JOHN HESKETH PEARSON.
12th January 1909
Reference Numbert19090112-62
VerdictNot Guilty > unknown

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PEARSON, John Hesketh (22, civil engineer); manslaughter of James Talbot.

Mr. Bodkin, Mr. Leycester, and Mr. H. D. Roome prosecuted; Mr. Muir and Mr. Oddie defended.

Police-constable JAMES SMITH, 52 A, produced a plan embracing part of Whitehall and Parliament Street on the scale of 64 ft to 1 in., and gave details of the position of various streets, distances from point to point, position of the refuges, etc.

Police-constable THOMAS TRAINOR, 148 A. On September 30 I was in Parliament Street. About 2.20 p.m. I saw a crowd near Charles Street and a car numbered F. C, 305 backed on to the kerb on the Charles Street side of Parliament Street. An old man (Talbot) was lying on the ground unconscious, his feet towards Charing Cross and his head towards Parliament Square. I noticed a wound above his left eye, and there were marks of blood on his face. Prisoner said, "My car has knocked this old man down. You put him in the car and direct me to the nearest hospital." He added, "I was driving the car." Deceased was taken in the car to the Westminster Hospital, and I went with accused to Cannon Row Police Station, where he wss charged with causing him bodily harm. He made no reply to the charge. He was taken before the magistrate (Mr. Curtis Bennett) at Bow Street next morning. By that time the old man was dead and prisoner was charged with manslaughter.

REGINALD STEPHEN TOWNSEND , house surgeon, Westminster Hospital. I took charge of deceased when he was brought in. He was unconscious, and did not recover consciousness before his death, at shout half-past seven in the evening. At the post-mortem examination I found that seven ribs on his right side were fractured and had lacerated the right lung. The pelvis was fractured on the right side and the tibia of the left leg. There was a wound over the left eye. The injuries I have described were the direct cause of death. The body was apparently that of a healthy man for his years. The injuries were such as would have caused the death even of a young man of 25

Cross-examined. The blow on the head might have been caused by the hood of the motor car striking deceased, or any blunt instrument. The fracture of the leg might, have been caused by the wing of the car. As to whether if a man were thrown violently to the ground, that

would be the kind of injury that would cause fracture of the ribs at those angles, I think he roust have had a severe blow directly. A man would not fracture seven ribs simply by falling on the road. It is possible he might do so if he fell from a great height or was flung violently to the ground. The arteries of the brain were deteriorated and calcified, that condition being due to age. Deafness is frequently due to degeneration of the arteries in the middle ear owing to calcification I am not prepared to say what force would be necessary to cause the injuries to deceased, but a car weighing two tons tvavelling at 15 miles an hour would have been sufficient to cause them.

Re-examined. I think the injury to the left leg might have been caused either by a direct or an indirect blow.

JOHN STOKESBURY , compositor, 52, Shardeloes Road, New Cross Deceased was the stepfather of my wife. He was in his 85th year. He had been for a great number of years in the Education Office, and had retired only 18 months ago. I cannot account for his having been allowed to remain on so long, 65 being the ordinary age of retirement, but I believe that when the Education Act of 1870 came into force, people were allowed to go in at a certain age merely as writers; he was not on the staff. I knew him very well. Hit health was good and he was exceptionally active and vigorous for a man of 84, and enjoyed walking exercise. His sight was good and he had only used glasses for reading or writing. His hearing was fairly good, and he could hear people speaking in ordinary tones in a room, and he could hear a motor horn. I have been out walking with him. He would generally look round before he ventured off the pavement.

Cross-examined by Mr. Oddie. Deceased was for more than 35 years in the Education Office, and had been in the habit of crossing Whitehall very frequently. He was only slightly deaf. I do not know whether he looked up. I should say the speed of the motor car did not give him the opportunity to get out of the way.

The Recorder. You are not going to suggest, are you, that people are bound to get out of the way of motor cars because they blow a horn?

Mr. Oddie. No, but if nobody took notice of the horns, accidents would be so numerous that the hospitals would have to be enlarged.

The Recorder. Other steps would have to be taken to regulate the procedure of motor vehicles. People of this advanced age are in many cases deaf, and people of other ages are also deaf. The blowing of the horn does not constitute any valid excuse in law.

