Unsolved Murders

Richard Allfrey

Age: 79

Sex: male

Date: 5 Apr 1937

Place: Forest Road, Peas Pottage

Richard Allfrey was knocked down on a road.

He was taken to the Crawley Cottage Hospital where he later died from pneumonia following shock and concussion.

It was thought that he might have been run over by a car but it was noted that there were no marks on his body to suggest that and an open verdict was returned.

Richard Allfrey had lived at 8 Horsham Road in Peas Pottage.

A butcher that had also lived on Horsham Road said that he had been walking along the road from Peas Pottage in the direction of Colgate in the company of a woman when he saw Richard Allfrey ahead of him about a quarter of a mile away walking towards him on the left-hand side of the road. He said that his attention was distracted for a moment and that when he looked along the road again he saw Richard Allfrey lying in the road with a stationary car beside him. He said that he then saw a man alight from the car and examine Richard Allfrey. He said that as far as he could tell, the man had been wearing a trilby hat and an overcoat.

The butcher said that he was only a few yards from his house and so he went indoors to call for his uncle who was a first-aid man who was upstairs. He said then, that he noticed the car that had stopped by Richard Allfrey drive past his house. He said that he thought that the man in the car was 'getting away with it' and so he got his motorcycle and gave chase to the car, which he said he noticed has a red band painted on it. When he got on his bike he said that a man that was in the road informed him that the car had gone off in the direction of Crawley. He said, 'The car had about three minutes start on me, but I drove as far as Crawley and gave information to the police constable on point duty. When I realised that the man was getting away with it I did all I could to find him'.

When the police gave evidence at the inquest, they said that they had no evidence that the car had knocked Richard Allfrey down at all, and added that as far as they knew he might have just fallen down.

The policeman said that if Richard Allfrey had been seen in front of the car that that would have been consistent with Richard Allfrey having been lying in the middle of the road before the car got there.

A woman from Uckfield said that she had been driving her car from St Leonards Wood in the direction of Cuckfield when she saw a man lying in the middle of the road and a small black car by the body. She said that Richard Allfrey's head had been facing her as she had approached. She said that she passed them and then slowed down and stopped about 200 yards further down the road but said that when she got out of her car the black car that had been beside Richard Allfrey in the road had gone.

A Captain from Partridge Green said that he had been driving in the direction of Crawley when he had seen Richard Allfrey lying in the middle of the road parallel with the sides of the road. He said, 'There were no marks visible to me on his clothing, only blood coming from him, which got on to his cap. The way he had fallen was just like a shot man, such as you saw in the war, all crumpled up. There was no question of his looking as if he had been pushed'. He added that he saw no marks on him to suggest that he had been run over.

The jury returned an open verdict, stating that they were not prepared to express any opinion of how Richard Allfrey had got in to the condition in which he was found.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see West Sussex County Times - Friday 23 April 1937