill, near St. Helens, whose body was found on the railway between Lea Green and Rainhill Stations on Wednesday morning. There was a bad wound on the forehead, deceased having apparently been knocked down and killed by a passing train. It was not shown how he got on the line, and the jury returned an open verdict


Manchester Courier, 16 February 1901


At an inquest at St. Helens on Monday on the body of Thomas Sharrock, aged 41, who committed suicide in a pit of water a few days ago after being fined for theft the solicitor for the relatives said that the man worked regularly, supported his father and had 160 in the bank, and shares in a building society. The three convictions for theft recorded against him were due to kleptomania. The jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst of unsound mind" and expressed their sympathy with the relatives.


Manchester Evening News, 26 March 1901


At St. Helens, yesterday, an inquest was held on the body of a child named Johnson. The mother has been charged with the wilful murder of her child, and also with attempting to poison herself.

Ruth Innes said she was called into the house after Johnson's return from work, and Mrs Johnson told her the baby was dead, and that she herself would not live as she had taken too much poison. She added that nobody knew her mind and she was ashamed to go out.

Charles Swift, chemist, deposed to selling three pennyworth of rat poison to the prisoner, and she seemed all right.

The Coroner, said in this way people under the pretence of poisoning rats could get enough strychnine to kill two persons. The Act did not seem to him a real protection. The jury returned a verdict of wilful murder.


Manchester Courier, 27 April 1901


At St. Helens yesterday, an inquest was held on the body of James Bridge of Langtree St, who was killed at Ashton's Green Colliery. On Monday some boxes ran away down an incline, and knocking out a number of bars, thus allowed a big stone to fall on deceased and other men, who had entered a manhole for safety. The colliery proprietors said they would make the experiment of stopping hauling operations for half an hour every afternoon to enable the men leaving work to travel in safety to the brow. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.


Manchester Evening News, 10 August 1901



The inquest on Dr Vincent Wigglesworth, of Kirkham, who died in the Providence Hospital, St. Helens, during Wednesday night, after being found unconscious in the Scotch express, was held last night at St Helens by Mr Brighouse. The deceased who had been suffering from mania, more or less acute for four years, escaped from the Crichton Lunatic Asylum, Dumfries on Wednesday. He got to Carlisle and took a 1st class ticket to Preston. He was a native of Farnworth near Bolton, and had practised at Southport and Poulton.

Dr Sidney Wigglesworth, of Wesham, Kirkham, identified the body as his brother. He last saw him at Nice, where he was suffering from religious mania. His sister brought the deceased from the continent, and he was transferred to the institution at Dumfries.

The Coroner, were there any suspicion that he was suicidal ?

Witness, His theories were absolutely against suicide. Witness then read the following from a long letter in which the deceased described his symptoms, and told how he had been in the institution, and said, "In one way I had intended really starting regular work again somewhere this spring, but, of course, this is all knocked on the head, because I could never be absolutely certain from the ordinary run of events that I might not break out again, as I did at Cannes, and it would naturally ruin any practise I had got together again. I am inclined to think public opinion would be decidedly unfavourable to a man having another attack such as I have had, and now incarcerated an certified a second time. However, I don't worry. Life certainly does not seem worth the living, but then my theosophical studies, if nothing else, have taught me the folly of suicide. It is no use throwing ones Karma away for nothing, Karma, I may say for your enlightenment, is the theosophical word, vide Madame Blavatski, for the period of rest or Nirvana, between one incarnation of the soul and the next."

The Coroner Do you know whether he was in the habit of taking morphia?

Witness, The first start of his illness was due to over indulgence in morphia and chloral, which he took in enormous quantities. He would take 120 minims hypodermically. An ordinary dose is very heavy at five minims, but he told me what affected him was the mixing of the drugs

The Coroner, Yes, that would upset him. Doctors are learning more sense, and do not prescribe chloral or bromide of potassium as much as they did.

Witness, I don't think the morphia has affected him. I have a patient who has taken morphia for years.

The Coroner, Your evidence is that no member of the family had any suspicion that he would take away his life, and, secondly, that his death has been brought about by morphia, but he had got in such a state that he would require a great deal to cause death ?

Witness, Oh yes, it would require an enormous dose.

The Coroner, How much would an ordinary person like myself want for an ordinary dose ?

Witness, An ordinary dose would be about two minims to begin with.

The Coroner, Then sixty times an ordinary dose was a regular thing with him ?

The witness, who showed strong emotion, spoke to receiving other letters from the deceased, in one of which he thought he would die from syncope and occasionally had a very deathly sensation about the pit of the stomach. The deceased had always gone in for excessive muscular exertion, Sandow's physical treatment, and he thought he had done his heart harm.

The Coroner, And he took drugs to excess.

James Gerard, stationmaster of Wigan, spoke to finding the deceased unconscious on the train and travelling with him to St Helens. There was a tumbler and lemonade bottle by his side. The doctor said the tumbler had contained a very large amount of morphia.

Dr Bryden, assistant to Dr Jackson, said he attended the deceased at the railway station and up to his death six hours later. He detailed the post mortem. The deceased's heart weighed 14 ounces, and the normal weight was 8 or 9 ounces, but the valves were fully competent. There was no actual disease, and he was not able to account for a natural death.

The Coroner, bearing in mind the large quantities of morphia and chloral this man had been in the habit of taking, do you think he died from syncope, heart failure ?

Witness No

The Coroner What do you think he died from ?

Witness, an overdose of morphia. The witness explained the heart went on beating, but the respiration of the deceased owing to the poison, kept stopping. It was only at the seventh time that respiration stopped, that the heart also stopped, and death occurred. They kept restoring the respiration by artificial means, and the heart kept beating on.

The Coroner, In your opinion this dose of morphia that he had taken contributed to his death ?

Witness, Yes

The jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased died from an overdose of morphia, but there was nor sufficient evidence to enable them to pronounce on the circumstances under which it was taken.


Manchester Evening News, 29 November 1901


Today, at St. Helens, an inquest was held on the body of John Arnold, a labourer, thirty-nine, of the Double Locks, who was found in the canal on Wednesday morning. The last seen of him was at eleven o'clock at night on the 4th inst., when he left a public house quite sober to walk home, the night was dark and foggy. His wife found the body floating in the canal on Wednesday morning. The jury returned a verdict of accidentally drowned.


Manchester Courier, 14 December 1901



Mr. Coroner Brighouse held an inquest at St Helens on Tuesday on Thomas Burke 13, .the third of the sons of a collier named William Burke of Johnson St, who have died suddenly. It was stated that the boy went to bed perfectly well on Sunday night and was found dead in bed at 10am on Monday morning, having previously complained of a headache the father said this was the third son he had lost. On died suddenly a fortnight ago when the jury found he had been choked by vomit getting into the windpipe, and another died suddenly three years ago.

