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1930: Tragic act at Ashenground Pit

Updated: Dec 9, 2023

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 04 February 1930



The mystery surrounding the disappearance of Mr. Arthur Botting, of 4 Petlands Cottages, Franklynn Road, Haywards Heath, who had not been seen since Saturday, January 4 was solved yesterday (Monday) morning when hls body  was discovered in a small wood known as Ashenground Pit. 

The pond is situated near the public footpath through Ashenground Wood, and about 9:15 a.m. Mr. Albert Godsmark of Vine Cottage, Cuckfield. who was employed cutting undergrowth for Mr. Sandford Poole, J.P., of Oakwood, noticed an unusual object partly submerged in water about ten feet from the bank. He procured a pole and dragged it to the edge the pond, when found it to the body of a man.

Ashenground Wood c1915(colourised).

The police were notified, and P.Cs Hunter and Walters went and took possession of the body, which was identified as that of Mr. Botting. It was partly decomposed and deceased was clutching his false teeth in his hand. 


was held by Dr. E. F. Hoare (Coroner for East Sussex) at the  Sergison Arms Hotel yesterday (Monday) afternoon. 

John Meux, Ashenground Road, Haywards Heath, said at 12.50 pm on January 4 met Botting in Ashenground Road, and deceased passed the time of day with him. Witness noticed that he seemed white and restless, and did not appear to know where he was going. In fact, his condition was such that witness looked round after him. He had known deceased for several years. 

Albert Godsmark, Vine Cottage, High Street, Cuckfield. Said he had been felling timber in Ashenground Wood. At 9.15 a.m. yesterday (Monday) he was working near the pit when be saw an object, which, by means of a pole, he pulled to the bank. He found it to the body of Botting, with whom he was acquainted. 

P.C. Hunter stated that at 11 a.m. the same day he went to the pit and 


close to the bank. He pulled him out, and found his false teeth clenched in his hand. Deceased was removed to the mortuary, when his clothes were searched. His watch had stopped at 6.30, and 14 s 2 and a half d was found in one purse, and £8. in Treasury notes, in another purse. 

Mrs. Ada Botting the widow, said at 8 a.m. on January 4 deceased left to go to his work. For the last five or six months he had not been himself. About that time he lost a brother suddenly, and was depressed, but he never intimated that he would do away with himself. The watch, purses and teeth she identified as belonging to deceased. 

The Coroner said this could not have been an accident, but his mind must have been unhinged. The verdict would be that deceased committed suicide whilst temporarily insane. 

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