South Yorkshire Times – Saturday 28 February 1942
Killed On Way From School
Child Who Asked To Come Home Alone
That there was no question of neglect either on the part of the parents or the driver, said the Doncaster District Coroner (Mr. W, H. Carlile) recording a verdict of “Accidental Death,” at an Inquest at Mexborough on Friday on Rita Salkeld (4) daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. V. Salkeld, 7, Melton Street, Mexborough, who was knocked down and fatally injured by a motor lorry in Doncaster Road on February 17th.
Lucy Salkeld, mother, said that her daughter had attended Pitt Street School since last September, and she had made a practice of escorting her to and from school. On Tuesday Rita asked that she might be allowed to come home alone as she was “a big girl.” This was only the second time she had been allowed to come home alone. Later witness was told that Rita had been involved In an accident and she and her husband found Rita unconscious. She was taken to the Montagu Hospital and they gave their consent for operation to be performed, but Rita died before anything could be done.
Cyril Day 63 Britain Street, Thurnscoe, lorry driver, said he was driving from Mexborough to Denaby on Doncaster Road. There were children about. One motor lorry was coming In the opposite direction with a second lorry about 15 yards behind it when a child dashed out from the pavement on his left and ran straight in front of the second lorry which was going at about 20 m.p.h. The lorry swerved and braked, knocked child down but did not run over her. The driver could not have avoided the accident.
The Coroner: Did the driver his hooter?—He might have done so without my hearing It.
Edward Dobson. Talbot Road, Swinton. Iron and steel merchant, a passenger In Day’s lorry, said he a child run out, look towards the back of the lorry which had passed but not to see If any traffic was behind it. The child ran swiftly across the rind and into the side of the lorry.
A/c. Frank Edwards, 8, Warmsworth Street, Denaby, said that he was picked up in Luton by Kennard to be given a lift to his home. They passed through Denaby but he said he would drive on to Mexborough with Kennard to show him the way. Before coming to the school he cautioned the driver to slacken speed, and Kennard did so. The child ran very swiftly across the road and the driver could not possibly have missed her. Witness did not think that the vehicle passed over the child’s body.
P.c. Seed, Mexborough, said that when he arrived on the scene of the accident the child had been removed. The lorry was stationary about one foot from the pavement, and there were brake marks on the ground. The driver showed him a mark half way up the side of the lorry where the mud had been brushed off and where the child had probably hit the vehicle.
James Ingram Kennard, Crowley Green Road. Luton, a lorry driver employed by the Vauxhall Motor Co. said he could not remember giving any notice of his approach to the children who were about. One child suddenly ran straight across and he braked violently and swerved into the kerb. He felt no impact, and until he got out of the cab he did not know it the child had been struck. He found the child lying on its back at the side of the rear wheel. Witness said he had been driving 20 years.
Inspector Waugh: You say that you braked violently. Do you know that the marks when measured were found to be 41 feet long:—l put my brakes on very keenly.
The Coroner said as the child was found at the rear end of the lorry and the brake marks were almost twice the length of the vehicle, the driver must have braked as soon as he saw the child run out.
Dr. A. Greenbergh, house surgeon at the Montagu Hospital, said that the cause of death was cerebral laceration and haemorrhage due to a fractured skull. There was nothing to show that a wheel had passed over the body.
The Coroner said that it appeared that the mother had been very careful, and there was no question of parental neglect. The lorry was driving at a reasonable speed at the right side of the road and was in good order. Although the driver was unable to avoid the collision it was a good practice to give warning of approach when there were children about.