Dr Unsworth said death was due to collapse, consequent on acute inflammation of the lining of the stomach, by some irritant of bacterial origin taken in with food, the bacteria produce poison which accumulated the symptoms and death takes place pretty rapidly. The jury returned a verdict of "Death by natural causes" The Coroner expressed his sympathy with the father, who said he was now frightened of looking at his children for fear they might be dead.


Manchester Evening News, 17 February 1902


On Saturday afternoon Mr. S. Brighouse, county coroner, held an inquest at St. Helens on the bodies of three boys who were drowned in the canal at Blackbrook, Haydock on Friday night. The names of the unfortunate lads are James Daniels, aged 11, son of Joseph Daniels, a collier of 50 Bramwell St, Parr, Miles Morris, aged 11, son of Abraham Morris, collier, 251 Broadoak Rd, Parr and Peter Smith, aged 8, son of Matthew Smith, collier 109 Newton Rd, Parr.

Evidence was given that the lads attended Blackbrook Catholic Schools, and after leaving school on Friday they, they, with some companions went to slide on the canal basin about 200 yards away. The ice suddenly gave way and the lads named, with two others, Richard Marsh and Dennis Murray, were thrown into the water. The boys Marsh and Murray were rescued by some men who happened to be in the vicinity, but when the bodies of Daniels, Morris and Smith were recovered life was extinct. Walter Hope in the employ of the London and North Western Railway Company, owners of the canal, said that he was breaking the ice some distance away from the scene of the accident at the time it occurred. The accident happened at a spot where the ice was weak owing to the water from Carr Mill dam running into the canal at that point. He went into the water with a rope round his waist and got out one of the bodies. He ran home and changed his clothes and the other bodies were recovered.

Police Constable Lewis said he had seen the teachers leading the scholars over the canal bridge and directing them home to prevent them going on the ice.

The Coroner remarked that while he and his jury were very sorry for what had happened, they remembered that boys would be boys, and boys, as a rule, had no sense of fear or danger. The jury in returning a verdict of accidental death, expressed sympathy with the parents and relatives of the boys. It was stated that the witness Hope had rescued about a dozen people from drowning in the canal.


Manchester Courier, 31 May 1902



Yesterday Mr. S. Brighouse held inquest at St. Helens on the body of Mary Millicent Higham, 7. who died from injuries received by being knocked down by an electric tramcar in North-road. A carter named William Cooper said he saw the whole occurrence, the child darted right across the road right in front of the car, the driver had no time to pull up, in his opinion the driver did all he could.

Thomas Wright the driver gave evidence. He stopped the car before the wheels reached her. A statement was made by the foreman of the jury that he had seen drivers cleaning their brasses while travelling. The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death" attaching no blame to the driver, adding that as a general rule the cars came down North Rd at too great a pace, and the drivers had too much to do, it was not right that they should be expected to clean their apparatus while driving.


Manchester Courier, 14 June 1902


On Tuesday Mr. S. Brighouse, County Coroner, held an inquest at St. Helens body of Edward Shacklady, a farm labourer, aged 40, whose body was found in the canal. Evidence was given that deceased left home on Saturday week. His mother said he had been in the habit of going away for days at a time and she took no notice of his absence. He would have to cross the canal to come home, and she thought he had got some drink and had walked in. The jury returned an open verdict.

The Coroner held an inquest at Bold on the body of John Hopkins, an Irish farm labourer, whose body was found in a pond on the Cranshaw Hall Farm, Bold, on Sunday. He had been missing for a fortnight. The foreman of the jury said he met the deceased about a fortnight ago and thought there was something strange in his manner. Deceased's cap was found hanging on the stump of a tree by the side of the pond in which his body was found. The jury returned an open verdict.


Manchester Evening News, 4 August 1902


At Parr, St. Helens, on Saturday evening, Margaret Swift, the two-year-old daughter of John Swift, collier, 177, Chancery Lane, was killed by an electric tramcar. It appears that Mrs. Swift was conversing with a neighbour in the street at 5.35, while the child was playing around. An electric car was returning from Derbyshire Hill, in charge of Oliver Turner, when the child stepped into the track and was knocked down and was badly mangled before the car could be stopped. The car was lifted and the body of the unfortunate child was taken home.


Manchester Evening News, 15 August 1902



At St. Helens, this morning, Mr. Brighouse held an inquest on the body of Michael Noonan aged 29, who was shot on the night of the 5th inst, James Shaw, collier, of Parr Moss Cottages, being charged with murder.

The Coroner said that on the night of the tragedy if the deceased and his friends had not sought a quarrel they would have gone along Watery Lane to their own homes, but instead they followed Shaw and his friends to the corner of Nook Lane and Rolling Hill Lane, where the tragedy took place.

Thomas Noonan deceased's brother, said there was no quarrel in the Boilermakers Arms between the deceased and the prisoner. Shaw and his friends left the public house, the deceased also went out, but returned shortly afterwards, and witness and Ashton went with him. They found the deceased wrestling with Dixon and after that was over deceased and he went away. At the corner of Nook Lane, Shaw came up, pulled one half of the gun out of one pocket and the other half out of another pocket. He fixed them together and advancing to within a yard of the deceased fired, his brother dropped to the ground. Shaw then pointed the gun at him, saying he would blow his brains out, but witness knocked him down. Ashton secured the gun. Shaw said he would fetch another gun and blow all their brains out. Deceased died the same night.

Witness in cross examination by Mr Riley said the deceased went after the other party to have it out with Shaw's mates but not with Shaw. It was not true that they threatened to serve Shaw as they had served the others, and that then Shaw fired his gun into the air to show he was armed. Deceased did not say to Shaw they would have both him and his gun. Deceased did not rush up to Shaw and seize the gun. When the shot was fired nobody had any idea such mischief had been done. It was not true the gun went off because he kicked Shaw on the hand.

Alfred Ashton also gave evidence corroborating Thomas Noonan's account. Shaw put the gun to his shoulder and fired at the deceased. Inquest adjourned


Manchester Evening News, 21 August 1902

Extraordinary food for infant

Some extraordinary evidence was given at an inquest at St. Helens, last night, on the body of Agnes O'Keefe, the eleven weeks old child of Mary Agnes 0'Keefe, of 12, Vernon St. The mother stated that she fed the child at five o'clock on Tuesday morning, and at 5 40 found it dead lying on her arms. She had fed it with boiled bread. After medical evidence had been given that meat and a piece of cinder had been found in the stomach the mother admitted that when her husband was having supper he gave the child a small piece of ham. She had given the child cinder tea. Dr Unsworth said it was slow poison to give ham to a child so young. It was madness to feed a child like that for a child could not digest bread till it was nine months old. A mother might as well give it sawdust. The jury returned a verdict that the child died of convulsions, caused by irritation set up in the stomach by undigested and unsuitable food.


Preston Herald 10 September 1902

Sad affair at St Helens

An inquest was held by Mr BRIGHOUSE at St Helens on the body of John HUSSEY, aged 29 of 62 Brunswick St, who died in the cells of the St Helens Police Station early on Sunday morning. It was shown that HUSSEY was drinking on Saturday night having had five bitters and a glass of rum. At midnight he was found on the metals at the Ashton Green Collier Sidings, and was conveyed in a trap to the police station as a drunken man. He was visited during the night but at 6.30am was found dead. Dr UNSWORTH who made a post mortem testified that death was due to rupture of the liver, which might have been caused by a fall. Verdict in accordance given.