Inspector SAMUEL ROGERS, A. Prisoner, having first been charged within causing grievous bodily harm was re-charged in the evening with manslaughter.

EDMUND HERBERT STEVENSON , civil engineer, 38, Parliament Street On September 30, between quarter and half past two, I was walking from Charing Cross down Whitehall on the east side. When I had just passed the entrance to the Board of Trade I hear a peculiar sounding horn. I turned and looked northwards up Whitehall and saw a red touring car coming down on the outside of the southern bound traffic. I saw it had a long funnel-shaped horn on the top of

the bonnet. I have five heard since that it is an electric horn. The car was coming clown on the west side of the crown of the road. The south-bound traffic practically filled half the road, the other half being practically empty. The car was running on what would usually be occupied by the north-bound traffic, in the centre of the roadway, and well outside the south-bound traffic, and going at a faster speed than I have ever seen a car go on that particular piece of road. The born was being sounded very often; I think I heard it four or five times, a short, sharp blast. I kept the car in view the whole way. The rapid spend at which it was travelling attracted my attention. Just before the car skidded I lost sight of the front part of it behind a vehicle, but I could still see the body. From the action of the car I should say the brake was put on hard and suddenly. Why I watched it was because I was so afraid of it being nipped at the refuges at Charles Street. From the line the car was taking I was very much afraid of some accident happening there. I did not see the old man at all. When the brakes were put on the car was about opposite the north corner of Charles Street. When, the car was checked after going forward in a straight line for a very short distance, 3 ft. or 4 ft., the back part of the car swerved to the right and made a complete half-circle, and seemed to hang for a moment, an appreciable moment; finally it made a complete revolution and a quarter and ran. back to the north corner of Charles Street against the kerb, with the back towards the Home Office and front to the road, stopping the traffic going north on the west aide of the road. It was a very large and powerful car, and took up a good deal of room. I saw deceased lying in the road nearly opposite the middle of Charles Street, a little above the refuges. The road was quite dry, and it was a very hot day. Up till the time the car was checked there did not appear to me to have been any variation in its speed.

Cross-examined. As there was no traffic going north, there was no reason why the car should not overtake the south-bound traffic. The road in front to Parliament Square was clear, and there was no danger unless the car met something or somebody going ai that pace Nobody crossed within my light. A difference of a mile or two an hour would not be appreciable at the pace the car was going. Where the road is broad, as in this case, and you see the car approaching at a considerable angle you can judge of the pace at which a car is going, and in this came there was the south-bound traffic to compare with. The south-bound traffic extended north and south as far as one could see. I saw a yellow horse omnibus which the oar passed on the off side. As to the suggestion that the pace of the car was only 15 miles an hour, I can only say that people who say that are either no judges of pace or else are deliberately misstating the facts. As an engineer I consider I am a judge of pace to a certain extent. I am a gas and water engineer, a mechanical engineer, but not a motor engineer. I have ridden a good deal in motors, but do not drive myself. This road is paved with wood. I have heard that the tyres of this ear had non-skid studs on them. I have seen brakes applied to cars going at 15 miles an hour, and at even a greater pace, without

skidding, but if a car was being driven at the very rapid pace that this car was and brakes were suddenly applied I should expert it to skid. I said before the magistrate that between the refuges opposite the Home Office and the refuges opposite Charles Street the driver had a clear run; that was because there was no north-bound traffic. I said also I thought the pace was dangerous to the people in the car, but I did not say it was not also dangerous to the public. If the car had run into the refuges it would have been overturned and the occupants doubtless injured. I apprehended danger at the refuges between Charles Street and Derby Street where the space is more contracted than it is opposite the Home Office. I was afraid that the omnibuses which stop south of these refuges might pull out. I think I said before the magistrate that there was no danger in the pace per se, but only having regard to what might happen. This it the first time I have said the car was going at a greater speed than I had ever seen a car going at on that road, but I said before the magistrate that it was going at more than double the speed of the motor cabs that were going south.

