Misadventure indeed !

Hertfordshire Mercury, 24th October, 1914.

By Daryk A

Hertfordshire Mercury,  24th October 1914

On Friday, at the Woodman Inn in Wormley, an inquest was held on Edward Hopkins (80), who lived in Wormley Wood, and had been found burnt to death on Wednesday of the previous week.

Martha Derbridge, of Waltham Cross, stated that the deceased was her uncle.

He was a fern seller, and lived in a little hut in Wormley Wood.  She had not seen him for two or three years, but he was in good health as far as she knew.

Albert Rudd, of Wormley Wood, a schoolboy, said that he knew Hopkins well, and had seen him on Tuesday, October 13th, at 5pm, sitting beside his fire.  He spoke to him, and he had said that he was alright.  The old man was sitting on a bucket, leaning over the fire, which was burning brightly.

Wallace James Rudd, father of the previous witness, said that he was in the habit of calling on the deceased night and morning.  When he had called at 5.45 a.m. on Wednesday, 14th October, he got no answer and, on going to see what was up, found the old man burnt to death.  He was lying face downwards over where the fire had been.

Police Constable Pearman stated that when he went to the wood he found the deceased lying face downwards with his hands burnt off to the wrists.

Dr G Smith Ward described the injuries sustained by the deceased.  The stomach was burnt through and the hands were burnt off.  He thought the old man must have had an apoplectic fit and had fallen over the fire.  There were signs of apoplexy.

The jury returned a verdict that the deceased had died from burns accidentally sustained following upon an apoplectic fit.

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