Conisborough Motor Accident – Butcher Acquitted of Manslaughter

December 1923

Mexborough & Swinton Times, December 15

Conisboro´ Motor Accident

Darnall Butcher Acquitted of Manslaughter

At Leeds Assize on Monday, before Mr. Justice Talbot, Jabez Cowley (40), butcher, of Clipstone road, Darnall, Sheffield was charged with the manslaughter of William Wyatt, a miner at Conisborough, on September 7th last. Mr. J.A. Greene and Mr. W. Stewart prosecuted, and Mr. W.P. Donald, with Mr. C.H.B. Streatfield defended.

The case, as outlined by counsel, was that Wyatt, in company with a man named Rufus, was walking along the roadway of Conisborough near the junction of Ellershaw road and Sheffield road, on his way to his home about 10 p.m., when he was met by two motor vans, one of which driven by prisoner, knocked him down. He died on September 25th as the result of fractured spine and other injuries. Prisoner counsel continued, was driving from Askern in company with two other butchers named Austin and Pinder. Prisoner fell behind owing to engine trouble. Near the scene of the accident there is a gradient, and Cowley put on speed and overtook Austin. Wyatt´s companion, Rufus, was wheeling a bicycle, which was struck by Cowley´s car, and Wyatt was later found lying unconscious on the kerb.

William Henry Gilmore a retired school teacher said he was walking along the roadway near the scene at the time of the accident. The two vans came up practically abreast, and going at a very great rate; they appeared to him to take up the whole of the road. When the vans had passed, witness saw Wyatt lying on the footpath.

John Alfred Rufus, miner of Sheffield road, Conisborough, said the car struck his bicycle, witness was thrown down with great violence, and dazed, and when he recovered he found himself lying 20 yards from where he was struck, with Wyatt, badly injured, beside him.

The medical evidence showed that Wyatt´s case was hopeless from the first.

In opening the defence Mr. Donald said it was not urged that Cowley did not knock Wyatt down, but it was denied that there was excessive speed or reckless driving.

Cowley in the witness box, said he had held a driver´s licence for eight years, and had never had a complaint against him. When approaching the spot where the accident occurred. Austin´s car, which was in front of him, slowed down and he, witness passed Austin. At that moment he noticed what appeared to be three men with a bicycle, on the right hand side of the road Witness was travelling at from 12 to 15 miles an hour at the time.

“I swerved to my left to avoid the men” witness said, “cutting in in front of Austin. But I felt a jar, and knew I had hit something, so I pulled up within 25 yards and went back. I could not pull up sooner, or Austin would have bumped into me”.

Thomas Austin, butcher, Sheffield, and his son George gave corroborative evidence.

The jury without retiring found the prisoner “Not Guilty”, and he was discharged.

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