DEATH – MOWBRAY Thomas 85 years Accidental Poisoning at Kirkleatham

Accreditation The Redcar and Saltburn-by-the-Sea Gazette 21/12/1877


            On Wednesday (19/12), an inquest was held in the roaster’s house at Turner’s hospital, Kirkleatham, before A. Buchannan, Esq., district coroner, on view of the body of Thomas Mowbray, eighty-five years of age, one of the inmates of the Hospital, who died on Sunday night from the effects of some poisonous liniment, administered to him in mistake by a fellow-inmate. The following evidence was given:-

Dr. Keith examined: I am a medical practitioner at Coatham. On the 6th  of this month I was called to see Thomas Mowbray, the deceased, at Turner’s Hospital. He was suffering from sciatica on the hip joint, that troubled him very much at nights. He seemed nevertheless to be in good health for one at his age. I prescribed liniment and pills, which were not made up by me. I left the prescription with the nurse. I told him where to rub the liniment. I saw him again on the 13th inst. He was still complaining of pain in his hip, and I prescribed mixture and a blister for him. He was not confined to his bed, but was sitting on a chair. It was aconite liniment, and a small quantity would cause death instantly, if taken internally. I was from home on Sunday night, and did not see deceased alive again.

John Sanderson: I am an inmate of the hospital, and I knew the deceased. I was in the habit of going to his room, and he to mine. I was in his room, between eight and nine o’clock last Sunday night (16/12); Robinson Peverley was in the room as well. Deceased was sitting in a chair, and he asked me to give him his mixture. I took the bottle down from the dresser top, and poured some out before his face. He was sitting opposite me, and could see all that I did. I have given him his medicine often before, and I have rubbed his leg before with the contents of the blue bottle. He found out that he had taken from the wrong bottle, and said that it made his throat sore. I said I thought I had given him the right stuff, but found I was wrong. I then went in for Mr. and Mrs. Bland, to tell them what I had done. Mr. Bland sent for the doctor. I did not see deceased die.

Robinson Peverley: I am a labourer at Mr. Rutherford’s. I was in deceased’s room, between eight and nine o’clock on Sunday night (16/12) I saw him take his medicine, which she had asked Sanderson to get for him. I did not see Sanderson pour it out. Directly deceased swallowed it. He began coughing, and continued coughing violently. He said, “I don’t, John, now has given me the wrong medicine.” He also said that it burned his throat. There was a strong smell of comfort in the room. There were two bottles, and I had the impression that he had taken wrong medicine. There was a candle in the room. Sanderson then became alarmed, and went for Mr. and Mrs. Bland. When they came in I went out, and did not see any more.

Thomas Bland: I am schoolmaster for the Turner Hospital. I have known deceased for twenty years. I saw him last alive on Sunday night (16/12). When I was called in by Sanderson, I found deceased very red in the face, and trying to vomit. I learnt that he had taken the wrong medicine, and I’d dispatched a boy with a pony to Redcar for medical assistance stop I got a couple of mustered and warm water, which my wife gave deceased, and it made him vomit to a considerable extent. The same smell proceeded from him as from the bottle. Finding that he had got no better, we gave him ipecacuanha wine, which he took and still vomited. About half-past nine he took a convulsive fit, and at quarter to ten he had a second fit, breathed heavily, and all seemed to be over. Thomas Atkinson, John Easby, and I then carried him to his bed and laid him out, when Dr. Walker arrived and pronounced him dead. Deceased quite understood the use of the liniment. A candle was burning when I went into the room. I gave the emetic a quarter of an hour after he had taken the poison.

Dr. Walker: I am a medical practitioner at Coatham. On Sunday evening, the 16th inst., I was at the top of Redcar, when I was called for and informed that someone had accidentally taken poison at the Kirkleatham Hospital. I took a directly, and took with me all things necessary which might be wanted. When I saw deceased he was dead, and I should think from appearance that he had been dead about a quarter of an hour. Mr. Bland then gave me the bottle containing the liniment; eight or nine drops would have been sufficient to have killed it.

The Coroner then went over the evidence, and the Jury, after brief consultation, returned a verdict of “Accidentally poisoned through the administration of aconite.”



Lol Hansom January 2, 2015 Doctors & Health, Kirkleatham