WILLIAM YOUNG , 110, Sussex Road, Holloway. I am in the employ of the London General Omnibus Company and drive a pair-horse bus from Camden Town to Victoria. I was driving southwards in Parliament Street, about 2.30 p.m. on September 30, and was about two yards or three yards from the kerb. As a rule, the track of my omnibus leaves apace for another line of vehicles near the kerb, and I have a right by the rule of the road to occupy the centre space between the refuges, and the northern traffic does the same. I was driving at between six and seven miles an hour at the time, and was just opposite Richmond Mews when I heard the frequent sounding of a motor horn and the vibration of a motor engine. Such traffic as there was was some little distance in front of me and he got past the refuge. I saw deceased start to cross the road from opposite Lyons's tea shop., Having started, he went on continuously, without stopping Or hesitation. He had plenty of time so it as I was concerned. I was 20 yards from the old gentleman when the car passed me on the off-side. There was nothing to prevent the driver seeing the deceased. I have been driving an omnibus for 25 years. The car went straight on and knocked deceased down. The gentleman turned the driving wheel and the car skidded right clean round. Deceased was struck by the near side front wing. I think it is possible that when the car skidded round the back part of it may have struck him as well. I should think the car was going 30 miles an hour. Deceased fell directly the car touched him, and I noticed the car swing round and come to rest opposite the Home Office. When struck deceased had passed the head of my off-side horse, so that if I had gone on in a straight line I should not have struck him. There was a clear view for the driver of the motor car to see the man in front of him 20 yards or 25 yards ahead. So far as I could see, there was nothing to prevent the driver turning to his left past my horses' heads and going behind the old gentleman. If he had done so he would not have knocked him down.

Cross-examined. The car was in the centre of the road a good long way from me. Deceased suddenly hurried forward, but I do not think the car would have missed him if he had not done to. The driver turned the car a little to the right instead of to the left. If he had turned to the left he would have passed behind him. If I had been in the same position a the driver I should have gone behind deceased, and it is the rule of the road that if there it anybody passing over the crown of the road you pass behind them. I did not see a motor cab in iron of me, into which the accused might hate run if he had tried to pass behind deceased. I said before the magistrate, "I saw the driver of the car turn to the right to try to avoid him." I meant by that he tried to avoid him after he was struck. Anyone might do that. You might knock a man down and try to avoid running over him. It looked as though the driver ran straight into deceased. I do not say he did it wilfully; at the same tine, when there was plenty of room for him to go on the near side, why did not he steer on the near side? I am certain it was the near side front wing or dashboard that struck deceased. If several witnesses say that the near side front wing did not strike him at all they are wrong. In my opinion it would be impossible for the back part of the car to strike him before the car skidded. Deceased was six or eight yards from the refuge in the direction of Charing Cross. When the old gentleman was getting out into the middle of the road I heard he car sound its horn. He did not turn, but continued to walk across and took no notice at all. Before he stepped off the footpath he looked to the right and looked all round, and I assume he thought he had plenty of time to cross the road, which he had. When the horn was sounded he commenced to hurry.

The Recorder. There is no doubt that the great danger in crossing he road now is the danger arising from crossing in front of a slowmoving vehicle when there is a quick-moving vehicle on the offside. I have noticed it again and again. Probably the old gentleman thought he could get safely across the road, not knowing that this motor was coming at this rapid pace.

Mr. Oddie. Of course, a motor car is entitled to overtake traffic?

The Recorder. Yes, provided that proper caution is exercised.

GEORGE LEO DE ST. MACAIRE WATSON . I am a private secretary employed at 5, Cavendish Square. About 2.30 on September 30 I was in Parliament Street, walking towards Charing Cross on the west side. Just north of Downing Street I saw this red motor car coming down in the opposite direction as nearly as possible the middle of the road at what I considered a dangerous and excessive pace, approximately twice that of the ordinary traffic. I heard the sounding of the horn, a very raucous kind of sound. There was very little traffic going north, less than the normal. The car was clear of the south-going traffic. As it passed me I turned and followed its career. It swerved occasionally to the right in passing its own line of traffic. but I did not observe any slackening of speed. I lost sight of it, I think, behind a hansom, and shortly afterwards heard a kind of thud and the cries of the people and went back to the scene of the accident.

I cannot pretend to judge exactly the speed of the car within a mile, but in this case I can certainly say it was going at twice the speed of the ordinary traffic—I should say 24 or 25 miles per hour.

