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Strange Days: Strange Deaths


Last Waltz

Great-grandfather dies on 70th wedding anniversary

strange deaths - last waltz


William Beaton, 89, celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary by dancing with his wife – then collapsed from a fatal heart attack. He had been holding his wife Peggy, 87, in his arms just moments earlier as family members took photographs. They were enjoying a meal at the Vine Inn, Romsey, Hampshire, where a Frank Sinatra imperson­ator serenaded them. Great-grandfather Mr Beaton died four days later in hospital. “He died a happy man surrounded by those he loved,” said his granddaughter. Metro, Sun, 4 Mar 2011.

There was a very good reason why a man’s body was not found in his car for a week earlier this year: the vehicle had been buried under several feet of snow. Kevin Ronan, 36, from Long Island, was uncovered in the early hours of 1 February 2011 in Flushing, New York, after his brother recognised his car. He had apparently shot himself in the head with a shotgun, which was found on the seat beside him. The last time his family saw him was on 25 January when he stormed out of his relatives’ home threatening to kill himself. He was reported missing that same day. dailymail.co.uk, 1 Feb; NY Post, 2 Feb 2011.

A Laotian man aged 38 lured his 24-year-old pregnant wife into a forest in northeast Xieng Khuang province on 3 January and killed her with an axe blow to the back. He told police he wanted to use the three-month-old fœtus to make a lucky charm called a “louk lord”. He confessed to the police, telling them that he had heard that if he “produced a louk lord, he would be able to ask the ghosts for lucky lottery numbers”. He refused to say what he had done with the fœtus. MX News (Sydney), NY Post, 19 Jan 2011.

Judson Newton, 43, went boating with friends off Jaw Beach on New Providence Island in the Bahamas on 29 August 2010 and had engine problems. (The beach was so named because one of the Jaws movies was filmed there.) Rescuers found three men aboard who said that Mr Newton and another friend had swum to shore. Neither of them was found until fishermen caught a 12ft tiger shark on 4 September and cut it open. Human remains were found in its stomach and identified by fingerprints as belonging to Mr Newton. Metro, 17 Sept 2010.

A woman died after an allergic attack thought to have been triggered by a dentist’s mouthwash. Sacha Rumaner, 30, from Brighton, was having her teeth cleaned on 2 February and was not even under anæsthetic when she went into anaphylactic shock. Dental staff said she had complained of feeling hot and having an itchy leg moments before she lost consciousness. She was pronounced dead before she could be taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital nearby. A consultant allergist said serious reactions to mouthwash were very rare, but could be caused by a chemical antiseptic, chlorhexidine, which is used in some brands. D.Mail, Metro, 23 Mar 2011.

Barrie Hepburn, 65, was left wheelchair-bound after his neighbour shot him three times in 2000 following an argument in his holiday home in the South of France. The retired property developer, married to Harley Street hypnotherapist Susan Hepburn, had subsequently suffered bouts of depression and twice attempted suicide. On 29 August 2010, while his wife was in New York, he tried to amputate his legs using a hacksaw and a Stanley knife, with iodine to sterilise the wound and a plastic bag to use as a tourniquet. He was able to cut into his legs because he had no feeling in them. Later, he rang emergency services and was found dead in his kitchen in St John’s Wood, north London, after losing a huge amount of blood. A hacksaw was embedded in his right leg and there was another cut the same size on the other side of the leg. D.Mail, Metro, 18 Mar 2011.

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