<Lying in the bath at his home, clad in his pyjamas, William Ward-Higgs, aged 70, a solicitor, of Highdown Road, Roehampton, was found shot dead, on Sunday, following an epileptic fit.
There was a revolver underneath his shoulder.
An inquest was held at Battersea on Wednesday.
Mrs. Joan Bottard, a widow, of "Kelmscotte," Highdown Road Roehampton, said her father had been liable to epileptic fits for about five years. He had been having them every three or four weeks for the last two years. These fits practically always took place while he was asleep; then he was often entirely unconscious and knew nothing about them the next day.
The Coroner (Dr. Edwin Smith): Had he ever bitten his tongue?
Witness: Yes. My mother had a rubber thing put in his mouth.
After these fits, continued Mrs. Bottard, her father slept all day and appeared very exhausted. When awake, he was usually "very much himself." He had never threatened to take his own life as far as she knew; neither had he any troubles or worries. He was at his business as usual on Friday, June 19th.
"I saw him on Sunday morning," said Mrs. Bottard. "It was just before he had one of his usual attacks. It was a very bad one. He had spent a normal day on Saturday."
On Saturday, she went on, he went to bed at about 11 p.m., and had some sort of attack during the night. Her mother did not send for a doctor, as the doctor who had been attending him, had told them what to do. On Sunday morning he arose at about 10 o'clock, and she saw him just as he was coming back from the bathroom. He had a little breakfast. Then he went back to bed and slept.
The Coroner: Did you know he had two revolvers?
Witness: Yes, he kept them in a cupboard in his room.
The Coronet: Do you know how long he had had them?
Witness: I know he had had them for years.
Mrs. Bottard added that her mother had told her that, in an unconscious moment, her father had been to the cupboard and was shaking it and trying to open the door, which, however, was stuck.
The Coroner: When he was coming back from the bathroom, did he seem quite all right?
He slept most of the Sunday, went on witness. He had a light lunch, and tea was taken up to him at about 4 p.m. Her sister was with him between 5 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. At 6 p.m her mother was with him, but at 6.30 p.m. he was found in the bathroom. The door was shut but not locked. The maid said she heard a sound, but thought it was a door banging. Her father was lying in an empty bath, clad in his pyjamas. He had left no notes or letters.
The Coroner: Was he worried about his health?
Witness: He never said whether he worried about his heath or not.
Continuing her evidence, Mrs. Bottard said she thought these attacks were worse than her father said they were, and that he realised this. He was rather abnormal a few hours after the fits. If they occurred late during the day, they carried on into the following morning. He was always very sad after them.
Nurse Marie Louise Jeangard, of the same address, said she found Ward-Higgs in the bath after hearing a bang, which she thought was the bathroom door. This door was unlocked. There was no water in the bath.>