Thomas Cornish Heath

Father: Thomas Cornish Heath
Mother: Alice ?
Born: __/__/____ ?
Married: __/__/1893 #6413 Emily C J Dee Rockdale
Died: 09/06/1904 Strychnine poisoning (suicide)
Children: __/__/1893 Thomas Cornish Heath
__/__/1895 Constance Heath
__/__/1896 Dorothy R Heath
__/__/1898 Sylvia O Heath
__/__/1902 Lillian Heath

Died of strychnine in 1904. It was ruled a suicide.

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.