Date: 10 Oct 1938
Place: Greenwood Gate, Withyham
Kenneth Ferguson was found shot through the heart with a gun beside him.
He was found by a man at 7.15 on 10 October 1938 lying on the floor of an engine room in a pool of blood. The door to the engine room was said to have been shut, but not locked.
The gun was found by his side with one hammer down.
He was found at the bottom of some steps which were said would only ordinarily be used for turning a tap on or off. It was heard that Monday was the day for running the engine for charging the electric light.
He had lived at Green Wood Gate Farm in Withyham and worked in Greenwood Gate as a chauffeur. He was said to have been happy at his work, with no financial worries and to have been eagerly anticipating marriage.
A woman at the farm where he lived said that she called him at 6.20am on the Monday and said that he was then his usual self.
The gun was owned by a Lord, but it was heard that Kenneth Ferguson would use it for rabbit shooting. It was said to have ordinarily been left in the corner of the engine room behind the door.
When the doctor examined his body at 8.30 he said that he found him to be quite dead. He said that Kenneth Ferguson had a circular penetrating wound on the left side of his chest around which there was black discolouration, particularly in the lower part, which was charred. He said that he thought that the gun had been discharged very close to his body, through his clothes.
When the police arrived, they said that they found the double-barrelled gun lying on the floor of the engine room and that between the gun and Kenneth Ferguson there was the flight of wooden steps which were in the centre of the room, six feet from the wall. They said that the gun was three feet from his body.
The police said that a person would have been able to reach the trigger of the gun if they bent down.
The Coroner said that the medical evidence stated that the gun had been discharged close to his body, but that the gun was found three feet away. He said that it was often the case when a man shot himself that the man and the gun crumpled up together but observed that Kenneth Ferguson might have stumbled.
It was heard that the jury could not decide whether he had shot himself deliberately or by accident and an open verdict was returned.
see West Sussex Gazette - Thursday 20 October 1938, p7
see Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser - Friday 14 October 1938