Sheffield Independent October 27, 1909
The Mystery of a Kilnhurst Man’s Death
The mystery of the disappearance of a Kilnhurst blacksmith striker named Tom Williams Stocks (34), a single man, lodging at 22 Hooton Rd, was cleared up on Sunday when his decomposed body was recovered from the River Don near to the Swinton sewage work. He was formerly in the army, and though originally from Mexborough, for the past eight months have been lodging with Mrs Mary Elizabeth Bates at Kilnhurst.
According to her story told to Mr J Kenyon Parker, the deputy Coroner, and a Mexborough Jury yesterday, she had not seen him since October 3. At dinnertime on that date he came in the worse for drink. She remonstrated with him, and he replied, “Take me and drown me.” He used to talk like that when in drink, but she never took him seriously.
He was in no trouble, and was in good work. He only got drink at the weekend.
When Marshall, who lodged and slept in the same room with the deceased, said when he went upstairs October 3 the deceased was in bed. He spoke to him. At that time Stocks was not quite sober. When witness awoke at 5 o’clock the deceased had disappeared. When he was in drink he threatened to drown himself.
There were no external marks of violence on the body, which probably had been in the water between 20 and 30 days, said Dr JJ Huey, who had made a post-mortem examination. He did not conclusively show the cause of death owing to putrefaction having setting, but everything was consistent with death by drowning.
PC Naylor, who assisted to recover the body, found £2 4s 7d, a Clubcard, and other articles on the deceased. The river ran nearby the deceased lodging, and it was quite possible for a strong current of came to the spot where he was found.
The jury returned a verdict of “Found drowned.”