William Stuart born about 1849, died 9 March 1880 aged 31 or 32 years, buried Motueka Cemetery row 5, plot 65.
Nelson. Tuesday. Tom [sic] Stuart, photographer, who recently has been living at Motueka was missed since Friday last. A search was made, and continued till this morning, when the body was discovered near the cemetery. It appears that he wrote to his mother on Friday last, intimating that he intended destroying himself.
Marlborough Daily Times, Volume ii, Issue 105, 23 March 1880, Page 3
From inquiries we learn that the deceased, who was well connected, was better known in the Marlborough district than in Nelson. So far we are without grounds for attributing his rash act to any particular circumstance, but we shall doubtless be in possession of farther details very shortly.
Colonist, Volume XXIII, Issue 2683, 23 March 1880, Page 3
Suicide at Motueka.
On Monday last an inquest was held at Motueka touching the death of William Stuart, photographer, the finding of whose body together with some particulars regarding his death furnished by our correspondents has been made public in these columns. The Jury having been duly sworn, and Mr S. Carter chosen foreman, the following evidence was adduced :-
Lucy Burnell deposed that she was the wife of a laborer. That morning whilst going for some wood she crossed the sandhills, when she found the body lying near the Cemetery. She had never seen the deceased before. She immediately sent her son to the wharfinger to inform him of the occurrence.
Daniel White, a miner, deposed that he was lodging at the Retreat Inn. He knew the deceased slightly, and last saw him alive on Friday afternoon, the 19th instant, near Mr Coppins' hotel, but he did not speak to him. That morning Mrs Burnell's boy came to him and told him that his mother had found the body lying near the Cemetery. He went with William Davy, and at once recognised the body as that of William Stuart. He thereupon sent word to the constable.
W. W. Coppins, proprietor of the Motueka Hotel deposed that he knew deceased, who for the last eight weeks had been lodging at his house. He noticed that Stuart was very gloomy and continually saying that he wished he was dead. He believed that on Sunday night he took half a three and sixpenny bottle of chlorodyne. He wished deceased to see the Coroner when that gentleman was over with Judge Broad, but he urged him (witness) not to call him. Deceased had eaten nothing for a week, and he last saw him on Friday evening when at his request he gave him half a pint of beer he then said he wanted to go down and see Mr Burrell. The deceased had repeatedly said that he wished he was dead, and when he heard of Mr Talbot's death he said he wished he was in his place. By a juror: He should think he was not quite right in his mind; he had been suffering from diarrhoea. He had a copy of a letter deceased wrote to his brother, which read — "My dear James, — I received your kind letter. It was my intention not to have written to a soul. I shall never write to any one again; I mean to destroy myself to-night after dark. I shall be found near the grave yard. I wish to give as little trouble as possible." The deceased was not at all intoxicated on the Friday. George Hickmot, laborer, deposed: He knew deceased, and last saw him alive about a week ago, when he appeared as usual. He found the bottle produced about 15 yards from where the body was found, and the white crystals in it were the same then as when he found it.
Johan Peter Ernest F. Johansen, duly qualified medical practitioner, deposed that he had seen the body of deceased, but the external signs were so inconsiderable that without other evidence he could give no opinion. The body was in an advanced stage of decomposition. He noticed no signs of hydrocyanic acid. After giving the appearance of deceased, the witness stated that there were no signs of violence on the body, and that the signs were of poisoning by cyanide of potassium, which is used by photographers. Death must have been almost instantaneous. The poison would decompose almost immediately. By a Juror: He would not find any further proof by a further examination. The Coroner said that from the evidence of the last witness he did not think a post mortem examination necessary and the jury then returned a verdict " That decased [sic] died from taking a dose of cyanide of potassium, administered by his own hand whilst in a state of temporary insanity.
Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XV, Issue 72, 24 March 1880, Page 2