Jenden, George

Jenden, George            1917 June 22nd             Wilton

Wilton Motor Accident – Sad Death of a Boy

An inquest was held at the Infirmary on Saturday by Mr A M Wilson, the newly appointed Coroner for the City, touching the death of George Stanley Jenden, a Wilton boy, who had been knocked down by a motor-car.

Harry Still, a sawyer, of 4, Spring Terrace, Wilton, said that Jenden was his adopted child. He took him from a Waifs and Strays Home at Westminster. He was 11½ years of age and lately had been employed after school hours by Mr John White, grocer, of Wilton. He saw him about 1.30 on Friday afternoon when he was in perfect health, but when he returned home from his work at about six o’clock he was told that the boy had met with an accident and had been taken to Salisbury Infirmary. He at once came to the Infirmary and was in time to see the boy before he died.

Mrs Lilian Holman, of 36, West Street, Wilton, said that on Friday evening at five minutes past six she saw a car driven by a girl moving along West Street towards Hurdcott Camp. It was on the right of the road and was about three yards from the kerb when it passed her. She saw the boy come from Mrs Corby’s back garden with a basket on his arm. He walked a few steps along the pavement and then stepped into the road in order to cross to Mr White’s delivery van, which was standing opposite. The car knocked him down and then swerved across the road and crashed into Mr White’s van. She next saw the boy lying on the road face downwards.

In reply to the Coroner in regard to the speed of the car, she said it was going rather fast, but she could not estimate the speed.

In reply to Mrs Eynon (the foreman) she said the road was very wide at the spot. She did not hear the motorist sound the hooter.

Mr F H Trethowan, who represented the driver of the car, elicited the fact from the witness that when the boy left the pavement and stepped into the road his back was completely turned towards the car; and, further, that the car was almost up to him.

Miss May Bishop, of 30, West Street, said she saw the accident from Mr Moore’s shop window on the opposite side of the road. After she heard the crash she went to the door and saw the boy lying on his face in the road. He was about three yards from the kerb on the right-hand side. She did not see any reason why the car should have been on that side of the road, but in cross-examination she admitted that the view from the window was not a very extensive one.

In reply to Mr Trethowan she said she could not say whether the car was very far from the middle of the road or not.

Mr J H Uphill, of 20, West Street, Wilton, motor-car proprietor, said that Mr White’s van was standing immediately opposite his window. He was in the window and on hearing a shout went outside, and saw that the car had collided with Mr White’s delivery van, and the boy was lying on the road about eight feet from the kerb on the right-hand side. He took the boy into a garden, where he was attended to by a doctor, and subsequently he took him to Salisbury Infirmary. He had since measured the road and found it was 30 feet wide at the spot.

In answer to the foreman, he said he saw nothing in the road except the stationary van.

In answer to Mr Trethowan, he said he did not think the car wheels passed over the boy. There was nothing to indicate that they had.

Doris Mary Isabel Ewen, the driver of the car, employed by her father, Mr Ewen, of Meadow View, Bemerton, elected to give evidence, and said she was driving to Hurdcott Camp. She left Meadow View at 5.30, slowed down at Four Corners, Wilton, and went along West Street. On the near side of the road there was a stationary van. She pulled out to pass it, and swerved rather more to the left than was necessary in case the van also pulled out into the middle of the road at the same time. The van was facing in the same direction as she was going and it often happened that a stationary vehicle would be pulled out in this way suddenly, and it was one of the things that drivers had to guard against by allowing plenty of room. When she had “pulled out” her off wheels would be about 15 feet from the left side of the road, and her other wheels about 13 feet from the other side of the road. The boy suddenly ran off the pavement on her right and crossed the road towards the van. She sounded the horn and put on the hand brake as hard as she could. The boy heard the hooter because he started and tried to pull back, but he was running too fast to stop himself. She swerved to the left because she had always been told that it was better to hit into anything in order to save human life, but the wing of the car hit the boy and sent him backwards, and the car crashed into the side of the delivery van. The whole thing happened in two seconds. She had the brakes on when the collision occurred.

In answer to the Coroner as to the speed she was going at, she said from 12 to 14 miles an hour.

She told the Foreman she did not think that that speed was too fast in a main street, because the road was perfectly clear except for the van and there was hardly anyone about. She told the police 13 or 14 miles an hour, but she could not be sure to a mile or two because she had no speedometer.

In reply to questions by jurors, she said that when the car struck the boy he must have been thrown towards the off side pavement. She thought the actual swerve of the car had commenced before the boy was struck.

The lady House Surgeon at the Infirmary said the boy was brought in at about 6.30 on Friday evening, unconscious and bleeding from the nose. There were wounds over the left eyebrow and on the left side of the face. He died about 7.45. Death was due to fracture of the base of the skull and laceration of the brain.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”

Mr Trethowan, on behalf of Miss Ewen and her father, expressed their very great regret at the terrible mishap.

It may be added that Miss Ewen was very much overcome by her feelings while giving evidence, and when she had finished was taken out of court by her father.


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