Date: 2 Jan 1960
John Cumberlidge died from head injuries after a six-hour drinking spree.
His wife said that he went off to work at 8am on 1 January 1960 and didn't come home until about midnight at which time she said that he was in a dazed condition and complained about a pain in his left ear. She noted also that she saw some blood on his hair.
She said that he then went to bed and that the next morning she found him lying unconscious by his bedside.
He was taken to the infirmary where he died later that night.
She said, 'I asked him if anyone had hit him and he said he couldn't remember'.
A colleague of John Cumberlidge from work that had lived in Bateman Road, New Parks Estate and who was a labourer said that he had accompanied John Cumberlidge to several clubs and public houses to celebrate the New Year from just after 5pm to closing time, which was thought to be about 11pm, on 1 January 1960.
He said that they then took a taxi to his home taking six bottles of beer with them to drink there. He said that when they got back that he called his wife who was upstairs in bed to come down and have a drink with them but said that she refused.
He said that he then suggested calling a taxi for John Cumberlidge and then went to see if his brother-in-law who lived nearby would take him home on his motor-cycle.
He said that when he left he saw John Cumberlidge going upstairs.
He said that when he saw his brother-in-law he refused to take John Cumberlidge home and so he went to order a taxi and then returned to his house and found John Cumberlidge pouring bottles of beer down the sink.
He said that soon after there was a knock at the door and they all went to the door and opened it and found the taxi-driver there. He said that John Cumberlidge then asked the taxi-driver to wait a minute and that John Cumberlidge then banged the door in his face and then turned round and banged both his and his wife's heads together.
The labourer said that his reaction was to strike out and so he punched out. He said, 'I hit him somewhere in the face, I can't say where. He fell, and pulled my wife, and we all went down' and that the three of them then fell over a lawnmower that was standing in the passage.
However, he said that he didn't see any blood.
He said that as John Cumberlidge was leaving that fell down two steps and that the taxi-driver helped him to his feet.
He said that he thought that John Cumberlidge had drunk about 10 or 12 pints and had been drunk. He added, 'I was not as bad as him because I am a good drinker. But I'd had a few'.
The man's wife said that after her husband went out to see his brother-in-law that John Cumberlidge went into her bedroom, but that he left when she told him to get out. She said that after that she went downstairs and that John Cumberlidge started to use bad language and that she then ordered him out of the house.
She noted that she went to the nearby home of a police sergeant but said that he was not in.
She reiterated that John Cumberlidge had banged her and her husband’s heads together and said that when they all fell that some milk bottles were overturned but not broken.
The taxi-driver who lived in Bateman Road said that as he waited outside the house that he heard bad language and the sound of breaking glass. He added that he saw milk splashed twice on the front door window and that when John Cumberlidge emerged he was covered with milk and had been bleeding behind his left ear.
He added that John Cumberlidge refused to be driven to the infirmary and so he drove him home.
The doctor that carried out the post mortem said that John Cumberlidge had had an extremely thin skull and that parts of his stomach had been removed in previous operations and that 12 pints of beer would have made him drunk.
When the Coroner summed up he told the jury that if they felt that there was insufficient evidence to decide how, when and where his injuries took place that an open verdict would be the proper one which they returned.
see Leicester Evening Mail - Thursday 04 February 1960
see Leicester Evening Mail - Thursday 07 January 1960