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Shields Gazette Wednesday 11th February 1891



Yesterday, an inquest was held at the Reading Room, Marsden, before Mr. J. Graham, coroner, concerning the death of William Douglass, who was killed by falling over Marsden Cliffs.
John Douglass, father of deceased, said his son was 27 years of age.  He was a coal hewer, and lived with witness at 6 Hilton Street.  Deceased was a single man.  Witness last saw him alive on Friday night at about 4.20.  He heard of him being found on Sunday morning about nine o’clock.  He saw the body where it had been removed to Marsden Grotto.  He would have about 14s on him when he left home.  It was pay Friday.  He (witness) was at work on Friday night, and he understood his son left home about 10.30.  He learned this on returning from work about eleven o’clock.

Thos. Hopper, a youth, living at Marsden Inn, on the bank top, said Wm. Douglass came into their house about nine o’clock on Saturday morning.  He left at eleven and returned at one.  He was sober when he came at nine a.m.  He left at three in the afternoon, but was not sober then.  He got drink between one and three. He could not say how much drink he had, but what he got was in their house.  The drink as supplied by witness and a man behind the bar named Wm. Bell, a miner, who was assisting in the bar that day.  He saw Douglass no more after he left at three o’clock.

William Flawith, manager of the Grotto Inn, said Douglass came into their inn between three and four on Saturday afternoon.  He was between five and ten minutes in the house.  He and another man named William Hutchinson were together.  One had a small bottle of soda water and the other lemonade.  He then went away, and he saw him no more till he heard he was dead on the Sunday morning.  He (witness) was taken along the shore by a man named James Gibbons, and they saw the dead body lying to the south of his house.

James Gibbons, pumping engine man at Marsden colliery, said on Sunday morning about 8.30 he saw a man lying dead at the foot of the cliff to the south of Marsden Rock, and went and told Mr. Flawith.

Sgt. Deaton said he examined the body after it had been removed to the Grotto Inn.  The left arm was broken above the elbow, and the face was very much bruised.  In one pocket he found 18s 6d, and in another 12s.  The injuries were such as might have been caused by falling over the cliffs.

The jury found that deceased was found dead on the sea shore near Marsden, and that death was caused by falling over the cliffs.

The coroner said Mr. Flawith acted with great discretion in not supplying Douglass with intoxicating drink when he called after leaving the other inn.  In reply to a juryman he said any action with regard to the persons who supplied the drink must be taken by the magistrates, and not by him.

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