Cross-examined. One could not judge of the speed of the car if one were behind it in a narrow lane or corridor, but in a wide thoroughfare like Whitehall there is an appreciable angle of vision when the car is 100 yards or 150 yards off. There was no traffic in front of the car. I came to the conclusion that the pace was dangerous because the car might get nipped in the traffic further down. I thought the pace was dangerous to the people in the car. I had, in fact, a very strong presentiment; I give it to you for what it is worth.

Re-examined. In one way I have had experience of speeds. I am familiar with 100 yards racing. The 100 yards is run at the rate of about 20 miles an hour, and it flashed upon my mind that no man could have travelled quite so fast as that, that nobody could "live with that motor car.

ALFRED HENRY BRIDGEMAN , clerk in the Colonial Office. On September 30, about 2.20 p.m., I was in Parliament Street on the west side, near Charles Street and Downing Street, a little to the north of the Home Office door. My attention was attracted by the sound of a horn or hooter, and looking towards Charing Cross I saw a car outside the traffic going south, travelling so fast that I stopped and watched its course. I should say the speed was high and excessive. I turned round to watch it. The speed was not slackened after passing me. I saw deceased in the middle of the road, but only momentarily, as my view was intercepted by the body of the car. The course of the car was slightly diverted to the west or right side, and just after that I heard what I describe as a thud. The car immediately swung round to the right and swept across the road, resting with the back wheels against the pavement, opposite the come Office. The car was well clear of the south-going traffic.

Cross-examined. When I first saw the car the road was clear in front of it. The horn was sounded many times. I agree that it is difficult to exactly estimate the speed of the car. I am not a motorist and have not ridden in a motor car with a speedometer. Deceased had no protection from the refuges at all. He seemed to me to be going straight across to the corner of Charles Street.

HERBERT LOWE MAUD , agent, Anerley. On the day in question I was walking towards Charing Cross on the west side of Parliament Street." When I got to the Local Government Board I noticed the peculiar sound of a horn or syren, and looking up saw the car coming southwards. It was then about 150 yards off, practically in the centre of the road. I did not actually see the accident. I saw the body being placed in the motor car.

Cross-examined. I estimated the speed of the car by the way it was passing the other traffic. I say it was going twice as quickly as the other traffic. I have never driven a motor car.

Re-examined. I have been a cyclist, and that gives one some opportunity of judging speed.

JOHN SAMUEL FOSTER , civil servant, in the receiving department at New Scotland Yard. On the afternoon of September 30 I was on the pavement close to Grindlay's Bank, which is north of Lyons's tea shop. I noticed the motor car coming from the direction of Charing Cross. It was then about 40 or 50 yards away in the middle of the road, but nearer to the off side than to the new. It was going very fast, but I am not a judge of speed; I should say about 30 miles, an hour. It was going more quickly than the ordinary motor cab, and that is what made me notice it. I have never seen a vehicle in Whitehall going as fast as that. I watched it coming towards me and then turned and followed it. So far as I could see, the direction of the car was not altered. I noticed the old gentleman crossing the road a little to the north of one of the refuges; he was going straight across. The car hit him and knocked him over, and skidded round and backed on to the pavement near to Charles Street. The deceased was struck by the wing on the near side of the car; it seemed to me to be the front wing. He may also have been struck by the back part of the car, but when the car turned round, the body of it obscured my view. I saw the deceased fall on his face. I went up to see whether he was killed.

Cross-examined. If the deceased had been struck by the back part of the car as it skidded I do not think I could have seen him struck, because the car went round. I should say that people who say deceased was only struck by the back part of the car are mistaken. I saw the front part of the car hit him and knock him away. I do not set myself up as a judge of speed, but I have a rough idea of it. I told the coroner I thought the speed was about 30 miles an hour.

ERNEST FLEIG , omnibus conductor. On September 30, about 2.30 p.m., I was collecting fares on the top of the omnibus driven by the witness Young. I heard a motor horn behind me and looked round. The omnibus was then opposite the Duke of Buccleuch's house, between Whitehall Gardens and Richmond Terrace. When I saw the car it was abreast of Whitehall Gardens. I should say the speed of the car was 25 miles an hour. I did not notice the old gentleman till the car was very nigh on top of him. The oar skidded round and I could not see which part of the car hit him. Our omnibus was leading its particular line of traffic as deceased crossed in front of us. Just before the car reached him it turned a little to the right. I did not see the car strike the old gentleman; he was hidden from my view. The brakes were applied about, four or five yards from him. I saw no, alteration in the speed of the car.

