Sheppard, William

Sheppard, William          1876 February 26th           Stratford

On Monday last an inquest was held at the “Stratford New Inn,” Stratford, before the county coroner, Mr R M Wilson, on the body of William Sheppard, who was accidentally killed on the previous Saturday from falling from a fly.

Henry Lywood, a greengrocer of Bournemouth, was the first witness, and said : On Saturday last I came by rail to Salisbury by the quarter to eight train in the evening. The deceased was at the Station with a one horse fly, and I engaged him to drive me to Stratford at half past eight. He took me up outside the Station gate. It was a dark night, and there were lamps. Deceased appeared quite sober. We had proceeded on the way to Stratford, past the houses which have been recently built, as far as the part where the road begins to descend into Stratford, between the two hedges.

I found the carriage at the incline as if going up the bank, and upon looking out of the window I saw the deceased fall from his seat. There was a hamper by his side. When he fell the hamper fell after him, and the carriage went upon the deceased. I got out through the window, first breaking the glass. The horse was not thrown down. I found I could not extract the deceased unless I first undid the harness, which I did, and got the horse free from the carriage. The lamps went out. I could not raise the carriage without help. I returned with the horse towards Salisbury, and met with a man and woman. The man helped me, and another person came by, so we succeeded in getting him out. He didn’t speak at all, and I believed he was dead. I went into Salisbury for the doctor, and afterwards the deceased was brought here.

Jane Spencer, widow of Edward Spencer, living on Milford Hill, stated that the age of her brother (the deceased) was 33, last November.

John Winzar, surgeon, of Salisbury, was then called, and said : I was sent for on Saturday evening to go to a man who had met with an accident on the Stratford Road. I went and found him lying on the bank quite dead. He was afterwards removed here, I have seen the body this morning, and the features were quite undisturbed. I was not able to judge of that Saturday night by the light of the lamp. I didn’t then, however, neither have I since, discovered any marks of violence about his person, except on the left temple on which he had evidently fallen. There was a mass of mud and dirt, and some slight abrasion of the skin. I believe the fall produced concussion of the brain and consequently death. Death was sudden without any struggle. I am not able to ascertain whether there is any dislocation of the neck, the muscles are so rigid.

The Coroner : Did he throw up anything at the time of this concussion? No.

There was not any odour of liquor or any thing? Not at all.

Mr Goddard, the owner of the horse (to Mr Lywood) : You don’t think it was the fault of the horse? Not in the least.

A juryman remarked that the accident had been attributed to drink, but the coroner drew attention to the fact that there was no evidence to that effect, but that the evidence went to show that it was the result of a pure accident.

A juryman : It is rather a dangerous place in the road. The hedge goes to a certain point and the road bends. I think it would be a very good suggestion to put two rails on each side.

The coroner was of opinion that a rail or two would obviate the difficulty, but thought he (the juryman) would be the best one to suggest it to the road surveyor.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death.” The deceased leaves a wife and one child.


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