6 June 1903



An inquest was held at Peasley Cross, St. Helens, on Sarah Elizabeth Naylor, aged 21, who died in the St. Helens Hospital, from carbolic acid poisoning Deceased's mother said her daughter was in a situation with Miss Thompson, of Horace St. At the hospital she saw the deceased, who said she had took the poison because the young man with whom she had been keeping company with had broken off the courtship. She had seen him at the field day on Monday and it had played on her mind.

Miss Thompson gave evidence and said the girl took the carbolic when witness was out. She appeared in good spirits when she came home from the field on Monday.

Richard Hunter, deceased's sweetheart said he was surprised at what the girl had done. They had no words and it was the deceased that "broke it off"

The jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst of unsound mind."


Nottingham Evening Post, 15 June 1903


Four men were injured in an explosion which occurred on Saturday morning at the Bold Sinking Pit the Collins Green Colliery Company, near St. Helens. Their names are Peter Coleman, Bold St, St. Helens, Patrick Goffey, Powell St, Sutton, Martin Grace, Herbert St, Sutton, and Patrick Monaghan, Herbert St, Sutton. Coleman and injuries so serious that he had to be removed to the Providence Hospital. The accident was due to the unexpected bursting of a shot


25 June 1903

An instance of a mans life being prolonged by an accident was mentioned yesterday at a St. Helens inquest. The deceased, Samuel Pover, aged 64, was injured Ashton's Green Colliery 12 months ago. He died last week, and Dr. O'Keefe said that if the man, who had succumbed to heart disease, had not met with the accident he would probably have died sooner, as the rest had relieved the burden on the affected organ. A verdict of death by natural causes was returned.


Nottingham Evening Post Aug 24th 1903

Remarkable explosion at St Helens

A singular explosion took place on Saturday morning in the house 20 Lugsmore Lane, St Helens, occupied by John TAYLOR, a sawmill foreman.

Mrs TAYLOR had just made the fire and had put the kettle on. While she was changing the position of the kettle an explosion took place and Mrs TAYLOR was dashed to the other side of the room with great force while the kitchen was covered with fragments of burning coal, which set fire to some clothes.

The report of the explosion was heard several hundred yards away. Beyond severe shock Mrs TAYLOR sustained little injury, but the fireplace was practically wrecked and the kettle blown to pieces.

It is suggested as probable that the accident was caused by an unexploded shot used in the coal mine having been left in the coal.


Manchester Evening News, 1st September 1903


Last night, at St. Helens, an inquest was held concerning the death of Christopher Ripley, a glass worker, who was found dead in bed. Two years ago the man began to drink rather heavily. Seven weeks ago his mother died and he had been drinking heavily since, and his wife and family had to leave him. The jury returned a verdict that the deceased died from Heart failure, due to excessive drinking.


Manchester Courier, 18 September 1903



The jury think the husband displayed terrible callousness, was the opinion of a St. Helens jury at an inquest last night touching the death of Margaret Case wife of a bottle blower. The woman was addicted drink and at four o'clock on Tuesday afternoon she lay down on the sofa, at midnight her husband went to bed leaving her on the sofa. Next morning the womans father came down and found her on the floor. He called her husband who came down, looked at her, and went back to bed. He got up at noon and found his wife dead. Jury returned a verdict that death was due to apoplexy due to excessive drinking.


Manchester Courier, 26 September 1903

Sequel to an elopement

Manchester collier commits suicide

Last night at St. Helens an inquest was held on the body of George Ashton, a Manchester collier, aged 53, who committed suicide by throwing himself from a bedroom window of the Grange Park Hotel yesterday morning. The evidence showed that the deceased's wife had left him and eloped with another man, in consequence of which the deceased became very depressed. Yesterday morning he was heard to say, "I have got him, I will shoot him" He jumped from the bedroom window, fracturing his skull, death took place a few hours later. A verdict of "Suicide whilst of unsound mind" was returned.


Manchester Evening News, 24 November 1903


This rooming, at St. Helens, Mr. S. Brighouse held an inquest on the body of William Beesley of Higher Parr St, who was killed during shunting operations on the Ravenhead branch of the London and North Western Railway. An engine driver named Joseph Cross, in the employ of the United Alkali Company was taking ten waggons into a siding. Deceased was about to couple them to an engine when other waggons came along propelled by a London and North Western engine, in charge of Thomas Henry Williams who said that he did not know there was an engine at the end of the empty waggons. The result of the impact of the waggons was that the last empty waggon mounted the footplate of the works engine, pinning the deceased between the waggon and the engine, which another engine had to be obtained to separate. When he was extricated he was dead.

After hearing the evidence the jury returned a verdict of accidental death, but expressed the opinion that there ought to have been a better understanding between the two shunters in charge of operations as to what they were doing.


Manchester Evening News, 25 November 1903


The Coroner and Drivers Difficulties.

At St. Helens, this morning, Mr. S. Brighouse, county coroner, held an inquest on the body of Nathaniel Fairhurst, aged five, son of William Fairhurst, of Critchley St, who was killed by being run over by an electric tramcar on Monday afternoon. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death and attached no blame to the driver.

The Coroner said that recently he rode a considerable distance on one of the cars and was much struck with the difficulties the driver had to contend with and the stupidity of people walking along, who seemed to think there was no responsibility upon them to get out of the way. He was very much impressed with the care exercised by the driver.


Manchester Courier, 2 January 1904


Unfortunate verdict

An inquest was held on Tuesday at St. Helens concerning the death of Joseph Buckley aged 49, a waggon trimmer, who died from injuries received at Ashton Green Colliery. The jury found that the man had died from injuries, but they were not able to agree that the injuries had been received in the manner described by the evidence. It was not possible for a waggon to jump a 4 inch "scotch" The Coroner pointed out that the deceased had said before he died that he was jammed by the waggons, and that the "scotch" slipped. However, they had returned their verdict, and the police had better inquire into this and see if they could bring anybody up for murder or manslaughter

It was an unfortunate verdict to record. The fact was that the majority of the jury had been dominated by one who had a stronger back than the others. The Foreman thought that an unfair observation and a reflection on the jury. The Coroner said he said it advisedly


Manchester Courier, 9 January 1904


At inquest held at St. Helens on Thursday concerning the death Edward Ashton, colliery drawer, aged 17, who was killed by a fall of a roof at Lea Green Colliery, Edward Balmer, collier, under whom Ashton was employed, was censured, the Coroner telling him it was owing to his carelessness that this lad had been snatched from his family in the flower of his youth, and that the colliery company would only be doing their duty if they brought him before the magistrates for punishment for breaking the rules. Balmer left Ashton alone in a working place getting coal, in contravention of the rules.


