The search for Mr. A. H. Scroxton, the well known Rushden haulage contractor, of 14 Portland-road, who had been missing since the beginning of the month, was brought to a tragic end on Sunday afternoon, when his body was recovered from the River Nene near Irthlingborough Bridge. At the inquest at the “Railway Inn,” Irthlingborough, on Monday afternoon, a verdict of “Suicide whilst of unsound mind,” was recorded by the Coroner.
Mr. Scroxton left his home on Sunday, November 2nd, when it was ascertained that he went by bus to Irthlingborough in the evening, and alighted near the river Nene. A walking stick that he had used was discovered next day on the bridge over the river.
He had not been seen since, but on Sunday afternoon P.C. Wager, of Irthlingborough, was sent for by two men, who had been in the fields at Bird’s Pit, near the bridge, and on his arrival a body, which proved to be that of the missing man, was recovered from the water, and was taken to the “Railway Inn.” A description of Mr. Scroxton was circulated following his disappearance, but news was not forthcoming until the tragic discovery was made.
Mr. Scroxton was 53 years of age, and he was well-known throughout the district, in which he had many friends although taking little part in social affairs. For the past few years, however, he had suffered from ill-health, and was subject to loss of memory. He had wandered from home on several previous occasions.
The inquest was held at the “Railway Inn,” Irthlingborough, on Monday afternoon, by the Divisional Coroner, Mr. J. T. Parker.
Inspector Knight was present on behalf of the Police.
Evidence of identification was given by the son, William Reginald Scroxton, of “Alberta House,” Spencer-road, Rushden, who said he was a motor driver and assisted his father in his business of a removal contractor and general carrier. His father lived at 14 Portland-road, Rushden, and was 53 years of age. Witness last saw his father on Saturday, November 1st, the day before he left home. “He seemed quite his usual self,” said witness. “He left home the next day, and left no message.” Search was made immediately, but without result, and his father did not return home.
On Sunday witness saw the body after it had been recovered.
Coroner : “Did he leave any message or writing?” “No sir.”
Coroner : “Had he ever threatened to do anything like this?” “No, never, he was always such a man to live.”
Coroner : “He had very poor health for some time, and had been attended by a doctor?” “Yes.”
Witness said his father suffered from fits, and had been attended for a number of years. He described the fits as terrible, and said they were followed by depression. They had been more frequent lately.
Coroner : “Was he in any trouble at home?” “No, none whatever.”
Coroner : “Had he any financial trouble?”
Witness : “Nothing to worry about, only the garage which we had notice to leave. It seemed to worry him a bit because we had nowhere else to go.”
The Coroner : “I daresay it would. He could not find any other place?”
“No, sir, not at present.”
Coroner : “When was he supposed to leave?”
Witness : “I believe there is a summons out now.”
Witness identified a walking stick produced as one which belonged to a Mr. Roe, and which his father had used.
Inspector Knight said it was in the house on the Sunday he left.
P.C. Wager of Irthlingborough, said deceased was reported missing to him on November 3rd. Search was made unsuccessfully.
“Yesterday about 3 p.m.,” he said, “I heard of a body being seen in the river, and went down. I saw the body about 50 yards below the bridge, and about 25 yards from the bank. It was in deep water and on the Peterborough side.”
There were no marks of violence either on the body or the clothes. The body was fully dressed with the exception of a hat. The appearances were that death was due to drowning. There was no letter or writing, only business cards. A watch and chain, and money amounting to 14/5d. was also found on him. Witness said that at 5 a.m. on November 3rd the walking stick was found on Irthlingborough bridge.
The Coroner observed that had the deceased fallen in from the bridge, where the stick was found he might have drifted to the spot where the body was recovered.
In reply to a question by the Coroner as to whether the deceased had been seen on the bridge, P.C. Wager said that no one could say definitely. There were only rumours.
