Attempted suicide in Ware

Hertfordshire Mercury, 15th September 1900


On Tuesday 11 September 1900, Thomas Smith aged about 35, attempted to commit suicide.  P.C. Freeman was on duty in the High Street, Ware at about 5.15 a.m. when Mr Smith came up to him and told him he had taken some ‘stuff.’  When asked what he had been taking, Smith responded with ‘laudanum.’  Smith said he had walked all the way from Yorkshire, but as he could not get any work he must do something.  He had bought the laudanum in Cambridge.

Sgt Jaquest said that he saw Smith at 6 a.m. in the guard room of Ware Police Station and asked him what was the matter.  Smith replied that he had taken about three pennies’ worth of laudanum about four hours earlier and had had some sleep.  Sgt Jaquest gave Smith a pint and a half of hot water with salt to make him sick and kept him moving around to stop him going to sleep.  Smith said his ‘inside felt like a burning fire.’

Dr A.J. Boyd was called to attend Smith at about 9am that morning.  When asked why he had taken the laudanum he replied: ‘I suppose it was to do away with myself.’  By then, Smith did not appear to be under the influence of the laudanum, but was in a state of melancholy. He said he had lost his work in Yorkshire as a result of injuring his thumb.

The Bench remanded Smith to St Albans prison for a week and instructed the police to provide him with any nourishing food that was necessary.


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