Death by Drowning November 1860

By

Brian Gabriel

As sad an accident of this nature has occurred for a long time in or near the city, took place within the past week, by which a young family of nine, including the mother, has been deprived of its protector and main support. John Mullane, a respectable farmer residing at Coolowen, near Blarney, and within three miles or so of the suburbs, came into town yesterday week for the purpose of meeting his landlord, Mr. Roger McSwiney, Blackpool, to whom he owed some rent. Failing to see him, he returned home the same day, and on the following morning again came to Cork, with the same object in view, and having in his possession, it is stated, so large a sum as £80 in money.

On this occasion also, it appears he was disappointed, and having spent that day, Wednesday, amongst some acquaintances of his in Blackpool, at nine o’clock he left them in order to proceed to Blarney by the ten minutes past ten o’clock train. He did not, however, carry out his intentions, and up to yesterday was not seen dead or alive. Wednesday and Thursday his family and immediate friends were naturally all uneasiness and anxiety respecting him, and became more and more so as each succeeding day brought no better tidings, particularly on account of the high character he bore for sobriety, and the healthy constitution with which he was gifted. Everything that could lead to his discovery was done by them; notices of his disappearance were sent to the several police stations in and near this city; descriptions of his appearance and of his dress were circulated wherever they could be of any avail; and as a last recourse, and fearing the worst, they engaged some fishermen to drag the river.

This was done for the past few days, but with no good result up to about three o’clock yesterday when his body was found nearly opposite Harley Street at the St. Patrick’s Quay side of the river, precisely in the same spot where on Thursday morning his hat was seen floating. The sight of the body was signal suffering to elicit the most heart-rending shrieks from his friends, and to draw from their eyes, floods of tears. It was at once taken in a boat to the nearest slip to the Bridewell, and on being removed to the latter place was searched by Head-constable Roe, who found £41 in notes, 41/2d in copper, a clay pipe, with some tobacco, and a large silver watch, the hands of which pointed to ten minutes past eleven o’clock, the interior being full of water.

How the deceased spent the period that elapsed from nine o’clock, when he was last seen in Blackpool, to the time his watch, which was wound, stopped, is uncertain; and how he disposed of the rest of his money, if more he had on his person at the time in question, is also at present uncertain. It was stated to the Constabulary when pursuing their search for deceased, that he was seen at one o’clock on Thursday morning by a watchman whose beat is in the vicinity of Benson’s Bridge, and that he was asked by the latter for a smoke of his pipe. Whether this meeting took place or not, is, of course, a matter of some uncertainty.

An inquest into the circumstances attending deceased’s death was held today at the Bridewell. The deceased’s son, John, was the first witness examined. He merely deposed to his father having left home on Wednesday morning to come into Cork, but he did not know for what purpose. He next saw him dead in the Bridewell. Mr. R. McSwiney, the deceased’s landlord, deposed to his having always borne a very good character, as a sober and well-conducted man. Jeremiah Connor, a process server, stated that he had met the deceased in the city about seven o’clock on Wednesday night, and had a conversation with him, relative to a debt of £200, which he owed Mr. McSwiney, and for the non-payment of which a distress had been levied on his farm that day.

The deceased, in answer to the witness, said he had the means of getting out of all his difficulties; but still he appeared very much depressed in spirits. He left about nine o’clock, and witness did not see him afterwards. Connor also gave the deceased an excellent character. Head-constable Roe deposed to having seen the body removed from the slip at the Coal Quay to the Bridewell. From the appearance it presented then he would not suppose it had more than three or four days in the water, for it was not at all disfigured, and hardly discoloured. It presented no marks of violence. In one of the pockets of the deceased coat he found £44 in notes. He also found a watch, some coppers, and a penknife; and in right-hand pocket outside was a package of tea. There was a paper in the other pocket which appeared to contain sugar.

On making enquiries at the Provincial Bank, he learned that the deceased had cashed a bill for £50 on the 7th November. At the conclusion of Head-constable Roe’s evidence, the Rev. Mr. Peyton corroborated the character which had been given the deceased by the previous witnesses, and added that from what he knew of him he was confident his death was the result of an accident. The coroner then briefly charged the jury who, after some deliberation, found an open verdict. It appears that the deceased was related to Bessy Mullane who was murdered some years since on the Blarney Road. Cork Examiner

November 21st 1860
Fatal Affray at Blarney
The Coroner on Friday 26 July 1867, held an inquest at the South Infirmary to enquire into the death of John McCarthy who died in the institution on Thursday.
Three young men were in custody on suspicion of connection with the outrage.
A jury of 12 men was sworn in with Mr. St. Leger, S.I. Blarney also in attendance.

John Meany of Waterloo deposed that the deceased was in his public house on Sunday last with some other men and left somewhat under the influence of drink. A man named Shea, with whom the deceased had a dispute some time before was also in the house and left soon after him. Catherine Flynn deposed that she saw the deceased in her house on Sunday night, bleeding from a wound in the head; the persons with him said he had been struck by a person not then present.

Dr. William J. Sandham, physician and surgeon in temporary charge of the Blarney Dispensary District, stated that the deceased was brought to him, having a wound in the head, which he was requested to dress. He dressed the wound without probing it and sent the man away, telling him to keep quiet. The next day the man was brought to him again, showing dangerous symptoms, and he gave an order to have him taken to the South Infirmary. In twenty minutes afterwards the man was brought back by the police, unconscious. Did not then probe the wound which appeared to have been caused by a blow from a stone, but ordered the man to the South Infirmary and assisted at the post-mortem examination and found that the skull was fractured under the wound, which was the cause of death.

Juror: Is it usual to treat patients carelessly? Witness: Of course not.
Juror: Do you think you treated this poor man properly in not examining his head on either of the three occasions he was with you? Witness: I did not think it necessary. We see such wounds every day and never examine them.
Juror: Do you think a fall on the road would inflict the wound? Witness: It may but is more likely to be a blow of a stone. The cut was about an inch in the centre of the fracture. I do not think it would have saved the man’s life to have sent him to the Infirmary at first.
Sub-Inspector St. Leger said he had no further evidence.

The jury retired to consider the verdict and after about a quarter of an hour’s consideration, returned a verdict, “That the deceased died of a fracture of the skull, by whom inflicted, they had no evidence.”

The three men in custody were detained by the police. Cork Examiner 27th July 1867

Contact: Mr. Brian Gabriel Email: wbriangabriel@gmail.com Tel: 021 4381349 Mob: 087-2153216