The suicide of the Russian Consul at Liverpool


December 29, 1906
An inquest was held at Liverpool on Saturday on Colonel Robert de Geiman, Russian Consul at Liverpool, who committed suicide in a very deliberate manner on Wednesday in the library of his residence, Prince’s Park. Colonel de Geiman first shot himself with a revolver and then stabbed himself twice with a Turkish dagger, inflicting terrible wounds.

Miss Denise de Geiman, his only daughter, said her father was a widower, aged 52 years. In his early life he served in the Russian Army during the Russo-Turkish War, and took part in the siege of Plevna. He was colonel in the Hussars.

For the last twenty years he had suffered from asthma, and nine years ago he retired in consequence from the army, and received an appointment in the diplomatic service at Baden, coming to Liverpool three years ago as Consul.

At times the asthmatic attacks were very severe, and he became addicted to a heavy and frequent use of the drug stramonium, a powerful narcotic which he smoked to a great extent. This affected his brain at the time, and he would become dazed, nervous, despondent, and absent-minded.

During the last six months, however, he was better, and she did not think he used the drug at all. At the beginning of this month they went together to Berlin, where her father satisfactorily settled some money matters of a personal and trifling nature. On the 15th they returned together to England, but parted at Harwich, her father returning in good health to Liverpool, while she went on a visit to London.

She wrote to him daily, but after a cheerful letter from him on the 19th she became anxious when Christmas passed without further word from him, and she then wired to him, “Why no writing; anxious; with love.”

On the Wednesday she received from him a telegram, “I think I shall leave you for ever.”

She was not greatly alarmed at this, as he often spoke in that strain when in his depressed moods, but she wired back in French, “Courage; letters follow; what shall I do without you?”

That night a telegram called her home, but when she arrived on Thursday he was dead. She knew nothing to upset him, official or personal. He was despondent about leaving the Army, and was much upset during the Japanese War, which he followed closely.

Dr. Vladimir Ouranfski, Secretary to the Liverpool Russian Consulate, and for the last twelve months medical adviser to Col. De Geiman, said that the deceased had no official worry nor any personal troubles so far as he knew. He used the drug stramoniun in a very large doses until six months ago, when witness forbade it, and as a result Col. De Geiman improved in health. When ill and depressed he would often wish that death would relieve him of the pains.

In the course of the medical evidence it was stated that the dagger and revolver were found in the drawer of a cabinet. In answer to a question put by a doctor in attendance, the dying man said he himself placed them there after using them. He said “I tried with the revolver, and that was no use. I wanted to die quickly, so I used the dagger, and I used it very far in, but that did not seem to act, so that immediately I used it again and pressed right in. Do tell me how long before I shall die. I want to die.”

Dr. Hamilton stated that the Consul’s forehead was burnt as if with revolver powder, and there was a bullet hole in the library ceiling. The dagger had been driven right through the apex of the heart. It was wonderful that he was afterwards able to put the weapons into a drawer, but such things had been known in similar serious cases.

Evidence as to the injuries mental effects of the drug on the deceased was also given by his brother, Baron de Geiman.

The Coroner, in summing up, expressed his belief that there must be some motive underlying the act which was not revealed, and which had led to the state of temporary insanity.

The jury returned a verdict of “Suicide during temporary insanity.”
(Yorkshire Post: December 31, 1906)

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