Cheltenham Chronicle, 2 April 1904

Old man's singular death

The West Cheshire Coroner, on Wednesday, resumed the inquest at Whitby on David Wright, aged 83, retired grocer, who died of a wound in the throat. Deceased had been married twice and lived with his second wife a woman much younger than himself, and her son at Ellesmere Port. Three days before his death he made a new will in his wife's favour. He was found in a dying condition on March 21st, lying on a sofa, with a puncture in the throat and a penknife in his hand. His widow the same day took a cheque to the bank, but the manager would not cash it. He was doubtful of the signature. Mrs Wright said her husband was ill, and she had guided his hand in signing the cheque, but on being questioned by the manager she said her husband was dead, having stabbed himself in a fit of passion.

Questioned by the Deputy Chief Constable Mrs Wright said she could not now say if that was so. She thought at first the deceased had inflicted the injury accidentally while cutting tobacco.

The Deputy Chief Constable, "Did your husband say to you on the morning of his death "Oh you bad woman"?

Witness replied, that he did not, but he had complained she would not obey him.

Mrs Emily Bromley of Sutton. St. Helens, the deceased's granddaughter, said she last saw him in July, when he complained he was very unhappy at home, and said he thought of coming to live with her at St Helens. He added that his wife was always wanting him to leave all his money to her, and that if he acceded to his wife's wishes his life would not be worth anything. He also said that his wife's son had come home at the previous Christmas and was a very idle young fellow

The jury returned an open verdict


Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser 01 August 1904

Sad affair at St Helens

Girl accidentally kills her baby brother

A sad affair has been reported to the County Coroner at St Helens, by the St Helens police, Patrick SEPHTON, the 16 months old child of a collier named William SEPHTON, of 55 Victoria St, having been accidentally killed by his elder sister Margaret aged 14. It appears that on Thursday morning the child Patrick was at the corner of the street near his home when his two sisters, Eliza aged 16 and Margaret 14 quarrelled with another girl named Elizabeth DAVIES. The latter assaulted the two girls and Margaret ran into the house and brought out a poker, which she threw at the girl DAVIES. The child Patrick happened to be between them and the poker struck him on the head inflicting a scalp wound and concussion of the brain. Dr BELLEW was summoned but the injuries proved fatal on Saturday afternoon. The police have not deemed it necessary to make an arrest, but the matter will be fully inquired into.

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser 03 August 1904

The St Helens police reported yesterday the death of Sarah O’BRIEN aged 44, the wife of a collier, who died in the Providence Hospital as the result of jumping through a window on Saturday night.


Manchester Courier, 27 August 1904


The St. Helens police are investigating a case of supposed poisoning, about which at present they decline to give any information. It appears that a girl of 14 died on August 7th, and was subsequently buried, but from rumours that came to the notice of the police the body was exhumed and yesterday morning Mr Brighouse, County Coroner came to St Helens and was present in the public mortuary while several medical men made a post mortem examination of the body. It is probable an inquest will be opened this morning.

Foster parent of the exhumed girl tries to drown herself

Regarding the exhumation of the girl at St Helens an inquest was held on Monday. The Coroner said the girl was Sarah Ann Jones the adopted daughter of Joseph and Ellen Burndred of 38 South John St. She had been in the workhouse up to August 29th 1902, when she was entrusted to the care of the Burndred family. A few days later her life was insured for the sum of £20-12s. She died on the 7th August and in consequence of information received, he [the Coroner] ordered the body to be exhumed. This was done on Saturday night and Dr Unsworth made a post mortem examination on Sunday in the presence of the coroner, several doctors and the Chief Constable. The inscription on the coffin gave the deceased's age as 14, but the police had found it to be 13. Only formal evidence of identification was taken, portions of the body having been sent to the county analyst for analysis. The inquest was adjourned until September 13th.

At the St Helens Police Court, Ellen Burndred was brought up on a charge of attempting to commit suicide. A man named Wilson said he saw her on the edge of a pit in the outskirts of the town on Sunday morning. She threw something in the water and immediately afterwards he heard a boy shouting, he ran to the place and saw the woman in the water. He succeeded in pulling her out and when asked why she had done it, replied, "trouble"

Mr Riley who appeared for the defendant applied for bail, and said she had, had, a very great shock owing to the fact that the body of a child who had been living with her had been exhumed by the police. The Chief constable objected to bail and the magistrates remanded the prisoner in custody.


Manchester Courier, 21 January 1905


On Tuesday, at an inquest at St. Helens concerning the death of Lucy Smith, aged 58, who, it was alleged, had been pushed downstairs on Saturday night by a man named Terence Dolan, who lodged at the house 4, Higher Parr St, where she was housekeeper, the jury returned a verdict to the effect that the woman died as a result on injuries caused by Dolan, who was committed for trial on a charge of manslaughter.

Margaret Stafford in her evidence stated that on Saturday night she heard a disturbance at the house where the prisoner lodged. Prisoner was kicking at the back door, which was opened for him, and he went inside and commenced quarrelling. He went upstairs and when he got to the top of the stairs he called for a light. The deceased took up a candle and when she reached the top of the stairs the prisoner took the candle from her and then gave her a push which sent her to the bottom of the stairs, where she was picked up unconscious.

Dr O'Keefe said that the cause of death was fracture of the skull

Dolan suggested that William Hewitt with whom he lodged, and the deceased attacked him with a poker when he went upstairs. It was there that the woman fell downstairs. He had no ill-feeling against the deceased.

The Coroner that is all the more reason why you should not have pushed her downstairs.


Manchester Courier 14th Feb 1905

Yesterday James DARBYSHIRE, an old park workman drowned himself in Victoria Park St Helens.


21 February 1905


Yesterday another fatal accident occurred at Bold Colliery, near St. Helens, which last month was the scene of a cage disaster, in which five colliers were killed and several injured. James Flanagan and James Smart, haulage hands, were working at their usual places in No 3 pit, when without any warning an extensive fall of roof took place, completely burying the two men. Assistance was procured quickly, but there was no chance of saving the unfortunate men, they were dead when recovered.


Mar 9th 1905

St Helens shooting outrage

The St Helens police have issued a photograph and description of David EARP, described as being wanted on a charge of shooting with intent to murder a police constable in St Helens at 10.40am on the 27th ult. and with attempting to murder a police constable of the Lancashire Constabulary by shooting and stabbing him.

The description is as follows :- About 49 years of age, 5ft 4ins high, blue eyes, [blind in right eye] fresh complexion, light sandy hair and moustache, turning grey [may be clean shaven] medium build. Dressed in light coloured dust coat, cap and boots. May be wearing glasses.


Manchester Courier 2nd May 1905

Body found in park lake

Yesterday a startling discovery was made in Victoria Park, St Helens. A corporation workman was passing through the park when on a seat near the ornamental lake he found a hat cape and gloves belonging to a lady. Dragging operations of the lake resulted in the recovery of the body of Mrs Louisa GARNER, aged 38 of Dentons Green Lane, the wife of Thomas GARNER, cashier, and well known as the chairman of St Helens Rugby Club and Windle Bowling Club. Mrs GARNER left home early yesterday morning. There were no marks of violence on the body.


