Spackman, William

Spackman, William          1884 January 26th            Wilton

On Wednesday night a shocking fatal accident happened at Wilton. William Spackman, second coachman to the Earl of Pembroke, and Joseph Jenkins, a night watchman in the employ of the Earl, were proceeding from the stables to their home, when near the “Pembroke Arms” a tree was dislodged by the furious storm. It carried with it a portion of the wall, and the top part of the tree struck the two men on the opposite pavement. The result was not at first known; but on help being procured it was found that Spackman had been killed, and that Jenkins had had – besides other injuries – an arm broken. Curious to relate, the two men just before the accident had been conversing about the hunting accident to the marquis of Hertford and at the time the tree fell were anticipating the amount of injury done by the storm. The deceased leaves a widow and four children, the eldest being only five years old.

The inquest on the body was held at the “Pembroke Arms” on Thursday afternoon. Mr Lander was foreman of the jury. After taking the oath, the jury and coroner adjourned to the deceased’s residence in order to see the body.

The first witness called was Francis Wiles, who stated that on the previous evening at about a quarter to eight, whilst in his house in the Square, he heard a great crash. He at once went to the door, and then heard a child cry out, “There’s somebody under the tree.” He ran towards the spot and saw the tree across the road opposite the “Pembroke Arms.” He asked if anyone was hurt and found that one man had been taken into the “Pembroke Arms.” He then tried to crawl through the branches, and had not gone more than a yard, when he put his hand on a man’s chest. He called for a light; and Messrs Yates and Smith brought lights and assistance. There was no difficulty in getting the man out as the tree was not over him. He thought at first the man was dead. He, however, heard him moan three times; he did not speak at all. He could not see – it being so dark – whether the poor fellow was cut about much.

The second witness was Mr Pardoe Yates of the Wilton Carpet Factory. He said he was in his house on Minster-street on Wednesday evening, when he heard the crash. He at once went into the street, where he saw Messrs Wiles and Smith. Mr Wiles said he thought there was somebody under the tree. When the deceased was taken from under the tree he helped to carry him home. He did not see any marks on his face as the deceased was being carried to his house. Afterwards, however, his face was washed, and then he saw the marks of a severe blow on the temple and that his face was much disfigured. In the meantime a messenger had been despatched for the doctor. The medical help, however – promptly as the request was responded to – was of no avail.

Alexander Philpot, a groom in the employ of the Earl, said he was with the deceased only five minutes before the accident and preceded him on the road. The deceased was 28 years old.

A policeman present said that the deceased really lived about 20 minutes after the accident.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death,” and unanimously decided to give their fees to the widow.

Jenkins has since been removed to the Salisbury Infirmary, where it was discovered that besides the broken arm his ankle was injured.

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