THE LATE MR. CATERER.
THE INQUEST. DEATH FROM POISONING.
The city coroner (Dr. Whittell) held an enquiry at the Jetty Hotel, Semaphore on Saturday, into the circumstances attending the death of Mr. Frederick Isaac Caterer, the headmaster
of the Glenelg Grammar School, whose body was found on Friday morning lying under a bush on Sir Samuel Davenport's estate near the Grange. The first witness was— Frederick Stanley Caterer, who identified the body. He last saw his father alive at a quarter to 8 o'clock on Monday morning. The deceased then left the break- fast-table as usual as though he was going to the school. His rule was to take the train at Mile-End Station for Glenelg. Those at home had no reason to believe that the deceased contemplated doing anything else, as he was in even better spirits than he had been for some time previously. During the last six months his health had been good, but he was subject to fits of giddiness which arose from injuries received by a fall from a tramcar. The attacks usually occurred at intervals of about two months, but three months had expired since the deceased suffered from the last, so it was thought he was recovering from them. His father was depressed at times, but nothing unusual. The schoolhouse at the Bay was infected with rats, and his father had had occasion to take means to exterminate them. He had used rough on rats and Stainer's phosphorus paste, but on searching the house on Friday no traces of these compounds could be found. His father's character was such that he would never think of saying he would make away with himself. He did not know any one who bore his father malice. Dr. Archer stated that he had examined the body of Mr. Caterer. It was fairly well nourished. The clothing was dry and clean, and the only external signs of injury were abrasions under the left eye, on the left side of the lower jaw, and over the larynx. The lungs were healthy, but the heart appeared to be small, contracted, and empty. The stomach contained about a pint of blood-stained fluid and a considerable quantity of a hard mass which resembled sandy clay. There was not any sign of food. The whole of the intestines were congested and inflamed ; the brain substance was healthy and natural. He was of opinion that the deceased died from the effects of some irritant poison, probably arsenic. The intestines were almost pathognomonic. This was not consistent with any form of disease with which he was familiar. The deposit found in the mucus resembled "rough on rats" in color. When the examination was made on Friday evening the deceased had apparently not been dead more than 36 hours, but it was possible for him to have lingered 24 to 36 hours even after taking a large dose of arsenic. Joseph Yeates, a fisherman of Glenelg, stated that he saw the deceased at the Military- bridge across the Patawalonga Creek on Monday last, between 9 and 10 o'clock in the morning. The deceased was walking in the direction of the Semaphore, and appeared to be preoccupied. Margaret McNamee stated that her mother kept the Henley Beach Hotel. On Monday morning last, at about half-past 10, the deceased called at her mother's house, and asked for a nobbler of brandy, which he drank. He also bought sixpenny worth of brandy, which was given him in a lemonade bottle, and he then went into the parlor and remained there for a time. The deceased also asked for the loan of a glass upon which he left a deposit of sixpence. He appeared to be very down- hearted and avoided conversation. Mary Hodgkins, the landlady of the Grange Hotel, stated that Mr. Caterer called at her house at about 11 o'clock on Monday morning and asked for a small glass of beer. Witness served the deceased in the parlor where he was standing looking at a picture. A few minutes after he left the house, having drunk only a little of the beer. Martha Matson stated that her husband was manager for Sir Samuel Davenport. She saw the deceased alive on Monday last walking along the Military road towards the Semaphore. Shortly afterwards he stood still and appeared to vomit, remaining stationary for about 10 minutes, when be again walked on in the direction of the Semaphore. He bore the air of a person who was sick and very tired, but witness thought he would have called at her house if he had been unwell. She did not see him alive again, but afterwards saw his dead body in a paddock only a short distance from the house where she resided. George Matson stated that on Wednesday evening he saw Mr. Caterer walking alone the Military-road, he climbed through the fence and went in the direction of tho sandhills. He did not see the face of the person he thought was Mr. Caterer, but he identified him by a large brown overcoat he wore and a black bag and an umbrella he carried. Witness also saw the deceased on Monday, and on that occasion also he carried the bag and umbrella with him. Henry Thomas Dorsett, a. chemist carrying on business in King William-street, Adelaide, stated that Mr. Caterer had been a customer of his for over ten years. On Friday, August 19, the deceased purchased a box of "rough on rats," stating he wanted it to poison the rats at the school at Glenelg. All the forms required by the Poison Act were complied with. Henry Thomas Eaton, mounted constable, said he found the body on Friday morning amongst the sandhills between Grange and Semaphore. The cape of bis coat was lying over his face, and the ground where he lay was not disturbed. The police had failed to find the lemonade bottle mentioned. William Kelly, lance-corporal of police, supported the evidence given by the witness. The black bag the deceased had carried contained some papers, three pocket books, a cheque-book, a door key, and a pencil case. On the body were found papers, 6s. 10½d. in a small canvas bag, a pair of gloves, and other small articles. There was nothing among the papers to throw any light on his death. William Herbert Phillips stated that the deceased had frequently consulted him about his private affairs. Amongst a package of letters produced he found notices addressed to Mr. Caterer of dishonored cheques which had been given to him from time to time, the nonpayment of which would cause very serious trouble. The letters were of quite recent date. There were also some pressing demands for money. During the past three weeks a scheme had been devised to relieve the deceased of his pecuniary embarrassments. The proposal would certainly have been carried out as it would have taken the deceased out of his monetary difficulties. The jury, after a short deliberation, brought in a verdict " that the deceased met his death by taking poison while in a state of temporary insanity.