Pearce, Annie

Pearce, Annie         1915 November 26th           Winterslow

Winterslow Young Woman’s Fatal Accident

The Coroner for South Wilts (Mr F H Trethowan) held an inquest at Winterslow on Saturday in connection with the death of Miss Annie Pearce, a young woman who was killed whilst cycling along the road towards East Grimstead. Mr T Collins was foreman of the jury.

William Pearce, a woodman, living at West Winterslow, said that Annie Pearce was his daughter. She was 27 years of age and had always lived at home. He last saw her on Thursday at about 12.30pm, when she was in her usual health.

Frederick Hatchett, of Whiteparish, said he was a traction engine driver, employed by Mr Victor Parsons, Brinkworth Farm, Whiteparish. On Thursday he was driving a traction engine which was drawing a threshing machine and van from Winterslow to East Grimstead and Dean. While passing through Winterslow on the road leaving to East Grimstead he found that the steersman, George Hatchett, was steering into the near side of the road. He looked round to see what was coming and saw Miss Pearce on a bicycle about to pass the engine, and going in the same direction. When she got opposite the engine the front wheel of the bicycle swerved between the front and rear wheels of the engine. He had previously slowed the engine and when he saw the accident he immediately stopped. Miss Pearce was then lying down in the road – her head being as far under the rear part of the front wheel as it could be without being crushed, and her body lying along the road parallel with the engine. They first pulled her away from the engine and George Hatchett then went for medical assistance. Shortly afterwards Dr Ellis arrived. Witness thought that Miss Pearce had about 5ft in which to pass, but the road was very dirty and greasy at the place where she fell.

Israel Robins, a stoker, of East Grimstead, said he was acting as communication cord man. He was riding in the van and when Miss Pearce got up to it and passed by on her bicycle he pulled the cord and the steersman pulled in as soon as he had done so. After she passed he saw no more of her.

Dr Ellis, of Salisbury, said that he had known Miss Pearce for about 20 years. She was a nervous person, but had no disease. Just after 12.30 on November 18th, he was on the road between Winterslow and East Grimstead and was asked by George Hatchett to go further along as there had been an accident. He followed and soon saw the body of Miss Pearce in the road. She was quite dead. He examined her but found no sign of injury. She had been sick and he formed the opinion that death was due to concussion of the brain. He had no reason to doubt the statement of the engine driver, being quite satisfied that Miss Pearce was not run over, nor had she been run up against by the engine.

A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.

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