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SUPPOSED POISONING IN SOUTH
At the South Brisbane Police Court yes- terday, Mr. R. D. Neilson, J.P., concluded a magisterial Inquiry into the cause of death of William Holger Ludwig Schipper, aged 12 years, who died at the Children's Hospital on the 7th June last, and Walde- mar George Schipper, aged 5 years, who died in the same institution on the 9th
Senior-sergeant Bain conducted the in- quiry. Mr. G. Down appeared to watch the proceedings on behalf of the Schipper family, and Mr. E. H. Macartney (Messrs. Thynne and Macartney), appeared for Messrs. Baynes Bros. |
Lengthy evidence was taken, and the inquiry extended over three sittings.
Constable Martin deposed that on the 5th of June a report was made to him that the members of a family named Schipper were very ill. He went to the house and saw Mrs. Schipper, who was lying in bed, and she complained of severe pains. Wit- ness afterwards saw other members of the family, who all complained of being ill. Mrs. Schipper told witness they had had some tea, sugar, bread, also some sausages at lunch time ; they also partook of some cooked corned beef, which her daughter brought home on the previous afternoon. The family partook of a portion of this corned beef between 1 and 2 p.m., and finished it at tea time the same evening. Witness took possession of a tin of con- densed milk, a German sausage, and some tea and sugar, which he handed to the Go- vernment Analyst on the 12th June last. He produced certificates received from the analyst, which stated that five samples of food had been received from Constable Martin. No ptomaines were found in the sausage. On the 7th June witness saw the body of Wilhelm Holger Ludwig Schipper at the Hospital Morgue, and on the 10th June he saw the body of Waldemar George Schipper. Witness was present when a post-mortem examination was made by Dr. Turner on the body of Waldemar George
By Mr. Macartney : Witness took posses- sion of a tin of jam which seemed to have been opened two or three days, also a tin of milk which appeared to have only re- cently been opened.
Sergeant Michael Quinn, stationed at Woolloongabba, produced certificates of death of the two Schipper boys. These cer- tificates showed that deceased had died from ptomaine poisoning and exhaustion.
Dr. Turner certified that at the post-mor- tem made by him on the body of Waldemar Schipper there were appearances consistent
with death from ptomaine poisoning. Wit- ness handed a sealed jar containing the stomach of Waldemar George Schipper to the Government Analyst. He produced a certificate from the Government Analyst, which declared that no ptomaines were pre-
sent in the stomach.
Charles W. Coupland, general inspector for the Municipality of South Brisbane, gave evidence of visiting the house occu- pied by the Schipper family, and found in a safe in the kitchen two tins of jam, one tin of milk, both of which were open ; also some cheese and German sausage. From something witness heard he visited the shop of Edward Smith, in Stanley street, and saw Mrs. Smith and her daugh- ter. Witness said to Mrs. Smith, "The Schipper family have been taken ill, and I heard they bought some beef here yes- terday." Miss Smith said, " Yes, a girl got sixpence worth of corned beef." Witness said, " Have you any of it left ?" and she took out of the window in the shop a piece of corned beef, weighing 6lb. or 7lb. Miss Smith said, " I cut it off this." Mrs. Smith said, " That could not have disagreed with them, for I had my dinner off it to-day."
It was cooked corned beef, and witness pur- chased 1lb. of it for his own use. Mr. Smith came into the shop, and witness said to him, " This is rather an unfortunate affair about the Schipper family and your name being mixed up with it, they having purchased some beef from you." Smith re- plied, "It couldn't be that ; the meat was good enough. I can show you a similar round which I am just going to cook." Witness examined the yard and premises generally, and found them clean. Witness showed the meat he had purchased to Sub inspector Geraghty at the police station. The meat was good as far as witness could see. Sub-inspector Geraghty said there was no necessity to keep the meat, and it
Mrs. Maud Schipper deposed she resided at Peterson-street, Woolloongabba. About midday on the 4th June her husband was absent in the country, and all the children were home-namely, Louisa, Thora, Dag- mar, Wilhelm, and Waldemar. Louisa, 18 years of age, was sent to town, and on the way home was to bring some cooked corned beef. She returned about 2 p.m., and brought it with her. Some of this meat was partaken of at lunch, and also at tea. A cat was given a portion of the meat. About 1 a.m. on the 5th she was awakened by hearing the children vomiting (Thora and Dagmar). She did not get out of bed, but spoke to them. They appeared to get better, and she went to sleep again. Some- time later she was again awakened by the children, and when about to get up found she could not, being seized with vio- lent cramps in the stomach. She became gradually worse, and heard the boy Wil- helm crying and saying he had pains in the stomach. Later on she began to vomit, and this continued all the morning. She did not vomit anything solid. She became worse, and dropped into a drowsy state, and had only a hazy recollection of what took place during the forenoon of the 5th June. She remembered being taken to the hospital. Witness used the milk and sausage for breakfast on the 1st June, but no other member of the family had any. She felt no ill-effect from having eaten the sausage. The cheese was used on the Sunday, and was nearly all consumed on the Wednesday.
