Emma Hawker (1863-1900)

37 year old Emma Hawker went upstairs to bed with her 19 month old baby son, Robert George. Her husband, a carpenter living in 133 Cyfarthfa Street, Roath, was in the kitchen and heard a shout of "John, I'm burning" and found Emma holding Robert at the bottom of the stairs, her clothes on fire next to the flaming stair curtain and a broken paraffin lamp.

John beat out the flames with his hands, a coat and then a mat, all the time shouting for help. Emma and Robert were taken to Cardiff Infirmary, both dying within hours. Emma had told the police that she had fallen backwards whilst walking upstairs and that she and John were both drunk at the time of the accident, but a neighbour, Cecilia Ann Owen, recalled hearing sounds of a violent argument between the two shortly before the incident.

The Coroner was suspicious of John's actual involvement in the deaths and although the verdict was "accidental death through burns" that he should treat this tragedy as a terrible warning to change his habits. The Coroner went on to say - "If you are given to drinking this should stop it". Hawkins replied "I had a couple of glasses, but nothing out of the way". The Coroner summarised " A couple of glasses would not make any man drunk. It is a most terrible warning to you."

Both Emma and her baby were buried on 1st December in plot H1449