Bolton Evening news, June 24th, 1905

Gas explosion at St Helens

An alarming gas explosion took place on Friday at the residence of Mr Walter DROMGOOLE at Ashleigh, Denton’s Green, St Helens, A plumber had been called in to discover a leakage of gas and while examining the meter cupboard with a lighted candle there was a most violent explosion which virtually wrecked the whole house. The principal staircase was torn out of its place and smashed to pieces.

Owing to the fusing of electric wires an explosion also took place in the next house occupied by Mr MERCER. Extensive damage was done there. Mr DROMGOOLE and the plumber had a miraculous escape.


Manchester Courier, 21 September 1905


A gang of platelayers were working on the London and North Western Railway near Mill station, between Garswood and Carr Mill, St. Helens, yesterday afternoon, when the 1 25 express from Wigan knocked two of them down and cut them in pieces. The bodies of the men named Wakefield and Hibbert, were removed to Garswood pending an inquest.


Manchester Courier, 14 March 1906



Yesterday the extraordinary circumstances attending the death of a St. Helens boy named Joseph Johnson, aged eight, were related at the inquest. It appeared that on the 19th of January the lad had two teeth extracted on the Market Place in St Helens by a lightning tooth extractor. The next day the lad's mouth was very much swollen and medical men who were first consulted prescribed a mouth wash and then ordered his removal to St Helens Fever Hospital, while another tooth extractor who attended the lad extracted the stumps of two teeth which had been left.

The cause of death, said Dr Giles, was blood poisoning by absorption from the septic condition of the mouth. The first tooth extractor said he was always careful to thoroughly cleanse his instruments.

The jury agreed that death was due to blood poisoning, but did not attach any blame to anyone.


Manchester Courier, 4 May 1906

John Waring of Burscough captain of a boat on the Leeds Liverpool Canal has died in the East Lancashire Infirmary from injuries sustained through a bale of cotton falling on him at Rishton.


Manchester Courier, 17 July 1906

Yesterday, at St. Helens, the adjourned inquest was held on the body of a married woman named Ruth Dinah Gibson, who died in the Providence Hospital on 30th June. In connection with the death certain allegations were made against Mrs Ann Taylor, a midwife, of Park Rd, the inquest was adjourned in order that she might obtain legal aid.


Manchester Courier, 26 September 1906

At an inquest at St. Helens yesterday on Mary Kennedy, aged eight months. Dr Unsworth said the cause of death was heart failure due to acute inflammation of the valves of the heart. This disease was caused by some microbes flying about getting into the system and producing inflammation.


Manchester Courier, 3 October 1906

James Gallagher, aged 12, who died before could arrive, was stated, at an inquest at St. Helens yesterday, to have succumbed to exhaustion, consequent on cerebral degeneration and granular kidneys


Manchester Courier, 15 March 1907

Influenza Mania

Mr Brighouse, St. Helens Coroner, said at inquest: "I don't, know of anything in the world more liable to weaken a man's mind than Influenza It takes a very long time to get over it, and you never know what sufferers are thinking about, very little things disturb their minds"


Manchester Courier, 27 August 1907

Fatality at St Helens

At inquest at St. Helens yesterday on the body of Ellen Gertrude Lamb, aged eleven, of Laffak Rd, it was stated that the girl two and a half years ago underwent several operations for blood poisoning and since then had been very delicate. On the 6th of the month Dr Officer was called in and attended her up to Thursday. Dr Reid performed an operation but the child died immediately. The father said he felt the two doctors did the very best they could to save his daughter's life when it was just at the last point.

Dr Reid said the girl had a large abscess in her neck, which was pressing on her windpipe. The parents at last consented to an operation and after a few inhalations of chloroform the girl showed signs of collapse. After an effort to restore the child the abscess was cut in order to relieve the pressure, but the child died. If the operation had not been attempted the child would have died.

The jury returned a verdict of "death from misadventure."


Liverpool Echo, 10 February 1913


An inquest was held St. Helens this afternoon in regard to the death of Mrs. Mary Barton, the wife of a Sutton collier, who died yesterday from burns from A verdict of Accidental death was returned the coroner expressing sympathy with the husband in his trouble.


Liverpool Echo, 25 March 1913


At St. Helens to-day John Miles, collier, and Sarah Davis, of 13. Liverpool-street, were charged with cruelty to two children. Mr Garner prosecuted. said that the circumstances the case were very revolting. Miles was a married man with a wife and family living near Wrexham, but for nearly three years he had been living with Davis, who was a single woman with two children, of whom Miles admitted he was the father. He alleged in a room 8ft by 8ft and 7ft high people frequently lived and slept on a filthy bed and in a poisonous atmosphere. Davis said there were never more than 6 persons living in the room.

Acting Sergeant Adams and Constable Smith said the room was used as a boozing den.

Dr Doran said, a child of two and a half years old was a stone under weight, and like the 7 month old child had been badly neglected.

Miles denied he had lived with Davis for two weeks and called the woman's mother who accused Miles of leading her daughter astray. Both prisoners were sent to gaol for 6 months


Liverpool Echo, 19 April 1913


Wilfred Ashton , 15. of 52. Douglas St. St. Helens, who was employed in connection with the haulage in the Sherdley Colliery, was killed about noon to-day by an accident in the pit.

Liverpool Echo, 22 April 1913

ST. HELENS COLLIERY MYSTERY. Mr F. A. Jones. deputy-coroner, held the inquest St. Helens to-day, on Wilfred John Ashton, aged fourteen, of 5. Parr Mount St, who was picked dead in one of the levels of the Sherdley Colliery on Saturday morning. Mr. Murray Government inspector attended, together with Mr Peace of the Sutton Heath and Lea Green Colliery Company.

James Price, aged 16, of 26 St Thomas St, said that on Saturday morning he worked about 8 or 9yds from the deceased, who had to send empty boxes along the shunt by lashing them on a rope as it went along and he had to uncouple the full boxes as they came to him at a place that had been specially levelled so that they could easily unhook the full tubs. He heard a noise which he thought was coal falling off a box on to the rail. He went to the place and found the deceased lying on his back between the rails, the haulage rope passing harmlessly over the instep of one foot. He was bleeding freely from his mouth, nose and ears and was dead.

William Stout, of Russell St, motorman gave similar evidence.

Dr Unsworth said that death was due to fracture of the skull. I was impossible for a fall of any kind to have caused these injuries.

Mr Peace said the colliery company had no witnesses who could speak to any accident.

The Coroner said it was a mystery to how it happened, but the lad had clearly been killed by accident. Jury returned a verdict to that effect.


