IMPORTANT. This is a story that readers who have been with me for a long time will already know. I have acquired quite a few new readers since then. If you do remember this tale and its outcome, then feel free to skip this entry. If you do decide to read it again, I request you PLEASE not to spoil it for others by giving anything away if you should choose to comment. Thank you.
This is something that I hope you will take part in. Today I present to you some facts. It is up to you to reach a verdict based on these facts, plus your own instincts and feelings.
It was a pleasant day in a quiet seaside town on the south coast of England. A gentleman was residing in that town in a boarding house. Until a short time previously he had been living and working in London where the rest of his family remained. It is not known when he arrived or how long he had been domiciled there. One of his daughters had come to stay with her Father the previous week and found him to be in his usual state of mind.
He did tell her, during her visit, that he had been knocked down by a bicycle and that he had been experiencing some head pain since the accident. No sign of cuts, abrasions or bruising was seen by the daughter. His landlady had said that a few days earlier he had “taken to drink.” and his daughter stated that he was, at times, addicted to taking a drop too much. It is known that this man did have a very nasty temper.
On the morning of the 14th September the gentleman took a stroll along the promenade. During his stroll, another walker stopped for a chat. He remembered that the gentleman had said to him - “it is a fine morning”, but then he added - “I hope I shan’t see many more mornings in this world”. Whether this passer-by queried the last remark is not known. This other man did not say that the gentleman appeared in any way intoxicated and he did not notice anything unusual about him or his appearance.
Another man was to later state that he saw the gentleman at around ten a.m. that morning, walking into the water. He thought the gentleman intended to go bathing. A strange assumption because the gentleman was fully clothed at the time he was seen wading into the sea.
Within an hour, the gentleman was found by an officer of the coastguard, floating face down in the water. The body was removed to a nearby shed and stripped. No marks of identification could be found. The only marks on the body were two black eyes.
The police eventually tracked down the boarding house and inspected his room. On a chair in that room was an unsent telegram, it was addressed to his daughter. It read “Sorry you went. No sleep. Can you come back?”
His wallet was also found and, upon being searched, it was found to contain an insurance policy for quite a large sum. A box was also opened and found to contain 21 bottles of whisky whether full, empty, or any combination in between is not known. There was also a flask and a soda water bottle. The daughter said she did not attach any importance to the bottles as her father was not in the habit of visiting public houses and she felt they must have accumulated over a long period of time.
At the inquest neither his daughter nor his landlady could account in any way for his death. A doctor gave medical evidence but little could be mentioned except the two black eyes. No disease or injury was found in the body - apart from those.
The jury and witnesses handed their fees over to the daughter of the deceased gentleman after taking pity on her. So, those are the facts of the case.
To sum up:-
1. He said he had been knocked down by a bicycle and that his head hurt, but no marks of any injury were seen by his daughter or his landlady or, indeed, found by the doctor.
2. When his body was found, he had two black eyes. As I have mentioned previously, he had a very nasty temper. The man he chatted to on the promenade made no mention of black eyes which would have been very evident and should have aroused curiosity.
3. His landlady said he had only recently taken to drink. His daughter said he often had a drop too much. She said he did not visit public houses and seemed unperturbed by the large number of bottles found in his room.
4. He made that strange remark about “not wanting to see many more mornings in this world.”
5. The gentleman left the boarding house leaving his wallet behind. A strange thing to do.
6. He wrote that telegram to his daughter but never sent it, just left it behind in his room. He was sorry she had left. Had there been a terrible argument between the two?
7. He was seen wading into the sea, fully clothed. The person who saw him was adamant on that. However, this man just walked on and ignored the situation. Nobody else was found who had witnessed anything. Did something happen afterwards? Perhaps somebody else went after him and a fight ensued, any such person would have disappeared from the scene quickly.
Was he suffering from an undetected head injury, perhaps more serious than anyone could have imagined. Did such injury affect his thinking, was he drunk, was it suicide or…………….could it have been murder?
I shall tell you in my next entry what the jury and coroner decided, but in the meantime, it is up to all of YOU to give your opinion. It can only be one of those four, or could it? What was the outcome? What are your thoughts on this mystery? I wonder if any of you will come up with the same verdict that the court did.
Imagine, dear readers, that you are an inquest jury member. Given the known facts, basic as they are, what verdict would YOU have arrived at?
To be continued..............