Old New Zealand

...William Larnach Suicide...

Larnach found dead

Otago Daily Times: Oct 13, 1898

WELLINGTON: A most painful occurrence happened in J Committee room at the Parliamentary Buildings between 4 o'clock this afternoon and half-past 8 this evening, at which latter time the body of the Hon W.J.M. Larnach, member for Tuapeka, was found with a six-chambered revolver in its right hand, one chamber of which had been discharged.

The bullet entered the head almost in the centre of the forehead and slightly over the left eye. He was found sitting in a chair at the head of the table, and was quite dead, with his head thrown back.

The last person who saw him alive was Mr E.W. Kane, parliamentary bill reader, who, about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, saw him entering the committee room, and exchanged a few words with him, after which Mr Larnach locked the door. Mr Kane thought he had locked himself in the room to attend to private correspondence. Twenty minutes afterwards, Mr R. McKenzie, member for Motueka, tried the door, but received no reply. When Mr Larnach did not arrive home at tea time, Mrs Larnach became anxious and made inquiries as to his whereabouts from Mr Mills, one of the Government whips, who made a search of the buildings and, finding the J Committee room locked, had the door forced open. The body was found as already stated.

Mr Larnach was chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and a member of the Goldfields Committee. At the meeting of the latter com-mittee this morning, he sat for a couple of hours without speaking, and his apparent despondency was the sub-ject of some remark . . .

The suicide is attributed to serious financial difficulties. Mr Larnach, it appears, in addition to other financial troubles, lost heavily through Colonial Bank shares. He had the greatest faith in that institution, and even went the length of selling valuable shares in the Kaitangata Coal Mining Company to buy Colonial Bank shares just before the banking troubles developed. He is said to be heavily involved.

Mrs Larnach was evidently anxious about her husband. She was very devoted to him, and recently has been a constant attendant in the gallery in the House.