A gruesome discovery was made on Tuesday morning by Frank Partridge, an Irthlingborough shoe finisher, who, as he was going to work at Higham Ferrers, saw the body of a woman in the River Nene near the Wharf. He at once communicated with P.C. Slaughter, by whom the body was recovered from the river, and it proved to be that of Mrs. Elizabeth Newell, a widow, living at 2, Winchester-road, Rushden. She leaves a son, a young man who lived with her at Rushden, and a widowed mother who resides at Higham Ferrers.
was held on Wednesday morning at the mortuary, by Mr. J. T. Parker. Mr. George Warren was chosen foreman of the jury.
John Newell, the deceased’s son said he lived at No. 2, Winchester-road, Rushden. He was a finisher. Deceased was 51 years of age. Witness lived with deceased, whom he last saw alive between 10 and 11 p.m. on Monday, when she went into the front room. When he could not find her he locked the front door and took the key with him. He went and talked to some friends. About eleven o’clock he went into the house and looked about, and could not find deceased. He looked round the new buildings, and told Sam Stevens, a lodger, she had gone. He searched for about quarter of an hour, and then went to bed. The front room window was open. Deceased must have got out of the window. Deceased had seemed very strange for some time. She had been out other nights. He locked the door that night because she seemed strange. They had never quarrelled, nor had there been a quarrel between deceased and the lodger. She had not been attended by any doctor. Deceased did washing, and took in lodgers. She had sufficient money to live upon. Deceased had slapped witness’s face when he said he should go with the lodger if she turned the lodger out. She had never struck him before. She had been at work as usual that day. He could give no reason why she should commit suicide. She was sober. She left no message at home. He owed her for a week’s lodging.
Samuel Stevens, the next witness, said he was an engineer, and lodged with deceased. He was in the house on Monday night. There was a crowd of people outside the house. Deceased was very noisy. That would be about half past ten. He sent for her son, who persuaded her to go into the house. She was noisy in the house, and struck her son because he would not let her go outside again. She struck him with her hand on his face. She went into the front room, and soon afterwards she was missing. A search was made for her. She got out of the window. Witness noticed that a fortnight ago deceased was very queer and complained of her head. She also seemed very queer on Monday at tea-time. He did not see what took place outside the house to draw the crowd. He had never seen her the worse for drink. They searched for her about half-an-hour. The son said she might have gone to Higham to see her mother.
Frank Partridge, shoe finisher, Irthlingborough said he found the deceased on Tuesday, as he was going to work at Higham, about 5-40 a.m. He crossed the bridge over the Nene near the wharf. He stood on the bridge and saw the body in the water, about ten yards from the bridge. Deceased, who was in a standing position under the water, was quite dead. He watched her for several minutes, and saw she was quite dead, and did not think it worth while to get wet. He informed the police. He noticed footprints leading into the water, just opposite the body. He did not see any signs of a struggle on the bank.
P.C. Slaughter said that about 6 a.m. on Tuesday he was fetched by last witness, and saw the body in the water. He got the body out. He did not know the woman. There were no marks of violence on the body. He saw footmarks on the bank, showing where deceased had walked into the water. She was quite dead. He thought she had been dead for several hours. He found 6s 7½d in her pocket.
The jury returned a verdict of suicide by drowning during temporary insanity.