Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 11 December 1931
After the Funeral
Bearer Found Dying on the Line.
The death of Michael Quinn (42), miner, of 19, Edlington Street, Denaby, who was found terribly mutilated on the L.N.E.R. line 300 yards west of Denaby Crossing late last Thursday night, was investigated on Monday when enquiry was conducted at the Fullerton Hospital by Mr. W. H. Carlile, who advised the jury to return an open verdict.
Representing the L.N.E.R. Company was Inspector P. Glovey, of Doncaster.
Agnes Quinn (widow). gave evidence of identification, and said her husband left home last Thursday, soon after two o’clock to act as bearer at the funeral of Mrs. O’Brien, 79, Doncaster Road, Denaby. He was then in good health, very cheerful and without troubles of any kind. He had never threatened to take his life.
The Coroner: He took drink?—Yes.
The Coroner: More than was good for him? –Sometimes.
Witness added that the next she heard of her husband was after the accident. She saw him in the hospital at 2.15 on Friday morning. He was unconscious.
After The Funeral.
Catherine O’Brien, 79, Doncaster Road, Denaby, gave evidence of Quinn officiating as a bearer at the funeral of her mother. Afterwards, the funeral party went to the Reresby Arms Hotel for tea. About 10.10 p.m. last Thursday Quinn went to witness’ home. “He was under the influence of drink,” added witness, “but capable of looking after himself. He was more excited than usual.”
The Coroner: He was not in the state of mind when he would go and take his life?— Oh, no.
Answering further questions, witness said her home backed on to the railway. There a wall about five feet high separating the yard and the railway. She took Quinn out of the house, guided him down several steps and then saw him making his way down the street.
In answer to a juryman, Miss O’Brien said Quinn had one drink from a glass of beer while in her home.
David Franks, of Slade Road, Swinton, signalman in charge of the Low Field box last Thursday night, said that about 11 o’clock he noticed that the long distance signal would not work. He inquired of the Denaby box signalman and found that he was having similar trouble. He left (Franks), about 11-19, left his box and walked in the direction of Denaby or some distance but could not find the trouble. When he returned to his box he made arrangements with a Conisborough station porter to make a thorough examination of the line. He estimated that between 11 and 11-50, the time Quinn was found, four trains would pass along the line by which Quinn was lying.
Walter Alexander Hirst, of the Gate Cottage, Denaby, described how he found Quinn. First he discovered the signal wires twisted and then, 20 yards away, Quinn, who was lying in the down line with his feet towards Denaby. Witness thought Quinn might have caught the wires with his body or foot. He untwisted them and immediately ran for the police.
Miss O’Brian, recalled, said, in reply to a question by the Coroner, that “everybody was friendly and there was no row” that night at her home. If,
P.c. Whitehead said he arrived at the scene of the accident at 11.90. He saw Quinn lying in the tour-foot way, bleeding badly and suffering from terrible body and head injuries. His left foot had been severed from the ankle and his left arm wrenched off from the shoulder. Quinn smelled very strongly of drink. Witness lifted him clear of the line and sent for Dr. Forde and an ambulance. Quinn was semiconscious on the way to the Fullerton Hospital, but he (witness) could not make sense of what he was saying. The constable put forward a theory as to how Quinn suffered the accident. It was a very windy night end possibly the man had got down on the line after his hat. The constable pointed out that he had found Quinn’s hat near Denaby Crossing the following morning. It was not damaged.
The Coroner: It is quite possible that Quinn’s hat was blown off and he went on to the line after it.
Dr. T. Forde, of Denaby, gave evidence of being called to Quinn as he lay near the line. “When I got there I saw his left foot and arm lying beside him and immediately saw there was nothing I could do but to get him to hospital.” There was no hope for Quinn and death was caused by shock following his terrible injuries. He died at 3.15 a.m on Friday in the hospital.
Inspector Glavey said full inquiries had been made at various depots in the district, but the railway company could not trace the engine which had knocked Quinn down. They had searched for marks on locomotives but there were none to be found.
Addressing the jury, the Coroner said there was no suggestion of foul play in the evidence nor was there any suggestion that he had taken his life intentionally. It had been suggested that his hat blew off and he followed it on to the line. There was no direct evidence, and that could be accepted as a most reasonable suggestion. However, the best conclusion they could come to was that the man had been run over by an engine but that there was no evidence to show how he got on the line. The jury agreed with the Coroner’s suggestion.