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Mills, Richard (1803–1874)

An inquest was held at Nairne on Friday, November 20, at the residence of Mr. B. Mills, jun., to enquire into the cause of the death of Richard Mills, sen., who was found dead near his own house at noon the same day. Mr. David Johns, J.P., acted as Coroner. A jury of 12 was empanelled, with Mr. King as Foreman.

Richard Mills, jun., said — I am a farmer, living at Nairne. The deceased is my father, and 71 years of age. He has been living with me a little over two years. He got up this morning at his usual time, and ate a hearty breakfast, and went into the garden to do his accustomed work. Saw him shortly before 12 o'clock, when he remarked, 'We shall have no more rain to-day.' He then went on the platform, where he often sat when he wanted a rest. I saw him sitting on it the last time I saw him alive. About ten minutes afterwards I sent my eldest son, William, to call his grandfather to dinner. He immediately called out to me that he was lying on the ground, I ran back and found him in that position with his head under the first step and his feet on some timber. He never spoke, and was black in the face. I lifted his head up, sprinkled some water on his face, and assisted to bring him into the house. I laid him on his bed, and immediately gave information to the police. Cross-examined by Police-trooper Farrell — The platform was three feet from the ground. The deceased was not subject to fits, but had enjoyed good health during the past two years.

Henry Sharp deposed— I am a labourer at present working for Mr. Richard Mills, jun. I last saw the deceased alive in the yard near the house about 12 o'clock to-day. He seemed well and jovial. I passed him several times. He remarked he thought it would rain no more that day. He then went towards the platform. Mr. Mills, jun., William, and I sat down about six yards from the platform. We were there abaut ten minutes when Mrs. Mills called us to dinner. We got up, Mr. Mills telling his son to call his grandfather. The son turned back to do so, but immediately called out 'Father, grandfather is lying on the ground.' We went as quickly as possible to the spot. I took hold of the hands of deceased, and with assistance lifted him up. Found a little breath in him, but he never spoke. By Police-trooper Farrell— Did not hear any fall or noise whatever. A stable was between us. If the deceased had made any noise should have heard him.

W. G. J. Mills said—I am the son of Mr. R. Mills, jun., and the deceased is my grandfather. I last saw him alive when he passed as we were sitting down a little before 12 o'clock. Did not speak when my father told me to call him to dinner. I found him lying on the ground, with his head a little under the bottom step, and his feet on some timber; he was lyinug on his side. His mouth was wide open, but he did not move it. The platform was a favourite seat of his.

Dr. Weld, M.D. said—I am a legally qualified medical practitioner, residing at Mount Barker. I was returning from Kanmantoo in the omnibus this aftenoon, when I was hailed by the son of deceased, who informed me that his father was dead. I went with him to his house, and found deceased lying on the bed. He had been dead a few hours. I discovered several slight marks on the top of his head not sufficient to cause death. I cannot say positively what caused his death. From the position in which I am informed the body was found, I am of opinion he must have fallen on his head, and turned a somersault. A fall of that kind would have been sufficient to cause death to a person of his age. He might have had an apoplectic or a fainting fit to cause his fall from the platform. The fall was sufficient to dislocate his neck, and that would have killed him instantly.

The Jury, after a short consultation, returned the following verdict :—'That the deceased came to his death from the effects of a fall from the platform on which he was sitting.'

Original publication

Citation details

'Mills, Richard (1803–1874)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/mills-richard-13833/text24692, accessed 23 May 2019.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2019

Life Summary [details]

Birth

1803
Kent, England

Death

20 November 1874
Nairne, South Australia, Australia

Cause of Death

accident

Cultural Heritage