Date: 24 Sep 1945
The remains of what was thought to have been Charles Hurst were found in his burnt-out caravan on the morning of 24 September 1945.
He was a man of colour and a general dealer and was blind in one eye.
The coroner said that he was going to assume that the remains found were those of Charles Hurst. He said, 'I am going to presume that the remains belong to this man. It is probable that he died accidently through his caravan catching fire, as had been known to have occurred before through him having a large fire. But as that is mere speculation, I cannot certify that. There is not sufficient evidence to find how his death was caused. There must be an open verdict'.
A woman that lived about a quarter of a mile from Charles Hurst said that Charles Hurst was fond of a big fire. The coroner then noted that he was a man of colour and supposed that he had not got use to the English climate which he noted was not surprising.
A man that lived in Main Road, Great Leighs said that he had known Charles Hurst for about 18 years and that as far as he knew Charles Hurst had no enemies but said that he was rather erratic at times.
The man then asked the coroner if Charles Hurst's gold watch had been found in his caravan and the coroner replied that a metal watch had been found, but that it was not gold. The man said that he was asking in case it became apparent that Charles Hurst had been robbed, noting that Charles Hurst often pawned his watch. However, the coroner replied, 'But if anything sinister had happened to him, there is not the slightest evidence to support that theory'.
Following the inquest, the police made a further search of the caravan and found the gold watch in the debris beneath an overturned stove.
A solicitor in Chelmsford said that Charles Hurst was a client of his and said that he had called on him and shown him his watch and told him that he thought that it had been tampered with whilst it was in pawn. He said that Charles Hurst told him that he had sufficient money in his left-hand breast pocket to keep him going until February, at which point he wanted him to finance him, presumably from his estate. When the solicitor was asked how much he thought Charles Hurst had had on him, he suggested about £50.
The solicitor said that at the same time Charles Hurst executed a will.
Charles Hurst's wife, who he had married in December 1930 and who was living in Chelmondiston in Suffolk, said that when she read the account of Charles Hurst's death in the newspaper, she 'thought she ought to be at the inquest'. She said that they had married in December 1930 and had lived together for about five years but had parted nine years earlier and that she had not seen or heard anything from him since.
An open verdict was returned.
see Essex Newsman - Tuesday 02 October 1945
see Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 05 October 1945