Her melancholia led to suicide

Hertfordshire Mercury, 2nd February 1918


An inquest was held on Monday afternoon at the mortuary, Ware, by the District Coroner, Mr Philip P Longmore, on the body of Mrs Julia Lucy Warmington (55), of 48 York Road, Bowes Park, who was found drowned on Friday afternoon in the River Rib, which skirts Ware Park, near Riversdale Gardens.  Mr J.W.Lambert was chosen foreman of the jury.

Mr William Warmington, of Bowes Park, a schoolmaster, the husband of the deceased, gave evidence of identification and stated that he last saw his wife at about 10:20am on Sunday, January 20th.  She wanted to go and see her sisters who lived at Wadesmill, and expressed a wish to bring one of them back with her.  She said that she would return at about 6pm. The witness tried to dissuade her from going as she had a bad chill, and he had asked her to leave it until later in the week.  She had said no more, but went upstairs, and the witness did not see her again.

He had missed her about 30 minutes later.  He visited every room but could not find her.  The witness then went to the deceased’s sister at 60 Eaton Terrace S.W., as the deceased often went there, but she had not been there.  The witness returned home, and then instituted enquiries for his wife, but without result.

Last Friday, the witness was informed by police that his wife had been found drowned near Ware.

In answer to the Coroner, the witness said that his wife had been suffering from her nerves and was run down.  Her memory had also recently failed her.  He handed in a prescription that her doctor had given her.

Levi Brightman, bailiff at Ware Park, said that on Thursday last he had been walking by the backwater of the River Rib at about 4.30pm when he had found an umbrella and a lady’s hat.  There was a private path there.  He later walked to Ware to tell the police what he had found.  On the following day, he went with the police to the spot and they dragged the river, and found the body.  He said that he had met the deceased on the previous Tuesday, on the road, going in the direction of Bengeo.

Police Sergeant Firth stated that on Friday, at 8.00am, he went with Police Constable Payne to the spot indicated by the previous witness where the hat and umbrella had been spotted.  The latter was sticking upright in the path.  The water was lowered, and the river dragged, with the result that they then found the body about 30-40 yards from where the umbrella was found.

Doctor A.J. Boyd, who had been called to the mortuary to see the deceased, said that death had been due to drowning, and had taken place quite 48 hours previously.  The prescription that the husband had handed in was such as would be given for melancholia.  The Coroner said that it was a somewhat mysterious case, and a very sad one, and he was sure they were all sorry for Mr Warmington.

The jury, after a few seconds deliberation, returned a verdict of ‘found drowned’.

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