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A CHESTER WOMAN'S MYSTERIOUS…

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A CHESTER WOMAN'S MYSTERIOUS END. ♦ FOUND DEAD IN STOCK'S LANE. The police have received information of the mysterious death of Maria. Culm, a well-known Chester woman, living at 19, Parry's Entry. It appears that on Friday deceased left her house at eleven o'clock in the morning. She was seen again in the evening at the Foresters' Arms, Boughton, where she had a glass of whisky, and subsequently she was noticed going in the direction of Stock's-lane, in company with a man. She was found there dead by a man named John Parkinson. Deceased was a widow, aged 59. THE INQUEST. Mr. Ernest Brassey, the city coroner, opened an inquest on the body at the Town Hall on Saturday evening. The first witness was Herbert Culm, son of the deceased, who said he was a sign-writer, living in Hoole-lane. The deceased, who had lodged at 19, Parry's-entry for over twelve months, was the widow of the fate Thomas Culm, sign writer, and had been a dressmaker casually for years. Witness last saw her alive about eight o'clock on Thursday morn- ing. when she was in good health, as far as aDDearances went. The CORONER: I don't want to ask you any questions that are not absolutely necessary, but was your mother a sober woman latterly ?— Witness: Well, I have never seen her actually in drink. She was a teetotaller for years ?- Yes, some years ago, prior to the death of my father. How long have you lived away from her ?— For eight years. When did the last of the family cease to live with her ?-That I could not say—probably three years ago. Did you latterly see enough of your mother to know exactly how she was living ?-No, I have not. Was she receiving support from any of the family ?-Yes, I allowed her a trifle every week. Do you know of any reason why she should be in the direction of Stock's-lane ?-Not the slightest. Did you ever hear of any man keeping com- pany with her, or anything of that kind ?-No, never. She has never spoken to you about anybody threatening her ?-No; in fact, I did not hear of her death until 8.30 this morning. Do you happen to know whether your mother was in any regular employment of any kind at her death, or how she was earning the rest of the money to keep her ?-No, sir, I don't. You don't know, say, for the last fortnight or three weeks, whether she was doing anything or not ?-No. Was it the drink question which caused the family to separate ?-Yes, I think it was. I would like to say that my sister bad an appoint- ment with my mother at nine o'clock last night at the end of City-road, and that was to consider my mother's future. My sister was there, and waited an hour. Dr. Giffen stated that on the previous evening about eight o'clock a boy came and asked him to go and see a woman who he said ° HAD BEEN BUN OVER in Stock's-lane. He found her more than half- way down the lane, lying in the roadway, with her head towards the hedge, and her feet towards the centre of the road. She was on her back, her arms were at her sides, and one leg was bent. # L- The CORONER iii(i sne appear TO nave oeeu straightened out ?—Witness She was perfectly j straight when I saw her. Not in an attitude you would expect to find directly after a fall or a blow ?—No. Continuing, Dr. Giffen said he did not see the deceased's spectacles which he understood she habitually wore, nor her bonnet. The night was a dark one, but with the aid of a candle he made a ] cursory examination of the body, and having satisfied himself the woman was dead, ordered her removal to the mortuary. The body was quite warm, and the deceased must have died within an hour of his seeing 1 her. On again examining the body at the mortuary that afternoon, he found there was a slight abrasion on each elbow and on the lower lip. On the right side of the head, about two and a half or three inches above the ear was a wound about an inch and a half long, penetrating to the bone. It was impossible to say whether this wound was fatal without a post-rnoytein examination. A Juror Can you give us any idea how this large wound was caused?—Witness: Not the slightest. The CORONER J I shall postpone any question on that point until we see the nature of it. It may have been possibly caused by the step of a trap. A Juror Did there appear to have been any signs of a struggle ? Witness: Not that I saw it was quite dark at the time. George Emerson, landlord of the Foresters' Arms, Christleton-road, deposed that he had known the deceased all his lifetime. She came to his house about seven o'clock the previous night perfectly sober, and in her usual health. She bad a glass of whisky, and stayed about ten minutes. She complained that some one on Dee Banks owed her money for work she had done, and he understood from what she said that she was then going to Dee Banks to try and obtain it. Witness had never seen her in the company of a man in his life. A youth named John Parkinson, living at 17, Cross-street, was passing along Stock's Lane the previous night, when he met two girls named Thompson and Owens, residing on Dee Banks, who seemed rather frightened, and exclaimed, lij is a woman." Mr. Ellis, another witness, then came up and struck a match, when they identitied the deceased, who was lying in the position described by Dr. Giffen. The blood was oozing from her mouth, and he KNEW SHM WAS ALIVE from her breathing and the rattling in her throat. She died in witness' presence about twenty minutes afterwards. He could form no opinion as to whether the deceased was walking to or from Chester when she was struck. As witness was coming from Dee Banks he met Mr. Totty's fish-cart going very fast from Christleton-road towards the White House. There were no lights to the cart, but with the aid of a gas lamp witness recognised Mr. Totty himself as one of the two occupants. A cab also passed the spot while witness was there with the deceased. Her bonnet was found close to her, and looked as if it had been crushed. o Did there seem to you any sign of a struggle? —None whatever, but there were too many round for me to observe it. Sarah Evans, living at 21, North-street, also arrived at the spot directly after the deceased was discovered. She was alive, and when some- one struck a light and witness exclaimed It's Mrs. Culm," the deceased groaned. John Ellis, of Boughton Heath, was walking home down Stock's-lane behind the two girls mentioned by the witness Parkinson, when he heard moaning from the opposite side of the road, and found the deceased as stated. Previously, when turning the corner, he had observed a pony cart driving up Stock's-lane at a great speed, and without lights. He did not recognise the occupants. WHO WAS HER COMPANION ? Maria Reid, a married woman, residing at Mount Pleasant, Christleton-road, stated that on the previous evening she saw the deceased passing her house from the direction of Chester with gentleman. The CORONER Do you know him ?—Witness: No, sir, I do not. Have you seen him before?-No. Can you describe him ?—He was an elderly gentleman. I should think over 60. What class of life did he belong to ?-Well, ha looked very respectable. He had a frock coat on as far as I could see. Did you see anything more of him ? I only heard her laughing, and she pulled his coat. I wondered what he was doing with her. I thought he was a very respectable-looking gentleman to be walking down there. By a J uror I did not notice if the gentleman carried a walking stick. I should say, by the way the deceased was laughing, that she bad had a little drink. At this stage the inquiry was adjourned until to-day (Wednesday), for a post-mortem examination, and to enable the police to make further investigations. It has subsequently tran- spired that the deceased's spectacles were found in her pocket.

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