The following are two reports of the inquest into Robert BARTON's death.
Brighton Guardian 4th August 1880:
FATAL ACCIDENT TO A FISHERMAN
On Friday evening, an inquest was held at the County Hospital relative to the death of Robert Barton, 27 years of age, a fisherman, living at No 26, Sun Street. Deceased was in the service of Mr Gunn, and had been out fishing with other men in the smack Prima Donna. The smack came ashore on Tuesday morning, and two horses were employed to pull it up on the beach. While the horses were at work deceased placed a slide under the keel of the boat. Just at that moment the chain, a double one, snapped in two and struck him on the chest, knocking him into the water. He was at once conveyed to the County Hospital, but he died on the way. Mr Leonard Mark, the acting house surgeon, informed the jury that the only injury observable was a bruise on the chest. He was of opinion that death had been caused by a shock to the system. A verdict of accidental death was returned.
Brighton Gazette 31st July 1880:
FATAL ACCIDENT ON THE BEACH
Mr A Freeman Gell (Deputy-Coroner) held an inquest yesterday afternoon, at five o'clock, at the Hospital following the death of Robert Barton, aged 27, when the following evidence was taken :-
George Barton said - I am a fishmonger. Deceased (Robert Barton) was my brother, and was 27 years of age. He was a fishmonger. I accompanied him to the Hospital after the accident, but he died on the way.
Thomas William Smith deposed - I live at 7, Haylars (?) Cottages, and am a fisherman in Mr Gunn's employ, was with the boat Prima Donna when she came ashore about 8.30 this morning. Deceased was helping to place the trough under, when the chain broke, but I did not see the deceased until he was being carried away. The smack had been in use about three years, and was a double ....
P.C. John West said - I was on duty this morning at the bottom of Black Lion Street. I saw them winch (?) the boat up about nine o'clock. I saw deceased place the slide under the boat, when the chain broke, striking him and knocking him back in the water. I then went down to the beach and got him into a cab, and brought him up to the Hospital, but he died on the way.
Leonard Mark deposed - I am acting House Surgeon at the Hospital. Deceased was admitted about 9.15 already dead. There was a bruise on the left side of the chest. I made a post mortem examination, but found no ... injury. I am of opinion that death resulted from a sudden shock.
Robert Carden said - I was helping to get the boat in this morning. I consider the chain to be quite safe, and was tested when new. The chain (produced) had been in use about three years, but I have known them to last ... years.
The jury found a verdict of "Accidental Death".