Unsolved Murders

Ronald James Groves

Age: 21

Sex: male

Date: 13 Jun 1954

Place: High Street, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Coventry

Ronald James Groves died following a road traffic accident on his motorcycle with a car on 13 June 1954.

The driver of the car declined to give evidence at the inquest and an open verdict was returned. Ronald Groves had been riding his motorcycle along with a pillion passenger at the time.

He was the only other witness to the incident beside the driver of the car.

Ronald Groves had been a leather dresser and had lived at 117 Portland Street in Walsall.

After the accident he was taken to the Hospital of St Cross where he died at 2.45am on Sunday 13 June 1954 from severe head injuries.

The accident had occurred in High Street, Ryton-on-Dunsmore at the London Road junction.

The driver of the car involved was a 58-year-old secretary who had lived at Manor Farm in London Road, Ryton-on-Dunsmore.

When she was called to the witness box at the inquest, her solicitor announced that on advice, the woman was exercising her prerogative and had chosen not to give evidence.

When the Coroner recalled a policeman as a witness he asked him, 'Is it a case where she was injured and did not remember anything of what happened?' and the policeman replied, 'No sir. I went to her house about an hour later and she made a formal statement as to what took place'. The policeman then went on to say that the woman told him that she had seen the motorcycle coming and that she had had ample time in which to cross the main road but that she remembered nothing after the crash.

Ronald Groves's mother said that she had been with him when he had died in hospital. She said that he had been riding a motorcycle for about two years and that so far as she knew he had never possessed a protective helmet and had never worn one.

However, a doctor that gave evidence at the inquest said that in his opinion a crash helmet would not have helped him. The doctor, who was a resident surgeon at the Hospital of St Cross, said that Ronald Groves's injuries were largely on the side of his head and that his death was due to cerebral haemorrhage and laceration of the brain caused by a fracture to the base of the skull. When the doctor was questioned, he said that it was possible that a helmet could have helped but said that it would have depended on how he had struck his head.

Ronald Groves's pillion passenger was a 22-year-old leather worker who had lived in Goscote Lodge Crescent, Coalpool in Walsall. He said that he and Ronald Groves had been returning to Walsall for a weekend in the middle of their fortnight's TA camp at Thetford in Norfolk. He said that it had been an uneventful journey until the accident, and that it had been raining quite heavily. However, he said that he remembered nothing of the accident.

He noted that Ronald Groves had not been wearing goggles but noted that Ronald Groves's motorcycle was fitted with a windscreen.

A Special Constable, who was ordinarily a haulage contractor and lived at Manor Farm of London Road in Ryton, who was on the scene immediately after the crash said that he had heard the crash from a nearby garage. He said that he then went to the scene and found Ronald Groves jammed into the door of the woman's car and another man under the rear wheel. He said that the woman was slumped on the steering wheel as though knocked out.

He said that he and others then lifted the car off of one of the men but had to use a crowbar to release Ronald Groves.

The Special Constable noted that there was heavy, misty rain falling at the time.

A policeman that arrived on the scene at 4.35pm before the vehicles were removed said that he found the car across the mouth of High Street facing in the direction of London. He said that the car itself could be seen from a good distance by an approaching motorcyclist although he noted that the junction itself would not have been evident until the motorcycle was closer.

He said that the car had been hit broadside on and had travelled only about 150 yards from its departure point. He said that there were no marks on the road.

The policeman noted that a door-to-door attempt to find eye-witnesses and a BBC appeal both failed to produce any results.

The policeman said that he didn't think that the car could have been in High Street when the crash occurred.

Following the evidence, which lasted an hour, the jury retired for nearly half-an-hour before returning their open verdict.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Rugby Advertiser - Friday 16 July 1954

see Rugby Advertiser - Friday 18 June 1954

see Rugby Advertiser - Tuesday 15 June 1954

see Birmingham Daily Post - Tuesday 13 July 1954