From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 28 February, 1913. Price 1d.
KILLED WHILE INJECTING MORPHINE IN A TUNNEL
Mr. R. Mowll (Coroner for East Kent) held an inquest at the “Chance
Inn,” Guston, on Saturday afternoon, to inquire into the circumstances
surrounding the finding of the mutilated body of Claud William Laurence
Marshall a short distance inside the Guston tunnel on the previous
Mr. R. Mowll, in opening the inquest, said it had been suggested that
the deceased was in the habit of occasionally going into the tunnel for
the purpose of injecting morphia.
Mr. Morton Pickett was chosen foreman of the Jury, which, having viewed
the body heard the following evidence:-
John Fortune, 25, Bridge Street, Dover, a platelayer of the S.E. and C.
Railway Company, said: On Friday, about 7 a.m. I was entering the Dover
and Deal tunnel, near the Danes, to go to work, when I saw the body of
the deceased about fourteen or fifteen yards inside the tunnel. The body
was laying face downwards, the head towards Dover, the left leg lying in
the four foot way of the uproad from Martin Mill. Most of the body was
lying between the outer rail and the side of the tunnel. The body was
cold, and I moved it clear of the rails and left it in charge of two men
whilst I communicated with the Borough Police. Outside the tunnel on the
downside, near Mr. West’s garden, there were marks on the bank as if
someone had slipped down.
Police-sergeant Hayden, K.C.C., stationed at Walmer said: About mid-day
on the 21st February, from information received I went to the Dover
entrance of the Guston tunnel where I saw the body of a man lying on the
outside of the up rail. I searched the body and found the following
articles: a handkerchief marked C. L. Marshall, and empty hypodermic
syringe case, a phial of pills, a portion of a hypodermic syringe, and
1s. 7d. in money. The glass portion if the syringe was missing. Upon
searching the ground in the vicinity of where the body was found I
discovered a portion of a hypodermic Syringe. There was also an envelope
in the deceased’s pocket bearing the address of a London chemist, and
addressed to L. Marshall, Esq. About 180 yards from the entrance to the
tunnel a railway employee pointed out marks on the bank apparently where
someone had slipped down from over the top – about forty to fifty feet.
Pieces of turf and chalk had been dislodged, but at the bottom of the
bank there was nothing to show that anyone had been injured on the
railway. The body was found fifteen yards inside the tunnel. Twenty four
yards inside there were portions of the body and marks which no doubt
showed that the body was struck by the train at that spot. I examined
the body and found extensive injuries to the head. The left leg was
severed at the thigh and above the knee. With the assistance of some of
the railway officials the body was removed to Guston. The part of the
hypodermic syringe was found twenty-four yards inside the tunnel. Upon
examining the clothing I found the braces were fastened to the trousers
on the right side and back only, the left side being unfastened. It
appeared that the trousers of the left side had been let down.
Augustine Martin Marshall, living at Barntye, Guston, said: The
handkerchief produced and the envelope were the property of my husband,
Claude William Laurence Marshall, aged 41 years. He was formerly a
lieutenant of the South Staffordshire Regiment, but of no other
occupation. I last saw him at 2.10 p.m. on Thursday. He had been ill,
and seemed weak, but said he would go into Dover for some fish for his
tea. The doctor had ordered that he should not walk quickly, so I told
him not to hurry up the hill. He did not return. At one time he often
slept out of doors under hedges or anywhere, so that I did not worry
very much. He used to suffer from double stricture, and before he was
operated upon injected morphine and cocaine into his system. He gave it
up from January to July, and then broke out again, and I once found him
in a pit up here. He found things dull when the children went to school.
I did not thin k that he touched any drugs since July. About a fortnight
ago he came beck from London after spending a fortnight with his mother,
and I think that he must have broken out there, but he did not tell me.
I thin k that was as well as going for the fish on Thursday he also went
to get himself some drug, because he left both his dogs with Mr.
Pritchard, as he did not like them with him when his head ached or when
they were troublesome. I asked him to call and see Mr. Fletcher, who
lives on the hill near the tunnel, about some goats. Evidently he
stopped on his way there and went into the tunnel to take some morphia.
