This years cases start with the Dart child-burning fatality, and some degree of argument over the parent’s delays in bringing in professional healthcare, though the prognosis, in all likelihood, would have been the same either way. Flannelette clothing plays a role in this case, as it does in many burning cases of the time. There is also a warning to all parents in the Skeats case, which features that inevitable moment when a parent holds his/her child out over a hazardous position.
The Greenstock railway accident case and the Curtis case demonstrate clearly – and not for the first time in this collection – just how changeable and dangerous were the movements in the shunting sidings of all railway stations. One can note the jury saying it was an accident, and that no one was responsible. I think today we would say the Railway Company was wholly responsible for running a slapdash irresponsible system. There are often grounds for suspecting that Railway workers were expected to be efficient at their work, even to the detriment of their own safety, and a hint of this is shown in the Davis case in which the deceased unhitched the vehicle while still in motion.
The Akhurst case is a typical horse-handling case, and so are the two Wilton Park deaths (Whatley and Macey) of September, whilst the Hayter case is a typical suicide/accident dilemma – did he really mean to walk across in front of the express, was he in a daze or fit? There is also a slight dilemma in the Forward case. The Tancock death/suicide raises many questions, mostly about the relevance of Haslemere – why was he being transferred there, what did that mean?
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