Emm, William

Emm, William         1886 October 23rd            Coombe Bissett

An inquest was held at the “Fox and Goose,” Coombe Bissett, on Monday, before Mr R A Wilson, touching the death of William Emm, aged 23, who was accidentally killed on Saturday.

Thomas Willshire, of Broadchalke, was the first witness. He said that he was in the employ of Mr H G Stevens, of Broadchalke, as engine driver, and had been in his employ for two years. He started from Broadchalke on Tuesday (October 12th) and had been working in Salisbury. They had a break down at the top of St. Ann-street on Thursday. The engine was repaired and they started from Salisbury to go home again at five o’clock on Saturday. They got to Coombe all right. They went into the public house there to get some lights. The lamps would not burn so he borrowed a carriage lamp from the landlord and he started for Broadchalke. There were with him the deceased and another man, Frank Stickland.

He started driving the engine. Stickland was steering and the deceased was on in front with the light. They had gone about 500 yards when he (witness) took the steering and Stickland was driving the engine. The deceased came back, and he (witness) told him to go on in front. Deceased said that he would rather stay by the side of the engine between the front and the back wheels, but he told him more than once or twice to go on as he (witness) could see better. Deceased, however, did not go on in front, and when they had gone about 200 yards further the hind wheel of the engine caught him by the foot and pulled him in under. The engine was at once stopped and witness pulled the deceased from in under the engine, but deceased did not speak. Deceased came into Mr Steven’s employ about two years ago, about the same as witness did. Witness was the head man over the other two men. Deceased was quite capable of taking care of himself and was not drunk. The lamps were frequently out of order and he had mentioned this to Mr Stevens. Last winter the lamps would not burn properly. The postman was the first person who came up after the accident. The road was very narrow at the spot. The engine was not going more than two miles an hour. It was carrying about 12 tons of coal. There were three wagons.

Frank Stickland stated that he was in the employ of Mr Stevens, who owned engines, as steersman. Witness was with the engine and he was going back to Broadchalke on Saturday last. About six o’clock witness was steering the engine and deceased was in front with the lamp. Deceased came back near the engine and witness told him that he could not see if he came so near. Deceased replied that he knew better and added that if he was back near the wheels witness could see better still. Willshire offered to steer, and they changed places. Deceased then placed himself with the light at the side of the wheels and Willshire told him to go on in front with the light, but he did not do so. Witness was on the other side of the engine. Willshire called out to him and he stopped the engine at once. He did not see the deceased have any beer after his dinner at three o’clock. The lamps would not burn and they borrowed one. They burned very well on Friday night when they were in Salisbury. Deceased was 23 years of age and resided at Bowerchalke.

Morgan Thick, a postman, of Salisbury, said that just before seven on Saturday night he was on his return journey from Broadchalke. He heard the engine coming about 80 yards ahead, and he went into a field to allow it to pass. The engine suddenly stopped and he went to the spot and saw deceased lying dead by the side of the road. Stickland was a teetotaller and Willshire was quite sober. Witness saw no light whatever. There was a curve in the road.

PC David Coleman said that he saw the engine, and the deceased with a lamp in his hand. Witness spoke to him. The deceased was perfectly sober. It was just after seven o’clock when he heard of the accident. He went to the spot and found the deceased lying at the side of the road. The engine was about 3ft from the bank. The width of the road was 14ft. The distance between the two wheels was 7ft 4in.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.


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