Date: 15 Jun 1928
Place: Houndhead, Broadhempston
Norman Wooldridge was found dead from a gunshot in a slaughter-house.
Norman Wooldridge had been working at the slaughter-house since January 1928.
He was found by his employer at about 7pm after he had returned from his dinner. He had a boy who also worked with him at the time and when they went into the slaughter-house the boy walked in and then suddenly shouted 'Norman's murdered'.
He was found lying on the floor on his back with a shotgun to his right-hand side and a stick lying across his legs.
His head had been shattered to pieces.
The gun that had been used was ordinarily kept in the slaughter-house and was used for shooting bullocks. The owner said that the cartridges were kept separately on the farm in a desk and said that Norman Wooldridge would not have known where they were.
The inquest heard that Norman Wooldridge had never used a gun.
There were no papers or letters to throw any light on the incident either.
A doctor who examined his body said that Norman Wooldridge must have had the muzzle of the gun almost touching his face when it went off and suggested that he might have been doing something to the gun with the stick and that a cartridge might have exploded.
The employer said that it would have been impossible for a cartridge to have been left in the gun.
Norman Wooldridge's father said that he would never believe that his son did it wilfully. He did suggest that he might have been trying to do something with the stick, saying 'You know what boys are like, they will try things'.
A farm labourer said that he saw Norman Wooldridge between 5pm and 6pm and that he passed the time of day with him and that he seemed in his usual cheerful mood.
A constable said that he found a Post Office bank book with £33 in it belonging to Norman Wooldridge as well as over £1 in cash.
The Coroner said that the case was mysterious and returned an open verdict.
see Western Times - Friday 15 June 1928