William Coper died of exposure

Hertfordshire Mercury, 27th April, 1918


Mr P.R. Longmore, District Coroner, held an inquest at the Coffee Tavern Hall, Hoddesdon, on Saturday afternoon, on the body of an elderly, unknown, man who was found dead in a field near Hailey Lane on Thursday.  Mr A. Dymock was chosen foreman of the jury.

Herbert Webb stated that on the Thursday afternoon he was going up the Hailey sewage field when he saw the deceased lying on his left side, dead.  He informed the police.  Inspector Moles said that when he went to the deceased he found him cold and wet through.  There was nothing on him to lead to his identity.  Police Constable Harwood said that he had recognised the man as someone he had had a conversation with in Ware on the 13th Instant.  The deceased had then said that he was going to Hertford and then on to Maidenhead where he had a son, an excise officer earning £300 a year.  He also said that he used to go hawking and, when the witness asked him why he did not stay at home, he replied “I expect I am the black sheep of the family”.  He said that he had a wife at Maidenhead who was the mother of fourteen children.

Superintendent Handley said that the deceased was, on 31st October, charged at Ware with begging.  He had then given the name of William Coper, labourer, of no fixed abode.  The witness had made enquiries but had failed to trace the deceased.

Dr S.H. Appleford stated that death was due to exposure, and a verdict was returned accordingly.


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