Yesterday Dr Pounds, the District Coroner, held an inquest at the Campaspe Hotel, Axedale, touching the death of Joseph Scott Bradshaw, who died from a gunshot wound accidentally received on Sunday last.
It appeared from the evidence that the deceased, in company with William Baxter, Thomas Dorham and Alfred Bailes, started from Sandhurst in a spring cart at seven o’clock p.m. on Saturday, for the Campaspe, upon a fishing and shooting excursion.
They reached their destination at ten o’clock that night, and camped out on the side of the river about a mile from Axedale.
They commenced shooting at about five o’clock the following morning, near the spot where they had camped, and at about four p m, when they were thinking of returning to Sandhurst, Bradshaw, Derham and Bailes said they would first enjoy a bathe.
Baxter said that in the meantime he would fire off a couple of shots, and as they had only two guns, he requested the deceased, who carried the powder flask and shot pouch, to load one of the guns, a double-barrelled one, for him.
Bradshaw took up the gun to comply with the request, and whilst holding the butt end on the ground, his left hand over the barrels near their top, and as he was pouring the powder from the flask with his right hand, and before he had put a wad upon it, the other barrel, which was charged with powder and duck shot, exploded, and deceased fell back on the ground, when blood gushed from his face.
The other two young men ran to the spot, and Bailes at once went for Dr O’Grady. After receiving the wound, deceased only lived some ten or fifteen minutes.
Mounted Constable Wright, of Axedale, who was sent for, deposed to finding the gun with one barrel which appeared to have been recently discharged, and both lock hammers down, and under each an exploded percussion cap.
George William Hart, mining, surveyor, said that the deceased had been apprenticed to him. He was not quite nineteen years old, and was a well conducted, sober lad. He had lent deceased the gun, which was a perfectly safe one. There was no danger of the hammers going off at half-cock.
Dr Atkinson, who had made a post mortem examination, stated that death had resulted from a gunshot wound.
The jury having heard the evidence found ‘That the deceased, Joseph Scott Bradshaw, came suddenly by his death at the River Campaspe from injuries to his body, caused by the accidental explosion of his gun, it being then charged with powder and shot’.
(Punctuation and paragraphs have been added to the above transcription for ease and speed of reading)