Cross-examined. I did not notice the deceased look at all towards the car. It all happened very suddenly. I saw the car skid and I took it that that was due to the brakes being applied to it.

(Defence.)

JOHN HESKETH PEARSON (prisoner, on oath). I am 22 and live at Brighton. I am the owner of the car, which is a Daimler car of 42 h. p. On the afternoon in question we were coming from Trafalgar

Square down Whitehall. I was taking a friend, Mr. Terrell, to his office in Victoria Street. He was sitting in front with me and a Mr. Preston was sitting in the tonneau behind. The traffic was rather thick coming down and I was unable to go much faster than the ordinary horse-drawn traffic, which was more or less blocking the road, until about 50 or 60 yards before I got to Charles Street, when I got outside the traffic and overtook it. I ultimately got past it near Charles Street. I drew out of the traffic because it was going very slowly. I was behind it the best of the time and I wanted to get past it. Within about 20 yards of Charles Street I saw the old gentleman crossing the road. I did not see any necessity at the time for pulling up, as there was plenty of room to pass in front of him without any trouble at all, only when I got close to him he started hurrying. He was looking straight in front of him and did not seem to take any notice of me at all. His hurrying rather necessitated my changing the direction of my car to pass him in front, which I estimate I would have done by a couple of yards to spare if the car had not skidded. I put my brakes on to prevent me going into the traffic on the other side of the street, and there was a refuge there as well. The studded tyres skid very easily on the hard London streets. There did not seem to be any necessity for me to ease my car. I could have stopped my car in the distance, or I could have eased, by throttling her down to 10 or 12 miles an hour. Ten yards before I got to the deceased I let my clutch out, the effect of which is to take the engine power off the wheels without stopping the engine. I turned the car to the right, that produced the skid, and the car in swinging round hit the old gentleman. I think the part of the car which struck him was somewhere in the neigbourhood of the back wheel; I know it was behind me. The car skiddaed round about three-quarters of a circle and finished up with its hind wheels against the kerb in Charles Street I put the foot brake on but not the hand brake. The foot brake is very powerful and easier to get at in emergencies. I have often had skids in London streets on a dry day. I cannot say that this skid was due to the pace at which she was going. She would skid at ten miles an hour with these tyres if the brakes were suddenly applied.

The Recorder. It is a very alarming thing to be told that if a car is going at a reasonable pace—10 or 12 miles an hour—and you have occasion to put on your brakes it will skid suddenly round in this terrible way.

Witness. You do not always have occasion to put on the brakes and turn the car sharply at the same time.

Examination continued. After the accident I got out. A policeman helped me to put deceased in the car and I took him to the hospital My friends went with me. So far as I remember, deceased was short of the crown of the road. When I overtook the traffic I was very nearly in the middle of the road and between the line of refuges. I was not on the off-side of the crown of the road. I put the speed when I emerged from the traffic at eight miles an hour, because there was a horse 'bus in front of me. At the time of the accident I estimated I was going 15 or 16 miles an hour. With

regard to the evidence of the witnesses who said I was going at 30 miles an hour, in the time I had to accelerate it would have been an impossibility for me to have got up that speed. The distance from where I got out of the traffic to where the collision happened was 50 or 60 yards, as near as I could judge. I could not have got up to such a pace as 30 miles an hour from eight miles an hour in that distance. Fifteen or 16 miles an hour would be a moderate pace that would attract nobody's attention. I have driven a motor for about two years. I think it was the horn which attracted the attention of the crowd, because it is a very loud horn. Mr. Terrell was operating the horn, and I suppose he sounded it frequently because be wanted the traffic ahead to get out of the way. If the car had not skidded I should have pulled up about level with the man, because the car will pull up in her own length, practically speaking, at that pace, but as soon as she started skidding she went round across the road, so I cannot say that I actually did pull her up. If I bad turned to the left and gone behind the deceased I should have gone straight to the refuge. If I had directed her to go behind the refuge on the other side it would have been a very sharp turn, from which my experience of motors would have led me to expect a skid. I could have passed deceased easily if he had not harried.

