Freeman's Journal

10 May 1849

Inquest at Nenagh on the body of Dr LANGLEY's wife, and verdict of manslaughter against her husband

  The Nenagh papers during last weekhave been publishing extended reports of proceedings at an inquest upon the body of Mrs LANGLEY, wife of Surgeon LANGLEY, of that town. On Wednesday the adjourned inquest was held at Nenagh, before James CARROLL, Esq., coroner, NR.
  After a lengthy investigation of circumstances, the following document was read, professing to be the result of the post mortem examination :—
  "External appearances of the body presented nothing unusual. On opening the chest we found both lungs were extensively diseased, with large tubercles of long standing in each, the posterior portion of the right lung very highly congested, the heart of natural size, but soft containing some fatty deposit. On opening the adomen we found the liver enlarged, particularly the left lobe, but otherwise healthy in appearance. The stomach presented nothing unusual externally, the inside and the surface appeared healthy, and contained about two ounced of thick viscid fluid. The spleen was enlarged and congested. The small intestines and peritoneal covering presented patches of recent inflamation, which we think sufficiently accounts for the diarrhoe under which she laboured, and ultimately caused her death.

(Signed)  "O'Neill QUIN, MD
"Edward KITSON, Surgeon "George FRITH, Surgeon
"Thomas SPAIN, Surgeon"
  Mr. POE, nephew of the deceased, expressed himself satisfied with the result of the medical investigattion, stating that all apprehension on the part of Mrs LANGLEY's friends of poison having been administered had been removed by the post mortem examination.
  Nevertheless, the respectable jury who tried the case, after much anxiety and deliberation, refused to give a verdict, stating that information had been supressed, and that they wished to have Doctor LANGLEY's treatment of his wife more fully explained.
  Dr. LANGLEY admitted his treatment of deceased for some months to have been rather harsh, but said he was prepared to show cause.
  Mrs. LANGLEY had been for a short time previous to her death in hired lodgings.
  The jury having persisted in requiring additional testimony to enable them to come to an accurate verdict, the inquest was adjourned to Saturday.
  We have perused the disgusting details, elicited on the resumed inquest with some attention, and have come to the conclusion, that it would not be desirable or proper to transfer the proceediongs into our columns. The evidence of the physicians who examioned negatived the supporsition that any poison had been administered to the deceased lady. It appeared, however, that she had been driven from from her husband's house. The cause assigned on the part of Dr. LANGLEY for this was, an admitted improper intercourse with her servant man, the replication to which, on the part of his wife's friends embodied a suggestion, that the husband had employed medicinal agents to produce the state of circumstances underwhich the lady had become faithless. Nothing to substantiate such a suggestion appeared in evidence.
  The following is the verdict as given in the local papers which reached us yesterday :—
  At six o'clock the jury intimated that they had agreed, and the coroner having entered the room and asked them the usual question—had they agreed a verdict?
  The forman answered "Yes," and read the following :— "We find the deceased Eleanor LANGLEY, came to her death in consequence of a bowel complaint, brought on by unnatural and diabolical treatment recieved at the hands of her husband, Charles LANGLEY, and of which she died at Nenagh aon teh 1st of May instant. We therefore find the said Charles LANGLEY guilty of manslaughter."
  The jury were then discharged.
  A coroner's warrant was issued on Saturday evening for the arrest of Doctor LANGLEY on a charge of the crime mentioned in the above verdict. Dr. LANGLEY has not been since arrested. We understand he is not in Nenagh.

© Nick Reddan 2003