Horse Frightened by Motor at Chelveston - Driver Trampled to Death
The peaceful willage of Chelveston, near Higham Ferrers, was startled on Friday afternoon by a shocking fatality, the victim being Mr. John Wildes, brother of Mr. George Wildes, farmer of that place. The circumstances associated with the affair are particularly sad, and the greatest regret is expressed throughout the district, where the members of the family are well known and respected.
Deceased was a married man, but his wife is at present in an asylum. There are no children.
Mr. J. T. Parker, the divisional coroner, held an inquest at the Star and Garter Inn, Chelveston, on Saturday evening, respecting the death of Mr. Wyldes. Mr Joseph Knight was chosen foreman of the jury.
The Coroner said that they had to inquire into the man’s death, which occurred on Friday. He was on the Kimbolton road, leading a horse, and by some means or other the horse trod on him, and he was brought home and died very shortly afterwards. He (the coroner) was told that the horse, which was a young one, was frightened by a motor-cycle. Motors were entitled to be on the road, and young horses were likely to be frightened until they got used to them.
George Wyldes, farmer, Chelveston, said that the body viewed by the jury was that of his brother John Wyldes, who was 53 years of age, and worked for witness. He last saw the deceased alive in a field on the Kimbolton-road, when he was all right. That would be about 1.30. He was leading a young horse, which had recently been broken in. He was used to horses. This was a three-year-old, and was not used to the road.
Joseph Britten, farmer, Chelveston, said that on Friday about 1.45, he was on the Kimbolton-road, Chelveston, walking behind the deceased, who was leading a horse. Witness would be forty yards behind. He saw the horse jump round the deceased and knock him down. The horse trod on him, and he then let go of the rein, and the horse ran away. Deceased got up, but fell down again. Witness ran to his assistance, and asked where he was hurt. Putting his hand to his chest, deceased said he was hurt there, and asked for some brandy. A man named Curtis was with the deceased, and a motorist who was near by went off for assistance and brought some brandy. Deceased took a little brandy, and his brother brought a cart and took him home. The motorist fetched a doctor, but Wyldes died just before his arrival. Witness did not think the horse trod on the deceased more than once. He did not know what frightened the animal; he did not think it was the motor-cyclist. He did not see anything that would frighten it. The motor-cyclist was behind witness when deceased was knocked down, so that would mean that the motoroist was about fifity or sicty yards off. The horse was fresh and young.
In answer to Mr. George Wyldes, witness said that he did not think the motor frightened the horse, as he thought it was too far away.
A Juror: Did the motorist give any warning?
Thomas Curtis, horsekeeper, Chelveston, and in the employ of Mr. Wyldes, said that he was working with the deceased, and was coming down the Kimbolton-road towards Chelveston about 1.45. Witness was in charge of three horses in front of Wyldes, who was leading a young horse. Witness did not see deceased knocked down, but saw the horse he had been leading gallop past his own horses. Then he looked round, and saw that Wyldes was on the ground. Wyldes afterwards told him that he was hurt across the bowels. The horse was young and fresh. Before the horse passed him he heard a motor horn sound, but witness did not look round to see if it frightened the horse. The motoroist might be sixty or seventy yards off. He might have frightened it, and might not. The horse was not used to motors. He did not think the motorist was to blame. The motorist went to the man’s assistance. It was a good wide road. The motorist passed on the left-hand side of the road, but the accident happened before the motorist got to them.
John Merry Harris, auctioneer, Overstone, said that he was on his motor-cycle on the Kimbolton-road at the time in question, when he saw a man in front with a horse. Witness was about sixty yards off, and touched his horn, but, seeing that the horse was restive, he shut off his engine. He had to pass some cows which the prvious witness was driving. He saw a man in front leading a horse. He saw the horse run round the man and knock him down and tread on him. Witness could not see anything that would frighten the horse. He could hardly think that it was his motor that frightened it, he was riding gently, because he had had to pass through the cows that the witness Britten was driving. Witness went and told Mr. Wyldes and fetched a doctor, with whom witness left his name and address.
Dr. Dennis Crew said that he was called by the previous witness about 2.35 on Friday afternoon. Witness came over at 2.50, and sae deceased lying on the bed, fully dressed, but dead. On examining the deceased witness found small abrasions about the chest. He found the breastbone was fractured, as were three ribs on his left side. He believed haemorrhage following the injuries was the cause of death.
A verdict of “Accidental Death” was returned. The Foreman, in giving the verdict, said it was a pure accident, and the motorist was at all to blame.
Mr. W. Hirst Simpson, who was present, said that as chairman of the Parish Council, and speaking on behalf of the parish generally, he would like to express the sympathy of the Council with Mr. Geo. Wyldes in the loss he had suffered.