Evening Telegraph, 6 May 1913


At St Helens an Inquest was held on the body of Frederick Bardill aged 40, of North Road, who was found dead in the bathroom at his residence on Friday morning. The evidence showed that since the death his wife three months ago the deceased had been very much depressed, and last week he complained to a friend that he did not feel well and did not think he would live long. He was at business as usual on Thursday and in the evening went for a cycle ride. On Friday morning when he was called there was no response, and it was found he had fastened himself in the bathroom. The door was forced and he was found lying dead behind the door, while a bottle which had contained prussic acid was under the bath.

Dr Unsworth said death was due to poisoning from prussic acid. A juror said the deceased was heart broken about the death of his wife. The jury returned a verdict of suicide while of unsound mind and expressed their sympathy with the relatives.


15 January 1914


At St Helens an inquest was held on John W. Garner aged 20, of Horace St, who was killed in the Bold Pit by the firing of a shot. Evidence was given that Garner was working with another man and went to another part of the pit. He did not return, and his companion hearing the firing of a shot, became anxious and reported the matter.

Fireman Taylor said he fired a shot and afterwards found Garner's body under the debris. He thought no one was there or he would not have fired the shot. He admitted it was an error of judgement. The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death" due to the fireman's error of judgement.


Liverpool Echo, 12 February 1914

Sad case

A consumptive who slept out

A verdict of "Found drowned" was returned at St Helens today at the inquest held on John Cathcart, aged 28, of 121 Merton Bank Rd, whose body was found in the St Helens Canal by Walter Hope, waterman, at 1 o'clock on Tuesday morning last.

Deceased's mother said that her husband and deceased had been in a very bad state of health for some years. They had to give up their house twelve months ago. Deceased had often slept out since that. On Tuesday, February 3rd, deceased begged to stay at their lodgings, as he was very ill. On Wednesday, the 4th, his face began to swell and he said he felt as if his brain was on fire. Dr Johnson was called, and said the deceased was suffering from cellulitis of the lip and told him to poultice his face. He became worse and was delirious.

On Monday last he asked her to go and try and get him in the Workhouse hospital. The doctor gave a note for his admission, and next morning when she was going to the relieving office, he said, "No mother, they will never make me better. They can't cure me" He said his brains were on fire.

Next morning, however he appeared much better, though his face was so swollen he could only see out of the corner of one eye he left the house about 7.15am, saying he was going to see a friend. Later she heard he had been found in the canal. His brother William committed suicide by blowing out his brains, with a revolver 8 or 9 years ago on his return from South Africa.

The Coroner asked if the man had no panel doctor. Detective Bowden said that he had not been able to work for about a year, and had no stamps on his card.

The Coroner said it was a very sad case. The man suffered from consumption, and he had the idea that there was now a legislative remedy for all those cases. He understood the man's father was in feeble health, and altogether Mrs Cathcart had a very hard lot. He wanted to show some practical sympathy, and proposed to give her three pounds from the poor box, which he hoped would do the father and mother some good. The jury expressed their appreciation of the coroner's action. [see above Walter Hope, 1898 and 1902]


Liverpool Echo 1st May 1914


An inquest, held at St. Helens to-day touching the death of Joseph Mulligan, employed at the Southport Colliery of Messrs. R. Evans and Company, it was stated that the deceased complained of having sprained himself when lifting a seven foot prop. The medical evidence, however, showed that the man was in an advanced state of pneumonia. A verdict of "Death from natural causes" was returned.


Liverpool Echo, 8 September 1914


An inquest was held at St. Helens, to-day, Sarah Grimes, aged twelve, of Parr Moss Cottages, whose parents are custody charges of neglect. The Coroner said this girl was the youngest of nine children of Frank and Annie Grimes The father was a chaff cutter employed at Parr Moss and he was assisted in that work by his wife. The police stated that for several years both parents had been addicted to drink. Sarah, attended St. Anne's School, and on Thursday, August 27, went home very ill. On the Friday she was very much worse, and on the Saturday a Mrs. Macdonald, who lives next door, saw the girl and strongly advised the parents to summon doctor.

Grimes replied: "There need be no fuss about it. I have seen her as ill as this before."

Next day Mrs Macdonald heard a noise and on going next door found the child was delirious and had fallen out of bed. She was so anxious about her that she went to see her at 4.30 am on Monday and then insisted that a doctor be called.

Dr Bird who came during the forenoon had her immediately removed to the Providence Hospital, where she was found to be suffering from typhoid and pneumonia and was in a very dirty and verminous condition. The parents have been arrested and remanded to Walton Gaol. They were to be tried next Friday, and the inquest was adjourned until Friday next week, when the whole matter will be fully gone into.


Liverpool Echo, 14 January 1915


A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned at. St. Helens today at an inquest on Thomas Tinlin, colliery contractor. Deceased was employed in the Lee Green Colliery on Monday morning repairing a road, when a stone weighing 3cwt. fell on him. Death followed serious injuries.


Liverpool Echo, 7 July 1915


An inquest was held at St. Helens today on James William Johnson aged 42, of 99, Kirkland St, who died following injuries at Kurtz's chemical works. Thomas Dorning, fitter, said he was acting brakesman, and moved three waggons along the elevated railway to the stage for unloading. Johnson was assisting, and stood at the top of a flight of steps. He moved, however, and was caught between a waggon and the stage. The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."


An open verdict of "Found drowned" was returned at St Helens today respecting the death of Henry Williamson of Park Rd, St Helens, whose body was recovered from the canal on Thursday morning.


St Helens fatalities

Heroic death of a boy

Liverpool Echo, 2 August 1915

Thomas Boardman, aged fourteen, of 85 Parr Stocks Rd, St. Helens, lost his life on Saturday afternoon, in trying to rescue from the canal an eleven-year-old boy named Walter Johnson, of 167 Newton Rd, Parr. It appears that between three and four o'clock with two companions, named Wakefield and Yates. Boardman was by the side of the canal opposite the Southport Colliery when Johnson, who was fishing fell into the water. He screamed and Boardman, being a good swimmer threw off his jacket and plunged in. He was soon at the side of the drowning boy, whose struggles however proved fatal to both. Peter Makin and Arthur Hatton, two other companions went for help but before the boys could bring help both lads were drowned, their bodies being recovered some time later. John Smith, collier of 153 Derbyshire Hill Rd, rescued Boardman but it was too late for Boardman to be restored Inquest held 3rd August at Haydock.

About the same time the body of a man about fifty, was recovered from the water of the Paddock dam in the grounds of the Eccleston Hall Sanatorium, and how it got in the water is a mystery. The body was that of Richard Collins an old age pensioner of 141 Central St, at an inquest on 3rd August, it was stated he had become very depressed. On Friday he said he would go back to the Workhouse and declined to let his daughter accompany him. The next day some men who were fishing found his body in the water. Verdict of Found drowned, was returned.


James Goulding aged 22, of 16 Crook St, who was employed at the Bold Colliery, died late on Friday when being conveyed to the St Helens Hospital suffering from serious injuries sustained while at work in the pit.


