Unsolved Murders

Phoebe Amelia Stokes

Age: 61

Sex: male

Date: 7 Sep 1919

Place: Lea Road, Luton, Bedfordshire

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Phoebe Amelia Stokes was knocked down by two boys on bicycles on Saturday 6 September 1919 and died the following day.

Two boys, both brothers, aged 13 and 14 were charged with riding a cycle to the danger of the public in Lea Road on September 6th and also with causing bodily harm to Phoebe Amelia Stokes at the same time and place.

They were said to have ridden down Lea Road at great speed and to have knocked her over.

At her inquest it was heard that the jury, after several adjournments and great consideration, could not decide whether they should commit the boys for trial on a charge of manslaughter, and eventually decided not to commit them on the charge.

A woman that lived in Lea Road said that she saw the two boys coming down Lea Road very fast on their bicycles and then heard a crash and then saw Phoebe Stokes lying in the road and the two boys near her, one of them knocked off his machine and all in a heap.

She said that she heard no bell rung or any warning.

The daughter of the woman said that she also saw the boys riding their bicycles and said that she thought that they were apparently racing each other.

The defence for the boys noted that they had been on the right side of the road at the time of the collision but noted that they had just had to pass some carts on the wrong side that were in the road.

The boys were each made to pay a fine of 20s. It was noted that there were 14 children in their family, nine of them being under the age of thirteen, and the Alderman said he hardly knew how to deal with them owing to the size of the family noting that they could not impose too large a fine on them as it would fall upon their parents rather than them to pay it.

The Alderman concluded by noting that they had narrowly avoided going to prison and told them that they must keep their mouths clean, speak properly and behave themselves.

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

see Luton News and Bedfordshire Chronicle - Thursday 11 September 1919