Bristol Mercury Wednesday December 18th 1878.
INQUESTS-DEATH THROUGH BURNS – INFIRMARY. Also at the above institution, on the body of Theresa Oatway, aged six years, living with her parents in St Paul’s. On Saturday last the deceased was alone in a room, and her clothes caught fire and she was seriously burnt. She was taken to the Infirmary, but died on Sunday night. Elizabeth Bartlett said she was washing the doorstep, when she observed the little girl run out of the house enveloped in flames. She got a large coat, and, throwing it around the deceased, extinguished the flames. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death through burns.”

Bristol Mercury Saturday January 18th 1879.
OFFENCES AGAINST THE GAME LAWS. – Solomon Oatway, of Long Ashton, was summoned by Thomas Tarr, gamekeeper to Sir G. Smyth, Bart., for using an engine to kill game on the night of the 6th instant. The keeper deposed that he saw the defendant setting a wire to catch hares about eight o’clock at night, on land in the occupation of Mr. Richard Harding, at Long Ashton. There was a previous conviction for a similar offence. The defendant was sent to goal for six weeks and bound over in sureties not to offend again for one year.

The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, Monday September 12th 1881.
LONG ASHTON – PETTY SESSIONS – FRIDAY. – Richard Hancock, of Long Ashton, was charged on remand with stealing, on the 29th August, a quantity of potatoes, the property of Solomon Oatway. The prisoner was further charged with stealing, on the 19th of August, at Long Ashton, a quantity of onions, growing in a garden etc. . . . . . The prisoner, who had several times been convicted of garden robberies, was sentenced to six month’s hard labour in Bristol goal.

The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post Friday November 30th 1883.
BRISTOL COUNTY COURT. – YESTERDAY. Oatway v. Rees and Wife. Mr. MacPherson, instructed by Messrs, Clifton and Carter, appeared for the plaintiff; Mr. Poole, instructed by Messrs. Stanley Wasbrough and Doggett, represented the defendants, Mr. MacPherson said the plaintiff was a plasterer, and the action was brought under the Employers Liability Act to recover the sum of £100 for injuries sustained through the alleged negligence of defendants. The claim, he said, arose out of an accident, which occurred on the 7th of September last, at a house called Myrtle Cottage, Horfield. Mrs. Rees was the owner in fee simple, subject to a mortgage, of the cottage in question, and in September she and her husband went to live there. Certain alterations required to be done, but instead of employing a contractor or builder defendants purchased the necessary materials and then engaged different labourers to do the work by piece. A journeyman mason named Peglar, and the carpenter named Thomas were employed to do their class of work, and defendant was engaged to do the plastering, all of them being paid by the hour for the time they were employed. Appurtenant to the cottage was a shed, and the injury which the plaintiff had sustained was caused by his falling through the roof of that shed, which the male defendant employed him to tile. The plaintiff complained that the roof was unsafe and defective, and that the carpenter who had been employed had pointed out to Mr. Rees that the roof as constructed was not secure, but he replied that he had no more timber.

His Honour said it was rather a startling proposition that everybody one employed to repair his house was his servant.

Mr. MacPherson argued that the plaintiff came within the definition of a “workman” which under the Act was very wide indeed. The plaintiff was employed by the defendants at 7d.per hour, and therefore, he submitted a workman in their employ under the ACT.

His Honour remarked that if a person brought a man on to his premises and left some unguarded trap into which he stumbled he might be liable quite outside the Employers Liability Act.

Mr. MacPherson said the operation of the Act was to render the employer liable for the negligence of any one of his servants. The wife owned the property to her separate use. She was the employer and the husband was entrusted with the management of the work, and therefore in a sense was her servant, and she must be held liable for any negligence of which he might be guilty.

Dr. Parrott, surgeon to the Ancient Order of Foresters, stated that he was called to see the plaintiff, and found him suffering from shock to the nervous system, contusions over the ribs and on the back, which appearances were consistent with his having a fall. Witness was still certifying to his inability to go to work. The shock had had a great effect on his constitution, and he was not now the man he was previously.

Charles Oatway, the plaintiff, a plaster and tiler, stated that upon getting on the roof to fix the tiles it collapsed and fell in, carrying him with it. Cross-examined – Rees did not complain of his putting all the tiles upon one side first.

Walter Thomas, a carpenter, who fixed the roof, said that he asked Mr. Rees if you should put a strut to the roof from the partition in the shed, and defendant and said if one was required he had better get it.

Mr.John Thorn, builder, said the last witness had described to him how the roof was constructed, and he did not consider it a safe roof.

Mr. John Shorland, builder, gave corroborative evidence.

This being the plaintiff’s case.

Mr. Poole submitted at his learned friend must be non-suited on his own evidence, and said it would be a monstrous thing if, by an application to the Employers Liability Act, the defendant should be held liable. Even if it should be held to be a case under the Employers Liability Act, the plaintiff from his long experience should have seen that the roof was unsafe, and in venturing upon it he took the risk upon himself.

Mr. MacPherson having replied.