A verdict of accidental death was returned in the case of John Travis, aged 6, of Juddfield Brow, Haydock, who fell into the canal while fishing and was drowned

Inquest 3rd August on Leslie Watkinson, aged one, son of William Watkinson, 168 Chamberlain St, St Helens who died from scalds. The mother said the child knocked over a basin of hat water in which potatoes had been boiled, the water scalded him on the face and chest and he died from the shock. A verdict of Accidental death was returned.


Liverpool Echo 17 August 1915


Moses Billinge 46, of 19, Watery Lane, has died at the St. Helens Hospital from injuries to the back, caused by accident on March 20 at the Bold Colliery.

James Kilgannon, aged four years, of 43, Liverpool-street, died in the same institution from injuries to the brain caused on May 10 last, by falling on a nail which penetrated his skull.


Liverpool Echo, 3rd September 1915


A verdict "Accidental death" was returned at a St. Helens inquest, to-day, on John George Pincheon, aged sixteen, of 165, Duke St, painters apprentice who fell off the roof of a house in Lingholme Rd, and died from his injuries.


Liverpool Echo, 21 September 1915

Found in the brook

Inquest on Liverpool woman at St Helens

At St Helens today, Mr S. Brighouse held an inquest on Margaret Williams aged 42, wife of Robert Williams, a bricklayers labourer of Stafford St, Islington, Liverpool. The body of the woman was found in the Sankey Brook on Sunday.

Williams said his wife was a woman of very drunken habits, and she had often been in the hands of the police. In February 1912, he left her and had paid her 8s a week since.

Mrs Watkin, of Boardmans Lane, Parr, said the woman was sitting for some hours on a large stone at the rear of her house on Saturday, crying. Witness gave her some tea. Williams said she had walked from Liverpool.

Next morning she was found lying dead, face downwards, in the middle of the brook. A verdict of Found drowned, was found by the jury.


Liverpool Echo, 28 September 1915


A verdict of " Accidental death" was returned at St. Helens at an inquest on John Wood, carter, aged 69, of 16, Tontine St, St. Helens, who died from injuries received in consequence of being thrown from his lorry, with which a tramcar collided. The tram driver was exonerated from blame.


A verdict of "Found drowned" was returned at an inquest on Jane Bold, a married woman of Fleet Lane, St Helens, whose body was recovered from the canal on Sunday morning. It was stated that the woman suffered from fits, she went out on Saturday afternoon and was not seen again until her body was found in the canal near Haydock.


Liverpool Echo, 11 December 1915


A verdict of " Accidental death" was returned at St. Helens, today, at an inquest on Thomas Derbyshire aged 41, of 5, Lascelles St, who was killed on Thursday in the Ravenhead pit of the St. Helens Colliery by a fall of roof."


Liverpool Echo, 17 December 1915


A verdict of "Death from natural causes" was returned at a St. Helens inquest on John James Clemson aged 9, of 113 Exeter St, who fell on his head on Sunday last. Dr. Dow said death was due to pneumonia, not injury.


A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned at an inquest at Whiston Workhouse today, on Thomas Guigley, aged 2, of 4 Bretherton Rd, Prescot, who died from scalds caused by falling into a bath of boiling water.


Liverpool Echo, 22 December 1915


A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned at a St. Helens inquest, today, Stephen Hughes aged 57, of 298, Watery Lane, who was killed in Ashtons Green Colliery. The fireman said he sent Hughes with a message along the main haulage road. As he did not return he went after him, and found a large fall of roof had occurred, Hughes being eventually dug out dead. Mr Saddler, Government inspector, said this was a good rock roof, well timbered, and it was most extraordinary that a fall of this kind should have happened.


At an inquest held on James Scott, aged 24, Williamson St, who died at St Helens Hospital, from injuries received on December 15th in the Bastion mine of the St Helens Collieries, evidence was given that Scott and another man were waiting at the bottom of a brow to take the empty boxes off the rope, when one came loose and, dashing down the brow, caught Scott. Mr Siddall, Government inspector, said that from what he saw of the road everything was in good order except that the ends of the rails on which the boxes ran were some distance apart owing to the constant disturbance of the road and in his opinion it was at this point that the box had left the rails. A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned


Liverpool Echo 28 January 1916


A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned at a St. Helens inquest to-day on Mary Duggan, two years of age, daughter of a chemical labourer, living in Grange St. The child died on Tuesday, having been burnt on November 16th. The Coroner remarked that in this case, as in many others, the fireguard provided was not large enough. They were simply like bird cages put by the fire and did not adequately protect the children


Liverpool Echo, 28th January 1916


A verdict of "Unsound mind" was returned at St. Helens, at an inquest on Thomas Price aged 49, of 5, Crowther St, who was found hanging from clothes line in his kitchen. The widow said she could not account for the trouble: but Mr Alban, road foreman, of the Corporation, said Price, who was one of their best men for the last 30 years, recently complained of trouble.


Liverpool Echo, 14 February 1916


An inquest was held at St. Helens, to day, on Peter Balmer, of 24, Emily Street, who was injured in the "deep pit'' of the St. Helens collieries last September. Dr. Lathom and Dr. Unsworth gave evidence that though Balmer had his thigh broken by the accident at the colliery, he was at that time suffering so severely from something else that it was impossible to say the accident had hastened death. A verdict of "Death from natural causes" was returned.


Liverpool Echo, 10 March 1916


A verdict of " Accidental death" was returned St. Helens inquest, to-day, on Thomas Worthington aged 3, the son of a colliery surface worker. Mrs. Worthington said she left three children in the house, in charge a boy of six. Thomas sat the fender, and reaching over to the fire with some paper, set his clothing on fire, this happened on Wednesday and he died yesterday. She had to go out washing to supplement the wages of her husband who was not in good health. They had a fireguard, but not a large one.

The Coroner said he would give the police money to buy a really good fireguard, and also grant Mrs Worthington one pound from the poor box.


Liverpool Echo, 18 March 1916


Carl Johnson, aged forty-five, of 28, Fleet Lane, was killed at the Sutton Heath Colliery. St. Helens, this morning. He was caught lay a fall of roof, and died shortly after he had been dug out and removed to the surface.

Norman Jones, 14 of 114 Gartons Lane was admitted to S Helens hospital, having had his leg broken as a result of an accident at the Sutton Manor Colliery.


Evening Telegraph, 24 August 1916


Determined case of suicide

A sad story of a man who could only find relief from his agony in death was told at a St Helens inquest on the body of John George Muxlow aged 30, bricksetter, of Milk Street, who was found dead in chair with a gas tube in his mouth. The following letter was found on a table:-

Dear Sister, l want you to try and forget what I have done, I have also asked God to forgive me, which I know he will, good night and God bless you. Your broken hearted brother. I cannot stand this pain any longer, my head is on fire, this is the sixteenth night I have not had one hours sleep. My head has gone altogether, I have tried to bear it but I cannot.

It was stated that the man had suffered great pain and had not slept for five weeks. The gas tube was tied round his neck to prevent it slipping out. "Suicide whilst temporarily insane" was the verdict of the jury.


