Conisbrough Child ran into Roadway.

September 1963

South Yorkshire Times September 7.

Conisbrough Child ran into Roadway.

When a four-year-old child ran out from behind an ice cream van parked in Chestnut Grove, Conisbrough, the lorry driver was placed in “an almost impossible situation” the Doncaster District Coroner, Mr K.D.Potter told a Conisbrough inquest on Tuesday.

The inquest was on Michele Taylor, 54 Chestnut Grove, Conisbrough, and the lorry driver, Conisbrough Council employee, Arthur Collinson, Thirlwall Avenue, Conisbrough, told the jury that he spotted the ice cream van as he came round a bend in Chestnut Grove last Thursday.

He was travelling at about 15 to 20 mph, for he always kept to a moderate speed through the estate because of the danger to children.

He sounded his horn when he was about 3 to 4 yards from the van, parked on the opposite side of the road facing in the Rotherham direction, but as he drew level with the rear of the vehicle the little girl ran out from behind.


He braked hard and swerve the lorry, itching nearside curb, but although he managed to avoid the child with the front of the lorry, she was run over by the offside wheel, sustaining severe head injuries, as a result of which she died almost immediately.

Mr Sidney James Taylor, miner, said he was in bed at the time of the accident, after returning home from work. Normally Michele never went out of the gate on her own. His wife usually saw her across the road and often after buying an ice cream she would stay at the home of a relative, almost opposite her home. They would then take her back across the road. If Michele’s mother was not available. He could not say how she had come to be across the road on Thursday.

The ice cream salesman, Kevin Wright of Skellow, said he toured the Ellershaw estate twice a day, and always parked at a particular spot on Chestnut Avenue. On Thursday, Michele was standing at the edge of the road waiting for him when he arrived. She was the first to be served.

Screech of Brakes.

He added, “I had just started to serve another lady when I heard the screech of brake.” He saw the child lying in the road, and telephoned the police.

He had often served Michelle with ice cream. He always tried to keep an eye on children crossing the road to his van and even picked them up occasionally and took them home. Michelle did not normally cross behind the van, but went into one of the houses on that side of the road.

Pathologist Dr Sewell said death was caused by fractures of the skull.

Christopher John Brabham of 24 Oak Grove, Conisbrough, was playing on the age of the payment, said he and a friend had seen Michelle cross the road just before the incident, and go in to the gate of her home. She had come out again later and crossed the road after the ice cream van pulled up. They did not see her after that until they heard the squealer breaks and saw the lorry bump up onto the pavement and bounce off again.

Sgt Stanley Quinian told the jury that the distance from the rear of the van to the point where marks showed the point of impact was 11’6″

Masked by Van.

Mr Potter said that the evidence confirmed Mr Collinson’s story. He had been travelling at a reasonable speed, but the girl was completely masked by the van. Ice cream vans were natural attraction to children and he thought that possibly in future the van could occupy a position off the road.

He added, “it does seem that parents in general must exercise supervision over children under five years of age – they have very little wrought sense until they are above this age.”

It was tragic for Mr and Mrs Taylor that on this occasion their daughter had slipped out of their sight. He had every sympathy with them and with a lorry driver, Mr Collinson.

The jury returned a verdict of “accidental death.”

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