Louisa Schipper gave evidence of pur- chasing the cooked corned beef at Smith's shop on Wednesday, 4th June. At tea that day all the family except witness partook
of the corned beef.
Sub-inspector Geraghty deposed he re- membered Mr. Coupland calling at his office on the 6th June. He had a cut of corned beef with him. It was cooked, and weighed about 2lb. Witness said it was nice-look- ing meat. Mr. Coupland told him he got it at Smith's shop, and that it was a por-
tion of the meat which had been supplied, to the Schipper family, and that Smith and his family had also partaken of some of it, and had suffered no ill effects. Witness said there was nothing to show that the meat he (Coupland) had was the same as that supplied to the Schipper family, and he had better take it to the health officer of the council and have it examined.
Otto Olsen deposed he was a milk carter in the employ of the Moreton Butter Fac- tory, and resided with his wife in Petersen- street in a room rented from Mr. Schipper. On the night of the 4th June he was awak- ened at 9 o'clock by hearing Mrs. Schipper's daughters vomiting. Later witness re- ported the matter to the police, and also called in Dr. Macnamara. He saw the Schipper family removed to the hospital. After the family had been taken to the hospital witness saw the cat running about crying, and on tho next morning he saw it vomiting, and it appeared sick for two or three days. He never saw a cat in such
a state before.
Bertha Olsen, wife of the last witness, gave evidence of being awakened about 1 a.m. on the 5th June. Mrs. Schipper subse- quently, told her she was ill. She attended to Mrs. Schipper and the family.
Edward Smith deposed he was a small goods man, carrying on business in Stan- ley-street. On the 31st May ho purchased some beef from Messrs. Baynes Bros. The beef weighed about 24lb. He boiled this beef for nearly four hours on the following Sunday in a boiler always used for that purpose. On the 2nd June that beef was exposed for sale in his shop. He also pur- chased some more beef (the silver side) from Messrs. Baynes Bros, on the 2nd June, but this was not exposed to view till 6 p.m. on the 4th June. His daughter sold some of the cooked corned beef to several persons. He remembered seeing Mr. Coup- land in his shop on the 5th June. His daughter said to him, " Papa, several people have been poisoned through eating some of the meat from our shop." He re- plied, " Impossible." Mr. Coupland asked him to show him some of the beef, and witness did so. Witness had had twenty years' experience as a smallgoods man, and had never known such a thing to hap- pen during the whole of that time.
Dr. Lucy Edith Gullett, resident medical officer Children's Hospital, deposed that on the 5th the deceased were admitted into the hospital. They were both in a state of weakness when brought in. On the evening of the 5th June she came to the conclusion they were suffering from ptomaine poisoning. Both boys died in
the hospital, Wilhelm on the 7th June, and Waldemar on the 9th June. Ptomaine poisoning was caused by the condition set up after consuming decomposed meat or vegetable matter. A decomposed sausage or cooked corned beef, in her opinion, could have caused the poisoning. She did not think that the condensed milk would have caused so violent an attack. The poison would not have been caused by the cheese. In her opinion the two boys died from ptomaine poisoning.
John B. Henderson, Government Analyst, deposed that on the 12th June he received samples of condensed milk, tea, sugar, cheese, sausage, and jam from Constable Martin. He examined the sausage for ptomaines, and found none present. The jam was perfectly fresh and good. Ptomaines did not exist in tea and sugar, and the milk was good. On the 11th June witness received from Sergeant Quinn a sealed bottle containing a stomach, in which he found no ptomaines.
By Mr. Macartney: The fact that he found no ptomaines in the portion of the sausage he received did not prove that Ptomaines did not exist in the portion of the sausage consumed. If jam and milk were liable to ptomaines the same re- marks would apply. Occasionally a poison was found in cheese which was somewhat similar to ptomaine poisoning. Ptomaines were generally the result of bacteria life in the food. Bacteria settled on food from the air, and some bacteria produced poisonous ptomaines. Meat which had been exposed to the air would contain more bac- teria than freshly-killed meat. At first it would be found on the surface of meat. Witness heard what Smith had said in evi- dence. If meat was put through such a process as described by the witness Smith all the bacteria would be killed.
By Senior-sergeant Bain : It was possible for bacteria to settle on meat after it had been boiled, and live there.
Constance Smith gave evidence of Louisa Schippers purchasing 1lb. of cooked corned beef on the 4th of June from her father's shop in Stanley-street. Witness took the meat out of the window and supplied her. A Mr. Adamson purchased some of this beef an hour later, and Mr. Smith's family had some of it for their own lunch. All this beef was sold excepting a quarter of a pound, which was thrown amongst the " scraps." Mr. Coupland came to the shop on the 5th June, and asked to be shown certain cooked corned beef. Another piece of corned beef which was in the window was shown to hm. Mr. Coupland purchased sixpenny-worth of this beef. When Mr. Coupland came into the shop he did not mention the name of the Schipper family, and witness thought he referred to the Bland family. She had served the Bland family from the piece of meat she showed to Mr. Coupland. When Constable Martin called at the shop her father showed him a piece of meat in the window which she had shown to Mr. Coupland.
William R. Schipper, jeweller, deposed that he was the father of the deceased
The inquiry was then closed.