Date: 25 Jan 1913
Place: Pershore, Worcestershire
Edmund Fazey was run over whilst being pushed along the road by his 15-year-old son in a bath chair.
A man was tried for his manslaughter but was acquitted due to conflicting evidence. The man was a member of the Pershore Board of Guardians and Rural District Council.
The court heard that the man tried had been driving at a fast rate in a rather zigzag direction on a dark night and that it was thought that he was also undoubtedly drunk.
A doctor said that when he came out, he saw Edmund Fazey near the first gas lamp coming into Pershore sitting by the side of the road with a number of other people nearby. He said that he found that Edmund Fazey had a four-inch scalp wound on his left side, a smaller one near his right eye and a bruise under each eye and stated that his injuries were serious. He said that he then took Edmund Fazey in his car to Edmund Fazey's daughter's house as there were no vacant beds at the hospital and said that he did all he could for him but said that he died early the next morning from shock caused by his head injuries.
The 15-year-old son said that had been pushing the bath chair said that there was a lamp fitted on the bath chair and said that it was fixed on the right-hand side and showed a white light at the front and a red light at the back. He said that he heard a horse coming while he was pushing Edmund Fazey along in the middle of the road, noting that he didn't see any lamps on the trap. He said that as it approached, he jumped out of the way and that the trap ran into the chair and smashed it, throwing Edmund Fazey out. However, he said that the trap drove on without stopping.
The son said that he picked up a hat from the roadway and gave it to his sister. He said that a trap that looked like the one that knocked over the chair drove past a little later without stopping.
He added that there was room for the trap to pass on the right side of the chair and that it came from behind them on the left.
A butler that had been walking into Pershore said that he reached the Pershore bridge at about 9.30pm and that as he went over it he heard the noise of a collision in the road. He said that then, immediately after a horse and trap came up from Pershore and that he met it between the two bridges. He said that there was no light on the trap and that it was being driven by a hatless man. He said that the horse swerved and backed into the pavement twice which he said caused him to offer his assistance to the driver. He said that the driver nodded to him and told him that he wanted to go to Bricklehampton. He said that the driver then lit a lamp, the lid of which was fixed. However, the butler said that the driver didn't go on to Bricklehampton as he expected and instead pulled his horse round and drove back in the direction of Pershore. He said that he formed the opinion that the driver was drunk because he could not keep still in his seat and apparently didn't seem to know what he was doing.
The butler said that a short while after, about 50 yards on, he saw Edmund Fazey sitting on the footpath bleeding very badly from the head and being attended to by two men. He said that he was told that a doctor had been called for, and that as his assistance was not required, he went on.
He said then, that at the end of Broad Street, he saw the trap again, which he said stopped and said that the driver said to him, 'I don't know where I am. Am I in Bricklehampton or Pershore?'. He said that when he told the driver he was in Pershore the driver said, 'Am I?'. He said that seeing as the man was drunk, he held the horse's head while a man went for the police, noting that he didn't think that the driver was in a fit condition to be in charge of a horse and trap.
The butler said that a man then came up and that he told him that the driver had run over a man and that he didn't think that the driver was in a fit state to drive. He said that the man then said that he would drive the driver home and got into his trap and drove off.
However, it was later heard that the man drove the driver to the top of Goodley Hill and then left him there because he thought that the driver was sober and fit to drive the rest of the way.
A milkman said that he saw the cart driver drive out of the yard of the Three Tuns Hotel with his lamps unlighted and said that he was the worse for drink.
Another man said that when he saw the driver he was rolling about in the trap and said that one could not call it sitting.
A yardman at the Three Tuns Hotel said that he had helped the driver put his pony in his trap and lit the lamps in the trap but said that he could not say whether the driver was drunk or not.
A policeman said that when he saw the driver the next day, he said that he had the appearance of a man who had been drunk the night before and who was suffering from the effects of drink.
It was noted that at the trial that the man that drove the driver part of the way home plus the manager of the Three Tuns Hotel in Pershore, the driver's groom, a farmer and another man all stated that the driver had been sober when they had seen him.
When the driver gave evidence, he said that he had been to Worcester that day and had had a gin and bitters, a glass of beer, and two drops of Scotch. He said that when he got to Pershore he had two whiskies and a glass of beer and said that when he left the Three Tuns Hotel he was perfectly sober and that both of his lamps were lit in the yard.
He said that when he got near to the bridge, a gust of wind blew off his hat and that immediately after there was a crash and his pony bolted. He said that he was dazed by the shock of the accident and that he had no recollection of what happened in Pershore. He said that if he had been drunk that it would have been impossible for him to have driven home from Goodley Hill.
He asserted that notwithstanding the fact that six people said that they had seen him drunk, that he was sober.
He said that he saw no chair in the road.
He also said that he made no enquiry about the crash that night as he had intended to go down the next day.
When the defence summed up he said that it was a case of misadventure and accident in the ordinary sense and that if it were not for the suggestion that the driver had been drunk and had had no lights on that nobody would have dreamed of manslaughter. They concluded that the man that drove the driver part of the way home to Goodley Hill would have been the best to judge the driver’s condition and noted that he had said that the driver had been sober.
The magistrate then acquitted the driver, saying that no jury would convict a man on such conflicting evidence.
Edmund Fazey was a well-known farmer.
see Cheltenham Chronicle - Saturday 08 February 1913, p1
see Gloucestershire Echo - Friday 07 February 1913