Munckton, William

Munckton, William          1912 Sep 26th        Bere Regis

After Accident at a Fair

Mr H O Chislett, the Wimborne Coroner, and a jury, of whom Mr Owen Richards was chosen Foreman, held an inquiry on Tuesday morning into the death of Mr William Munckton, farmer and horse dealer, aged 61, of Leigh Farm, who died following an accident at Woodbury Hill Fair. The inquest took place at Leigh Farm.

Mrs Mary Ann Munckton, the widow, said that on Saturday her husband left at about eight o’clock to go to Woodbury Hill Fair, which, as a dealer, he was in the habit of attending. He came home on Saturday night, and she last saw him alive about 1.15 on Monday morning.

Mr Edwin Smith, farmer, living at Wilksworth, Wimborne, said that whilst at Woodbury Hill Fair, about eleven o’clock, he met Mr Munckton, and shook hands with him. He was, to all appearances, well and sober, standing close to a number of horses. Immediately afterwards he heard that someone had been knocked down by a horse, and on turning round was just in time to see Munckton fall behind a horse. He rushed forward, and was told that Munckton was stooping down feeling the foreleg of the horse when the animal caught up its leg and struck him in the face with its knee, and knocked him backwards. He was laid against the hedge, but soon afterwards was walking about chatting as usual. It did not seem serious, although his face was bleeding a bit, and he had a handkerchief up. He did not think there was anything whatever to worry about, and passed on, leaving Mr Munckton talking.

Mr Tom Harding, a small holder and dealer, of Pilford, said he was just in time to see Mr Munckton lifted from the ground and taken to the bank. He bathed his face, and soon afterwards saw him walking across the fair ground as usual. From this he gathered that nothing very serious had happened. They had, on arrival, agreed to start for home at 6pm, and at this hour he found Mr Munckton sitting in a “living” van. He asked him as to going home, and how he felt, and he replied, “I don’t think I am hurt much” and then appeared to doze off again. The van they had in the morning drew up, and having placed some cushions on it, got deceased in. On the way he said, “Take me to the dairy house barn and lay me on some straw.” He asked, “Would you not sooner go home,” and he replied, “I would rather go there and have a sleep, and then I shall be better.” They called at a public house at “World’s End” on the way back, but Munckton did not have anything to drink. They also stopped at the Coventry Arms, when he gave Munckton, who spoke of being thirsty, some soda water with a little brandy in it, and this was all the refreshment he had. They had left the fair at 6.30, and got back some time before eleven o’clock.

Questioned as to why the journey (about 14 miles) occupied four hours or more, witness said that the horses came slowly up the hills, and they stopped at the two houses named, but at the Coventry Arms only long enough to get the refreshment.

In answer to other questions, he said he was quite sure did not get out or fall out of the van. On arrival they called up the dairyman, and Munckton was taken in to the barn.

Mr Smith (a juror) said he thought that if the deceased was unconscious he should have been taken in home, and not to the barn.

Witness said he remained with Munckton all night, and awake. Munckton was sick two or three times, and witness on one occasion asked if he had any pain, and he said, “No,” and after the sickness he made the remark, “I shall be all right when I get another sleep.” He also knew that the deceased took out his watch (a keyless one) to wind it up.

Edmund Guy, of Green Close, Munckton’s dairyman, said that at about 11.50 on Saturday night he was called out of bed by a man named Nicholls (the driver of the van), who said Munckton was in the van, and the worse for drink. He told them to take him home. Nicholls then said, “If we put him in the barn and he could get an hour or two of sleep he will be better.” Witness helped to take him out of the van and in to the barn, and placed him on some hay and covered him up with two coats and a rug. Harding said, “You go in and go to bed, and I will stop with him all night.” Witness did so, and came out at 4.15, and on going to the barn found Harding, who was sitting by the side of Munckton, and the latter was snoring. At 7.30 the circumstances were the same, and at nine o’clock he sent his boy to the farmhouse to inform Mrs Munckton where her husband was. She came across, and, by her desire, he fetched the doctor.

In answer to questions, witness said that Harding had had some drink, but he was not sufficiently sober to help carry Munckton in, and to talk sensibly. Munckton was not dropped on the ground at all in getting him out of the van.

Asked if Munckton said anything on being lifted out, witness replied, “No, he only groaned.”

John Nicholls, a carter, in the employ of Mr Frampton, whose conveyance took people to and from the Fair, gave details as to the deceased being lifted from the caravan to his van. At Corfe Mullen they stopped, possibly an hour.

The dairyman (recalled) said that never in his time (over two years) had Munckton laid in the barn before, nor had he ever stopped at his (the dairyman’s) place.

Dr E Kaye Le Fleming said that death was due to compression of the brain, the result of a ruptured blood vessel, caused by a blow. There was a bruise round the left eye and a cut on the cheek, which he regarded as consistent with the evidence as to the blow from the foreleg of a horse.

After consultation, the Foreman said that they were agreed in returning a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

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