(Tuesday, January 19.)

JOHN HESKETH PEARSON , recalled, farther examined. At the time I pot on the brakes I was not expecting the car to skid. I never had any idea of it. My experience of driving has been mostly in the country, but I have driven a good deal in town. I should not have expected the car to have skidded if I had put the brakes on in a country road at the pace I was going at because the roads are rougher. As to how it was the car came to travel so far after the skid, this is a very heavy car with rather a high centre of gravity, and as soon as you put the brakes on and lock the back wheels the momentum of the car causes it to swing round. It is harder to make a heavy car start skidding than a lighter car, but as soon as a heavy car starts to skid she will skid to a much greater extent than a lighter car or a car of lower centre of gravity would. The extent of the skid does not necessarily depend upon the pace at which the car is going; it depends upon the suddenness with which the car is drawn up. Taking the same conditions for the same car, it is possible that a skid would be much greater if the car is suddenly pulled up when it is going at a vapid pace than it would be if going at a moderate pace. This was an extraordinary skid, but I have seen a good many skids as bad. It is possible, in my opinion, for my car to skid to that extent, going at a reasonable pace.

The Recorder. In that case, is it safe to drive such a car in London streets at all?

The Witness. You are not always liable to have to pull up your car and turn at the same time—in fact, rarely. It was the combination of turning and putting on the brakes which caused the skid.

Examination continued. The ordinary traffic at the time was going pretty slowly; it was mostly horse-drawn. I was in no hurry at the time. The front part of the car got past deceased entirely. I have every reason to suppose that the car would have passed the deceased if no skid bad taken place. I turned the car to the right because if you pass in front of a man he can see you; if you pass behind he cannot, and it is a very common thing when a man hears a horn to step back impulsively without looking up at all.

The Recorder. Do you consider, as a motorist, that you have the right in London streets to continue at a rapid pace—whatever pace you like—without regard to the traffic in front of you or beside of you?

The Witness. Well, I think this was an unforeseen circumstance; I did not expect him to hurry.

The Recorder. These are things which will happen. People sometimes lose their presence of mind. You do not suggest, do you that His Majesty's subjects haven't the right to cross the road. They have as much right to cross the road as you have to drive a motor.

Cross-examined. There is a speedometer on the car but it was out of action at the time, so that my only method of gauging the pace is my own judgment. I have driven in London ever since I started driving. I agree that the more quickly a car is going the more likely it is to skid if the brakes are suddenly put on. The probability is that if I had been going at 25 miles an hour I should have smashed the car against the pavement. I think there was probably the width of the car between deceased and the left hand refuge. When I was at Charing Cross the traffic extended something like 40 or 50 yards down the street; I could not tell you exactly. I could not tell how long I was kept waiting by the traffic. I was not getting impatient at all. I had overtaken all the traffic before the accident happened, traveling upon the off side of it. I cannot remember that I passed on the near side of the traffic going in the same direction. I may have passed on the near side of a motor bus higher up the street, but I do not think I did so near the accident. The horn was sounding more or less continuously. I was not sounding it myself. For a good distance we had traffic in front of us. Probably Mr. Terrell saw this old gentleman crossing the road and sounded it to warn him. He was not sounding it at my direction. At the time of the accident the speed would be still increasing. I have never tested what pace I could get up to from eight miles an hour in 50 or 60 yards. I have had the car five or six months. I do not remember whether the engine was working at its fullest power at the time. You cannot open the throttle absolutely immediately, because it is rather apt to choke an engine. If I had wanted to stop the car I should just do it by throttling her down I was on top speed. The car would accelerate more quickly on the second speed than on top speed. In the same way if you have a high gear bicycle it is harder to get going quickly than if you have a low gear bicycle: it is exactly the same principle. I said at the police court I could see that he was an old gentleman and that I thought he would keep on at the same pace as he was going or else stop. When

