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SINGULAR DEATH (FROM THE OVENS AND MURRAY ADVERTISER DEC 16)
An inquest was held at Mr O'Brien's Newmarket Hotel, Greta, on Saturday last,
before Mr Holmes, PM, on the body of a young man of the name of Alfred Sedgley,
a native of South Australia. After the jury had been sworn, and a post-mortem
examination ordered, the following evidence was adduced:-
William M'Donald deposed that he and the deceased loaded separately with two loads of bark. The deceased started 20 minutes in advance of him. When he got up to him he found that the dray the deceased was driving was capsized, and the whole load of bark overturned. Deceased was not to be seen, and witness sang out, "Sedgley, are you dead or alive!" Received no answer. When witness turned over the bark, which weighed 12cwt., he found the deceased lying on his face with his left cheek on his left arm, and under his throat a pool of blood.
Mr Banks, jun., came up to witness's assistance, and they discovered there was a large wound in the throat. A clasp pocket knife was found close to him which proved to be his, and which he usually carried in his vest pocket attached to a string. When discovered there was space enough between him and the bark covering him to admit of his using his right hand and arm. The deceased was a most temperate and cheerful man.
Dr Hallett deposed that he made a post mortem exanimation of the body. Found some bruises on the left thigh and leg also the forehead and scalp, also a wound in the throat three inches deep severing all the blood vessels on the right side of the windpipe and the windpipe itself. He considered that the knife produced might have easily been used by the deceased, also that he inflicted a stab with the sharp edge of the knife towards the windpipe severing it completely. On withdrawing the knife the bleeding resulting must have been profuse and rapid and in witness's opinion, the cause of death. There was congestion of the membranes covering the brain and left lung, but not such as might have been expected to have produced insanity. A dread, however, of death by suffocation, beyond the least possibility of help might have induced him to commit the act.
A verdict was returned to the effect that the deceased committed suicide during a fit of temporary insanity induced possibly by a dread of suffocation.
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