Liverpool Echo, 28 December 1916


Question of experience at St Helens inquest.

At St Helens, today Mr Brighouse inquired into the death of James Devine, aged 21, a colliery contractor's man, of 15, Glover St, who was injured in the deep pit of the, St. Helens Collieries on Saturday last, and died on Tuesday. Patrick Brady of Gilbert St said that on Saturday morning he and Devine were removing part of a side of a roadway and increasing its height. At 8.50am when he left Devine he heard a fall, and on returning found him pinned down by some stones. The Coroner said that the witness might have been away an hour and all that time Devine who had worked in the mine only 8 months would be doing work which was dangerous to the most skilled workman.

Witness "A man can be just as good in 9 months as in 8 years if he has it in him."

The Coroner, "That does not apply to the law."

Samuel Roper, fireman, agreed with the coroner that a man of 9 months was not very experienced.

A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned. Mr E. Peace expressed the sympathy of the firm with the mother.


Liverpool Echo 30 May 1917


SWIFT, May 24, Ellaby Rd. Rainhill, in his 51st year, William, eldest son of John Swift, Rainhill

SWIFT, May 28, Ellaby Rd, Rainhill, Elizabeth Helen, sister of above. Interment Rainhill Parish Church, to-morrow


Liverpool Echo,17 July 1917


Drowned while bathing in the canal

The sad story of a pensioned soldier's death was told at a St. Helens inquest today on George Jackson, aged 24, the eldest son of Mrs. Jackson, of 13, Blackbrook Rd. He was a miner, but enlisted on November 10, 1914, in the Royal London Fusiliers. He was discharged in consequence of wounds in October 1916. The wounds that he had received to his head while in action had caused partial paralysis down the left side, but he was able to walk with the help of a stick.

About midday on Saturday he went to the canal at Blackbrook with Edward Forster of 113 Park Rd, St Helens. Deceased took a towel and said he would have a bath at the side where the water was shallow. Forster dived in and swam about 200 yards down the canal, when the cry went up that Jackson was drowning. Forster scrambled out and ran along to the place where he could see the deceased's hand he dived in and took hold of Jackson's hand, but could not move him.

Later Jackson's head appeared above the water, and Forster tried to catch him by the hair, but failed to save him. Sergeant Lomas later recovered the body.

Verdict of "Death from misadventure" returned.


Liverpool Echo, 25 August 1917


A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned at St. Helens inquest today, in the case of Patrick Ruddy, of 330, Fleet-lane, who was killed at Ashton's Green Colliery, by large stone falling on him. A shot had been fired, and in clearing the place up afterwards a stone which had not been noticed, fell on him killing him instantly. A man named Mahon who was working with Ruddy, said he had just stepped a couple of yards from the spot immediately before the fall, or he would have been killed.


Liverpool Echo, 6 October 1917


At a St. Helens inquest, to-day, on John Fletcher (40), of 24, Pocketnook Street, who was killed a fall from a roof at the Ashton Green Colliery, early Thursday morning, it was stated that the deceased and other men were clearing up a large fall of roof which obstructed one of the roadways. All precautions were taken, but it was impossible to foresee that the stone would come down. A verdict of "Death from misadventure" was returned.


Liverpool Echo, 3 January 1918

Died from kick by bullock

A verdict of "Death by misadventure" was returned at a St. Helens inquest on Herbert Coughtrey, aged 58, a butcher, who died from, injuries set up by being kicked the stomach by a bullock.


Liverpool Echo, 19 February 1918


A verdict of "Death from misadventure" was returned at a St. Helens inquest on Roland Orford Glover aged 40, of 38, Croppershill, St. Helens, who was employed as a beltman and oiler at a factory at Sutton Oak, and who was killed by being whirled round a shaft.


Liverpool Echo,

25 March 1918


At St. Helens, on Saturday afternoon, Mr. Brighouse held the inquest on Miss Blanche M. Williams, of 8, Belvoir Rd, Widnes, who was found drowned in the canal at St. Helens on Thursday morning. Evidence showed that the lady, who was 31, had fears as to her condition, and suspected a certain man, for whom she left a note which read :-

If I should not return try and think it is all for the best, Your broken, hearted Blanche.

The Coroner said that was not a court of morals and her condition was not proved. A verdict of "Found drowned" was returned.


Liverpool Echo, 29 May 1918


A verdict of "Death from misadventure" was returned at a St. Helens inquest to-day on John Macdonald aged 35, of 24, Gertrude St, Thatto Heath, who died in St. Helens Hospital on Sunday from injuries to the spine received in the Queen Pit of the Lea Green Colliery on Wednesday, May 22nd. Macdonald was riding on a special tramcar which had been put into the pit to convey the men from their work to the pitshaft. After travelling about 800 yds, the trams got off the metals and he was run over and severely injured. The explanation given was that although the trams had been on a trial run immediately before the men were allowed to get in them, some coal or dirt had fallen from the side of the road and caused the trams to leave the metals.


Liverpool Echo, 31 December 1918

A verdict of "Death from misadventure" was returned at St. Helens at the inquest Ethel Garner, aged three years, of 81, Clockface Rd, who died on Saturday from scalds received at home the previous day, when she fell backwards into a pot of boiling water that her mother had carried out into the yard. She was the youngest of two children and had only just recovered from an attack of pneumonia.


Yorkshire Post May 2nd 1939

Man killed in explosion

Accident at St Helens

Robert Colvin ROSS, a 23 year old chemist was killed last night in an explosion in a research department of Messers Pilkington Brothers St Helens factory.

ROSS was enveloped in flames and sustained severe burns from which he died almost immediately,

He was a native of Dumfries and a BSc of Edinburgh university. He had been living in Keswick Rd, St Helens for the past two and a half years. Police are investigating the explosion


Manchester Evening News Aug 31st 1939

Girl accused after explosion

Jean DOBSON, aged 19, appeared at Prescot today charged that at Rainhill on August 30th, she had in her possession certain explosive substances in circumstances that gave rise to reasonable suspicion that it was in her possession for an unlawful purpose. Supt McCRONE said DOBSON was seen on Wigan Railway Station at 1am by police. As the result of a conversation inquiries were put through to Rainhill police who visited a house in Horwood Ave, Rainhill.

At 3am this morning the police were called to a serious explosion in a house in Horwood Ave, and a quantity of explosives and ammunition was discovered,

DOBSON was arrested by Sergeant WRIGHT of Wigan and brought to Prescot, where, when she was cautioned and charged she replied, “That is right.” She was remanded in custody.


Mar 21st 1944

Dead woman found in N.F.S garden

The body of Miss Gladys APPLETON, aged 28, usherette and shop assistant of Bishop Rd, St Helens was discovered early yesterday by a postwoman, Mrs BAINES, in the garden of the N.F.S, station in Cowley Hill Lane, 200 yards from her home. The woman had apparently been strangled. The police questioned a number of people yesterday.

St Helens deaths 1881

The death of Joseph GREENHOUGH in Kirkdale Gaol 1877

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