I first saw him he was a good deal to the left of me. I thought he was going to keep on until I was about ten yards in front of him, Travelling at 15 miles an hour the car would cover 22 ft. per second, so that the distance would be covered in about three seconds. It would not be practically simultaneous; three second is a very appreciable time. The car would pull up in her own length, which is about 14 ft. or 15 ft. You always take out the clutch if you are going to stop the car, if you do not stop the engine. I could easily have stopped the car in 20 yards, of I could have allowed down. The first thing I did was to pull out the clutch. I was then within about eight or ten yards. As far I could see the old gentleman never saw me as all, unless he did so at the very last moment. I pulled up by natural instinct. I knew I had gone close to the old man, within a yard or so. I could not say whether he stopped back as the front of the car passed him. I have a theory about it, but I do not know what happened exactly. Pulling out the clutch would have no immediate effect upon the pace of the car, which of course, still retained its momentum, but the diminution of speed would be appreciable in a very short distance, I should say six or seven yards. My view is that the old gentleman, to avoid the accident, ought either to have stood still or gone on at exactly the same pace. It is rather hard to say whether people hearing a motor horn are likely to hurry, but most people look, do not they? They either hurry or step back or remain where they are as the case may be, and they must exercise their own judgment.

The Recorder. What obligation do you recognise devolves under such circumstances upon the driver of the car.

The Witness. I always use as much care and consideration as I possibly can in driving in traffic. A driver certainly ought to pull up if a person crossing a road is right in front of him or is likely to be in front of him.

Re-examined. It is right to blow the horn when overtaking traffic And passing it.

GEORGE GLYNNE TERRELL . I am a civil engineer employed in railway Work. On the afternoon in question I was sitting next the prisoner There was a good deal of traffic starting from Charing Cross. About 50 or 60 yards from the scene of the accident we had an opening and drew out. I was sounding the horn continuously to caution the people to get out of the way. I have driven myself. I am not sure whether it is in accordance with motor car regulations to sound the horn when overtaking traffic and passing it, but we are obliged to carry the horn. About 25 yards from the scene of the accident I saw the old man crossing Whitehall from east to west, some distance from a refuge, The accused slightly altered his course, I cannot say immediately, but very soon afterwards, and turned to the right slightly. As we approached deceased he suddenly quickened towards us, and the drier altered his course again to the right. About seven or eight yards from the accident he applied his brake, and the application of the brake and the slight turn of the car caused the car to skid, and in swinging round it knocked over deceased. Deceased was struck by the hind

part of the car, about the mud guard. No part of the front wing or front wheel struck deceased, of that I am confident I was sitting on the side nearest deceased, and I feel confident that if the car had not skidded the old gentleman would have been avoided altogether. I consider the pace of the car after we drew out of the traffic has been greatly exaggerated, and that the greatest speed attained, which was at the time of the accident, was approximately 15 miles an hour. It never struck roe that the foot passenger was in danger until he ran into us. The defendant having turned to the right, the car skidded, and it was the back of the car that knocked deceased over. If I had been driving myself I should have taken exactly the same step ss the accused took; I do not see that there was any other course to take.

Cross-examined. It was not necessary to slow down when we first saw deceased. I consider it is a driver's duty to slow down if there is danger of knocking people over who are crossing the road or if it appears that there is a risk of doing so. At the time we saw deceased there were no signs of any accident at all. At the pace he was walking across the road he would not have been near the car and would not have been knocked over, even by skidding, but he quickened his pace very suddenly and came into the car, which put the defendant into a more or leas difficult position.

The Recorder. Do you think the public have a right to cross the road in front of motor cars.

Witness. I always think the public have that right and that the other traffic should stop for them.

Further cross-examined. I have not driven very much in London, but I have driven in other towns—Manchester and Liverpool. My experience it that when people hear the motor horn they do not hurry up. but they look round and almost invariably step back; I have very seldom seen a case of a person rushing in front of a car. If I am startled myself by a motor in the street I always stop. It seems to come natural to one to do so. If deceased bad kept on at the same pace at which he was originally crossing he would not have met with the accident. I think we should have been several yards away from. him if he had not quickened. I am perfectly certain he was not knocked down by the near wheel of the car; I should say the front wheel was two or three yards from him. I have never been in this particular car before. I have never seen a car skid so badly as this when only going 15 or 16 miles an hour. I have seen cars turn completely round going at a less speed than this was, but that was where there were tramway lines, and whether they caught it or not I could not say.