His Honour held that there was such contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff as disentitled him to recover. Whilst he had every sympathy with him in his suffering it would be very hard on the defendants if they were held liable for the acts of a third party, vis., the carpenter who put up the roof in an improper manner. He gave judgment for defendant.


The Bristol Mercury Saturday February 19th 1887.
ALLEGED NEGLECT OF AN INFANT. – INQUEST AT BEDMINSTER. Yesterday morning, Mr..H.S. Wasbrough, city coroner, held an inquest at the Avon Packet, Coronation Road, touching the death of an infant named Alice Elizabeth Oatway, the illegitimate child of Tiney Oatway.

The Coroner said that the case was one of supposed neglect. Whether or not it was so they would find from the evidence, but the medical man who last saw the child did not feel justified in giving a certificate in consequence of the emancipated state of the child, which he attributed to neglect and bad feeding, and the fact of it being an illegitimate child necessitated that inquiry.

Tiney Otway, mother of the deceased, living at Long Ashton, a laundress, said the child was over eight months old, and was healthy when born. At first witness attended to it and suckled it for about six weeks. After that time witness gave the child in charge of her sister, a widow, for six weeks, and subsequently it was taking to a Mrs. Mitchell, living at Providence, Long Ashton. The child was perfectly healthy when taken to Mrs. Mitchell, and in good condition. Witness paid 4s. a week for the child’s keep. Three weeks ago the child seemed very ill, and she therefore took it away and placed it with her sister again. On the morning she removed the child, her sister took it to Mr. Fuller, surgeon, who had on a previous occasion seen it. Mrs. Mitchell took the child to the doctor once, and on Saturday last Dr. Logan, went to see it. When the child was removed three weeks ago, it was in the same wretched, emancipated state in which it was when it died. The child was not kept clean, and witness found at its clothes were in a filthy state when she received them a week after the child was removed. The child died on Monday last. Witness was not aware that its life was insured. About a month after she took the child to Mrs. Mitchell, witness told her “she had a mind to insure the child.”  Mrs. Mitchell replied she thought of doing that herself, so that if it died, witness could pay her so much you week back. Witness replied, “No; if anyone insures it, I shall do it myself.”

In answer to Mrs. Mitchell, the witness said that she did not have notice to remove the child, but did so because of its condition.

Dr. Joseph Fuller, practicing at Long Ashton, said that on October 5th, last year, the child was brought to him. It was suffering from whooping cough, and from the effects of injudicious feeding. He asked Mrs. Mitchell what the child have been fed on, and was told, “on bread and Bath biscuits.” He told her he did not think the child digested its food. He formed that opinion from its condition. Witness prescribed for the child, and ordered her to give it milk and water in the proportion of two parts of milk to one part water. He did not see the child again until three weeks ago, and it then appeared more emancipated than when he saw it on the previous occasion. There were abrasions on the back and leg, which should not have been there if the child had been properly washed, kept clean, and attended to. He came to the conclusion that the child is dying from consumption of the bowels. This might be produced by ill feeding or neglect, and might follow whooping cough. Anything that would depress the system would be likely to bring on general tuberculosis. Bad feeding would certainly depress the system.

By a Juryman – He did not consider, taking into consideration the child’s state when he saw it on the second occasion, it would have been improved, however carefully it was attended, during the last three weeks.

Dr. F. T. B. Logan, Southville, deposed that he saw the child for the first time on Saturday last, when he was fetched by the mother. The child was in a dying stage when he saw it. It was too ill to be much examined, and it was difficult to form an opinion what it was suffering from. The child at that time was very clean. He prescribed for it, and again saw the child on Monday morning, when it appeared to be just alive. He did not see it again, and he believed it died a few hours after he last saw it. He made a post-mortem examination on Thursday morning. The body was most emancipated, and there was not a particle of fat on any part of the body, either externally or on the internal organs. There was an abscess on its head, and two partially healed sores. Round the buttocks, and inside the thighs of the child was one mass of abrasions and sores, which might be produced either by some lowering cause or by dirt and neglect. The most frequent cause was children not being kept clean. He found the lungs one mass of tubercle. In the left lung the tubercle had broken down, and formed an abscess. The heart appeared healthy, except from it being somewhat enlarged. the liver it was also full of tubercle. The spleen was very much in enlarged, and was also full of tubercle; and the kidneys were similarly affected. The stomach and intestines were destitute of fat, and very transparent. There was milk food in both.  The mesenteric   glands were infiltrated with tubercle. General tuberculosis was the cause of death, and would fully account for the emancipated state of the body. Improper feeding and neglect would produce the state in which the body was, and the two were the most usual causes of tuberculosis in infants. It might be brought on by whooping cough, cold, or any disease which would lower the system generally.

By a Juryman – In the state the child was, it was impossible that any feeding could have produced an improvement in three weeks.

By the Coroner – The child only weighed 8 lb. The average ordinary weight of a female child of eight months would be about 14 lb. He should think, from its appearance, that the child was of ordinary size when born.

The inquiry was then adjourned until Monday at 4 at the Bedminster police station


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