Inquest At Denaby Main of Teenager’s Railway Death at Accommodation Crossing

June 1896

Mexborough & Swinton Times, June 26th, 1896.

Inquest At Denaby Main of Teenager’s Railway Death

An inquest was held by Mr. Nicholson yesterday afternoon, at the Denaby Main Hotel, on the body of Edith Stanley Oates, who was killed on the railway on Wednesday morning.

Mr. Fourdrinier, district superintendent, attended on behalf of the M. S. & L. Ry. Co., and Mr. Wilson for the Midland Co.

The first witness was Samuel Oates, of 37, Edlington Street, Denaby Main, miner, the father of the deceased. He identified, the deceased as his daughter, who was fifteen years of age. She had been employed as a domestic servant, but had recently been out of employment, and on Wednesday morning left home with the intention of applying for work at Messrs. Kilner Bros.’ glass-works. He last saw her alive about ten o’clock on Wednesday morning

Isaac Fletcher, of York, a passenger engine-driver for the Midland Railway Co, said he was driving his train on Wednesday from Sheffield to Doncaster, leaving Mexborough at 12-56, when he noticed a young woman on the four-foot at the ‘accommodation crossing.’ She was about fifty yards off when he first noticed her. A coal train had just gone up, and she had apparently come on the line after it had passed. He thought at first she was going to wait till he had passed, but as she seemed in danger he whistled and put on the brake. He was then about thirty yards off. He was going about six miles and hour at the time. He was due to pull up at Conisborough, and had reduced speed. The girl was standing sideways when the train struck her. He knew the crossing well, and had always to be very careful as children often played there. 

Mr. Fourdrinier: It is a private occupation crossing.

The Coroner: Did the fireman see it?

Witness: No,sir; he was on the other side. As soon as the train stopped he found the girl’s apron on the front of the engine.

Mary Ann Dean, living with her father at 23, Wadworth Street, Denaby Main, said she knew Edith Oakes. They were going together on Wednesday morning to Kilner’s in search of work. They both climbed over the first gate of the crossing. Witness went forward, but Oakes lagged behind. Witness called Oakes, but she did not come. Shortly afterwards witness heard that Oakes was dead.

Thos. Bairon, stationmaster, Conisborough said he knew ‘Accommodation Crossing.’ The gates were always locked and the keys kept at the station. He remembered four or five years ago the crossing was done away with by the company, but had to be restored at the instance of Mr. Montagu’s representatives.

The public were forbidden to cross, and a notice was constantly kept up at either side that trespassers would be prosecuted

A Juryman, named Metcalf, said the crossing was no good to anyone. If it could not be done away with in consequence of private owners it ought at least to have spikes placed over the gates.

Mr. Fourdrinier said the company had had a spike fence put along the line, but notwithstanding the spikes, children still went over.

Mr. Wray (one of the jury) said he had often noticed children and other people on the crossing and had often wondered that more people were not injured. He thought the Railway Company should prosecute someone for trespassing so as to give a warning and make an impression.

The jury returned a verdict of ‘Accidental death,’ no blame attaching to anyone.