A sensation was caused at Blackburn on Saturday by a man shooting himself in the Blackburn Corporation Park, near the Cannons at Revidge. The deceased is said to be Samuel Whittaker, who formerly carried on business in Preston New-road as a plumber. His affairs were the subject of bankruptcy proceedings some time ago. Subsequently he served with the Imperial Yeomanry in South Africa, and when he returned Judge Coventry granted his discharge from bankruptcy. Deceased is a middle-aged man between 40 and 50. It is reported that deceased has been strange in his manner of late, and has been medically attended.
A later message says the deceased has been identified as Samuel Whittaker, who was formerly in business as a painter and decorator, and not plumber, as previously stated. The revolver was of heavy army pattern, and had been loaded in two chambers. The bullet entered slightly behind the right temple and passed right through the head, coming out behind the left ear.
The scene of the tragedy in the Blackburn Corporation Park was on Sunday visited by hundreds of persons, who displayed a morbid anxiety to fix the exact spot on which was found Samuel Whittaker, who, as already reported, fatally shot himself with a heavy pattern army revolver. The police report states that deceased was 50 years of age, a master painter, and resided at 157, Preston New-road, and that he was discovered dead in the footroad between the rocks and the cannon. The report proceeds: - "Deceased went out to the war in South Africa in 1899, and returned home in March last. During the time he was away he was suffering from dysentery and enteric, but he seemed to get all right again. About three months ago Dr. Bannister was called in to see him, and found him to be suffering from depression and mentally strained. The doctor continued to attend him, and saw him on Thursday night, and stated that he was then in a bad state of health. Deceased left home about 10-45 on Saturday morning. At that time he appeared to be much as usual. At 2-45 p.m. Mr. Stratford, the park superintendent, was near the conservatory, when a young woman came to him and told him there was a man lying in the road leading to the top of the park. Mr. Stratford at once went to the place indicated, and there saw deceased lying on his back in a pool of blood. He was quite dead, there was a wound near each ear, and a five-chambered revolver was under one of his feet. Mr. Stratford immediately sent for the police, and P.S. Heys and two or three constables were quickly on the scene. The sergeant, who took possession of the revolver, found that one of the chambers contained an empty cartridge, and another one a ball cartridge. The body was removed on the ambulance to the mortuary at the Town Hall, where P.C. Jones searched deceased's clothing and found in one of the other pockets of the coat four other ball cartridges similar to the ones in the revolver."