§ MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE (Sussex, Horsham)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if his attention has been called to the death of Charles Rowe, of Charmouth, Dorset, who was brought back to his lodgings at midnight on 16th December 1894 in an insensible condition, and died two days afterwards is he aware that Rowe was allowed to remain all night in the passage of the house where he lodged, and no medical man was called in to attend him until late in the afternoon of the next day; by whom was Rowe's death certified, and what was stated upon the certificate to have been the cause of death; was any inquiry made by the police into the circumstances under which Rowe met with the injuries which resulted in his death, or any inquest held; and does he contemplate taking any steps to carry out the recommendations of the Select Committee on Death Certification, and to ensure that every case of sudden, violent, or suspicious death shall be inquired into by a public official?
§ MR. ASQUITH
My attention was called, in January, to the case of Charles Rowe, of Charmouth, Dorset, who was brought back to his lodgings at midnight on December 16, 1894, in an insensible condition, and died two days afterwards. The facts, as reported to me, are, that Rowe was allowed to remain all night in the passage of the house where he lodged, and no medical man was called in to attend him until late in the afternoon of the next day. Dr. Kerby, who attended the deceased, gave a certificate that death was due to concussion of the spine and paralysis. Before giving this certificate he informed the coroner of the facts, and was told by him that he might properly give the certificate. Inquiries were made by the police, but they failed to find any ground for supposing the injury to be other than accidental. The coroner, in whose discretion it lies to hold or not to hold 652 an inquest, did not consider it necessary to hold one. The recommendations of the Select Committee on Death Certification are receiving consideration by the Local Government Board, but they would hardly affect a case like this, where the facts came fully before the officer empowered by law to hold a public inquiry. I think the case is one where an inquest might properly have been held, but I have no power to give instructions in this matter to the coroner.