HUGH RICHARD PRESTON , manager of the Royal Albert Hotel Brighton. On the afternoon in question I was riding in the tonnesu of the car on the left-hand side. When the old gentleman was struck I should think the pace was not more than 16 miles an hour. When the horn was sounded deceased appeared to take no notice, but walked directly in front of the car. The car was turned slightly to the right when within 10 yards of the deceased, and then we went

on. When the brakes were applied the car skidded violently and knocked deceased down close to where I was sitting. I certainly thought deceased would stop. If the driver had tarned to the left he could have gone between deceased and the left-hand refuge. We were on our way to Brighton., going home. I noticed one or two people turning round to look at us, but I thought they were attracted by the sound of the horn; it has rather a fierce sound. It never occurred to me that they were looking at us because we were going too quickly.

CHARLES JARROTT . I am an expert in motoring matters and have a show room in Great Marlborough Street. I have driven motor cars for about 12 years, and I wrote the chapter in the Badminton Book," How to Drive," and I also wrote another book on" Motors and Motor Racing," which was published about two years ago, dealing with the whole subject of motoring. I have not seen this car, but I know the type. I never met the excused before yesterday. Under the circumstances which have been detailed I should expect extensive skidding to take place if the car was suddenly stopped. Much would depend on the car itself and the road surface. The level surface would tend to increase the skidding, but it is possible to skid even on a dry macadam road in the country on turning a corner. The wooden pavement exposed to a great amount of traffic would get a polish. There is a greater tendency to skid with a long carriage body. I never heard of any rule of the told providing that driven traffic should pass behind pedestrian. One has to use one's own judgment. In the case of a vehicle coming across at right angles, whether you should pass behind it would depend upon whether the vehicle had the right to the road. If you are on the main road a vehicle coming out of a side road would have to get out of the way, but supposing it has got far into the main road, you would have to pass behind it As I understand the law, in the case of a pedestrian on the near side of the road, it would be open to one to drive either behind or in front of him as circumstances might dictate. I have no legal knowledge on the point, except the knowledge of a road-user for many years. I agree that in the case of a motorist overtaking traffic it would be desirable to sound the horn.

Cross-examined. I should say that in 50 or 60 yards, commencing with a speed of seven or eight miles an hour, it would be possible to get up a speed of 20 miles an hour within 50 or 60 yards. In the next 100 yards you would accelerate much quicker and ought to be doing over 40 miles an hour if the oar was running perfectly. I should think it would be quite possible to gain a gain of 25 or 30 miles an hour in a run of 150 yards or 200 yards. This was undoubtedly a bad skid, but I should think it could have occurred with the car going at a speed of only 15 or 16 miles an hour if the brakes were applied very suddenly. It it a thing that an experienced driver would be prepared for. The skidding would have been a serious matter if a fast vehicle, say, a motor cab, coming in the opposite direction had been run into. I agree that it requires a presence of, mind to drive these things in the public streets.

Re-examined. If a car skidded when going at 20 miles an hour I do not think it would upset if it went on skidding. If it goes on skidding it is safe. It is when the car stops that the tendency to upset occurs. If the surface was sufficiently smooth there would be no danger of upsetting. If the car had been going very fast I think it would have been upset when it reached the kerbstone. As to easing the car 25 or 30 yards from a crossing pedestrian. I think that is the course I should adopt. My first impulse would be to case the car until I had been to make up my mind definitely whether I could get torough. In this case the driver probably formed the opinion that he was safe in passing in front of the deceased and took the risk.

BENJAMIN PERRY , Harlesden Gardens, Willesden, also gave evidence as to the accident. When he first saw deceased he was starting to cross the road and was looking straight in front of him. Witness was almost on a line with him. Deceased appeared to hesitate, and the accident happened almost immediately afterwards, deceased being struck by the hinder part of the car.

Captain MONTAGU WEMYSS SUART, retired civil servant, for 20 years in the Colonial Police, gave an account of the accident as he saw it from the corner of Charles Street.

(Wednesday, January 20.)

Verdict, Not guilty. The foreman expressed the desire of the jury to give prisoner the benefit of the doubt.

BEFORE JUDGE LUMLEY SMITH.

(Monday, January 18.)


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