Constable Naughton is one of those characters of early Auckland, who crops up in many searches through historical newspapers – mostly because of his career as a very busy policeman.
Headlines of the day read as a case file of Constable Naughton’s work load: A DEAD BODY FOUND FLOATING IN THE HARBOUR (Daily Southern Cross, 9 May 1873); The Maori Robber at Helensville - His Escape and Capture (Auckland Star, 12 February 1880); THE WRECK NEAR KAIPARA (Auckland Star, 9 August 1881); A YOUNG LADY STABBED BY A LOVER (Daily Telegraph, 29 April 1881); A PECULIAR ACCIDENT AT HELENSVILLE (in which the Constable’s own wife was blown into a mangrove creek by a huge gust of wind, and he was unable to help her when he got stuck in the mud, Auckland Star, 8 September 1881); SUDDEN DEATH AT KUMEU – CORONER’S INQUEST (New Zealand Herald, 9 June 1882); GROSS OUTRAGE NEAR KAUKAPAKAPA (Auckland Star, 16 December 1882); ODDFELLOWS DEMONSTRATION AT HELENSVILLE (New Zealand Herald, 21 September 1883); The Fatal Fire at Helensville (Evening Post 31 January 1884). For the full stories, see links below.
This last incident, in which he pulled the dead body of the cook, Harris, from a fire at the hotel proved too much for Constable Naughton. His mental unease manifested itself in a mania for money. Soon after, he was committed to the Whau Lunatic Asylum.
Michael Naughton died in May 1884. At an inquest, "A verdict of 'Death from physical exhaustion' in accordance with medical testimony, was returned." (Auckland Star, 16 May 1884)