No Theory as to Cause
Evidence at Inquest
Possibility of Poisoning
Fresh, light was thrown on the double tragedy which occurred near Waratah early on Wednesday after- noon last, as a result of investigations yesterday. The victims of the tragedy were Reglnal Colin Sutton (28) and Zillah Housego. (22), who were found lying together in a paddock near the railway line about three-quarters of a mile from Waratah. A beer bottle, con- taining a small quantity of ale, having an odour faintly resembling that of poison, was found beside the bodies. The victims had been keeping com- pany for 18 months.
The funeral of Miss Housego took place at the Wivenhoe (Burnie) ceme- tery yesterday. Sutton's funeral will take place at Wivenhoe to-day.
An early theory was that both Sutton and Miss Housego died from poison- ing, but the post-mortem examination upset this supposition. In the case of Sutton there was every , external evi- dence of poisoning. The opinion is at present held that Miss Housego died suddenly from heart failure, brought on by excessive action of the thyroid gland, stimulated by fear or shock. Such shock could have been the result of drinking an irritant poison.
A feature of the case is the entire absence of a definite theory as to the cause, of the tragedy.
An Inquest was opened by the Coro- ner (Mr. C. H. Stitz), of Hampshire, in the Waratah Courthouse yesterday. Sergeant A. J. Butler, of Burnie, repre- sented the police.
Constable Michael Thomas Donovan stated that he had viewed the body of a girl at the morgue, which he had iden- tified as that of Zillah Housego, whom he had known for about seven years. He last saw the girl alive about three or four days ago.
Alan Edwin Sutton, hotel barman, of Burnie, brother of the deceased. Reglnal Colin Sutton, said he had view- ed the body of a man at the Waratah morgue, and identified it as that of his brother Reginald. He last saw him alive at the Beach Hotel, Burnie, on Monday last when he appeared to be in his usual good health and spirits. He told witness that he was returning to Waratah that day. He made no complaints about any financial worries.
Edwin Theophilus Jesse Ick-Hewins, medical practitioner, of Waratah, said he had made a post-mortem examination on the bodies of,Zlllah Housego and Ae ginal Colin Sutton. There was no indication of anything but a sudden and comparatively peaceful death, so
far as Miss Housego was concerned. ; Certainly thero was no external indi- j cation of suffocation by strangling or |
otherwise. It was his opinion that death occurred suddenly from heart failure brought on by sudden excessive action ot the thyroid gland, stimulated by fear or shock, which might have been caused or intensified by drinking an irritant poison. I
In reply to Sergeant Butler, Dr. lek-1 Hewins stated that the girl had been i dead for roughly 24 hours when he ex- ¡ amlned the body. !
Dr. Ick-Howins said that examina- tion of the body of tho deceased Sutton showed that rigor mortis was very strongly In evidence, and the muscles of tho calf were drawn up in knots. Everything that he saw, both external- ly and internally, pointed to death hav- ing taken place as a result of the inges- tion of a poison. Ho thought, deceased had been dead about 24 hours.
Sergeant Butler made application that the Inquiry bo adjourned to a date
to be fixed, pending an analysis of the ; stomach contents of the victims.
The application was granted, and an order for burial was given.