Perrett, George

Perrett, George          1879 September 20th            Winterbourne

An inquest was held at the Infirmary on Tuesday by Mr G Smith (borough coroner) and a jury, of whom Mr George Fullford was foreman, on the body of George Perrett, who came by his death under circumstances that will be found fully detailed in the subjoined evidence. It appeared, however, that deceased was driving an engine from Wilton to Cholderton when he fell from the shafts on which he was riding, and the wheels of the machine passed over his legs. He was taken to the Infirmary and expired from the injuries which he received on Sunday.

Mr James Kelland was the first witness examined. He stated that he was house surgeon to the Salisbury Infirmary. On Friday evening between seven and eight the deceased was admitted to the institution. He was then in a state of collapse, and on examining him he found a fracture of the right thigh and knee joint, and also a fracture of both bones of the left leg. There were also symptoms of injuries to the ribs. Deceased told him that he was sitting on the shaft of the machine, which was drawn by three horses, when he fell off and the wheels passed over him. The poor fellow died on Sunday morning, and the injuries which he had described were quite sufficient to cause death.

Edwin Sheppard, under-carter to Mr William Brown, of West Cholderton, said he went with the deceased on Friday to Wilton to fetch an engine belonging to Mr Brown (who was also the employer of deceased). After arriving at Wilton they stayed there a short time, and at about half past one started for Cholderton. They, of course, had to pass through Salisbury, and they stopped in the city until four o’clock at which time they resumed their journey.

They continued all safe until they arrived at Winterbourne Mills. There, however, the fore horse seemed afraid to pass the water, and he consequently had to lead it over. Then the deceased was seated smoking on the shafts. When he had got past with the restive animal he looked back and saw the deceased lying on the ground about 15 yards behind. He immediately stopped the horses and went back to him; and on reaching him, he (deceased) said, “My legs are broken, Ted; But I hope you’ll get home safe.” He (deceased) had nothing to hold by on the shafts – no reins or anything of that character. He (witness) could not say how it happened, and he did not see the wheels go over him. After deceased’s remark as to his being hurt he (witness) laid him back on the ground and went and procured assistance.

Charles Pearcey at once responded to his call; and he on seeing the extent of his injuries, went and got a miller’s cart and drove him to Salisbury Infirmary. He (witness) had never been out with deceased before. On the journey he (witness) had several glasses of beer, but he could not say for a fact whether he (deceased) had anything, but, at all events, he always went into the public-houses with him. He (deceased), however, had told him that he had not drank any beer since the 15th of January, although he at times took a little rum and water. Since the sad occurrence he had seen the landlord of the “New Inn,” Winterbourne, and he had told him that deceased, when they stopped there, had a drop of rum and water. He should say, however, that when the accident happened deceased was perfectly sober.

Several questions were then asked as to the locale of the accident.

Charles Pearcy, labourer in the employ of Mr Kendall, farmer, deposed that on Friday he was called to the assistance of deceased by the last witness. He found the poor fellow in the road and he complained bitterly of a pain in his head. He (witness) at once saw that the wheel had gone over his legs, and perceiving that he was not able to move, he went and got Mr White’s horse and cart, and helping him up in it, brought him to the Infirmary. It was a tilted cart, but still the rain beat in upon the deceased. It was nearly six o’clock when they started for the Infirmary and they proceeded leisurely all the way. He could not say whether the deceased was sober or not, but he should say that the carter was. It was quite usual for machines to go along that road.

Eliza Perret, widow of deceased, said she resided at West Cholderton. Her husband was 39 years of age, and she believed that he had been a teetotaller for some time. She remembered his leaving home on Friday for Wilton, and the next she heard of him was his being removed to the Infirmary. She went to see him on Sunday, but he did not say anything about the origin of the accident.

This concluded the evidence and the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death,” and some of them expressed an opinion upon the inadvisability or rather the danger drivers of engines or other vehicles incurred by riding upon the shafts. The fees of the jury were generously given to the widow.

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