Date: 25 Dec 1956
Place: Clarence Dock, Liverpool
Tom Berry Reardon was found dead in Clarence Dock having died from a fractured skull.
An open verdict was returned.
He had lived at 15 Oxford Road in Waterloo and was a watchman at Clarence Dock. It was noted that he had recently asked a woman to marry him but had been refused.
He had been on duty on the tug Assistance in Clarence Dock from 4pm on Christmas Day but had left whilst on duty and it was determined that he had gone into Crosby and that he had not returned as there was snow on the gangplank of the tug which was undisturbed and had no footprints in it.
Tom Reardon had instead later gone to the Crosby Hotel where he had a drink and met the woman that he had asked to marry him.
The woman that he had asked to marry him had lived at 17 Ashcroft Street in Bootle and was a widow. She said that Tom Reardon had asked her on numerous occasions to marry him but said that she had refused, saying that it would not be fair to him.
She said that on Christmas Day that she had been working as a barmaid at the Crosby Hotel when Tom Reardon came in. She said that he had two pints and then left, saying goodnight.
She said that after her work she went to Crosby Station, arriving at 10.50pm, to use the telephone and that whilst there she saw Tom Reardon on the platform who she said asked her to go home with him, but she said that she was unable to.
At the inquest, the woman was asked whether Tom Reardon had said, 'If you won't marry me I might as well throw myself into the graving dock?', the woman replied, 'I am not sure whether he said he would throw himself into the dock or just that he would go to the dock'.
When the Coroner summed up he said that Tom Reardon had gone on watch on the tug Assistance in Clarence Dock at 4pm on Christmas Day and that he should have remained there on duty until he was relieved at 8am on 26 December 1956. However, the Coroner said that the evidence showed that Tom Reardon had in fact gone to Crosby and did not return to the tug as evidenced by snow on the quayside and the tug's gangway being undisturbed. He noted that Tom Reardon was last seen by the barmaid at the station and that his body was discovered in Clarence Dock by a diver who had gone down to remove an obstruction from the dock gate.
He then noted that Tom Reardon was found to have had a fractured skull and that it was the skull fracture and not drowning that was his cause of death. The Coroner added that there was no evidence to show how he had come by that injury and the open verdict was returned.
see Liverpool Echo - Monday 07 January 1957