Unsolved Murders

Mary Olive Brown

Age: unknown

Sex: female

Date: 25 Jul 1902

Place: Sutton Coldfield

Mary Olive Brown died in a railway accident at Sutton Coldfield.

An open verdict was returned at her inquest after it was heard that the jury could not decide whether there was sufficient evidence for a charge of manslaughter against the train driver.

It was said that the engine driver had driven through two signals. However, the court heard that it was not clear where the line for criminal negligence lay, it being noted that the rules for engine drivers were set out and that it was the case that if an engine driver did not see a signal that he had to assume that it was at danger.

The engine driver said that he could not see the distant signal and that the light was out, it being noted that there was no evidence that it was not, and so he had come to the conclusion that he should go slow and slowed down to ten miles per hour but was not told that the line was blocked which led to the accident.

The train had been the 9.35pm train from Sutton Coldfield to Birmingham and consisted of eight vehicles and an engine. It had been crossing the Bay line at Sutton Coldfield Station on to the main up line when it collided with the 9.15pm down train from Birmingham to Four Oaks which also consisted of eight vehicles and an engine.

The two trains then met buffer to buffer on the main down line causing what was described as a very serious collision. 52 other passengers were also injured, but none of the injuries were very serious.

Mary Olive Brown had been a waitress.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Leamington Spa Courier - Friday 25 July 1902

see Railways Archive

see Sutton Coldfield