Date: 9 Aug 1939
Place: Chepel Street, Paddington
George Noel Leefe was found lying on the pavement at 11.15pm on 8 August 1939 and taken to Paddington Police Station where he later died.
He had been found with another man and was taken to the police station and charged with being drunk and incapable.
However, he could not be roused the following morning and was taken to Paddington Hospital where he died from a fractured skull.
George Leefe had been on home leave from India at the time. He had lived at 9b Oxford and Cambridge Mansions in Marylebone.
After being taken to the police station and charged he had been put in a special cell with a wooden floor and visited at intervals but the police surgeon was called the following morning when he could not be roused.
After the Coroner returned the open verdict he said that he was satisfied that the treatment of George Leefe at the police station had been proper and that every care had been taken of him.
He added that George Leefe didn't get the fracture at the police station, saying that he probably got it when he fell in the street whilst assisting a man who was obviously the worse for drink.
His post-mortem revealed no other signs of external injury. The pathologist said that George Leefe had a fractured skull and a blood clot on his brain had caused his death.
The licensee of the Pontefract Castle pub in Chepel Street said that George Leefe, who he knew as a customer, had been laying darts with another man who he had made the acquaintance of. He said that he had come in at about 7.45pm and had been out a few times but finally left at about 10.57pm. He said that the other man had two light ales and two whiskies. He added that there was no quarrelling and that George Leefe was not the worse for drink, but a little merry, but noted that he had had to ask the other man to leave. The licensee said that George Leefe and the other man had left together.
However, the licensee said that a short while after they left, he looked out of his window and saw a crowd of people and then saw George Leefe lying on the pavement.
The other man, who said that he had not known George Leefe until that evening said that George Leefe had not been the worse for drink. However, he said that he didn't remember whether he had left the pub with George Leefe.
He said that he was told by the police that he had fallen to the ground but didn't remember.
When the Coroner asked the other man if he had been the worse for drink he said, 'Yes', and the Coroner noted that it was very frank of him to say so.
The other man was charged with being drunk and incapable and was fined.
A policeman that arrived at the scene at 11.15pm said that he saw George Leefe lying on the pavement with the other man sitting on it. He said that when he examined George Leefe he observed that he smelt strongly of drink and took him to the Police Station after coming to the conclusion that he was drunk.
He said that when he made enquires regarding what had happened he said that no one seemed to know except that both men were on the pavement.
The station sergeant at the police station said that when George Leefe was brought to the station he also came to the conclusion that he was drunk. He said that if he had known that George Leefe had had a fractured skull then he would not have charged him and would have sent for the divisional surgeon.
A policeman that saw George Leefe the following morning said that he looked pale and had been breathing loudly and sent for a doctor and that George Leefe was then taken to the hospital.
The doctor at Paddington Hospital said that when George Leefe was admitted he was deeply comatosed and dying.
Solicitors for George Leefe's relatives said at the inquest that George Leefe had been in a comatosed condition and had vomited when taken to the police station which they said were symptoms of a fractured skull but noted to the Coroner that they were suggesting that the police had been mistaken about his condition and not that they had acted wrongly.
His body had been identified by his sister who had last seen him earlier in the evening at a flat. She said that he was home from India at the time and was not working.
When the Coroner summed up he said that there was no evidence that George Leefe had received any blow to the face or head and noted that he had the kind of fractur that might have been caused by a fall to the ground but said that they didn't know what had actually happened. He also added that although George Leefe had seemed the worse for drink, he might not have been drunk.
An open verdict was returned.
see Marylebone Mercury - Saturday 19 August 1939
see Western Daily Press - Tuesday 15 August 1939