THIS week we finally conclude the tale of Daniel Baker.

After appearing in front of magistrates at Shire Hall Courthouse in Dorchester 59 times by the time he reached 84, Baker was admitted to the Herrison asylum at Charlton Down near Dorchester.

Records from 1904, preserved by the Dorset History Centre near Dorchester, show how he got on.

July 6: Old man ate three dinners yesterday and enjoyed lying in bed.

July 9. Old chap involuntarily addresses the Assistant Medical Officer as ‘your worship’. He eats heartily and with enjoyment, licking his fingers. Mentally he seems very fair except that he is childish and easily confused.

September 2. Sullen, muttering and grimacing old man. Discontented and grumbling, likes to have his own way.

January 2. Sullen, irritable, childish and abusive old dement. Noisy and violent at times, always complaining about something or somebody.

June 2. Troublesome, disagreeable old jail bird, dirty and degraded. Grumbling and making use of obscene language; abusive and destructive.

It’s not clear from these reports whether it’s the attitude of the attendants that has changed, or if Daniel’s mental state has deteriorated – possibly in response to his environment.

Forensic psychologist Linda Bryant, chief executive of Together for Mental Wellbeing, looked at Daniel Baker's case from a modern day perspective.

She said: “The way it reads, Daniel seems to be settled in the asylum and appreciates having three meals a day and somewhere to sleep. Then, over a period of time his behaviour changes, or it is perceived that his behaviour changes.

"It could be part of his condition. Or it could be that he's so used to being out on the streets with no-one caring for him, that he has a phase of enjoying comfort and a “bed". However being in an enclosed space and in that environment would have been alien to him. This is not an unusual experience for people who find themselves in an institutional setting. We know that people’s mental health problems are often exacerbated because they are in a locked environment such as a prison. We often see it in our work in courts - how people are affected by being on their own, locked in a cell. A door slams and they are frightened, possibly as a result of past trauma.”

Daniel Baker died on July 3 1906, almost exactly two years after his admission to the asylum. The post-mortem determined the cause of death as ‘senile decay’.

By a great stroke of luck Shire Hall has been able to speak to a descendent of Daniel Baker; his name is also – Dan Baker!

Dan Junior’s father was just as familiar with the inside of Dorchester Gaol as his ancestor had been – but in his case, as a prison officer, not an inmate. It was this that led to the discovery of a family connection with a former prisoner.

Dan Baker Jnr said: “One day – and I don’t really know how it came about – but he went to the basement where they had all these records and they were massive great books and he turned the first page over and, you know, nearly had a heart attack seeing this character staring out at it with his hands up. Then he came home; he said, ‘Oh you’ll never guess what I found’. And I was utterly, utterly delighted that I shared this guy’s name."

Young Dan later had the chance to view Daniel’s records from the Herrison asylum.

He said: "I feel glad for his final two years, and I was really, I was…When I went to see it in the Dorset History Centre I was sat there for about half an hour just re-reading it. Just to try and get some sort of insight into who he was, and the people that were looking after him.

"I felt extremely lucky to see it – especially a date and time of death. Ten past six in the morning or whenever it was.

"That final photo that I saw of him kind of brought the whole thing together a bit. You know, here he is: he’s not badly shaven or having to hold his hands up. This time he’s just sat there while somebody’s saying, ‘Sit still Dan, we’re just going to have a little photo for the records.’

Yes… Somebody cared."