It is interesting to peruse the Victorian newspapers in search of the stories that the public were reading around the time of the Jack the Ripper murders, if only to gain an understanding of the wider picture of what was happening in London in the years and months prior to and after the Whitechapel Murders.
Today we bring you a story that appeared in The London Daily News on the 12th of October 1887.
THE EAST END SHOOTING CASE
INQUEST AND VERDICT
“An inquiry was held yesterday morning at the Mile-end Workhouse by Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, the coroner for the Eastern Division of Middlesex, respecting the death of Emily Barnes, aged 39, lately residing with her husband at 422, Mile-end-road, for causing whose death her husband stands remanded on bail from the Thames Police-court.
Mr. George Hey Young, solicitor, watched the case on behalf of the accused.
Thomas Francis Barnes, son of the deceased, identified the body.
His mother had, he said, been married 21 years. She lived happily with her husband.
On Saturday last the witness came home, and found his father and mother in the dining-room.
After dinner he left the room, and went into the garden.
OH I AM SHOT
Immediately afterwards he heard the report of firearms, and on entering the room saw his father and mother standing near the fireplace.
His mother said, “Oh, I’m shot” and his father took her in his arms, and laid her on the couch.
Witness ran for Dr. Barton, but he was not at home.
On his return he found Dr. Todd there, and his father speaking incoherently.
A REVOLVER ON THE MANTLE PIECE
By the Coroner: On the Wednesday previous he had seen a revolver lying on the mantel-piece. He asked whose it was and was told that it was his father’s.
On Saturday his father asked him to get some cartridges, which he did.
In the afternoon he placed a cartridge in the revolver, and his father also put one in.
One fell out, but he could not say which one.
When he left the room the revolver was lying on the sideboard.
By the jury: When he entered the house from the garden, after hearing the report, he saw the revolver lying in the fender.
THE FATHER’S TESTIMONY
Thomas James Barnes, the husband, after being duly cautioned, deposed that on Saturday afternoon, while he was dining, his son entered the room and showed him a revolver and a box of cartridges.
The witness asked him if they fitted, ant taking it out of his hand placed a cartridge in the chamber. He noticed that there was one cartridge in it when he took hold of it.
After trying the barrel he withdrew one cartridge, but did not know what became of the other.
It was a six-chambered revolver (produced).
His son left the room, leaving the witness, his wife, and children together.
He placed the revolver on the sideboard, so that no one but himself should touch it, thinking to put it away later on.
SENT HIS WIFE TO TAKE A MESSAGE
At his request his wife went to the office on a message, and when she returned, and was standing in the middle of the room giving him the answer, he said, as he picked up the revolver, “I will take this with me,” meaning to take it upstairs.
THE GUN WENT OFF
As he took it in his hand he heard a report, and his wife said, ” Oh, I’m burnt,” or “Oh, I’m scalded,” he could not say which.
He could not believe that there had been an accident, as there were no signs.
Those were the only words his wife uttered before she fell into his arms.
He laid her on the couch and opened her dress. In the breast was a small punctured wound, from which blood flowed freely.
He ran across the road to Dr. Todd, who returned with him, but when they arrived his wife was dead.
HE WON IT IN A RAFFLE
The Coroner: Where did the revolver come from originally?
The Witness: On the Monday previous I was in the Three Cranes, when a man came in and tried to sell two revolvers.
As no one would buy, it was proposed that they should be raffled. I won one of them. The cartridges were afterwards ordered, so that I and my son could have target practice.
DR TODD’S TESTIMONY
Dr. Todd, of 391, Mile-end-road, deposed that the accused when he came to him said “I have accidentally shot my wife. Come at once.”
The witness went with him, and found the lady lying on the sofa dead.
Death was due to the wound produced by the bullet.
DEATH FROM MISADVENTURE
After other evidence, similar to that tendered at the police court, the jury returned a verdict of death from misadventure.