Killed in a mock duel

An inquest was held yesterday at Manchester respecting the death of Thomas William Whalley, aged 19, who was killed in an amateur dramatic performance at the Cathedral Schools on Tuesday night.

The deceased took the part of Mercutio in “Romeo and Juliet”. In the duel between Mercutio and Tybalt, Mr Holmes, who represented Romeo, rushed on to separate the combatants.

Mr Thompson, who impersonated Tybalt, made a lunge, as required by the part, beneath Romeo’s arm, and unhappily his sword penetrated the chest of the deceased, who staggered and fell. He became unconscious and died soon afterwards.

Mr Thompson and the deceased were on the best of terms. The Coroner said it was a dangerous thing that in a mock duel people should use swords so sharp as these particular ones were. All who took part in the performance were guilty of negligence in allowing the use of such weapons.

A verdict of accidental death was returned.
The Northern Daily Mail, April 2, 1891.

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