§ MR. LEON (Bucks, N.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make inquiries into the death of a maidservant named Belcher, who died on the morning of the 5th March at the house of Mr. Hoare, of Wavendon Hall, Bucks; whether he is aware that Mr. Hoare, not knowing if the girl was fainting or dead, sent forthwith for Mr. Wright Grant, a medical man, who made a careful examination of the body; that although Mr. Hoare communicated with the Coroner, requesting him to meet Mr. Wright Grant, the Coroner sent word that he did not think an inquest necessary; that Mr. Hoare insisted upon an inquest, which took place upon 7th March, and that the Coroner refused to call Mr. Wright Grant as a witness, saying that he preferred to take the evidence of his own medical man, Mr. 631 Lucas, although another doctor had first seen the body of the deceased; whether, under the circumstances, he will cause some further investigation to be made; and whether it is the duty of the Coroner to take the evidence of the doctor who first examined the body after death?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
Yes, Sir; I have made inquiries concerning this case. I am informed that Mr. Wright Grant was called in to see the deceased woman, and saw her four hours after her death. It is the fact that in the first instance Mr. Hoare asked the Coroner to meet Mr. Wright Grant, and that the Coroner replied that he must first have a report from the police, before deciding that an inquest was necessary, at the same time adding that he would see Mr. Grant if he called at his house. It is true that until Mr. Hoare communicated some additional particulars to the Coroner, the latter did not think that an inquest was necessary, as the police report was entirely consistent with the view that the deceased died from natural causes. The Coroner informs me that when the inquest was held he did not refuse to call Mr. Grant as a witness for the reason alleged in the question, but that he told him, as several witnesses had seen the body before he had, his evidence would not be necessary. The Coroner's action in this case is entirely justified by Statute. The jury found that the deceased died from natural causes, and there appears to be no reason whatever for further investigation.