SUICIDE OF A SCHOOLMASTER – HM 154 JULY 13th 1895

A sad case of suicide took place at Harbury, on Monday evening, when Mr Charles Henry Savage, the village schoolmaster, aged 33, in a state of mental depression, threw himself in front of the eight o’clock passenger train to Leamington, near the Harbury tunnel.

Some three years’ ago deceased figured as the defendant in a local breach of promise suit, and it is believed that the public annoyance which he sustained in consequence of the proceedings, gradually affected his mind, the state of which some few months ago necessitated his taking a three month vacation.  He was much respected in the neighbourhood, and had been in Harbury for many years, but was a native of Redditch, where the funeral takes place — The inquest was held at Harbury, on Wednesday, before Mr D. R. Wynter (Coroner for Central warwickshire) — Beatrice Dewitt stated that deceased had lodged at her house for the past seven years.  She last saw him alive at about 7.30 on Monday evening.  When he came out into the garden to her he said he would go for a short stroll, as was his custom, unless he played cricket or tennis.  As deceased was rather later than usual in returning, witness made enquiries of a man named Wilkins, who said deceased was on the line near the tunnel.  Witness, on hearing this, said it was quite unusual for him to be there, and asked Wilkins to tell him she wished to see him.  Wilkins did so, but deceased told him he would come home presently.  Shortly afterwards a train approached, and almost at the same instant she saw Wilkins throw up his arms and shout, “He’s done it! Oh, he’s done it!”  Deceased had frequently complained of bad pains in his head, but went about his duties at the school alright. —  Tom Wilkins, platelayer, Harbury, stated he was at work in his garden on the top of Harbury tunnel on Monday evening.  He saw deceased coming from under the tunnel on the down side of the line, and at the request of last witness he went down to deceased.  They wished each other good evening.  Witness told deceased he was wanted.  Deceased said he should go a little higher up the line.  Witness went back to garden, when he observed a passenger train approaching about a quarter of a mile off, and saw deceasd jump from under a wall either in front of the train or into one side of it and roll over.  Witness called to some one near to run for the doctor, and Dr. Pirie got to the deceased just before witness.  A  man named Young also assisted and they got deceased up the bank to his lodgings.  Deceased was alive and breathing, but died about half-an-hour afterwards.  His head was badly cut, and the right arm badly injured. —  P.C. Collet, stationed at Harbury, deposed to assisting to get deceased home, and produced a note in deceased handwriting as follows: “I am quite tired of life, and to me it’s not worth living.  Months of great mental depression, religious mania, and past troubles have quite shattered my health.  I thank Mrs Linklater for past kindnesses and I thank my other friends in the parish.  I leave £50 for the school, £25 for the church, and £10 for Mrs Dewitt, everything else will go to my brother.  God bless my dear father and mother, and may we meet in Heaven as I hope we shall. — C.H. Savage.  Lord forgive us our trespasses as I freely forgive all those who have trespassed against me and brought me to this.” — After a brief summing up, the jury returned a verdict that deceased committed suicide of unsound mind

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