Fatal Step – Old Man Knocked Down at Conisborough – Came from Behind Bus

September 1936

Mexborough and Swinton Times September 4, 1936

Fatal Step
Old Man Knocked Down at Conisborough
Came from Behind Bus

How Henry Dyson Ashworth (79), of 120, Upper Sheffield Road, Barnsley, took one step to death was described at an inquest at Fullerton hospital, conducted by Mr W. H. Carlile, Doncaster district Coroner, on Tuesday.

Ashworth, who was returning from Thrybergh by bus last Thursday, alighted by the Star Hotel, Conisborough, and was in the act of crossing the road when he was knocked down by a car driven by Norman Whitehead, of 16, John Street, Rotherham, and received injuries from which he died on Saturday.

Whitehead, when telling how he tried to avoid Ashworth said, “one step less would have saved him.”

The Coroner said that Ashworth left his home about 10 am on Thursday and travelled by bus to Thrybergh. Then he returned and alighted from a stationary bus near the Star Hotel, Conisborough. About 8-15 p.m. the same day Norman Whitehead, of 16, John Street, Rotherham, was driving a car from Rotherham towards Doncaster. He had passed the cross roads near Conisborough, and was approaching two stationary buses standing near the Star Hotel. Ashworth who had been travelling in one of the buses, walked towards the road. The driver of the car came into collision with him and knocked him down. He was taken to the Fullerton hospital, and died on Saturday.

Bertha Newton Gray, of 120, Upper Sheffield Road, Barnsley, who was Ashworth’s housekeeper, gave evidence of identification. She said that Ashworth was a widower and was 79 years of age.

Clifford Bedford, 49. King Street, Hoyland, a Yorkshire Traction Co. Bus driver, said he was driving a bus from Barnsley to Doncaster. At 8.44 pm it was stationary outside the Star Hotel, Conisborough, behind a Sheffield Corporation bus.

“Suddenly I heard a car’s brakes violently applied,” he said. “I looked through the mirror and I could see a car somewhere about the rear of my bus.” The car had pulled halfway across the road, and was perfectly stationary, he continued. He got out of the bus and found a man lying on the road about 9 feet from the nearside pavement edge. He was unconscious, and witness and the driver of the car carried him into the Star Hotel. There was no other traffic about at the time. In reply to a question by the Coroner, Bedford said that buses did not stop opposite each other. They pulled up so as to leave a space between them.

The Coroner: I have seen buses opposite there. That isn’t helping traffic, is it? – No.

Wouldn’t it be better if the stop were taken further along? – Yes.

Light Very Bad.

Witness added that there was no blood on the man. The light was very bad at the time. He thought Ashworth must have been knocked down immediately from his position in relation to the car. The car had pulled up almost immediately, and had tried to avoid Ashworth. The windscreen of the car was broken

Norman Whitehead, driver of the car, machinist of 16, John Street, Rotherham, said he was driving his car with Mary McMahon as a passenger. They had passed the cross roads at Conisborough and saw two stationary buses standing on the nearside, opposite the Star Hotel. After he had passed the crossroads and was approaching these buses he was travelling at 20 to 22 mph. When he was about 12 yards away from the bus he started to draw into the middle of the road. There was nothing coming in the opposite direction. Then a man stepped off the pavement behind the nearest bus and commenced to cross the road. Witness sounded his horn, and Ashworth began to walk across the road. He gave one glance the other way and began to hurry. Witness applied his brakes and tried to avoid him by swerving. He failed, and caught Ashworth with the bonnet of his car. He had his sidelights on at the time.

The Coroner: It isn’t sufficient when you are passing a bus discharging passengers to blow your horn, hoping they will get out of the way. I always consider it the duty of the motorists that he should be prepared to stop dead if he is passing a bus.

Witness added that he sounded his horn three times quickly and then great. “One step last would have saved him,” he added.

Whitehead’s passenger, Mary McMahon, Goldsmith Road, Herringthorpe, Rotherham, said she had heard Whiteheads evidence and agreed with it.

PC T.H. Gregory, Conisborough, said the car was driven for 10 yards with the brakes applied. He agreed with the Coroner that it was very dangerous for buses to be pulled up opposite each other at the Star Hotel.

Dr D. M. Bell, Conisborough, said Ashford received a fractured right collarbone, which penetrated the lung. He developed hypostatic pneumonia, from which he died. The jury, in returning a verdict of “accidental death,” exonerated the driver.