Ordinary People. Extraordinary Deaths…

Having returned to British shores only the previous month – on a chilly January morning in 1889 a soldier with the 10th Hussars was found hanging from a pole in the stable block of the York Cavalry Barracks.

On the day following Private Dalby’s death the city coroner opened the inquest at the military hospital and as a succession of witnesses stepped forward to offer testimony – the tragic story unfolds…

Private William Dalby

Shortly after midday on a balmy August day – the body of a woman and that of her youngest child were recovered from the River Ouse in York.

And a story began to unfold so tragic that it would touch the hearts of many including that of the coroner who implored the media to use their influence to promote a better understanding on the subject of suicide.

Mrs. Sarah Ball

The ONLY clear picture history accords Ms Smith is that of her death by poisoning one morning in May.

A scroll though our parish records and census returns have only added to the mystery of WHO Mary was, WHERE she came from and HOW she had managed to live independently well into her sixth decade!

Ms. Mary Smith

Pregnant and suffering from severe sickness, a young mother along with her husband and toddler son are living in a quiet area of York and one chilly February evening – things took a turn for the worse.

As a post mortem examination revealed that Mrs Byrne had died as a result of a brain haemorrhage caused by some kind of mysterious ingested poison – an inquest into her death was opened.

Mrs. Florence Byrne

On a typical Autumnal afternoon – a young woman carrying a tiny infant made her way on foot to a popular crossing separated only by a dual rail track.

Having opened the gate to walk across the path, she paused as a luggage train went past but less than two minutes later, she and the baby were hit by a passenger train – an accident which would have far reaching consequences.

Miss. Mary Bell

One early July morning a young father along with his brother-in-law and nephew went for a spot of fishing on the outskirts of York.

Shortly before midday, a huge storm erupted and they ran for cover under a large bush far from the riverside. However, no sooner had they escaped from the torrential down pour – there was a huge flash of lightening and a crash of thunder…

Mr. Thomas Casper