Gruesome Headless Handless Body Find Skegness

Quite apart from the interesting content, this article reveals the procedures taken when a body was washed ashore in Skegness in Victorian times.

Notice how John Woodward ‘conveyed’ the body to the police station. Faced with such a find nowadays, one would summon the police to the site of the incident. One would also avoid touching the body so as not to hinder forensic examinations.

Also, look how Pc Coster was ‘dispatched to Boston’, presumably on a horse, to inform the Coroner.

Consider the writer’s usage of the term ‘supposed’. Seemingly in Victorian times, it held a slightly different nuance that it does today. Then, one could have substituted ‘thought to be’. Modern usage of the term would be ‘alleged’ , which creates an air of doubt and possibly sarcasm.

Headless Handless Body Washed Ashore Skegness

Early on Sunday morning last two boys named Fred Harness and Charles Green were walking on the sands about two miles north of the pier, when they found the body of a youth without either his head or hands, supposed to stand a little over five feet.
The only clothing on the body was a pair of serge trousers, stocking, and a pair of elastic side boots.
The body was conveyed by John Woodward to the police station.
Inspector Watkin at once dispatched Pc Coster to Boston to inform the Coroner of the facts who at once decided that an inquest was unnecessary, and gave an order for the burial, which took place on Monday.
The body is supposed to be one of the two youths that was lost in the smack I.M. that drifted out of Grimsby roads while the remainder of the crew were in Grimsby, and went ashore on the rose sands about the middle of December last.

Source: Skegness Herald 8th February 1884


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