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I SINGULAR BRECON FATALITY…

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SINGULAR BRECON FATALITY j | Baby Accidentally Strangled j by a Strap. A very singular fatality at Brecon, z, y marked by distressing circumstances, was the subject of an inquiry by Dr. W. R. Jones (district coroner), and a jury with Mr W. Morgan as foreman, at the Grey- hound Coffee Tavern, Llanfaes, on Friday evening last. The inquest was on the body of Elvie Phyllis Thomas, aged 17 months, daughter of Mr Thomas D. Thomas, blacksmith, of Whitchurch, near Blandford, Dorset. Mrs Annie Thomas, the mother, stated that she and her husband and baby had been staying with Mrs Xorbury at 12, Orchard street. They came to Brecon a fortnight ago for a holiday, because it was her husband's native place. The baby, their only child, had been able to walk about six weeks. On Wednesday evening, at 7-15, witness put the deceased to bed and stayed with her till she was fast asleep, going downstairs at about 8-15. Deceased was lying on her back, and witness had used two portmanteau straps to prevent her falling out of bed. She never did such a thing before she came to Brecon, but the previous week deceased fell out of bed and she was frightened lest this should happen again. She put one of the straps round deceased's body under the arms, leaving plenty of room for movement, and passed the other strap under it at the back and fastened that to the head of the bed. After going downstairs she listened several times, but heard nothing. The Coroner: This is a very unusual thing I never heard of its being done before. Witness We slep at the very .top of the house and she had fallen out of bed the week before and I found her lying behind the door, and it worried me. Continuing, Mrs Thomas said that Mrs Xorbury went to see deceased when she put her own little girl to bed about 9 o'clock, and would state how she found her. They did not think then that the baby was dead, and they got brandy, put her in a hot water bath, and sent for a .doctor at once. They fancied she opened her eyes once. Deceased was not in- sured. The strap round the body was quite loose. The Coroner I am obliged to ask you, there was no drink in the question ? Witness: No, we are all staunch teetotallers. Dr. Rees's evidence was next taken, his services being required elsewhere. He stated that he was called to see deceased, and was on his way at 9-45. He found her in the kitchen dead. He tried artificial respiration and different things, but it was utterly hopeless. He saw the mark of a strap running from behind the ear across the larynx, with a well-marked indentation. He went up- stairs and saw the straps. Undoubtedly the child struggled, and the strap around the body slipped up the waist the child was hanging over the side of the bed and the strap caught it by the neck, and it was strangled. Both father and mother were terribly distressed. The Coroner You never heard of a child dying like this before ? Dr. Rees No, I cannot say I have but I have often seen children strapped down in perambulators. You don't think there is any blame ? -No, it was done with every good in- tention because the child had been in the habit of get tiny out of bed. Mrs Emily Xorbury, wife of Mr Harold Xorbury (who is in the Army), of 38, Church street, stated that for the last fortnight she had been keeping house at 12, Orchard street for relatives who were away. She went to look at deceased soon after 9 o'clock on Wednesday night and found her with her face over the side of the bed and the strap under her chin. She unfastened the strap and took the deceased downstairs. She worked her arms and legs, called in a. neighbour, and got a hot bath, afterwards putting the deceased in a blanket. Dr. Rees was also sent for. The Coroner You did the right thing. It is a very distressing occurrence alto- gether. It is very usual, as Dr. Rees has told us, for a child to be strapped in a perambulator and the same thing might. happen there. It could scarcely be ex- pected that the mother or anyone else could calcnlate that the child would get into such a position that the strap would slip up and strangle it. itness Deceased was all right the other two nights it was put on. The Coroner I don't like the idea of strapping and this is a very serious warn- ing against it but we cannot expect that the mother would foresee anything of the sort. If she had put the strap tighter round the waist it would not have gone up, particularly being under the arms. Summing up to the jury, the Coroner repeated that this was a very distressing occurrence, but no one could be blamed. It was very hard for the parents, to lose their only child when it was at an inter- esting stage, just beginning to walk. The jury found that death was due to accidental strangulation, and the Fore- man expressed their sympathy with the parents, remarking that Mr Thomas belonged to a family well known in the neighbourhood. The strapping was un- usual, but it was done in the infant's interest, to keep it in bed, and they found no fault with anyone.

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