Wednesday, November 9, 2011

REMARKABLE CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY 1907

WRONG IDENTIFICATION BY NINE PEOPLE. A remarkable case of mistaken identity by nine witnesses was reported from Birmingham on Monday, December 10.

The previous Thursday an inquest was held at Hamstead, near Birmingham on the body of a man who was supposed to have committed suicide by drowning. A woman named Wilkes claimed the body as that of Edward Fairlow, an unemployed miner who had lodged in her house. He had lost his job at Hamstead colliery through an accident, and in despair he threatened to take his life.

A servant named Ada Fairlow said that the body was that of her father, a Cannock Chase miner aged 60. He had written to her a few days previously, saying that, as he could not get work he would either have to go into the workhouse or die of starvation, but he thought that death by drowning would be preferable.

The jury found the body was that of Edward Fairlow, and that he committed suicide while of unsound mind. Afterwards other members of the Fairlow family identified the remains. In all nine persons identified the remains as those of Edward Fairlow. Preparations were made for a burial but Fairlow turned up at his son's house on the Saturday. He said he had read in the newspapers an account of his supposed suicide, and he was anxious to let his family see that he was not dead. He had obtained a situation, and was going to work on the Monday.

He was much amused when shown his own funeral card. Supt. Milliner was informed, and it appears that Fairlow stayed with a- married daughter on the Friday night.

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