|Thomas Cornish Heath
|Emily C J Dee Rockdale
|Strychnine poisoning (suicide)
|Thomas Cornish Heath
|Dorothy R Heath
|Sylvia O Heath
Died of strychnine in 1904. It was ruled a suicide.
DEATH OF MR. T- C HEATH. FOUND DEAD IN HIS OFFICE. SUSPECTED POISONING. The public of Wagga received an un- usual shock on Thursday morning, when it was announced that Mr. Thomas Cor- nish Heath, the well-known partner in the firm of Messrs. Heath and Irvine, commission agents, etc., had been found dead in his office. Mr. Heath belonged to a family which has been long and honorably known in Wagga. Personally he was very widely known as a shrewd business man, and the circumstances associated with his death will be read with regret by persons both in town and the surrounding district. An enquiry into the cause of death was held by the Coroner of Inquests, Mr. T. H. Wilkin- son, P.M., and a jury. After being sworn in the jury proceeded to view the body at deceased's residence, Best-street, Newtown. Upon returning, the first witness called was the firm's clerk, who was the first to discover the body. P. W. Williamson, clerk with Messrs Heath and Irving, said that on Thursday when he entered the firm's office, in Fitz- maurice-street, he saw the deceased lying on his back in front of, and with his feet towards, the fire. He last saw Mr. Heath on Tuesday, when he seemed as usual, but on Wednesday Mrs. Heath sent a message to say that her husband was not well. Deceased had two over- coats under him. Witness spoke to deceased, but received no reply, and wit- ness seeing he was dead went and in- formed Mr. Irvine. Witness then went for the doctor. On Tuesday Mr. Heath was in his usual health and spirits. Senior-Constable Holder said he saw deceased on Wednesday night shortly after 12 o'clock crossing over from the A.J.S. Bank corner to the Commercial Hotel. He passed close to witness. He appeared to be perfectly sober. He was standing near the telegraph pout, and about 15 minutes after that witness saw him standing in front of Mrs. Forrest's shop. Witness did not speak to him. He had never spoken to him in his life. De- ceased was alone at the time. Senior-Sergeant Anderson said that when he went into Messrs. Heath and Irvine's office on Thursday morning Dr. Thane, Mr. Irvine and the clerk were in the office, and he saw deceased lying on his back on the floor fully dresssed and with his cap on, and was just as though he had died in his sleep. He was tucked in with two overcoats under him, his arms were crossed, his eyes closed, and witness was satisfied that there had been no struggle. Witness produced a whisky flask and pewter cup, which had been handed him by Dr. Thane. The cup was dry, and there was just a drop of some liquid in the flask. The smell of the flask was like the smell of ascetic acid. There was also a small bottle which the doctor told the witness contained nothing but pure water. Witness searched the body, and the papers in his pockets were all of a pri- vate and business character. In the top waistcoat pocket witness found a small bottle containing crystals of some kind and liquid. It was a chlorodine bottle, and was labelled "Poison." The crystals had now disolved. There was no mark of violence on the body. The body was taken to the Freemasons Hotel, where a postmortem examination was made by Dr. Thane and Dr. Bur- gess. Witness had known deceased for about eighteen years. He was a quiet man, and evidently a deep thinker. He was a man of temperate habits so far as witness's personal knowledge of him went, and was a shrewd business man. Dr. Thane deposed that at 9.10 on Thursday morning he visited Heath and Irvine's office. Lying on the floor near the fireplace of the front office he saw deceased. The body was fully clothed, legs fully extended, and the feet slightly turned up, arms half-bent at the elbows, the hands slightly clenched, the eyes closed and the pupils somewhat discolor- ed, the mouth slightly opened, the teeth clenched, with some stains of blood on the teeth and on the lips. The expression on the face was peaceful. The face and extremities were quite cold, but the trunk was still distinctly warm. He considered that death took place about six hours previous to the body being found. There were no stains about the clothing. On looking round the office witness saw on the mantel- piece the whisky flask produced. There were a few drops of liquid in it, and on removing the cap witness noticed a very strong smell of either vinegar or ascetic acid. Beside the flask was a cup which he thought contained water, as it was tasteless and had no smell. In the afternoon witness, assisted by Dr. Burgess, made a post mortem ex- amination of the body, and was unable to discover the actual cause of death, All the organs, with one or two excep- tions, were healthy. In the brain there was, he noticed, a slight defect in the covering of the brain, which was usual with persons getting on in years, and there was some excessive fat about the heart. But the whole tissues were very well nourished. The right side of the heart was extended with blood, which at one part was very dark. The tongue had on it three small excoriations, and appeared as though it had been bitten. The stomach was slightly distended, containing about half a pint of fluid, but did not show on the outside any signs of inflammation. Witness remov- ed it carefully with its contents, and without opening placed certain organs in a glass jar. The intestines and blad- der were practically empty. From the small bottle which Senior-Sergeant An- derson handed him, the bottle marked "Poison," witness took three small par- ticles of the sediment which was in the bottle. He examined them, and con- sidered that they were particles of strychnine acid. The action had been such as that performed by vinegar or ascetic acid on strychnine crystals, which made it more soluble. The effect of the solution of the strychnine crystals would render death more sudden. The bottle had a distinct smell of odor of chlorodine, but underlying that one could detect an acid which is not present in the ordinary chlorodine. The cause of death he took to be due to poison, but it was a corrosive and not an irri- tant poison. The conditions were such as pointed to strychnine poisoning. Senior-Sergeant Anderson asked seve- ral questions with regard to the bottles, and whether the position of the body was consistent with the poisoning by strychnine. The doctor gave it as his opinion that the struggle would consist more of a stretching or arching of the body. Had the chlorodyne been used it would render the person less liable to struggle. The fact that the teeth were clenched and the tongue bitten were indications that deceased had had a spasm of some kind. Deceased was a strong willed man. Witness had known him for ten years, and had seen a good deal of him during the past three or four years. At this stage the Coroner said he would not call any further witnesses. The cause of death was not quite clear, and he would send the bottles and glass to the Government Analyst and ascer- tain their exact contents, and call the jury together again on Saturday week. The jury was then bound over to meet again on Saturday week. The funeral will take place at 9 a.m. on Sunday.
Ruled a suicide THE LATE MR. T. C. HEATH. The adjourned inquest on the late Mr. Thomas Cornish Heath was held on Saturday morning by Mr. T. H. Wilkin son, P.M., Coroner of I nquests. Senior Sergeant Anderson was re-called, aud stated that ho had roceived a report from the Government. Aualyst, who had dis covered J graiu of strychnine iu the stomach aud ] grain iu another orgau. Dr. E. H. Thane, re-called, said he had Hiflmrerod traces of ascetic acid in the body. Mr. 1'. Medd, chemist, deposed that he had sold deceased a shillings worth of etrvchcine ou the 2ud instant. A verdict that death was caused by de ceased having taken strychuine, adtninis- 1 tered by himself, was returned.