Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Trove Tuesday - Suicide at Parkesbourne

I have previously written about John Weatherstone, and his death from taking arsenic at the age of 77, but the new Goulburn papers going up on Trove have given more detail from the inquest into his death.


This scan is quite hard to read, so I have put the text of the article below.

1883 'SUICIDE AT PARKESBOURNE.', Southern Argus (Goulburn, NSW : 1881 - 1885), 23 August, p. 2, viewed 23 April, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article101911011



Text of article:



There was an inquest at Parkesbourne on Monday held by Mr. Betts, coroner, when the following evi- dence was gone into as to the cause of death of John Weatherstone:—

Catherine Weatherstone deposed : The deceased was my husband ; on Saturday last deceased said to me that he was going to Queanbeyan - that he had come to see me for the last time, as he had made up his mind to put an end to himself ; he said he had some poison in his pocket ; he asked me to give him a tea-cup with a drop of water, but I said I would do no such thing ; subsequently he went away and said good-bye ; in about an hour I went to where he was in the bush ; he said "give me a drink of water,   I have taken poison and my stomach is burning out of me ;" he seemed to be in great pain ; I got him home, and he went into the stable and asked me to let him lie down on the straw there ; we tried to get him to take some emetics, but he would not ; he continued vomiting until about 9 o'clock, when he died ; he frequently threatened to take poison before ; he used drink heavily at times, and was of a very desponding disposition ; he told me he got the poison at Vincent's, in Goulburn, and that he had told Vin- cent it was to poison mice and rats ; I could see on Saturday morning that deceased had been drinking ; my son was away, and there was no one to send for a doctor after we found that deceased had poisoned himself. Last Saturday deceased went to the house of Mr. James Bugg ; he got a cup from Charles Bugg with water in it, and having placed some white powder in it, drank the dose off ; deceased stated that he had poison in the cup.

Jane Weatherstone deposed : I am the wife of William Weatherstone of Parkesbourne, farmer ; the body just viewed by the coroner and jury is that   of John Weatherstone my husband's father ; he was 77 years of age, and has left a widow and five children ; deceased had been living in Goulburn for the last six or seven weeks with his daughter Mrs. Gowan ; he came out here about 9 o'clock last Saturday morning ; he asked for his wife and he saw her, and talked with her for some time ; after this, about 11 o'clock, he came in and got a cup, and com-   menced putting something in the cup out of a little paper ; I saw it was a white paper ; I took the cup from him and threw the contents in the fire ; de- ceased then crumbled the paper up in his hands and   went out with it ; he went away from the place altogether, and in about an hour Mrs. Warne's boy came for me ; I went away past Mr. Bugg's and I there found deceased sitting on a log ; he had the same paper in his hand ; I asked him to give the paper up, but he would not ; I saw some of the dry powder on deceased lips ; deceased would not come to my house ; at about three o'clock he sent for his wife, and she came and got him to come home ; when they reached the place he went into the stable; he complained of a pain in his chest and was vomiting frequently ; the vomiting was of a green appearance ; his wife stayed with him, and took him some tea, but at about 9 o'clock p.m. he died ; I saw nothing strange about his appearance or his manner when he came to my place ; I saw no signs of his having been drinking ; deceased and his wife were not on good terms, and had not been living together for some time.

Dr. Gentle made a post mortem examination of deceased's body ; from the appearance of the stomach and the evidence of different witnesses, the doctor was of opinion that death was caused by an overdose of arsenic.

The finding of the jury was that deceased died from the effects of a dose of arsenic intentionally administered by his own hand.