Date: 22 Jul 1910
Place: Station Road, Wincanton
James Jukes died from a blood clot.
It was heard that he might have been hit in a fight.
He was found dead in his room on Friday 22 July 1910 by a fellow lodger.
It was heard that he had been at Uncle Toms Cabin on Saturday 2 July 1910 when a fight took place. A man said that he had been passing Uncle Toms Cabin on the Saturday evening when he saw two men talking very loudly as though they were having words. He said that they were close together and that there were about a dozen people around them. He said that he heard the voice of the other man who was identified and said that they appeared to catch hold of each other and fall and that they were then pulled up and James Jukes went off home which was about 60 yards away. However, he said that James Jukes then immediately came back and went over to the Dolphin where he and the other man sat on the ground quarrelling. The man said that he then went over to them and grabbed hold of them and pulled them to their feet. He said that they then walked off and that a police sergeant then came over.
However, the man added that he didn't see any blows struck.
A labourer said that he had been walking up the High Street in Wincanton at about 10.50pm on 2 July 1910 near to Uncle Toms Cabin when he passed between James Jukes and the other man that James Jukes was said to have been in the fight with. He said that they were having high words and said that he heard James Jukes calling the other man abusive names and challenging him to a fight. He said that the other man told James Jukes that he didn't want to fight and said that James Jukes then called the other man a ---- coward and that James Jukes then took the other man by the coat and pulled him into the road. He said that the other man then accepted the challenge and that they both then took off their coats and that after sparring for a time they caught hold of each other and then fell to the ground. He said that he heard the sound as off a man’s head hitting the pavement but said that he could not tell whose head it was.
A carter that saw the fight said that they had been quarrelling over a watch. He said that he saw James Jukes with a stick in his hand but said that James Jukes dropped the stick before he and the other man closed. He said that James Jukes ran off when the policeman came along.
The man said that he saw James Jukes on the following day and said that James Jukes told him that he had a headache but said that he did not connect that with the fight the previous night.
The policeman that came along said that when he saw James Jukes he saw that he had blood on his face from his nose and said that when he asked James Jukes what he had been up to, James Jukes had replied, 'Nothing'. The policeman said that he then said, 'It looks as if you have been fighting and you better clear away home'. The policeman said that he then saw the other man that James Jukes was said to have been fighting with and said that he asked him what the matter was and said that the man replied, 'That fellow turned into me, look at my shirt'. The policeman said that the man's shirt was torn. The policeman said that he warned the man and said that the man then at once went off.
It was also heard that James Jukes was later working at a farm as a farm labourer and had one day in the week before he died, asked another man to look at his head and ask if there was any blood on it. The man said that he looked but could not see any. He said that James Jukes then told him that he thought there was as he had knocked his head but didn't say how or when.
A doctor said that on the Monday night before James Jukes died a man came to see him, telling him that James Jukes had a bad head. The doctor said that he had just got back from walking to Cucklington and asked the man a few questions about James Jukes and then gave the man some pills to give to James Jukes, adding that if he was not better in the morning, to let him know. However, the doctor said that at about 7am the next morning the man came back and told the doctor that James Jukes was dead.
The doctor said that when he got to James Jukes's room he found him on his bed, having been told that he had been lifted there from the floor where he had been found dead. He said that James Jukes's tongue was protruding from his mouth and that there was a quantity of foam coming escaping from his mouth and nostrils, as well as evidence that his bowels had recently acted. He said that there were no marks of violence.
The doctor said that when he carried out the post-mortem he found a great engorgement of all the blood vessels of the covering of the brain and that between the meninges and the brain on the right parietal region he found and effusion of blood about an inch and a half to two inches in diameter which he said he thought had been there for about 15 or 16 days.
The doctor then concluded that he was of the opinion that the blood clot had set up congestion of the brain which had then probably caused a convulsion of an epileptic type and that James Jukes had then died from the convulsion.
The doctor said that clots of that nature were caused as a result of concussion of the brain or had resulted from an increase of blood pressure in the brain due to some violent effort. He added that there was no evidence on or under the scalp of any violence being applied but also added that he would not expect there to be after 14 days.
The doctor said that his first thought after seeing the blood clot was whether James Jukes had been involved in any row or had had any injury to his head, stating that that was before he knew the facts.
The Coroner said that it was for the jury to say how the clot of blood came on the brain, noting that it was quite clear that it had caused his death. He added that with regards to the alleged fight, it did not matter whether a man was the aggressor or not and that if he had died as a result of a fight then technically it was manslaughter.
The jury returned an open verdict, stating that there was no evidence to show how it had been caused.
see Western Gazette - Friday 29 July 1910