In recording a verdict of “suicide whilst of unsound mind,” the Coroner said, “I am satisfied that this poor man drowned himself, and we have heard that he suffered from these terrible fits for some time and also that he had got to leave the garage, and no doubt he was worried. I think there is no doubt the he was not responsible for his actions at the time.”
The funeral of the late Mr. Arthur Herbert Scroxton, which took place at Rushden on Wednesday afternoon, was largely attended, and many relatives and friends sent flowers.
At the Park-road Baptist Church a service was conducted by the Rev. T. W. Gill (pastor). The hymns, “O God our Help” and “Jesu, Lover of My Soul,” were sung, and Mrs. Reg. Denton played on the organ “O rest in the Lord.”
The interment followed at the Cemetery, where the coffin was borne to the grave by some of Mr. Scroxton’s employees Messrs. Harry Gadsen, Albert Clayton, Sidney Waller, Harry Travill, Sidney Freeman and Alfred Pettitt.
The chief mourners were Mrs. Scroxton (widow) and Mr. W.R. Scroxton (son), Herbert Scroxton (son) and Mrs. Lattaway, of Nottingham (Daughter), Mr. Jack Scroxton (son) and Miss Marjorie Scroxton (daughter), Mrs. Chas Page, of Wollaston (sister) and Mr. L. Lattaway, of Nottingham (son-in-law) Mrs. Regd. Scroxton and Mrs. Herbert Scroxton (daughters-in-law) Mrs. Jack Scroxton (daughter-in-law) and Mr. F. Roe, of Irthlingborough (Friend), Mrs. A. Mead (sister-in-law) and Mr. A. Laughton (brother-in-law), Mrs. Cumberpatch (niece) and Mr. Ernest Green (cousin), Mrs. G. Turner (niece), Mrs. A.T. Titmus of Wellingborough (friend), Mr. and Mrs. Tysoe, of Birmingham (cousin), Mr. A. Linnitt of Kettering (uncle) and Miss Linnett (cousin) and Mrs. George Timpson (cousin), Mr. Charles Page of Wollaston (brother-in-law), Mr. H. Harrison and Mr. B. Bates, of the Express Transport Service, Wellingborough and Mr. S. Young, Wellingborough.
The floral tributes were :- “Sleep on dear one until we meet again” from your ever loving wife and daughter, Marge. “God knows best” from Reg and Florrie, and Peggy, Marion, Pauline, Phillip and Clive; Herbert and Vi, and Joan and Gerry; Dol, Les and little Keith; Jack and Dot; Nell and Chas, Streetsville friends, Canada; Addie and Daisy; Olive, Guss and Tom, Irchester-rd., George and Bella; Jack, Mabel and Rose, 14 Milton-street, Higham Ferrers; Whan and Bert, Erdington, Birmingham; Mr. Harrison, Joan and Patsy; Ernie and Nellie, Horace and Mercy, Bob and Ada, Will and Elsie, Jack and Iris, Harry and Bill, Express Transport Service; Uncle Alf and Di, Kettering; Mr. and Mrs. Norman and John; Harry, Pat and Annie; Employees; Billy Mortimer; Mr. and Mrs. A. Gramshaw and family; Albert and Bill Laughton; N. Draper; J. S. Taylor and family, 15 Park-road; J. Wildman and family, Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Tuffrey and family, Gertie, Wellingborough; Harry and John Dunnett; Mr. and Mrs. S. P. Reed, Kettering, and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Sudborough, Higham Ferrers; Mr. and Mrs. G. F. Rogers and Ella; Mr. and Mrs. F. Darlow; Mr. and Mrs. Horace Wright; Mr. and Mrs. Bert Sanders, Banbury, Oxon; Mr. and Mrs. Roe, and Fred, Irthlingborough; Mr. amd Mrs. Fred Shortland and family; Mr. and Mrs. H. W. Cox; Mr. and Mrs. Childs, Griffith-street; Mr. and Mrs. F. W. Clark, 68 Higham-road; Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Packwood; A. and T. Pettit and Sylvia; Foxie and Tom ; Mr. and Mrs. Titmus.