It was a bright noonlight night, and I know that he occasionally went
into the tunnel to inject the morphia into his leg. He went in because
he could not do it outside where people were often about. He generally
took ten minutes to make the injections, usually three, and allowed two
or three minutes between each injection. I remember that he once told me
as a joke that one night he had been in the tunnel and came out and
stood on the bridge and counted everything in his pockets to see if they
were all right, and must have fallen asleep, for he woke up and saw the
lights of a train coming towards him and received a great fright. I had
beseeched him not to go inside the tunnel because I though that if he
fell asleep on the bridge he might fall asleep in the tunnel. I do not
know how far in it was that he was found, but I know that he would go
inside so that nobody would be able to see him. He had no hypodermic
syringe at home, and if he did have one he must have concealed it. He
was 41 years of age, and has an estate at County Limerick, Ireland,
where his tenants literally worshipped him. He was a thorough Irishman
and of a happy disposition. He was never despondent, but fond of life.
He formerly took sixteen grains of the drug a day, and we got the dose
down to eight, and at last six, after which he gave it up. I thought
that the doctor had ordered him to take a certain amount of something,
and that he took the lot, and feeling very bad went to buy morphia and
cocaine. I was breaking him of the habit. He suffered from indigestion,
and was taking Oataline and Fry’s Malted Cocoa.
Witness, in reply to the foreman as to whether the deceased would become
dazed after taking the dug, said it depended upon the quantity taken.
Arthur Charles Kay, 40, High Street, Dover, a pharmacist, said: I knew
the deceased gentleman very well as a customer. He used to purchase
drugs from me. On Thursday he called at 4.30 p.m. and said he had broken
out again and was unable to do without the drugs, and asked for the
usual quantity. I gave him six grains of cocaine and six grains of
morphine, in two separate powders. He had no bottles, and I provided him
with the two produced. In each I put six drams of distilled water. He
said he had lost his hypodermic syringe, and he bought another one from
me, of which the portion (produced) is a part. He administered some
cocaine in his arm. When he commenced dealing from me over a year ago he
brought me a prescription. I know that he used to go into dark places in
order to inject the morphine, and occasionally I allowed him to use my
private compartment. When injecting the morphine he would have to take
the left part of his trousers down.
The Coroner: It was a pity that he got back to the habit.
Witness: In another three months he would have become a wreck again. He
was a very nice fellow.
Albert Edward Pritchard, grocer, Biggin Street, Dover, said: At about
6.30 p.m. the deceased came to my shop and asked if he could have his
two gods with me whilst he went to the King’s Hall, saying that he would
return for them about 8.30. he left, but did not return. He was a
thorough gentleman, and I am sure he had no suicidal tendencies. He was
always in good spirits.
Acting-sergeant Southey, of the Dover Borough Police, said: On Thursday
afternoon I saw Mr. marshall in Kay’s, the chemist, and also in Cuff’s.
he appeared to be in his usual spirits. He was well known by all the
members of the force. As a result of enquiries from Mr. Craig, manager
to Mr. Marcombe Cuff, I have ascertained that the deceased called at
that shop on Thursday afternoon about 5.30 p.m., and asked for something
to produce sleep, and complained of sleeplessness. Mr. Craig sold him a
phial of 25 tablets.
Police-sergeant Hayden said that one of the tablets was missing.
Dr. Joseph Richardson, of Dover, and Poor Law Officer for Guston, said:
I have examined the body and found that the top of the head had been
carried away. The left thigh is almost divided. There are many cuts and
abrasions on the body. I should think that the deceased was bending down
and was so interested in injecting the morphine that he did not notice
the train coming and was struck on the head.
Witness, in reply to the foreman, said he did not think that the
deceased became dazed after using the drug; not with a man like the
deceased. He would probably be oblivious to anything except what he was
doing – injecting the morphine.
The witness Fortune, recalled, said the distance between the outer rail
and the side of the tunnel where the body was found, was about three
feet. By stooping over, the deceased’s head would be above the rail and
would be struck by the engine just below the buffers.
P.S. Hayden, in reply to the foreman, said that no marks had been found
on any engine, or any report received from any driver as to anything
The Coroner, in summing up, said that it was quite possible that the
deceased was so interested in the act of injecting the morphine that he
did not notice the train approaching, and was therefore knocked down and
killed. It was a very sad case, and it was also a very terrible thing to
notice what a fearful hold these drugs took upon people.
The foreman said the Jury agreed that the deceased met his death by
misadventure, and considered that as well as the deceased being so
intent in his actions, the fact of there being a gradient in the tunnel
would account for less than the usual noise caused by an approaching