Shocking Train Fatality near Conisborough – Lady Leaps from Train

July 1905

Mexborough and Swinton Times July 1, 1905

Shocking Train Fatality near Conisborough
Lady Leaps from Train
Mexborough Man’s Unfortunate Predicament

Last Monday the 9-50 p.m. train from Doncaster had amongst its passengers a young lady named Sarah Emerson, daughter of the G. C. R engine driver, residing at Sheffield, who was returning home from a visit to her relatives at Misterton, and a young man named John Edward Taylor, an employee of the G. C. R. At Mexborough, and a member of the volunteer force, who had been to Doncaster for the purpose of attending a drill. Nothing occurred until they were just reaching cutting, when Taylor, who was reading some railway excursion bills, heard a click, and looking up saw the young lady on the footboard. Going towards her to prevent her doing an injury to herself, he was shocked to see her lose her hold and disappear.

As soon as he had collected his thoughts, he pulled the communication card, but got no response. On reaching Conisborough he at once gave notice to the stationmaster, and a light engine was sent back to where the body was found by a signalman, who was returning home. Dr Forster was in attendance at the station when the engine returned, and he ordered her removal to the Mexborough Hospital, where he comforted and attended her. The lady had nothing on her by which she could be identified, and did not regain consciousness. On Tuesday, however, her father, hearing of the accident came to Mexborough and identified her, and remained with her until she died, at 6.30 p.m.

Mr. D. Wightman, on Tuesday, held an inquest at the Montague Arms, to enquire into the cause of death. Mr. G. Marshall was foreman of the jury. Mr. Wilson attended on behalf of Mr. Emerson (the father), and the G. C. R. was represented by inspector G. Buckley, Doncaster”, and Mr. Chas. Ughill, Loco superintendent.

The first witness called was James Foster, medical practitioner at Conisborough. He was called on Monday evening, about 10 PM, to attend deceased at Conisborough Railway Station, found her quite unconscious, examined her, and found her bleeding from the mouth and nose, paralysed in the left arm and leg, there was a wound on her face extending from the angle of the mouth across the cheek, 2 inches long, also a wound on her chin. These were caused by the fall, and were full of coal dust and dirt. He went to Mexborough hospital with her. She lived about 20 hours, dying about 6 PM next day, the cause of death being a fractured skull. He saw nothing suspicious about any assault before death. The wounds might be caused by falling from a train in motion.

By Mr. Muir Wilson: I examined her next day for any signs of assault, but could find none, she was “Virgo intactco” the impact from a fall would be practically be the same as if she had jumped.
James Emerson, 45, Vale Road, Sheffield, father of deceased, said his daughter was 21 years of age, and left home on Monday morning at 6 .45 AM, for Misterton, to see an aunt. She intended to come back that night, but it was not certain. When he came off duty next morning he heard of an accident, and came to Mexborough, where he saw his daughter at the hospital, and she died in his presence, without gaining consciousness. He did not know a person name J. E. Taylor; he was a complete stranger to him.

By Mr. Wilson: His daughter was of a healthy and bright and happy disposition, she never had shown any signs of mental worry. She was not hysterical nature, and had not the slightest cause for destroying herself.

Mr. Wilson now handed in a letter from a cousin at Misterton. “They were surprised and shocked and hearing of the tragic event. Sarah left here in better spirits and more cheerful in her manner. She made the remark when leaving, “Oh, it’s about time I was able to look after myself,’ and was laughing and joking at such things as being attended to in travelling.”

John Wm. Grimolby, signalman at the Wandsworth box, said that at 10 – 8 PM he was walking up the line when he found deceased in a ditch, a quarter mile from his box, and the Doncaster side. He at once attended to her, and finding she was still unconscious, he went back to the box and wired to Conisborough for assistance. An engine arrived at 10.22 p.m. and it took deceased to Mexborough.

Cross-examined by Mr Wilson, witness said that when the train passed he noticed nothing wrong but the door flew which deceased has fallen was on the opposite side to his box. The tunnel was about three quarters of a mile and the other side.

Thomas Freeman, the driver of the train, was the next witness. When he left Doncaster all was alright; he did not see either deceased or Taylor. The communication cord was pulled just before arriving at the river bridge and reduced his vacuum 5 inches. Being a dangerous place to stop at, and the tunnel being near, he thought it best to go on the station. When he arrived there he sent his fireman back to see what the matter was.

Cross-examined by Mr. Muir Wilson, Freeman said that he did not know the exact spot where the body was found. Upon Mr. Wilson telling him, witness said they had travelled about three quarters of a mile before the communication cord was pulled. The vacuum was reduced 5 inches but it should have been 7 to 10 inches, and if it was in perfect order it should have stopped the train. It was not a part of his duty to see that the communication apparatus was in good order. His rules prohibited him from stopping the train when on a bridge or in a tunnel.

Mr Wilson said that a person might be murdered during the time (2 to 3 minutes) which the train took to go from the spot where the body fell to the station, and the man replied that he for it best to go one.

A juror: Would the brake have stop the train?

Freeman: it should have.

Mr. Wightman Aston Inspector Watson if there was anything against Taylor, and on being answered in the negative, said he would adjourn inquest for a week. He could not call a man to defend himself when there was no charge against him.

The inquest was adjourned to Wednesday next at 1 PM.