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Daniel A BLOTT 1853-1899


The untimely demise of my great great aunt Harriet’s husband Daniel BLOTT aged just 46 years has given rise to my family speculating that perhaps it wasn’t an accident after all.  This true story lends itself to the questions “Was he pushed? did he jump? was he poisoned? was he a murderer?” I leave you to deliberate!

 

Westminster & Pimlico News, November 24, 1899 page 5

A shocking Tragedy

Millbank Street man’s extraordinary delusions

The building Daniel fell from

The death of Daniel Arthur Blott, aged 46, a sculleryman, who had lived at 56 Millbank Street, and who died as a consequence of injuries received through falling from an attic window at that address, formed the subject of Inquiry at the Coroner’s Court, Horseferry Road on Tuesday afternoon, before Mr John Troutbeck.

Mrs Harriet Blott, the widow said that about eleven o’clock on Sunday night she was in bed, when she was awakened by some sound or other. Looking up, she saw her husband, who had partially dressed himself, on the parapet outside the window. Witness called to him, but it was too late, and she saw him put his foot over the parapet. He fell to the pavement below, and witness did not see him any more until he was in the hospital. Their eldest boy, aged 11, was in the room at the time, but he was asleep. Her husband had not been drinking, and he was quite sober.

        - The Coroner: Had he been drinking before?

        - Witness: No, sir, not this week.

Continuing, witness said deceased had been out on the parapet several times previously, and thought somebody was after him for murder. Every night last week he said he was going to be poleaxed in the morning.

      - The Coroner: Had he been drinking heavily before this?

        - Witness: No, not for some little time now.

        - What do you mean? – Not for three or four months, sir.

        - How long has he gone on in this peculiar way? – I have never considered him dangerous. He’s never damaged anything before.

Mrs Blott, continuing, said that deceased put his foot over the parapet, and fell over. He did not say a word. She could not say what caused her to wake. Deceased had never threatened to take his life. He had not suffered from delirium through drink so far as witness knew.

The Coroner’s Officer (Mr. Ralph) said that he understood deceased had been drinking up to the week before his death.

        - The Coroner: Is that so?

        - Mrs Blott: Up to a fortnight before.

Louis Tuck, a warehouseman, of 54 Millbank Street, the next door house, said that about five minutes past eleven on Sunday night a flower pot fell down, and about a second afterwards, witness heard a heavy thud on the pavement. He heard a groan, and a scream which seemed to come from up above. Witness, who explained that it was from a back window that deceased fell, said he then saw this figure of a man lying on the pavement. Witness’s wife called out to know what was the matter, and he cried “Good Lord, come down: somebody has fallen out of the window.”

Witness’s landlord and his wife came, and a policeman was sent for. The injured man struggled and swore a bit, and tried to get away. Witness knew nothing of him beyond having seen him come in and out.

James Dalton, the landlord of the house, said deceased had lodged with him about three years. The man had been drinking, but witness had never seen him really in liquor. He was a very quiet and sober man as a rule. Witness had heard no row between deceased and his wife. They were a very quiet people.

P.C. King, 519 A, said that when he first saw deceased he was lying on his back unconscious. Witness had him conveyed to the Westminster Hospital, and after a time deceased became conscious and asked them to raise him. He made no statement about the fall. Witness afterwards went back and examined the scene. The window was on the fourth storey. The little boy was still in bed asleep when witness got back. The window had been fastened with a bit of tape, and was surrounded by a parapet. The distance to the ground was about 35 feet. The wife made a statement to the affect that her husband had been drinking heavily for some months, and had made several rambling statements. During the afternoon he had said “Somebody is after me for murder and I am innocent.”

Dr Frank Bond, the house surgeon at Westminster Hospital, said that when he saw deceased about 11.30 he was conscious, and rather noisy, and shouting. He complained of great pain in his back and asked someone to raise him. He died about half past three. Witness saw no evidence of delirium from drink. There was more or less delirium, but that would be accounted for by the injuries. There was a fracture of the lower part of the spine, and a fracture of the upper part of the sternum, while five rib cartilages were also broken. Witness found considerable congestion of the brain, but no evidence of rupture of the vessels nor fracture of the skull. The breast-bone was broken. Witness mentioned that in the stomach he detected a smell of camphor, and he had been informed by the wife that on the table she had found a bottle which had contained a liniment used for bathing the knee. He did not think, however, that that had anything to do with the death. Witness explained that the liniment which he expected had been used, contained a considerable proportion of ammonia. Death was due to the shock, consequent on the broken back.

Mrs Blott, recalled, said she did not know how much was in the bottle. She knew it had not been full and it was not empty when she saw it after the death.

The Coroner had proceeded for some minutes with his summing up, when he was interrupted by a young man at the back of the Court, who shouted “Pardon me, sir, I’m his brother. I ask to be allowed to say a few words.” The young man was sworn, and stated that his name was Robert Blott, and that he was the youngest brother of the deceased. He said that there was nothing the matter with his brother’s mind at all. Last time witness saw him was about a fortnight ago, and he had then got a new job, and complained that he did not get sufficient rest. He had to get there at 6 o’clock in the morning. He had been out of work for months, so that he would not have much chance to get too much to drink. When witness saw him he was as jolly as he could be, and they had a pleasant evening together. Witness had never seen him in delirium.

        - The Coroner: His wife says he has been strange for two months.

        - Witness: Ah! Well, I’ve seen him in the last two months, and he was never strange. He’s been round with the old people, and we’ve been together, and he was not strange and he had no delirium. He was as sane as any man could be on the face of this earth.

After consideration, the jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased came to his death by his own act, during insanity, and that such insanity was brought on by drink. In reply to the Coroner, the foreman said they considered deceased did not mean to kill himself, but that he did not know what he was doing. The Coroner said that was a verdict of “accidental death”, and the jury concurred.

Note: Daniel’s death certificate gives cause of death as “Shock from fracture of the spine and other injuries from a fall from a parapet while in a state of temporary insanity through drink”.

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