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Mysterious Death of Mr. Stanbury…

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Mysterious Death of Mr. Stanbury Edwards. FOUND DEAD IN AN ENGLISH WOOD. On Tuesday night, September 25th, the body of a man since discovered to be Mr J. Stanbury Edwards, aged 25, chemist's assistant, of Penmaenmawr. was found in Ecclesall Wood, near Sheffield. The deceased, whose father (Mr John Edwards) until recently was in business as a chemist, at High Street, Conway, was formerly employed as an assistant by Mr H. England, chemist, of Bridgehouse, Sheffield. He lett there four months ago to fill a season's engagement at Harrogate. The engagement ended about a fortnight ago, and the deceased then called upon Mr England, and told him that he was going home to North Wales, to spend a short holiday. On September 24th, an old woman and an underkeeper saw the deceased on the ground in Ecclesall Wood, but, thinking that he was asleep, they did not disturb him, and the following night he was found dead, face downwards, on the ground. THE INQUEST. On Friday, September 28th, at the Mortuaiy, Plum-lane, Sheffield, Mr D. Wightman (City Coroner) held an inquest on the body of John Stanbury Edwards, chemist's assistant, of Pen- maenmawr, North Wales. Mr Arthur Hallam, police surgeon, said that he had made a post-mortem examination of the body. He found no outward marks of violence, but internally there were signs of death from suffocation. The lungs, the brain, and the right side of the heart were all congested, and the actual cause of death was suffocation. The witness thought that the deceased might have fallen while in drink, and whilst lying on the ground would probably turn over on his face. His nose had apparently been forced into the ground. His face was covered with marks, but they were all post-mortem, and some of them had, no doubt, been caused by the bites of vermin. Proceeding, the witness said that he had found very little fluid in the deceased's stomach, and there were no signs of drink. The witness could find no signs of narcotic poison, but the deceased must have been overcome by something to cause him to tall in such a position, and there was no organic disease. The witness had heard that the deceased was given to drinking, and this must have been the cause of his falling. The suffocation had been very rapid. There was no food in the stomach, and the deceased had evidently had none during the day prior to his death. There was nothing suspicions about the death ot the deceased. The Coroner (to the father) You will be glad to hear that, because his face looked as if he had been maltreated. Mr Hallam added that the deceased might have fallen in an epileptic fit, and thus have been suffocated. It was possible. Mr John Edwards, chemist, of Penmaenmawr, identified the body as that of his son. The deceased was 25 years of age, and was a chemist's assistant, and he had been in the employ of Mr H. England, of Bridgehouses. He was there about six months, and left six months ago to take a situation at Harrogate, it was 12 months ago since the witness saw the deceased alive. Tne deceased was fairly healthy, but not very strong. He was rather addicted to excessive drinking. The witness, who had no suspicion of any foul play, knew that the deceased had left his situation at Harrogate, but did not know why he came to Sheffield. John Wainwright, Little Common, Ecclesall, labourer, said that at half-past two o'clock on the Monday afternoon he saw the deceased lying among the bracken in Ecclesall Wood, about 100 yards from the public footpath and near the Rising Sun. The deceased was lying on his right side, with his face downwards, as if asleep, and the witness passed by and took no more notice. On the Tuesday nignt he was told that there was a man in the wood, and in company with Mr Carr and Police Constable Smith, he went to the spot where he had seen the man on the previous day and found the body still lying there, dead. The deceased was in the same position as the previous day. There were no such signs of a struggle among the bracken as would be produced by a fight. After the witness first saw the deceased, on the Monday afternoon, the witness met an old woman who was in the habit of gathering lerns in the wood, and told her that there was a man asleep in the bracken. She said she hoped he would not wakken whilst she was there. William Walton said that, on the Monday morning, at ten minutes past eleven, he was going through Ecclesall Wood. He saw the deceased there, and thought that he was looking for blackberries. The witness did not speak to nim, and on looking round saw him going in the direction of the place where he was found. The witness did not think that the deceased was then the worse for drink. The Coroner then summed up, remarking that there was no suspicion of foul play, and that the only thing which was not satisfactory to him was how the suffocation had been caused. It might have come on naturally. There was no evidence of drunkenness having contributed to the death, and he did not accept that idea; indeed it seemed to him that the congestion of one of the organs mentioned, much more of the whole of them, might cause the deceased to fall and die of suffocation. The jury expressed a wish to hear the evidence of Mr England, for whom the deceased had worked, and on whom he had called a few days previous to his death. Mr England said that it was on Thursday, September 20th, that the deceased called on him, and asked whether he knew of any situation in the town, and whether he would give him a reference. About five o'clock in the evening the deceased left to go to the station to go home for a week or two, and the witness did not see him again. The deceased had been paid off at Harrogate that morning. The witness thought that the deceased, when he left for the station, had plenty of money, as, when he paid for some stuff for an old woman (a former customer), he showed a handful of money. The woman for whom he paid the money was the same that gathered ferns in the wood, and who saw him on the Monday. Replying to the jury, Mr England said that outside business hours the deceased's habits were rather unsteady, and he was not perfectly sober when he called on him. The Coroner expresed some surprise that the deceased should have gone so far away from the station as Ecclesall Wood. Mr England said that while in Sheffield, on Sundays and holidays, the deceased was in the habit of taking rambles all round the neigh- bourhood. Charles Henry Ball, the manager of a cafe at the Moorhead, was also called, and he said that he knew the deceased while he was living in Sheffield. The deceased was in the habit of taking long walks on Sundays, and of calling to take tea with him afterwards. He went to the witness's cafe on Thursday, September 20th, and took a bed. He said that he had seen Mr England, and was going to see him again. He had neither supper nor breakfast, and was a little the worse for drink on the Thursday night. He left early on the Friday morning. The Coroner said that if he had had any suspicion of foul play he should have ordered an adjournment, but he could not see what good it would do. Ultimately, the jury returned the following verdict:—"The deceased was found dead in Ecclesall Wood, having died from suffocation, but as to how the suffocation was caused there is not sufficient evidence before the jury to show."

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