London Evening Standard – Monday 19 March 1849
Attempted Suicide by a Lunatic.
On Saturday morning last a man reached Darfield, on his road to Doncaster, from Barnsley, and was observed by one of the inhabitants, who considered him to be in an insane state of mind, though he had shown no violence or obstinacy.
A constable was sent for to watch his proceedings. Previous to the constable’s arrival, however, he called at a cottage, and asked leave to sit down and rest himself. He shortly afterwards rose from his seat and went into an adjoining kitchen, where he provided himself with a knife, and threatened to stab the master of the house if he did not fetch a constable immediately.
The cottager and his family escaped unharmed, but before they could call in assistance, which was close at hand, the maniac cut his own throat, but fortunately, from the bluntness of the knife, not effectually. So determined, however, was he to commit the deed, that he paused to sharpen the knife and tried again, but was immediately taken in charge by the constable and others, who prevented him doing further injury to himself.
On further inquiry being instituted, it was found that the man had very improperly been allowed to leave Barnsley that morning, after being in the charge of the proper authorities there since the previous Thursday for threatening to stab a widow woman that day, and afterwards throwing himself into the canal.
He give his name John Kirkby, or George Smith, labourer, about 45 years of age, and formerly resided at Winterton, near Brigg, in the county of Lincoln.
He was examined by two doctors before the magistrates at Barnsley, on Monday, and afterwards conveyed to the asylum at Wakefield.