Saturday, 17 January 2015

A Harrowing Find - A Follow-up

A follow-up to A Harrowing Find.

After finding out about the discovery Adam Storey made, I had wondered the cause for the mutilated bodies found on that particular stretch of the North Sea coast. 

Below is an extract of the coroner's inquests taken from the Newcastle Courant reporting on 29 August 1856, a few days after Adam made the discovery. 


On the day following another inquest was held before the same coroner, at the house of Mr Robert Ditchburn, innkeeper, Hauxley, on the body of a man which was found floating in the sea off that place, and brought ashore, on the day preceding, by Adam Storey, junior, fishermen, Newbiggen. The body was much mutilated, the head and both hands being off, and the flesh of the uncovered part of the limbs partially stripped, from attrition in the sea, and its general appearance denoting that it had been in the water for several weeks. It was without coat or vest, but was clothed with trowsers and three shirts, two of striped linen and one of red flannel. On searching the pockets a port-monie was founding containing two sovereigns, one half-sovereign, and a silver fourpenny piece, but nothing to indicate the name or profession of their owner. - Verdict, "Found drowned." The body was in a similar state of decomposition to that found at Cresswell, as noticed last week, and in both cases the head and hands were absent when brought on shore. The clothes of deceased have since been carefully washed and examined, but without furnishing any mark of identification. Inquiries have been made and information received, which induces the belief that the bodies are those of two of the unfortunate persons who perished off Sunderland, when trying a new yacht, nearly two months ago. Since the above was in type, our correspondent writes, that the body of the man found at Hauxley has been recognised by the friends of the deceased, as that of John Hutchinson, joiner, aged 21 years; and the one found at Cresswell, as that of Ralph Davison, shipwright, aged 22 years, both of Sunderland, who perished between Ryhope and Sunderland, when trying a new boat, on Sunday, the 6th of July last.

So that answers my question as to where the two bodies came from. It must have been truly awful for the friends and family to identify the bodies of their loved ones, considering the state they were both in. Very grim. 

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