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John Clark, navvy

Wellingborough News, 18th March 1882, transcribed by Kay Collins

Fatal Accident on The Midland Railway
On Tuesday afternoon last, Mr. J. T. Parker, divisional coroner, held an inquest at the Red Lion Inn, Irchester, respecting the death of John Clark, a navvy employed on the widening at Wymington. It appears that the deceased was crossing the line near the bridge below Irchester Station to go into the village, when he was knocked down by an express train and killed. After the jury—of whom Mr. H. Saxby was foreman—had viewed the body, the following evidence was taken:—

Wm. Pepperill, a shanty keeper at Wymington, identified the body, and said that the deceased—who had been known amongst his companions by the nickname of "Soldier"—had been working on the widening for eleven weeks. Witness knew nothing of his previous history. Deceased left home on Monday morning about 7.30, saying that he was going to work, and he never afterwards returned. He had heard deceased say that he was 47 years old, and he believed that he had some letters in blue ink on one of his arms near the wrist.

Henry Ledbitter, a Midland Railway driver, deposed that on Monday he was driving the 9.30 a.m. express from London to Derby, and passed Wymington about 11.8 at a speed of about 50 miles an hour. When near Irchester station he saw a man leave the upside of the line to cross. He at once whistled, but the man did not turn his head or take any notice, and walked across right in front of the train. The engine caught him and knocked him down. It was impossible to avoid him. Witness stopped at Irchester and gave information to the station master. There was no other train near enough to have attracted deceased's attention.

Thomas Wade, fireman, gave confirmatory evidence.

George Crowson, station master at Irchester, said that on receiving information of the occurrence, he went up the line a distance of 300 or 400 yards, and found the deceased lying on the side of the down line quite dead, having apparently been struck by a passing train. He was near to a level crossing over the line.

Mr. Freeman, surgeon, of Rushden, said that he had attended the deceased ten days or a fortnight since for inflammation of the lungs. He was under the impression that he was slightly deaf. On Monday he examined the deceased's body, and found that he had sustained an incised wound on the left temple, with extensive fracture of the skull. He also had a comminuted fracture of the left leg and the left forearm, and a simple fracture of the right arm. Deceased had no tattoo marks on his arm or chest. He looked from 47 to 50 years of age. His hair was slightly grey, having previously been dark. He was about 5 ft. 11 in. in height.

P.C. Thomas said that he examined the clothes of the deceased, and found 2s. 7d. in money upon him, and a discharge ticket from the widening works, which he could have got cash for at Irchester to the amount of 2s. 4d. There was also in his pockets a knife, comb, box of matches, box of insect powders, and two pipes, but nothing leading to his identification.

The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."

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