Tapper, Francis

Tapper, Francis       1917 May 25th

Run Over in Exeter Street

A most distressing accident occurred in Exeter Street on Tuesday, when a little boy in running after a hoop across the street collided with two horses attached to a van and was killed. The circumstances attending his death were inquired into by the Acting Coroner (Mr A M Wilson) and a jury at the Infirmary yesterday (Thursday).

Walter Tapper, a labourer, residing at 12, Exeter Terrace, said Francis Edom Tapper was his son and was six years old last January. On Tuesday he returned from work at 5.30pm and saw his son. That was the last time he saw him alive. When he had been indoors about five minutes the boy was carried in and put on a couch and the neighbours said he had been run over. The boy said he wanted to go to sleep, but they undressed him, rolled him in a blanket and took him to the Infirmary.

George Easter, a carman, living at 5, The Greencroft, said when he was driving from Harnham he noticed a van drawn by two horses coming along at a slow trot. A little boy ran across the road after a hoop, when opposite the passage at Exeter Terrace, and ran right against the off side horse, and the two off wheels went over him. The van was pulled up quickly and the boy picked up. As far as witness could see the driver was not to blame.

Frank Judd, a carrier of Handley, the driver, corroborated.

Mrs Marian Rawlence, house surgeon, said the boy was admitted at 6 o’clock on Tuesday evening. He gradually got worse and died about 9 o’clock. In her opinion hemorrhage, resulting from severe internal injuries, was the cause of death. There was the mark of a wheel upon his back.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death” and exonerated the driver from all blame. They also expressed sympathy with the parents to whom they gave their fees.

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