Date: 27 Jan 1956
Hubert Jack Sturgess came off his bicycle at some traffic lights in Hyde Park, London on 16 January 1956. He died about two days later in the early hours of 18 January 1956 shortly after being admitted to hospital.
He said that he had been hit by a woman in a car but the woman, a female physio-therapist who lived in Kensington Close, Kensington, denied having knocked him over at his inquest in Hammersmith on Monday 30 January 1956 and said that he had wobbled in front of her and just fallen off his bicycle.
An open verdict was returned at his inquest.
The pathologist that carried out Hubert Sturgess's post mortem said that Hubert Sturgess had died from a rupture of the main artery of the body.
He had been a lorry driver and had lived in Faroe Road, West Kensington.
Although the physio-therapist denied hitting Hubert Sturgess, it was heard that her evidence had conflicted with what Hubert Sturgess was said to have said, It being heard that Hubert Sturgess's wife, daughter and his doctor had all heard Hubert Sturgess say, 'I was knocked over my handlebars by a car'.
Hubert Sturgess said that he had been knocked over the handlebars of his bicycle as he had been pulling away from some traffic lights in West Carriage Road, Hyde Park. He said that the driver of the car that had hit him had been a woman and had asked him whether he had been able to get home, noting that she had appeared very agitated and that he had then cycled off home.
His wife said that she had expected Hubert Sturgess back home from work at about 5pm on 16 January 1956 but that he had not returned until 6.30pm and that when he did he told her that he had been knocked over his handlebars by a car and that he complained of pain and swelling in his left leg.
She said, 'It was very swollen and he could not bend it very well. He saw the doctor that evening and when he came home I put a camp bed up for him on the ground floor. He could not walk up the stairs. She said that the following day Hubert Sturgess had not seemed too bad but that during the evening he began to get worse and that between 9pm and 10pm she sent for the doctor.
She said, 'He was complaining of pain in his chest' and said that just after midnight he was admitted to Fulham Hospital where he died at 2.10am the following morning.
Hubert Sturgess's doctor said that Hubert Sturgess had been a patient of his for 30 years. He said, 'He came to me on the 16th and told me that he had been knocked from his cycle. He added that at the time of the accident he had felt some pain in his chest, but it had gone. I examined his chest but could find nothing wrong with it. He had a slight bruising and swelling of the knee. I had only treated him for minor ailments during the thirty years I knew him'.
His doctor noted that Hubert Sturgess had been an extraordinarily honest man and that he had never had time off from his work unless he felt very ill.
Hubert Sturgess's daughter said that when Hubert Sturgess came home she told him that he had been hit by a woman in a car as he had been pulling away from the lights, the car hitting his rear wheel and that the woman had asked, 'Can you get home all right?'.
Another cyclist that had been cycling with Hubert Sturgess on the night of the accident who had lived in East hill Estate in Wandsworth said that he and Hubert Sturgess had been held up by traffic lights in West Carriage Road and that Hubert Sturgess was hit as they were moving forward after the lights changed. He said, 'As the light changed and we moved forward, I heard a sort of crash behind me. I turned my head and saw Mr Sturgess lying on the ground in front of the car. He complained of pain in his left knee and back'.
The police said that the woman driver later went to Hyde Park Police Station on 19 January 1956 as a result of police enquiries where she was told that she would be reported for not coming forward about the accident within 24 hours. However, the police said that she told them that as far as she was concerned that there had been no accident.
She denied that she had hit Hubert Sturgess, and said, 'He started to wobble about in front of me as the lights changed to green and we moved forward. He fell off towards the right. I stopped and asked him if I could help. I looked at his knee but there was no sign of injury. It is not true that my car collided with his rear wheel. My car did not touch Mr Sturgess.
After hearing the evidence the jury found that Hubert Sturgess death was due to an accident but returned an open verdict.
see West London Observer - Friday 03 February 1956