Fatal accident: On Saturday last, an inquest was held at the Bear Hotel, before Dr. Slyman, coroner, and a respectable jury, to inquire into the cause of the death of Jeremiah Owen, an old man, residing in the Pool Road, who had met with his death under circumstances which will be gathered from the following evidence.
Mr. W Baird said: I am Chief-constable of the county of Montgomery. Deceased had been in my employ for seventeen years. He was in his ninety-first year, and latterly he has been rather more frail than usual. No man could be more honest and straight forward than he was. On Sunday he was in his usual good health. I saw him on the street on Tuesday morning, but did not speak to him.
Harriet Jones said: the deceased was my grandfather. He lodged with my mother. He rose on Tuesday morning about eleven or twelve o’clock and had his breakfast as usual. He dressed himself to go to a funeral at the New Inn about one o’clock on that day. When he returned home about five o’clock he said he had had a very foul fall, and cut his eye-brow, and Mr. Hall had sewn it up. He went to bed without complaining much. Next day, he did not rise. His eye was much swollen, and he was very ill. Mr. Hall saw him on Wednesday morning. Finding he was not the club doctor, my mother sent for Mr. Owen, who is the club doctor. On Thursday night he was very restless. I was up with him every night. He died on Friday afternoon at four o’clock.
John Evans said: I am one of the stewards of the Newtown Friendly United Society. The late Jeremiah Owen was a member of that society. He had been a member about thirty-five years. A rule of the club is to invite twenty-two members of the club, with two stewards, to attend the funerals of deceased members. Jeremiah Owen was one who was selected to attend the funeral of the late Richard Davies to the parish church of Llanllwchaiarn. I attended the funeral. The members started from the new Inn. They were all orderly and soberly. The allowance of drink is a pint for each man and deceased did not have more than a pint. I cannot say he was not the worse for liquor. I should say he was not drunk. He did not go further than the pump, next to the National Schools, near Severn side wall. There were several slides there, and they were dangerous. As I was appointing four to carry the coffin, the deceased fell just opposite the pump. He fell on one of the slides, in the middle of the road, which had been made by children. I and another steward assisted him up, and took him to Mr. Hall’s surgery. Mr. Hall dressed the wound which he had received in his fall. The wound was on the left eye, and he had a cut upon his cheek. I left the deceased at Mr. Hall’s surgery and did not see him afterwards.
Mr. Hall said: I am a surgeon residing in Newtown. I saw the deceased on the day of the accident at my surgery. I should think it was about four o’clock in the afternoon. He had a lacerated wound above the left eye, dividing the soft parts quite to the bone, of about two inches in extent. There was a slight bruise also upon the left cheek. I dressed the wound, and after having asked him whether he was capable of walking home, he left my surgery with that intention. I saw him next on Wednesday morning about ten o’clock when he appeared abut as well as I could expect. I directed his daughter to send for Mr. Jones, who was the medical officer of the district in which he resided. I saw him again on Thursday night, at the request of Mr. Baird, when he appeared feeble and rather drowsy, but he knew me, and answered my questions correctly. I did not give him any medicine, because I was informed that he had taken some from Mr. Owen. He appeared quite sober when he came to my surgery. I don’t think he had suffered much from loss of blood occasioned by the wound. My opinion is that he died from the combined effects of congestion of the brain and exhaustion, consequent upon injury to the head.
Mr. J. Owen said: I am engaged to attend the sick members of the Newtown Friendly United Society. I have attended the members about three years last July. I don’t know whether my name appears or not in the list of the Medical registers.
The Coroner then said he could not therefore receive any medical evidence from Mr. Owen. The Coroner then called Mr. Evans, the steward of the club, and told him that a recent Act of Parliament required that all medical practitioners should have their names registered on an authorised medical list. Mr. Owen, by practising, not having complied with this, rendered himself liable to a penalty; but the effect upon those who employed unregistered medical practitioners was, that no fees could be legally claimed from them by these practitioners. It was much to be regretted that a public body did not employ properly authorised medical men, and that they did not offer to pay them a sum which was worthy of their receiving; the labourer was worthy of his hire, and the contemptible small sums which were offered to medical men by these clubs was disgraceful. He then addressed the jury, and in referring to the cause of the death of the deceased, said, there was no doubt was traceable to the fall upon the slides. Those slides were made in the middle of the road by boys, who indulged in this dangerous and mischievous practice with impunity, and which he was sorry to say they were encouraged by their parents. He hoped an example might be made of some of them as that might have the effect of preventing its repetition. Mr. Hall had seen the deceased at first, immediately after the accident, and it would have been better in his opinion if Mr. Hall had continued his attendance; as it was the poor man seemed to have had both too little and too much medical advice. He was sorry that he was obliged to speak of Mr. Owen’s interference in the way he had, but it was his duty to do so, and he was anxious to take every public opportunity of protesting against the interference of unauthorised medical practitioners.
A verdict of ‘Accidental death’ was then returned.