Distressing Motor Fatality – Child Killed by a Conisborough Motorist – Defective Brake

August 1915

Mexborough and Swinton Times August 28, 1915

Distressing Motor Fatality
Child Killed by a Conisborough Motorist
A Defective Brake

A distressing motor fatality occurred at Stainforth on Monday, between 9 and 10 o’clock. It appears that child named Harold Cook, son of Sapper Thomas Cook, now of the Royal Engineers, and formerly of Meadow Lane Stainforth, was being wheeled in a pushcart by its mother when a motor car, owned and driven by by Mr Samuel Whitefield Conisborough, came up from the Doncaster direction.

After taking a corner, instead of straightening out along the road the car mounted the footpath, struck the child and its mother, not down a considerable length of brick wall. As a result the child was killed.

An inquest was conducted by Mr Frank Allen at Stainforth on Monday

Harriet Ann Cook, the mother, stated that on Monday morning she had the child in a pushcart, I was going in the direction of Barnby Dun, when she saw a motorcar come round the Barnby Dun corner. The car was not coming very fast. It came to the next corner, and turned round for Stainforth. She did not remember seeing it come any further. All she remembered was that it knocked her down
A juror pointed out that there was a third person injured and the Coroner said she was too ill to attend.

Isaac Henry bowling stated that he was standing in front of the shop looking down the road towards Doncaster, when he saw a motorcar coming at 5 or 6 miles an hour with 2 men in. The car took a long turn as if going to Hatfield. When they whipped round the corner the hind wheel skidded, the car mounted the pavement and struck the wall.

There was a Mrs Cook and the child, and Miss Finch on the path. He shouted “They are going to be killed and ran to them. The car struck Mrs Cook, and sent her flying into the stack yard. He found one end of the car touching the wall, and Miss Finch was laid across the wall. The wall was all knocked down.

George Livesey Firth, contractor, Don View Conisborough, was in the car, said he joined Mr Whitefield at Doncaster. They came around the first corner at Stainforth very gently at 5 mph, in fact they fairly crawled. Mr Whitefield sounded his horn. He next took the second corner to the left all right, making a wide turning, but the car would not straighten out, and mounted the footpath. He saw the driver press both pedasl but he did not use the side brake. The brakes were applied before the touched the footpath.

Dr Anderson said that death was due to fracture of the skull.

The Coroner said if the break was in order, he could not understand why the car did not stop.

Samuel Whitefield, contractor, Conisborough, who is exceedingly deaf, said he was going slowly, and on turning the second corner the car stuck fast in the gearing, and the steering was completely locked and the car mounted the causeway. He put the foot brake on before the car mounted the causeway, but it did not stop it. He did not feel the car skid. He took the clutch out as soon as he found he could not get the steering back.
He had been driving four years. He had had one accident before at Conisborough. When passing a row of houses, a little lad came running out of a passage and ran in front of the car. He died three weeks later.
He took the wide turn round the second corner, because he thought an elderly lady was coming across the road will stop he had not had any previous trouble with the steering gear.
A friend of Mr Whitefield, Mr Clarkson, also gave evidence and testified to the carefulness of the driver, with whom he had ridden hundreds and thousands of miles.
After a long consultation, the jury returned a verdict of “accidental death” and added that in their opinion the break of the car did not act properly.
Mr Whitefield expressed his sympathy with the parents of the child.

Conisborough Notes
Fatal Motor accident in which a child was so severely injured that it died soon afterwards.
Much sympathy is felt for Mr Whitefield, who is very attached to children and often picks them up for a ride in his car, who is used to be pitied rather than blamed if the brakes fail and cause the car to become unmanageable, as is stated to be the fact